The Prytania Theatre has released the schedules for the next installments of its ongoing classic and late-night movie series. Classic movies screen at 10 a.m. on Sundays and Wednesdays, and tickets are $5.75. Late night movies screen at midnight on Friday and Saturday nights and tickets are $10, and you can BYOB if you're old enough.
Here's the Classics schedule:
Casino Royale — December 11
It’s A Wonderful Life — December 15, 18 and 22
Hud — December 29 and January 1
Every Which Way But Loose — January 5 and 8
What’s Up Doc? — January 12 and 15
Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid — January 19 and 22
Here's the Late Night schedule:
The Nightmare Before Christmas — December 13 and 14
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation — December 20 and 21
The Neverending Story — December 27 and 28
Reservoir Dogs — January 3 and 4
Jackie Brown — January 10 and 11
The Downtown Development District and Riverwalk Marketplace will present a free outdoor screening of How the Grinch Stole Christmas tonight, December 6, at 6:30 p.m. at Riverwalk's Spanish Plaza at the foot of Canal Street on the Mississippi River. Director Ron Howard's 2000 film stars Jim Carrey as the Grinch and was the first feature-length movie adaptation of a Dr. Seuss book. The Christmas movie series continues on December 13 with a screening of Elf at the same time and location.
New Orleans Orleans Center for the Creative Arts (NOCCA) and New Orleans Video Access Center (NOVAC) will host a public conversation with noted cinematographer Michael Goi at 7 p.m. on Saturday, December 7 at NOCCA's Nims Black Box Theatre, 2800 Chartres Street. A three-term president of the American Society of Cinematographers (A.S.C.) and director of photography for TV's American Horror Story and Glee, Goi will discuss his work with NOVAC Cinematography Series instructor D.J. McConduit. Tickets are free for NOVAC members and NOCCA students, and $10 general admission.
Movie awards season began today with an announcement from the New York Film Critics Circle, which chose David O. Russell's upcoming 1970s-era crime drama American Hustle as best picture of 2013. The film, which also won for best screenplay (Russell and Eric Warren Singer) and best supporting actress (Jennifer Lawrence), is currently scheduled to open in New Orleans on December 20. Other winners include Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave) for best director, Sarah Polley's Stories We Tell for best documentary, and Blue is the Warmest Color for best foreign film. A complete list of winners is a available here.
It’s safe to say Philomena is not the movie the embattled Catholic Church was hoping to see this holiday season. Directed by British filmmaker Stephen Frears (My Beautiful Laundrette, Dangerous Liaisons) Philomena is based on the true story of Philomena Lee, a survivor of what has come to be known as the Magdalene laundries. In a system supported by the Irish government, some 10,000 “fallen” young women — mostly pregnant and unmarried — were sent to convents between 1922 and 1996 where they were deprived of their rights and subjected to forced labor in exchange for care during their pregnancies. Many remained in the laundries for years against their will and had their children taken away and sold to wealthy American families. It was not until early 2013 that the Irish government finally issued a formal apology for the atrocities, and last summer it agreed to pay $45 million to the estimated 770 laundry survivors who are still alive and had conducted a decade-long campaign for reparations.
British journalist Martin Sixsmith’s best-selling 2009 book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee may have provided some inspiration for that apology. An article Sixsmith wrote for The Guardian recounting his experiences helping Lee discover the truth about her son — published with the unforgettable headline “The Catholic Church Sold My Child” — caught the eye of British actor and comedian Steve Coogan, who bought the rights to Sixsmith’s book and went on to co-write, co-produce and star in Philomena. That genesis led Coogan and Frears down the unusual path of creating a film not only about Lee’s personal story but also spotlighting Sixsmith’s behind-the-scenes journalistic role in unraveling a mystery, which is not a part of his book. The surprising result is a first-rate holiday movie about forgiveness that’s entertaining and substantial enough for gatherings of disparate people with inevitably wide-ranging tastes. What else happens at the holidays?
MORE AFTER THE JUMP...
Director Martin Scorsese set a high bar for concert films in 1978 with The Last Waltz, a film documenting the final show by roots-rock stalwarts The Band. The seven-camera shoot was achieved with help from some of the finest cinematographers in film history, including Vilmos Zsigmond (McCabe and Mrs. Miller), Michael Chapman (Raging Bull), and Laszlo Kovacs (Easy Rider). Musical guests include Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Muddy Waters, Van Morrison, and our very own Dr. John. The film screens at The Theatres at Canal Place on Sunday, November 24 at 8 p.m. The $10 tickets are available here.
Variety reports that The Whole Gritty City, which premiered in the 2013 New Orleans Film Festival in October, will air during a two-hour primetime special on CBS' 48 Hours next year.
48 Hours producer Richard Barber directed the film, which follows three marching bands — O. Perry Walker High School, L.E. Rabouin High School and the Roots of Music — from 2007 to 2010 as they prepare for the Carnival season amidst tragedy and violence in the members' homes and on the streets. Read an interview with Barber and more about the film in Gambit.
Barber began filming after he had worked on an episode of 48 Hours that looked at post-Katrina murders, particularly murders that catalyzed a citywide anti-violence march at City Hall, including those of filmmaker Helen Hill and Dinerral Shavers, a drummer for Hot 8 Brass Band and band director at L.E. Rabouin High School. The film also captures the early stages of the Roots of Music, founded by Rebirth Brass Band drummer Derrick Tabb. The Whole Gritty City not only follows the band directors but Barber also gave handheld cameras to several students to document their lives at home.
It will air 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15., opposite NBC's presentation of the 2014 Olympics.
The first sequel to last year's blockbuster The Hunger Games opens today in New Orleans and across the globe. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire continues the adventures of futuristic teen warrior Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and has received surprisingly positive reviews, though we can't vouch for it ourselves because the studio declined to hold a press screening in New Orleans. The movie currently enjoys an 88% "certified fresh" rating at move-review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, higher than the 84% earned by the first film in the series. None of which matters to today's teens, who are likely to help Catching Fire set an all-time box-office record for the opening of a non-3D movie this weekend. Estimates put the first-weekend take at around $160 million.
From Robert De Niro in Raging Bull to Charlize Theron in Monster, real-life physical transformations have long been a badge of honor among top-tier movie actors willing to risk their health for cinematic authenticity. Usually it’s a matter of gaining or losing a lot of weight in a short period of time to fully inhabit a particular role. This practice reaches new heights of daring and devotion to craft with Matthew McConaughey’s turn as Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club. McConaughey shed 50 pounds from his perfect physique to play Woodroof, who was diagnosed with AIDS in the mid-1980s and became a folk hero by defying the FDA and the medical establishment to acquire illicit but life-sustaining medications outside the U.S. for himself and others. At a low of 135 pounds, McConaughey’s Woodroof is a shocking yet oddly familiar sight for anyone old enough to remember the early days of the disease.
Just as convincing as McConaughey’s physical presence is the internal transformation he achieves as Woodroof. Dallas Buyers Club takes place at a time when AIDS was not understood by doctors and scientists, and fear and ignorance shaped a widespread public perception of the disease as a “gay plague.” The real-life Woodruff was a straight, macho Texan — an electrician and rodeo rider who was openly bigoted and homophobic as the story begins. Given 30 days to live, he educated himself about AIDS at the library and soon understood that science — and the pharmaceutical companies — were moving too slowly to address the crisis. Woodroof’s story becomes one of enlightenment as he learns to care for others unlike himself who also are battling the disease. McConaughey manages the finest work of a recently rejuvenated career to make that journey believable.
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Celluloid is back and it's better than ever. The Prytania Theatre has announced another series of films projected on actual 35mm film, as nature intended. This time it's the works of movie-genre manipulator Quentin Tarantino. The screenings are scheduled for 10 p.m. on Sunday nights throughout December. All tickets are $10. Here's the full schedule:
December 1 — Pulp Fiction
December 8 — Kill Bill 1
December 15 — Kill Bill 2
December 22 — Inglourious Basterds
December 29 — Django Unchained
God's speed, Rodrigue
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