AFI Fest 2011: The Dish & the Spoon

Greta Gerwig both should and shouldn’t become a major star. She should because she’s amazing and her talent ought to be recognized outside of the indie film world where she’s already a well-known and respected name. And she shouldn’t because if she did, she might not have time to make charming little one-off films like this one....

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TIFF & AFI Fest 2011 Review: Oslo, August 31st

Though I don’t completely subscribe to the “Auteur” theory in all its finer points, I do tend to look at films as having directorial stamps on them – not just from common stylistic points of view or as vehicles that cover similar themes, but as works that have a certain quality about them. For example, when I see a movie like Joachim...

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AFI Fest 2011: Pina

Even though I’m fairly vocal about my dislike of 3D, I remain open to the possibility of interesting and appropriate uses of the technology. Last year I was quite entranced by Werner Herzog’s use of 3D to illuminate the Chauvet caves in Caves of Forgotten Dreams, and I was hopeful that Werner Herzog’s dance-filled tribute to choreographer and...

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AFI Fest 2011: Attenberg

This is my first exposure to the films that seem to be constituting a Greek New Wave (largely made up of this film plus the ones directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, who also appears here as an actor), and if it’s any indication, I’m very excited to see the rest. In the lineage of the French New Wave by way of the more anxious Czech New Wave (and more...

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AFI Fest 2011: Le cercle rouge (1970)

Usually I skip repertory screenings at festivals to focus on the newer stuff that I might not be able to see elsewhere, but when I saw that Artistic Director Pedro Almodóvar had programmed Jean-Pierre Melville’s crime drama Le cercle rouge, I couldn’t resist. I’ve been meaning to see this film for quite a while, ever since I saw and...

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AFI Fest 2011: Coriolanus

Sometimes I think there are reasons why some Shakespeare plays remain largely unknown among his vast repertoire – I have never read Coriolanus or seen it performed, but assuming this is a fairly faithful adaptation in terms of the text itself, it’s just…not that interesting. Caius Martius (Ralph Fiennes, who also directs) is a great military...

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AFI Fest 2011: Extraterrestrial

Nacho Vigalondo’s previous film Timecrimes was a refreshing take on the very common sci-fi sub-genre of time travel, and this time he throws his hat in the ring of another very common sci-fi sub-genre, the alien invasion film. But as you might expect if you’ve seen Timecrimes, there’s not much about this film that’s common. And...

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AFI Fest 2011: This is Not a Film

Director Jafar Panahi was at the AFI Film Festival a few years ago presenting his film Offside, a well-regarded drama about an Iranian girl breaking all the rules and pretending to be a boy to attend a football game, something that girls are forbidden to do in Iran. This year, he could not be here, and indeed, could not legally make this film, because he has...

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AFI Fest 2011: A Biased Preview

This year’s AFI Fest kicked off last night with the world premiere of Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar, and I head to my first screenings tonight. There will be very little sleep over the next week as I overload on cinema from around the world, catching up on films praised at other festivals and trying to find a few hidden gems on my own. I probably...

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Friday One-Sheet: We Need to Talk About Kevin

Lynne Ramsay’s new film on parenthood, the aftermath of school shootings, and the psychological horror that accompanies both has been gathering great press at festivals, including enthusiastic support from our own Kurt Halfyard. I’m definitely interested in anything Tilda Swinton does – she makes some bold choices in projects and is always...

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