Remember way back to 2015? It was a simpler time, when we embraced bleak movies like Birdman. The Alejandro Inarritu film, starring Michael Keaton as a fading movie star, won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Cinematography. Keaton, whose character, in a meta-nod, played a Batman-like superhero, was nominated for Best Actor. Read more »
The 36th annual Jewish film fest kicked off over the weekend and runs through November 19th, with 33 films from 12 countries. General admission tickets are $13 or you can buy a pass for multiple screenings. Students get in free.
This week’s spotlight film is By Sidney Lumet, a documentary about the director who made 12 Angry Men, Network and more than 40 other films during his long career; next week the spotlight is The Tenth Man out of Argentina, winner of two Tribeca Film Festival awards. Read more »
The Found Footage Festival is like a live version of Mystery Science Theater 3000, if you swap out the 1950s monster flicks for clips from the Late Show with David Letterman.
Hosts Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett debuted the film fest/comedy show hybrid in New York in 2004 and have since turned it into a widely touring stage show. It’s centered around obscure VHS videos they’ve unearthed at thrift stores, garage sales and warehouses, with live commentary on the often cringe-worthy clips. Read more »
PAAFF Preview Party @ Mayor’s Conversation Hall at City Hall | Thursday, October 20
Get a sneak peek of what you’ll be watching during the ninth annual Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival, running November 10th-20th. The festival will feature more than 70 films, along with related talks, an academic conference about Asian Americans in the media, music and theater performances, and culinary exhibitions. The full lineup of screenings and events will be revealed at the preview party, where you can also check out movie trailers and sample food from Chabaa Thai chef/owner Moon Krapugthong.
La La Land @ Prince Theater | Thursday, October 20
The 25th Philadelphia Film Festival opens with the red carpet Philly premiere of Damien Chazelle’s La La Land, a throwback musical starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Chazelle will be on hand to introduce the film. It’s sold out to the general public, but there are limited tickets available if you have a PFF badge or you bought tickets ($250) for the Opening Night Celebration with M. Night Shyamalan.
Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell @ Annenberg Center | Thursday, October 20
The 1984 documentary Streetwise, about homeless kids in Seattle, included a then 13-year-old Erin Blackwell, known as Tiny. The filmmaker, Martin Bell, and photographer Mary Ellen Mark continued to check in with Blackwell over the next 30 years, leading to Mark’s 2015 book, Tiny: Streetwise Revisited, and Bell is now releasing another doc, Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell. He’ll be discussing the movie after the screening with a panel of University of Pennsylvania film and social policy professors. Read more »
Christopher Lloyd Goes Back to the Future @ Keswick Theatre | Saturday, September 24
Head to the Keswick to watch Back to the Future on the big screen and hear stories straight from Doc Brown himself about making the movie and working with Michael J. Fox/Marty McFly and director Steven Spielberg. There will be a Q&A, so come prepared with your most pressing time travel questions. Read more »
Director Danny Perez, who used to live in Philly, will be at a special screening of his feature debut, Antibirth, hopefully to provide comfort. International House is showing the gory film, starring Natasha Lyonne and Chloë Sevigny, on Saturday, September 3rd, followed by a Q&A with Perez — if you can make it through the movie. Read more »
BlackStar Film Festival @ University City | August 4-7
This fifth annual film fest showcasing movies by and about people of African descent from across the world kicks off today with a series of features and shorts, followed by an opening reception tonight at Johnny Brenda’s. The festival’s theme is “migration,” with more than 60 films being screened over four days, mostly at International House and Drexel University’s Pearlstein Gallery, along with artist talks, panels and workshops. On Saturday night, the Kimmel Center is the site of the BlackStar Awards, hosted by actors (and spouses) Dorian and Simone Missick. Filmmaker Julie Dash — she made Daughters of the Dust, which likely inspired Beyonce’s Lemonade — is being honored at the awards ceremony. Read more »
1. The Kids Are All Right (2010)
This Oscar-nominated comedy/drama stars acting heavyweights Julianne Moore and Annette Bening as they navigate lesbian parenting and love in one of the most reflective gay films of the decade.
2. Boys Don’t Cry (1999)
Hillary Swank won her first Oscar for this emotional biopic on the troubled life of Brandon Teena, a transgender lover who lost his life due to a hate crime in a Midwestern town. Read more »
Sometimes there is an opera staging that is so artistically sound that lovers of the art form can take a deep breath and think, “We’re okay!” Sir Richard Eyre’s luscious new production of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, which opened at the Met Opera on Friday evening, is one of those moments.
The icing on the cake for local opera fans is that the staging will be broadcast live on March 5 at a host of Philly-area movie theaters for those who can’t make the trip to New York (the list is below), although you really ought to grab a train or a bus and catch the gorgeous soprano Kristine Opolais and her dashing co-star Roberto Alagna in-person. Read more »