Posts

Showing posts from September, 2015

"Sicario" Review (****½)

Image
Emily Blunt stars as FBI agent Kate Macer in “Sicario.” French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve’s new addition to his dramatic, suspenseful filmography (“Incendies,” “ Prisoners “) is “Sicario” — a brutal thriller about a government task force and its hunt for a violent drug cartel along the United States/Mexico border. Armed with a brilliant cast and a heart-pounding score, Villeneuve delivers one of the year’s most beautifully shot, exhilarating films. “Sicario” opens with FBI agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) as she leads her SWAT team on a standard hostage raid on an Arizona home. Only this raid quickly takes a horrible turn. Her team comes across a gruesome discovery and an act of violence leads to the death of two team members — all the work of a dangerous Mexican drug cartel. Motivated by recent events, Kate is easily recruited by the flip-flop-clad government official Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) and his mysterious partner Alejandro (Benicio del Toro) to join their interagency, ant

2015 Savannah Film Festival to Kick-off with Sarah Gavron's "Suffragette"

Image
Directed by Sarah Gavron and written by Abi Morgan, “Suffragette” has been chosen to open the 2015 Savannah Film Festival on October 24th. Gavron and Morgan previously worked in the same capacity together on “Brick Lane.” Morgan also penned “Shame,” “The Iron Lady” and “The Invisible Woman,” which screened at the 2013 Savannah Film Festival (and was one of that year’s best selections).  “Suffragette” stars Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Natalie Press, Anne-Marie Duff, Romola Garai, Brendan Gleeson, Ben Whishaw and Meryl Streep. The last two openers at the Savannah Film Festival have seen the filmmakers attend ( Alexander Payne and Bruce Dern for “Nebraska” and Victor Levin for “5 to 7” ). Will we get to see “Suffragette” accompanied by its filmmakers or any of its stars? We will find out soon. Also screening at this year’s festival— and titles that are sure to make our ‘What to See’ list —include John Crowley’s “Brooklyn,” Marc Abraham’s “I Saw the Light,” Trey Edward Shults’ “

"Finders Keepers" Review (****½)

Image
John Wood loses his leg twice in “Finders Keepers.” “Finders Keepers” is easily the most unbelievable documentary I’ve seen in years. The premise alone is enough to make you laugh and think, ‘there’s no way that happened.’ But it did. And not only did it happen —it happened mostly on camera (thank goodness). I swear my jaw dropped at least five times. The film follows two men who get wrapped up in a legal battle over the possession of one of the men’s legs. It all starts when Shannon Whisnant, a local resident of Maiden, North Carolina, buys an abandoned storage unit filled with someone else’s junk. Whisnant opens up an old, rusted smoker that was sitting in the back of the unit and finds a human leg—skin and all. Intertwined with this half of the story, we also learn about John Wood—a kind-hearted man whose addictions and financial struggles forced him to stop making payments on his storage unit in which he was storing his amputated leg. Whisnant, who might as well have dollar signs

"Wildlike" Review (***)

Image
Ella Purnell and Bruce Greenwood star in “Wildlike.” Frank Hall Green’s quiet, low-budget drama, “Wildlike,” is a modest story of an unlikely kinship between a young and volatile Mackenzie (Ella Purnell) and an experienced and haggard Rene (Bruce Greenwood). Mackenzie, still reeling from the loss of her father, is forced to stay with her uncle, played by the doe-eyed Brian Geraghty, at his home in Alaska. We quickly learn he’s a creep and he’s abusive, and that’s all we know and really all we need to know. She leaves, and rightfully so, and that propels the rest of the film into action. Mackenzie soon meets Rene, a practiced hiker caught in weeds of his own grief. They become an unlikely pair, and the dynamic dances between platonic, protective, and subtly sexual. The film is their story; it’s them coming to terms with themselves and with each other and with the hands they’ve been dealt in this life. It’s not a story I loved—it felt tired to me, that the characters were exhausted by t

Introducing the Georgia Film Academy

Image
Jeff Stepakoff will serve as Georgia Film Academy’s Executive Director. It’s no secret that Georgia has become one of the country’s most sought-after states in which to film. With competitive tax incentives , abundant production resources , and a multitude of filming locations and studios , we have attracted Hollywood blockbusters such as “Ant-Man,” “ Selma ” and the “ Hunger Games ” series to Georgia. With the creation of the Georgia Film Academy, our camera-ready state seeks to add another attractive component—locally trained production professionals and staff—to our already long list of desirable features. Through a partnership between the University System of Georgia (USG) and the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), the Georgia Film Academy is poised to support the workforce needs of Georgia’s $6 billion film industry . The Film Academy will offer certification programs for employees in needed areas and prepare students for careers in the entertainment industry. It was ann

Review: "Everest" (***½)

Image
Editor’s note: We’re excited to introduce our newest writer, Alexis Ahlzadeh, with this review! We think you’ll enjoy her personality and confidence as much as we do. Love to write about the movies you love (or hate)? Email lucy@reelga.com with any interest in contributing. -LD Josh Brolin stars as Beck Wethers in “Everest.” In previous years, the Venice Film Festival has kicked off its opening night with highly buzzed about, critically-acclaimed films like “Black Swan,” “Gravity,” and “Birdman.” This year, that opening slot belonged to “Everest,” the tragically true story of a guided expedition to the top of Mount Everest in 1996. The innate visual grandeur of the journey up Mt. Everest was left to carry the film as it failed to delve into the many interesting characters and artistic aspects that could have set it apart from other stories of its kind. Jake Gyllenhaal stars in “Everest.” Advertisements for Everest boast a powerful cast—Jake Gyllenhaal, Keira Knightley, and Josh Brolin—

#GAfilm Review: "A Walk in the Woods" (**½)

Image
Robert Redford and Nick Nolte star in “A Walk in the Woods.”  With Academy Award-winner Robert Redford and Academy Award-nominee Nick Nolte set to conquer an adventurous hike together along the Appalachian Trail, I thought I had another “ Wild ” on my hands. To my dismay, the Georgia film (and 1998 bestselling book adaptation) “A Walk in the Woods” turned out to be about as exciting as the title suggests. The film begins with energy and potential but quickly loses its footing early on, ultimately resulting in a rather bland and uneventful journey with little substance. After attending a friend’s funeral, travel writer Bill Bryson (Redford) is inspired to hike the Appalachian Trail as a sort of ‘final adventure.’ His wife, played by the always wonderful Emma Thompson, objects but later gives in on the condition that he does not make the journey alone. Bryson fails to secure a hiking partner until he receives a sudden phone call from his former travel companion Stephen Katz (Nolte) with

Atlanta Film Festival and Sidewalk Film Festival Named Among "Coolest Film Festivals in the World" by MovieMaker Magazine

Image
The list of 25 was picked from nominations by MovieMaker Magazine’s 2015 Panel of Cool. Since the first Venice Film Festival began in 1932, film festivals around the globe have evolved into the premiere events for the celebration of independent cinema. As film enthusiasts, we attend these events to experience the moving image in the best possible way—through exceptional programming in stunning venues surrounded by  a crowd of equally passionate cinephiles. Two of our favorite film festivals to attend, the Atlanta Film Festival and the Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival , were recently recognized by MovieMaker Magazine as two of the  25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World — and we couldn’t be more excited and proud! With over 3,000 active film festivals in the world, it is truly an honor for a festival to be named one of the coolest.  It means even more to know that these festivals were voted on not by film critics, but by filmmakers and industry professionals.  Check out the reviews bel