The 16th annual Tribeca Film Festival is once again underway in New York City. Entries in this year’s festival include films from 28 countries, which are being shown from April 19th to April 30th. The festival has already seen a fair share of controversy this year. Photographers and reporters were incensed to find some lesser known actors walking on the red carpet wearing masks of James Franco, Shia LaBeouf, and Greta Gerwig instead of the actors themselves for the premiere of the film Flames. In addition, a commercial for United Airlines, which was originally scheduled to appear at the festival, was pulled from the line up after the controversy surrounding Dr. David Dao being violently dragged off one of their flights. Despite a fair share of controversy, which has always been typical of the Hollywood scene, there have been some impressive displays at this year’s festivities. Continue reading →
This weekend, downtown Saint Paul is playing host to both the 2017 Frozen Film Festival and Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championship. The Frozen Film Festival is showing a number of student short films on Friday night, followed by a feature-length film titled Viral Beauty. The festival will continue on Saturday and conclude with an awards ceremony and closing party. Events for the festival are being held at the F.K. Weyerhaeuser Theater, located at 75 W. 5th Street, and at TPT Street Space, located at 172 E. 4th Street. The Red Bull Crashed Ice 2017 World Championship, which has now come to Saint Paul six years in a row, is happening downtown at the Cathedral of Saint Paul. The event is an ice cross downhill race that begins on the steps of the Cathedral with participants racing on ice skates. Mayor Chris Coleman also usually shows up to take a slow, but admirable attempt at the track, if not just for PR purposes (but you didn’t hear that from us!). Time trials begin at 11am on Friday, and the finals take place from 6:30 – 9:30pm on Saturday. Needless to say there’s plenty to check out this weekend, so be sure to get up and do something!
Director Sydney Lumet‘s 1973 undercover police drama Serpico earned Al Pacino his second Oscar nomination for Best Actor. While it was another in a long-running streak of Oscar nominations for Pacino that resulted in no wins until 1992’s Scent of a Woman, Serpico‘s other Oscar nomination was for Best Adapted Screenplay for screenwriters Waldo Salt (Midnight Cowboy, The Day of the Locust) and Norman Wexler (Saturday Night Fever, Staying Alive). Although Serpico proved to be the last Oscar-worthy project of Wexler’s, Waldo Salt had a much longer, and much darker story in Hollywood screenwriting history.
Waldo Salt was born on October 18, 1914 and grew up in Chicago an accomplished academic. He was so accomplished, in fact, that he graduated from Stanford University at the same time his friends were graduating from high school. Shortly thereafter, Salt was in Hollywood working as a screenwriter for MGM. There he worked on and assisted with various writing projects, but his first solo writing adaptation was with a 1937 film called The Bride Wore Red. The next year, Salt joined the American Communist Party, putting himself on the radar for the House Un-American Activities Committee during the Red Scare/McCarthy era 12 years later. Continue reading →
Writer, director, and lead actor Nate Parker (The Great Debaters, Red Tails)’s The Birth of a Nation is now playing in theaters across the country, but not in the light the young filmmaker was hoping for. The film struggled to reach $7 million in domestic box office sales in its opening weekend. Several factors could have contributed to the surprising low, but the most likely cause of the low turn out is Parker’s 1999 rape allegations during his time at Penn State. Although Parker was exonerated, news that his alleged victim committed suicide in 2012 and his handling of the case back in 1999 have caused a great controversy that has women’s rights and sexual assault advocate groups shouting boycott all across the country.
While Parker’s film may be controversial in its own right, the original Birth of a Nation, which was a silent movie released in 1915, was just as controversial, if not more so. The original Birth of a Nation is remembered for its blatantly racial undertones and simultaneous impressive contributions to filmmaking. Continue reading →
A new independent drama from Oscar-winning writer/director Andrea Arnold (Red Road, Fish Tank) is opening in select theaters across the country this weekend. The film, called American Honey, follows a teenage girl as she joins a group of misfits, or “traveling salesmen” and gets swept up in a life of alcohol, drugs, crime, young love, and all the drama that comes with it while hitchhiking their way across the Midwestern United States. Starring in the lead role is newcomer Sasha Lane, who is supported onscreen by Shia LaBeouf (Lawless, Fury), Riley Keough (The Good Doctor, Mad Max: Fury Road), McCaul Lombardi (Age of the Moon, Mindless), Arielle Holmes (Heaven Knows What, 2307: Winter’s Dream), and Isaiah Stone (Winter’s Bone). American Honey stole the show at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, winning the Jury Prize and securing a Palme d’Or nomination for director Andrea Arnold, whose acclaimed independent films have earned her a big name among the industry. The trailer for American Honey is available here on MADE. If you get a chance, I would definitely put it on your movie list for this weekend. Enjoy!
Today’s Memorable Movie Moment takes us back to 1978, for the excellent cinematography in a film called Days of Heaven. Written and directed by 3x Oscar nominee Terrence Malick (The Thin Red Line, The Tree of Life), Days of Heaven is an American epic that follows a young couple, Bill and Abby, during the Expansionist era in 1916. Moving from Chicago to Texas in search of work, the two become involved in a scheme to have Abby marry a wealthy farmer who is close to death in order to gain his fortune. This, of course doesn’t go according to plan and so a dramatic conflict of jealousy and deceit ensues, loosely based on a backstory that first appeared in Alexander Dumas‘ The Three Musketeers.
Starring Richard Gere (An Officer and a Gentlemen, Pretty Woman), Brooke Adams (Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Dead Zone), and Sam Shepard (Swordfish, Black Hawk Down), the film received Oscar nominations for Best Costume Design, Best Sound, and Best Music – Original Score. Although it failed to win any of these awards, Days of Heaven did receive the Oscar for Best Cinematography for Nestor Almendros. Continue reading →
Legendary comedic actor Gene Wilder, best known for his roles in films like Young Frankenstein, The Producers, Blazing Saddles, and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, passed away Monday after a struggle with Alzheimer’s Disease. The actor was twice nominated for an Academy Award, one for his role in The Producers and the other as co-writer with Mel Brooks for Young Frankenstein. Wilder first gained attention in a production of Off Broadway’s Roots in 1961. He then continued working in television and on Broadway for a number of years, where he first caught the eye of filmmaker Mel Brooks. The actor starred in a production of Bonnie and Clyde in 1967 before teaming up with Brooks for his breakout role in The Producers, which earned him his first nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Continue reading →
Today we’re highlighting a scene from the 1994 Stephen King drama The Shawshank Redemption. Written and directed by Frank Darabont (The Green Mile, The Walking Dead) from King’s short story, the film follows former banker-turned-felon Andy Dufresne (portrayed by Oscar-winner Tim Robbins), who is sent to Shawshank prison for the murder of his wife. During his stay he befriends fellow inmate Ellis ‘Red’ Redding, who helps Dufrense navigate the harsh realities of prison life, and who likewise is touched by Dufrense’s ability to remember life beyond tall prison walls. The film received 7 Academy Award nominations, and although it lost out on every win, has gone down in history as an iconic cinematic masterpiece. Continue reading →
Same-subject movies coming out at the same time aren’t necessarily unheard of; Deep Impact and Armageddon (May and July, 1998), Dante’s Peak and Volcano (February and April 1997), Mission to Mars and Red Planet (March and November 2000), The Illusionist and The Prestige (August and October 2006). Now a new pair of movies will be joining the list, focused around the life of famous murder-mystery author Agatha Christie. Paramount has signed Oscar-nominee Emma Stone (The Amazing Spider-Man, Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) to star as Christie during her 11 day disappearance in 1926. Sony, however, has signed Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina, The Danish Girl) to star in Sony’s production, which focuses on the author’s youthful days as a pro-feminist supporter. Continue reading →
A new documentary titled De Palma is seeing release this week from directors Jake Paltrow (The Good Night, Boardwalk Empire) and Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale, Greenberg). The film is a chronicle of the life and work of acclaimed director Brian De Palma, whose major body of work has spanned from the 1970s to the present with films like Carrie (1976), a Stephen King novel, Scarface (1983) with Al Pacino (The Godfather, Scent of a Woman) and Michelle Pfeiffer (The Fabulous Baker Boys, Batman Returns), and The Untouchables (1987) with Kevin Costner (Waterworld, Dances with Wolves), Robert De Niro (Goodfellas, Casino), and Sean Connery (Diamonds are Forever, The Hunt for Red October). Despite all of the acclaim and success earned by these films, De Palma is one of the many artists who has never been recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Untouchables saw Sean Connery win his first Oscar in 1988, Continue reading →