PFS Rapid Review – About Last Night

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By Davis Rivera

Perhaps not since Eddie Murphy has there been a stand-up comedian who has proven themselves to be as adept at that most difficult art of making us laugh in person and on the big screen as Kevin Hart.  When Hart speaks, he conquers all listeners and in Steve Pink’s About Last Night… he displays a love and command of language so impressive one can imagine that even David Mamet might stand back in awe.

PFS Rapid Review: The Grand Budapest Hotel

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By Davis Rivera

Reading the works of Stefan Zweig has always left me with the sensation that any lover of both literature and film might feel: Why has there never been a modern adaptation of this author’s work that shows a keen understanding of his prose the way Rossellini and Ophüls did nearly a century ago?  Thankfully, Wes Anderson has made the ultimate tribute to Zweig with his masterful and staggeringly gorgeous new film The Grand Budapest Hotel.

PFS Rapid Review: The Wind Rises

THE WIND RISES

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By Davis Rivera

If the heart is our most valuable organ then Hayao Miyazaki, with his ability to challenge us and make the viewer feel things we never thought possible, was our most valuable artist working in animation before his retirement.  The Wind Rises, his fictionalized biography of engineer Jiro Horikoshi, is as beautifully told and lushly detailed as his classic tales of a freelance bounty hunter pig or a young Emishi warrior and cannot be missed.

And You Call Yourself a Film Buff?! – Goodfellas

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By Caroline Meuser

Though I was exposed to Goodfellas early in life, I did not experience the type of positive introduction that most “cinephiles” probably have. To me, it was one of those films that TNT constantly featured and, while my dad sat enrapt as Joe Pesci pumps seven bullets into his friend’s chest, I classified it as a film I may watch in full eventually, but for the time, I could do without the emotional disturbance incurred by seeing men willfully destroy their lives and the lives of others through organized crime.

Martin Scorsese adapted Goodfellas from the 1986 non-fiction book Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi. By 1990, Scorsese and Pileggi organized an utterly triumphant cast and screenplay. Ray Liotta narrates most of the film as Henry Hill, an aspiring-turned-successful Brooklyn gangster. In a menacing, poignant performance, Liotta illustrates Hill’s tumultuous existence – from his collaboration with mob figures Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci) and Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro) in 1955 to his dramatic fall from criminal grace in 1980. Within this time period, the glamour of violence and riches blind Hill and company. With each murder, drug deal and robbery, the line distinguishing their actions between dutiful and disturbing rapidly fades.

Awards Night Quizzo

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This past Sunday at the Philadelphia Film Society’s celebration of the Biggest Night in Hollywood at the PFS Theater at the Roxy, guests participated in a game of Awards Night Quizzo during commercial breaks.  Winners will be notified soon, but below are the answers for anyone wondering!

PFS Rapid Review: 12 Years a Slave

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In celebration of PFS Oscar Week & PFF22 Alum 12 Years a Slave bringing home the biggest award on Sunday:

12 Years a Slave is potentially one of the most important films ever made. Director Steve McQueen skillfully guides his unflinching camera through some of the worst evils mankind has ever perpetrated against itself. The film is not an easy watch, with Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender and newcomer Lupita Nyong’o in particular giving earth-shattering performances. I can guarantee you will not be quite the same once the credits start rolling. 

PFS Staff Picks: And the Oscar goes to…

Oscars

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The 86th Academy Awards are less than two days away, and with such an amazing year in film behind us, everyone at PFS is buzzing with excitement.  Below, some of the staff put their votes in on who would go home with the night’s biggest prizes. 

If you want to watch the glitz, performances, and acceptance speeches with us, come to a live streaming of the Awards Ceremony at the PFS Theater at the Roxy on Sunday!  Click HERE for more info.  

Local filmmakers showcased in February’s Filmadelphia at the Roxy Series

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By Avery Maehrer

Joe Lee was horrified to make the call.

An idea had sprung in his head for a documentary about Sue and Ron Witman, whose family made headlines after their son was found guilty of brutally killing his younger brother. But for Lee’s vision to come to fruition, he had to pick up the phone and convince the married couple to tell him their story. After Lee overcame his nerves and reached out to the Witmans, they met in person. The rest is history.

“They kind of fell in love with us,” Lee said. “And we fell in love with them.”

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The result of what followed Lee’s phone call is “The Witmans” – one of three short films by local filmmakers showcased on Feb. 18 in the

Philadelphia Film Society’s Filmadelphia at the Roxy program. In addition to Lee’s work, Doris ChiaChing Lin’s “Maquette 1:1000” and Hilary Brashear’s “Triptych” were also screened in front of a packed theater.

So Bad It’s Good – My Best Friend is a Vampire

My BF is a Vampire

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By Alexander Goodlive

With all the hate that The Twilight Saga gets (and rightfully so) for destroying the image of what a vampire is and should be, few realize that vampire movies have always existed outside of household Anne Rice fetish material. While it is tempting to blame the downfall of modern vampires on Stephanie Meyer, a movie came out in the 80s that, if held to the same standards, would be equally as blasphemous in the eyes of many a Hot Topic shopper.

PFS Rapid Review – Like Father, Like Son

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By Davis Rivera

Hirokazu Koreeda may not be a household name in the United States but, film-by-film, he has made a case for himself being the best Japanese chronicler of everyday life since Ozu.  His newest film Like Father, Like Son further cements his reputation by taking what sounds like a contrived idea for a film and turning it into a tear-inducing family drama as relatable to those with children as it is to those without. If you missed it during PFF22, you can see Like Father, Like Son at the Ritz at the Bourse.

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Davis Rivera is the recipient of the Marguerite & Otis Walter Scholarship for Excellence in Art History, founded the UArts Literary Society, recently completed a book on the last American auteur, and is working on two films to be released this spring.  He lives and works in Philadelphia, PA.