Sunday, October 4, 2015

24th Philadelphia Film Festival


The 24th Philadelphia Film Festival is right around the corner, beginning Thursday 10/22 and running through Sunday 11/1, screening around 100 feature films at The Prince, Ritz East, Ritz Bourse, and a few days at The Roxy.  I always look forward to it and although I've already seen about a fifth of the program from other festivals, there are many more I am looking forward to seeing.

Want some suggestions? 

If you want a totally engaging, thrilling, and very emotional film you won't soon forget go see Room, starring Brie Larson in an amazing performance.   It's one of the best movies I've seen all year.  But beware, it's a really hard movie to watch.  And it will be most effective if you avoid the trailers completely.

If you want a great romance drama you won't be sorry if you go see Brooklyn, featuring Saoirse Ronan and Domhnall Gleeson.  It's terrific.

If you want a really funny and enjoyable romantic comedy you can't go wrong with Man Up, featuring Simon Pegg and Lake Bell.

You can always count on Michael Moore to make an entertaining and thought provoking film, and he doesn't disappoint with his latest, Where to Invade Next.

Some I know have criticized Victoria for its lengthy run time (138 min.) and for being too slowly paced at times, but if you give it a chance this German crime drama shot without a single cut will pull you in and satisfy.

If you grew up loving Raiders of the Lost Ark like many of us did, you will surely appreciate Raiders!, a documentary about a few kids who grew up in the 80's so obsessed with the film that they spent all their free time and money for many years remaking it shot for shot ... all except for one scene.  Thirty years later they set out to finish what they started.

You can always count on Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Synecdoche New York) to create something original.  Anomalisa isn't as good as his prior work, but it's still pretty original, even despite how utterly mundane its story is.

From the director of the ultra-artsy, beautiful Italian Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film, The Great Beauty, comes Youth, a slightly less ultra-artsy film that still provides all the great beauty of its predecessor, but also Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, and a bit more character development and story.  But it's still ultra-artsy, so buyer beware.

Who says film festivals don't do action?  The Wave is the Norwegian equivalent of an American natural disaster summer blockbuster.  And it's pretty fun.  (It's a whole lot better than San Andreas!)

You probably already know Lance Armstrong's story.  (I had already seen the doc, The Armstrong Lie, about him.)  But this narrative film, The Program, featuring Ben Foster is pretty good too.

Below are my grades for what I've seen so far.  Check back during the festival, as I'll try and post grades as I see more.

  • Room      Grade: A
  • Brooklyn     Grade: A
  • Man Up      Grade: A
  • Spotlight      Grade: A
  • King Georges      Grade: A
  • Where to Invade Next      Grade: A
  • Monty Python's The Meaning of Live      Grade: A
  • Legend      Grade: A
  • Victoria      Grade: A-
  • Raiders!      Grade: A-
  • Our Brand is Crisis      Grade: A-
  • Remember      Grade: A-
  • Anomalisa      Grade: B+
  • The Lobster      Grade: B+
  • Youth      Grade: B+
  • The Benefactor (formerly Franny)     Grade: B+
  • The Wave      Grade: B+
  • The Program      Grade: B+
  • Emelie      Grade: B+
  • Welcome to Leith      Grade: B
  • (T)ERROR      Grade: B
  • The Survivalist      Grade: B
  • Mia Madre      Grade: B
  • The Invitation       Grade: B
  • James White      Grade: B
  • In Transit     Grade: B
  • Tale of Tales     Grade: B
  • Macbeth     Grade: B
  • Entertainment      Grade: B-
  • Homesick      Grade: B-
  • Demon      Grade: B-
  • Men and Chicken      Grade: B-
  • The Great Alone      Grade: B-
  • Bridgend      Grade: C+
  • Carol      Grade: C+
  • Suffragette      Grade: C+
  • Mavis!      Grade: C+
  • Disorder      Grade: C+
  • Guilty      Grade: C
  • The Treasure      Grade: C
  • Hedi Schneider is Stuck      Grade: C
  • Krisha      Grade: C-
  • Evolution      Grade: C-
  • Rams      Grade: C-
  • The Club      Grade: C-
  • Jafar Panahi's Taxi      Grade: C-
  • Body      Grade: C-
  • Camino      Grade: D
  • Love      Grade: D
  • Just Jim      Grade: D-
  • A Rising Tide      Grade: D-

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