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Previewing the 51st New York Film Festival

by Ethan Alter September 26, 2013 4:01 pm
Previewing the 51st New York Film Festival

It's that time of the year again when Manhattan's Lincoln Center area transforms itself into a mini-Toronto and/or Cannes with the start of the annual New York Film Festival, which runs from September 27-October 13. For its 51st year, the NYFF has programmed a wide range of cinematic offerings, from star-driven Oscar contenders (like the Opening Night feature, Captain Phillips) to anniversary retrospectives (like a 20th anniversary screening of Richard Linklater's last-day-of-high-school masterpiece Dazed and Confused) to experimental fare (like the sort-of documentary Manakamana, which consists of a stationary camera positioned inside a cable car in Nepal that records the various passengers comings and goings). Visit the festival's official site for the full rundown, but here are some of the highlights we particularly wanted to draw your attention to:

Previewing the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival

by Ethan Alter April 18, 2013 9:52 am
Previewing the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival

New York's other film festival -- the one named after the fashionable Tribeca nabe, but actually unfolds all over Lower Manhattan -- returns for its 12th edition tonight, opening with the rock doc Mistaken For Strangers, a portrait of The National directed by the roadie brother of the band's lead singer. The subsequent eleven days of screenings, events and panel discussions will be just as eclectic, as Tribeca continues its mission to serve as the funky, cool little sibling to the older and more respectable New York Film Festival that unspools every year at the uptown (and upscale) Film Society of Lincoln Center. For the full schedule, visit the festival's online headquarters. In the meantime, here are some of the trends to watch for at this year's TFF.

Shining Through: Rodney Ascher Checks Us In To Room 237

After we first saw Rodney Ascher's documentary Room 237 during its world premiere at Sundance back in January, two thoughts ran through our heads: 1) This movie is terrific; and 2) There's no way anyone else will be able to see it, right? A thoughtful, innovative and hugely entertaining dissertation about Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, narrated by a quintet of individuals with very particular (and peculiar) theories about this horror classic, Room 237 is made up entirely of clips from the original movie, which posed a variety of potential copyright and licensing issues. Fortunately, since its Sundance debut, Ascher has toured the world with his film, showing it a variety of prestigious festivals (including Cannes and Toronto) and even scored a distribution deal with IFC Films, which will release it in theaters in March of next year. Before then, Room 237 can still be seen at a few festivals, including the New York Film Festival this week and Chicago's film festival the week after. While in town for the movie's NYFF premiere, Ascher spoke with us about his own love for The Shining, why he considers himself a walking, talking Rotten Tomatoes and what Stephen King might make of Room 237.

Previewing the 50th New York Film Festival

by Ethan Alter September 28, 2012 5:58 am
Previewing the 50th New York Film Festival

The New York Film Festival turns 50 this year and is appropriately throwing itself one heck of a birthday bash. The golden anniversary celebration kicks off tonight with the world premiere of Ang Lee's Life of Pi, an adaptation of the best-selling novel that ranks among the fall season's big Oscar hopefuls. Over the next two weeks (the festival runs from September 28 to October 14) a plethora of big-ticket films and events will be unspooling at the festival's headquarters at Lincoln Center on New York's Upper West Side. You can visit the official NYFF website for the full schedule and ticket information. In the meantime, we've gone through the festival line-up (and have even seen a few of the movies) to highlight some of this year's key titles.

TWoP Goes to Sundance: 72 Hours in Park City, Part 3

In which The Chronicles of Sundance comes to an end.

TWoP Goes to Sundance: 72 Hours in Park City, Part 2

The continuing adventure of one critic's first trip to the Sundance Film Festival....

TWoP Goes To Sundance: 72 Hours in Park City, Part 1

by Ethan Alter January 24, 2012 12:50 pm
TWoP Goes To Sundance: 72 Hours in Park City, Part 1

Like most movie lovers of a certain age (i.e. the '90s generation), the name "Sundance" first popped up on my radar in 1992 when a little movie called Reservoir Dogs blew the doors off Robert Redford's quiet little independent film festival nestled in the mountain town of Park City, Utah. (Yes, sex, lies and videotape was technically the film that put Sundance on the map in 1989, but Dogs was my personal gateway into indie film.) Reading all the hype about Quentin Tarantino's debut feature made me want to do two things: 1.) Watch Reservoir Dogs as soon as possible, and 2.) Go to Sundance myself. Accomplishing the first task was relatively easy once the movie hit VHS (remember that?); the second took another two decades. But 20 years after Reservoir Dogs first screened, I finally made the trek to Park City, Utah for a whirlwind three day Sundance experience. In those 72 hours, I managed to see 12 movies, spoke with a number of great people and experienced both extremes of Park City's weather, from blinding snowstorms to beautiful big blue skies. Here's how things went down:

The 5 Biggest Stories at the 49th New York Film Festival

The 49th edition of the New York Film Festival kicks off tonight with a gala screening of the Oscar hopeful Carnage, directed by Roman Polanski and starring a powerhouse cast that includes three Academy Award winners (Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster and Christoph Waltz) and one nominee and respected character actor (John C. Reilly). Although it comes at the tail end of the festival season, following the higher-profile Toronto and Venice media circuses, the NYFF has its fair share of big premieres and A-list attendees jostling for awards attention. Here are the five biggest stories to keep an eye on during this year's festival, which runs from September 30 to October 6.

A Whole Bunch of Movies Most People Will Never See

by Kasey McDonald December 5, 2008 6:27 pm
A Whole Bunch of Movies Most People Will Never See

I love a good independent movie as much as the next girl, but I generally only get to maybe two or three a year, and I live in a neighborhood with at least three indie theaters. But with Sundance coming up, some indie movies are about to get the most press they'll see all year. The lineup for the 2009 Sundance Film Festival is rolling out, and the festival, entering its 25th year, has announced the 64 films that will be entered into competition (of the 118 feature-length films that will premiere there). 3,661 films were submitted to the festival, so if you compare the indie fest to the world of major motion picture releases for a year, you've got to figure at least five of the indies will probably be really good. Being that the festival is Robert Redford's baby, I'll actually take the over on that one.

Shhh — Michael Cera to Debut Secret Movie at Sundance

If you've never heard of the new Michael Cera comedy Paper Hearts, you're certainly not alone. The indie film, which will debut at the Sundance Film Festival, has gone under the radar almost everywhere -- you won't find it on movie databases, and despite the fact that it stars Cera and a host of other talent from Judd Apatow's stable, the film is going to Sundance looking for a distributor. Because of those factors, of course, the semi-secret film has already garnered pretty high expectations. The project is described as being part documentary, part scripted comedy about the real-life relationship between Cera and his girlfriend Charlyne Yi (who played the pigtailed stoner girl in Knocked Up) in which music plays a key element.

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