22 July, 2014

Win free passes to see "Boyhood" in Atlanta!

Patricia Arquette and Ellar Coltrane star in "Boyhood"

Already one of the biggest critical hits of the year, Richard Linklater's latest film, "Boyhood," took him twelve years to film. Essentially following a single boy as he comes of age on screen, the same principle actors are featured aging and progressing in such a way that the film blurs the lines between fiction and non-fiction. This film could be a very big awards player, come Oscar time.

The film opened in limited release on July 11th and has been doing very well. It is scheduled to open in Atlanta on Friday, August 1st, but we have six pairs of tickets to give away for an advance screening held at Landmark Midtown Art Cinema on Tuesday, July 29th at 7:00 PM.

It is easy to enter! Just Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter, then Share and Tweet and you've been entered to win! The contest comes to a close on Friday, July 25th at 12:00 PM. These are physical, paper passes, so if you are selected as one of the winners, we will notify you by email and request a mailing address. Your passes should arrive no later than Monday, July 28th. 

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17 July, 2014

Happy 75th birthday to Atlanta's Plaza Theatre!

With many ups-and-downs, The Plaza has had an interesting 75 years.

Atlanta's oldest continually operating movie theater, The Plaza, is now synonymous with quality programing, the local indie film scene and the Atlanta Film Festival. However, three-quarters-of-a-century ago, it was one of many movie houses in a city full of beautiful marquees. Having outlasted all the others—going through many different transformations in the process—The Plaza turns 75 years-old this coming week and we couldn't be more excited to celebrate!

Recently named one of the 20 best movie theaters in the world by Men's Journal, The Plaza is celebrating in style with a 10-day film series. Kicking off the festivities is an extremely rare presentation of "Star Wars" on Friday, July 18th at 8:00 PM. Other classic films playing throughout the week include "2001: A Space Odyssey," "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," "Ninotchka," "Stagecoach" and more.

Don't miss your chance to celebrate! Check out the full schedule after the jump.

Atlanta's Homespun Series— Striking local docs to screen at The Plaza tonight


Back in November, Atlanta filmmakers Jon Watts and Brantly Watts launched Homespun Series—a curated local documentary collection that focuses on the most interesting individuals in Metro Atlanta. The first crop of films highlighted a local artist, a local father-son clockmaking duo and a local female boxer.

In March, Lucy had a conversation with co-founder Brantly Watts, breaking down the basics about Homespun—from its conception, to the first response and their future goals. Homespun aims to be not only of artistic value to the city, but also a resource for local filmmaking talent.

Tonight, the series returns to The Plaza with three new films from local filmmakers. One of the films, Nathan Honnold's "Thomas Bennett," won the Documentary Short Jury Prize at this year's Atlanta Film Festival. The other two films, "Adrian" and "Tommy," were directed by John Merizalde and focus on people on the outskirts of Atlanta's mainstream society.

08 July, 2014

Get passes to a free screening of "I Origins" in Atlanta!


The Atlanta Film Festival is giving away first come, first serve passes to a free screening of Sundance hit "I Origins" on Tuesday, July 15th at 7:30 PM at Atlanta's famed Plaza Theatre. You better have fast fingers! Click here to learn more and RSVP!

"I Origins,"  the second feature film from writer and director Mike Cahill, tells the story of Dr. Ian Gray (Michael Pitt), a molecular biologist studying the evolution of the eye. He finds his work permeating his life after a brief encounter with an exotic young woman (Astrid Bergès-Frisbey) who slips away from him. As his research continues years later with his lab partner Karen (Brit Marling), they make a stunning scientific discovery that has far reaching implications and complicates both his scientific and spiritual beliefs. Traveling half way around the world, he risks everything he has every known to validate his theory.

Cahill and Marling's last outing, "Another Earth," went on to receive several Georgia Film Critics nominations.

26 April, 2014

First annual Milledgeville Film Festival takes place this weekend!


Bridging the gap between the spring and fall legs of Georgia's film festival circuit, the first annual Milledgeville Film Festival takes place this weekend! It began yesterday, April 25th and runs through Sunday, April 27th.

Things kicked off at 6 PM on Friday with a red carpet, followed by an opening night gala featuring keynote speaker Stevie Lynn Jones and a film presentation of "Young Americans."

Today, panels for producers, directors, actors, agents and casting directors began at 10 AM and run through early afternoon when film screenings start. Narrative Shorts screen at 2 PM, followed by International Shorts at 4 PM and a feature presentation of "The One Who Loves You" at 6 PM. A free screening of "The Spectacular Now" takes place on the Greenway at 9 PM.

On Sunday, features "Heroes of Arvine Place," "Paradise Garden" and "The Wingman" screen at 12 PM, 4 PM and 6:20 PM respectively. A second narrative shorts block takes place at 2 PM on Sunday, and 2013 Atlanta Film Festival Audience Award winner "Blood Brother" closes the festival out at 8 PM.

The festival takes place at the Georgia College & State University campus in downtown Milledgeville. Stay tuned for more coverage!

22 April, 2014

Atlanta Review: "The Unwanted" (**1/2)

Hannah Fierman and Christen Orr star in "The Unwanted"

"The Unwanted"—written and directed by Bret Wood—is based on Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s graphic novella. The story follows Carmilla, a young woman who travels to a small town in an effort to uncover the mystery behind her mother’s disappearance. Carmilla meets, and soon falls in love with, a troubled local girl who lives with her over-protective father. While he holds the answers to Carmilla’s questions, he also hides some terrifying truths about her mother.

Atlanta Review: "Joe" (****)

Tye Sheridan and Nicolas Cage star in "Joe"

Few directors are able to jump from genre to genre as successfully as David Gordon Green. With one of the most unique directing resumes ranging from stoner comedies all the way to quiet passion projects, Green has continued to challenge himself as a filmmaker. His latest is “Joe”, which stars an almost unrecognizable Nicolas Cage and semi-newcomer Tye Sheridan. Joe, played by Cage, is a well meaning but hot-tempered ex con whose life of impulsivity and bad choices have turned him into a hardened and lonely man. Between the alcohol, prostitutes and never-ending stream of cigarettes, Joe seems to have little drive or purpose. That is until he meets young Gary (Sheridan).

25 March, 2014

Georgia filmmakers stray from home in Atlanta Film Festival documentaries: "Limo Ride" (***½), "Mayan Blue" (****)

Georgia filmmakers travel near and far for these ATLFF selected documentaries;
"Mayan Blue" (top) filmed in Guatemala, "Limo Ride" (bottom) filmed in Alabama.

As is usually the case with the Atlanta Film Festival, Georgia independent film is featured with an especially high visibility. This year, there are two documentary features, two narrative features and a host of short films from Georgia filmmakers. To go beyond that, several films are 'Georgia connected,' meaning they come from a filmmaker that grew up in Georgia, have a producer from here or some other connection that makes them slightly less of a Georgia production—but still something we can claim as our own.

This year's two local documentary features—"Limo Ride" and "Mayan Blue"—are anything but 'local.' "Limo Ride" comes from Atlanta filmmakers and ATLFF alumni Gideon C. Kennedy and Marcus Rosentrater (also a Senior Animator on the excellent Georgia-made television show "Archer"), but was set and shot in Alabama. The film tells the tale of a group of friends who rented a limo to take them to-and-from a crazy New Years Day party and wound up with a little more adventure than they bargained for. "Mayan Blue" was directed by Atlanta-born, Athens-based director Rafael Garcia from Standoff Studios, but showcases Guatemala's beautiful Lake Atitlán. The film explores the recent discovery of the underwater Mayan city of Samabaj and the implications of the city's destruction on Mayan society.

22 March, 2014

Macon Review: "Muscle Shoals" (****)

Keith Richards is featured in "Muscle Shoals"

Recent scientific research has shown that it is impossible to keep still during the first ten minutes of "Muscle Shoals." Moments after Bono's opening lines echo across the stunning colors and textures of northwestern Alabama's verdant riverbanks, Wilson Pickett's "Land of 1,000 Dances" kicks in and you can't help but shake loose. It is immediately clear just how much soul this film possesses, having gleaned character and zeal from its many revered subjects.
"Deep down in your stomach, coming out of your gut. That's that Muscle Shoals sound." —Candi Staton
Having first seen "Muscle Shoals" at the Sidewalk Film Festival in Birmingham last summer—appropriately showcased at the Alabama Theatre—I was excited to hear that the film was also the opening night selection for the 2014 Macon Film Festival. Macon—although much larger of a city and with a less musically synonymous name than Muscle Shoals—has a rich and diverse musical history, even claiming home to Georgia's Music Hall of Fame. I knew the crowd in Macon would love "Muscle Shoals," and I was right. In the Q&A following the film, I can't tell you how many times an audience member (or one of the moderators) tried to cajole director Freddy Camalier into making a follow-up film about Macon. I guess it could work—he already has Gregg Allman's contact information.

17 March, 2014

Complete lineup of the 2014 Atlanta Film Festival


Less than two weeks away, the 38th edition of the Atlanta Film Festival is surely the most exciting yet. The lineup is striking—composed of previous festival hits and world premieres, international narratives and documentaries on a myriad of subjects. Cannes, Sundance, SXSW and Toronto all send their greatest hits of the past few months, but plenty of new local fare and standout docs from the Savannah Film Festival and Macon Film Festival ("Mayan Blue" [Savannah], "Brothers Hypnotic" [Savannah & Macon], "A Fragile Trust" [Macon]) dot the lineup as well.

Local feature titles include narratives "A is for Alex" and "The Unwanted" as well as documentaries "Limo Ride" and "Mayan Blue." Georgia-connected filmmakers share films like "Beside Still Waters" and "Bayou Maharajah" and a host of Georgia set, shot and connected short films feature in several different blocks.

The Atlanta Film Festival has worked very hard in recent years to clarify its voice and put on an organized, polished presentation. It has continued to grow and mature, leading up its 40th birthday in 2016, a feat that few festivals can boast—many likely never reaching that far.

You can bet that Reel Georgia will feature plenty of coverage of this very promising edition of the Grande Dame of Georgia's festival circuit. Look forward to a massive 'What to see,' Georgia film spotlights, red carpet interviews and reviews in the coming weeks. For now, check out the complete lineup!

OPENING NIGHT PRESENTATION

Joe
directed by David Gordon Green USA, 2014, English, 114 minutes
A gripping mix of friendship, violence and redemption erupts in the contemporary South in "Joe," directed by David Gordon Green. "Joe" brings Academy Award® winner Nicolas Cage back to his indie roots in the title role as the hard-living, hot-tempered, ex-con Joe Ransom, who is just trying to dodge his instincts for trouble—until he meets a hard-luck kid played by Tye Sheridan (“Mud,” “The Tree of Life”), who awakens in him a fierce and tender-hearted protector. With a screenplay by Gary Hawkins, “Joe” is based on the novel by the late Larry Brown (“Big Bad Love,” “Facing the Moon”), the former Mississippi firefighter renowned for his powerful, gothic storytelling and universal themes of honor, desperation and moral rectitude.

CLOSING NIGHT PRESENTATION

The Double
directed by Richard Ayoade UK, 2013, English, 93 minutes
Simon James is a ghost. Friends, family, and coworkers meet his every action with complete indifference. He grimly goes through the motions, hoping for recognition that never comes. All of this changes when James Simon arrives. Physically, James and Simon are dead ringers. Yet in temperament, James is everything Simon is not: personable, spontaneous, assertive and desirable. When James begins to take over Simon’s life, he is forced to act. Jesse Eisenberg’s fantastic double performance is bolstered by a cast of seasoned character actors who bring Simon James’s gloomy retro world to life. Directed with a deftly comic hand and assured visual technique by Richard Ayoade, "The Double" is a stylish black comedy with acerbic wit to spare.