Friday, January 27, 2006

Sundance: Save the best for last

At my last screening at Sundance (I'm flying home tomorrow), I saw my favorite film of the week, Little Miss Sunshine. Starring Greg Kinnear, Tony Collette and Steve Carrell it's a pitch-perfect example of the dysfunctional family comedy. I don't have time for a full review, but I will say that when this movie comes out in theaters, you need to see it. I loved it. And I saw it by pure luck. I ordered tickets to a TBA screening when I was desperately looking for ANY dregs online before the festival. I took a chance, knowing that they usually plug the "buzz" films into the TBA slots at the end of the festival. Boy, I'm glad I did. I also saw Right At Your Door at an early morning screening. While it was very solid and entertaining, I'd have to rank it further down the list. Tonight, it's the Slamdance closing night party, where I hope to hang out with all the ATL folks in town for The Other Side. Should be fun. I really don't want to leave--I can't believe I have to go back to work next week. I'll post a bigger wrap up (and we'll have more pictures) when I get back to Atlanta, but I can tell you, this week has definitely inspired my own creativity. Can't wait to start on my next script, I may have to write it on my flight home. This is our last blog from Park City... see you on the "other side."

Sundance: More pics

Some more pics to share with you before I'm off again... The Egyptian, one of the main Sundance venues. Georgia actors Poncho Hodges and Chris Burns of The Other Side are interviewed by Starz! Beastie Boys' Adam Yauch (AKA MCA, AKA Nathaniel Hornblower) answers questions after a screening of Awesome! I Fuckin' Shot That. Mixmaster Mike is on the left. Main Street at night.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Sundance: It's a cornucopia of films

The past two days, I finally managed to see quite a few films, including my two new favorites, Cargo and Forgiven. Both could be described as tragedies, but both were excellent films. Forgiven, filmed in Wilmington, NC, had some tremendous acting, especially Paul Fitzgerald (also the director) and Russell Hornsby. I also managed to check out Off the Black, by Athens product James Ponsoldt. Starring Nick Nolte, the film was decent, but overall too slow for my tastes. Slow, of course, is not always bad, but for a comedy it kills the pace, in my opinion. The same could be said for Art School Confidential which starts out great, but loses too much steam about a half hour in. Apparently, the documentaries here this year have been tremendous. I saw two that were very solid. The most entertaining to me was This Film Is Not Yet Rated, which was a scathing investigation of the MPAA's tactics. It was very entertaining and at the same time informative (that's what good docs are). Beyond Beats and Rhymes was informative as well, but not quite as entertaining. It lacked a through-story to tie it together. This morning, I woke up early to check out Half Nelson, which reaffirms my belief that Ryan Gosling may be the next great actor. The film was very well done, but I'd still have to put Cargo and Forgiven at the top of my list for now (with the Beastie Boys concert film close behind -- but that's just cuz I love the Beasties). More later. We're off to see the Spike & Mike Animation at Slamdance.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

It ain't over, but I'm back in ATL

I'm one of the folks who had to leave lovely Park City today and it's a shame. However, I had an excellent time out there and saw some good films despite the initial ticket dearth. Half Nelson was another standout of the narrative films I saw thanks to excellent performances from Ryan Gosling, Anthony Mackie, and young one Shareeka Epps (amazing performance)...this films cast and crew contingent rivaled Slamdance's The Other Side and Anthony Mackie was particularly entertaining in the Q & A. Who Killed the Electric Car? is certainly a must see documentary that'll be released by Sony Pictures classic. In the vein of The Corporation and Enron: Smartest Guys in the Room, it tells yet another tale of corporate underhandedness that is likely not that widely known outside of California...we say the country is getting smaller but this proves that we still aren't noticing quite a bit. Along those lines 'Who Needs Sleep?' is a must see for all you crew members who are putting in ridiculous hours on union or non-union projects. Directed by Haskell Wexler, cinematographer extraordinaire for over 5 decades. Celebrity sightings...Roger Ebert stalking 'Flashdance' or Burns as he followed them to the Pizza and Noodle shop a second night in a row...but hey, it's nice to have fans like that. Be on the lookout for reviews coming soon...and More pics.

Wish I Was Still There

Bastard Mike has to post a cool ass video of him and the King of Park City sledding. So not only am I not going to see more films, but I'm apparently going to miss out on all manners of coolness. (Stupid Day Job!) Anyway, I really have to speak on two incredible films I saw on Monday. Son of Man and Quincenara. Son is a modern day retelling of the Christ story set in the fictional African nation of Judea. Using Steven Biko as their template, Director Mark Dornford-May and his co-writer Andiswa Kema have fashioned a film that does so much that I won't even try to do it justice here. This is a film that deserves a full-length review. Improved over a ten week period and starring 38 actors who had never acted on film before, Son is the type of film I was hoping to see at Sundance. As for Quincenara I marched right up to one of the co-directors and cussed him out for making me cry. (Yo, I'm secure in my manhood, AIGHT!) Seriously though, Quincenara stars Emily Rios and straight from Atlanta Jesse Garcia (Performance Anxiety and Last Goodbye) and I put it right along side Son as an incredible piece of filmmaking. My only real complaint is that as great as Emily is and as much as I would like to see more Latina actresses get in the game, Jesse's performance deserves some true recognition. I didn't even know who he was till I was chatting with my fellow cinemATL folk. So any and all gushing is based of genuine admiration. Once you see it, I think you'll understand completely. Co-writers and directors Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland based this film on their neighborhood and as a audience member put it, they've created a work that's filled with lots of humanity, heart and truth. So now that I'm home, what do I think of my first trip to Sundance? What have I come back with?
  1. If you want to hook up with producers and industry folk, ride the bus and keep your ears open. It's the one place that all the Execs can be found (When you're practicing the art of cornering, cold is your friend. You can include drinking too much to that list--in otherwords see no. 5)
  2. Expect the first weekend to be infected with teeny-boppers and party goers who don't care one damn about seeing a good film. By Sunday the teeny-boppers have to go back to school and the party goers have to pay for the insane amount of drinking they did and thus must go back to work.
  3. Schedule time to sleep. Mike's post is dead on. Nothing's more frustrating than sitting in the middle of a film you're enjoying, but your eyes feel like their weighed down with 2 tons of cement.
  4. Nothing is a better conversation starter than what did you think or what did you see? Talked with some fellow audience members and Sundance attendees on the bus, standing in line, whereever and I thought they were the best reason to shell out all that dough. From first timers (like myself) to veterans, it's a great atmosphere to express your film jones.
  5. Bathroom bonding = A strange, drunken conversation leads to amazing possibilities. (Refer to no. 1 and figure this observation on your own.)
  6. Next time I must stay longer. I know there are more great films I'm going to miss. And with the film IQ growing at an exponential rate day by day, I don't think I'd be off the mark to think that by Friday I would have been in celluloid heaven.

Sundance: A Break from Films

Sundance: Sleep Achieved!

After nearly two straight days, I finally got some rest last night, a whole eight hours even. Maybe I won't have to fight to stay awake at films today. Although, I currently have no tickets today... that's because we didn't make the 3:30/4:00 AM trek down to wait in the box office line to grab the few available tickets. Yesterday, Dan Slemons and I forgoed (forewent?) sleep and picked up several tickets, our biggest screening day yet. I managed to see Wristcutters (very odd, in a good way, but disjointed), The Illusionist (great performances by Paul Giamatti and Rufus Sewell), Art School Confidential (starts great, but becomes uneven) and The Aura (uh, if you can't say anything nice...) Apparently, there are a lot of celebrity sightings, but I'm pretty oblivious or just too tired to notice. But I'm here to see movies, not celebrities, anyway. Unless I can network with them at a party or something.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Scenes from Sun(and Slam)dance

A few photos, courtesy Dan Slemons... The Other Side cast & crew talks after the film at Slamdance. The Somebodies party on Main Street. New Atlanta Film Festival director Jake Jacobsen with Project: Greenlight's John Gulager.

It's all Exponential

I missed a day so I'll have to double up some (but not by much, I'm tired as hell) and I'll rely on my penchant for off the dome espousing. Seen No. 2 and Eve and the Firehorse. Julia Kwan's Eve is a personal piece that I much enjoyed. No. 2 is a film I wanted to like more, however Ruby Dee once again demonstrates why she's such a respected actor. I'll be post a review for those films plus Awesome: I f*ckin' shot that at some point later. I'll admit that I wasn't truly feeling Sundance at first. However with every passing day I'm starting to warm up. Of course this after I've had to yell at a bus full of people to make room for a pregnant woman and on the same bus call a young lady out for being overly rude to, not one, but two fellow passengers. Representing the Atl I don't play that sh*t. Most of us traveled along way to be here and acting like an ass just cause you can isn't something I respect. Okay, I lie. I can respect acting like an ass. It's acting like a rude ass that I can't respect. I mean come on. So far I've yelled at Crispin Glover and told him he's my m*therf*ka and corrected a standbyer's mistaken identification of Aaron Eckhart (No, that wasn't Viggo Mortenson). Yet, the longer I stay the cooler the people become. So rude asses or not, I can tell ya already I'l be back for the people and films. Mad shoutouts to Slamdance for the free tequila, even if the venue was small. And the VW's joint was tight only due to the slammin' DJ and the bartenders who were on top of their game. (Do you sense a theme here?) Okay folks and for now I'm out. Charles

Sunday Fun in the Sun(dance)

Nice day in Park City...still really cold but what more could you ask for from a fabulous ski resort. Stars still walking the street, likely the last day though. Aaron Eckart was very nice and spoke to myself and Atlanta actor Chris Burns for a few minutes about his new film Thank You For Smoking and how much he loves coming to Sundance. Speaking of Chris Burns...the King of Park city met with competition today as Sally Kirkland has films in both Sundance and Slamdance as well. Neo Ned and Off the Black, respectively (very impressive film from Athens, GA native James Ponsoldt) but to my knowledge she doesn't have an entry in Tromadance so I still think that CB is setting a record :). Tickets are still scarce but we're staying busy by getting shut out of exclusive parties and spending time on wait lists everywhere...but our spirits are high and thanks to Charles 'Flashdance' Judson...people will remember ATL folks for quite some time. More to come, stay tuned.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Sundance: Subject "Blew"

Last night, myself and CinemATL photographer Dan Slemons went to Subject Two (a modern take on the Frankenstein tale) at Sundance's midnight screenings. And it well... it wasn't good. Long, drawn out and boring comes to mind. Seems to be a theme for Sundance this year, so far. Hopefully we'll see some better films later in the week... Apparently, though, there are some good films playing, Charles Judson took in Awesome: I Fuckin' Shot That, the Beastie Boys concert film. He says it lives up to his name, but I'll let him talk more about it later. Before hand, CinemATL took in the party for Somebodies hosted by the Georgia Film, Video & Music office. There were a good many Atlantans present and the party was a great networking experience for most involved. Project Greenlight's John Gulager seemed to have a rather large crowd around him, while Dean Haglund of X-Files fame made an appearance. Apparently, some "bigger" name celebrities dropped by later, but we had to run to the Subject Two screening (that was a mistake). Of course, the party was mainly to celebrate Somebodies, which has received some good buzz at the fest. There are rumors that it's close to getting distribution. One thing before we take off for the day, there seems to be a lot more college-student partiers this year, here for the scene and basically being drunken idiots -- much more than previous years, at least from my experience. Hopefully this will subside after the weekend, but it's been a bit on the annoying side this year.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Sundance: short changed...

Just a quick message, since Charles was so verbose, and we've got to go freeze our asses off in the Wait List line soon... I've only managed to see one official Sundance screening, a midnight showing of the Shorts Program IV, and I have to say I was NOT impressed. I have seen better shorts at the 48 Hour Screenings, to tell you the truth. The best short was probably the one directed by Gwenyth Paltrow and company, and even that wasn't all that hot. I figured out the key to getting your short into Sundance, is to make it slow, long and boring, and never get to any point, then end suddenly with no resolution. If this program is any indication of all the shorts, I have no idea what the programmers were thinking this year. This morning, our group went to see The Other Side at Slamdance. This film represented Georgia well. We'll have a full review next issue, but it was a film with great action sequences and stunts, and a solid and funny script. It was just plain fun. Let's put it this way, I got maybe 20 minutes of sleep, and I never once fought the urge to sleep, I was wide awake the whole time. A very good sign. And more than I can say for the Sundance shorts... Anyway, I've had a nap now...off to more movies.

Sundance Bloggin'

Aight, coming to you live from Sundance day 2 and I can tell you that Park City just can't handle the crunkness that is the Atl. It's as if they've never heard of call and response. When a 5 foot 4 light skinned black man asks you to represent your city, you damn well better respond yo. Do you have no pride NYC? What about you San Fran? When it's 15 degrees and when your in a line of 150, who are all eagerly waiting to see if any--and I man if any--tickets might be released, you'd figure you'd be able to muster up some fire. Give some of that inner-cinephile free rein and expression. Anyhoo, me and Mike Friedman woke up at 4 am this morning so we could we get in line to procure more tickets. Doubling up on socks and other essential bits of clothing, we trugded down to the Main Box Office and joined the roughly other two dozen folks who were already in line. What did we get for our trouble? Four hours and roughly 20 minutes later we were only able to buy 3 more tickets for a midnight showing. Okay, we did bond with our fellow line goers. One was a film professor from the University of San Diego who eventually traded shifts with his wife. Another were a pair of girls from the New York who hadn't been able to purchase tickets at all prior to arriving. And then were the guys and girls who weren't actually in line, but had slept at the box office cause they didn't have anywhere else to sleep. As my first Sundance I'll say that so far this has been a curious film festival at best. I've never been to a festival organized around film that seems to be so little about film. As one fellow attendee put it, at times Sundance feels very much like Mardi Gras. But, tonight I have--what has quickly become one of the hottest events--the chance to catch the new Beastie Boy doc Awesome, I F*ckin' Shot That It. So here's to more bonding and hopefully finding more film in my debauchery.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Martin's List O'Flicks

My list is likely incomplete as there are two directors that I admire quite a bit who's films I've yet to see. However, mainstream comedies were strong this year and made for an enjoyable time at the multiplex while overall the crop of movies this year seemed down for whatever reason..."I guess I picked the wrong year to stop sniffing glue" 1. Wedding Crashers Simply the funniest movie of the year…maybe more than a couple years. Vince Vaughn shines and his comedic timing and performance steal the show but Owen Wilson perfectly carries the film along and keeps us rooting for these guys and laughing ourselves into tears of joy. 2. Hustle and Flow The fact that this movie could be at once overrated and yet still land this high on my Top 10 is a mystery to me. I was tired of the hype of this film well before I ever laid eyes on it. The hype was too much. However, personally, I could identify with Terrance Howard’s character so intensely and the world felt so real that it really did stun me. I think everyone who wants to create, and share what’s inside themselves with the world (yeah, filmmakers, writers, rappers, etc.) will be affected by this gritty drama. 3. The Constant Gardner Well crafted global corruption thriller that displays fine performances from the likes of Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz. This is a film perfectly put together as well as one that raises one’s eyebrows to how we look at the world. E 4. 40 Year Old Virgin After seeing my number one movie of the year, I thought that this film would be a let down. Not a chance. This film is an extremely funny movie with surprising heart. If Wedding Crashers hadn’t come out this year, this would have been my favorite night spent at the movies. Again with the tears… 5. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room Easily the best documentary this year, the things revealed in this documentary about real-life scandalous corporation Enron would not fly in a spec script. Chilling at times how salesman literally held the energy needs of millions hostage in order to garner over-inflated ransoms that ultimately were squandered by those at the very top of this company. A nice companion-piece would be The Corporation as it would have made an excellent case study for that film. 6. March of the Penguins A good year for documentaries. This one just makes you smile. A stark contrast to the documentary at No. 5, these penquins restore your faith in humanity…even if the main characters are not humans. Great accomplishment for the filmmakers (especially the editors who re-worked this into it’s crowd-pleasing incarnation from what could have been elementary school filmstrip material). 7. Syriana Well made and acted, this political thriller about the most controversial resource in the world, oil. While mostly even-handed, an agenda sneaks out of this film that certainly seems well-meaning. Again, a movie that makes you think while enjoying your popcorn. What more could you ask for? 8. Crash Michael Pena is a star. His performance steals this film hands down from major talents such as Don Cheadle, Terrance Howard, Matt Dillon, and even Ludacris for goodness sakes. It’s ambitious as heck and really works most of the time. It’s nice when a movie tries to say something, and pulls it off. Mostly. 9. Sin City Talk about visual splendor. This did indeed bring a graphic novel to life. Amazing to watch, and all the more impressive knowing that Robert Rodriguez did this in his garage! 10. Millions This is a largely overlooked Danny Boyle film that follows two brothers trying to cope with the loss of their mother and the gain of a lot of money. The relationship between the brothers is touching and uplifting. Nice movie to see if you haven’t had the opportunity yet. Honorable Mentions: Lord of War, Murderball, A History of Violence, Proof, Munich, Fever Pitch, Overnight, Mysterious Skin, Chronicles of Narnia (and the SNL skit ‘Lazy Sunday’ which was inspired (?) by the film)

Match Point: 40, The New World: Love

It's 1 a.m. and I have an early flight to catch out to Utah tomorrow (watch for our Sundance diaries next week, right here), but I'm awake updating the CinemATL site with new reviews. Why? Because I love you. That's right. You heard me. We're a caring sort of webzine and we want to make sure you get some new reviews, even through our own personal pain and suffering... Anyway, this time, we have Match Point and The New World. One good, one bad? So says Steve. Signed, Your Friendly Neighborhood Online Producer

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Charles's 2005 List

I never do numbered lists. There some films that aren't perfect but they have bits I like. Others were flatout terrible, yet I personally enjoyed. And there are those films that I thought were great, but over time don't stand the test of time. So I figure I'll do my list the only way I know how: completely randomly slapped together, straight off the dome.

Charles

The Good

  • Best indie film: Tie - Hustle & Flow and Me You and Everyone We Know
  • Best Romantic Comedy: Hitch
  • Best Ensemble Cast: Crash
  • Best scene that will make you tear up: Michael Peña’s daughter using herself to shield him from harm in Crash.
  • Best film for the whole family: Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
  • Best fantasy film: Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
  • Funniest comedy: 40-Year Old Virgin
  • Funniest performance: Vince Vaughn - Wedding Crashers
  • Film with the most and coolest visual references to old school film making: Munich
  • The he never lets you down performance: Geoffrey Rush - Munich
  • The only reason to watch the movie: Vince Vaughn and The Rock in Be Cool
  • Best performance that won't get the recognition it deserves: Georgie Henley as Lucy Pevense - Chronicles of Narnia
  • Best crime film of the year: Layer Cake
  • Best film that if released 30 years ago critics would be now be claiming it as a minor classic: Flightplan
  • Movie that will most likely become a "I hate to admit to I watch it when ever it comes on" film for millions: Fever Pitch
  • Film most likely to be quoted ad infinitum: Tie - Wedding Crashers and 40-Year Old Virgin

The Bad

  • Movie most in need of editing: Tie - Munich and King Kong
  • Movie I was most disappointed in: Munich
  • Most underwhelming remake: Charlie and The Chocolate Factory
  • Script most in need of another draft: Munich
  • Movie most over hyped by geeks: Sin City
  • Movie that was only worth watching once: Sin City
  • Most desperate grasp to reclaim their cool: John Travolta - Be Cool
  • Most desperate attempt to recreate a memorable movie moment: Travolta and Thurman's dance in Be Cool. A scene that only reminds you how good Pulp Fiction is and how bad Be Cool was.
  • Author whose work again proved most difficult to translate to screen: Elmore Leonard - Be Cool
  • Most worthless film of the year: XXX: State of the Union
  • The what were they thinking award: Jane Fonda for choosing the J-Lo vehicle Monster-In-Law as her first film in fifteen years.
  • Most disappointing sequence: The Batman vs. Ra's Al Ghul climax in Batman Begins.
  • Movie with the most unfulfilled dramatic promise: Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
  • Most embarrassing moment on film: Vader's Scream - Star Wars: ROTS
  • Movie with the dumbest plot that should still have turned out to be a fun popcorn flick but didn't: Stealth
  • Most disappointing directorial debut: Liev Schreiber - Everything is Illuminated
  • Most pretentious direction: Liev Schreiber - Everything is Illuminated
  • Direction most lacking subtlety: Liev Schreiber - Everything is Illuminated
  • Film that I found so boring that I never finished: Lord of War
  • Most delayed film that was delayed for good reason: G
  • Movie that proves cool sh*t is still better when there's a halfway decent story to go along with it: Tie - Ong-Bak and Transporter 2

Mike's Top 20 of 2005

These are my favorite movies of 2005. This is limited to just what I saw, so there are some omissions of some 2005 releases that haven't played Atlanta yet (most notably Match Point and The New World.) Anyway, I couldn't just pick 10, so I had to go with 20. Here they are, in order... - Michael D Friedman, CinemATL Online Producer/Reviews Editor

1. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit—I didn't have more fun at the movies this year. Fun and funny, Wallace and Gromit's jump to features was inspired. And I don't even have kids...

2. Jarhead—A lot of people wrote this film off as boring, but I found it to be a dynamic character piece about what happens when you don't get to fulfill your life's purpose. To me, it was totally engaging and proof that you can have a war movie that doesn't have fight scenes.

3. Wedding Crashers—I did not laugh harder at a movie this year, and that can be said even on the fourth viewing of this film. Vaughn and Wilson are a great comedy team.

4. Munich—Quietly engaging. It sucks you in, even if you know exactly where the story is headed. Eric Bana recovers from his lapses in The Hulk and Troy. I can forgive him now.

5. Lord of War—Nicolas Cage's best performance (The Weather Man was too drowsy) of the year is darkly funny and at the same time just dark. This one was buried at the end of a busy summer season, and was unfortunately missed by the public and critics alike. Too good to be lost for long. I'm hoping for a long life on DVD.

6. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang—Likewise, this comedic noir tale was somehow lost in the shuffle. Val Kilmer and Robert Downey Jr. should have resurrected their careers with this clever little tale, but it came and went with nary a whisper.

7. War of the Worlds—Speilberg's direction wins the day for me on this one. Creative and compelling, the visual look of this film alone won me over. And yeah, the end was kinda lame, but so was the book. The ride was too much fun to be distracted by a poor destination.

8. Mr. & Mrs. Smith—If I hear one more thing about "Brangelina" I'm gonna puke, but this movie was very entertaining and fun, and you can tell there's a definite chemistry between the two.

9. Murderball—Best documentary of the year. Uplifting as you can get and no sappy residue.

10. Serenity—Being a fan of Firefly, my opinion is probably skewed, but in my opinion there hasn't been a better sci-fi movie in years. What Star Wars could have been if Lucas could write. Too bad the box office wasn't better, because I'll miss the world Joss Whedon created... though it was a very appropriate end to the series.

11. Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe—I was surprised how much I enjoyed this film. I remembered the book from my youth, but this was more more vivid than my memory. The visuals were impressive and the story was captivating. Feel-good movies can be fun!

12. Batman Begins—A glorious reboot for a franchise that was in the dumpster. Perfectly dark, as Batman should be.

13. Sin City—Talk about dark, these tales are about as dark as you can get. But it's the visuals that make this film truly groundbreaking. It was like seeing a comic book come to life. Rodriguez is my hero.

14. Hustle & Flow—Not as good as people first said, not as bad as the naysayers would have you believe. This movie works because of Terrence Howard, who puts on the most riveting performance of the year. He's my Best Actor winner, but I don't have a vote.

15. The 40-Year-Old Virgin—An extremely funny movie, but it came out too close to Wedding Crashers for it to win a permanent place in my funny bone. Still, I'm greatful because it made Steve Carrell a bankable star, and anything that helps The Office, I'm down for.

16. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire—Harry Potter is as reliable as ever. Darker than the previous three, but still a fun ride. The story was the sticking point for me, as it seemed too focused on the Tri-Wizard tournament, instead of character development. But I can't complain too much.

17. Crash—A solid film, but I feel it is overrated. Some of the stories felt too contrived and sometimes I felt too much "message" being pushed on me. Not all the time, mind you, but there were hints of it. Still, the performances were top-notch, especially the underrated Michael Pena, and it managed to make the audience truly think—a rarity.

18. Cindarella Man—A standard feel good sports movie wrapped in an Oscar package. Feel good sports movies can be done well, and Ron Howard succeeds, mainly on the power of the cast.

19. Me and You and Everyone We Know—My winner for most bizarre movie, but it was also a very intriguing one, treading in realms not often dealt with in mainstream cinema. But at its heart is actually its heart, which is surprisingly big.

20. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy—I didn't know what to think of this film the first time I saw it. A fan of the books, I was overwhelmed by the movie version and I wasn't able to truly enjoy it until my second viewing. After the second time, everything was in focus. The movie becomes incredibly fun when you just go along for the ride.

Honorable Mention: Good Night, and Good Luck; Kung Fu Hustle; Hitch; Sky High; The Producers; Unleashed; The Weather Man; The Family Stone; Syriana

Stuff I Forgot: Throw The Edukators and The Matador in as 10(a) and 10(b), respectively. There's always a few I forget. The Edukators was a cool little German "thinker" film and The Matador was a slickly-made dark comedy with a very good Pierce Brosnan playing against type. Watch both these.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Hey! It's more reviews!

Howdy, it's Mike with your weekly CinemATL review update. We only have one brand-spanking new review this week, and that's for the animated Hoodwinked film. But, there are two releases that are just now coming to Atlanta now, both opening at Landmark. We had reviews up for them a while back, so check our back issue for reviews of both Loggerheads and Breakfast on Pluto now that they are both in general release. Remember, our review archive always has all the reviews that we have run on CinemATL, so dig in (it's part of this complete breakfast).

Thursday, January 12, 2006

One Week to Sundance and I'm a thinkin'

A few weeks ago I went to see Munich and while I was waiting to pay 8 bucks for a semi-decent hot dog and a bucket size coke there were some interesting going-ons unfolding in the next line. First up were two women who obviously hadn't been to the movies in years. "Wow, it was so easy." The brunette gasped. "I just stepped up to the machine and I had the tickets in 5 minutes. Why would anyone stand in line?" As they continued their conversation what developed was a picture of folk who hadn't been to the theater because of time and convenience. Not once did they mention bad filmmaking, trite stories or clichéd plots. Even when the subject of the prices--$4.50 was what they paid last time they had gone to the theater--came up, there was a distinct lack of griping. For these two women they were enjoying a rare night out at the movies and all the things that often illicit Hamlet like rants didn't faze them one bit. As their banter continued the picture further developed into two best friends who, for once, could be themselves and be by there by their lonesome. The movie itself seemed irrelevant. Meanwhile a portly man with rimless glasses was surveying couples of various ages. Flashing a list of recent releases he asked which films the couples were eager to see when they appeared on DVD. After the couples reaffirmed nearly every stereotype about the average filmgoer possible (women: romantic comedies natch, men: action, gory horror double check) Mr. Survey Man then asked if they'd pay $29.99 so they could own the films on DVD. The upside being that instead of being outside the established three month window, they could own the movie at the same time it was still showing in the theaters. Every couple recoiled in disgust. A hell to the nah might have escaped one husky guy’s lips. Their enthusiasm to see these films hadn't diminished, only the amount they'd pay and when they'd see it. Has the film experience diminished so much over the years that only cinephiles and filmmakers are willing spend inordinate amounts of time and money watching bits of light dance across a white screen. All with the hope of seeking out the ultimate experience? (Again, I acknowledge the crap that Mr. Survey Man mentioned, but I'd bet that for the vast majority of us, it's the crap that got us first interested in film and movies. Three in the morning, sitting in a dark living room watching late night TV and wondering aloud how they did that.) There are blockbusters, but is that hard to do in an age when films are showing in 3500 theaters and on 8000 prints? Would the public literarly line up around the block to see King Kong if it was only showing on 1 screen, a la The Godfather or Star Wars, at their local cineplex? With so many distribution channels such as cable and home rental, is it the filmgoer or the filmmaker that has become lackadasial? As many of us here head off to Sundance next week it's guaranteed that of all the films we'll see, only a few we can count on one hand will see any meaningful distribution. Out of those, some might even see release and of those some might enter the public consciousness. And I won't even go into the films that never make it to Sundance. Unlike the two women, going to the movies on the regular isn't a rarity for us at cinemATL. Seeing dozens of movies at the theater in any given month isn't a rarity. Unlike the couples--it's not exactly an equivalent situation, but indulge me--we're willing to spend way more than 30 bucks to travel thousands of miles to see films that we might not otherwise see for months or even years. Films we might not see ever. As the Festival season starts, I want to infect others with the same love of film that we have here at cinemATL so that going to the movies isn't a rarity. So that going to a movie isn't an escape from, but an escape to. And maybe it's not the filmmakers and filmgoers that have become lackadasial, maybe it's us who champion these films that have done so. So no more excuses. My goal this season is to challenge myself to find that good sh*t and make you hunger for it.

Friday, January 06, 2006

New year, new reviews...

Check 'em out! We gots more reviews for ya's... all opening in the ATL today: • CasanovaThe MatadorMusic from the Inside Out

Monday, January 02, 2006

Atlanta Actor theatrical film coming soon

This is cool stuff... Stephen Caudill, a talented Atlanta actor and actorsphere.com guru was cast as missionary Ed McCully in a film that will be in theaters, January 20th, 2006. The film 'End of the Spear' is the true story of five missionaries who were speared to death in Ecuador in January of 1956. The release of the film marks the 50th anniversary of this event and will be opening in 1200 theaters nationwide. To find a theater in your area: Visit www.endofthespear.com Click the 'Enter the Tribe' link in the bottom right corner Click the 'Theater Listings' link in the upper right hand corner Select your state on the map Several Atlanta theaters including Mansell 14, Phipps, Medlock Bridge and Hollywood 24 I noticed were confirmed to have the film. Not only will you see one of our own talented actors on the big screen but half the profits from the film will be used in remote areas of the world to help indigenous peoples, so the bigger the opening on the 20th, the better!