Ivan Reitman's "Ghostbusters" celebrated its 30th anniversary back in June, but with a new 4K theatrical re-release on the way from Sony, today has been dubbed "National 'Ghostbusters' Day." Well, of course we should do something special.
VENICE - When high schoolers Cher (Alicia Silverstone) and Dionne (Stacey Dash) successfully fix up a couple of single teachers in Amy Heckerling's seminal teen hit "Clueless", the pampered girls coo "Old people can be so sweet!" as the targets of their matchmaking begin to enjoy a tentative romance. The joke is on the naive teens; we're laughing at their blithely patronizing attitude towards their elders. Would that all films were as smart as Heckerling's Jane Austen revamp.
A release date has been set for the police thriller "Triple Nine" from director John Hillcoat ("Lawless," "The Proposition"), which stars a slew of Oscar winners and nominees.
VENICE - Joshua Oppenheimer's "The Act Of Killing" was an incredibly uncomfortable watch for many reasons. Not least its close alignment - narratively, if not morally - with Indonesian death squad veterans, as they re-enacted the atrocities they had committed in the style of their favorite films. "The Look Of Silence", styled as a companion piece rather than a sequel, redresses the balance. This time, the surviving family members of Ramli, one of the the victims, are the focus, and the style is appropriately restrained.
VENICE - Truth or dare? This is a game played by two characters in magnificently acidic metatextual comedy "Birdman." It's also the film as a three-word question. Truth or dare? Real stage actor or star? You can have your artistic integrity, or you can have a hit. You can go Method, or you can really fly. You can be Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton), or you can be Birdman (Riggan Thomson). Initially, "Birdman" poses as a trenchant critique of the seemingly endless parade of men in capes that is the summer blockbuster season (Michael Fassbender and Robert Downey Jr. are name-checked as fine actors currently otherwise occupied), but it's actually rather more nuanced than that.
VENICE - NBC's "The Office" rang frequent laughs from Dwight Schrute's beet farm, with glimpses of backwards Cousin Mose and his feral antics proving particularly fertile ground for comedy ("And as of this morning, we are completely wireless here at Schrute Farms, but as soon as I find out where Mose hid all the wires, we'll get all that power back on.") This kind of vaguely unsettling boys-on-the-farm vibe is played straight in "The Goob", a character piece that has atmosphere to spare, and whose minimal plot is helped along by the happily original setting; this might be the first film shot in Norfolk to premiere at Venice.
Oscar-winning filmmaker and actor Richard Attenborough, who delighted cinema audiences across some six decades, has died, according to his son. He was 90 years old.
Ava DuVernay's "Selma" is going to come around at a particularly noteworthy time. Yes, it's been 50 years since the Selma-to-Montgomery marches and yes, it's been 49 years since the passing of the voter rights act. But as we look around today, it's perfectly clear: the more things change, the more they stay the same.
All eyes are on the fall festivals now as Venice and Telluride are set to gear up next week with Toronto shortly after. And just on the horizon: New York. The Film Society at Lincoln Center pretty much won the day this season by landing the big premieres of David Fincher's "Gone Girl" and Paul Thomas Anderon's "Inherent Vice," while the choice of "Birdman" for closing night — despite the fact that it will have already played Venice and likely Telluride prior — felt like a natural progression. NYFF Director and Selection Committee Chair Kent Jones recently spilled a bit on the Fincher and the Anderson, two films hotly anticipated this season.
Every new piece of footage or marketing for "Nightcrawler" has me champing at the bit at this point. First Open Road Films offered up a brief viral tease of the film, which stars Jake Gyllenhaal as an ethically unbound freelance crime journalist in Los Angeles, ahead of its announcement as a Toronto Film Festival world premiere. Then came the first teaser trailer, which proved to me that cinematographer Robert Elswit was bringing the goods here. And that pulp-inspired poster was awesome. Now, a full trailer, laying out all the ethical implications at the heart of the film.