SELMA! 8 NAACP and 4 Golden Globe nominations

December 20, 2014 § Leave a comment

As people continue to protest and march across the Brooklyn Bridge fighting for African American human rights and dignity 50 years later, sadly, Selma continues to ring true. The Director of Selma, Ava DuVernay http://www.avaduvernay.com/, majored in English and African American studies at UCLA, and has broken the glass ceiling, as she becomes the first African American woman nominated for Best Director at the Golden Globes.

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The film demonstrates Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., during the three historic marches, from Selma, Alabama, to the state’s capital, Montgomery, with the intentions that African Americans would one day win the right to vote and serve on juries.

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The movie begins with Dr. King, Jr., and his wife, Coretta Scott King, in Oslo, Norway, getting ready to attend the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony in 1964. Dr. King expressed his guilt that he and his wife are in black tie attire while folks back home are suffering.

When he met directly with President Johnson and asked him to change the law to allow African Americans the right to vote, he was told, ‘voting has to wait, I want to fight the war on poverty first.’ So, as with most things in life, the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which became effective on August 6, 1965, did not come easy.

From March 7-25, 1965, he led followers on three different marches to raise awareness.

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March 7th, the first march, 600 marchers were attacked by state and local police, and, along with the sermon scenes, are some of the most powerful scenes in the movie.

March 9th, the second march, Dr King led the marchers back to the church.

and

March 21st, the historic third march.

David Oyelowo as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is confident and fierce.

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4/5 stars

One World Cinema

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Elephant Poaching- A short film by Katherine Bigelow

December 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

http://www.lastdaysofivory.com/

“Last Days” is only 3 minutes long, yet is fierce and brave. Save the elephants.

ABOUT WILDAID

WildAid is the only organization to focus on reducing the demand for wildlife products. WildAid works with hundreds of Asian and Western political figures, celebrities and business leaders, including the Duke of Cambridge, Yao Ming, Jackie Chan, Edward Norton and Sir Richard Branson, to dissuade people from purchasing endangered wildlife products. WildAid’s public service messages and educational initiatives reach hundreds of millions of people per week in China alone through donated media space. “When the buying stops, the killing can too.”

ABOUT ANNAPURNA PICTURES

Annapurna Pictures is a film production and finance company founded with the goal of boldly creating sophisticated, high-quality and ambitious films that appeal to a variety of audiences. Under Megan Ellison’s guidance, Annapurna has provided the industry with a critical boost of intelligent, adult dramas in recent years. Currently in theaters is Bennett Miller’s Cannes and Toronto Film Festival hit film FOXCATCHER starring Channing Tatum, Steve Carell and Mark Ruffalo. Annapurna’s projects from 2013 alone earned 17 Academy Award nominations and made Ellison the first woman to earn two Best Picture nominations in the same year with her nominations for AMERICAN HUSTLE and HER. Annapurna’s past releases include David O. Russell’s Golden Globe winning and Academy Award nominated AMERICAN HUSTLE, Spike Jonze’s Golden Globe and Academy Award winning HER, Bigelow’s Academy Award nominated ZERO DARK THIRTY, and Paul Thomas Anderson’s multiple Golden Globe and Academy Award nominated THE MASTER. Annapurna will also reteam with Bigelow on a film based on the non-fiction book, The True American.

One World Cinema

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“Unbroken” Directed by Angelina Jolie

December 6, 2014 § Leave a comment

Kathryn Bigelow and Angelina Jolie have been successfully directing war films for the past 5 or so years: The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty, In the Land of Blood and Honey, and now, Unbroken, while Christiane Amanpour’s war correspondences from the frontlines, still hold strong.

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What will it take to break a man? How much can one man take?

In “Unbroken,” the latest film directed by Angelina Jolie, Jack O’Connell (‘Starred Up’ and ”71′), portrays Louis Zamperini, an Italian man who was first tormented by boys on the playground when he was young, and then by prison guards, while he was held captive as a POW in Japanese prison camps during WWII. In between the two stages of his life, he found success as a track runner and Olympic athlete.

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Can Louis persevere, or will he give up hope, as he has many reasons to falter? Can the thought of his mother’s gnocchi recipe carry him through difficult situations? Is there a grand plan?

It almost seems too difficult to imagine that one person could endure as much as Louis did, as he was repeatedly punched, kicked, verbally abused, crashing, stranded, fighting for survival, screamed at, told that he needs to learn respect, and that he is nothing.

Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?
Can his Italian spirit help him through?

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Q&A

Angelina Jolie (poised and smiling):

“The entire cast got to meet Louis. Louis Zamperini was full of life and spirit, and I hope the film lives up to him, and remembers him for how extraordinary, intelligent and well-educated he was. I hope the film lives up to all of these great people.”

The Character of Francis ‘Mac’ McNamara, played by Finn Wittrock:

“A lot of us might not have strength when faced with life and death situations. Hope in the time of despair. It was an examination of the the mind/body relationship.”

The Character of ‘Bird’ or Mutsushiro Watanabe (the abusive prison guard), played by Takamasa Ishihara:

“I didn’t want to represent Japan in a negative light. The book was not translated into Japanese, and it is controversial. I was scared to tackle this role, as it is risky. The story is not a war story, so much as it is a story about forgiveness and how strong one man can be. ‘Bird’ had issues with his father, and released his evil feelings through torture. Louie had everything that ‘Bird’ wanted. Bird knew he was losing.”

Angelina Jolie:

“The actors could never demonstrate what the actual men went through in real life. Louis Zamparini held that beam over his head for 37 minutes, and was unable to explain what took over.

Louis saw a rough cut of the film on a laptop in his hospital bed before his death on July 2, 2014.”

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3.5/5 stars
Life on the frontlines is difficult.

Will Roger Deakins, DP, win his first Oscar?

One World Cinema

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Kendal Mountain Festival, Film Festival for Outdoor Enthusiasts

November 22, 2014 § Leave a comment

Kendal Mountain Film Festival for Outdoor Enthusiasts is in it’s 15th straight year and is held in the Lakes District in Cumbria County, UK, Thursday- Sunday, November 20-23, 2014.

http://www.golakes.co.uk/

Covering all aspects of mountain and adventure sports culture, the film genres shown at ‘KMF’ include wildlife, outdoor sports, and environmental documentaries. Their vision is to encourage more people to explore the great outdoors.

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Every single film being shown this weekend looks AMAZING!

http://www.mountainfest.co.uk/film.

Cumbria, home to the Lakes District, England’s largest National Park, and perhaps the most idyllic countryside in the UK, is also renown for the illustrations and writings of English author, Beatrix Potter (July 28, 1866- December 22, 1943), and her children’s books about animals and the British landscape (The Tale of Peter Rabbit). She is credited with preserving much of the land that now comprises the Lake District National Park. ‘Miss Potter,’ starring Renee Zellweger, is a lovely film depicting the life of Beatrix Potter.

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/beatrix-potter-gallery.

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This beautiful area spans over 40 miles and is home to the famous Lake Windermere.

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“The Hunt for Hipmasama,” directed, produced, and edited by UK surfer, Oli Adams, is just one of the great films being shown this weekend.

Professional surfer, Oli Adams, had a photo of a perfect wave. After years of inquiring as to who took the photo and where the location was, he finally figured it out and was invited to his home to surf this remote, isolated island inhabited by only 50 people. His name (last name is not disclosed as to probably protect the anonymity of the unchartered surf spot), is Andy. Andy lives the surfers dream, riding uncrowded, perfectly barrelled, beautiful, naturesque, picturesque waves, all alone. Oli realizes the risk involved, as there is no one really around to help out in the event of a problem. There is no real transportation off the island to the mainland, if need be. Ferries that do arrive, only do so, once a week, if that, as the pier is so small, the weather, unpredictable, and the water, often too choppy to dock, that they may turn around and wait until next week to try again. Cars have to be crane lifted on and off the ferry, as no cars can drive off the boat.

Watch the following professional surfers:

Mitch Corbett
Tom Butler
Mark Harris
Andy
Michah Lester
Ben Skinner
Marcus Lascelles
Fergal Smith
Tom DH
and, of course,
Oli Adams (OliAdams.com)

surf this undisclosed location.

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One World Cinema

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Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, BEST ONE YET!

November 20, 2014 § Leave a comment

“You can torture us, bomb us, and burn our district down, but fire is catching, and if we burn, you burn with us!”

Can our beloved friend and family-oriented warrior princess, Miss Katniss Everdeen overthrow the Capitol, in this third deep, dark, and powerful installment based on the novels by Suzanne Collins, ‘Mockingjay': Part 1?

War on! Game off! The games are finished forever, however, the threat of oppression, and the fight to survive is not. The stakes are just as high as Katniss leads Panem through a full fledged war similar to the current wars in Gaza and Syria.

The film begins with an emotionally agitated Katniss crunched up in a dark corner crying and whispering to herself. When she is approached, she yells, “Don’t touch me!” She awakens in a world that is unfamiliar and foreign to her, a world that she didn’t even know existed:

Enter the dark underground District, District 13!

Finnick, who lay in a hospital bed attached to IV drips, proclaims that he wants to go back for his beloved Annie, as she has been taken, while Peeta is being held and controlled by President Snow in The Capitol. Katniss takes the elevator down to meet with Beetee (played by Jeffrey Wright), who is now confined to a wheelchair, Plutarch Heavensbee (the late/great Philip Seymour Hoffman) and President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore). She demands to know if Peeta is still alive, questioning “You left Peeta to die?” Plutarch is convinced that Katniss is still the face of the revolution.

Peeta states that “killing is not the answer and he is calling for a ceasefire,” while the people of Panem and District 13 are in an uproar declaring him a traitor.

Katniss finally agrees to be the public role of the ‘Mockingjay’ but only under her terms. As she takes on the role, she appears in “propos” or propaganda videos that District 13 uses to communicate with and inspire rebels across Panem. Katniss’ every move is followed by the media savvy rebels; Cressida (Natalie Dormer from Game of Thrones), Messalla, Castor and Pollux-Squad 451.

Some of the scenes are very grim, like the scene when Gale (who is now a dedicated soldier in the rebellion, and who still has feelings for Katniss) leads her to a demolished District 12 graveyard full of skulls, a room of patients lying on cots being treated by nurses, massive explosions, falling towers, and war planes targeting hospitals.

No one character (with the exception of Katniss), has an exceptionally large role in the film.

Highlights: The powerful musical score by James Newton Howard that directly follows Katniss singing the “Hanging Tree” song, which is again played in the end credits, Lorde’s new song “Yellow Flicker Beat” also played in the end credits, the scene where Katniss is having a difficult time making a propaganda video, while Plutarch is screaming at her, her ‘Hanging Tree’ song, and, of course, her rant, ‘Fire is catching, and if we burn, you burn with us!’

One World Cinema

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“The Imitiation Game”

November 17, 2014 § Leave a comment

The 92nd Street Y’s signature movie series, ‘Reel Pieces’ held a screening of the Oscar Contender, “The Imitation Game’ based on the biography of Alan Turing: The Enigma, written by Andrew Hodges. The screening was followed by a Q & A with the ‘Sherlock’ heartthrob, Benedict Cumberbatch. Yes, SHERLOCK was LIVE and IN person this past Sunday evening at the Kaufmann Concert Hall located at 92nd Street and Lexington Avenue!

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Photo credit: Michael Priest Photography

Young and adult women alike, began screaming as if a Beatle was performing live circa 1964, as Benedict Cumberbatch walked on to the stage.

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By now, you have probably heard about the plot of the film, directed by Norwegian film director, Morten Tyldum, who most recently directed, ‘Headhunters.’

WWII era. Cambridge. Troubled genius. Based on the true story of a real man. The entire cast: British. Contrived filmmaking. The beginning of the film is the end of the film.

Sound familiar?

What sets ‘The Imitation Game’ and ‘Theory of Everything’ apart?

For one, Alan Turing, is a bit more arrogant and narcissistic, more like his beloved character, Sherlock, than Stephen Hawking. Coincidentally, however, Benedict Cumberbatch also played Stephen Hawking in the 2004 BBC version, ‘Hawking.’ ‘Stephen is an extrovert, and a theorist with a high standing in the scientific world.’

The lead character, Alan Turing, was a British mathematician, who assisted his team to crack Nazi Germany’s Enigma code that helped the Allies win World War II. Sadly, he went unrecognized, and was criminally prosecuted for ‘homosexual indecency.’

The film begins in 1951 where Alan is seen cleaning up a broken bottle which had white powder in it. Two detectives are there with him and are suspicious, believing that he is hiding something. Turn back to 1939 where Alan is on a job interview for the position as a cryptographer, when he almost loses the assignment because he doesn’t speak German. Add a female mathematician, Joan Clarke, who takes an interest in Alan. Turn back even further to his youth, and see the pivotal relationship between him and his childhood classmate, Christopher. Christopher is also the name he named the code-breaking machine that deciphered messages encoded by German machines, which was crucial in helping break the code that helped change the course of WWII, saving 14 million lives.

M Y M S A I C T R I S O A Y R J

Benedict Cumberbatch on Alan Turing:

“There was no footage of Alan to go from. I tried to humanize him as he was unable to make connections with people, easily. He closed himself off from the feelings of the world. God was beyond his belief. He did matter. They destroyed him, and Alan is the only person who can forgive.”

British Justice Secretary Chris Grayling on Alan Turing:

“Dr. Turing deserves to be remembered and recognized for his fantastic contribution to the war effort and his legacy to science,” “A pardon from the Queen is a fitting tribute to an exceptional man.”

It is very difficult to imagine that not too long ago, homosexuality was illegal in England and still is in some parts of Africa and the world. Why people’s PRIVATE lives are/were anyone else’s business or how it should make an impact on one’s job or career, is beyond me. Love who you love. Poor Alan.

The film could have done a better job at making the viewer feel more emotionally attached at the outcome of Alan’s life and how he was repaid for his noble work.

One World Cinema

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‘Banksy Does New York’ at DOC NYC!

November 15, 2014 § Leave a comment

However, it is also premiering this Monday, Nov. 17 on HBO,
at 9pm EST.

‘Banksy Does New York’ chronicles the month-long residence that the pseudonymous British street artist, political activist, painter and film director, from Bristol, England, known as ‘Banksy’ (Exit Through the Gift Shop), displayed throughout the city of New York last October, 2013.

For those who don’t know Banksy, no one has ever seen him before. His fans want to be the first to find his work, the police want to catch him in the act, and the collectors want to display his work in galleries. So, last October s/he and his team, Pest Control, and Holly Cushing announced that the graffiti street artist would display one piece of art somewhere within the five boroughs, one a day for the entire month of October, 2013.

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One piece of art work per day in an undisclosed place around New York, he eluded to where they might be via social media, which sent his followers on a scavenger hunt frenzy, as they hoped to be the first to arrive, meanwhile, filmmakers filmed or requested footage from others, often times, bringing out the best, and sometimes the worst in people.

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Act fast, catch him if you can, because, many times, the works were painted over a few hours later, since his canvas was private property. He not only spray painted during the 30 day stint, but also showed video clips, displayed a skeleton sitting in a bumper car, a Sphinx made from rocks, and gimmicks, ie. having a salesman sell his work at a kiosk near the Metropolitan Museum for only $60.00, making only $420.00 for the day, meanwhile unsuspecting customers found out later that the art they purchased was worth $250,000 each. He held auctions with one of his works raising $615,000 for the Housing Works, and, of course, there was the occasional entrepreneur or con artist covering his works with a cardboard box and asking spectators for $5.00 to snap a photo of it.

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Has he become a sell out now that he has become more commercial and well known? Spot jockeying placing his artwork near others?

Day 1: LES: Allen Street, 4 hours later, it was painted over.

Day 2: Chelsea: 25th Street and 10th Ave

Day 3: Chelsea: 24th and 6th Ave

Bushwick, Brooklyn, St. Mark’s Place, Lower East Side, Ludlow, ‘Crazy Horse’ painting depicting the 2 journalists and 4 Iraqi civilians killed in the Iraq War, East NY, Brooklyn, 5 Pointz Queens, 45-46 Davis Street, 69th/38 St in Astoria, Jay and Staple Street in Tribeca, Cook Street near Graham Avenue in Bushwick, 7th and Cooper Square in the East Village, West 51st Street/12th Avenue, Elizabeth and Houston, 24th and 10th Avenue Chelsea, Staten Island, 79th and Broadway in UWS, South Bronx, 456 East 153rd Street, Flushing Queens, Willet’s Point, 127th and 35th Ave, the Sphinx made out of a pile of rocks, 157 East 23rd Street, Sunset Park Brooklyn, Greenpoint Ave and Noble Street, Coney Island 2812 Stillwell Avenue, Gramercy Park, East 162nd and Jerome, and LIC, 35th Street in LIC, Queens near the LI Expressway.

His message: ‘Save Five Points.’
Unfortunately, however, it is too late to be saved.

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One World Cinema

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