Saturday, May 31, 2008

And the winner was...

I want to thank everyone that has shown up for this current rendition of the Saturday Film Festival. Today's film, Moulin Rouge! was the last of the series but I plan to start another in the fall. So check this blog for further information.
For those that attended today's film: Martin Scorsese won the 2006 Best Directing Oscar for The Departed. Finally! As he took the stage to accept the award Scorsese asked "Could you double-check the envelope?" An honor well deserved but long in coming!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cannes: The Other Slice

The Cannes International Film Festival ending last Sunday, May 25th.
This years’ jury was headed by none other than Sean Penn. The other members of the jury were Italian actor and director Sergio Castellitto, Hollywood actress Natalie Portman, Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron, Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul, German actress Alexandra Maria Lara, French directors Rachid Bouchareb and Marjane Satrapi, and French actress Jeanne Balibar. The jury gave the coveted Palme d’Or to the first French movie to win Cannes’s top prize in 20 years, Laurent Cantet’s The Class. This film gave an account of teacher-student dynamics in a multicultural French middle school.

The second place Grand Prix award went to Gomorrah, Italian director Matteo Garrone’s movie about organized crime in Naples. The third place jury prize went to Paolo Sorrentino’s Il Divo, which satirized the career of former Italian Prime Minister, Giulio Andreott. Nuri Bilge Ceylan won the directing prize for Three Monkeys, a drama about family pulled apart by crime and suspicion. Benicio Del Toro took the Best Actor prize for his portrayal of Che Guevara in Steven Soderbergh’s four plus hour biopic of the revolutionary (which will be released as two separate films, Guerrilla and The Argentine). Best Actress went to Sandra Corveloni (by-passing Anjelina Jolie in Clint Eastwood’s Changeling) who portrayed a single mother of four fatherless boys in the Brazilian family drama, Linha de Passe (Line of Passage).

This Saturday, May 31st, will be the final film in our current Saturday Film Forum, “Cinema Fran├žais: Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves”. We will be screening Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge! and it is a MUST to see on the big screen. Please join us at 2pm in the Library Theater! A word of warning on parking: The Concourse Car Show will be taking over Central Park near the library both Saturday and Sunday. They will be finished on Saturday at 2pm so I hope parking won’t be too hard to find.

Friday, May 23, 2008

When Harry Meets Jack

Despite the crazy weather, this weekend marks the kick-off for summer movies and festivities. Yes, it is Memorial Day weekend. Of course, the big movie to see this weekend is Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I plan to see it despite the bad reviews and alien ending. I am actually looking more forward to this November and the next installment in the Harry Potter films, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Between making the Potter films, Daniel Radcliffe (Harry, of course) has been busy trying to have a career away from Hogwarts. I am sure many have heard of his West End debut in London in the Shaffer play, Equus. The play moves to New York in the fall and will open on September 25th at the Broadhurst Theater. It has only a 22 week run, so get those tickets early!

Radcliffe has also been making some interesting non-Harry Potter films. Check out these two (currently available from the HBPL Media department):

December Boys:
In the late 1960's, four close-knit orphans in Australia, called the December Boys because they were all born in the same month, leave their orphanage for a holiday by the sea. Having all but given up hope of ever being adopted, the friends are on a seaside holiday one summer when they hear a rumor that a seaside couple are looking to adopt one of the orphans, friendships are tested and new alliances made as the four boys compete for the chance to gain a real family.

My Boy Jack:
Daniel Radcliffe does an excellent job of portraying, John (Jack) Kipling, son of Rudyard. It is 1913 and Rudyard Kipling is at the peak of his literary fame. World War I breaks out, and Jack is determined to fight, but the Army and the Navy both reject him because of his extremely poor eyesight. Undaunted, Kipling uses his influence to land Jack a commission in the Irish Guards, sparking off a bitter family conflict.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Festival Sandwich

I hope some of you were able to make the screening in Saturday of French Kiss. The last film in this series of the Saturday Film Forum will be Moulin Rouge! and will be screened on May 31st.

In the meantime, we are currently between major film festivals (hence the sandwich!). Tribeca Film Festival ran from April 23rd to May 4th and Cannes International Film Festival starts on May 14th.
The Tribeca Film Festival was started by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff following 9/11 to help build economic and cultural revitalization of lower Manhattan. Since its founding, the festival has been attended by over two million attendees and has generated 425 million in economic activity for New York City. It was recently announced that this year’s festival had an attendance of 155,000 moviegoers to 700 screenings and 14 panel discussions. The winners of the big awards this year were:

Cadillac Award (audience choice): War Child: A documentary based on the life of hip-hop artist Emmanuel Jal, a veteran of the 20-year civil war in southern Sudan. Now in his 20s, this former “lost boy” is using his music to raise awareness about the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Sudan and the plight of child soldiers throughout the world.

Founder Award for Best Narrative Film: Let the Right One In: Twelve year old Oskar gets relentlessly bullied by day and by night he dreams of revenge. This beautifully touching tale tells of the first romance for bullied 12-year-old Oskar and the girl next door, Eli… who also happens to be a vampire.

Best Documentary Feature: Pray the Devil Back to Hell: After more than a decade of civil wars leading to more than 250,000 deaths and one million refugees, a group of courageous women rose up to force peace on their shattered Liberia and propel to victory the first female head of state on the African continent.

Sometimes it takes a bit of time for festival films to make the local art house, but these would be worth keeping an eye out for viewing in the future.