Turkey Day is the first stop on the road to the holiday season- check out the list of PFS staff picks of our favorite movies that get us in the festive mood!
By Megan Reilly
With the 23rd Philadelphia Film Festival celebrating films now through October 26, I took a moment to reflect on some standout films from festivals past. Here are my personal favorites from the last three years.
By Davis Rivera
With Jimi: All Is By My Side, John Ridley makes it known that he is a filmmaker fed up, like many theatergoers, with the by-the-numbers biopic studios never seem to tire of churning out. From the brilliant casting of Andre Benjamin as Jimi Hendrix to the impressionistic approach to editing the film, Ridley has crafted a spectacle that perfectly matches Hendrix’s idiosyncratic style. As Mr. Benjamin once put it: “Invite you to an emotion filled theater / Bring your umbrella ’cause young fella it gets no weirder.”
By Davis Rivera
As a native Texan and a fan of great cinema, I had every reason to look forward to Richard Linklater’s twelve-years-in-the-making Boyhood, his portrait of a child maturing from age six to age eighteen. What I did not anticipate was Linklater proving himself the 21st century’s master of the bildungsroman, on par with Henry Fielding and James Joyce before him. His achievement is unparalleled and sets the new benchmark for what is possible in the world of narrative cinema.
By Alex Gibson
After a long week of work, you relax for the ideal weekend with your friends and family. It’s a beautiful day, perfect for the beach during the day followed by a night on the town. Then, suddenly, in the blink of an eye, half of the people around you disappear into thin air. In fact, half the world’s population vanishes instantly.
This is the premise of Left Behind, starring Nicolas Cage and directed by Vic Armstrong. Left Behind, produced by Stony Lake Entertainment, is based on the best-selling series of the same name. The film depicts the first few hours after the Rapture, a biblical prophecy that says millions of people will ascend to Heaven instantly to save them from the darkest time in human history.
Left Behind follows Rayford Steele (Cage), an airline pilot who is flying from New York to London when a portion of his passengers – including his co-pilot – disappear. Chaos ensues as the remaining passengers wonder what happened to their friends and family, while cut off from the rest of the world. As he tries to get the plane safely on the ground, Rayford is assisted by a flirty flight attendant, Hattie (Nicky Whelan), and hardened investigative journalist Buck Williams (Chad Michael Murray).
By Davis Rivera
In Michael Winterbottom’s The Trip to Italy, a sequel to 2010’s The Trip, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon embark on a restaurant tour that doubles as a retracing of the Romantic poets’ Italian odysseys. Along the way Coogan and Brydon offer insightful anecdotes on Al Pacino, Alanis Morissette (“a Morrissey fan who dubbed herself a Moriss-ette”), and countless others in a film that proves a perfect showcase for the considerable talents of both men.
By Kim Scott
Dolls coming to life? Abandon your frilly and fond memories of Toy Story, and let me remind you of a lil’ plastic piece of hellspawn named Chucky! Wanna play?
By Muhammad Naqvi
Afflicted by the paradoxical gift of losing humanity in order to help it, Scarlett Johansson falls into the part of Lucy in the Luc Besson‘s 2014 release of the same name. Morgan Freeman and Amr Waked also star in this campy and sporadically thrilling actioner. Although it seems like the Besson’s work is slipping when Lucy reaches unfathomable cognitive capabilities, it’s fun to see him juggle larger philosophical ideas within the conventional tropes of Hollywood.
By Ben Silverio
During the 21st Philadelphia Film Festival, we celebrated the 10-year anniversary of M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘Signs’ at the Prince Theater with a Q&A with the director and WMMR’s ‘Preston & Steve’ morning show host/movie buff Steve Morrison after the film. Here are some pictures from the event to relive the great time had by all attended:
By Davis Rivera
Making canonical lists of important works is an activity that is necessary to parse the history of art in search of a concise collection of digestible accomplishments. Like editing a film or book, exclusion becomes key to unveiling the incomparable, autonomous forms which the artist was able to invent. What characterizes the filmography of Marlon Brando, however, is its inability to be whittled down. Rather than recommending his entire body of work, which should be viewed at some point, there must be an entry point and that lies within the 129 minutes of Bernardo Bertolucci‘s 1972 film Last Tango in Paris.