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The Norwegian directing team of Joachim Roenning and Espen Sandberg, whose biopic of World War II resistance fighter Max Manus was a huge hit on home turf, have turned to another native hero for "Kon-Tiki." One of the most-vaunted escapades of the 20th century, Thor Heyerdahl's 1947 Peru-to-Polynesia expedition by raft gets glossy big-screen treatment in this efficiently told action-adventure. Delivering visual drama and understated character study, sometimes in disappointingly formulaic fashion, the feature has its incisive moments but falls short as both epic and intimate portrait.
When one thinks of the Holocaust film genre, dramas such as “Schindler’s List” and “The Pianist” instantly come to mind for their harrowing portrayals of victims and survivors who suffered at the hands of Nazis. But what about the German survivors – more specifically, the children of Nazi war criminals forced to come to terms with the atrocities of their parents? This is a question posed by the exceptional new German-language film, “Lore,” Cate Shortland’s follow-up to her acclaimed 2004 feature “Somersault.”
With a reputation for being innovative and versatile, Dante Ariola made a name for himself directing commercials for the likes of Coca Cola, Nike and Lexus. What began as a substantial career in graphic design morphed into a myriad of film work, including music videos for bands like Cake and Cypress Hill, and a documentary short about wildlife conservationist Dr. Alan Rabinowitz, entitled “Man & Beast.”
LOS ANGELES — Lily Tomlin's admiration for elephants began when she met Ruby and Billy.
This undated publicity photo released by courtesy of HBO shows a scene from the documentary film, "An Apology to Elephants." Actress Lily Tomlin narrates the film. The film is an unabashed polemic, calling for improved treatment of elephants in zoos and an end to the use of the animals as entertainment, which the film contends must invariably involve abuse. (AP Photo/HBO, Lisa Jeffries/pawsweb.org)
This undated publicity photo released by courtesy of HBO shows narrator, Lily Tomlin, in the documentary film, "An Apology to Elephants." The film is an unabashed polemic, calling for improved treatment of elephants in zoos and an end to the use of the animals as entertainment, which the film contends must invariably involve abuse. (AP Photo/HBO, Lisa Jeffries/pawsweb.org)
If you’re interested in either Irish culture or boxing, you’re going to want to check out The Irish Cultural Center’s “Boxing Writers and Movie Night.” On Thursday, April 25, Jay Tunney, son of heavyweight boxing champion Gene Tunney, will discuss his new book “The Prizefighter and the Playwright,” a story about his father’s friendship with Irish author George Bernard Shaw.
It's a given at multiplexes these days that despite switch-off-your-cell-phone announcements and the occasional grumbling protest, whatever's onscreen will have to compete with tiny pockets of light from audience members unable to stay off their handhelds. Watching those glow patches come and go during "Disconnect" reinforces the film's position on how desensitized we've become to these technological intrusions. Not that Henry-Alex Rubin's schematic multi-strand drama is at all shy about articulating its themes.
He has given standout performances in the likes of “The Big Lebowski,” “Crazy Heart” and “True Grit,” but Oscar-winner Jeff Bridges’ enormous talent doesn’t stop there. His illustrious resume runs the gamut from musician to author to humanitarian, which begs the question: Is there anything he can’t do?
Between the two of them, filmmakers Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel have explored sheepherding in Montana, auto shops and junkyards in Queens and most recently, the fishing industry in the North Atlantic. Their experimental documentary “Leviathan” is both visceral and gritty, in no way spoon-feeding its audience information, but rather, completely immersing them in the gruesome, often dangerous environment aboard a commercial fishing liner.
You may better know her sister, Dakota, from box-office smashes like “War of the Worlds” and “The Twilight Saga,” but 14-year-old Elle Fanning has already made quite a name for herself among the arthouse set, appearing in such acclaimed works as “Babel,” “Somewhere” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” This month, she takes center stage in a new drama from writer/director Sally Potter entitled “Ginger & Rosa” – a coming-of-age tale set in 1962 London as the threat of the Cuban missile crisis looms overhead.
Critics have dubbed Dwight Yoakam a music sponge for transcending the country genre and absorbing different musical styles, making his brand of hip, honky-tonk music accepted among rock audiences. His latest album -- his first original recording in seven years -- is a testament to that.
It may not be as mainstream a form of expression these days as, say, Instagram, but poetry, that old-fashioned art of arranging language to create an emotional response through meaning, sound and rhythm, is alive and well.
Up there with “Stoker” and “Like Someone in Love” as one of the best films to hit theaters this spring, “War Witch” is devastating, beautiful and truly not to be missed. An Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, this gut-wrenching tale of a child soldier has been reeling in the accolades: Best Actress awards for young star Rachel Mwanza at both the Berlin and Tribeca film festivals, along with a whopping 10 honors (including Best Picture) at this year’s Canadian Screen Awards.
I am trying to find a way to legally copy DVDs we own to an external hard drive for storage connected to my laptop. When we take long road trips it would be nice to not have to haul all our movies along. — Bill
Larger-than-life and a true embodiment of New York’s audacious spirit, former NYC mayor Ed Koch lived his life in the public eye. With the bulk of his three-term career encompassing the turbulent 1980s, Koch went head-to-head with issues such as race relations, the AIDS crisis and the crack epidemic – drumming up controversy along the way while still maintaining his likable if outspoken persona.
In recent years, there have been some really good Oscar hosts like Hugh Jackman, some acceptable hosts like John Stewart, some disappointing hosts like Steve Martin & Alec Baldwin, and some flat-out horrendous hosts like James Franco & Anne Hathaway. Despite the best efforts of some, none have come close to capturing the same wit, timing, and showmanship of reoccurring hosts like Bob Hope, Johnny Carson, or Billy Crystal. At the 85th Annual Academy Awards ceremony however, Seth MacFarlane of “Ted” and “Family Guy” emerged as the single most entertaining first-time Oscar host of the 21st century.
Hang around the Valley long enough, and you’re bound to encounter the work of Mesa artist Zarco Guerrero. From public art installations to stage plays to performances at festivals, the longtime Mesa artist is prolific.
If you had told me a month ago that my Oscar predictions would look anything like this, I probably would have advised you to go do a little more research. “Argo” poised for the Best Picture win sans a Best Director nod? Unthinkable. Emmanuelle Riva and Naomi Watts as viable Best Actress contenders against youthful powerhouses like Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain? You’re pulling my leg.
Where everyone else spent most of last January debating which team would be victorious at Super Bowl XLVII, I was busy trying to predict which movies would win big at the 85th annual Academy Awards. In many respects, the Oscars feel like a sporting event as nominees tirelessly campaign to win and award analyzers place bets on which horse will cross the finish line.
“Snitch” is a movie that knows what it wants to say, but fails to get its message across in an unconventional fashion. The film is loosely based on a “Frontline” documentary about Joey Settembrino, an 18 year old who was sentenced to a minimum of ten years in prison for selling LSD. The government offered Joey a reduced sentence in exchange for the names of drug dealers high up on the totem pole. Since Joey was unwilling to cooperate, he had no other alternative but to serve his time. James Settembrino, Joey’s father, did everything he could by independently digging up dirt on drug abusers and drug distributors. His attempts to free his son were futile for the most part though.
A former board member and longtime volunteer, Jim Colletti returns to this year’s Sedona International Film Festival in an entirely new role: first-time filmmaker. Originally from New York, Colletti moved to the East Valley nearly 20 years ago – buying his first home in Chandler and opening a business in Gilbert before relocating to Mesa. He has been living in central Phoenix for about 2 years now, where he runs his graphic art/advertising agency Element Design along with his artist management/record label OEO Entertainment.
Few recent documentaries have stirred audiences quite like “How to Survive a Plague,” with its harrowing yet inspiring look into an oft-forgotten period of American history: the early years of the AIDS epidemic that rocked the nation in the 1980s and '90s. In his powerful filmmaking debut, journalist David France explores the ACT UP and TAG movements as they fought for change against an indifferent government and health care system, primarily told through activist-shot footage from those years.
It has been performed by the likes of Bob Dylan and Neil Diamond, and appeared everywhere from the 2012 Olympic Games to “South Park.” No longer just a musical staple of Jewish weddings and bar mitzvahs, “Hava Nagila” has become a global phenomenon that has captivated the masses with its simple message of happiness and gratitude.
A previous Oscar winner for her 2007 documentary short, “Freeheld,” director Cynthia Wade is back in the race this month for her new film, “Mondays at Racine.”