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Showing posts from April, 2013

Review: "42" (***½)

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Harrison Ford and Nicole Beharie star in “42” Sharing movie houses with expanding arthouse hits like “The Place Beyond the Pines,” “Trance” and “To the Wonder,” baseball biopic “42” might not be the most visually striking or thought-provoking film worthy of a Friday night at the cinema this month. The film is exactly what it aims to be, however—a crowd-pleaser with mass appeal. Writer-director Brian Helgeland has a successful past as a screenwriter, winning an Oscar for “L.A. Confidential” and earning a second nomination for “Mystic River.” As a director, his most successful film to date is “A Knight’s Tale,” a lightweight but stylish starring vehicle for the late Heath Ledger. “42” is a handsome film that, while failing to reinvent the inspirational sports film genre, makes for a well spent two hours looking at one of baseball’s most important historical figures. Set in the late 1940’s during Jackie Robinson’s quick and controversial ascent to the top of Major League Baseball, “42” is

Star spotting 04/19: Colin Farrell, Jon Hamm, Nicole Kidman, Robin Williams, Reese Witherspoon

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Colin Farrell, Jon Hamm and Nicole Kidman have all found work in Atlanta this spring. It is certainly no secret that “Anchorman: The Legend Continues”  has been filming all over Atlanta for the last month-and-a-half. Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig, Steve Carrell, Paul Rudd, Christina Applegate, James Marsden, Harrison Ford and David Koechner all star in the film that has covered the city with production crews from Turner Field and Summerhill to Upper Midtown and the West End. Apparently, Nicole Kidman was even in town briefly last week, filming a cameo appearance. Adam McKay directs. “Solace,” directed by Alfonso Poyart, will begin shooting in Atlanta in May. Colin Farrell, Anthony Hopkins, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Abbie Cornish will star in the psychic crime drama. Although the genre might be a bit overdone these days, this cast promises good things. Some reports suggest filming will also take place in Detroit. More details to come. Reese Witherspoon has been in town shooting “The Good Li

Short Take: "Blood of Man" - Atlanta Film Festival review

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Lesley Warren and Cooper Guy star in “Blood of Man” Right from the film’s first frame, as an angry mother washes her son’s mouth out with soap, I identified with “Blood of Man.” Writer-director-producer Ben Watts’ film takes place in rural Georgia in the late 1960’s—a different world than my suburban Atlanta upbringing in the 1980’s-90’s, but the same ideals regarding the power of prayer, decency and moral obligation still ring true. The late 60’s will look different depending on where you focus your gaze. Look to New York and you would find the slick, modern mood of “Mad Men.” Look to Atlanta and you would see a complex mosaic of race, class and power struggle amidst the Civil Rights movement. Look to the countryside and you’ll find a slow pace and a simple life, but also the beginnings of a disenchantment brought on by the world seemingly getting smaller and meaner. “Blood of Man” captures that same rural sentiment with elegance. Watts shot the film in his hometown of LaGrange. Blues

Atlanta review: "euphonia" (****)

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Maria Decotis stars in “euphonia” Perhaps the best example of experimental film out of the 2013 Atlanta Film Festival is “euphonia.” The film struggles to sit still under the ‘experimental’ label, however, as it possesses relatable central characters, an even tone and an easily mappable and insular plot. This is perhaps the best-looking feature to ever be made for only $700, and most definitely the best- sounding . An ode to sound tech, “euphonia” is a beacon of Georgia independent film and exactly what experimental film should look and sound like. Bored with school and idle at his sleepy department store job, Will Madden buys an audio recorder and starts collecting sounds; his new device quickly becoming a bountiful junkyard of noise. Noise is the true star of the film, but both Madden and his counterpart, Maria Decotis, put forward completely relaxed, authentic performances. A general feeling of tranquility and informality is occasionally disrupted by an unsettling happenstance; the

Triple Horse to build movie studio in Covington

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Triple Horse Studios has announced plans to build a $100 million movie studio in Covington. The county seat of Newton County—Covington is no stranger to film and television production. Part of the Metropolitan Atlanta statistical area, the studio will be about 30 miles east-southeast of Atlanta with easy access to Interstate 20. Phase 1 will cost $38 million and includes five sound stages as well as mill, work and office space. The completed project will be situated on 160 acres and feature multiple sound stages, exterior filming areas, a studio backlot, post-production facilities and more. Triple Horse expects to add about three dozen full-time jobs, with more jobs as more phases are completed. No word yet on when construction will commence, but the studio promises more details are forthcoming. Triple Horse is the fourth production company to announce big plans for Georgia in the past two months. Tyler Perry Studios have released plans for the expansion of their Atlanta facilities as

2013 Atlanta Film Festival Audience Award winners

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Surya and Rocky Braat star in “Blood Brother” The Atlanta Film Festival has finally announced the Audience Award winning films and it is no surprise that “Blood Brother”—Steve Hoover’s incredibly affecting documentary—takes home the best feature prize. The film is a tribute to Hoover’s lifelong friend, Rocky Braat, who moved to India seeking adventure and fulfillment and wound up taking care of HIV positive orphans and getting married. Several films at the ATLFF this year stirred audiences’ emotions and tickled their funny bones, but “Blood Brother” certainly ranks among the most powerful of the bunch. The film was produced by Hoover, Leigh Blake, John Carlin and Danny Yourd. Dehanza Rogers’ short film “Sweet, Sweet Country” takes home the Audience Award for best short film. This marks Rogers’ debut as both a writer and a director. “Sweet, Sweet Country” was filmed in Atlanta and produced by Rogers, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Autumn Bailey, Shadae Lamar Smith and Doug Turner. Congratulations to

Two Georgia film festivals featured in MovieMaker Top 50

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For nearly a decade, MovieMaker Magazine has been releasing an annual list of the top film festivals worth the prize of your film’s entry fee. In the past, the Rome International Film Festival has made the cut—dramatically upping the reputation of the quiet college town’s September event. Georgia’s two biggest destination film festivals—the Atlanta Film Festival and the Savannah Film Festival—both made the cut this year! These two Georgia gems are in good company, joining festivals like Cinequest, Edinburgh, Nashville, New Orleans and Soho. MovieMaker draws attention to Atlanta’s status as an Academy Award qualifying festival and to Savannah’s 40,000+ attendance and prizes totaling more than $100,000. We would like to add that spending a week or more in either of these cities is worth more than the price of submitting your film! Congratulations to all 50 festivals!  Check out the full list.

"The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" teaser trailer

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After “Identity Thief” debuted to huge numbers, despite a critical mauling, “42” marks the next Georgia film release this year to strike gold at the box office. Georgia productions are on a roll, to say the least, and the biggest player in the game doesn’t even come out until November. “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” is the most ambitious Georgia production to date, in terms of budget, spectacle and the expectations of an already massive built-in fan base. The teaser trailer premiered at the MTV Movie Awards last night, showcasing the first real footage of the film so far. Much like the first film in the franchise, we aren’t given any footage of the actual games– a frustrating, but effective suspense tactic. We can spot returning stars like Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland and Willow Shields, as well as newcomer to the cast– Philip Seymour Hoffman. Francis Lawrence’s sequel hits cinema screens on No

"No Place on Earth" review, Paste Magazine

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“No Place on Earth” closed out the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival back in February. Janet Tobias’ stirring documentary on a group of Ukrainian Jews who evaded Nazi detection for a year-and-a-half underground opened in New York and Los Angeles last weekend, on its way to opening in more cities across the country. I was granted the privilege to review “No Place on Earth” as my first contribution to Paste Magazine , which also counts as my first contribution as a writer to any place other than Reel Georgia. “In 1993, American cave enthusiast Chris Nicola traveled to Western Ukraine for two purposes—to learn more about his ancestral roots and to explore the Gypsum Giant cave system that is home to some of the world’s largest horizontal caverns. When Nicola stumbled onto some miscellaneous artifacts—a key, a comb, a woman’s shoe—he also stumbled onto a much shrouded and forgotten piece of World War II history. In No Place on Earth, director Janet Tobias explores this profound discovery, shedd

Atlanta Jewish Film Festival encore screenings set for April 21st

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The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival Audience Award winning films will receive encore screenings on April 21st. Georgia Theatre Company at Merchants Walk in Marietta, one of the festival’s most popular venues, will serve as the encore venue. The films will screen in back-to-back presentations– Best Short Film, Best Documentary Feature and finally, Best Narrative Feature.  Get your tickets here. “The Cake Lady” Best Short Film 3:00 PM –  A loving tribute to an Atlanta bubbie who embarks on the transition from independence to assisted living. “Joe Papp in Five Acts” Best Documentary Feature 4:30 PM –  Famous faces of the stage and screen pay homage to a transformative figure of American theater. “Süskind” Best Narrative Feature 7:45 PM –  The gripping true story of a Jewish industrialist who saved hundreds of Dutch children from the death camps.