Tag: Spike Lee

Ralla went to Sundance and all we got was this photo blog

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(Charlie) This is 2012 logo projected before all the films.

I returned to the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah again this January. My sister Joanne, her husband Charlie & I had so much fun last year that we plan to return as often as possible.  Lucy Bull joined us this year. Thank heavens she was with me as we spent 28 hours in the Seattle Airport during the  epic ice storm.  She termed Sundance as “movie boot camp.” The untimely flight delays caused Lucy & me to miss our first day of the film festival. We experienced our remaining 4 days in a blur of sleep deprivation, adrenaline, coffee & excitement.

Here are some of the photos…..

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One of the cool things about Sundance is that there is a Q&A after each film.  Almost always the director is there, but often one or more actors show up.

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(Charlie) Emily Blunt in "Your Sister's Sister"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joanne reports that she was very good & they enjoyed the movie.  Lucy & I still stuck at SeaTac.  Lucky for us Joanne kept me updated via text messaging about all the wonderful things we were missing.

Another cool thing about Sundance is that celebs are often sitting in the audience.

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(Charlie) Seth Rogan
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(Charlie) Edward James Olmos
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(Charlie) Andie Macdowell.

Celebs sometimes stand in line drinking lattes while they wait to get into the films. Joanne & Charlie are way ahead of us in the seeing star spotting department.

Lucy & I finally made it at 9 PM Friday!  We walked around Park City & it was hopping.

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(photo by Ralla) The Johnny Depp wanna-be caused a bit of excitement. He attracted a multitude of pretty girls.

Our first movie—-finally!

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(Ralla) Sigourney Weaver in "Red Lights."

Audience was sooo excited to see her at the Q&A. The movie is a paranormal thriller with Robert de Niro (he was not there). Movie should come out in theaters. When the four of us were discussing it later we wondered if we had seen the same movie–it’s kind of ambiguous. As always, Sigourney Weaver rocks.

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(Ralla) Cillian Murphy in "Red Lights"

When he walked on stage the director commented that he didn’t know who was prettier–Sigourney or Cillian. Not sure if Cillian appreciated that. I thought he was terrific in the movie. The Spanish writer-director was Roderigo Cortes. He made a movie called “Buried” with Ryan Reynolds a couple of years ago where the only character is confined in a coffin with only a cell phone for the duration of the film. It would take a “Clockwork Orange” situation where I was tied to a seat with my eyes forced open to get me to watch that movie.

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(Ralla) Elizabeth Olsen in "Red Lights"

She is the Olsen twins’ younger sister. She was in “Martha Marcy May Marlene” at last years’ Sundance. I didn’t see it but have read good reviews of it.  Liked her in this movie.

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(Ralla) The guy with the mike is Don Hertzfeldt.

Don made my favorite film. It’s a 20 minute animated film called “It’s Such a Beautiful Day.” He is a cult figure in the animated film world and was even nominated for an Oscar for one of his films a few years ago. He lives in Austin. Here’s another cool thing about Sundance–I saw him outside the venue afterwards & walked up to him to tell him how much I loved his movie & he was very nice & conversational. I suppose it never gets old to be appreciated by your audience. You never know where you are going to find your favorite movie. Lucy & I went to the animated shorts program because it was the only one in that time slot available.  And that’s where I saw my favorite.

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(Charlie) Lucy, Ralla, Joanne

We were literally in a windy blizzard when we went to see “Wuthering Heights” at 10 PM Saturday. The film was British & made you feel like you were living on that muddy farm with Catherine & Heathcliff–very authentic & made me grateful for the comforts of home. The scenes of hanging live dogs on fence posts & necrophilia were a bit over the top unfortunately. They made an interesting casting choice with the black Heathcliff  but it wasn’t enough to save the film.

Lucy & I happened to be riding the wrong shuttle on our way to the condo one night & John Goodman got on.  And B.D. Wong (of Law & Order SVU) was sitting right across from us. Cool, huh?

Richard Gere was not present for the Q & A on “Arbitrage” at Sunday am showing.  I was so looking forward to seeing him.  Loved the movie–Susan Sarandon in it too & she is terrific.   It’s a great Richard Gere vehicle.  He is rich, powerful & sexy with a big hint of bad boy.  Who could ask for more?  Will be coming soon to a theater near you.

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(Ralla) The Occupy Wall Street marchers in Park City.
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(Photo by Lucy)

Lucy & I were wandering the streets of Park City looking for the coffee shop & she said –Look that’s the guy on Parks & Recreation!–  So we stopped & he posed very nicely for Lucy.

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(Ralla) Julianne Nichols in coffee shop. I recognized her from Law & Order Criminal Intent.
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(Ralla) Spike Lee the writer-director of "Red Hook Summer."

He made quite a splash with his colorful language & strong comments about how Hollywood movies don’t know anything about making movies about black people. The movie had incredible gospel music, a tough story line, long scenes of philosophical dialogue, & a few hard truths thrown in. I thought I didn’t like it that much, but in the days that followed it kept popping up in my mind.

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(Ralla) Clarke Peters in "Red Hook Summer." He was great as an evangelical christian preacher. He was in "The Wire" & currently he's in "Treme" one of my favorite TV series.
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(Ralla) Jules Brown (I think) & Toni Lysaith in "Red Hook Summer." These are middle schoolers that live in Red Hook that Spike Lee recruited for the movie. They were good, considering. The movie was shot in 19 days.
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(Charlie) Justin Long in "For a Good Time Call..."
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(Charlie) Nia Vardalos & Mimi Rogers at Q & A of "For a Good Time Call..."
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(Ralla) Beverly Johnson, former super model.

She was part of a documentary called “About Face” about the subject of bygone super models. Engaging film, was financed by HBO so I assume it will air on that channel.

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(Charlie) John Hawkes, William H. Macy, Helen Hunt in "Surrogate."

I didn’t see this but numerous people I talked with said it was fabulously wonderful. One man who saw it said he cried like a baby. It’s about a guy in an iron lung (Hawkes) who wants to have sex so a sex surrogate counselor (Hunt) “counsels” him. Macy is a priest.  It’s based on a true story. It will probably come out in theaters.

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(Ralla) Alice Rohrwacher the Italian writer/director of "Corpo Celeste."

My 2nd favorite film about a 13 year old girl engulfed by the Catholic culture of her Italian community.  This is one to watch for when it comes out on net flicks. Cool thing–I saw this director in Safeway after the movie & managed to gesture my appreciation of her movie.

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Lucy & I were #1 & #2 in line in the holding tank of the Eccles Theater.
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Still #1 & #2 an hour and a half later.
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(Ralla) Julie Delpy the French writer/director of "Two Days in New York."
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She's very animated & has no vanity about the expressions she exhibits while she's talking.

Remember “Before Sunrise” in ’95 with her & Ethan Hawke where they met on a train & talked all night walking around Vienna? It’s a fun romantic movie.

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(Ralla) Kate Burton--she's Richard Burton's daughter FYI. She was in "Two Days in NY."
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(Ralla) Chris Rock--"Two Days in New York."

He was the straight man around all these zany French people. He was really funny. The movie was a hoot–pure entertainment.

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(Charlie) Kyle Bornheimer, yours truly, Hayes Macarthur.

We had just seen these guys in “Bachelorette” Tuesday morning, then we spotted them at the restaurant. “Bachelorette” is a cross between “Bridesmaids” & “Hangover.” Kirsten Dunst was in it. The demographic is 30 & 40 somethings so perhaps I didn’t appreciate it as much as I could have. These guys were good though & quite hunky in person.

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(photo by Joanne)

Parker Posey eating at next table over in restaurant. She’s known as the indie movie queen. Remember her in “Best in Show”? And I notice she’s making appearances on the TV series “The Good Wife” this season.

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(Ralla) Rachel Leah Jones

She made a documentary called “Gypsy Davy” about her estranged father from Alabama who ran off to Spain to become a flamenco guitarist. Davy was a serial fatherer–had many women, many children. She was at the Q & A with her Israeli husband who almost got in a fight with an obnoxious drunk guy in the audience that he thought insulted his wife. Luckily she guided hubby away from situation so fisticuffs were avoided. The movie was good too.

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(Ralla) Andrea Riseborough in "Shadow Dancer."

Clive Owen (who unfortunately was not at the Q & A) was also in this quiet Irish thriller. It was about the IRA peace process in the early ’90’s.

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A tradition in the making: Charlie, Joanne, Ralla & Lucy in front of Egyptian Theater in downtown Park City.
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I Just Saw That Movie Last Year. . . It Had Subtitles

By Tim Lucia

Imagine the boardroom at a major Hollywood studio.  Ideas for potential films are being pitched.   The executive indicates they would like to see a dark thriller in the mix.  A beat of silence.  The room then bursts out into a loud, overlapping conversation about Insomnia, Open Your Eyes, Let The Right One In, La Femme Nikita, The Ring, Brothers, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Tell No One, and Oldboy.  The executive has to whistle loudly to get the chatter to stop.  He tells them to pitch one at a time.

Those are just some of the foreign films Hollywood has remade in recent years.  All but Luc Besson’s La Femme Nikita (released in 1990, remade as Point of No Return in 1993) have come in the last ten years.  Though Dragon Tattoo, Tell No One, and Oldboy have yet to be released they all have very successful directors at the helm:  David Fincher, Ben Affleck, and Spike Lee respectively.  With this formula of remaking successful, original foreign thrillers, Hollywood is riding a gravy train with biscuit wheels.  

Some of these American remakes have been good, such as Christopher Nolan’s Insomnia.  Others like Vanilla Sky and Diabolique — not so much.  One understands why Hollywood does it — it’s only about making money if you’re a studio executive.  But it’s still frustrating as a cinephile, even one who loves Hollywood films just as much as foreign and independent films.  Why can’t people watch a movie with subtitles?  And the turnaround is so quick — Dragon Tattoo just came out last year and Fincher’s remake is already in post-production and is coming out this Christmas.  One barely has a chance to forget aspects of the first film before the remake is already released.

The success of The Ring prompted Hollywood to immediately remake numerous Asian horror films with moderate success,The Grudge and Dark Water among them.  That trend has tapered off, thankfully.  Modern crime thrillers have been the flavor-of-the-month lately, which is even worse (in my opinon) simply because the original films are even better.  And what prompts these foreign directors to let Hollywood remake their films?  The money offered must be too much to pass up.  They feel — and hope — that people will judge their film on its own merits, which is a fair point.

Though Tell No One and Oldboy are still in the early stages of development, it’s safe to say they will get made in the next few years.  There is a formula for success here that is undeniable.  Along with Fincher, Affleck and Lee are talented directors who are more than capable of making a great film.  For all intents and purposes, their remakes could be very good; but it’s way too soon.  Leave the foreign thrillers be and develop your own ideas, directors.

The Return of Spike Lee

By Josh Perrault

Over the past few years I’ve acquired a large appreciation for Spike Lee films, particularly such films as ‘She’s Gotta Have It,’ ‘Do The Right Thing,’ and ‘Crooklyn.’ It’s been a few years since anyone has really heard of the writer/director/producer. Not since his 2008 film ‘Miracle at St. Anna’ which was a flop at the box office has Lee been mentioned much in the rumor mill. For this untial recently when his name was brought up  in the remaking of Korean director Park Chan-Wook’s masterpiece, ‘Oldboy.’ On July 11th, Mandate Pictures sent out a press release confirming the recent report that Lee will in fact direct the remake. It was also said in the press release that the writer behind such films as ‘I Am Legend’ and ‘Thor,’ Mark Protosevich, will be adapting the script for the American remake.

Now that’s not all Lee has been up to recently. More talk has led to the making of another Spike Lee joint called ‘Red Hook Summer,’ in which he will revive one of his most famous characters: Mookie from ‘Do The Right Thing.’ According to Blackfilm, ‘Red Hook Summer’ is said to be about “an adult from Atlanta who comes and spends the summer in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn, NY.” Thought a pretty vague story synopsis, it already sounds like Lee is going back to his roots much like he did in his earlier films. Other than his new HBO project, ‘Da Brick,’ said to be created with producer John Ridley (‘Undercover Brother,’ ‘Three Kings’) and Doug Ellin (‘Entourage’), that is all the news on Spike Lee’s return to silver screen, for now.