Category Archives: Movies

Gia #HFF15 #Reviews: Orson Welles and Scatman Crothers in “A Hollywood Ending”

soContributed by Benjamin Schwartz

“Magic In The Waiting Room”

Orson Welles and Scatman Crothers in “A Hollywood Ending” provides a timely glimpse into what could be an extremely accurate depiction of two artists at the end of their respected careers.

Orson Welles is certainly the personality that is instantly recognizable, while the name Scatman Crothers doesn’t usually ring most people’s bell.  You might have heard Scatman as the voice of Scat Cat from the animated film, The Aristocats, or seen his acting in The Shining and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.

Welles and Crothers strike up conversation while waiting to audition for the 1985 animated film, Transformers: The Movie.  At first, it is difficult to see why these two would be in the same room, let alone auditioning for the same movie. As the expertly crafted dialogue rolls along, both the characters and audience start to understand how similar these two really are.

Welles (Rob Locke) and Crothers (Dennis Neal) are dream roles for actors, and the two really sink their teeth deep into the material. Locke does a fine job capturing the elitist, ego-driven Welles who has the largest character arch. But it is his counterpart, Dennis Neal who really steals the show.

It is difficult to take your eyes off Neal as he gives a beautifully organic, honest performance.  These two seasoned actors sport their acting chops as they bounce emotions and patter very well off each other in this character-driven play.

It is inherently clear that playwright and director, David Castro, has done a great deal of research on the time period and characters. The dated references may be a little much for a common layman, but the writing is impeccable. The dialogue is a continuous stream of natural conversation tucked within a tight three-act structure. A playwright who directs his own work tends to be blind to errors during rehearsal, but this is not the case here. Castro does a great job directing his actors to hit the exact nuances and timing of the script.

Orson Welles and Scatman Crothers in “A Hollywood Ending” examines how these two consummate artists defined success and artistic freedom while still trying to pay the bills.  It is wholly entertaining, thought-provoking and poignant.

Recommended

Tickets: http://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/2353

Theatre Asylum (Asylum Lab – 1078 Lillian Way LA. CA. 90038) Hollywood’s Theatre Row map
Saturday June 20 2015, 4:00 PM | 1hr
Friday June 26 2015, 8:30 PM | 1hr
Saturday June 27 2015, 2:30 PM | 1hr

 

Film to Watch: The Stanford Prison Experiment

A Film by Kyle Patrick Alvarez

Opens in Theaters July 17th via IFC Films

stanford-prison-experiment-still-2-photo-court

It is the summer of 1971. Dr. Philip Zimbardo launches a study on the psychology of imprisonment. Twenty-four male undergraduates are randomly assigned to be either a guard or a prisoner. Set in a simulated jail, the project unfolds. The participants rapidly embody their roles—the guards become power-hungry and sadistic, while the prisoners, subject to degradation, strategize as underdogs. It soon becomes clear that, as Zimbardo and team monitor the escalation of action through surveillance cameras, they are not fully aware of how they, too, have become part of the experiment.

Based on the real-life research of Dr. Zimbardo (who was a consultant on the film), THE STANFORD PRISON EXPERIMENT is a dramatic period piece that remains relevant over 40 years later. Along with an impressive cast, including Billy Crudup as Zimbardo, Kyle Patrick Alvarez (C.O.G., 2013 Sundance Film Festival) delivers an intense, visceral film about the role of power that plays to both chilling and exhilarating effect.

Features an excellent roster of young talent, including Ezra Miller, Tye Sheridan, Olivia Thirlby, Michael Angarano,Logan Miller, Thomas Mann, Keir Gilchrist, Johnny Simmons, Moises Arias, Jack Kilmer, Chris Sheffield, Ki Hong Lee, and James Frechville, to name a few. 

TRT: 122 minutes

Country: USA

Language: English

 

Los Angeles Film to watch: Gone Doggy Gone

Gone Doggy GoneIn the spirit of absurd comedies and absurd relationships we had to share one that spans both categories and that just came on our radar.

Gone Doggy Gone will be screening at Arena Cinema Hollywood as one of several films making a special engagement at the local Hollywood screening room beginning June 26th.  Mark your calendars.

Gone Doggy Gone is a comedy about a couple stuck in a lackluster marriage who treat their dog like a baby. Working the grind in Los Angeles they leave little time for each other and what free time they have they spend doting on the dog… until it gets kidnapped! What ensues is an outlandish cat and mouse adventure as they hunt down the kidnapper, enlist a slick dick P.I., find a renewed love for each other, and conquer their fear of parenthood.

Winner- Edmonton International Film Festival

Winner- First Glance Film Festival

Winner- Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival

Winner- Offshoot Film Festival

Winner- Julien Dubuque International Film Festival

“The comedy surprise of the year.”—-San Diego Reader

Written and directed by Kasi Brown and Brandon Walter. Produced by Brown, Walter, Rebecca Hu and Adriane Zaudke. From Indican Pictures. Color, 2015, USA, 89 minutes, unrated. Comedy. Starring Kasi Brown, Brandon Walter, Kate Connor, Shaina Vorspan, Richard Riehle and Jeff Sloniker.

The Cain Complex Opens June 12 at Arena Cinema Hollywood

Home Invastion From Hell!…but what if it isn’t real?

Cain_PosterThe Cain Complex tells the story of a man who suffers from PTSD and is prone to hallucinations.  He is alone when his home is invaded by four heavily-armed, masked men.  With his wife and children due back within hours, this all makes for one hellish night of mental and physical combat.  Nightmare and reality only become certain when it may be too late.

The June 12 Friday 8:45 screening will be preceded by a Red Carpet at 7:45 and followed after the screening by a short Q&A with the filmmakers.

The Cain Complex. Written and directed by Marcello Zamarripa. Produced by Marcello Zamparripa. Color, 2015, USA, 86 minutes, unrated. From Indie Rights. Action/ Thriller. Starring Billy Blair, Sue Rock, Johnny Walter, Alex Pocio, Sam Eidson and Andy Bowles.

Admission is $12. Information: (323) 306-0676. Online ticketing: http://arenascreen.com

June 12- June 18, 2015

Friday at 8:45
Sat. at 6:00,
Sun. at 6:30
Mon. at 8:50
Tues at 10:20
Wed. at 8:50
Thurs. at 10:20

At Arena Cinema Hollywood, 1625 N. Las Palmas Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028. Discounted parking is available with validation at lots adjacent to the venue and across the street.

Arena Cinema is Hollywood’s new home for independent films, powered by Voltaire Media. Ranked among Top 5 Indie Movie Theatres in Los Angeles by CBS2.

Universal Pictures Restores The Rich History of Silent Film

A silent film crew at Universal Studios. (PRNewsFoto/Universal Pictures)

A silent film crew at Universal Studios. (PRNewsFoto/Universal Pictures)

The silent film era is best known for instantly recognizable storylines, settings, costumes, and characters.  Most early silent films were accompanied by a full-fledged orchestra, organist or pianist to provide musical background and to underscore the narrative on the screen.  Some even included live actors or narrators.  The major genre emphasis was on swashbucklers, historical extravaganzas, and melodramas, although all kinds of films were being produced throughout the decade.

To honor its own studio’s rich history and cultural legacy and building on its 2012 Centennial celebration, Universal Pictures will restore some of the world’s most classic silent films. 

During the next four years, the Studio will restore approximately 15 silent film titles from Universal’s early years.  The complete list of films is still in development in collaboration with outside film historians, institutions, and preservationists.  Partners and collaborators in the initiative include the Library of Congress, The Film Foundation, Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences,George Eastman House, UCLA Film & Television Archives, Association of Moving Image Archivists, and Hollywood Heritage.  The announcement was made at the Opening Night of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival.

A silent film crew at Universal Studios. (PRNewsFoto/Universal Pictures)

A silent film crew at Universal Studios. (PRNewsFoto/Universal Pictures)

“The company understands its responsibility and need to preserve our silent film legacy,” said Ron Meyer, Vice Chairman, NBCUniversal.  “This early art of filmmaking is the foundation on which Universal Pictures was built more than 100 years ago, and it’s important we honor our rich history.”

According to a report released by the Library of Congress, 70 percent of the nation’s silent feature films have been completely lost.  Universal’s restoration team will work with archives and collectors worldwide to secure copies of prints and additional elements needed to complete this restoration effort and augment the silent film titles currently in its library.

Universal Pictures silent film restoration initiative builds on the company’s ongoing restoration commitment.  Since the program was first announced in 2012, nearly 30 titles have been restored and 25 more titles are expected to be restored by 2017.  Fully restored titles to date include All Quiet on the Western Front, The BirdsBuck Privates, Dracula (1931), Dracula Spanish (1931), Frankenstein, Jaws, Schindler’s List, Out of Africa, Pillow Talk, Bride of FrankensteinThe Sting, To Kill a Mockingbird, Touch of Evil, Double Indemnity, High Plains Drifter and Holiday Inn.

Film to Watch: The Diary of a Teenage Girl

Diary of a Teenage Girl
Like most teenage girls, Minnie Goetze (Bel Powley) is longing for love, acceptance and a sense of purpose in the world. Minnie begins a complex love affair with her mother’s (Kristen Wiig) boyfriend, “the handsomest man in the world,” Monroe Rutherford (Alexander Skarsgård). What follows is a sharp, funny and provocative account of one girl’s sexual and artistic awakening, without judgment.
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THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL 
In theaters August 7, 2015!

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Set in 1976 San Francisco, THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL begins at the crossroads of the fading hippie movement and the dawn of punk rock. News commentary of the Patty Hearst trial echoes in the background, as Minnie’s young expressive eyes soak in a drug-laden city in transition- where teenage rebellion and adult responsibility clash in characters lost and longing. Minnie’s hard-partying mother and absent father have left her rudderless. She first finds solace in Monroe’s seductive smile, and then on the backstreets of the city by the bay. Animation serves a refuge from the confusing and unstable world around her. Minnie emerges defiant- taking command of her sexuality and drawing on her newfound creative talents to reveal truths in the kind of intimate and vivid detail that can only be found in the pages of a teenage girl’s diary.

THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL is based on Phoebe Gloeckner’s novel of the same name, hailed by Salon as “one of the most brutally honest, shocking, tender and beautiful portrayals of growing up female in America.” Writer/Director Marielle Heller unlocks this diary with a richly comedic and deeply personal vision. In her feature film directorial debut, Heller brings Gloeckner’s book to life with fearless performances, a stirring score, inventive graphic novel-like animation sequences, imagination, humor and heart. It is a coming of age story that is as poignant as it is unsettling.

 THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL, starring Bel Powley,
Alexander Skarsgård, Christopher Meloni and Kristen Wiig
 A Sony Pictures Classics Film
Starring
Bel Powley, Alexander Skarsgård, Christopher Meloni and Kristen Wiig
Written & Directed by
Marielle Heller
Based On the Novel by
Phoebe Gloeckner

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Film & TV Femmes: Welcome to ‘The Director List’

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The Director List Launches Online Database Connecting Female Directors with Future Projects

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.Listen up ladies of film and television!  This is probably one of the more important notices you’ll read this year.

The Director List, women directors, women in film and television

The Director List is proud to announce the official launch of their new website featuring an online database devoted to increasing awareness and accessibility to female directors and their work in feature films, television, large-scale commercials and music videos. Founded by independent filmmaker Destri Martino, TDL’s main purpose is tho address the consistently low number of women hired for directing jobs and provide a practical solution for creating change and reversing the trend.

There are currently over 850 experienced female directors included in the database, with new additions and updates everyday. Directors are located in the U.S. and over 11 regions around the world. Every woman on the list has either directed a feature-length film (narrative or documentary), television episodes, or they are seasoned commercial or music video directors. Advanced search functions allow users to do a keyword search or filter by medium, genre or region.

The Director List, women directors, women in film and television“Year after year the statistics on the number of women directors being hired for film and TV projects remains depressingly low. Our hope is that this database will lead to more women directors being added to director lists around town and more women being considered for jobs and hired!” explains Destri Martino.

Inspired while doing her Masters thesis research at the London School of Economics, Destri realized there were a lot more working female directors than mainstream media coverage led one to believe. It was then that her passion for promoting the work of female directors was ignited, and soon the first iteration of TDL was born as a Pinterest board, highlighting photos of working women directors.

After sparking interest from the growing list, it was clear that the public needed a way to better explore it in detail and building the database was the natural progression. In addition to the database, TCL  features news, photos, videos and social media integration to connect to the passionate community that appreciates the feature film and television projects women are creating around the world. “This is a place to find all of the current news on women directors and see that  many exist, in full color, ” says Martino.

The Director List is positive this new database eliminates the most common excuses heard in the industry for not firing women and empowers executives, producers, and agents to discover new female directing talent for their upcoming projects – from low budget indies to million-dollar blockbusters.

LAfilmFestTDL is and Awesome Without Borders Grant Awardee and an Official Participating Organization for the Los Angeles Film Festival in June 2015. The TDL site is fiscally sponsored by Cinefemme.

Website: www.TheDirectorList.com

Cinefemme_Film_Festival_2015.600x900Twitter: @TheDirectorList
Facebook: Facebook.com/TheDirectorList
Pinterest: DestriMartino
Instagram: @TheDirectorList