Category Archives: Festivals

IFFBOSTON Opening Night 2010

Hello, everyone the 8th annual Independent Film Festival of Boston is off to a fantastic start!

Last night I went and saw the opening night film “The Extra Man” with Kevin Kline and director Robert Pulcini in attendance. The screening was surely sold out and the line to get into the theatre wrapped around the corners of the Somerville. Before the film began there was a man playing the Theramin to add to the festive atmosphere and later Tuft’s own Beelzebubs performed an awesome 3 song set.

Pre-show entertainment

The Bubs getting festival-goers into the mood.

Once pre-show festivities ended, the film began. It is one of the more strange films I’ve seen, not in a David Lynch sense of not knowing what’s going on but more in the sense that there are a handful of plot lines all fighting for our attention.

Based on the Jonathan Ames novel of the same name, the film follows, Louis Ives (Paul Dano) as he is fired from his job at the prep school he works at and decides to move to New York to fulfill his dream of becoming a writer. Ives is obsessed with the 1920’s and the literature of that time, specifically with The Great Gatsby. The Extra Man is in a very bizarre way a sort of pseudo-adaptation of The Great Gatsby that just so happens to include cross-dressing, Kevin Kline dancing in sweatpants and ruminations on environmentalism. Soon Ives moves into the apartment where the wild eccentric, escort Henry Harrison (Kevin Kline) lives. Ives quickly gets a job at an environmentalist magazine and Harrison starts to show him the over indulgent world of old New York money.

The film compellingly explores unrequited love and holds no judgments against it’s characters’ psychological issues including Ives’ habit of cross dressing. In the end though I was unsure of how all the plot lines connected. What was Mary Powell’s (Katie Holmes) importance in the grand scheme of the film? Was Gershon (John C. Reilly) simply there for comedic support? How does Ives’ story connect with the old spinster Vivian? Who knows, perhaps I am a bit too young to understand the meaning of the film. Do not get me wrong though, I thoroughly enjoyed the film and would definitely recommend it. The performances are across the board terrific. Kevin Kline does not have a single false beat in the movie, Paul Dano proves that he is one of the best young actors around and the supporting performances manage to be bizarre and hilarious without becoming caricatures. The writing is also terrific and the script highly quotable. I suspect this film may garner award nominations after it is released wide sometime in July.

After the film Kline accepted his Career Achievement Award with grace and humor. Upon receiving his award he remarked, “I’m honored and… whatever the opposite of humbled is.” Then director Robert Pulcini took the stage to partake in the audience Q and A. Both Kline and Pulcini seemed to really enjoy listening to comments from the audience and generously answered questions. All in all, it was a great way to kick off the festival. It runs until next Wednesday, make sure you go and see a film or two, there is so much going on you won’t want to miss it!

For complete info/ schedule click here: http://www.iffboston.org/

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IFFBoston Update

IFFBoston 2010: April 21-28, 2010

You can now order individual tickets online for the 8th annual Independent Film Festival of Boston! The complete schedule is now on the official website, so you can conveniently decide which film screenings you will be able to go to. Some screenings will sell out soon, so you should probably get tickets as soon as possible. Also, I hear that actress Amber Benson (Tara, for any of you Buffy fans out there) will be in attendance for her film Drones which she directed. Hopefully we will learn of what other special guests will be attending within the next couple weeks. Go buy tickets, you don’t want to miss everything that IFFBoston has in store!

You can find complete info here: http://www.iffboston.org/index.php

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Independent Film Festival of Boston 2010

Hey guys, IFFBoston has just announced its lineup of films for this year’s festival and it looks like it will be bigger and better than ever. The festival is turning 8 this year and this will be my fifth year volunteering. Each year over 20,000 movie lovers descend onto Somerville, Cambridge and Boston to watch some of the most promising independent films each year and to mingle with actors, writers, directors and other people in the entertainment business. The festival has grown at an incredible speed in just 8 years and past guests have included Ben Kingsley, Chris Cooper, Steve Buscemi, Eliza Dushku, John Waters, Will Arnett, Joey McIntyre, Danny Huston, Rob Corddry, Mary Steenburgen, Famke Janssen, Michael Cera and many others.

This year the festival kicks off on Wednesday, April 21 with the film “The Extra Man” starring Kevin Kline, John C. Reilly, Katie Holmes and Paul Dano. Kline is scheduled to be there to pick up his IFFBoston Career Achievement Award. IFFBoston will also introduce a new award in honor of late editor Karen Schmeer called the Karen Schmeer Award for Excellence in Documentary Editing. All in all over 150 films will be screened including feature films, documentaries and shorts. I highly encourage anyone in the area to check out the festival, good times will be had by all! Here are a few of the exciting films that will be screened this year, keep checking back here as more news comes out from IFFBoston headquarters!

Note: All of these summaries are quoted directly from the IFFBoston website.

Narrative Features

  • THE EXTRA MAN
  • In this urbane comedy, Paul Dano and Kevin Kline play writers who sideline as escorts for wealthy widowed socialites.
  • CELL 211
  • In this Goya Award-winning suspense thriller from Spain, a rookie guard is trapped inside a prison during a riot and must pretend he is a prisoner to survive.
  • CYRUS
  • Mark and Jay Duplass’s hilarious new comedy about the battle for one woman’s affections, starring John C. Reilly, Jonah Hill, Catherine Keener and Marisa Tomei.
  • DRONES
  • An unassuming guy is shocked out of his dull, everyday work routine when he discovers that his co-workers aren’t exactly from this planet in the latest film by Amber Benson and Adam Busch.
  • THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE WEIRD
  • In this frenetic, high-octane Korean Western, three Outlaws in 1930s Manchuria attempt to recover a map to buried treasure.
  • I AM LOVE
  • The wife of an Italian industrial magnate (Tilda Swinton) embarks on a dangerous affair in this sumptuous film.
  • THE KILLER INSIDE ME
  • Casey Affleck portrays a Texas deputy sheriff whose dormant violent tendencies resurface. Directed by Michael Winterbottom.
Documentary Features

  • 8: THE MORMON PROPOSITION
  • Investigates the Mormon Church’s role in passing California’s Proposition 8.
  • BANANAS!*
  • Twelve Nicaraguan banana workers sue Dole Food over their use of a dangerous pesticide known to cause sterility.
  • ERASING DAVID
  • Director David Bond attempts to disappear to find out just how much private companies and government know about him.
  • HOW TO FOLD A FLAG
  • Examines the difficulties facing returning veterans of the Iraqi War.
  • TEENAGE PAPARAZZO
  • Adrien Grenier’s (Entourage) feature directorial debut documents the rise to fame and success of Hollywood’s youngest member of the paparazzi.
  • ORGASM INC.
  • This hilarious and thought-provoking documentary explores the world of pharmaceutical companies attempting to get FDA approval for the first Viagra-like product for women.
  • ON THE OTHER SIDE OF LIFE (SPECIAL SNEAK PREVIEW SCREENING)
  • A gripping account of two brothers struggling to balance modernity and tradition in Cape Town.
  • SATURDAY NIGHT – CLOSING NIGHT FILM
  • James Franco (PINEAPPLE EXPRESS) makes his directorial debut with this behind-the-scenes look at the making of an episode of Saturday Night Live.
For a complete film list and general information, please visit the official IFFBoston website here:

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Promising Films from Sundance 2010

Tonight is the opening night of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, arguably the biggest and most important film festival in the U.S. Every year tens of thousands of filmmakers, actors and fans swarm Park City, Utah to attend the world premieres of the latest independent films from some of the most cutting edge writers and directors working in the biz today. Sundance has become known for premiering and screening some of the best independent films in recent memory (Precious, Little Miss Sunshine, Garden State, Donnie Darko, Saved!, Maria Full of Grace.) The list is very long and very impressive. Just because a a film is independent though doesn’t necessarily mean it is good, in fact there are many terrible “indie” films. Nevertheless when a film is made independently, the filmmakers have more creative freedom and that I think is a good thing. Here are some films that will be premiering at this year’s film festival that you may want to check out because to quote Entourage’s Ari Gold “You don’t come to Sundance for the snow; you come for the heat.”

Howl

This film has its world premiere tonight and recounts the 1957 obscenity trial revolving around a young Allen Ginsberg, after writing his infamous poem. The fantastic cast includes some of my favorite actors (James Franco, Mary-Louise Parker, Jon Hamm, Jeff Daniels, David Strathairn).

The Runaways

This film follows Joan Jett (Kristen Stewart), Cherrie Currie (Dakota Fanning) and their band The Runaways during their dramatic rise to fame in 1970s Los Angeles. As a Joan Jett fan, I’m excited to see how the film depicts her and I am looking forward to seeing Fanning work her acting muscles again.

The Company Men

From what I gather this movie is about corporate downsizing and according to the Sundance website, the film is “a tribute to America’s unsung heroes: hard-working men caught in life’s unexpected misfortunes.” This film also has a fantastic cast including Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Costner, Chris Cooper and Rosemarie DeWitt.

Blue Valentine

Director Derek Cianfrance chronicles a marriage during its stale and sad state and also shows us how it was once passionate and full of life. The fact that Ryan Gosling and Michelle Wiliams play the married couple alone makes me want to see this movie.

Get Low

Old grumpy Felix has lived alone for the last 38 years in a remote cabin. One day he decides to throw himself a funeral party and invites all the townspeople to attend. If the premise alone didn’t sound awesome, here’s the amazing cast: Robert Duvall, Bill Murray and Sissy Spacek.

Please Give

Please Give is the story of a married New York couple who are planning to expand their apartment by buying the unit next door to theirs, the only problem is that they have to wait for the old woman living in it to die first. Starring the always-lovely Catherine Keener and the accomplished Oliver Platt.

The Kids Are All Right

This film follows a lesbian couple living in Los Angeles and their children’s search for their biological father. The film stars two of my favorite/ two of the best actresses working today (Julianne Moore and Annette Benning) and the great Mark Ruffalo.

Armless

John has a secret desire to have his arms cut off so he goes and tries to find a doctor who will actually do this. Doesn’t sound crazy enough? Then his mother tells his wife that he is is cheating on her, so she decides to find John – so she can cut off his balls.

HIGH school

The protagonist of this film tries to get the entire student body of his school stoned. This should be funny.

Waiting for Superman

A documentary about our failing education system.

Teenage Paparazzo

A documentary about a 13-year-old paparazzo. This sounds fascinating and disturbing.

So those are just a few of the many, many films being screened at Sundance. For a complete list click here:  http://sundance.bside.com/2010/films

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