On Movies: Roxy to screen yet-to-be released films

Jesse Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska in "The Double," which will be shown as part of the Philadelphia Film Festival's Spring Showcase.
Jesse Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska in "The Double," which will be shown as part of the Philadelphia Film Festival's Spring Showcase. (Magnolia Pictures)
Posted: March 31, 2014

Watch Michael Fassbender - his chiseled mug encased in a cartoonish papier-mâché head - as the title character, the nutty front man for a rock band, in Frank.

Watch Jesse Eisenbergand Jesse Eisenberg, doppelgangers going at each other, in a comedic take on Dostoyevsky'sThe Double.

And watch God Help the Girl, a musical from moody Glaswegian combo Belle & Sebastian founder Stuart Murdoch.

Over seven days, April 11-17, the folks behind the Philadelphia Film Festival will screen 17 yet-to-be-released films - fresh from Sundance, South By Southwest, and other top fests at their new venue, the beautifully renovated Roxy Theater on Sansom Street.

There are two reasons for PFF's Spring Showcase, says Andrew Greenblatt, executive director of the Philadelphia Film Society, which oversees the annual fall film marathon and runs the programming at the Roxy. (This year's festival is slotted for Oct. 16-26.)

"One is because every year we go to Toronto, Sundance, to South By, and we see these films that we love and we just know we want to spotlight, but we can't put them in the festival because of timing," Greenblatt says. "They end up coming out before our festival in October.

"And so, now that we have the building, we wanted to take that opportunity to actually put the spotlight on these films."

The other reason, he says, is the Roxy itself:

"There are still a good many people in town who haven't come to the Roxy yet, some people who may not even know it's open. . . . We're hoping that the lure of the festival, of these great new Philadelphia premieres, will bring people in - and hopefully they will become longtime patrons."

An advantage of this mini-fest is that none of the titles overlap. No conflicting screenings. Diehards and devotees can, if they choose, see every one of the films on the schedule. Other titles include:

Mood Indigo, the new one from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind'sMichel Gondry, starring Audrey Tautou.

Obvious Child, a one-night-stand standup comedy tale starring Jenny Slate, Gaby Hoffmann, and Philly native Gabe Liedman.

Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon, a Toronto Film Festival hit about the legendary rock manager, directed by Austin Powers star Mike Myers.

Moebius, Korean Kim Ki-duk's banned-in-Korea (for a time) provocation, which Variety critic Leslie Felperin called "a gloriously off-the-charts study in perversity featuring castration, rape, and incest ."

In addition to the 17 new pics in the Spring Showcase is an Alfonso Cuarón retrospective, with screenings of all seven features from the Oscar-winning director, starting with the early '90s Mexican indie Sólo con tu pareja and on to A Little Princess (1995), Great Expectations (1998), his 2001 breakthrough, Y Tu Mamá También, his franchise-templating Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2001), the chilling dystopian thriller Children of Men (2006), and, of course, Gravity. Also on the program, the omnibus Paris, je t'aime (2006), for which Cuaron directed the Parc Monceau segment, starring Nick Nolte and Ludivine Sagnier.

For info about and tickets for PFF's Spring Showcase, go to filmadelphia.org, or call the Roxy at 267-639-9508.

Cooper, Eastwood join forces for "American Sniper." Shooting, in both senses of the word, is about to begin on the Morocco set of A merican Sniper, a film based on the real-life exploits of Navy SEALs marksman Chris Kyle, a veteran who held the record for the most sniper kills in U.S. military history. Jenkintown boy Bradley Cooper stars as Kyle, once a Texas rodeo cowboy, and Sienna Miller is to play his wife. The cast also includes - in addition to a number of current and former SEALs - Jake McDorman, Luke Grimes, Cory Hardrict, Kyle Gallner, and Navid Negahban. Clint Eastwood, who made the World War II diptych Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima, is directing. Jason Hall, credited with the screenplay for the Philly-shot bomb Paranoia, adapted Kyle's autobiography. Kyle was shot and killed in February 2013 on a shooting range in Texas. He was 38.

Cooper also will produce American Sniper. His production company, 22nd & Indiana, housed at Warner Bros., is named for the Philly corner where his father, Charles, grew up. Cooper's father died in 2011.

Also on Cooper's plate: a third team-up with his American Hustle and Silver Linings Playbook cohort Jennifer Lawrence in a Depression-era drama called Serena, and Cameron Crowe's untitled Hawaii-set project in which Coop is flanked by Rachel MacAdams, Emma Stone, and Bill Murray.


srea@phillynews.com

215-854-5629

@Steven_Rea

www.inquirer.com/onmovies

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