Author Archive

PFS Interview – Ava DuVernay, Director of Selma

selma-trailer

Written by Alex Gibson on . Posted in Blogs

By Alex Gibson

An early scene in Selma depicts Annie Lee Cooper, played by Oprah Winfrey, sitting in an Alabama courthouse. She nervously approaches the window and hands in a completed voter registration form. The white man behind the counter, who has clearly thwarted her previous attempts at voter registration, studies her form. He looks up and challenges her to recite the preamble to the Constitution. She does so perfectly from memory. Annoyed, he asks her how many county judges there are in Alabama. Sixty-seven, she answers confidently, probably having been stumped last time. The man sneers back at her, “Name them,” he says.

When she cannot, the man stamps DENIED on her registration form, and she is sent away again.photo (32)

Though by 1965, all Americans technically had the right to vote, experiences like Cooper’s (and worse) were extremely common in the South. African Americans were met with derision, oppression, institutional obstacles, and violence when trying to register to vote. As a result, masses of black people were disenfranchised and denied a basic American right. The marches from Selma to Montgomery, led by Dr. Martin Luther King and other Civil Rights Leaders of the time, eventually led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibits racial discrimination in voter registration and is considered one of the most important events of the Civil Rights Movement.

When Selma opens nationwide on January 9, it will be making history for a couple of reasons. Not only is it the first studio film about Dr. King, but it has also garnered director Ava DuVernay with a Golden Globe nod, making her the first African-American woman to be nominated. She will make history again if nominated for an Academy Award this month.

DuVernay recently visited Philadelphia for a pre-holiday screening of Selma, and I was honored to speak with her about her film and activism for African-American filmmakers.

PFS Interview – Rupert Wyatt, Director of The Gambler

gambler_xlg

Written by Alex Gibson on . Posted in Uncategorized

By Alex Gibson

In one of the many memorable scenes of The Gambler, Jim Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) weaves through a lecture hall See it at the Roxy!lamenting the absence of genius in the world. He teaches his students that genius is born, not bred, and those who don’t have it shouldn’t even try. Though he does not call himself a genius, he will come to admit that three of his students are: the nationally ranked tennis-player Dexter (Emory Cohen), the school’s all-star basketball player (Anthony Kelley), and a shy young writer (Brie Larson). By the end of the film, these three will also be the only people who see Jim in both halves of his life, the only ones who see both sides of the coin, or in his case, the casino chip.

A loose remake of the 1974 film of the same name, The Gambler stars Mark Wahlberg as  Jim, an English professor who racks up over $260,000 worth of debt and is given seven days to repay it. Jim owes the bulk of his money to a Korean gangster Mister Lee (Alvin Ing) and Neville, a genial moneylender (Michael Kenneth Williams). After receiving and gambling away a payout from his mother (Jessica Lange), Jim later goes to Frank, played hauntingly by John Goodman, for another loan. While it seems that The Gambler centers around gambling addiction as the original film did, this version focuses more on a character who wants to get away from his life and finds an escape in casinos.

Earlier this month, The Gambler director Rupert Wyatt visited Philadelphia for a special screening of the film. The next day, I got the opportunity to discuss his film with him.

PFS Rapid Recommendations – Nightcrawler

Nightcrawler

Written by Alex Gibson on . Posted in Blogs

By Davis Rivera

In Dan Gilroy‘s Nightcrawler, Jake Gyllenhaal gives the best performance of the year as Lou Bloom – a character as bewitching as Joyce’s fellow wanderer Leopold.  For most of the film Bloom stands hunched over with his videocamera, always at the ready to capture the immensity of our present misery.  After two hours of looking through Bloom’s unflinching lens and trying to make sense of his actions, one cannot help but be reminded of Joyce’s remark: “A lifetime in a night.  Gradually changes your character.”

PHILADELPHIA FILM SOCIETY KICKS OFF ‘HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS’ FILM SERIES TOMORROW, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 12

Written by Alex Gibson on . Posted in Press

For Immediate Release:

PHILADELPHIA FILM SOCIETY KICKS OFF ‘HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS’ FILM SERIES TOMORROW, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 12   

The 12-Day Retrospective Will Feature Holiday and Cold Weather Films From the 1940s Through Today 

(PHILADELPHIA, PA) December 11, 2014 – The Philadelphia Film Societypresents Home for the Holidays, a 12-day movie celebration highlighting some favorite holiday and cold weather films of the season. The series features everything from heartwarming classics like MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET and MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS to a DIE HARD and DIE HARD 2 double- feature event.

The series will run from Friday, December 12 to Wednesday, December 24 at the PFS Roxy Theater, 2023 Sansom Street, Philadelphia PA 19103.

Tickets are now available and can be purchased online at www.filmadelphia.org/events/holiday2014 or at the PFS Roxy Theater Box Office.

PFS Rapid Recommendation – Foxcatcher

Foxcatcher

Written by Alex Gibson on . Posted in Blogs

By Davis Rivera

Bennett Miller‘s Cannes-winning Foxcatcher tells the true story of Olympic gold medalists Dave and Mark Schultz and their relationship with multimillionaire John du Pont.  Steve Carell’s portrayal of Du Pont, a disturbed individual who claims to see man’s highest potential and makes it his life’s mission to actualize it through others, is the highlight of the film – capturing both the loneliness and the absurdity of an entitled brute painfully aware of his mother’s disapproval and his own masculine inadequacies.

PFS Rapid Recommendation – The Homesman

The-Homesman1

Written by Alex Gibson on . Posted in Blogs

By Davis Rivera

Taking place in the Nebraska Territory during the mid-19th century, Tommy Lee Jones‘ sophomore film The Homesman is relentless in its depiction of the formidable bleakness possessing the land our two main characters (Jones and Hilary Swank) must travel through to reach their destination.  Equally formidable is the performance from Swank, bringing life to a wonderfully complex character full of inner torment as crushing as the countryside that surrounds her.

PHILADELPHIA FILM SOCIETY & GEEKADELPHIA ANNOUNCE SIX-DAY FILM SERIES, STAR TREK – 35 YEARS ON 35MM: A RETROSPECTIVE

Written by Alex Gibson on . Posted in Press

For Immediate Release:

PHILADELPHIA FILM SOCIETY & GEEKADELPHIA ANNOUNCE SIX-DAY FILM SERIES, STAR TREK – 35 YEARS ON 35MM: A RETROSPECTIVE 

Retrospective will feature all six of the Star Trek Original Series films, with screenings held December 5-10, 2014 at the PFS Roxy Theater

(PHILADELPHIA, PA) November 13, 2014 – The Philadelphia Film Society, in partnership with Geekadelphia, presents a six-day retrospective of the original Star Trek film series in 35mm format to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Released by Paramount Pictures in 1979, the film is the theatrical continuation of the storyline based on the Star Trek television series, which chronicled the space adventures of the crew of the USS Enterprise.

The six film series, Star Trek – 35 Years on 35mm, will feature film discussions, Star Trek memorabilia giveaways and raffles, themed-trivia, costume contests, and more. The series will run from Friday, December 5 to Wednesday, December 10 at the PFS Roxy Theater, 2023 Sansom Street, Philadelphia PA 19103.

THE PHILADELPHIA FILM SOCIETY HOSTS SCREENING OF NATIONAL GALLERY WITH ACCLAIMED DOCUMENTARIAN FREDERICK WISEMAN IN ATTENDANCE

Written by Alex Gibson on . Posted in Press

For Immediate Release:

THE PHILADELPHIA FILM SOCIETY HOSTS SCREENING OF NATIONAL GALLERY WITH ACCLAIMED DOCUMENTARIAN FREDERICK WISEMAN IN ATTENDANCE 

Post-screening Q&A with Wiseman on November 11 at the PFS Roxy Theater

(Philadelphia, PA – November 7, 2014) – The Philadelphia Film Society (PFS) is thrilled to announce it is hosting a very special screening of the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight entry National Gallery. After the screening, Director Frederick Wiseman, will participate in an audience Q&A.

National Gallery takes the audience behind the scenes of a London institution, on a journey to the heart of a museum inhabited by masterpieces of Western art from the Middle Ages to the 19th Century. National Gallery is the portrait of a place, its way of working and relations with the world, its staff and public, and its paintings. In a perpetual and dizzying game of mirrors, film watches painting watches film.