November 13, 2015 |
The largest Asian American film festival on the East Coast kicks off at 7 p.m. Thursday at International House in West Philadelphia. The eighth annual Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival will promote and explore Asian identity through a modern artistic lens. Running through Nov. 22, it features more than 60 films, filmmaker-led discussions, and programs on music, culture, and food. Guest speakers include actor Peter Shinkoda, from Netflix's Daredevil , and spoken-word artist Michelle Meyers.
November 7, 2015 |
Cartoonist Roz Chast always viewed her work as strongly reflecting her upbringing in a Jewish New York family. After the release of her graphic memoir, Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? - which recounts her struggle to deal with her parents' final years - she came to realize that her experience was surprisingly universal. "I've gotten so many letters from people who live in all kinds of different places," Chast said. "Someone from rural Washington will say, 'My father was a farmer and a Baptist, but he was just like your dad.' So maybe there are things that we might think of as Jewish or New York-centric, but they're less so than we think.
November 6, 2015 |
AS SOMEBODY who spent six-plus years chronicling the rise and fall of the baseball team here in town, I have learned to live my life according to a simple but dependable maxim: It can always get worse. Perhaps you'd rather have a shortstop who hits .300 instead of hitting 20 home runs. But it can always get worse. Perhaps you'd rather have a manager who rules his clubhouse with an iron fist and is a fierce proponent of the sacrifice bunt. But it can always get worse.
October 26, 2015 |
In Burnt , opening Friday, Bradley Cooper is Adam Jones, a culinary star desperate for a comeback after torpedoing his career with drugs, drink, and insufferable arrogance. The dramedy, directed by John Wells, costars Daniel Brühl (restaurateur), Sienna Miller (rising chef), Emma Thompson (therapist), Uma Thurman (food critic), and Alicia Vikander (ex-lover). The cuisine is decidedly haute, and the scenes in the London restaurant where Cooper's Jones barks orders are perfect down to the last wisp of truffle pomme puree.
October 24, 2015 |
There are multitudinous ways to approach the 24th Philadelphia Film Festival . It boasts more than 130 features, docs, and shorts, and shifts into full-throttle mode Friday, after Thursday's opening gala premiere of Charlie Kaufman's singular stop-motion animation gem, Anomalisa . For the marathoners among us, this year's PFF - one of the strongest in recent memory - offers the chance to run from one end of town to the other,...
October 23, 2015 |
Anomalisa , the singular and stunning opening-night number of this year's Philadelphia Film Festival, begins with a pitch-dark screen and a mounting cacophony of voices - aural detritus, everyday yak. Then a sun-burnished cloudscape appears, a jet slices through the cumulus, we're inside the plane, and the passengers are all . . . puppets. In one row, with the eyes of a sad, unsatisfied man, sits Michael Stone (the voice of David Thewlis), en route from Los Angeles to a conference in Cincinnati, where he is to be the guest speaker.
October 10, 2015 |
Numbers and letters are some of the earliest characters to show up in our lives, and unlike most childhood attachments, they stay with us the whole way (sure, you may still have that teddy bear or toy truck up on a shelf, but your relationship can never be the same). It's natural to anthropomorphize those crooked and curved lines beyond their utilitarian use, something that, say, Sesame Street gets (as does Google, with its mildly annoying "little g" football Sunday doodles). In William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg's animated short The Numberlys , a group of digitally designated friends living in a black-and-white world of integers sets out to create letters and let some color into the place, as well as jelly beans (because, well, jelly beans)
October 9, 2015 |
In "The Final Girls," teen fans watching a retro horror classic step through the screen and into the movie. They mix with the characters - doomed counselors at a summer camp menaced by a masked slasher - and wonder if they are doomed as well. The movie-within-a-movie framework and snarky riffs on horror cliches in "Final Girls" have drawn comparisons to "The Cabin in the Woods. " "Final Girls," though, is a different beast, and tries to locate more genuine emotion than you'd expect to find in one of these meta movies, wherein the knowing characters know, for instance, that the killer appears every time a young woman removes her bra. Jokes aside, "Final Girls" makes a sincere attempt to explore the role of fantasy in understanding love - a "Purple Rose of Psycho," if you will.
October 4, 2015 |
Who needs Cannes? Who needs Venice? Toronto? Why bother? If the Philly cineastes who book their flights to the world's biggest film fests - or dream of doing so, anyway - would just sit tight for a few months, some of the strongest work to debut along the Lido, the Croisette and King Street West will wind up right here. That's certainly the case this year, as the folks behind the Philadelphia Film Festival unveiled a bountiful lineup of features, docs and shorts today. PFF 24 will open Thursday, Oct. 22, with Anomalisa , Charlie Kaufman's stop-motion animation existential comedy, winner of the Grand Special Jury Prize at Venice.
October 3, 2015 |
Shanghai is one of those oddball films that just doesn't seem to fit anywhere. A derivative, muddled Casablanca -esque WWII spy thriller helmed by the reasonably accomplished Mikael Håfström ( Evil , Derailed , The Rite ), who specializes in crime thrillers and high-concept horror, it's not a good film, and it holds little prospect of commercial or critical success. Perhaps that's why it languished in film-industry purgatory for five years before the Weinstein Co. finally gave it a limited release this month.