19 July, 2015

Macon Film Festival: 2015 Award Winners

Sara Casasnovas and Jesús Lloveras star in "Day Release (Tercer Grado),"
winner of Best Narrative Feature and Excellence in Directing awards.

The tenth anniversary of the Macon Film Festival saw its most high profile guest yet (Burt Reynolds), its highest attendance yet and—in the honest opinion of this annual attendee and film critic—its best programming yet. While special screenings of "Deliverance," "Sharky's Machine," "Slow West" and opening night presentation "Mavis!" have garnered the most attention, the entire lineup is glittered with exceptional films across the board.

Several selections won two awards—"Jinxy Jenkins, Lucky Lou" took home the Best Animated Short and Excellence in Editing awards, "Forced Contact" was awarded both Best LGBT Short and Excellence in Cinematography honors, and "Day Release (Tercer Grado)" received awards for Best Narrative Feature and Excellence in Directing.

The festival wraps up today and Audience Award winners will be announced tonight. Check out the complete list of winners after the jump.

16 July, 2015

Review: "Cartel Land" (***½)

Meth lab in Michoacán, Mexico

"Breaking Bad" meets "The Hurt Locker" in "Cartel Land," Director Matthew Heineman's investigative documentary about two vigilante forces and their common enemy: the Mexican drug cartels. Stateside we have Tim "Nailer" Foley, head of the Arizona Border Recon, armed and ready to stop the drug war from crossing the border into Altar Valley. In Michoacán, Mexico, Dr. Jose "El Doctor" Mireles leads the Autodefensas—a citizen militia determined to dethrone the Knight Templars, a ruthless cartel that terrorizes the community.

14 July, 2015

Georgia Icon Burt Reynolds Leads a Pack of Filmmakers Heading to 2015 Macon Film Festival

Burt Reynolds in his Academy Award-nominated role in "Boogie Nights."

Georgia-born film legend Burt Reynolds has been announced as a special guest of the 10th annual Macon Film Festival, taking place Thursday July 16 through Sunday July 19. Despite being born in Waycross, Reynolds was raised mostly in Michigan, Missouri and Florida. One of the biggest box office draws of the 1970s and 80s, Reynolds made it a point to return to his home state to film several of his hit films, including "The Cannonball Run," "Deliverance," "Gator," "The Longest Yard," "Sharky's Machine," "Six Pack," "Smokey and the Bandit," "Smokey and the Bandit II" and "Stroker Ace."

08 July, 2015

2015 Macon Film Festival Complete Lineup Revealed


This year's Macon Film Festival is bound to be the biggest event yet. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Macon announced last year that it would move the four-day event from February to July, coinciding with the city's annual Bragg-Jam Music Festival—creating a ten-day mega event in downtown Macon.

Kicking off our annual coverage of middle Georgia's premiere film event, we are pleased to showcase the entire lineup! Several great films are to be showcased this year, including many Georgia features and shorts, several films that also played the 2015 Atlanta Film Festival ("Divided Time," "Frame by Frame," "Old South," "Wildlike") and some very special presentations to be attended by #GAfilm icon Burt Reynolds.

OPENING NIGHT:


MAVIS!
USA (Director: Jessica Edwards) – Mavis Staples of the Staple Singers inspired millions and helped propel the civil rights movement with their music. After 60 years of performing, legendary singer Mavis Staples' message of love and equality is needed now more than ever.


SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS:


Special Screening of DELIVERANCE (1972) 
USA (Director: John Boorman) – Burt Reynolds scheduled to attend a Q&A following the screening of this iconic Georgia film. 

HOW SWEET THE SOUND: BLIND BOYS FROM ALABAMA
USA (Director: Leslie McCleave) – Directed and Produced by Leslie McCleave Filmed over the course of ten years, How Sweet the Sound tells the story of The Blind Boys of Alabama. They met as children in the 1930’s at a state-run segregated vocational school and would become one of the last great gospel quartets, traversing the famed “gospel highway” and beyond. As the surviving band members recount their unlikely success story, we see a rare, frank view of life on and off the road with these renowned performers, now in their 70’s and 80’s.

LIVE FROM NEW YORK!
USA (Director: Bao Nguyen) – "Saturday Night Live" has been reflecting and influencing life in the United States for 40 years. Live From New York! goes deep inside this cultural phenomenon exploring the laughter that pulses through American politics, tragedy and popular culture.

Special Screening of SHARKY’S MACHINE (1981) 
USA (Director: Burt Reynolds) – Reynolds scheduled to attend a Q&A following this Closing Night screening. 

SLOW WEST
United Kingdom/New Zealand (Director: John Maclean) – "Slow West" follows a 16-year-old boy on a journey across 19th Century frontier America in search of the woman he loves, while accompanied by mysterious traveler Silas. The film stars Michael Fassbender and Kodi Smit-McPhee.

WESTERN
USA (Director: Bill Ross IV and Turner Ross) – For generations, all that distinguished Eagle Pass, TX, from Piedras Negras, MX, was the Rio Grande. But when darkness descends upon these harmonious border towns, a cowboy and lawman face a new reality that threatens their way of life.


25 June, 2015

The Local Lense: #GAfilm Updates 6/25 - Jennifer Garner, Daniel Radcliffe, Isla Fisher

Jennifer Garner, Queen Latifah, Daniel Radcliffe, Josh Brolin, Isla Fisher and more! Hosts Beth Keener and Greer Howard bring you the 411 on entertainment news in Georgia. Find out what's filming, who's here and what to watch!



This week, catch up on the details of "Miracles from Heaven" with Jennifer Garner and Queen Latifah (to film in Georgia this summer); "Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter" with Josh Brolin and Danny McBride (filming in Georgia); and "Young Americans" with Daniel Radcliffe and Dane DeHaan (filming in New Orleans and Atlanta this fall). Plus, catch some info on "The Magnificent Seven" with Chris Pratt and Denzel Washington, set to film in Louisiana.

Find out where Isla Fisher ("Keeping Up with the Joneses"), Andrew Lincoln ("The Walking Dead"),  and Kanye West and OutKast were spotted around town!

Check out TV updates from MTV's "Finding Cater," Lifetime's "Devious Maids," USA's "Complications" and SundanceTV's "Rectify." Stay tuned to the end to see set pictures from "Allegiant: Part 1" with Shailene Woodley, "Mena" with Tom Cruise, "The Founder" with Michael Keaton and "Captain America: Civil War" with Chris Evans and Anthony Mackie.

24 June, 2015

Review: "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl" (****½)

Thomas Mann and Olivia Cooke star in "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl."

An adaptation of the same-titled novel by Jesse Andrews, “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” is about a self-aware and 'gopher-faced' (his words, not mine) high school senior named Greg (Thomas Mann) who is forced, per his mother’s request, to hang out with Rachel (Olivia Cooke), a classmate who could barely be called an acquaintance, once she’s been diagnosed with cancer. And the result of that first, initial, forced hang-out is… well, it’s magic. And Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s direction is risky and wild and perfectly on point. He creates a world you want to live in and characters you want to believe in.

21 June, 2015

Review: "Inside Out" (*****)

Joy (Amy Poehler) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith) star in "Inside Out."

Pixar, the studio that has brought us some of the most unique memorable and iconic films of the past two decades has a new instant classic on their hands. "Inside Out" is not only a return to form for the animation house—after a few years of sequels and somewhat uninspired films—but a reminder of just how powerful and profound the best Pixar films are capable of being.

The story revolves around an 11-year-old girl named Riley. Riley loves her family, playing hockey and being a goofball with her friends. Riley also has a lot going on in her mind—which is where the majority of the story takes place. We’re introduced at the beginning of the film to Riley’s five core emotions—Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust. Each of these emotions are characters working together to control how Riley feels about everyday situations. The film’s main protagonist is Joy. Amy Poehler voices Joy and gives the character so much life and energy it’s impossible to imagine anyone else in the role. Joy introduces us to the other emotions as well as how everything in Riley’s head works—memories, day dreams, expectations, etc. Pixar’s vision of the inner mind is absolutely a dream to watch. It’s just as adorable as it is brilliant.

16 June, 2015

The Local Lense: #GAfilm Updates 6/15 - Tom Cruise, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicki Minaj

Tom Cruise, Michael Keaton, Jennifer Lawrence, Kerry Washington and more! Hosts Beth Keener and Greer Howard bring you the 411 on entertainment news in Georgia. Find out what's filming, who's here and what to watch!


We are thrilled to be featuring The Local Lense here at Reel Georgia! Every week, Beth Keener and Greer Howard host the Entertainment Buzz—giving you the complete #GAfilm rundown of what's filming, what celebrities were spotted and which TV shows were locally-lensed and feature local talent.

This week, catch up on the details of "Mena" with Tom Cruise (filming in Ballground); "Captain America: Civil War" with Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, Robert Downey, Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Anthony Mackie (filming in Metro Atlanta); "The Founder" with Michael Keaton (filming in Canton); "The Do Over" with Adam Sandler and David Spade (filming in Savannah); "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2" with Jennifer Lawrence (filming reshoots in Dawsonville); "Allegiant: Part 1" with Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort (filming in Rome and Metro Atlanta); and "Barbershop 3" with Ice Cube, Nicki Minaj and Anthony Anderson (filming in Atlanta).

Also, there are TV updates from HBO's "Confirmation" with Kerry Washington, Lifetime's "Devious Maids," AMC's "Halt and Catch Fire" and more! Stay tuned to the end to find out how you can win a free one-hour private coaching session from Atlanta acting studio Drama Inc.

13 June, 2015

Review: "Ex Machina" (****)

Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander and Oscar Isaac star in "Ex Machina."

Alex Garland’s provocative sci-fi/thriller “Ex Machina” hinges on three characters: Ava, Nathan and Caleb. Ava, played by the stunning Alicia Vikander (previously seen in “Anna Karenina,” “A Royal Affair” and “Seventh Son”), is our object of study, the artificially intelligent woman whose humanity—or lack-there-of—is called into question. Next we have Nathan (Oscar Isaac), a genius who at the mere age of 13 created Blue Book (think Wikipedia or Google), and has since become a loner of sorts living in a far-off land surrounded only by trees and green and the AI machines he creates. He’s authoritative and strong-willed and relentless when it comes to creating an artificially intelligent being, and Isaac plays this character to perfection. To act as Nathan’s counterbalance, we have Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson). He’s an inherently sympathetic and approachably handsome young programmer who works at Blue Book. After winning a company-wide contest, Caleb takes a long-winding helicopter ride to Nathan’s house to claim his prize of a week-long visit with the boss. And then… slow building tension and experiments and eeriness ensues.

12 June, 2015

Review: "Slow West" (**½)

Editor's Note: This review was written by the newest member of the Reel Georgia family—and someone I've been chasing after to contribute for quite a while—Jessica Hinckle. An expert wordsmith, script supervisor, film festival organizer and all-around human woman, I know that everyone will appreciate the wonderfully unique, clever and personal touch that Jessica will bring to her stories. -CM

Michael Fassbender stars in "Slow West."

“Slow West” is the directorial debut of John Maclean and I can only imagine that he woke up one day with some kind of deep-seated need to combine his experience with unrequited love with his Wes Anderson fetish and then… make it a western? Or rather, whatever caricature of a western he’d conjured in a dream… a dream induced possibly by an absinthe bender. No, seriously.

However, it’s difficult for me to fault this artsy bit of film (it’s 84 minutes) for blatantly defying the tropes of the typical western—that I can get on board with; westerns have been done, done again, been shot in the head, and then have gotten back up to John Wayne themselves back across the desert for one more whiskey. But it’s far too obvious that its primary purpose was that. And it wasn’t terribly convincing. Because a film can’t stand on a quirky idea alone. It needs a story—one that, you know, makes sense.