Friday, November 17, 2017

Review: Lady Bird

Posted By on Fri, Nov 17, 2017 at 2:46 PM

Saoirse Ronan in Lady Bird
  • Saoirse Ronan in Lady Bird

For a town that prides itself on social awareness and progressive politics, Hollywood recently has struggled to keep up with changing times. First came the 2015 #oscarssowhite campaign spotlighting the perennial lack of Academy Award nominations (and screen time) for people of color. The Academy responded with major changes to its membership and voting policies, but more roles for nonwhite actors and those behind the camera have remained elusive.

Sexual harassment and abuse scandals have rocked Hollywood in 2017, damaging or ending careers for powerful players such as Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey. More important, the scandals blew the lid off Tinseltown’s barely hidden old boys’ club and its deeply ingrained sexism. Self-deprecating jokes won’t be enough to clear the air on this subject at next year’s Academy Awards ceremony — we’ve come too far for that.

Hollywood’s current predicament sets an unlikely stage for first-time solo writer-director Greta Gerwig’s beautifully realized Lady Bird, a coming-of-age story about a 17-year-old girl struggling to break free of her conservative upbringing in suburban Sacramento, California in 2002. One almost can hear Hollywood’s sighs of relief because a woman was greenlighted to make a debut film that will undoubtedly figure prominently in awards season, which begins in a couple of weeks and won’t let up until the Oscars ceremony on March 4, 2018.

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Prytania Theatre's Classic Movies series screens Raging Bull and The Birds this weekend

Posted By on Fri, Nov 17, 2017 at 9:36 AM

The Birds
  • The Birds

This Sunday, Nov. 19, the Prytania Theatre's never-ending series of classic films presents Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds (10 a.m., $6) and Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull (10 p.m., $10). Ticket are available here.

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Shotgun Cinema presents third annual Talking Heads dance party

Posted By on Fri, Nov 17, 2017 at 9:01 AM


Shotgun Cinema presents its third annual no-chairs dance-party screening of Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense on Saturday, Dec. 2 at Court 13 Arts (2801 Franklin Ave.). This year's screening is dedicated to the 1984 film's director Jonathan Demme, who died in April at age 73. Doors open at 6 p.m for art installation viewing and the screening begins at 9 p.m. Tickets are $12 and available here.

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Friday, November 10, 2017

Review: The Square

Posted By on Fri, Nov 10, 2017 at 2:58 PM

Claes Bang in The Square
  • Claes Bang in The Square

Great filmmakers tend to work in favored subject areas that come to characterize entire careers. It’s hard to imagine Wes Anderson without his character-driven whimsy, or Alfred Hitchcock obsessing on something other than the dark side of human nature.

Swedish director Ruben Ostlund seems to have adopted a narrow focus for his increasingly daring films: how the person each of us would like to be differs from who we really are in the context of everyday life — or the gulf that exists between private ideals and public actions.

This is fertile ground for satire. Ostlund’s 2014 Force Majeure imagined a husband and father who turns his own life upside down when he panics and runs from a harmless avalanche instead of protecting his family. The Square focuses on a sophisticated and self-satisfied museum curator whose life spins out of control when he responds to being robbed on the street with a series of bad, seemingly uncharacteristic decisions.

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Prytania Theatre's Martin Scorsese film series starts this weekend

Posted By on Fri, Nov 10, 2017 at 2:02 PM

  • Goodfellas

The Prytania Theatre launches a Martin Scorsese film series this weekend with a screening of Goodfellas. The series runs on five consecutive Sunday nights at 10 p.m. Tickets are $10 and available here. The full schedule:

November 12 — Goodfellas
November 19 — Raging Bull
November 26 — The Departed
December 3 — Taxi Driver
Dec. 10 — The Wolf of Wall Street

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Thursday, November 9, 2017

Dan Savage's Hump! Film Fest is Nov. 9-11 at The Broad Theater

Posted By on Thu, Nov 9, 2017 at 12:26 PM

Advice columnist Dan Savage's Hump! Film Festival runs tonight through Saturday at The Broad Theater. The 12th edition of the festival includes 22 short (less than four minutes) mostly home-made, amateur porn films, and they feature a wide array of sexual practices and kinks (trailer below).

There's sex between straight, gay and transgender participants, as well as films with no sex or nudity. There are several comedies as well as an animated film. But there's also great diversity in what filmmakers wanted to do. Some couples are just showing off (climbing mountains and jumping out of a plane). One film has a touching confession of how someone reclaimed her sexuality after overcoming abuse. There's all sorts of exotic fetishes. A couple films with dominance themes are not easy to watch. There's a Tom of Finland-inspired version of The Little Mermaid. One film is less than 10 seconds long. A couple are mostly people singing songs.

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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Extras needed for Mavis Staples' protest music-video shoot "If All I Was Was Black"

Posted By on Wed, Nov 8, 2017 at 2:05 PM

Mavis Staples
  • Mavis Staples

A local call for extras has been issued for a music video shoot for Mavis Staples' "If All I Was Was Black," the title song from Staples' upcoming protest album, which was co-written and produced by Jeff Tweedy of Wilco.

Directed by local filmmaker Zac Manual, the music video will "reimagine the use and intention of former confederate monument spaces by erecting a new, 11-ft. tall monument to a black woman."

The shoot requires a diverse group of 20+ extras to fill the roles of monument supporters. Extras must be present for the duration of the all-day weekend shoot. Extras will not be paid but "food, beverages and good company" will be provided.

Interested parties should contact Lizzie Guitreau at for more information. The album drops on Nov. 17. Listen to the song below.

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The NOLA Project presents staged readings of classic films

Posted By on Wed, Nov 8, 2017 at 8:12 AM

Rob Reiner's immortal The Princess Bride has inspired a staged theatrical reading
  • Rob Reiner's immortal The Princess Bride has inspired a staged theatrical reading

Local theater company The NOLA Project presents staged readings of classic films at the St. Alphonsus Art and Cultural Center (2045 Constance St.). This weekend, Nov. 10 and 11, it’s The First Wives Club, and next weekend, Nov. 17 and 18, brings The Princess Bride.

These events serve as a benefit for The NOLA Project after its recently canceled production of The Battle For New Orleans, which was to take place at this time. Readings start at 8 p.m. with popcorn and "an inexpensive bar” on hand. Tickets ($10) and more information are available here.

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Friday, November 3, 2017

Review: 78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene

Posted By on Fri, Nov 3, 2017 at 1:29 PM


It is fair to ask whether the world really needs a 90-minute documentary about a single scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. Director Alexandre O. Philippe’s 78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene may sound like something made expressly for film students, but the scene in question may be the only one in movie history to deserve such close scrutiny — and 78/52 is anything but dry and academic.

Lavish attention to Psycho’s shower scene began with Hitchcock himself. He chose to spend one week of the film’s four-week shooting schedule on that taboo-breaking, censor-defying three minutes of cinema. Philippe’s film takes inspiration from Hitchcock’s obsessiveness and examines the scene’s content and underlying methods from every possible perspective. But 78/52 also devotes itself to placing Hitchcock’s work in the larger context of the rapidly changing American culture of 1960. Entertaining and deeply immersive, the film wins over even casual viewers without breaking a sweat.

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Overlook Film Festival brings horror to New Orleans in April 2018

Posted By on Fri, Nov 3, 2017 at 11:04 AM

Bourbon Orleans Hotel
  • Bourbon Orleans Hotel

The Overlook Film Festival, a 'four-day celebration of horror and immersive experiences," will be held in the French Quarter April 19-22, 2018. The festival will be centered on the Bourbon Orleans Hotel and most screenings will be held at the Canal Place 9 theater.

Overlook debuted in 2017 in Mount Hood, Oregon, and featured numerous premieres including It Comes at Night, a live radio play and a festival-encompassing immersive game. The festival is currently accepting submissions of short films and selling early-bird passes. More information is here.

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