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Archive for the ‘Summer movie’ Category

Edgar Ramirez & Ana de Armas “Hands of Stone”

Edgar Remirez and And de Armas two of the hottest, rising stars of the Hispanic world, or any world, chat about how proud they are of their new movie “Hands of Stone”. Just out from the Weinstein co, the film is a biopic of the life of legendary Panamanian boxer Roberto Aranas. Filmed completely in Panama and co-starring Robert De Niro as his trainer and rock star Usher doing his first serious boxing, and acting role as Sugar Ray Leonard.

Editing by Kevin Teller

#Edgar Ramirez #Hands of Stone # Ana de Armas # Roberto Aranas

#Panama #Boxing # Boxing Movie # Robert de Niro # Usher

“The Royal Road” Must See Lesbian Doc

Vertigo 4Royal Road 4There’s something about intelligent lesbian lovelorn conversation that irrevocably holds me in its sway. And coming out very soon on DVD & VOD on Sept. 6, “The Royal Road” an unusual, innovative documentary is a must-see for every lesbian and gay and everyone else, who is reading this. It’s kind of a jewel, in its’ own unique, stubborn way.

Filmmaker Jenni Olson debuted “The Royal Road” to much acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival last year, but I’m just catching up to its’  challenging  beautys now. “The Royal Road” doesn’t make things easy for the viewer. Its’ esthetic is extreme. The 16 mm. camera NEVER moves and there is not one human being in the frame.Nor will there ever be.Royal Road 1 But there is an incredibly revealing and engaging voice-over by the filmmaker herself. It’s not a lesbian conversation. It’s a lesbian monologue, perhaps the longest one ever, as Olson confronts us with the daunting, relentless shot-after-shot of California’s decaying once pristine Royal Road or the Camino Real.

Once a uninterrupted trail from San Francisco to Los Angeles, the road itself is part of California’s repulsive urban sprawl and not romantic at all. While it is nothing to look at, Olson MAKES us look at it, and at the same time, because the images she’s chosen don’t move, you HAVE to listen to her. And you do. And it becomes mesmeric.Royal Road 3

As a native New Yorker, who has still yet to visit the LGBT capital of the world, the City by the Bay, it was all news to me, as Olson wants to show us HER lesbian San Francisco and tell her own woman’s story of how she left her heart there.Golden Gate Bridge 1

And a large part of her story is wrapped up in Alfred Hitchcock’s Number One critically proclaimed film “Vertigo.” By the time, she gets to this part of “The Royal Road” I was completely hooked. I’d only re-watched “Vertigo” earlier this week!On Monday night! It’s a film that never leaves you. It’s its’ own obsession.

Olson  hooked me into her narrative, just as the hypnotic spell of Kim Novak’s Madeline Elster bewitches James Stewart’s stalwart, but vertically challenged policeman Scotty Ferguson in this classic movie of Obsession. And of secondarily, obsession with San Francisco.

Vertigo 1She explains as she reads from an unheard, cut speech from the original “Vertigo” screenplay that Gavin Elster explains that his wife, Madeline(Novak) has fallen under the spell of old San Francisco and that it has driven her mad.Vertigo 2So intense is her desire to find ole San Fran that she roams the city in search of it and stops whenever a piece of it jumps out at her.

Royal Road 5

Olson involves the viewer mightily with this ingenious piece of historical/cinematic   dialogue that I’d never heard spoken before. As research, it’s a find. It’s  breathtaking  and I’m not going to do “The Royal Road” the injustice of a complete speech quotation here. That would be tantamount to spoiling it,  but suffice it to say that it makes “The Royal Road” and also “Vertigo” at last make sense.

So I have to say thank you, Jenni Olsen, for finally elucidating this. She also audaciously makes Hitchcock a character in her monologue as she is trying to explain and examine HIS obsession with San Francisco and “Vertigo” and her own. For the first time, she claims “Vertigo” as an important lesbian movie in terms of the impact that the quest for character of Madeline, mirrored her own.

So she answers a couple of important, unresolved questions about “Vertigo,” including the fact that the quixotic name of the mysterious Madeline was probably  inspired by Proust! And of course, it’s Proust’s tasting a madeline cookie that sends him on HIS historic literary quest in “Remembrance of Things Past.” Just as Olson has taken us on a “Royal Road” into her own history, in her own unique. original way.

Vertigo 4

I loved this lovely little film and I hope you do, too!

#Vertigo # Royal Road # Lesbian# San Francisco # Documentary # Hitchcock # Royal Road

“Cafe Society” Worst Woody Allen Ever? S.O.S. Same Old Story

Kristen Stewart 1As you can see by this ultra glamourous pic above ^ of Kristen Stewart, Woody Allen has cast her against type, as a nice little goodie two-shoes,compleat with bows in her hair and ankle socks, in “Cafe Society”. Her character, Vonnie, has to appear so beautiful that the men in the movie fall madly in love with her. The men being Steve Carell as well as his nephew Jesse Eisenberg. And they’re all very good in this magnificently shot and styled paean to old Hollywood in the ’30s.

But this is perhaps the worst movie he’s ever done.It’s soooo boring. It’s that we’ve seen it all before. Over and over and over and over again. We expect more from the man who gave us “Midnight in Paris”, “Hannah and Her Sisters”, “Blue Jasmine”, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” and his Oscar winner “Annie Hall.” But this is not that. Not by a long shot.

At least his other recent sub-par look at the glamourous life circa 1920 “Magic in the Moonlight” had a very strong performance by Colin Firth. And it’s always the younger woman/older man scenario, but at least focusing as much of this film on the young Jesse Eisenberg, the edge is slightly off that scenario, but only slightly. But it doesn’t last for long. Before it’s back to the Carell/Kristen plot-line. Ho-hum.Or rather ho-humbug.

Eisenberg, an actor I’ve always had trouble liking, is appealing in this, and more amourously aggressive than I can ever remember him being.

Kristen & Jesse 1

But try as they might, he, Carell and Stewart and all of the rest of this capable cast, just can’t rise above this bland, bland script.

I felt like I knew what lines the characters were going to say before they spoke them. Parker Posey, here a bubbly, throw-away blonde, is pretty much just window dressing. Corey Stoll is snidely effective as Eisenberg’s gangster brother.Blake Lively is, well, lively.

The only one who really broke through for me was Sari Lennick of the Coen Bros. “A Serious Man.” As Eisenberg’s hyserical, kvetchy sister-in-law and Stoll’s wife.

The biggest,.most consistent laughs in the film, and there are some, not much, but not enough, the most laughs come when Stoll’s character has killed some hapless or irritating sap, and throws the bodies into a ditch as a cement mixer pours cement on them in clearly a New Jersey setting.

Santa Loquasto has designed “Cafe Society” to a fare-thee-well and legendary lenser Victorio Storaro has shot it magnificently. It couldn’t look more glamourous, or be so empty. What a shame!

Do something NEW Woody!!! Surprise us!!! Don’t bore us…All our lives are too short for drivel like this.

#Woody Allen #Cafe Society #Kristen Stewart #comedy #Hollywood

Oscar Winner Mark Rylance Tour de Forces as Spielberg’s “The BFG”! Brilliant, Funny & Glorious!

Mark Rylance & Oscar 3The main joy of Steven Spielberg’s newest “The BFG” is the glorious performance of recent Oscar Winner Mark Rylance as the title character, the BFG, or  Big Friendly Giant. It’s almost a one-man movie as Rylance is transmorgrified by millions of dollars worth of special effects make-up and animatronics into the skinny, big-eared, receding jaw-lined Giant named Runt.

And the wonder to watch is that Rylance is such a superb actor, he out-acts his make-up, or acts through this perhaps ponderous obstacle to give a truly glowing, heartfelt performance. His Runt is wondrous in every way possible. He acts with his warm, brown,unanimated human eyes, and treats Roald Dahl’s gibberish language as if it were Shakespeare. It was music to my ears.


You see, giants usually eat children. But not the BFG. He’s a vegetarian thriving on grostesque, green snozzcumbers, but not his fellow giants, who are bigger and grosser than he is. With names like Gizzargulper, Childchewer, Maidmashser, Bloodbottler, Manhugger(well, that’s not so grotesque), Fleshlumpeater, Meatdripper, Butcherboy and Bonechruncher.Bullies all, and Runt really IS a runt compared to their, well, gigantic-ness. An unrecognizably- voiced Bill Hader is main among them, and they sniff out little Sophie’s presence(Rose Barnhill) and are ravenous to eat her. Sophie has had the misfortune (or fortune) to be kidnapped by Runt and whisked off to Giant Land. BFG 2

Runt, of course hides Sophie, in every nook and cranny imaginable in his phantasmagoric cottage, and that is basically the plot. Runt is a dream-catcher and dream-shaper by profession, and though I felt being sent off to dream-land myself at times, the conclusion of the film, with Runt and Sophie seeking out the Queen of England, circa 1982, to help them provides a hilarious conclusion. Penelope Wilton, Cousin Isabel of “Downtown Abbey” is also just grand as Her Majesty.Penelope Wilton 1

It’s not top-draw Disney(the script is overlong and meanders in the middle) but it’s one of the best outings Steven Spieberg has had in a long time.

And the wonderful Mark Rylance! Could he get an Oscar nomination, again, even though he’s almost over-loaded with CGIs? If anybody could,  he could. In any case, it’s a delight.

#BFG #Mark Rylance #Oscar #BIG FRIENDLY GIANT #Penelope Wilton # Special Effects

Provincetown Award Winners 2016

Ptown 2016 1With great regret and sadness, due to circumstances beyond my control, I was unable to attend this year’s Provincetown International Film Restival. Though I was enthusiastically invited. Things that I don’t want to bore you all with stopped me, but suffice it to say, I look forward to attending NEXT year and going to to the Montreal and Toronto Film Festivals in August and September. It just killed me to miss two-time Oscar winner Ang Lee. who I adore /and whom I have so much to talk about with His”Brokeback Mountain” changed my life, as I always say. He was the guest of honor as this year’s “Fimmaker on the Edge.”

But anywho, here’s a list of the award winners that were announced last night.

HBO Audience Award/Best Narrative Feature: 
THE INNOCENTS directed by Anne Fontaine
HBO Audience Award/Best Documentary Feature (tie):
directed by Morgan Neville
POLITICAL ANIMALS directed by Jonah Markowitz and Tracy Wares
HBO Short Documentary Award:

TERRITORY directed by Eleanor Mortimer

The John Schlesinger Award, presented to a first time feature filmmaker (narrative): 
BLOOD STRIPE directed by Remy Auberjonois
The John Schlesinger Award, presented to a first time feature filmmaker (documentary): 
OFF THE RAILS directed by Adam Irving
Here Media Award – Best Queer Short Film: 

ONE LAST NIGHT directed by Kerem Blumberg

Best Narrative Short Film:

THUNDER ROAD directed by Jim Cummings

Best Animated Short Film: 

GLOVE directed by Alexa Haas and Bernardo Britto

Best New England Short Film: 

BLACK CANARIES directed by Jesse Kreitzer

Best Student Short Film:

THE MINK CATCHER directed by Samantha Buck

Special Mention:

¡MAIS DURO! directed by Camila Saldarriaga

Congratulations to all our winners and to all the hardworking artists and filmmakers on the edge who attended this year’s 
18th Annual Provincetown International Film Festival!
The Short Film Jury consisted of Ian Samuels (filmmaker, MYRNA THE MONSTER), Lisanne Skyler (filmmaker, BRILLO BOX (3¢ OFF)) and Kim Yutani (Senior Programmer, Sundance Film Festival).
Save the date and join us for next year’s festival!
June 14-18, 2017
Making Provincetown the Global Destination for Creative Exploration In Film!
The Provincetown Film Festival| 508.487.3456| info@ptownfilm.org |www.ptownfilmfest.org/

A Happy Pink Summer Memory at Scott Cakes!

A Happy Summer Memory from Provincetown for all my dear readers, dear cineastes, dear lovers of theater! May all your holidays be as pink as the cupcakes of Scott Cakes!

Camera ~ Phil Sokoloff

Editing ~ Kevin Teller

Supporting Actress Race now All Shook Up By Golden Globes rulings

Irrational Man 3Now that the Best Actress Golden Globe Drama race has been topsy-turvy-ed by the HFPA ruling that Alicia Vikander of “The Danish Girl” And Rooney Mara of “Carol” are LEAD and not Supporting considerations, it leaves the Best Supporting Actress field WIDE open.

The unexpected turn of events is totally justified in that both Vikander and Mara are playing leading roles. But who does that open the door for now that Supporting Actress is a half-empty glass?

Well, I hope they consider the legendary Indie Queen Parker Posey for Woody Allen’s “Irrational Man.” Parker is playing a very horny mid-life chemistry prof who has a BIG drinking as well as a BIG man problem. She’s just delicious in it and has never been nominated. Critics weren’t kind to the film, though I, for one, totally loved it. It’s lack of a high-profile is a bit of a problem, but if campaigned properly Posey is LONG over-due for a nod. And Hollywood loves a good, drunk role. And they LOVE Woody, and they love the way he ALWAYS writes great Supporting Roles for women. Who does that? Almost no one.

Also someone who’s never been nominated, but who’s just great in “Love and Mercy” is Elizabeth Banks,as the only normal person who is front and center in this crazy mash-up of a film about the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson.

Her performance on Saturday  Night Live last night reminded audiences of how funny and versatile she is and high-lighted her directing skills, too, in a very funny opening number, in which she also sang!  And danced! Talk about triple threats beating the band!Rachel McAdams1

Another look-alike blonde Rachel McAdams may have her Oscar day and get swept in with the buzz surrounding the super-hot front-runner “Spotlight.” As a serious investigative reporter, McAdams is taking a 180 degree-turn in her career with this dramatic movie. I’ve loved her in Woody Allen’s “Magic in the Moonlight” so I have a warm spot in my heart for her. Maybe the Academy does too. And they WILL see that movie. AND she’s doing that tricky Boston accent.

Sometimes just being in the right movie at the right time is all it takes to get a Supporting Actress nomination. Witness Jacqui Weaver’s less-than-stellar turn in “Silver Linings Playbook.” She was swept in with the tide with that one, a nomination for a performance so lack-luster NO ONE was predicting it.

joan allen1

That could happen to Joan Allen, a great actress in my book for “Room.” She plays Brie Larson’s conflicted mother. And she’s GOOD. But not great. She’s been nominated before and they may just write her name down as force of habit.But she won’t win.

Another familiar name(and face) keeps popping up. It’s Oscar winner already and Hollywood legend Jane Fonda for a five minute spot in “Youth.” Performances this brief don’t usually get noticed but this year the pickings are PRETTY slim. And they all know and love Jane.Meryl Suffra !

Also in a teeny tiny role is the always nominatable Meryl Streep in “Suffragette.” Doing a thick high class British accent as Women’s Rights heroine Emmaline Pankhurst, she gives the film a jolt in her also five minutes worth of scenes. Also good in that movie is previous nominee Helena Bonham Carter. Another comic actress getting serious.

Another familiar Oscar winning face may just be Cate Blanchett, who may turn up in this Supporting category for her all-out camping as the evil stepmother, but with depth, in “Cinderella.” Wouldn’t it be ironic if because of her TWO great lead performances this year in “Truth” and “Carol” that she cancels herself out and splits her own vote? Especially since it looks like she is going to be sharing the Best Actress category with co-lead Rooney Mara.

Wouldn’t it be the HEIGHT of irony if Disney’s real life, non-animated “Cinderella” is where she gets in this year’s Oscar race? Don’t laugh. This could really happen. And the Oscars are always the height of irony, aren’t they? Well, sometimes.Stepmother 1

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