Monday, March 30, 2009

Monday movies

Hey all,

First, I don't care what the haters say, but "Funky Forest" was the most fun I have had at the movies in a long time and killed the speakers in Newcomb. Thanks to all who came out, and I hope you were able to enjoy the absurdity. I know I did.

Here are a couple of films to think about this week.

"Goodbye Solo"

The third feature from up and coming/already there director Ramin - the dude that did Chop Shop - Bahrani, "Goodbye Solo," tells a story of hope via a Senegalese immigrant taxi driver in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Bahrani seems to have inherited the neo-realist mantle with his use of non-professional actors and the strong emphasis on place in his films. Subtle and well-crafted, this film has gotten rave reviews, like this one by A.O. Scott.

"Tokyo Sonata"

This film is not exactly new (premiered at Cannes in 2008), but Michelle told me about it last night and it seems really interesting. Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa is well-known for his thrillers and horror movies and finally tackles the most frightening subject of all: family. Perhaps now even more relevant now than when it was released, "Tokyo Sonata" tells the story of a man who has been laid off at his corporate position who continues to put on his suit and leave the house every day. His family, pushed to the breaking point, begins their own breakdown. Reminiscent of some of the themes of OFFscreen alum "Momma's Man," Kurosawa's film forces us to reconsider what really matters, especially in our current times. Review from The New Yorker.

Great-looking trailers after the jump

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Get Ready

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Funky Forest: The First Contact - Preview

OFFscreen moves back into international waters this weekend with "Funky Forest: The First Contact." Directed by a Japanese trio including Katsuhito Ishii of "Taste of Tea fame this 2005 feature defies one-paragraph summary from bloggers and critics. The film is based around the frame of a sketch-comedy show and features singing, dancing, animation, and dreams. Visually inventive, unafraid of risk, and with moments of real genius, "Funky: Forest: The First Contact" is a welcome journey into absurdity.

The New York Post claims that something is lost in translation, but we at OFFscreen invite you to lose yourself in this hyperactive treat. Check out this review from some people who get it in "The Brooklyn Rail."

"Funky Forest: The First Contact" will play for one night only at the Newcomb Hall theater at the University of Virginia, on Sunday, March 29. Please note that due to its 150 minute running time, the film will be shown only at 7 PM. Tickets are $3.

If you can't decide whether or not to come, please watch the clip after the jump featuring actress Rinko Kikuchi - oddly the only living Japanese actress to have been nominated for an Academy Award (thanks Wikipedia). I trust you will make the right decision.

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OFFtopic: music

I went to the Wavves' show in Harrisonburg last night. Nathan Williams might be the spokesperson/fantasy for the inertia of our recession-ed out moment. "When I get back from tour, I'm still gonna go back to my parents pool house, and like, smoke weed because I don't really feel like moving out and paying rent." It was a fun show even if he was a little drunk, can't really sing, and can't really play guitar. Check out "So Bored" and "No Hope Kids" - highlights of the show and his recently released album.

Also I can't stop watching this music video for "When I Grow Up" a single off of the new album by Fever Ray, the solo project from the female half of The Knife, Karin Dreijer Andersson. It is directed by Martin de Thurah.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

SXSW film

With the Austin festival coming to a close, I thought a brief recap is in order.
Here is a random selection of some of the films that sounded interesting from the festival.

"Make-Out With Violence"
Easily the best-titled film of 2009,this Deagols brothers feature debut takes a look at love...and Zombies.

"Say My Name"
Hip-Hop's female voices get heard in a big way in this documentary by Nirit Peled. Features one of my favorite emcees of either gender, the legendary Jean Grae.

"Best Worst Movie"
Our generation's "Plan 9?" Look no further than "Troll 2." Filmed by an Italian director in Utah and featuring a lead acting by a dentist from Alabama, this film never had a chance. The documentary is curated by the now-grown child star of the horrible/wonderful original.

Of course this is just a sample. The festival's emphasis on film has been growing and continues to improve. check out the complete listings here.
Great trailers after the jump...

"Make-Out With Violence"

"Say My Name"

"Best Worst Movie"

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Virtual JFK and Herzog docs

Welcome back OFFscreen-ers.

Charlottesville film is back, or more accurately, I am back in Charlottesville to enjoy its films, and I am happy to report on some interesting films being screened in the coming days.

First, this Sunday before OFFscreen's exclusive presentation of "Red Bucket Presents..." is a presentation by Media Studies professor Laura Heins. She will be screening two documentaries from Herzog's middle period: “Wodaabe – Herdsmen of the Sun” (1989) and “Lessons in Darkness” (1992). Each is less than an hour long and there will be a discussion.

The screening will take place at 3:30 PM in the basement of Ruffner Hall (The main building of the education school across the Emmet Street bridge from Newcomb) in room G004C. map (number 44).

Also coming soon to Charlottesville is a documentary that asks the thought-provoking question, What if JFk had lived? The film, "Virtual JFK is director Koji Masutani's first feature. The film combines recently unearthed documentary footage with insights from Brown University professor James G. Blight providing a new way to think about the past. The film's central question is how Kennedy would have handled America's role in the Vietnam War. It was selected for entry in the London International Documentary Festival.

Virtual JFK will be playing on the big screen at Vinegar Hill theater in Charlottesville on March 21 and 22 at 2 PM

Review at indieWIRE

And of course this Sunday OFFscreen presents some of the most promising innovators in film today. "Red Bucket Films Presents..." will be shown for one night only at 7 and 9:30 PM on Sunday, March 15 in the Newcomb Hall theater.

Trailers after the jump

Lessons in Darkness

Virtual JFK

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