04 September, 2014

16 Films to see at the 2014 Rome International Film Festival

This will be my third Rome International Film Festival, but this year it is a little extra special. I've been brought on to help out with the production of the festival. In doing so, I've gotten a first hand look at this year's 61-film lineup. This is the 11th incarnation of RIFF.

From opening night film "No Ordinary Hero: The SuperDeafy Movie" to closing night selection "B.F.E.," there are a host of short films and features worth checking out. Films represent the entire globe—Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand—with many American productions and a handful of films both produced in Georgia or coming from Georgia filmmakers.

After the jump, I've highlighted 12 feature films and 4 short films. But trust me, the entire festival is of tremendous quality. The festival kicks off tonight, Thursday, September 4th and runs through Sunday, September 7th at Rome's beautiful DeSoto Theatre.

19 August, 2014

Get free tickets to "A Will for the Woods" at Atlanta's Plaza Theatre!

Telluride's Mountainfilm festival has become a spectacular event, even going as far to franchise out across the country with various Mountainfilm On Tour segments. Last September, the Atlanta Film Festival hosted Mountainfilm On Tour ATL at The Plaza Theatre. This weekend, it returns to Atlanta's 75-year-old movie house. The festival officially kicks off Friday night and runs through Saturday, but Thursday night, ATLFF presents a Best of Fest screening of "A Will for the Woods."

The documentary, directed by Amy Browne, Jeremy Kaplan, Tony Hale and Brian Wilson played at ATLFF back in April. Musician, folk dancer and psychiatrist Clark Wang battles lymphoma while facing a potentially imminent need for funeral plans. Determined that his last act will not harm the environment -- and, hopefully, help protect it -- Clark has discovered the movement to further sustainable funerals that conserve natural areas. "A Will for the Woods" is an immersive, life-affirming depiction of people coming to terms with mortality by embracing their connection to timeless natural cycles.

25 July, 2014

Review: "Last Stop, Flamingo" (****½)

A scene from Georg Koszulinski's "Last Stop, Flamingo"

Few American states produce as distinctive an image in the world's collective mind as Florida. Texas, yes. Hawaii, yes. California, yes—but perhaps a few different images correlating to the different regions. Florida, definitely—the sunshine state, palm trees, white sands, beach bodies, South Beach, and so on. It's these exact images that filmmaker Georg Koszulinski steers clear of in "Last Stop, Flamingo"—without making the audience feel as if he has actively avoided them. Of course, plenty of archival footage of decades-old Florida ad campaigns and sweet diary-like vignettes from Koszulinski offer glimpses of the white sands, skylines and beach fun that you expect from anything Florida. Thankfully, though, the film offers a much more unique vantage point—acting as a View-Master to the reel of Florida's most forgotten, most eccentric and most personal histories.

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).