This year marked my first time attending the Berlinale. Having never been to Berlin before, and knowing the importance of the Festival, I was very excited for the trip. Every Festival is a very distinct experience, and Berlinale is no exception. The industry presence is overwhelmingly international, even more so than Cannes, largely because of the proximity to Sundance (Berlin starts about 2 weeks after).
We are nearing the end of the 2013 Awards Season, which means that the Oscars are quickly approaching. In less than a week a new batch of filmmakers and artists will be able to prefix their names with the prestigious “Academy Award Winner…” Unlike many of my generation, I enjoy the Oscars immensely. It is true that the speeches and constant commercial breaks can get tedious, but I see the Academy Awards as a celebration of new Hollywood and Old Hollywood, as young starlets walk down the same red carpet as Audrey Hepburn and Bette Davis.
One of the shining standouts of the 21st Philadelphia Film Festival and of the whole year was David O. Russell’s ‘Silver Linings Playbook’. Set in Philadelphia, last year’s opening night film starring Bradley Cooper, Robert DeNiro, and Jennifer Lawrence follows a bi-polar man who recently gets released from a mental hospital and befriends a mysterious girl with her own baggage who agrees to help him reconcile with his estranged wife. But through a series of events that involves dancing and the Philadelphia Eagles, the pair grows closer together despite all their problems.
Just got back from the Sundance Film Festival and I’m happy to report that there are some great things in store for filmgoers this year. After many sleepless nights, long hours in lines and some plowing through screeners in front of my laptop, I’ve managed to sift through 90+ movies. Some incredible gems, some duds, plenty of things I’m excited to follow up with and hopefully bring to Philly in the fall. What will make the cut? You’ll just have to wait and see. But, in the meantime, there are some great Sundance hits just around the corner. This spring will see the release of Shane Carruth’s eagerly anticipated and beautifully enigmatic Upstream Color, his second feature since he won Sundance with his time-travel masterpiece Primer. Slated for a March release, Upstream Color is a major piece of cinema that is not to be missed.
The month of February celebrates a number of things for different groups of people. In the United States and Canada, it’s Black History Month. In the UK, it’s LGBT History Month. For fans of the NFL, it marks the end of their season as the two top teams in the NFL battle it out in the Super Bowl. Finally, for cinefiles all over the world, this February is all about Hollywood looking back at the past year’s praiseworthy films in order to honor them at the 85th Academy Awards.
Although the Sundance Film Festival is a little over 2,000 miles away from Philadelphia, we’ve got some pretty tight connections to their 2013 line up!
Mark Wahlberg certainly has a busy year ahead of him. He has quite the slate of films coming out and in the pipeline for 2013. There’s ‘Pain & Gain’, ‘2 Guns’, a potential sequel to ‘Ted’, and a brand new ‘Transformers’ movie to start another trilogy for the robots in disguise. However, his first movie of the year, ‘Broken City’, where he co-stars with Russell Crowe, hits theaters on January 18, 3013.
If you can recall back to PFF21, one film that had toes tapping was ‘Not Fade Away’, the debut feature film from David Chase, the creator of HBO’s acclaimed show ‘The Sopranos’. Following the rise and fall of a young band in the 60s who, like many others, were inspired by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones to start playing instruments with the hope of becoming the next big thing in music.
When I first got word of a Cirque du Soleil movie, I wasn’t sure what to expect. After the credits rolled on ‘Worlds Away’ though, I was pleasantly surprised at what was presented before me. Rather than filming just one of their popular shows, director Andrew Adamson and producer James Cameron put together a never-before-seen story featuring new characters traveling through the worlds of Cirque du Soleil and using acts from seven of the brands most popular shows like ‘Love’, the show inspired by the music of the Beatles, and ‘Viva Elvis’, the show highlighting the King’s career, to illustrate the journey that the two lovers embark on to find each other. In a way, you’re watching a Cirque du Soleil mixtape in stunningly beautiful 3D rather than having to pay all that money to go to Las Vegas to see every show. (But if you can afford it, definitely go and see all the shows in Vegas.) It’s an appetizer sampler, if you will, and it was pretty tasty, so to speak.
Hello, Film Society! After a brief hiatus, Blogger Ben is back behind the blog with brand new banter. And alliteration. Because who doesn’t love that, right?