Lady Bird, written and directed by Greta Gerwig

Posted in Front Page

Searching for Camelot, directed by Roger Paradiso

Searching For Camelot Trailer from Nicholas Dewitt on Vimeo.

Searching For Camelot is a documentary about a group of millennials who explore the romantic fantasy of “Camelot”. Why did Jackie choose Camelot to frame her husband’s thousand days in Office? What was the connection to Camelot? Was there a secret love affair in the White House? How did Jack and Jackie influence and inspire generations, including the current generation appearing in this film? You will see and hear things you never knew, told by people who are only interested in finding the truth behind the myth.

Jack and Jackie Kennedy rocked the world with their campaign for Peace, Equality and Culture, forever changing the course of History. We see these events through the eyes of our young searchers. They may have heard about some of these events, but by listening to our experts and by doing their own research they present an interesting and original perspective on the Kennedy legacy. This is a celebration of a great love story and two remarkable people who brought America into the New Frontier of hope and dreams that in time changed the World.

“A man may die, nations may fall, but an idea lives on” – John F.Kennedy

Find out more and follow the film on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Searching-For-Camelot/627770000646959?ref=bookmarks

Posted in Filmmaker Profiles

Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo

Review written by Mike Fishman

In Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Michael Keaton plays Riggan Thomson, a nearly washed-up actor best known for playing a Hollywood super-hero called Birdman (not unlike Batman whom Keaton famously played in the first two films of that franchise in 1989 and 1992 directed by Tim Burton). Riggan is desperate to escape the shadow of the role that made him famous and he puts everything he’s got on the line (financially, emotionally, mentally) to direct and star in a dramatic play based on a short story by Raymond Carver that he desperately hopes will salvage his reputation if not resurrect his career. Along the way, Riggan battles with everyone around him (his co-stars, his lover, his daughter) and with Birdman himself, who appears like a specter or perhaps more accurately like one of those little devils floating above cartoon characters’ heads whispering evil encouragements, here life-size and with huge menacing wings. All the while, Emmanuel Lubezki’s camera literally follows Riggen, mostly through the dark interiors of the St. James Theater where the film is set in extremely long shots edited together as if in one long take, creating a powerful sense of propulsion and urgency.

Keaton gives a committed performance, ironically playing down his usual squinty-eyed disapproval of everyone and everything around him, portraying a man who is put-upon by the world and trying to do just one good and worthy thing. Naomi Watts and Zach Galifianakis turn in typically strong performances while Emma Stone as Riggan’s daughter Sam leaves little room for shades of gray in her exaggerated role as a druggie pessimist. The plot is as contained as the set and some scenes feel forced or even unnecessary. To what purpose other than titillation do we see Naomi Watts and Andrea Riseborough lock lips? And the casualness with which Riggan finishes a joint he finds on Sam after ripping into her for still using drugs feels like a weak attempt at portraying hypocrisy. Yet just as often there are remarkable scenes, such as when Keaton and Ed Norton as Riggan’s co-star in the play run through a scene in rehearsal, Norton’s infamous bad-boy stage actor Mike flashing his acting chops to a fiery yet receptive Riggan.

Through it all runs a magical realism that finds Riggan floating in the air and moving objects with his mind. The effects are outstanding, particularly a scene where Riggan literally flies over New York City. This reflection of Riggan’s Birdman, both the character and the inner demon, is potentially undercut by the film’s final scene in which Emma Stone’s Sam is seen staring out a window breaking into a smile apparently observing Riggan floating in the air. The impossibility of that occurring in real life can perhaps best be explained as being imagined images flashing through Riggan’s mind as he lay dying on stage after shooting himself in the head. Or perhaps he died earlier, jumping off the roof in the afore-memtioned scene that feels so real it’s shocking until Riggan re-appears soaring over the city street. The director himself has been mum on explaining the film’s ending except to say that it replaced an earlier “bad” ending. One has to wonder if that earlier ending was the more expected if not predictably satisfying one in which Sam, in a rare display of affection, lays her head on Riggan’s chest in the hospital where he lay recuperating from that gunshot wound that turned out to be a minor injury. Though even that defies logic as the way the gunshot is filmed, it seems clear Riggan is holding the gun directly to his head; in the hospital he’s told he shot his nose off but when he removes the bandage all we really see is a huge bruise. The ending will surely divide its audience and that’s not a bad thing as ultimately Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), infused with questions about the value of art and the power of criticism, certainly gives viewers much to chew on.

Mike Fishman has an M.A. in Film from American University and has worked for ICM, IFP, Tribeca Film Institute, Hamptons International Film Festival, and the Columbia University Film School.

Posted in Film Reviews, etc.

Trymester, directed by Ashleigh Coffelt, written by Courtney Birk and Ashleigh Coffelt

Synopsis: Trymester is an experimental film about a man who is caught in-between his wants and responsibilities.

Watch Trymester here: https://vimeo.com/118258523

Bio: Ashleigh Coffelt and I have been making experimental short films for about a year now. After two full length features, and 15 shorts later we are now sponsored and have moved over to California to continue making our dream happen. I always told myself that I could be anything that I wanted to be, but never did I think that an independent filmmaker would be in the mix somewhere. I have finally found my passion. I just hope that everyone who watches this short appreciates it as much as I do. Courtney Birk.

Posted in Filmmaker Profiles

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