Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Friday, November 05, 2010
Thursday, November 04, 2010
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
If the action star/writer/director is responsible for quite a number of stinkers, he is also behind two of the most enduring film series, Rocky and Rambo and he has written and directed enough films to get some kind of auteuristic status and recognition -- think of him as an A-league Roger Corman.
Contrary to popular belief, Mr Stallone is not a brute or a simpleton. Not only is he surrounded by that star-like aura that only a few have -- and trust me working in Hollywood, I saw lots of celebrities -- but he has a great sense of humor and is fully aware of his legacy -- whether it's good or bad.
For almost 2 hours, Mr. Stallone delighted us with anecdotes about his greatest films -- did you know the original cut of First Blood was a pretentious 3 hour bore? -- and his worst -- -- ever heard of the musical Rhinestone? Two of the highlights were certainly when he mentioned Rocky Balboa and Rambo, explaining that he had to close both film series on a high note, following the mediocre Rocky 5 and First Blood part 3 -- while he took the responsibility for his failures, often blaming it on his ego and poor decisions, he also showed here his auteuristic side and his sense of ethics.
Mr Stallone also presented some scenes of his latest film, The Expandables, before answering the questions of some of his -- freaky -- fans (in case you are wondering, there among other weirdos one woman chasing him with an action figure ...)
Monday, June 21, 2010
Set in the eponymous Parisian airport, Orly aimed at showing us how life in an airport is, like if we were voyeurs who could spy on travelers' conversations for a few minutes. While the concept might have been interesting on paper, the film seemed to follow the Paris Je T'aime format, offering us a succession of love and family stories that are not bringing much to the table. Setting up this film at the Charles de Gaulle international airport would have at least brought an exotic touch, which was present here.
Based on a Gabriel García Márquez novel and mostly set in a convent, Of love and Other Demons (Of Love and Other Demons review) is centered on the love story between a young girl and a priest. While the premise and the poster looked appealing, Hilda Hidalgo's adaptation proved to be a pretentious bore. With its overly esthetic cinematograpy and slow pace, Of love and Other Demons is trying to make art and eroticism with every framed shot but fails by relying on a cheesy soap like mise en scene.
Beside the change of venues, the other big difference is the crowd. Gone are the UCLA students, having been replaced by an older and more industry-centric crowd. The only drawback might be having the opening gala on Laker final week, the premiere party having taken place during the final at the nearby Staples center - in case you are wondering, it meant partying while watching cops chasing unruly supporters downstairs.
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
• "The Kids Are All Right" -- Lisa Cholodenko (Focus Features)
• "Despicable Me" -- Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin and Sergio Pablos (Universal Pictures) WORLD PREMIERE
Bonus by Invitation Screening:
• "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" -- David Slade (Summit Entertainment) WORLD PREMIERE
Gala Screenings (5):
• "Animal Kingdom" -- David Michod [Australia] (Sony Pictures Classics)
• "Cyrus" -- Jay and Mark Duplass (Fox Searchlight)
• "Mahler on the Couch" -- Percy and Felix Adlon -- WORLD PREMIERE
• "Revolucion" -- Mariana Chenillo, Fernando Eimbcke, Amat Escalante, Gael Garcia Bernal, Rodrigo Garcia, Diego Luna, Gerardo Naranjo, Rodrigo Pia, Carlos Reygadas and Patricia Riggen [Mexico] -- N. AMERICAN PREMIERE
• "Waiting for Superman" -- Davis Guggenheim (Paramount Vantage)
Narrative Competition (9):
• "Dog Sweat" -- Hossein Keshavarz [Iran] -- WORLD PREMIERE
• "A Family" -- Pernille Fischer Christensen [Denmark] -- N. AMERICAN PREMIERE
• "Hello Lonesome" -- Adam Reid -- WORLD PREMIERE
• "The New Year" -- Brett Haley
• "Of Love and Other Demons" -- Hilda Hidalgo [Costa Rica/Colombia] -- N. AMERICAN PREMIERE • "Orly" -- Angela Schanelec -- [Germany/France] -- N. AMERICAN PREMIERE
• "Parade" -- Isao Yukisada -- [Japan] -- N. AMERICAN PREMIERE
• "Upstate" -- Katherine Nolfi and Andrew Luis -- WORLD PREMIERE
• "The Wolf Knife" -- Laurel Nakadate -- WORLD PREMIERE
Documentary Competition (9):
• "Camera, Camera" -- Malcolm Murray -- WORLD PREMIERE
• "Circo" -- Aaron Schock [USA/Mexico] -- WORLD PREMIERE
• "One Lucky Elephant" -- Lisa Leeman -- WORLD PREMIERE
• "Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone" -- Lev Anderson, Chris Metzler -- WORLD PREMIERE
• "Farewell" -- Ditteke Mensink [Netherlands] -- U.S. PREMIERE
• "Life with Murder" -- John Kastner [Canada] -- U.S. PREMIERE
• "Make Believe" -- J. Clay Tweel -- WORLD PREMIERE
• "Vlast" -- Cathryn Collins
• "Where Are You Taking Me?" -- Kimi Takesue -- N. AMERICAN PREMIERE
International Showcase (20):
• "1428" -- Du Hai-bin (China)
• "Army of Crime" -- Robert Guediguian [France] (Kino)
• "Bibliotheque Pascal" -- Szabolcs Hajdu -- [Germany/Hungary/England] -- N. AMERICAN PREMIERE
• "Café Noir" -- Jung Sung-il [South Korea] -- N. AMERICAN PREMIERE
• "Disco & Atomic War" --- Jaak Kilmi and Kiur Aarma [Estonia/Finland]
• "Down Terrace" -- Ben Wheatley [England] (Magnolia Pictures)
• "Eastern Plays" -- Kamen Kalev [Bulgaria]
• "Eyes Wide Open" -- Haim Tabakman [Israel/Germany/France] (New American Vision)
• "Family Tree" -- Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau [France]
• "Golden Slumber" -- Yoshihiro Nakamura [Japan] -- N. AMERICAN PREMIERE
• "Judge" -- Liu Jie [China]
• "La Pivellina" -- Rainer Frimmel and Tizza Covi [Austria/Italy]
• "Lebanon, Samuel Maoz" [Israel] (Sony Pictures Classics)
• "The Peddler" -- Eduardo de la Serna, Lucas Marcheggiano and Adriana Yurcovich [Argentina]
• "R" -- Tobias Lindholm and Michael Noer [Denmark]
• "The Red Chapel" -- Mads Brugger [Denmark]
• "Secrets of the Tribe" -- José Padilha [England/Brazil]
• "Space Tourists' -- Christian Frei [Switzerland]
• "Street Days" -- Levan Koguashvili [Georgia]
• "Woman on Fire Looks For Water" -- Woo Ming Jin [Malaysia/South Korea]
Summer Screenings (12):
• "Ain’t In It for My Health: A Film About Levon Helm" -- Jacob Hatley
• "Cane Toads: The Conquest" -- Mark Lewis [Australia/U.S.]
• "Cold Weather" -- Aaron Katz
• "Four Lions" -- Christopher Morris [England]
• "Kings of Pastry" -- D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus (First Run Features)
• "Marwencol" -- Jeff Malmberg
• "Monsters" -- Gareth Edwards (Magnolia Pictures)
• "Night Catches Us" -- Tanya Hamilton (Magnolia Pictures)
• "The Tillman Story" -- Amir Bar-Lev (Weinstein Co.)
• "Tiny Furniture" -- Lena Dunham (IFC Films)
• "Welcome to the Rileys" -- Jake Scott (Apparition, Destination Films)
• "White Material" -- Claire Denis [France] (IFC Films)
Outdoor Screenings at the Ford Amphitheatre (4):
• "Centurion" -- Neil Marshall [England] (Magnolia Pictures)
• "The Last Exorcism" -- Daniel Stamm (Lionsgate) – WORLD PREMIERE
• "The People vs. George Lucas" -- Alexandre O. Philippe
• "Thunder Soul" -- Mark Landsman
International Spotlight (4):
• "The Fall" (1959)
• "The Hand in the Trap" (1961)
• "The House of the Angel" (1957)
• "The Seven Madmen" (1973)
Selections from the Ambulante Film Festival (3):
• "One Day Less" -- Dariela Ludlow [Mexico] U.S. PREMIERE
• "Presumed Guilty" -- Roberto Hernández and Geoffrey Smith [Mexico]
• "The Toledo Report" -- Albino Álvarez Gomez [Mexico]
Community Screenings (4):
• "Climate Refugees" -- Michael P. Nash -- Grand Performances Screening
• "Gasland" -- Josh Fox
• "Lost Angels" -- Thomas Napper -- WORLD PREMEIRE
• "A Small Act" -- Jennifer Arnold -- Project:Involve Screening
The Beyond (4):
• "All About Evil" -- Joshua Grannell
• "Bitter Feast" -- Joe Maggio -- WORLD PREMIERE
• "Mandrill" -- Ernesto Diaz Espinoza [Chile]
• "Separado!" -- Gruff Rhys and Dylan Goch [Wales] -- U.S. PREMIERE
Special Screenings (3):
• "The Life of Richard Wagner" (1913) -- Carl Froelich
• "The Wheeler Boys, Philip G. Flores" -- WORLD PREMIERE -- Netflix FIND Your Voice Winner
• "Utopia in Four Movements" -- David Cerf and Sam Green
UCLA Film & T.V. Archive Collaborations, L.A. Film Critics: The Films That Got Away (2):
• "The Happiest Girl in the World" (2009) -- Radu Jude [Romania]
• "Katalin Varga" (2009) -- Peter Strickland [Romania/England]
Downtown Confidential (2):
• "Hickey and Boggs" (1972) -- Robert Culp
• "The Driver" (1978) -- Walter Hill
The Film Foundation Screening Program (2):
• "The Leopard" (1963) -- Luchino Visconti -- Presented by the Film Foundation and Gucci as part of “Cinema Visionaries.”
• "The Music Room" (1958) -- Satyajit Ray -- Presented by the Film Foundation and American Express as part of "20 Years/20 Films."
• Eclectic Mix 1-2"
• Big in Japan: A Survey of Japanese Music Videos
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Looking at the huge turnout for Gainsbourg (Gainsbourg review), it was obvious that this biopic about the legendary French artist, would have been a much better way to kick-off the festival, than Heartbreaker. Tackling such a fascinating character seemed like a quite perilous project but writer/director Joann Sfar's choice to build a tale high in metaphors and surrealism makes it more worthy of the character than a tame chronological biopic. Joann Sfar's film shouldn't been approached as a historical film though but rather as a pop art piece, which is colorful, exciting but also superficial - you won't get into the singer's psyche here but will get to experience how unordinary and fun his life might have been.
The screening was followed by a Q&A with Eric Elmosnino, the star of the film, which provided some insightful information.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
The concert (The concert review) was screening on Friday night at COLCOA. The film follows a group of old Russian musicians who, pretending to be the Bolshoi, end up landing a gig at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris. At the Q&A, director Radu Mihaileanu stated that the premise of this picture was based on a true story, a group of musicians having indeed impersonated the Bolchoi a few years ago in Asia, but except for this, The concert seems to copy the Buena Vista Social Club formula, transferring the Cuban and New York settings to Russia and Paris. While this uplifting farce is quite amusing, with some good moments such as the recital, it is a work that, in the end, proves to be filled with cliches and somewhat manipulative.
As a sidenote, the movie was introduced by his distributor, Mr. Harvey Weinstein who, rather than talking about this film, stated he wouldn't stay at this screening to go instead meet Mr. Jean-Paul Belmondo at a nearby festival. While paying homage to the French film icon at this festival was certainly appropriate, the whole thing sounded kinda rude, which knowing Mr Weinstein's reputation isn't that surprising.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Not being able to attend the screening for a Q&A, the director was replaced by the actor Fred Ward who plays Ronald Reagan in the film.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
COLCOA’s opening night was as usual taking place in the lobby of the DGA, with guests cruising around the bars and feeding on fine French appetizers. There was somewhat a bittersweet feel though, as most of the French filmmakers invited to the festival couldn’t make it due to the travel mess caused by the European volcano – only 3 filmmakers were able to attend, some coming from Paris through China …
As for the opening film, it was once again a crowd-pleasing romantic comedy, Heartbreaker (Heartbreaker review) starring Romain Duris and Vanessa Paradis. While offering a quite engaging story mocking some genre clichés, the film proved to be also annoying at times, mostly due to poor directing choices, making it a charming but quite weak way to start a festival.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Here is the lineup for the 2010 Cannes film festival, which Plume Noire will cover:
Tournee, directed by Mathieu Almaric
Des Hommes des Dieux, directed by Xavier Beauvois
Biutiful, directed by Alejandro Gonzales Innaritu
Hors-la-loi, directed by Rachid Bouchareb
Un Homme Qui Crie, directed by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
Housemaid, directed by Im Sangsoo
Copie Conforme, directed by Abbas Kiarostami
Outrage, directed by Takeshi Kitano
Poetry, directed by Lee Chang-dong
Another Year, directed by Mike Leigh
Fair Game, directed by Doug Liman
You, My Joy, directed by Sergei Lovnitsa
La Nostra Vita, directed by Daniele Luchetti
Utomlyonnye Solntsem 2, directed by Nikita Mikhalkov
La Princesse de Monptpensier, directed by Bertrand Tavernier
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul
OUT OF COMPETITION
Robin Hood by Ridley Scott
You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger, directed by Woody Allen
Tamara Drewe, directed by Stephen Frears
Wall Street – Money Never Sleeps, directed by Oliver Stone
Kaboom, directed by Gregg Araki
L’Autre Monde (Blackhole), directed by Gilles Marchand
UN CERTAIN REGARD
Blue Valentine, directed by Derek Cianfrance
O Estranho Caso de Angelica, directed by Manouel de Oliveira
Les Amours Imaginaires (Heartbeats), directed by Xavier Dolan
Los Labios, directed by Ivan Fund and Santiago Loza
Simon Werner a Disparu… directed by Fabrice Gobert
Film Socialisme, directed by Jean-Luc Godard
Unter Dir Die Stadt (The City Below), directed by Christoph Hochhausler
Rebecca H. (Return to the Dogs), directed by Lodge Kerrigan
Pal Adreinn (Adrienn Pal), directed by Agnes Kocsis
Udaan, directed by Vikramaditya Motwane
Marti Dupa Craciun (Tuesday, After Christmas), directed by Radu Muntean
Chatroom, directed by Hideo Nakata
Aurora, directed by Cristi Puiu
Ha Ha Ha, directed by Hong Sangsoo
Life Above All, directed by Oliver Schmitz
Octubre, directed by Daniel Vega
R U There, directed by David Verbeek
Rizhao Chongqing (Chongqing Blues), directed by Xiaoshuai Wang
Inside Job, directed by Charles Ferguson
Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow, directed by Sophie Fiennes
Nostalgia for the Light, directed by Patricio Guzman
Draquila - L’Italia Che Trema, directed by Sabina Guzzanti
Chantrapas, directed by Otar Iosseliani
Abel, directed by Diego Luna
Thursday, March 25, 2010
There is a strong sense of melancholia in the COLCOA 2010 film selection this year, which should satisfy cinephiles and Francophiles alike.
Probably more than any year before – at least the 8 editions I attended – the festival seems like a homage to some of the greatest French cultural icons, with a succession of classics and documentaries featuring names like Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Henri-Georges Clouzot, Eric Rohmer, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Anna Karina, Arielle Dombasle, Serge Gainsbourg while the DGA theaters were renamed Renoir, Truffaut and Melville.
This is both a good thing and a bad thing. On one hand, this will allow a younger festival crowd to learn its classics but on the other hand, the older audience probably already know these classics, especially as the Criterion collection released most of them. But more importantly, this once again restricts the global vision of French to the French new wave and film noir, emphasizing a cliché that will only satisfy the elitist readers of Cahiers du Cinéma.
While COLCOA has, throughout the years, done a good job representing mainstream French cinema with dozens of gallic comedies, romances and dramas, it still lacks this year what the French are also known for, those subversive, rough and provocative works that both repulse you and challenge you intelligence.
That said, when it comes to the current cinema, there are quite a lot of films I am eager to see, from a biopic about French music legend Serge Gainsbourg to the spy thriller Farewell featuring Guillaume Canet and Emir Kusturica and Lucas Belvaux’ psychological Rapt. The gala entry Heartbreaker featuring Romain Duris & Vanessa Paradis as well as The Concert are worthwhile entries as well and guaranteed crowd-pleasers.
Those who like “movies about feeling” – I’m using that Beavis and Butthead quote because there is also The French Kissers, a film featuring a couple French Beavis and Butthead clones – shouldn’t worry as Catherine Deneuve, Marion Cotillard, Chiara Mastroianni, Vincent Lindon & Sandrine Kiberlain are also present in the selection.
When it comes to film noir, Sphinx and Immaculate seem pretty intriguing and might worth being seen. And if you want more blood, there are even killers and zombies this year, with In their Sleep and The Horde.
Now let’s back to classics. Three documentaries, Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno, Two in the Wave (about Jean-Luc Godard & François Truffaut) and Irene should give us an interesting look at a few emblematic French filmmakers, while Pierrot le Fou, Pauline at the Beach and, to some extent, La Petite voleuse will give you the opportunity to catch up.
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
The ceremony, which spoofs the Academy Award extravaganza offered its usual mix of dance numbers, singing and acerbic one-liners. While the event aims at gently mocking the Hollywood formula, whether it’s its films or its self-congratulary bash at the Kodack Theatre, it should be said that in the last 10 years I have been attending the ceremony, there hasn’t been much change: the ceremony is somewhat becoming the kind of cliché it is supposed to satirize, offering a succession of mostly tedious singing numbers and borrowing killer one-liners from obscure reviewers who are to film bashing what Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers is to film whoring.
This doesn’t mean that the event isn’t fun – quite the contrary as there are lots of laughs –and there wasn’t even a moment of sarcastic brilliance when, following Sandra’s Bullock’s win for worst actress, a Razzie cast member stormed the stage as Kanye West to tell us that Beyonce who was also nominated for worst actress deserved the prize.
While one of the screenwriters for the awful sci-fi pudding Battlefield Earth came to accept the prize for – well deserved – worst film of the decade award, giving a pretty amusing acceptance speech, the highlight of the night was of course the presence of Sandra Bullock who came to pick up her prize for worst actress.
Ms. Bullock’s speech proved however to be quite a blow to the Razzies’ respectability. The actress stated that the reason she won was most likely because she had said she would come to the show if she were winning; She also questioned the audience’s objectivity, stating that most of the voters probably hadn’t even seen the movie she was nominated for, All About Steve, even bringing a box of DVDs to give us a chance to finally watch it. The problem is that she was right about both points.
If the premise of the Razzies is somewhat to punish Hollywood for all the atrocities Tinseltown is bringing to our screens, it is also the bully creature from his founder, John Wilson. Rather than trying to be objective – at least the Academy makes an effort when it comes to voting – Mr. Wilson sends us his list of favorites every year, mostly based on his own taste and the reviews featured on RottenTomatoes, a site where critics are picked on quantity rather than quality. As a result, some actors/actresses, filmmakers and pictures are systematically lambasted every year, while others are left untouched. The other issue is that, as Ms. Bullock pointed out, lots of voters haven’t even seen the works of the people they are voting for – hopefully the media and industry people at least make an effort – and are just basing their choices on what Mr. Wilson suggestive ballot is telling them or just simply doing some bashing.
While Ms Bullock probably didn’t deserve her Razzie award – I’m not sure she deserved her oscar either – she was right to highlight the lack of fairness coming from the Razzie members. Hopefully, this will provide a chance for the Razzie foundation to revamp its process because we need it to be as sharp and objective as possible to effectively sanction Hollywood for its shameful sins.
Continue reading about the Razzies 2010 Award Ceremony by checking out the Razzie 2010 winners and nominations as well as our Razzies 2010 award videos ...