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AFI Fest 2013: The Strange Little Cat That Wasn’t

November 12, 2013 2 comments

I saw three more movies at AFI Fest on Sunday.

Documenteur. France. The Director, Agnes Varda was there to talk about her film. She’s also this year’s guest director for the entire festival. She had been all over L.A. that morning introducing films in various locations for different events.

I’m sorry I don’t remember what exactly she said about Documenteur or the actors. Something about liking the look of the lead actress–she had the best smile of anyone I’ve ever seen, especially when she smiled at the little boy who played her son–and the boy being the real-life son of someone–and something about the murals around L.A.–and something about L.A. being the desire of everyone wanting to go out West to chase their dreams and Venice being as far west as you can go so that’s why she had the story take place in Venice.

My friend didn’t like the movie. “Not enough action and nothing really happened”, I think she said.

I like books & movies where nothing really happens and we just sit back and observe people and their strange lives. In this one we observe a mother & her son in the 1970s, I think, searching for an apartment & trying to make a life together. Strange but sweet.

The Strange Little Cat. Germany.

My friend didn’t like this one either, LOL. It was the one I had looked forward to the most. I was really curious to see the cat and wondered what was strange about him.

Well, there wasn’t anything strange about him! Turned out to be a metaphor for the strangeness of the scenes playing out in front of us. The whole thing took place, for the most part, in a tiny little kitchen with different family members & friends coming & going. It was a bit too artsy for me, but I did love the adorable little girl and the big dog that liked to watch the cat sleep & would bark as soon as the cat started purring.

The Date. Finland. This was a short they decided to show us before The Strange Little Cat. It was about a prize-winning, male Siamese on one of his “dates.” Ahem. We hear the cats but all we see is the two families waiting for them to finish. At one point the two nervous teenagers are smoking out on the patio. Funny.

The Lunchbox. India. Oh my God I loved this movie so much!!!!! Best one so far. Oscars for everybody!!!!!!!

Who knew that in India they have a lunchbox delivery service? Guys on bikes go from house to house picking up the lunchboxes. They’re loaded onto trains and delivered to office buildings where someone else delivers them to workers at their desks.

I checked with my co-worker and it’s totally real. They deliver them to schools, too. She remembers the hot cooked meals from home arriving every day. She said the cost is inexpensive.

In the film, a woman who is being ignored by her husband cooks a special meal for him to get his attention. It’s delivered by mistake to a man who recently lost his wife. Notes go back & forth and a relationship develops.

I won’t tell you how it ends. You have to see it. It is sooooooo funny. Our audience loved it. The older man from Life of Pi is in it. There’s something about him I love. His reactions, facial expressions, etc.

There’s an old “Auntie” that steals the show even though we never see her.

A great film! It had better win EVERYTHING!!!!!

AFI Fest 2013: In which I try to be smart, but find myself in the wrong theater.

November 10, 2013 4 comments

Yeah…after a day of sitting in front row aisle seats and my neck becoming permanently craned to the right, there I was, sitting in a great center seat in the back row watching smugly as others resigned themselves to the front seats. And then the AFI Fest volunteer welcomed us and said he hoped we would like The Selfish Giant.

Um…what?????? Not My Afghanistan????? Oh crap.

My Afghanistan was the hardest ticket to get. I had tried online for days before finally getting that ticket!

Oh well. Nothing I could do about it now. It was already starting in whatever theater it was in so there wouldn’t be even a front row seat left. I would just have to stay and see The Selfish Giant. All the movies at this festival are good so I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed. My friend, Lori, will see My Afghanistan on Monday afternoon so I’ll experience it through her.

If only I had bothered to put my reading glasses on to look at the ticket last night. Looking at the stub now, the theater number is clearly 6, not 4. Interesting that the ticket taker didn’t notice that I was in the wrong movie either.

Never mind. The Selfish Giant was really good. It was a UK film about two boys expelled from school who make money stealing copper wire. Illegal, dangerous, and horses are involved so you know something tragic happens. I was glad I had a Kleenex Pocket Pack in my purse.

I saw three other movies yesterday:

Little Black Spiders. Belgium. Based on real life, it takes place in 1978. Pregnant teens hidden away in the attic of a hospital. What happens to them and their babies? All the girls were great and the story was good. Thankfully, the Director, who was there and spoke to us in her cute Belgian accent, Patrice Toye, didn’t stray into any horror-type plot lines. These real-life events were horrific enough on their own that she didn’t need to do that.

In Bloom. Georgia. Not that Georgia. The country, Georgia. Look at an atlas. An atlas. Google “atlas”. Oh fuck it. It’s next to Turkey, Russia, & Armenia. Read up on it and then come back.

The main character is a 14-yo girl and one of the directors was 14 in 1992, which is when the movie takes place. The Soviet Union has just collapsed and there are bread lines, thugs & guns, one of which the girl and her best friend find themselves in possession of. Very tense moments with that gun throughout the movie. It had one of those great endings that leaves you wondering what happened next.

We Are The Best. Sweden. Based on a graphic novel. Three 13-yo girls (why is every movie about kids this year?) in Stockholm form a punk band in 1982. Very good. Funny, but also lots of awwww moments for the one girl who always gets let down. Reminded me of that one movie about kids learning to play instruments. Wasn’t it a Jack Black movie?

Looking forward to the next round of movies!!!! I love you, AFI Fest!

Categories: Movies Tags: ,

AFI FEST 2013: In which I enlist the playwright to be my photographer!

I don’t know how many years AFI has been running this FREE movie festival, but I didn’t discover it until last year during my 10 month vacation. It’s the greatest thing EVER and I couldn’t wait for November to roll back around so I could go again.

Last night my friends and I saw August: Osage County, starring Meryl Streep & Julia Roberts.

My review? OSCARS FOR EVERYBODY!!!!!!

Ok, maybe not for Abigail Breslin or the woman who played the housekeeper. They were fine, but their parts were small… but everyone else gets a statue!!!!

The description said it was a dramatic comedy. Yeah. That fits. The always brilliant Meryl Streep plays a hard, mean, cancer-stricken mother of three daughters: Julia Roberts, no need to say anything about her equal brilliance is there? Juliette Lewis, thanks for just sticking with your natural quirkiness. And the captivating Julianne Nicholson was new to me, but her character was my favorite in the film and that’s why it was a happy surprise to find her in the Grauman’s Chinese forecourt after the movie. [Sidebar: Yes, I know the new owners are TCL. That’s a stupid name. It will always be Grauman’s to me.]

I decided I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get a picture with Julianne so I asked her and she was happy to oblige. Since neither of my friends is familiar with phone cameras I didn’t even consider asking them to take the picture. Instead I tapped the arm of the guy Julianne had been talking to and asked him to take it. It was only as we were walking away that Lori told me I had just asked the guy who wrote the f-ing thing to take my picture! Thanks, Tracy Letts!

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Me and Julianne Nicholson.

Sometimes having crappy seats is a good thing. Most of the seats were reserved and we had general admission so we ended up 3rd row, which SUCKS for seeing a movie at Grauman’s, but ROCKS for seeing Celebs on a stage for the Q & A!

George Clooney, Julianne Nicholson, Juliette Lewis, Dermot Mulroney , Chris Cooper, Director George Wells, and my photographer, Tracy Letts, answered questions from a really good Hollywood Reporter interviewer.

And yes folks, I’m pleased tell you that George Clooney IS that cute, adorable & charming in real life. And no, he’s not IN the movie, he’s a producer.

Thanks, AFI, for a great night! See you in a few!

Valley Film Festival: Vinyl

November 10, 2012 2 comments

Tonight I went to the Valley Film Festival at the Laemmle NoHo7 to see the movie Vinyl.

Vinyl is based on the true story of when Mike Peters (Alarm / Big Country) couldn’t get his song (45RPM) played because his band was considered too old. He got another band, the Wayriders, to pretend to be a band called The Poppy Fields and lip sync to the song.

In the movie, it’s a middle-aged punk rocker named Johnny Jones who hires a bunch of kids to form a fake band (The Single Shots) to lip sync to his band’s (Weapons of Happiness) song “Free Rock and Roll”.

My friend and I both loved this movie so much! There were a lot of laughs, really good music, (I must have the soundtrack!) and good actors. Phil Daniels, Keith Allen, Perry Benson and Jamie Blackley, especially. Oh and whoever played the A & R guy at the label…James Cartwright. Loved him.

The movie is directed and co-written by Sara Sugarman and will be in theaters in March 2013, but if you’re in NoCal, see it tomorrow at the Napa Valley Film Festival!

Here‘s the trailer (scroll down).

Oh and kudos to the Laemmle for being old school, putting the butter on my popcorn for me!

AFI Fest 2012: Kid

It’s time for AFI Fest 2012!!

!

Last night I saw a movie called Kid.

Not to be confused with Charlie Chaplin’s masterpiece, The Kid.

Kid, a Belgium film by writer/director Fien Troch (Someone Else’s Happiness and Unspoken), is about a little boy whose name is Kid. He and his older brother, Billy, live with their mother on a farm.

A hog farm.

Pigs.

When the pigs first appeared on screen I missed some of what was going on in the film because my own thoughts took over: “Oh great (!). Leave it to me to pick a film that has animals in it. I hope nothing horrible happens to those poor piggies. Do the Belgians have the same strict rules and regulations about using animals in films that we do? Do they have their own version of the ASPCA on set?”

Luckily the only horrible animal scene was when the pigs were loaded into a truck. A man was smacking them with a stick (!!!!) to keep them moving, and, once they were all loaded up, the camera zoomed in to show the very frightened face of one of the pigs.

But getting back to the story,  I never figured out why, and maybe it doesn’t matter, but for some reason the mother owes money to some very scary guys. She has to sell everything. Something terrible happens…no spoilers… and the boys end up living with relatives. It’s all very upsetting for the children and Kid acts out in various ways.

All the kids in this movie were really wonderful and I wanted to comfort those poor little guys. I shed quite a few tears but there were some laughs as well, especially thanks to whoever that adorable boy with round glasses is. Too adorable.

I give this movie Here‘s a trailer.

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