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Thompson on Hollywood

The Capital's Annual GI Film Festival Honors US Armed Forces

The GI Film Festival was held May 9-15 in Washington, DC. In its fifth year, the fest showcased films honoring our US Armed Forces and gave audiences a glimpse at and appreciation for military life. Awards were given to Lou Diamond Phillips (GI Spirit Award) and William Devane, the star of Flag of My Father (GI Choice Award). Among the premieres were the documentary The Real M.A.S.H. (US) and Paul Giamatti’s 13th century set feature Ironclad (DC)(pictured). Here's more from festival sponsor MPAA.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • May 17, 2011 5:09 AM
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SFIFF 54: Wrapping Up the Fest, Days 13-15: The Arbor, Bromberg, Let The Wind Carry Me, Winners, Etc

Meredith Brody wraps up SFIFF 54 and the many films of days thirteen, fourteen and fifteen:After the San Francisco International Film Festival’s second weekend, I feel like the toboggan is slowing down before it crosses the finish line. Day Thirteen, for example: joining Creative Director Miguel Pendas’ SF Film Noir locations tour, which he puts on (along with a tour devoted exclusively to locations for Vertigo) for guests and press, is irresistible to me, but effectively knocks out most of the day. Miguel totes ten companions around SF’s hills and valleys in a van (with an indefatigable driver who manages to pull over where there’s no place to pull over). We see sites for The Maltese Falcon, Sudden Fear, The Sniper, The Lady from Shanghai,Dark Passage, The House on Telegraph Hill, The Midnight Story (the only one I’ve never seen), The Line-Up, and more.
  • By Meredith Brody
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  • May 7, 2011 1:18 AM
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Actress Watch: Rachel Weisz's Slate Might Include Oz, Roberts & Clinton Talk, Kidman's Next Biopic?

- Nicole Kidman loves her biopics. She's flirting with the lead in Our Wild Life, about Kenyan wildlife conservationist Dame Daphne Sheldrick (now 76, pictured), known for her work with the war-torn country's endangered elephants. As The Wrap reports, Hollywood doesn't make movies like this anymore. Gone are the good old days of Out of Africa (1985) and Born Free (1966), not to mention 1988's Gorillas in the Mist, the Dian Fossey biopic starring Sigourney Weaver. No official involvement from Kidman yet, but Phillip Noyce (Salt) is currently attached to direct.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • May 4, 2011 7:38 AM
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Venice Fest 2011 To Give Pacino Glory to the Filmmaker Award, Premiere Wilde Salome with Chastain

Al Pacino will accept the Venice International Film Festival's Glory to the Filmmaker 2011 Award, which was created with Jaeger-Le Coultre to honor an artist's original mark on contemporary cinema. Recent recipients include Abbas Kiarostami (2008) and Sylvester Stallone (2009). Fest director Marco Mueller calls Pacino an "an amazing director, whose experience is precious and original, and enriches the world of contemporary film.”
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • May 4, 2011 4:02 AM
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SFIFF 54 Day Eleven: Film Fest Instructor's Guidebook, Hands Up, Something Ventured, Bin Laden

On day eleven of the San Francisco International Film Festival, Meredith Brody talks Hands Up (a "kind of a Bizarro-world Disney film"), Citizen Kane, Something Ventured and its billionaires, and The Salesmen (which she tries tricking herself into liking by thinking of Jeanne Dielman). At the end of her day, Osama bin Laden news trumps everything:Somewhere in the Film Festival Introducer’s Guidebook there must be a rule (more like a law!) that if it’s a nice day outside the introducer must thank the audience for ignoring the manifold pleasures awaiting them outside and instead huddling together in a dark auditorium.
  • By Meredith Brody
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  • May 4, 2011 2:04 AM
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Oprah's OWN Mother's Day Programs: Judds, Extraordinary Moms, No Woman, No Cry, Shania Twain

Oprah Winfrey's OWN network is celebrating Mother's Day weekend with brand new specials and series May 7 & 8. The schedule, listed below, includes Extraordinary Moms (executive produced and hosted by Julia Roberts; Time interviews her and Hillary Clinton about their participation here. ), No Women, No Cry (Christy Turlington's directorial debut), Season 25: Oprah Behind The Scenes (pictured), the series finale of The Judds, and an intimate portrait of Shania Twain's life and career, Why Not? with Shania Twain.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • May 3, 2011 5:03 AM
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LA Film Fest 2011: Programmers Talk Lineup for Downtown Festival, June 16-26 UPDATED

Film Independent has made its first round of selections for the 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival, running June 16-26, returning to downtown's L.A. Live. Over 30 countries will be represented by the 200-plus features, shorts and music videos. Special events, galas, the tentpole opening and closing night selections, guest artists and guest director will be announced closer to the festival.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 3, 2011 4:58 AM
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SFIFF 54 Day Ten: Dog Day Afternoon, Cinema Komunisto, James Woods, Making Friends with Books

On day ten of the San Francisco International Film Festival, Meredith Brody talks Dog Day Afternoon, sees and loves Cinema Komunisto, digresses on James Woods (among other things) and makes friends via Bossypants and Chekhov's short stories:I start the day by watching as much of the program honoring Frank Pierson with the Kanbar Award for screenwriting as I can before dashing off to see Love in a Puff. The clip that Pierson showed in his Master Class, the afternoon before, reminded me that (a) I know Sidney Lumet's Dog Day Afternoon -- the movie they’re going to show as part of the tribute -- very well indeed, (b) yes, the 70s were a golden age of movies, (c) Pacino’s performance (not to mention John Cazale’s – but then I just did) is more riveting than any I’ve seen in the past nine days.
  • By Meredith Brody
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  • May 3, 2011 4:53 AM
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SFIFF 54 Day Eight: The Redemption of General Butt Naked, Sound of Noise, Pink Saris, Master Critic

San Francisco cinephile Meredith Brody continues to cut a swath through the SFIFF programme: Cheerful way to start the day: watching a famed “General” of the unbelievably brutal 14-year Liberian civil war, known as General Butt Naked for the attire (or lack thereof) of himself and his followers, metamorphize – or is it re-brand? – into Joshua Milton Biahyi, an evangelic preacher seeking forgiveness for his unspeakable crimes. I’m not much fonder of organized (or disorganized) religion than I am of war – noting in passing that many wars are fought on religious grounds. I’m repulsed by both of the General’s incarnations. What I think he’s mostly seeking is airtime, not redemption as in the movie’s title The Redemption of General Butt Naked. He’s playing to the cameras that I kind of wish were not following him around, despite the effectiveness and skill of the filmmakers. Even his mea culpa before the Truth and Reconciliation Committee, which might recommend his later prosecution for war crimes, smacks of hunger for the spotlight –“I Was Responsible for 20,000 Deaths” – longer time on the 15-minute clock. Once a patholgical narcissist, always a pathological narcissist.
  • By Meredith Brody
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  • April 30, 2011 5:49 AM
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SFIFF 54 Day Seven: A Useful Life, Oliver Stone Tribute, The Last Buffalo Hunt, Attenberg

Meredith Brody's diary entry for SDIFF day seven: The film-going day begins with inserting a DVD into the player, which I guess means staying rather than going. It’s A Useful Life, a film directed by a former employee of the Cinemateca Uruguaya, Federico Veiroj, about a longtime employee of the Cinemateca Uruguaya in Montevideo (which occasions a notation in the opening credits that the movie does not reflect the actual Cinemateca Uruguaya in any way shape or form). Said rather sad-sackish employee (played by an Uruguayan film critic with the young/old face of an obsessive) has spent a quarter-century doing all that’s necessary in showing films to the public – programming, introducing, talking on the radio, even repairing a seat in the theater.
  • By Meredith Brody
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  • April 29, 2011 6:43 AM
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