Friday, March 26, 2010

Chloe opens tonight

About the film
An untrusting wife attempts to prove that her husband is cheating by hiring an escort to seduce him, inadvertently endangering her entire family in the process. Catherine (Julianne Moore) is a respected doctor, and her husband, David (Liam Neeson), is a dedicated music professor. They've been married for years and have a teenage son together, but lately the passion has faded from their romance. The morning after David misses his flight home -- and the elaborate surprise birthday party Catherine had planned to celebrate his return -- Catherine finds a text message on his phone that leads her to believe her husband is sleeping with a female student. Her suspicions grow over the following weeks, and when Catherine has a run-in with an escort named Chloe (Amanda Seyfried), she hires the ravishing blonde to test her husband's fidelity. After each encounter with David, Chloe reports back to Catherine with all the sordid details. But the further the experiment goes, the less clear Chloe's motivations for taking part in it become, and the more the untrusting wife begins to fear that the situation has spiraled out of control. Directed by Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter, Ararat), this erotic thriller is a remake of Anne Fontaine's French film Nathalie..., and was adapted by Erin Cressida Wilson.

Interview with Amanda Seyfried
Q: What were you attracted to with this film, and were you worried about doing the more intimate scenes?

Amanda: I was worried that I wasn’t capable of actually being able to nail them the way it was written and also the way Atom [Egoyan] wanted it to be played. It’s the study of a marriage. It seems like it’s never easy. It’s about a woman coming into this place where she feels like she’s lost and she doesn’t know exactly who she is anymore. I think it’s just so realistic and the way things happen is just so unexpected. I’ve never seen that before, in a movie. For me, it’s also a character that wouldn’t come around very often, for someone my age.

Read the full interview here.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Greenberg opens Friday

About the film
A fortysomething New Yorker in the throes of a midlife crisis falls for his brother's assistant while house-sitting for his sibling in Los Angeles. Roger Greenberg (Ben Stiller) is single and jobless. He's at a crucial crossroads in life when his successful family-man brother summons him to Los Angeles to housesit for six weeks. Recognizing the opportunity to turn over a new leaf in a new city, Greenberg reaches out to his former bandmate Ivan (Rhys Ifans) and discovers that some old wounds aren't so quick to heal. When Greenberg meets his brother's pretty assistant, Florence (Greta Gerwig), a kindred spirit who longs to become a singer, he vows not to become too attached. But the more time Greenberg spends with Florence the more he begins to wonder whether he might have finally made a connection worth keeping. Jennifer Jason Leigh and Brie Larson co-star in a climacteric comedy drama from Oscar-nominated writer/director Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale, Margot at the Wedding).

Interview with Ben Stiller

So how would you describe Roger Greenberg?

BS: He's somebody you don't often see in movies. Which is a guy who's obviously flawed, but is really trying to do the best he can in life. And I think a lot of us can identify with that daily struggle, of just trying to get through the day, with your ego intact and your sense of self.

And then having to deal with the thousands of things that chip away at you in life, as you're trying to make your way. And I think there's really something noble in that. Because I felt this character was really courageous, in just trying to get through his life, you know? And trying face himself. And that's a scary thing.

You know, there are a lot of people in my life, who have not been as fortunate as myself in having any sort of material success, or acknowledgement of what they do. But they're still very talented. People who have a lot to offer, but have just not been lucky enough to have that success.

It's not life and death struggles like, you know, having to fight a dragon, or what you see in movies all the time. It's just people trying to get through life. And deal with their choices, and the mistakes they've made in their life. And then to still go forward. And there are parts of that in people I know, and parts in myself.

Read the full interview here.

Friday, March 19, 2010

North Face opens Friday

With the Nazis looking to assert themselves on the world stage in the lead-up to the 1936 Berlin Olympics, it became newly appealing for the Germans to conquer the infamous Eiger mountain face, alternately called “the last great problem of the Alps” or, more bluntly, “the Murder Wall.”

In spite of an attempt that ended in tragedy less than a year earlier, two cocky Alpine mountaineers, Toni Kurz and Andi Hinterstoisser, were cajoled into scaling the wall, which among other things would earn them a significant honor at the Games.

Every scene on the eponymous wall is tense and riveting, capturing the bruising physicality and constant danger of going straight up an unstable rock, helpless against the possibility of avalanches or sudden blizzards. Read the full article here.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Ghost Writer opens Friday

From Peter Travers' Rolling Stone review:

The Ghost Writer, based on the Robert Harris bestseller, shows Polanski in brilliant command of a political thriller that ties you up in knots of tension while zinging politics and showbiz like two sides of the same toxic coin.

Polanski, who won a 2002 Oscar for the Holocaust-themed The Pianist, is in a playful, prickly mood here that recalls his early work on Rosemary’s Baby and Chinatown. Ewan McGregor grabs and runs with his juiciest role in years as the Ghost, a writer hired to pen the memoirs of Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan), the unseated British prime minister now taking refuge in America after being accused of war crimes back home. Any resemblance between Lang and Tony Blair seems purely intentional, since Harris, who wrote the script with Polanski, is on the record as becoming disillusioned with Blair after the PM allegedly teamed up with President Bush to hand over suspected terrorists for torture by the CIA. One reviewer of Harris’ book cheekily labeled it The Blair Snitch Project.

Interview with a real-life ghost-writer:
Have you ever wondered exactly what a ghostwriter does, and how s/he makes a living doing it? Perhaps you are thinking of hiring a ghostwriter. Or perhaps you are thinking of becoming a ghostwriter. Or perhaps you're just curious. Whatever. Check out this interview with "a real, live" ghostwriter -- you'll find it interesting...

In this interview, veteran ghostwriter Clifford Thurlow describes some of his experiences and the challenges he has faced. He also gives some valuable advice both to aspiring ghostwriters and to those who may be considering using a ghostwriter.

Read the full interview here.

The Little Presents Climber Kevin Flynn—One of Only 30 Americans to Scale the Seven Summits

The Little Presents Climber Kevin Flynn—One of Only 30 Americans to Scale the Seven Summits
His epic 14-year journey covered over 90,000 miles and 130,000 vertical feet–and that’s just on the way up!

The Little Theatre is proud to share the story of locally-based climber Kevin Flynn, who has reached the top of the highest peaks on each continent. He is now a member of an elite group of only about 90 people (30 Americans) worldwide to ever achieve this feat.

He has written about his experiences in a book titled, Mount Everest: Confessions of an Amateur Peak Bagger. Come hear about his big climbs—and near-death experiences—in a talkback on Saturday, March 20th, following the 6:30 PM screening of “North Face”.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Literacy Volunteers of Rochester Interview with John Williams

Today we are speaking with John Williams, Development Director at Literacy Volunteers of Rochester.

1. John, tell us a little bit about Literacy Volunteers.

Literacy Volunteers of Rochester, Inc. (LVR) is an organization of trained volunteers, dedicated to providing one-to-one or small group tutoring to functionally illiterate adults and English instruction for speakers of other languages in the greater Rochester, New York area.

LVR , which is 45 years old, provides assistance to both non-native speakers and native speakers who are considered low-literate (which means that they read at a 9th grade level or lower). They are matched with a trained tutor and learn either one-on-one or in a small group setting.

2. How did Literacy Volunteers team up with the MVP Health Care Little Buddies Series at The Little?

As a former Little board member, I knew that one of The Little’s missions was to provide educational opportunities. It seemed like a natural fit to bring literacy needs and educational opportunities together. Beginning three years ago, LVR decided to become a film sponsor for screenings that were a good fit for literacy. The first year we sponsored Akeelah and the Bee about a young girl from South Los Angeles who tries to make it to the National Spelling Bee. It has been a rewarding partnership—one that has helped bring several new tutors to LVR.

This past year, LVR awarded our Friend of Literacy Award to The Little because of its advocacy for education, as evidenced by hosting and supporting the presentation of films and discussions about important community issues.

3. What are some success stories LVR can share with our readers?

Here is one example of the work our organization and volunteers do on a regular basis. Carmen is an immigrant in the United States who worked with her LVR tutor to master the English language. After completing her LVR citizenship classes and improving her English skills, she was able to become a US Citizen. She also received her driver’s license on the same day! That’s pretty amazing when you stop to think about it.

LVR is learner-centered, so we help learners achieve their particular goals. Some people are looking for help with on the job materials they need to read and understand. Some just want to read their children goodnight stories in English.

Imagine the feeling of satisfaction that comes from helping another person learn to read, write, or speak English. It is a life-changing gift to share.

4. How can people become involved with LVR?

Potential volunteers can call our main phone number at 585-473-3030. You begin your volunteer journey with a one hour preview session to learn more about tutor opportunities. We ask that you commit to working with a learner for two hours each week for the duration of one year.

Potential learners should call 585-473-3030 to set up an appointment for a skill evaluation. Once we determine the learner’s skill level and understand the learner’s goals, an appropriate learner/tutor match can be made.

The learner/ tutor experience is an interesting and educational journey for both parties. It is also an opportunity for the tutor to positively impact the community in which he or she lives and for the learner to engage more fully in the workplace and the community. Our motto is “Open a new chapter in someone’s life”. We feel that this encapsulates what happens for both tutors and learners as they work together.

5. Since the days of George Eastman, Rochester has been a hotspot for philanthropy. What is your personal take on the role of non-profits in the Rochester community today?

Non-profits provide an essential group of resources in the greater Rochester area. Their vitality helps distinguish Rochester from other mid-sized communities. This region is blessed to have a community consciousness where giving back is considered a privilege. This spirit of generosity allows our community to address integral needs for all citizens – and makes me proud to live in Rochester!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Harvesting Justice Film Festival Filmmaker Interview

Bill Jungels is a documentary maker and activist concerned with social justice issues in Latin America, with a focus on workers and indigenous campesinos in Mexico. He took time out of his busy schedule to talk with us. His films will be featured in the upcoming Harvesting Justice Film Festival screening on Monday, March 15th at 6:30. We hope to see you there.

Now for the interview:
1. Bill, how did you become involved with social justice issues in Latin America?

During the 80s when the U.S. government was supporting regimes in Central America which were committing horrible human rights violations I became interested in the plight of political asylum seekers from that region. I made a documentary called "Where is Refuge" that was shot in the U.S., Canada and Costa Rica. The Costa Rican part was to show that refugee camps in that country were incapable of fulfilling the need. At the time, Canada was admitting about 75% of these asylum seekers; while the U.S. was admitting about 3%, so I tried to show how politicized our policy was.

Afterward, I couldn't just walk away from what I had seen and I became a volunteer at Vive, a refuge house for people to stay at here in the U.S. while they completed their applications for asylum admission to Canada; and that is how my activism around Latin American issues got started. That ultimately hooked me up with the Latin American Solidarity Committee of the WNY Peace Center, which has been the focus of my activism since then.

What made you choose film as a format for exploring these issues and stories?

I had already made art videos and documentaries about art and dance therapy (my wife is an art therapist) and so it was natural for me to want to turn the techniques I had learned to my new interests. Everyone going into documentary has the illusion that they can change things—I did and, frankly, still do. But now I think it has less to do with shifting the gears of the mass culture and more to do with solidifying communities of resistance and winning a few converts along the way. After all, I was deeply changed by documentaries, albeit by making them rather than by seeing them.

Tell us about your latest film, Broken Branches, Fallen Fruit.

Broken Branches is the first documentary that I ever made that I wound up loving, warts and all. Through it I became linked in relationships of trust and mutual curiosity with individuals and families of Tzotzil-speaking Mayan Highland Chiapanecos. Chiapas is the Southernmost Mexican State, and the poorest. These people are among the poorest of the poor.

So on the foreground level—and especially in the title piece—it is about them; a particular family, the lack of work and land, and the resulting drive among the young to immigrate to the U.S. On one level it becomes a conversation between generations about immigration. On another level it becomes a gender dialogue about what it means to be in that situation. It implicitly becomes a meditation about what is worthy of preservation in the culture and the likelihood of that happening.

I decided to surround this central family story with with other material such as looking at surrounding conditions and causes—almost like layers of an onion covering the living core. I put together mini documentaries on topics like how trade agreements like NAFTA, and neo-liberalism in general, are contributing to the conditions that drive immigration; about cooperatives (weaving, coffee, etc.) that the people are forming to demand a more just price for their products; and about several other related issues. I will show a couple of these at the Little's screening.

What is the most interesting audience question you have had during a post-screening discussion?

I can think of two. Some people are very moved, not by my doc, but by the people in it, and they want to know what they can do. Right now I would say: support immigration reform, go to Washington on March 21st to march, and tell the administration there is widespread desire for legislation on behalf of the immigrants who come here and do our work to be treated like human beings. Also, people need to find ways to promote legislation that would monitor the effects of NAFTA on the people in these countries and modify it to make it less harmful to the poor. One young woman I know of was motivated to go to her church and get them to fund a scholarship for young women in Chiapas.

The second most interesting question concerned the similarities between the conditions that drive Mexican immigration and those that drove the great immigration from Italy. This was from a man who had just written a book on Italian immigration. I thought this question was important because we are in an era of mass human migrations not driven chiefly by natural disasters, but by political and economic factors. We have to think about immigration to the U.S., but we also have to place this in the context of a worldwide crisis.

How have your films helped start conversations and promote change?

The young woman who got the scholarship started is the most dramatic instance of change I know. Beyond that, I think it is mostly conversations and incremental shifts and changes. We live in a world where we are literally awash in media and the media that people spend most time with are controlled by the giant corporations.

So someone who has the hope of sparking change with documentaries is a little like David before Goliath—but not likely to have the outcome of that story. Even Michael Moore, who has reached relatively large audiences despairs about making any real dent in the way big money runs things. But I don't despair. I think that John Berger and Eduardo Galeano are right when they say that we are in a period where we need to pull together and support one another. As communities struggle against the commodification of human beings, the destruction of cultural traditions and community, we have to survive and make our values survive. I hope that my documentary work is a small tug in that direction.

Friday, March 12, 2010

All about Green Zone, opening Friday

About the film:

Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum, United 93) re-team for their latest electrifying thriller in Green Zone, a film set in the chaotic early days of the Iraqi War when no one could be trusted and every decision could detonate unforeseen consequences.

During the U.S.-led occupation of Baghdad in 2003, Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller (Damon) and his team of Army inspectors were dispatched to find weapons of mass destruction believed to be stockpiled in the Iraqi desert. Rocketing from one booby-trapped and treacherous site to the next, the men search for deadly chemical agents but stumble instead upon an elaborate cover-up that inverts the purpose of their mission.

Spun by operatives with intersecting agendas, Miller must hunt through covert and faulty intelligence hidden on foreign soil for answers that will either clear a rogue regime or escalate a war in an unstable region. And at this blistering time and in this combustible place, he will find the most elusive weapon of all is the truth.

Interview with the Director, Paul Greengrass:

Q. Why did you think this particular project was right for your third film collaboration?
Paul Greengrass: After The Bourne Supremacy I wanted to do a film about 9/11 and a film about Iraq because those were the two things that seemed to be to be what was driving our world. Also, it seemed that those were the events that were driving fear and paranoia and mistrust, all that sort of lethal cocktail of stuff that was coursing around the US, the UK and around the world in the wake of those events. United 93 became the 9/11 film, then we did The Bourne Ultimatum and then we started to turn our attention to what became Green Zone, which began as a film about the hunt for WMDs.

Q. So, what were the challenges?
Paul Greengrass: We began by wanting to make a film that would be of broad appeal [to audiences] and that created a set of challenges. It seemed to me, while making Bourne Ultimatum that there were two important things about the audience that loved the Bourne films… first, it was that audience that was being asked to fight that war, and it was from that audience that people opposed that war. So, you had both ends of the spectrum and they were attracted to those Bourne films because they had a high octane, adrenaline, thriller thing, but also because there was an attitude about those films, to do with: “They’re not telling us the truth, I need to find the truth.” So, it seemed to me that we had an opportunity to ask that audience to take one step through the curtain back to the real world, back to the intrigue-filled, dangerous, conspiracy laden weeks immediately before and after the invasion. That in the end, somewhere in that tangled thicket of events and conflicting agendas, was where all that stuff started. That’s really what began Green Zone.

Read the full interview here.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sweetgrass opens on Friday

“Impressive. Bracing. Majestic. The list of things you won’t get from Sweetgrass is almost as impressive as the film itself.”—ANTHONY LANE – THE NEW YORKER

About the Film

“Is Sweetgrass even a movie about sheep? Not in the sense that March of the Penguins is about penguins. There’s hardly a frame in Sweetgrass without a specimen of Ovis aries bleating, grazing, or even gazing into the camera, yet the educational and didactic rhetoric that typically characterizes entries in the “animal documentary” genre is noticeably absent. Diverging from the cutesy aesthetics that made Luc Jacquet’s penguin exposé an accessible, international hit, filmmakers Ilisa Barbash and Lucien Castaing-Taylor taken a far more empirical approach. There is no voice-over narration or “talking head” commentary, and until the very end of the movie there are no explanatory intertitles, either. Instead, they have crafted an ambient narrative in the cinéma vérité tradition that demands patient observation from the audience, but also rewards their attentiveness.

Documenting the journey of two sheepherders and their massive flock over the mountains of Montana, the movie is finely attuned to the intense physicality of the undertaking. It is less interested in explaining the conventional 5 W’s and 1 H (who/what/when/where/why and how) than in the imagistic expression of the process from start to finish. An opening pastoral and undeniable adorable sequence of the sheep bathed in nature’s quiet (and the vague hum of a digital camera) is first subtly disturbed by the sound of an approaching ATV, and later shattered by the violent sounds and gestures of the shearing of coats. As though to curb any simplistic political reading, there follows a sequence of shots as the farmers assist with sheep pregnancies and tend to needy babies. This wide array of sights and sounds sets up the complex, interdependent relation between man and animal that will only deepen as the two groups journey together across the Beartooth Mountains.

Read the full article here.

Movies, Art and Music this week


Green Zone

The Last Station
Crazy Heart
Shutter Island
Il Trovatore (Opera Series, Sun. March 14th at noon)

The Little Gallery
Susan Rowley
March 6th- April 3rd
Sun. 5 pm - 8 pm

Mon - Thurs. 5 pm - 10 pm

Fri. & Sat. 5 pm - 11 pm

White Hots (no music on 3/1)
7:30 – 9:30

7:30 – 9:30

7:30 – 9:30

The Bowties
8:30 – 10:30

Fred Stone Progressive Jazz Trio
8:30 – 10:30

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

‘Hurt Locker’ takes home top prizes at the Academy Awards

What this year’s top film has in common with The Little Theatre

To a cultivated film viewer like myself, the first clue as to the direction the night would take began with The Hurt Locker’s win for Best Original Screenplay. With the win for Best Editing (which nearly always goes to the winner for Best Picture) they had the night locked so to speak, though it took another hour to officially declare so.

Thus, in a historic night for Hollywood, “The Hurt Locker” took home six Academy Awards, including Best Director for Kathryn Bigelow who became the first woman to take home the prize in the 82 year history of the Oscars. “There is no other way to describe it, it’s the moment of a lifetime,” said Bigelow as she accepted the award.

In what has been wildly considered a David vs. Goliath scenario, “The Hurt Locker”, a small indie film seen mostly by an art-house audience, not only won the evening’s top award but did so by defeating the highest-grossing film of all time, the 3-D juggernaut “Avatar”. James Cameron’s $300 million blockbuster managed to take home three awards, all for technical achievements, much to no one’s surprise and certainly deservedly so.

The irony of course is that, in a move designed to bring in more interest and viewers to the Awards show, the Academy opened the Best Picture category to 10 nominees so that more populist fare like “The Blind Side” could be included. Yet the richly layered, tense Iraq War tale of a bomb-disposal unit, “The Hurt Locker,” was the critics’ (and I am guessing the bulk of Little audiences’) choice all season yet goes down in history as the lowest-grossing winner for Best Picture. The reason for the win, however is simple, this film and its fierce and smart director were the best, period. The taut suspense of the film, its fully developed and smartly paced screenplay rife with human drama, all in the hands of the expert Bigelow made for a truly exceptional film. I can’t help but love the fact that when a woman finally took home the prize for Best Director, it wasn’t for a weepy drama or cute romantic comedy but for a wholly balls-to-the-wall, action film with a purpose and a heart all at once.

What I also find worth noting, both as a discerning film viewer and as someone who works within the world of independent cinemas, is that “Hurt Locker’s” win is also a victory over the Big Box Cinemas as well. That a film which could barely find a distributor at one point and who played almost exclusively in places like The Little beat out a film that is the darling of the mainstream chains like Regal Cinemas is a hopeful indicator that the trend of multi-plex domination and indie theatres’ demise may be shifting. Did the $10 a ticket, $7 for popcorn, 18 screen behemoth’s show “Hurt Locker”? when it was released late last summer? Nope, but The Little Theatre did, long before the momentum of the awards season hoopla began.

The rest of the evening on Sunday, belonged to several familiar faces as predictable wins and one not quite as predictable win were revealed.

Best Actor

In what has become an all too common case of the Academy fixing a mistake from the past, Jeff Bridges was named Best Actor for his memorable portrayal of an aging country singer seeking one last shot at the big time in “Crazy Heart.” Don’t get me wrong, I love The Dude as much as the next gal, and I do think he gave a rich and complicated performance, but he really should have won year’s ago for any one of his four previous nominations. But the Academy couldn’t ignore this error any longer, especially with such widespread respect in the industry for Bridges. On the other hand, you ignore all the history and compare individual performance to performance, Colin Firth’s heartbreaking and exceptionally complex portrayal of a man discovering the joy of life, through planning his death in “A Single Man” wins out for me. I recently watched the film a second time and was reminded why his performance and the film have stayed with me ever since.

Best Supporting Actor and Actress

As expected, both Christoph Waltz (“Inglourious Basterds”) and Mo’Nique (“Precious”) took home statues in the Best Supporting Actor and Actress categories for playing truly vile human beings. For her stunning portrayal of the impoverished , cruel mother in “Precious,” Mo’Nique accepted the award, thanking the Academy for “proving it can be about the performance and not about the politics,” a subtle dig at the harsh criticism she received for not attending the many events typically attended by a nominee in order to garner support for their respective films which was then viewed by critics as a snub to the Academy.

Best Actress

The Best Actress category had shaped up to be a showdown between popular A-list darling Sandra Bullock for her fiery turn in “The Blind Side” against sixteen-time nominee and two-time winner Meryl Streep. But it was Bullock’s night to celebrate as another example of the Academy rewarding the person more than the individual performance (incidentally Bullock also took home the Worst Actress Award at the Razzies on Saturday) The problem for me is that I think if the Academy had just waited a little longer Bullock would have turned in a much more award-worthy performance, but, you know she did dye her hair, get an accent and play a character against type so let’s let her have it. What the hell the Academy is waiting for from Meryl Streep in order to give her first award since 1983 for “Sophie’s Choice” is beyond me.

In what was, for me, the only real upset of the evening (since I already predicted that “The Secret in Their Eyes” would pull an upset to win in the foreign film category) was Geoffrey Fletcher winning Best Adapted Screenplay for “Precious” over the perceived frontrunner and my pick, Jason Reitman for “Up in the Air” which went home empty-handed. The win was a historic one at least, as Fletcher became the first African American to win an Academy Award for writing.

I highly recommend that everyone see the winner for Best Documentary, “The Cove” about a daring attempt to capture on film, the horrific capture and slaughter of dolphins by Japanese fisherman…an attempt that nearly cost the filmmakers their lives. The film is currently available on On Demand.

The ceremony itself proved a bit troublesome under the direction of Adam Shankman. While I am indeed a fan of his show “So You Think You Can Dance” and the film “Hairspray,” this year’s show was far too much like a Vegas act on crack. Too many sequins and kick-lines do not a classy Oscars make. And while I adore Neil Patrick Harris, why on earth would you start the show with a song and dance number from someone other than the host? Perhaps they were trying to please the folks who wanted Hugh Jackman to be at the helm once again. Which brings me to Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, this year’s co-hosts. Thought they did have a few moments of true hilarity- Martin mentioning that Waltz’s character in “Inglourious Basterds” was trying to track down all the Jews, proclaiming, “Well here you go….the motherload, “ while gesturing to the audience. But I was expecting much much more from these two great comic talents. Their trade-offs of lines in the opening monologue did not seem to work well and their timing was not there throughout the entire evening- a real killer in the world of comedy.

In the end though, a historic evening for Kathryn Bigelow and her “The Hurt Locker” made for a truly inspired end to an extra long awards season and one that Little audiences can take pride in, for nearly all the nominees were and are seen on our screens at The Little!

A few added thoughts on the evening.
In a total Kanye move, the director and producer of “Music by Prudence,” Roger Ross-Williams, the winner in the documentary short subject category was interrupted by a seemingly crazed woman named Elinor Burkett in a bizarre moment that left everyone scratching their heads. The backstory is this: Turns out the two had a falling out nearly a year ago resulting in a lawsuit and Burkett was removed as a producer and Williams given ownership of the film yet Burkett still qualified as a producer under Academy rules. However it was Williams who was to speak if the film won, though it seems Burkett disagreed. She claimed that she was not included in all the pre-awards events and was not going to let that continue.

Kudos for including the heartfelt tribute to the late John Hughes. He was too important and his contribution too great to just be included in the In Memoriam section. When I was lowly student in film school, all my classmates worshiped at the alter of Scorsese and the like while I credit Hughes for my love of film from an early age. Some days I still wish I could be Watts in “Some Kind of Wonderful” and articulate the world around me like Hughes did. Bravo.

On the other hand, forgetting to include Farrah Fawcett in the In Memoriam is unforgivable.

Doing the Robot to a music from “The Hurt Locker,” and the rest of the interpretive dance section probably not something that will repeat next year.

What the hell was the deal with all the blue ribbons on the men’s tuxes and all the blue dresses? One bit of note though is that the dress and gardenia worn by Mo’Nique was an homage to Hattie McDaniel, the first African American to win an Oscar in 1939- who wore the same color gown and flower in her hair.

Charlize Theron’s dress? As a friend remarked, “She’s got cinnamon buns on her boobs.”

Sorry but the Oscars is no place for the likes of Miley Cyrus and Taylor Lautner, you had no business being there. That goes for you too Amanda Seyfried. At least Zach Ephron was in a worthy film this year in “Me and Orson Wells.”

Those overwrought and long intros to the 10 Best Picture nominees were unnecessary, a montage would have sufficed. Especially since 8 of the 10 stood no change in hell of winning, yes “I’m mostly talking to you “Blind Side” and “District 9.”

Of the four producers of “The Hurt Locker” why were only three (including Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal) on hand to accept the awards? That is due to the Academy campaign violation by producer Nicolas Chartier, who, in the weeks leading up to the awards, had emailed is friends privately encouraging them to vote for his film and not the mega monster “Avatar.” As a result, he was disinvited from the ceremony, but was given lots of acknowledgement by Boal and Bigelow. The irony is that this kind of thing happens EVERY year- and Harvey Weinstein has been the worst offender and yet never cited.

Did anyone notice that they are returning to using the phrase “And the winner is” instead of the more so-called polite phrase of recent years, “ And the Oscar goes to..?”

Friday, March 5, 2010

Movies this week

Opening: Seraphine (1 week only!), Il Trovatore (Tue, March 9th at 7:00pm)

Continuing: Crazy Heart, Animated Oscar Shorts, The Last Station, Shutter Island, The White Ribbon

Seraphine opens tonight-one week only!

About the film:
The award-winning French drama Seraphine unfolds with quiet, unassuming grace -- in stark contrast to the elaborate, colorful creations of its subject.

But then Seraphine Louis, or Seraphine de Senlis, was also a contradiction.

Possessing a self-taught artistry that would translate into paintings still exhibited today, she spent the majority of her life as a domestic servant, cleaning floors and folding linens. With no illusions of fame (until later), she painted because she was compelled to do so. It gave joy to her otherwise-drab existence.

Director and co-writer Martin Provost opens the story in France in 1914. The middle-aged Seraphine (Yolande Moreau) works numerous jobs to pay for the art supplies she can't make herself.

By happenstance, one of her paintings is spotted by art critic Wilhelm Uhde (Ulrich Tukur), whose shirts and floors Seraphine scrubs.

He is enthralled -- and soon encourages her to paint more and clean less. Seraphine is happy to oblige, but the war interrupts everything. Or almost everything.

While the German Uhde flees the country, and nations fight, Seraphine continues to paint. The two meet again years later, but the artist's mental state has deteriorated -- even as her technique has improved.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tuesday Social Media in March Coupon!

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