Soccer icon David Beckham has teamed up with Britain's Prince William to appeal to parents in China and advise against the poaching of wild animals. The sports star and the Duke of Cambridge have recorded a public service announcement (PSA) for wildlife protection organisation WildAid.
In the video, new father Prince William calls on parents in China to reduce the demand of illegal wildlife products, since the Asian country is the principal market for ivory, rhino horn, shark's fin and other internationally outlawed items.
He says, "We must stop the demand for illegally traded wildlife products within our lifetimes or these amazing animals will be forever wiped from the planet. As a father, I want our children to know that rhinos are not just a picture in a book."
Beckham adds, "We can all do our part by sharing this message with buyers of illegal wildlife products. If you do buy ivory, rhino horn, or shark fin I urge you to stop and help us bring these senseless killings to an end."
Chinese basketball star Yao Ming also stars in the ad, as Prince William joins him in trying his hand at Mandarin.
Sharing a sentence, the pair states in the Chinese language, "When the buying stops... the killing can too."
Chinese movie icon Jackie Chan and Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson are among the other celebrities who are lending their support to the WildAid organisation.
Despite looking like a spiritual sequel to 2010's Alice in Wonderland and sending every punctuation stickler into a tizzy, the Wizard of Oz preboot Oz the Great and Powerful works magic on the big screen. Director Sam Raimi (Spider-Man) fixes all of Alice's mistakes, fluffing up the eye-popping CG decor with bright colors and fueling his fairy tale adventure with a good deal of soul. Like 2011's Hugo did with the early days of cinema, Raimi turns Oz into a love letter for old school magic, mesmerizingng Technicolor, and the fantastical approach that made the 1939 original a classic. Alice may have made a billion dollars at the box office, but Ozis the success — whimsical, silly, and totally transportive.
James Franco stars as Oscar Diggs, the man who eventually becomes "the Wizard" that we know. But first, he's a magician from the Dustbowl Era, willing to con even his closest friends to have life go his way. To help him learn a lesson, the Forces That Be ensnare him in a tornado — a one way ticket to the land of Oz. After quickly shaking off the fact that the alternative universe bares his same name, Oscar crosses paths with Theodora (Mila Kunis), a witch who believes him to be a prophetic Wizard sent to save Oz from the Wicked Witch of the West. So begins their cross-Oz journey — and Oscar's greatest con to date.
RELATED: 15 'Oz' Adaptations You Didn't Know You Needed (and 2 That Are NSFW)
As the "Wizard" learns the ropes, accepting the challenge to defeat the Wicked Witch after learning of Emerald City's vast treasures, he meets the real stars of Raimi's show. Rachel Weisz has a ball as Theodora's dastardly sister Evanora, who pulls strings in the Emerald City as the citizens await the Wizard. Continually sending into a Mommie Dearest-level rage is Glinda. Michelle Williams captures the innocence and elegance of the Glinda from the '39 film with an added snap of wit. She may be the nicest witch in all of Oz, but piss her off and she'll blast you with magic. Much of Oz the Great and Powerful is dedicated to exploring the expansive world Raimi has designed — The crystalline Emerald City, Munchkin City and its wholesome residents, the delicate "China Town" (made of actual China plates) ravaged by the Wicked Witch's flying monkeys — and it works thanks to the host of characters carrying it along. Even Zach Braff as a talking monkey works as comedic relief (providing a few of the surprisingly effective 3D gags).
The only thing that falls flat in Oz is Franco. And not just a little bit — like a house lifted up by a maelstrom and slammed back into the Earth kind of thwomp. Oscar is supposed to be a man in need of redemption, a self-obsessive who is destructive to the people around him. Franco fits the bill… but it doesn't feel like a character. The actor is self-aware of his non-existent surroundings. He's goofy instead of theatrical. His smug grin creates a disconnect between him and his costars, real or digital. At one point Oscar cradles a living porcelain doll he finds in the smoldering remains of China Town. It's a touching bit of sadness that Franco sells. But as Oscar begins to "change," Franco stays put, acting like the world of Oz is one big joke when we're waiting for him to wake up to the fact that it isn't.
RELATED: Watch: Dr. Oz The Great And Powerful!
But not even Franco's laid back approach can sink Raimi's inspired vision, which unexpectedly expresses all of the director's quirks right down to the wild camera movements, bold canted angles, and an instinct that allows Oz to get a little scary (don't worry, children: not Evil Dead scary). Raimi's film pays its dues to past Oz incarnations, down to a riff on "Lollipop King" from composer Danny Elfman, but still feels innovative. The director contends with Franco around every turn of the yellow brick road, orchestrating action sequences, fantastical encounters, and even a musical number, around him in hopes of drowning Oscar in imagination. The combined powers of Weisz, Williams, and Kunis do the trick against the charisma-lacking leading man. Maybe just the three ladies for the sequel?
What do you think? Tell Matt Patches directly on Twitter @misterpatches and read more of his reviews on Rotten Tomatoes!
[Photo Credit: Merie Wallace/Disney]
It looks like Daddy Warbucks has found his Annie in Beasts Of The Southern Wild star Quvenzhané Wallis. The girl with enough poodle purposes to stitch together a life-sized Sandy of her very own, the Oscar-nominated Wallis has been confirmed to Hollywood.com as the new leading lady to tackle the little orphan in Will Smith's remake of the classic. Previously, Smith's daughter Willow was set to take on the golden-hearted inhabitant of Miss Hannigan's home for girls, but departed from the project earlier this year (presumably to whip her hair back and forth a bit longer).
RELATED: 9 Questions About the 2013 Oscar Race
But it wouldn't be a big-time remake without some other major names attached. Jada Pinkett-Smith is also on-hand to produce, alongside Sean (better known as Jay-Z) Carter. It seems only fitting Jay-Z would hop on board — given his own hard knock life and previously-confirmed affinity for the song with the same name.
The film's director Will Gluck (Easy A) has taken another stab at screenplay re-writes after Emma Thompson and The Devil Wears Prada screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna took a first and second stab at it, respectively.
According to the official statement from Sony's President of Production Hannah Minghella, we're in for a real treat (times three): "Quvenzhané Wallis is a true star and we believe her portrayal as Annie will make her a true worldwide star. She is an extraordinary young talent with an amazing range, not only as an actress but as a singer and dancer, and we can’t wait for audiences to further discover her."
RELATED: 'Beasts' Star Quvenzhane Wallis to Star in 'Annie' Remake?
That's right, Wallis is one of those child stars who can act, sing, and dance! You can really learn it all in the Bathtub. Hushpuppy is a veritable force to be reckoned with. And if that wasn't enough, Wallis' bio proves further proof that she's both a child and a crazy-serious and impressive actress with the greatest of ease. Her bio from the press release lets us know that her "favorite pastimes are reading, singing, dancing, acting, and playing her iPod and Nintendo DS. Her favorite TV stars/singers are China McClain, Selena Gomez, and Miley Cyrus. Her favorite sports are basketball, volleyball, dance and cheerleading. Her upcoming films include a role in Twelve Years a Slave with Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender and director Steve McQueen." Oh, that's all? Annie is set to be released during the 2014 holiday movie season because of course it will.
What do you think of Wallis' casting as Annie? Let us know in the comments!
Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes
[Photo Credit: WENN]
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Oscars 2013 Special Coverage
Oscars 2013 Red Carpet Arrivals: PICS!
• We Predict the Winners: Do You Agree?• 15 Oscar-Winning Nude Scenes• The Worst Best Picture Winner Ever• Oscar's Problem With Pretty Boys• Why Stars Should Fear Seth MacFarlane• 10 TV Stars You Never Knew Won Oscars• The Winner, According to You
As the end of January approaches, that New Year’s resolution you were so adamant about just a few weeks earlier is already starting to fall by the wayside. Suddenly, the gym seems farther away, cigarettes call your name, and you haven’t even taken the cellophane off that scrapbook you bought. While we can’t do much to help you with those fading pledges, there is one resolution to which we can assist you in remaining faithful.
If you made it your charge to watch a more diverse assortment of films in 2013, in essence to become a more well-rounded cinephile, we're here to keep you on track. Here is our comprehensive guide to help you begin to branch out:
Bronson vs. Marvin
The '70s were a great time for action films, and the two biggest names of the era were Lee Marvin and Charles Bronson. Here’s a sampling of their best.
The Mechanic: Bronson takes a young Jan-Michael Vincent under his wing; showing him the ropes of contract killing. The complex relationship between the two characters, the slow, methodic storytelling, and the dramatic ending make this one of ol’ Charlie’s finest.
Point Blank:Lee Marvin inhabits Donald E. Westlake’s Parker in this gripping, deliberate crime thriller from John Boorman. Why anyone would want to mess with a guy like Lee Marvin is beyond the limits of reason.
Death Hunt: Can’t decide which actor to watch first? Why not watch them both in this early '80s wilderness actioner. Violent, well-constructed, and featuring one of the decade’s most interesting games of cat-and-mouse.
Asian Fists and Firearms
Whether it’s martial arts or automatic weapons, the action cinema of the East tends to be more brutal and bombastic than Hollywood fare. If you liked The Raid: Redemption, do yourself a favor and track down…
Tiger Cage: Legendary fight choreographer Yuen Woo-ping expertly directs this unsung cops vs. criminals actioner. The opening sequence, an unfettered gauntlet of carnage, alone is well worth the price of admission; an unfettered gauntlet of carnage.
Ip Man: Donnie Yen brings to life one of China’s most beloved historical figures, and does so with some of the fastest and most impressive kung fu in recent memory.
Hard Boiled: John Woo earned his reputation working in Hong Kong, and Hard Boiled may be his masterpiece. Chow Yun-fat eloquently dances through Woo’s gorgeous bullet ballet.
Contemporary Foreign Action
Sleepless Night: France may not be the first country one associates with action cinema, but they’ve made huge strides in recent years. Sleepless Night is a single-night nonstop crime story that rages through a nightclub like a force of nature. The cinematography, pacing, and exceptional performances create an organic sense of tension.
Man From Nowhere: Nobody, but nobody, does revenge movies like Korea. The Man from Nowehere is a savage, uncompromising descent into the darkest recesses of the soul of someone we still, despite everything, herald as a hero.
Solomon Kane: It took a French/British/Czech co-production to finally bring Robert E. Howard’s puritanical superhero to the big screen, but it was worth the wait. Solomon Kane combines horror, fantasy, and superhero conventions to create a truly unique filmic experience. James Purefory broodingly and perfectly inhabits the titular antihero.
These aren’t your granddad’s horse operas.
Dudes: A cross-country road trip turns tragic for a trio of rockers in this outstanding '80s gem from Penelope Spheeris. She uses punk rock to breathe new life into an age-old genre. The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ bassist Flea has a prominent role in the film.
Sukiyaki Western Django: A wild mashup of Yojimbo and Sergio Corbucci’s Django, Sukiyaki Western Django is somehow still unlike anything you’ve seen before.
Comin’ At Ya!: Of this group, Comin’ At Ya! most closely resembles a traditional spaghetti western, but the filmmakers behind it were keen to bring back the then-languishing 3D technology. If you thought the recent spate of 3D films in theaters were gimmicky, just wait until you see the prolific and hilarious instances in which Comin’ At Ya! finds ways to, well, make things come at ya.
The Long Goodbye: Possibly the best film on this entire list. Elliot Gould, as Philip Marlowe, wafts through a seedy, almost dream-like Los Angeles. Gould’s effortlessly charming performance is enhanced by Robert Altman’s superb direction and a marvelous, if slightly unusual John Williams score. An absolutely masterful film that, incidentally, makes a great double feature with The Big Lebowski.
Elevator to the Gallows: Film noir is sprinkled with traces of Hitchcock in Louis Malle’s Elevator to the Gallows. A fledgling criminal murders his boss while their office building is empty, but his escape is hindered by a busted elevator. Tense, engaging, and given a pulse by a smoky cool Miles Davis score.
The Killing: An early Stanley Kubrick film hits upon the director’s substantial talent for storytelling. A flawless racetrack heist gives way to squabbling and conniving between a team of crooks. Its great cast anchored by Sterling Hayden, The Killing is gorgeously shot and harrowing to the last frame.
Buddy Cop Movies
Freebie and the Bean: It’s hard to do buddy cop films better than Freebie and the Bean. James Caan and Alan Arkin set the standard for unlikely law enforcement duos, constantly at each other’s throats as they do all in their power to get the better of crooks and thugs. Their banter is among the film’s greatest strengths.
Nighthawks: Sylvester Stallone doesn’t get a lot of credit as an actor, and maybe rightfully so, but in 1981’s Nighthawks, he and Billy Dee Williams are a formidable team. The perpetually fuming pair take on an international terrorist played to icy perfection by Rutger Hauer.
Busting: Elliot Gould returns to the list, this time working alongside Robert Blake to bring down a crime boss in Peter Hyams’ Busting. These two are laughably bad at their jobs at the onset, and that is meant as a compliment, but their ability to get serious when it really counts gives the movie a great deal of charm.
Despite getting over half a million online signatures and an onslaught of support (including from none other than Cher) urging Macy's to "dump" Donald Trump as a spokesperson for their company, the retailer has decided not to succumb to the call to arms for the retailer to fire him. Angelo Carusone, the Director of Online Strategy for Media Matters, started the SignOn.org petition to urge CEO Terry J. Lundgren to fire the controversial media mogul, who — in addition to being a spokesman (watch him in the latest commercial here) — has a line of products including ties and colognes sold at Macy's.
The petition, named "Urge Macy's To Dump Donald Trump," uses a laundry list of the Celebrity Apprentice host's deplorable actions to call for his firing. These include, "sexist behavior ... Use his public platform to deny the reality of climate change ... Hypocritically complained about jobs being shipped overseas to China, despite the fact that almost his entire clothing line sold at Macy's is made in China and other Asian nations....and perpetuated the racially charged birther conspiracy, repeatedly arguing that President Obama has been lying and was not born in the United States."
But, no amount of mind-boggling election night Twitter rants or post-Sandy insensitivity or wild conspiracy theories have seemed to work against Trump, as Macy's is standing by their man, for now. The retailer said in a statement released to US Weekly regarding the petition: "Macy's marketing and merchandise offerings are not representative of any political position. Many of the individuals associated with products sold at Macy's -- or at any retailer, for that matter -- express personal opinions that are not related to the merchandise we sell or to the philosophies of our company."
In an email to Hollywood.com Carusone called Macy's response "problematic" and argued that it "erroneously assumes this is about their TV ad. It's not. The petition pre-dated the launch of their ad campaign." Carusone added, "Macy's doesn't merely sell Trump's clothes, they are in partnership with him to develop his fashion brand. That's what this is about. This is about whether Trump's brand of bullying and chicanery is consistent with the magic of Macy's."
A spokesperson for Trump told Business Week, "I question the legitimacy and accuracy of the website and the number of signatures claimed to have joined this petition... [Trump] values its long-standing relationship with Macy’s and looks forward to many more years of continued success." While Trump hasn't responded to Carusone, he did have a very Trump-like response to Cher, a supporter of the petition, telling the legendary singer from his page, "@cher should spend more time focusing on her family and dying career!"
[Photo credit: DJDM/WENN]
Petition Urges Macy's To Say 'You're Fired' To Donald Trump
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To be a fan of Louie, one must be almost be as manic and wonderfully unpredictable as the show itself. Because while one could easily tune in for a more structured and reliable comedy anywhere else on television, we still come back to Louie. To watch Louie is to jump into the unknown, to take a chance on television again. One week it can make your heart ache and your anxiety spike (like it did last week during the brilliant but emotionally exhausting "Daddy's Girlfriend, Pt. 2") and the next week it could make you laugh so hard you're in tears for a whole different reason, much like I was during last night's gut-busting one-two knockout punch "Barney/Never."
The start of "Barney/Never," however, looked to be anything but. Then again, no episode of Louie ever starts or ends in a place you expect it to. (The Simpsons was always great in that way, too.) Opening like a classic black and white film, we find Louie at a cemetery. He's alone at an open plot until he comes face-to-face with another funeral guest, played by none other than Robin Williams, who mercifully tapped into his dramatic side for the part. (I'll take Good Will Hunting Robin Williams and Dead Poets Society Robin Williams over comedy wild card Robin Williams any day.) It is clear these two men, who don't appear to know each other as they say nothing, are the only guests at this funeral. Leave it to Louie to make one of TV's funniest episodes of the year begin so melancholy.
The two meet later again, in color, at a diner. We come to find Louie and Robbie (Williams) were attending the funeral of a man named Barney, who was described, quite simply, as "the biggest piece of s**t I knew." While Louie knew Barney as a dreaded guy from the comedy world, Robbie had the great misfortune of being thrust into the recently deceased Barney's family, as he was his ex-wife's brother-in-law. The two swapped stories about the huckster and what made him "a prick and an a**hole". I could have honestly watched an entire episode of these two remembering this terrible man and that the idea of no one attending his funeral gave them nightmares.
But they didn't stay and chat at the diner; instead they paid their respects by finally going to the dreary strip club in downtown Manhattan that Barney frequented and always wanted them to go to. I didn't think there was anything more depressing than a strip club in the middle of the day, but as it turns out, there is. It's a strip club in the middle of the day in which all the strippers, employees, and patrons are crying at the news of the passing of one of their most beloved customers while Night Ranger's "Sister Christian" plays over the sound system. (Why is this song so damn perfect for bizarre comedy moments?) Louie may have just become the first man in history to make a stripper cry by not making her give a lap dance.
When Louie and Robbie eventually stepped out of the world's most depressing strip club, they couldn't help but burst into laughter at the absurdity of it all. The two men shook hands, promised each other they's attend one another's funerals, and go their separate ways. Perhaps because Louie and Robbie were so similar, there was no "Miami"-like misunderstanding here. For once, Louie had a perfect, untainted moment and connection with someone. A perfect, untainted moment that just happened to involve a funeral and crying strippers.
They say the only certainties in life are death and taxes. I'm pretty sure in Louie's life it's death, taxes, and moments of strange, soul-crushing happenstance. In the second half of last night's episode, Louie got saddled with a terrible, weird classmate of his daughter Lilly (much to the dismay, and understandably so, of Lilly) named Never after Never's terrible, weird mother had an emergency consultation to get her vagina removed. I always love how much Louis C.K. toes and blurs the line with reality and this scene — which included a brief, gut-busting cameo by Artie Lange as a terrified truck driver who gets in an accident after Never pushes a baby stroller into traffic — was no exception.
If hell is other people's children (something Louis C.K. has hilariously touched on in his stand-up routines, particularly in his Beacon Theater special from 2011) then Never is the seventh layer of hell. Louie wanted nothing more than to spend the day with Lilly (and vice versa) and because he's a nice guy always trying to do the right thing, despite the universe always telling him otherwise, instead got Never. Never, who can't have carbon in his diet ("It's from China!") but can eat a bowl of raw hamburger meat; Never, who wears a bowtie and suspenders to school and is never told "no" (which explains a lot about the bowtie and suspenders); Never, who throws Louie's Oriental rug out of his apartment window and eventually s**ts in his tub. I was fully anticipating Never to somehow ruin Louie's phoner with a god awful drive time radio show, but Louie wound up knee-deep in s**t all by himself on that one when he insulted the city he had trouble selling tickets to... while on the air in said city.
I quickly lost track of how many times I erupted into DVR pausing laughter during the "Never" portion of this episode. From Louie's subtle moments of resignation when he realized he was in for a utterly horrible day with this kid to the line, "Nobody likes you because you eat raw meat and you s**t in the tub and you wreck everything", C.K. absolutely killed it. Perhaps it was so damn funny because we all know, or at least when we were kids, knew a weird kid like that, but mostly it's just always funny to watch Louie accept defeat. Case in point: when some punk kids on the street begin to take away the rug Never threw down, he yells for them to stop, only to have them flip him off. He does what just about any New Yorker would have done in that scenario: he shook his head in disbelief, shrugged it off, and continued to accept his fate as a New Yorker. Besides, Never was worse than anything going on outside his apartment. (Congrats, Mad Men's Marten Weiner, you've officially been dethroned as the most bizarre, uncomfortable kid on TV!)
Still, because Louie is a good guy, in the end he felt bad for Never. He sincerely tried to level with a kid who is living on another planet and let him know that if he needed a guy to talk to besides his clearly crazy mother, he could talk to him. He even tried to explain the flawed notion in the logic that one can always be right because they love themselves, but Never (in case the s**tting in the tub wasn't a dead giveaway) was a lost cause. Still, Louie tried. If nothing else, Louie always tries.
Oh, and just in case this episode wasn't already a killer, J.B. Smoove showed up in the end credits as a deeply annoyed grave digger who couldn't understand his coworker's thick accent. His delivery of the lines "Oops, I farted", "This dude is being buried in an Ikea box", and "I hate you" was on par with anything Smoove ever said during on his time on Curb Your Enthusiasm, and on Louie it was in the closing credits. And speaking of credits, was this the first time in Louie's history there was no opening credits? No matter, this was still the most consistently funny and easygoing episode of this season. Louie, Louie, Louie, you made me die.
Follow Aly on Twitter @AlySemigran
[Photo Credit: FX]
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After a break to star in a string of indies, Colin Farrell returns to screens this summer in the kind of action blockbuster that made him a name during the early part of the millennium. Farrell leads the cast of Total Recall, an adaptation of the Philip K. Dick sci-fi short story previously brought to the screen as the 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle. While Farrell may not pack the same muscled triceps as Mr. Schwarzenegger, Total Recall in turn is not much like its previous incarnation. Set in a future that strives for a semblance of reality, Farrell's adventure keeps the action on Earth (sorry, Mars fans) and pairs him with one of today's leading butt-kickers: Jessica Biel.
With fuzzy memories leading them and dozens of goons on their trail, Farrell and Biel's Quaid and Melina go on a run, ending up in everything from hovercraft chases to fistfights atop Future Earth's fanciest addition: China Fall, the elevator that takes people from one end of the planet to the other. While on the set of Total Recall, Farrell and Biel revealed the secrets behind their heady action flick, teasing the film's big set pieces and explaining how they squeezed a little emotion into the entire endeavor. And Farrell even threw in a few digs at Jar Jar Binks for good measure. When we caught them, they had just filmed a scene in which Quaid and Melina reunite on board the China Fall shuttle…
The emotional scene between Colin and Jessica we witnessed on set:
Colin Farrell: That was rather… we flew through that disappointingly quick I must say. It doesn’t usually go so swimmingly. It must be the hangover.
Jessica Biel: It’s these little pockets of real passion, emotion, and connection in the midst of a big, huge, wild journey where we are running for our lives all of the time. Firing those big weapons are such bits of just deliciousness. It is a pleasure.
Farrell: There are not a lot of them. I mean, the film is…
Biel: There are only a few. It is pretty nice. I think I just always try to make everything into a love story. That is my problem. [laughs]
Farrell: I think you probably beat us to the punch there. I’m not even signed on for that very last scene you just saw. It is the only reason why I am doing the whole f**king picture. There is so much… this film is kind of extreme in its portrayal of the chaos of action and the cause and effect of violence. There are only these little pockets and windows, as Jessica was saying, where the emotional truth of each of the characters is allowed to creep in and make itself a home. Generally, in my experience, you treat Total Recall the same way you treat anything. It is the same way you treat a stage play, a piece of Greek theater, In Bruges, or whatever it may be. You approach it all the same regardless of the action. You really do. It is not just a lie. You approach it all from the standpoint of your character and just from a human being with whatever human being you are playing. You are just a human being and why are you there? What has them there? What do they want from the situation? So, with that in mind, it is the most fun part.
The violence and the action does get repetitive by its very nature, whereas human emotion and thought never get repetitive. It is very hard, as a human being I find in my 35 years, to experience the same thought in the same way twice. I’ve had the exact same thought about the exact same thing, but it is never the exact same. It is in a different container when it comes a second or third time. So, with that in mind, those scenes that we just did, each take is a little bit different and it continues to grow. I don’t think I would like to experience it but I understand some directors doing... you can get out of hand as a director and do 60, 70, 80, or 90 takes. People may say that is out of hand, but there will always be something new if the emotion and the intellect are engaged. The action does get repetitive. It is fun at the beginning, but it is f**king huge. You just saw 30 percent of my dialogue in the film. [laughs] No, it is not that bad. I take it back.
Biel: What Colin was saying about how you have to look at this particular type of material as if you were breaking down a drama with what emotion, thought, and feeling is behind everything — whether it is picking up your gun, pointing it, aiming it, or jumping off a building. We are always doing all these crazy things, but you really do have to implement all of these thoughts behind it. Otherwise, it really is just vacant. Your eyes are dead and you’re like, "I jumped, fell, and I made it." Then you watch it later and you see it. I see it and I catch myself. I’ve done it before in films. I’ve seen my work and I’ve been really embarrassed. Nobody else can really tell, but I see little bits where I didn’t connect it.
Farrell: Because everyone else is going, "She jumped and she made it." That is kind of only me, but for you inside it…
Biel: I see it in my own work. So I really work very hard to try and fill those moments where it is hard to connect to anything that you are really doing because we are in such a vacuum sometimes. One day I came on set and you said, "I’ve been doing seven seconds of screen time and I don’t even know what I am doing anymore.” It just gets to a point where it is so…
Farrell: It is so fragmented.
Matching the insanity of the first movie:
Farrell: I mean, the three-breasted lady is in there. I know you wanted to… she was on the tip of your tongue. [Laughs] I could see. But you have to at the same time I think consciously have a nod of the head when you can have a bit of fun based on something that was offered up from the original and take that in. But as far as new stuff goes… I don’t know. The whole thing felt… the fact that it doesn’t go to Mars. There might be a little less extremities. There is not the scene where the eyes are exploding.
Biel: I think the weapons, the hovercrafts, and the other ways of transportation. It feels to me more intellectually mind blowing than it is like, “Woah! We have never seen this particular kind of effect before!” It is not necessarily that anymore. That was such a specific time where it was really still a challenge to do those types of things. Now we have such an opportunity and possibility to create those kinds of things. So it is more about weapons and things. Some of the weapons that we shoot… my gun is a 9mm Beretta, but it is automatic. It doesn’t exist. It actually would explode if we shot real bullets out of it.
Farrell: She is like f**king RoboCop on set. It is ridiculous.
Biel: It is amazing. It is a incredibly sexy and beautiful 9mm that shoots like a machine gun. It is kind of intense.
Farrell: Then there is this futuristic Bolo weapon that shoots a Bolo web that wraps around the body. As soon as it makes impact it lights up in a white flair and it wraps around like an octopus taking a body. I was shooting someone and there is a magnetized system on it. So there are loads of stuff that are kind of cool.
Keeping track of all the mind-bending sci-fi storylines:
Biel: It is constantly confusing for us.
Farrell: This is a pretty good argument for none of this s**t being real. [laughs] This is like The Matrix, man. I am looking for grids above your head.
Biel: Now it is really getting creepy. What is happening now?
Farrell: Seriously. That is Laurence Fishburne.
Favorite high-tech gadgets from the movie:
Farrell: I can’t wait. There is stuff that I will literally watch the film and go, “Holy s**t!”
Biel: The glow tattoos are cool. But do they only glow…
Farrell: They only glow when the batteries are working, which found out on take three. It caused all sorts of brain damage for the crew that day, but they are under the skin. John Cho’s character has this really beautiful tattoo that is like LCD and is lit up and it is actually placed under the skin and it is consistent.
Biel: There is the palm phone.
Farrell: Oh, yeah! A palm phone in my palm.
[Photo Credit: Sony Pictures]
The British actress landed the role of Jung Chang in a stage version of the book Wild Swans, in which Chang details her family's life under a sparse Chinese regime.
To give her performance maximum authenticity, Leung agreed to forgo Western luxuries and spa treatments - and she celebrated the end of her run in the show with a manicure on Thursday (17May12).
Taking to her Twitter.com blog, the actress posted a photo of her newly-polished nails alongside the message, "Applying nail polish after 5 months of living under communist regime feels very strange... And a nude colour at that. We are so privileged it's insane how much one still whines. Now let's all MAN UP and apply some nail polish!"
If Sundance is the studious valedictorian of film festivals, than South by Southwest is the party animal younger broth—who's just as smart (if not more) as his stuffy sibling. Held in Austin, Texas every March, SXSW is a rootin' tootin' celebration of cinema, hosting big Hollywood premieres, the best of the best from Sundance and plenty of off-beat indies primed and ready for discovery. Some of the year's best films premiere at the festival—need I remind you of Kill List—and most make their way to release, making SXSW a festival to keep your eye on.
The line-up for this year's fest has been officially release, and sports highly anticipated movies like Jonah Hill's 21 Jump Street and Cabin in the Woods, the long-awaited meta-horror from Lost/Cloverfield writer Drew Goddard and producer Joss Whedon, the premiere of Judd Apatow's new TV show Girls (written and starring Lena Dunham) and new projects from acclaimed directors like William Friedkin (The Exorcist), Kevin McDonald (Last King of Scotland), Will Ferrell, Jay Chandrasekhar of Broken Lizard and the Duplass Brothers (Cyrus).
Check out the films below and let us know which ones you want to hear more about!
Big names, big talent: Headliners bring star power to SXSW, featuring red carpet premieres and gala film events with some major and rising names in cinema.
Films screening in Headliners are:
21 Jump Street
Directed by: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, Screenplay by: Michael Bacall, Story by: Michael Bacall & Jonah Hill
Police officers Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) get sent back to high school as undercover cops in the action-comedy 21 Jump Street. Cast: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Brie Larson, Dave Franco, Rob Riggle, with Ice Cube (World Premiere)
BIG EASY EXPRESS
Director: Emmett Malloy
Emmett Malloy’s latest film invites us aboard a train ride unlike any other with Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros and Old Crow Medicine Show.
The Cabin in the Woods
Director: Drew Goddard, Screenwriters: Joss Whedon & Drew Goddard
Five friends go to a remote cabin in the woods. Bad things happen. If you think you know this story, think again. From fan favorites Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard comes The Cabin in the Woods, a mind-blowing horror film that turns the genre inside out. Cast: Kristen Connolly, Fran Kranz, Anna Hutchison, Chris Hemsworth, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, and Bradley Whitford (World Premiere)
Director: Gotham Chopra
Filmmaker Gotham Chopra spends a year on the road decoding his father and spiritual icon Deepak Chopra. (World Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Lena Dunham
Created by and starring Lena Dunham (Tiny Furniture), the HBO show is a comic look at the assorted humiliations and rare triumphs of a group of girls in their early 20s.
Cast: Lena Dunham, Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke, Zosia Mamet, Adam Driver (World Premiere)
The Hunter (Australia)
Director: Daniel Nettheim, Screenplay by: Alice Addison, Novel by: Julia Leigh, Original Adaptation by: Wain Fimeri
A mercenary is dispatched from Europe to the Tasmanian wilderness by a mysterious biotech company to search for the last surviving Tasmanian tiger.
Cast: Willem Dafoe, Frances O'Connor, Sam Neill (U.S. Premiere)
Director: William Friedkin, Screenwriter: Tracy Letts
A garish, Southwestern tale - a violent black comedy about a desperate Texas debtor (Hirsch) who plots to kill his mother with help of his family (Haden Church, Gershon). They hire a crazy Dallas cop who moonlights as a contract killer (McConaughey) to do the job, but Killer Joe asks for their teenage daughter (Temple) as a retainer. The film is based on Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Letts' (August: Osage County) award winning play. Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Gina Gershon, Juno Temple, Thomas Haden Church (U.S. Premiere)
MARLEY (UK / USA)
Director: Kevin Macdonald
The definitive life story of Bob Marley - musician, revolutionary, legend - from his early days to his rise to international superstardom. Made with the support of the Marley family, the film features rare footage, incredible performances and revelatory interviews with the people that knew him best. Directed by Academy-Award-Winner Kevin Macdonald. (North American Premiere)
NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION
This year’s 8 films were selected from 1,112 submissions. Each film is a World Premiere.
Films screening in Narrative Feature Competition are:
Director/Screenwriter: Matt Ruskin
When Simon’s brother is arrested for armed robbery, he is asked to commit a string of similar crimes in an attempt to get his brother acquitted.
Cast: Nico Stone, Adam DuPaul, Seymour Cassel, Kristin Dougherty, Brian McGrail (World Premiere)
Director: Megan Griffiths, Screenwriters: Richard B. Phillips, Megan Griffiths, Story by: Richard B. Phillips & Chong Kim
A young Korean-American girl, abducted and forced into prostitution by domestic human traffickers, joins forces with her captors in a desperate plea to survive. Cast: Jamie Chung, Matt O'Leary, Beau Bridges, Jeanine Monterroza, Scott Mechlowicz (World Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Jonathan Lisecki
Jenn and Matt, best friends since college who are now in their thirties, decide to have a child together, the old-fashioned way - even though Matt is gay and Jenn is straight. Cast: Jenn Harris, Matthew Wilkas, Mike Doyle, Anna Margaret Hollyman, Jack Ferver (World Premiere)
Gimme the Loot
Director/Screenwriter: Adam Leon
When Malcolm and Sofia’s latest graffiti masterpiece is buffed by a rival gang, these two determined Bronx teens must hustle, steal, and scheme to get spectacular revenge and become the biggest writers in the City. Cast: Tashiana Washington, Ty Hickson, Meeko, Zoe Lescaze, Sam Soghor
Los Chidos (Germany / Mexico / USA)
Director/Screenwriter: Omar Rodriguez Lopez
The Gonzales family tries hard to hold on to their beautiful Latino traditions of misogyny and homophobia when a tall, white, industrialist stranger appears, challenging their place in the exploitative food chain. Cast: Kim Stodel, María De Jesús Canales Ramírez, Manuel Ramos, Cecillia Gutiérrez, (World Premiere)
Director: Martha Stephens, Screenwriters: Martha Stephens, Karrie Crouse
A pink-slipped music teacher ponders his stalled relationship and place in the world during an arduous trek across Kentucky’s Sheltowee Trace Trail. Cast: Timothy Morton, Bryan Marshall, Karrie Crouse, Harrison Cole, Michael Abbott Jr. (World Premiere)
Director: Sean Baker, Screenwriters: Sean Baker, Chris Bergoch
The film explores the unlikely friendship between 21-year-old Jane (Dree Hemingway), and 85 year-old Sadie (Besedka Johnson), two women whose worlds collide in California's San Fernando Valley.
Cast: Dree Hemingway, Besedka Johnson, Stella Maeve, James Ransone, Karren Karagulian
The Taiwan Oyster
Director: Mark Jarrett, Screenwriters: Mark Jarrett, Jordan Heimer, Mitchell Jarrett
Two Ex-Pat Kindergarten teachers in Taiwan embark on a quixotic odyssey to bury a fellow countryman. Cast: Billy Harvey, Jeff Palmiotti, Leonora Lim (World Premiere)NARRATIVE SPOTLIGHT
High profile narrative features receiving their World, North American or U.S. Premieres at SXSW.
Films screening in Narrative Spotlight are:
Director: Jay Chandrasekhar, Screenwriters: Peter Gaulke, Gerry Swallow
Unable to impregnate his wife, Tommy and friends rob a sperm bank - to get Tommy's long-ago donated sperm back. The crazy plan goes hilariously awry and shows how far a couple will go to create a new life.
Cast: Paul Schneider, Olivia Munn, Kevin Heffernan, Wood Harris, Nat Faxon (World Premiere)
Director: Adam Sherman, Screenwriters: Adam Sherman, Dave Reeves & Rachel Hardisty
Just another story about love.
Cast: Lukas Haas, Madeline Zima, Jake Busey, Tania Raymonde, Regine Nehy (World Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass
Two brothers compete in their own private 25-event Olympics.
Cast: Mark Kelly, Steve Zissis, Elton LeBlanc (World Premiere)
Fat Kid Rules The World
Director: Matthew Lillard, Screenwriters: Michael M.B. Galvin, Peter Speakman
Troy, a depressed overweight teenager, gets sucked into the punk rock world by Marcus, a charming street musician. But when Troy discovers Marcus’ drug addiction, he suddenly must figure out the true boundaries of friendship.
Cast: Jacob Wysocki, Matt O'Leary, Billy Campbell, Lilli Simmons, Dylan Arnold (World Premiere)
frankie go boom
Director/Screenwriter: Jordan Roberts
a flick by bruce about his little brother frank who's a crybaby fuck who shouldn't do lame-ass embarrassing shit if he dozn't want people 2 see it
Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Chris O'Dowd, Lizzy Caplan, Ron Perlman, Chris Noth (World Premiere)
Hunky Dory (UK)
Director: Marc Evans, Screenwriter: Laurence Coriat
From the producer of Billy Elliot comes this funny, coming of age film featuring songs from artists such as David Bowie, Lou Reed, The Beach Boys, Simon and Garfunkel, Dusty Springfield and Electric Light Orchestra. Cast: Minnie Driver, Aneurin Barnard, Danielle Branch, Robert Pugh, Haydn Gwynne
(North American Premiere)
In Our Nature
Director/Screenwriter: Brian Savelson
Taking place over a single weekend, an estranged father and son accidentally end up in the same country house with their two girlfriends.
Cast: Zach Gilford, Jena Malone, John Slattery, Gabrielle Union (World Premiere)
Director: Guy Maddin, Screenwriters: Guy Maddin, George Toles
I'm only a ghost... but a ghost isn't nothing.
Cast: Isabella Rossellini, Jason Patric, Udo Kier, Kevin McDonald, Tattiawna Jones (U.S. Premiere)
See Girl Run
Director/Screenwriter: Nate Meyer
What happens when a 30-something woman allows life's "what ifs" to overwhelm her appreciation for what life actually is. Disregarding her current obligations, she digs into her romantic past in hopes of invigorating her present.
Cast: Robin Tunney, Adam Scott, Jeremy Strong, William Sadler, Josh Hamilton (World Premiere)
Director: Jonas Åkerlund, Screenwriter: Chris Millis
When Franklin Franklin accidentally kills his landlord, he must hide the body; but, the wisdom of his beloved brother and the quirks of his neighbors, force him on a journey where a fortune awaits him. Cast: Matt Lucas, Billy Crystal, James Caan, Johnny Knoxville, Juno Temple (World Premiere)
Somebody Up There Likes Me
Director/Screenwriter: Bob Byington
Time flies for everyone: Thirty-five years in the life of Max, his best friend Sal, and a woman they both adore. A deadpan fable about time sneaking up on and swerving right around us.
Cast: Keith Poulson, Nick Offerman, Jess Weixler, Stephanie Hunt, Kevin Corrigan (World Premiere)
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION
This year’s 8 films were selected from 845 submissions. Each film is a World Premiere.
Films screening in Documentary Feature Competition are:
Bay of All Saints
Director: Annie Eastman
As the last of the notorious water slums is demolished in Bahia, Brazil, will three single mothers face homelessness or rally for a better life? (World Premiere)
Beware of Mr. Baker
Director: Jay Bulger
Ginger Baker is the original rock ‘n roll madman junkie drummer superstar who everyone thought was dead but somehow survived 50+ years of heroin abuse, disastrous experiments and 5 marriages on 4 continents. (World Premiere)
The Central Park Effect
Director: Jeffrey Kimball
The film reveals the extraordinary array of wild birds who grace Manhattan’s celebrated patch of green, and the equally colorful, full-of-attitude New Yorkers who schedule their lives around the rhythms of migration. (World Premiere)
Director: Chris James Thompson
A documentary about the people around Jeffrey Dahmer during the 1991 summer of his arrest for the murder of 17 people in Milwaukee. (World Premiere)
Seeking Asian Female
Director: Debbie Lum
When an American man with "yellow fever" meets a Chinese woman half his age online, documenting their attempt to build a marriage from scratch reveals hilarious and troubling complications for the couple and the filmmaker. (World Premiere)
The Sheik and I
Director: Caveh Zahedi
Commissioned by a Middle Eastern Biennial to make a film on the theme of "art as a subversive act," independent filmmaker Caveh Zahedi (I am a Sex Addict) is threatened with a fatwa. (World Premiere)
Directors: Jodi Wille, Maria Demopoulos
The Source Family was a radical experiment in '70s utopian living. Their popular restaurant, rock band, and beautiful women made them the darlings of Hollywood; but their outsider ideals led to their dramatic undoing. (World Premiere)
Welcome To The Machine
Director: Avi Zev Weider
Upon fathering triplets, filmmaker Avi Zev Weider explores the nature of technology, seeking answers about what it means to be human. (World Premiere)
Shining a light on new documentary features receiving their World, North American or U.S. Premieres at SXSW.
Films screening in Documentary Spotlight are:
Director: Kevin Mazur
Renowned celebrity photographer, Kevin Mazur, gives us an all access pass to the life behind the velvet rope and in front of the camera. Candid, revealing and bold interviews with Jennifer Aniston, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jennifer Lopez, Elton John and more, take us inside the blurred lines of privacy, pliable journalism, celebrity, fame and what it feels like to be consumed. (World Premiere)
America's Parking Lot
Director: Jonny Mars
Pull up a front row seat as two die-hard fans of 'America's Team' spend their last season with the Dallas Cowboys at historic Texas Stadium, and scramble to preserve their place in America’s Parking Lot. (World Premiere)
Director: Nelson George
On Thursday, November 7, 1991, Earvin “Magic” Johnson made the stunning announcement that he was HIV-positive and would be retiring from basketball immediately. The Announcement gets to the core of Magic’s incredible personal journey. (World Premiere)
Beauty Is Embarrassing
Director: Neil Berkeley
A funny, irreverent and inspirational look into the life and times of one of America's most important artists, Wayne White. (World Premiere)
Director: Katie Dellamaggiore
Amidst financial crises and unprecedented public school budget cuts, Brooklyn Castle takes an intimate look at the challenges and triumphs facing members of a junior high school’s champion chess team. (World Premiere)
Code of the West
Director: Rebecca Richman Cohen
Frames a high stakes showdown in the halls of the Montana State Legislature. The future of medical marijuana is at stake. (World Premiere)
Degenerate Art: The Art and Culture of Glass Pipes
Director: M. Slinger
A true document of the art and culture of glass pipe-making. It is the first film to ever bring to light this invisible sub-culture in a comprehensive and well-informed format. (World Premiere)
Directors: A. Sabin, David Redmon
Young Russian girls join a modeling agency to seek work in Japan, but get caught up in an unregulated system that reveals an unseemly side of the fashion industry. (U.S. Premiere)
Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters
Director: Ben Shapiro
Acclaimed photographer Gregory Crewdson’s 10-year quest to create a series of haunting, surreal, and stunningly elaborate portraits of small-town American life — filmed with unprecedented access as he makes perfect renderings of a disturbing, imperfect world. (World Premiere)
Just Like Being There
Director: Scout Shannon
Through the eyes of Daniel Danger, Jay Ryan, and the gig poster community, Just Like Being There focuses on poster artists, the music they commemorate, MONDO film posters, fans, bloggers, galleries, collectors and everything in between. (World Premiere)
Scarlet Road (Australia)
Director: Catherine Scott
The film follows the extraordinary work of Australian sex worker, Rachel Wotton. Impassioned about freedom of sexual expression and the rights of sex workers, she specializes in a long over-looked clientele - people with disability. (North American Premiere)
Director: Andrew Garrison
A choreographer finds beauty and grace in garbage trucks, and against the odds, rallies reluctant city trash collectors to perform an extraordinary dance spectacle. On an abandoned airport runway, two dozen sanitation workers -- and their trucks -- inspire an audience of thousands. (World Premiere)
Waiting For Lightning
Director: Jacob Rosenberg
From the producers of Step into Liquid, comes the story of visionary skateboarder Danny Way, who jumped China’s Great Wall and created a new movement in sport. (World Premiere)
Wikileaks: Secrets & Lies (UK)
Director: Patrick Forbes
The in-depth story of Wikileaks told by all the key players. Sulphurous, personal and moving, it documents history in the making at the lawless frontier of new technology and mainstream media. (North American Premiere)
WONDER WOMEN! The Untold Story of American Superheroines
Director: Kristy Guevara-Flanagan
This documentary examines the fascinating evolution and legacy of Wonder Woman and introduces audiences to a dynamic group of real life superheroes who continue to fight the good fight both on and off the screen. (World Premiere)
Audacious, risk-taking artists in the new cinema landscape that demonstrate raw innovation and creativity in documentary and narrative filmmaking.
Films screening in Emerging Visions are:
Black Pond (UK)
Directors: Tom Kingsley, Will Sharpe, Screenwriter: Will Sharpe
An ordinary family is accused of murder when a stranger dies at their dinner table. Stars BAFTA-winner Chris Langham and British Comedy Award Winner Simon Amstell. Cast: Chris Langham, Simon Amstell, Amanda Hadingue, Colin Hurley, Will Sharpe (North American Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Kirsten Sheridan
Five street teens break into a house in a rich Dublin suburb for a night of partying. But games are twisted into something more emotional and ultimately out of control through a series of surprising revelations. Cast: Seana Kerslake, Johnny Ward, Kate Stanley Brennan, Shane Curry, Ciaran McCabe (North American Premiere)
Director: Andrew Beck Grace
A quest to eat locally becomes a meditation on community, the South and sustainability. Eating Alabama is a story about why food matters. (World Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Rebecca Thomas
Rachel, a 15-year-old fundamentalist Mormon, believes she's had an immaculate conception by listening to rock and roll. She flees to Las Vegas to escape an arranged marriage, seeking answers to her mysterious pregnancy.
Cast: Julia Garner, Rory Culkin, Liam Aiken, Billy Zane (North American Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Nir Paniry
A scientist is trapped in the memories of a criminal and must solve a crime in order to get back home to his family.
Cast: Sasha Roiz, Dominic Bogart, Jenny Mollen, Nick Jameson, Brad Culver (World Premiere)
Francine (Canada / USA)
Director/Screenwriter: Brian M. Cassidy, Melanie Shatzky
Academy-Award-winner, Melissa Leo, plays Francine, a woman struggling to find her place in a downtrodden lakeside town after leaving behind a life in prison.
Cast: Melissa Leo, Keith Leonard, Victoria Charkut (North American Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Kevin Mcmanus, Matthew Mcmanus
For three 14-year-old boys at St. Mark's Middle School, it's always a good day for a funeral.
Cast: Dylan Hartigan, Alex Maizus, Jordan Puzzo, Charles Odei, Kevin Corrigan (World Premiere)
Hard Labor (Brazil)
Director/Screenwriter: Juliana Rojas, Marco Dutra
Helena prepares to open her own business: a neighborhood grocery store. She hires a maid. But when her husband Octavio is suddenly fired from his job, Helena is left to support the family alone.
Cast: Helena Albergaria, Marat Descartes, Naloana Lima, Marina Flores (U.S. Premiere)
La Camioneta - The Journey of One American School Bus
Director: Mark Kendall
On a 3,000-mile adventure across the borders between the Americas, La Camioneta follows the journey of one out-of-service American school bus as it is repaired, repainted and resurrected into a Guatemalan camioneta. (World Premiere)
The Last Fall
Director/Screenwriter: Matthew A. Cherry
An NFL journeyman struggles to deal with life's complexities after his professional career is over at age 25.
Cast: Lance Gross, Nicole Beharie, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Harry Lennix, Keith David
Leave Me Like You Found Me
Director/Screenwriter: Adele Romanski
Big trees, broken hearts. The story of a lovesick couple’s breakup & makeup while camping in the wilds of California. Cast: Megan Boone, David Nordstrom (World Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Tim Sutton
Max, a quietly troubled 15-year-old, leaves his lakeside town to live with his father on the sun-blasted fringe of suburban Arizona. What begins in a calm and lush environment ends in a drastic, frayed confusion. Cast: Max Schaffner, Zach Cali, Cody Hamric, Addie Barlett, Aaron Buyea (World Premiere)
Sun Don't Shine
Director/Screenwriter: Amy Seimetz
Two lovers, on the back roads of Florida, do very bad things.
Cast: Kate Lyn Sheil, Kentucker Audley, AJ Bowen, Kit Gwinn, Mark Reeb (World Premiere)
Directors: Silas Howard, Ernesto Foronda, Screenwriter: Valerie Stadler
When May returns to LA and runs smack into JP, the man she left behind, past and present collide sending them on a twenty-four hour journey in search of what they lost.
Cast: Monique Curnen, Sung Kang, Joshua Leonard, Mousa Kraish, Michelle Krusiec (World Premiere)
Director: Bill Ross, Turner Ross
Three young brothers' immersive journey into the sensory wonders of the New Orleans night.
Director/Screenwriter: Aleksander L. Nordaas
The film revolves around huldra, a mythical, tailed creature, found by two crime scene cleaners in a concealed cellar. Someone’s been keeping her down here for decades, for reasons soon to surface. Cast: Silje Reinåmo, Jon Sigve Skard, Erlend Nervold, Morten Andresen (North American Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Wu Tsang
A magical-realist portrait of the Silver Platter, a historic bar in Los Angeles that provides a safe space for Latin/LGBT immigrant and queer art communities to come together in love and conflict.
Director/Screenwriter: Ya'ke Smith
A family is shaken to the core when they discover their son has been molested. As they struggle to deal with the betrayal, their son heads towards a total mental collapse.
Cast: Irma P. Hall, Mikala Gibson, Jordan Cooper, Shelton Jolivette, Eugene Lee (World Premiere)
24 BEATS PER SECOND
Showcasing the sounds, culture and influence of music and musicians, with an emphasis on documentary.
Films screening in 24 Beats Per Second are:
Amor Cronico (Cuba / USA)
Director: Jorge Perugorria
Weaving footage of singer Cucu Diamantes’ Cuban tour into a fictional love story. The result is an energetic display of her glamorous and infectious performance style and a fascinating portrait of Cuba today.
Cast: Cucu Diamantes, Adela Legra, Liosky Clavero, Andres Levin, Jorge Perugorria (World Premiere)
Bad Brains: Band in DC
Directors: Mandy Stein, Benjamen Logan
How four young men from DC changed music forever. (World Premiere)
Charles Bradley: Soul of America
Director: Poull Brien
The incredible late-in-life rise of 62-year-old aspiring soul singer Charles Bradley, whose debut album rocketed him from a hard life in the projects to Rolling Stone magazine’s top 50 albums of 2011.
Director: Dave Boyle, Screenwriters: Dave Boyle, Michael Lerman, Joel Clark, Goh Nakamura
After a devastating breakup, musician Goh Nakamura hits the road with his irresponsible cousin to pursue a promising rebound with fellow musician Yea-Ming Chen.
Cast: Goh Nakamura, Michael Aki, Yea-Ming Chen, Lynn Chen, Ayako Fujitani (World Premiere)
Grandma Lo-fi: The Basement Tapes of Sigrídur Níelsdóttir (Iceland / Denmark)
Director: Kristín Björk Kristjánsdóttir
At the tender age of 70 she started making music - and then she couldn't stop! A tribute to the Danish/Icelandic artist and late bloomer Sigrídur Níelsdóttir.
Paul Williams Still Alive
Director: Stephen Kessler
A documentary filmmaker tracks down actor/singer/songwriter Paul Williams in an attempt to find out what happened to his idol. (U.S. Premiere)
Rock 'N' Roll Exposed: The Photography of Bob Gruen (UK)
Director: Don Letts
Iggy Pop, Debbie Harry, Yoko Ono, Alice Cooper, Billie Joe Armstrong and others discuss the incredible life and work of the world's foremost rock 'n' roll photographer, Bob Gruen.
(North American Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Hans Fjellestad
The 100-year history of the loudest street on the planet, The Sunset Strip. (World Premiere)
Under African Skies
Director: Joe Berlinger
Paul Simon returns to South Africa to explore the incredible journey of his historic Graceland album, including the political backlash he received for allegedly breaking the UN cultural boycott of South Africa designed to end the Apartheid regime.
Uprising: Hip Hop & The LA Riots
Director: Mark Ford
20 years after riots ripped through Los Angeles, Uprising documents how hip hop forecasted – and some say ignited – the worst civil unrest of the 20th century. (World Premiere)
A diverse panorama of international filmmaking talent, including premieres, interactive documentaries and shorts.
Films screening in SX Global are:
Director: Ashtar Sayed, Screenwriter: Dr. Mahendra Purohit
Inspired by a true event. Scarecrow tells the true story of a young woman who is attempting to escape from an abusive arranged marriage. Cast: Arti Rautela, Amit Purohit (North American Premiere)
Crulic - The Path to Beyond (Romania / Poland)
Director: Anca Damian
The animated documentary feature-length “Crulic – The Path to Beyond” tells the story of the life of Crulic, the 33-year-old Romanian who died in a Polish prison while on hunger strike.
Cubaton - El Medico Story (Estonia / Sweden)
Director: Daniel Fridell
El Medico - a Cuban house doctor who wants to become a cubaton star - is facing a serious choice between serving the state and becoming a popstar. (North American Premiere)
Her Master's Voice (UK)
Director: Nina Conti
Watching someone talk to themselves has never been so interesting. (World Premiere)
ITALY LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT (Italy / Germany)
Directors: Gustav Hofer, Luca Ragazzi
Gustav and Luca, two Italians, have to decide: Should they stay in Italy, or leave it? (North American Premiere)
Mustafa's Sweet Dreams (Greece / UK)
Director: Angelos Abazoglou
Mustafa, a 16-year-old pastry shop apprentice dreams of becoming a famous baklava chef in Istanbul. (North American Premiere)
Director: Tamae Garateguy, Screenwriters: Tamae Garateguy, Diego A. Fleischer
When a film director hires two screenwriters to make a gangster movie, a fiction feast starts: femmes fatales, mobs fighting for the same neighborhood and a limitless hero who defies every movie concept. Cast: José Luciano González, Joel Drut, Chang Sung Kim, Vladimir Yuravel, Miguel Forza de Paul
¡Vivan las Antipodas! (Germany / The Netherlands / Argentina / Chile)
Director: Victor Kossakovsky
Haven’t we all wondered at some point what was happening just at this moment beneath our very feet at the other side of the planet?
Acclaimed standouts and selected previous premieres from festivals around the world.
Films screening in Festival Favorites are:
Director/Screenwriter: Christoffer Boe
How long will you go, to hold on to the person you love?
Cast: Nicolas Bro, Marijana Jankovic, Nikolaj Lie Kaas
Director: Rick Alverson, Screenwriters: Robert Donne, Colm O'Leary
Indifferent even to the prospects of inheriting his father's estate, Swanson (Tim Heidecker), a desensitized, aging Brooklyn hipster, strays into a series of reckless situations that may offer the promise of redemption or the threat of retribution.
Cast: Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim, James Murphy, Kate Lyn-Sheil, Alexia Rassmusen
Dreams of a Life (UK / Ireland)
Director: Carol Morley
An imaginative quest to go beyond the newspaper reports and solve the mystery of who thirty-eight year old Joyce Vincent was and why she lay undiscovered for three years after her death in one of the busiest parts of London. (North American Premiere)
God Bless America
Director/Screenwriter: Bobcat Goldthwait
Loveless, jobless, possibly terminally ill, Frank has had enough of the downward spiral of America. With nothing left to lose, Frank takes his gun and offs the stupidest, cruelest, and most repellent members of society. Cast: Joel Murray, Tara Lynne Barr (U.S. Premiere)
The Imposter (UK)
Director: Bart Layton
In 1994 a 13-year-old disappears without trace in Texas. Three years later he resurfaces in Spain with accounts of a horrifying kidnap. His family is overjoyed – but all is not as it seems.
Indie Game: The Movie (Canada)
Directors: Lisanne Pajot, James Swirsky
With the twenty-first century comes a new breed of artist: the indie game designer. These innovators design and program their distinctly personal games in the hope that they may find connection and success.
Director/Screenwriter: David Zellner
A fever-dream fable about Annie, a rebellious girl devoid of parental guidance or a moral compass. She roams the countryside looking for adventure, and finds it one day in the form of an abandoned well. Cast: Sydney Aguirre, Susan Tyrrell, Nathan Zellner, David Zellner, David Wingo
Last Call at the Oasis
Director: Jessica Yu
A powerful argument for why the global water crisis will be the central issue facing our world this century.
Director: Eduardo Sanchez, Screenwriters: Eduardo Sanchez, Jamie Nash
Exploring the parallels between psychosis, addiction and demonic possession, Lovely Molly tells the story of what really happens before the exorcist arrives.
Cast: Gretchen Lodge, Johnny Lewis, Alexandra Holden (U.S. Premiere)
The Raid (Indonesia)
Director/Screenwriter: Gareth Huw Evans
Rama and his special forces team fight their way through a rundown apartment block with a mission to remove its owner, a notorious drug lord.
Cast: Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim, Doni Alamsyah, Yayan Ruhian, Pierre Gruno
WE ARE LEGION: The Story of the Hacktivists
Director: Brian Knappenberger
We Are Legion takes us inside the world of Anonymous, the radical "hacktivist" collective that has redefined civil disobedience for the digital age.
Live Soundtracks, cult re-issues and much more. Our Special Events section offers unusual, unexpected and unique film event one-offs.
Films screening in Special Events are:
An Evening With Sacred Bones Records
Director: Jacqueline Castel
Brooklyn-based record label Sacred Bones presents an evening of original and curated programming of music videos, short films, works in progress, and a rare screening of their first film production, Twelve Dark Noons. (World Premiere)
Director: Richard Linklater, Screenwriters: Richard Linklater, Skip Hollandsworth
Based on real-life events, this dark comedy follows Bernie Tiede, his recently deceased friend Marjorie Nugent and District Attorney Danny Buck Davidson who is determined to get to the bottom of the crime. Cast: Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Matthew McConaughey, Brady Coleman, Richard Robichaux
Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me
Director: Drew Denicola
A feature-length documentary about the massive critical acclaim, dismal commercial failure, and enduring legacy of pop music’s greatest cult phenomenon, Big Star. (Work in Progress)
Casa de mi Padre
Director: Matt Piedmont, Screenwriter: Andrew Steele
Will Ferrell plays a Mexican rancher who must defend his father's home against the country's most infamous drug lord. Cast: Will Ferrell, Gael García Vernal, Diego Luna, Genesis Rodriguez, Pedro Armendáriz Jr., Nick Offerman
Girl Walk // All Day
Director/Screenwriter: Jacob Krupnick
A feature-length dance music film that combines freestyle dance with the daily chaos of New York City, set to Girl Talk's recent mashup album, All Day. Cast: Anne Marsen, John Doyle, Daisuke Omiya
Director: Amir Bar Lev
5 DJ's Turn the Table on The History of Music.
Directors: Adam Russell, John Sear
A ground breaking feature-length show controlled entirely by the audience using laser pointers. It is the first viable example of a standalone interactive experience capable of running in commercial movie theatres. (North American Premiere)
The Oyster Princess (1919) with original live score by Bee vs. Moth (Germany)
Director: Ernst Lubitsch, Screenriters: Hanns Kraly & Ernst Lubitsch
The Oyster Princess is Ernst Lubitsch’s tart 1919 silent comedy that parodies the rich and the spoiled. Austin jazz/rock band Bee vs. Moth performs their original score live with the film for the first time. (World Premiere)
Surprisingly when it comes to fully loaded Blu-ray releases it's the movies for young ones that seem to get all the attention. After lamenting the decline of solid DVD features and applauding kid-friendly extras in my review of The Smurfs Blu-ray I find myself once again impressed with another animated release that knocks it out of the park. Kung Fu Panda 2 is an energetic enjoyable 90-minute cartoon that goes above and beyond the call of duty for its Blu. This isn't the Social Network of youngster flicks but the set certainly aims to both entertain and educate—and when buying discs for children why settle for anything less?
For those who missed it in theaters KFP2 finds Po the Panda (Jack Black) now fully immersed in the world of Kung Fu taking on his role as the Dragon Warrior with full force. He runs jumps punches and eats dumplings with The Furious Five his ragtag team of equally adept ninja-types. When China is threatened by Shen a panda-hating evil peacock who has harnessed the power of explosions for world domination purposes Po and the gang leap into action for another adventure across an array of dazzling landscapes.
The original Kung Fu Panda was something of a surprise a heartfelt adrenaline rush amongst lowbrow predecessors (the Shrek series mainly). The sequel follows suit injecting a more personal touch to Po's quest (he discovers that he's not really the son of a stork but rather a survivor of Shen's earlier massacre). On Blu-ray director Jennifer Yuh Nelson's gripping action scenes really flourish. The animation looks a little simpler at home (perhaps a holdover from the first movie's design) but the movie's so fun and fast-paced you won't mind the technical misgivings.
And if you have a hunger for extras like Po does bowls of noodles then Kung Fu Panda 2 serves up a hardy meal. The Blu sports a few storyboarded deleted scenes a commentary with the hushed-but-highly-intelligent Nelson and a standard "Working with the actors" piece that features Black Angelina Jolie Gary Oldman and more talking about their time recording the movie's dialogue. Watching Black flail around the room is exciting—that enthusiasm clearly comes through in the movie. The disc also adds instructional features for the young ones including "Panda Stories " a panda wildlife preservation doc and "Ni Hao " a tutorial on speaking Mandarin. The disc also includes two different games you can play with your Blu-ray remote that are designed for the young-but-savvy.
What really blew me away was the short included on the disc. Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Masters a 20-minute film that utilizes both 3D CG and traditional 2D animation. Much like the backstory flashbacks seen in KFP2 Secrets of the Masters recounts the past adventures of three side characters: Master Rhino (Victor Garber) Master Croc (Jean-Claude Van Damme) and Master OX (Dennis Haysbert). The short even manages to bring back one of my favorite characters of the first movie: the slow wise turtle Oogway! The 2D style reminiscent of Samurai Jack or both the intros from Kung Fu Panda 1 & 2 is vivid and stylized adding a real artistry to the series and to a medium that's all but removed this kind of work form its palette. The story a fable on fighting for the right reasons never feels didactic—making it a great watch for the kids and the kids-at-heart.
Kung Fu Panda 2 is a heck of a lot of fun and should provide countless hours of entertainment for you and any kids who happen to be in the room while you indulge in this animated martial arts ride. The only reason not to pick it up for the family? There's solid evidence to believe a third Kung Fu Panda is on the way and you know how much Blu-ray companies love trilogies...