By Bob Grimm
on Wed, Aug 10, 2016 at 9:00 AM
After sitting on the shelf for quite some time, Mark Osborne’s unorthodox, animated adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s classic story finally gets a release, albeit a release streaming on Netflix.
It’s a good enough movie, but its by no means a straight retelling of The Little Prince. There’s a modern story about a young girl (Mackenzie Foy) who befriends an old aviator (Jeff Bridges), and the aviator is the one from The Little Prince. He recounts part of that story to the little girl, which we see in stop motion animation (the modern story is mostly CGI).
There’s an interesting mix of animation techniques to go with some twists to the story, and while it feels a little uneven and perhaps slow at times, it’s an enjoyable film.
Other voice performers include Rachel McAdams, Paul Rudd, Marion Cotillard, James Franco, Benicio Del Toro and Albert Brooks, and its fun hearing all of their great voices in one place.
Again, if you are looking for a traditional retelling of The Little Prince, this is not your bag. If you are looking for decent enough animated fare that will entertain kids and adults alike, you could do much worse.
It's still early in the week, but let's start talking about what the plan is to de-stress this weekend.
My suggestion: Join the good folks at the Loft Cinema (3233 E. Speedway Blvd.) for an evening of battling Rodents of Unusual Size, humiliations galore and, of course, popcorn. That's right, they're showing the Princess Bride on the big screen.
The movie is playing at 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday (Aug. 12-13) and 10 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 2 p.m.
Is there's a better way to come down from a rough week of work than watching a classically charming movie? Inconceivable! I'll see you there.
By Bob Grimm
on Tue, Aug 9, 2016 at 9:00 AM
Three sisters, Sachi, Yoshino and Chika (Haruka Ayase, Masami Nagasawa and Kaho), welcome their newfound and much younger half-sister Suzu (Suzu Asano) into their home after their father passes away.
Suzu is closed off and quiet at first but, as she gets to know her new family, she starts opening up, as does the movie. Writer-director Hirokazu Koreeda doesn’t go for storytelling fireworks in this movie, but he does achieve a quiet, subtle, and extremely charming beauty in this tale of four sisters. Much of the film consists of the girls sitting around dinner tables, having meals and discussing simple life issues. Yes, it sounds boring as all hell on paper, but it actually plays into one of the summer’s most pleasant and rewarding surprises.
Ayase is especially good as the eldest sister, dealing with romantic struggles and trying to reconcile bad feelings towards her mother. Asano is a revelation as the young Suzu, an emotionally closeted girl who, nonetheless, jumps at the chance for a new family and a fresh start. While much of the movie is still and quiet, there’s a moment where Suzu rides on the back of a bike through a tunnel of cherry blossoms that amounts to one of the year’s most memorable images.
The movie goes at a leisurely pace, but not to a point that irritates. When it’s over, you’ll miss these characters.
Whether you're an experienced filmmaker or looking to try something new, this might be for you: Tucson Fringe and Strada Company are teaming up to produce the first-annual Three Minute Film Festival.
Why three minutes?
Because new and emerging filmmakers often don’t have the resources for longer pieces. The Fringe, as you might guess, is putting special emphasis on alternative storylines, new ideas, artful concepts, and imaginative flair. Whatever you’ve got – HD Video, pocket camera, smart phone – if you can shoot video on it, you can enter the Three Minute of Film Festival Festival.
Don't worry, you have plenty of time to make a three minute film, the entry deadline isn't until Oct. 1. Each film that's selected will get a public screening, and a be entered for a chance to win cash prizes (the dollar amount of which will be determined by screening attendance and number of entries).
The entry fee to submit a film to the festival is $10.
The details are still being ironed out, but the screening is expected to take place downtown in late fall.
The Tucson Fringe Festival is an unjuried and uncurated performance festival, so the Film Festival will accept as many short films as seems reasonable and prudent. You don’t have to be reasonable and prudent, though. This Festival is open to filmmakers across the world but Strada Company and the Tucson Fringe plan to reserve a portion of spots for southern Arizona filmmakers.
The categories to win prizes in are as follows: Audience Award, Best Narrative Film, Best Art Film, Best Writing, Best Director
Submit your three minute film here, and for more information email the Tucson Fringe Festival at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 621-4851.
By Bob Grimm
on Mon, Aug 8, 2016 at 9:00 AM
In a summer that is supposed to be blowing our minds with big budget special effects and things that go boom, this relatively quiet Philip Roth adaptation winds up being one of the season’s best bets.
Logan Lerman gives one of the year’s best performances thus far as Marcus, a Jewish student attending college in New Jersey while many of his friends are going off to fight the Korean War. He meets Olivia (Sarah Gadon, so good in 11.22.63), a free spirited young woman with a checkered past. The two have a romance that isn’t necessarily of storybook quality, and complications ensue.
Lerman and Gadon are terrific together, and James Schamus, making his feature directing debut, delivers what may be the best adaptation of a Roth novel to date.
There’s a much buzzed about scene in this movie between Lerman and Tracy Letts as the school’s Dean, a scene that will blow your socks off. Honestly, this scene is as powerful and mesmerizing as anything Hollywood has tried to put on screen in the last couple of months.
This is a star making turn for both Lerman and Gadon, and the tragedy at the core of this story will leave you wiped out by the time credits roll. Indignation is easily one of the summer’s best.
Tucson, we don't have too many slow weekends left this summer. School is starting up, the weather will soon take it down a notch (or 30) and our weekly list of events is going to explode. Until then, let's take it easy. Maybe catch a movie.
Here is your weekly look at the Top 10 most rented movies at Casa Video.
By Bob Grimm
on Tue, Aug 2, 2016 at 2:30 PM
A couple of great actresses make a fair script movie-worthy in this apocalyptic thriller from writer-director Patricia Rozema.
Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood star as Nell and Eva, two sisters living with their dad (Callum Rennie) in their home deep in the forest. One routine evening, they are enjoying the luxuries of modern civilization when, for some unknown reason, all of the power goes out. They react as people usually do to a power outage at first, busting out the flashlights and planning a trip for supplies. A mishap involving a car battery delays their trip, and when they finally make it into town, they discover the city has been swept of food and gasoline, with no end to the power outage in sight. Situations develop that lead to the girls living on their own, learning how to hunt for their own food, and fending for themselves.
Page and Wood, two actresses who haven’t gotten many roles to match their talents lately, rip into this movie with everything they’ve got. Their work here is a major triumph, even though the movie feels a little routine at times.
(Available for download and rent on iTunes and Amazon.com during a limited theatrical run)
By Bob Grimm
on Mon, Aug 1, 2016 at 9:00 AM
Writer-director Anne Fontaine (Adore, Coco Before Chanel) delivers her best film yet with this haunting story about a Polish convent in 1945, dealing with the savage after effects of WWII.
Lou de Laage is Mathilde, a French Red Cross doc who is taking care of German concentration camp survivors. When a nun comes begging for help with a dying friend, Mathilde discovers that the nun’s convent has many pregnant nuns. They’re in this state after Russian soldiers took advantage of them, and now they are dealing with spiritual and physical repercussions of unplanned and unwanted pregnancies.
The movie addresses many issues involving religion and faith, and goes down some very dark and disturbing paths. Even so, there’s a distinct hope and joy at the film’s core, and the results are often far from bleak. The performances, especially Laage’s, are excellent.
Fontaine’s film looks and feels authentic, thanks to wonderful cinematography and costuming. The movie will stick in your craw long after you see it.