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87 posts categorized "Movies" Feed

March 09, 2012

Movies You Missed 29: Columbus Circle

Columbus-circleThis week in movies you missed: Having one of the swankiest addresses on the planet will not protect you from ... evil!

What You Missed

When an old lady falls to her death in her luxurious penthouse on NYC's Columbus Circle, cop Giovanni Ribisi investigates. His suspicions are aroused by the victim's next-door neighbor, an attractive agoraphobe named Abigail (Selma Blair), who hasn't left her apartment in years.

Sure enough, we learn, Abigail has a past she'd like very much to hide. But when a couple moves into the deceased woman's apartment, she finds herself all too exposed. Boorish Charlie (Jason Lee) has a tendency to beat on his trophy girlfriend, Lillian (Amy Smart), reminding Abigail of traumatic events in her own past. As she and Lillian form a friendship, Abigail is tempted to leave her safe nest and take action.

Continue reading "Movies You Missed 29: Columbus Circle" »

March 02, 2012

Can a Film Bridge Gaps in the Energy Debate?

JonbiopicbMark your calendars: March 21 is Vermont Energy Independence Day, and proponents of the movement want to hear from Vermonters far and wide about how the state should tackle issues of energy production in the future.

What's that, you say? You've never heard of Vermont Energy Independence Day? Don't fret: You've still got a chance to get in on the ground floor. This year marks the first-ever event of its kind, and it lands, not coincidentally, on the day Vermont Yankee's license would have expired. 

"It was back in November or December that we hatched this idea," says Jon Erickson, a professor with the University of Vermont's Gund Institute for Ecological Economics and a member of the team behind Bright Blue EcoMedia. The Bright Blue producers knew about the significance of the date, and figured that at least some other activists in the state would glom on to the timing, so they crowned March 21 Vermont Energy Independence Day. "So far," he says, "the gamble's paid off."

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Movies You Missed 28: Wings

WingsThis week in movies you missed: The first film ever to win the Academy Award for Best Picture was a fighter-pilot extravaganza that, in adjusted dollars, could be the most expensive flick ever made.

It's also one of two silent films ever to receive the big prize (The Artist, as of last Sunday, being the other). Now Wings is out on DVD and Blu-Ray in an edition painstakingly restored from Paramount's 35mm negative, with color tinting and visual effects, a newly recorded score and sound effects from Ben Burtt (more info here).

What You Missed

Small-town boy Jack Powell (Buddy Rogers) dreams of flying. He's madly in love with Sylvia (Jobyna Ralston), a girl who is particularly desirable because she is "visiting from the city" — but her affections belong to David (Richard Arlen), the richest guy in town. Meanwhile, Jack's childhood pal, Mary, tries desperately to get his romantic attentions, while he treats her like a mild annoyance, apparently not recognizing her as "It Girl" Clara Bow.

Continue reading "Movies You Missed 28: Wings" »

February 28, 2012

Vermont Hotel Stars in Luxury-Obsessed Adverti-Art Film

Some might call it a long ad for fancy hotels. The press release from Starwood Hotel Group calls it "a cinematic experience that offers a glimpse into the hidden treasures of some of America’s favorite destinations." But there's no doubt that "Here," the new 15-minute film (or ad) from the acclaimed director of I Am Love, is quite a showcase for the Equinox Golf Resort and Spa in Manchester.

Here's the plot (which, by the way, was cowritten by Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton): A flawlessly attired and groomed young woman, played by model Agyness Deyn, receives a cryptic, handwritten message telling her to "Take the train till you're here."

Rather than tossing the missive and returning to her busy life, as some of us plebeians might do, our heroine smiles, crosses out everything in her appointment book and hops a train to Vermont, where she explores the Equinox and does a spot of rowing and falconing. Though it's foliage season, the inn appears creepily empty.

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February 24, 2012

Movies You Missed 27: Blank City

BlankCity_06This week in movies you missed: Take a trip back to lower Manhattan, late 1970s. Rents are cheap, rats are plentiful, hippie optimism is over, Talking Heads are playing CBGB, and a bunch of young arty types are experimenting with skinny jeans, pills and movie cameras.

What You Missed

If you think ultra-cheap DIY filmmaking started with the digital age and YouTube, or even with VHS, you're wrong. Back in the 1970s and early '80s, in a low-rent, crime-ridden New York that no longer exists, a bunch of young people grabbed Super 8 and 16-millimeter cameras and started filming their neighborhoods and friends. Many of them were also musicians and artists, and icons of the scene such as Debbie Harry and Lydia Lunch appeared in their films. Some of them called it the "No Wave" movement.

First-time feature director Celine Danhier explores the scene with clips from the films and interviews with the participants, who include (at least tangentially) such famous figures as Jim Jarmusch, Steve Buscemi, Thurston Moore and John Waters.

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February 17, 2012

Movies You Missed 26: Tiny Furniture

Tinyfurniture_eyesup_300dpiThis week in movies you missed: no, not a documentary about obsessive miniaturists (for that, try Marwencol). Tiny Furniture is a low-budget comedy about aimless youth that won a big prize at SXSW in 2010. It landed 25-year-old writer-director Lena Dunham a deal with Judd Apatow and HBO to develop her own TV series, "Girls," which premieres this April.

What You Missed

Dunham plays Aura, a recent college graduate who's just been dumped by her boyfriend. She moves back into her mom's Tribeca apartment, experiments with employment, woos two guys who seem uninterested in her, and complains when her mom and younger sister (played by Dunham's real-life mom and sister) seem less than thrilled with her company.

And that's pretty much it. Tiny Furniture is sort of like a Bret Easton Ellis novel without the sex and violence. What's left is a privileged protagonist who doesn't know what to do with herself and has the luxury of not needing to hurry to find out.

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Tom Hanks Plays VT's Capt. Richard Phillips in Movie Filming on Cape Cod

CastawayWhen Capt. Richard Phillips of Underhill arrived home after his 2009 ordeal as the hostage of Somali pirates who had boarded his cargo ship, the nation celebrated him. Now Phillips is receiving an additional honor vouchsafed to few: He'll be portrayed on screen by Tom Hanks (right).

(Note: Since no stills from the Phillips film are available, the above photo is Hanks in Cast Away, quite a few years ago, demonstrating his fitness for portraying rugged survivors of maritime ordeals.)

The casting news has been floating around for nearly a year, but now filming of Captain Phillips, based on Phillips' memoir A Captain's Duty, is due to start on Cape Cod. Check out this article about open casting for supporting mariners in the Cape Cod Times.

The casting call drew professional seamen, one of whom protested the screenplay's inaccurate terminology ("doors" instead of "hatchways" — "There are no doors on a ship," he noted).

Continue reading "Tom Hanks Plays VT's Capt. Richard Phillips in Movie Filming on Cape Cod" »

February 10, 2012

Movies You Missed 25: Project Nim

Project-nimThis week in movies you missed: Once upon a time, a scientist decided to raise a chimpanzee just like a human child. Bad idea.

What You Missed

Call it the real-life version of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, except without the "rising" part. James Marsh's documentary retells the story of a radical experiment undertaken by Columbia professor Herbert Terrace in 1973: He wanted to find out if an ape could talk (via sign language, of course). The ape in question was named Nim Chimpsky — a pun on Noam Chomsky, who argued that humans alone are hard-wired to use language as a means of expression.

The film doesn't address the fascinating context of this experiment or the other attempts to prove that language isn't unique to humans (more info here). Based on Elizabeth Hess' biography of Nim, it focuses on what the experiment did to Nim himself — and how a bunch of well-meaning people, all eager to prove an ape could cross the human-animal divide, ended up doing some very cruel things.

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February 03, 2012

Movies You Missed 24: The Other F Word

F-wordThis week in movies you missed: So, what's the "other F word"? Don't bother guessing the filthiest thing you can think of. For dads who are also punk rockers, it's "fatherhood."

What You Missed

"Maybe punk wasn't meant to ever grow up. But it did," says Brett Gurewitz of Bad Religion and Epitaph Records in this documentary from Andrea Blaugrund Nevins. (It was exec-produced by Morgan [Super Size Me] Spurlock.) Through interviews, vignettes and concert footage, The Other F Word explores the question: What happens when the guys who spread the gospel of "Fuck authority!" become middle-aged authority figures?

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January 27, 2012

Movies You Missed 23: Beware the Gonzo

GonzoThis week in movies you missed: Tilda Swinton's psycho kid from We Need to Talk About Kevin acts out in less antisocial ways. He tries to save the future of print journalism!

What You Missed

Actually, teen actor Ezra Miller (pictured) made Beware the Gonzo well before he played the title character in Kevin. But no one who viewed the latter film can ever see Miller in a high school without expecting him to pull out a weapon and cause mayhem. Though Kevin wasn't a particularly well-thought-out character — he was basically just evil — his sociopathic glower was memorable.

But we can discuss that if Kevin becomes a Movie You Missed (it's stayed clear of Vermont so far). Suffice it to say that in this little indie, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, Miller plays a nicer kid.

He's Eddie "Gonzo" Gilman, a nerdy senior at Parker Prep with aspirations to being the next Woodward or Bernstein. But Parker's newspaper is under the editorial thumb of Gavin Reilly (Jesse McCartney), a sneering blond wrestler who refuses to let Gonzo chase the meaty stories that interest him. Meanwhile, Reilly's jock buddies bully Gonzo's friends with impunity, and the principal (James Urbaniak) couldn't care less.

Continue reading "Movies You Missed 23: Beware the Gonzo" »

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