I began with a press-only screening of a documentary called “Waiting for Hockney” about a man who spent 8 years and five months drawing one picture with the dream that some day he could show it to David Hockney.
Then I came to the press office where they have screening stations for people who want to see a movie but cannot be there when it is shown in a theater. I watched a screener of an animated film called “Sita Sings the Blues.” They say that living well is the best revenge but making a movie about what an unfeeling jerk your ex is probably comes pretty close. “Sita” ties together multiple layers and styles, using an ancient Indian myth and several different kinds of traditional imagery with songs by Annette Hanshaw (1920′s blues/jazz/American songbook signer who usually ended with a cheery “That’s all!”) and scenes from the film-maker’s own life and break-up. What made it especially fun for me is that it was made by a woman I met two years ago here at Tribeca — she was working on it then and it was so much fun for me to see how it all came out.
Then I went to an event that included both press and ticket-holders — and Q&A by the director, Mike Figgis (“Leaving Las Vegas”). “Love Live Long” was made in
five days from a one-page treatment, all dialog improvised by the two actors, who were cast just two days before filming began. I liked the way he took advantage of what happened to be going on where he was filming, including a million-person protest (“You never get a million extras!” he said happily.)
And then I attended the red carpet and screening of the basketball story “Ball Don’t Lie” — some video clips coming soon. Stay tuned!
I have two copies of one of the best family films of 2007 to give away to the first two people who send me an email at email@example.com The Great Debaters, directed by and starring Denzel Washington, is the true story of a debate team from a tiny all-black college in the 1930′s. These beautiful collector edition DVDs have an extra disk of bonus features and will be a treasured addition to any family’s collection. (Please put the name of the DVD in the subject line of your email. Only people who have not already won a DVD, please.)
Don’t forget to read my interview with the young stars of the film.
They said she gave him sex and he gave her class. In eight heavenly movies from the 1930′s at RKO Studios and then with one more — their only one in color — at MGM, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers danced and sang in some of the most deliciously entertaining movies ever made. We know right from the beginning that these two are destined to be together. But it usually takes them about 90 minutes to figure it out.
One thing they did better than anyone else before or since was to convey the beginning of a relationship through dance. Watch this number from “Top Hat.” As in most of their films, Astaire is already very attracted to Rogers when this scene begins, but she has no interest in him and finds his attentions annoying. As they begin to dance, she sees who he is for the first time and he learns that they are even more right for each other than he had hoped. In most romantic movies, there is some witty repartee to symbolize the deep connection between the couple. But here, it is all done with music (Irving Berlin’s delightful “Isn’t it a Lovely Day to be Caught in the Rain?”) and dance.
Opening day for the second film in the Narnia series is less than a month away, and Beliefnet has created some wonderful resources to help families get ready for it. Take a quiz to find out which Narnia character most resembles you. Enter a contest to win a Narnia prize pack. Learn and discuss the top 12 spiritual lessons from the book. Watch a featurette about the making of the sequel. Test yourself with a Narnia quiz. Read the thoughts of a Jewish and Muslim fan of this Christian parable. Join groups to share your thoughts and artwork with other Narnia fans. And start crossing the days off the calendar until May 16.
Interview: Michael Rossato-Bennett of "Alive Inside" Michael Rossato-Bennett agreed to spend one day filming Dan Cohen's remarkable music therapy work with people struggling with dementia. He ended up spending three years there and the result is "Alive Inside," an extraordinary documentary about the power of music to reach the human spirit, even when
Movies' Greatest Mirror Scenes Anne Billson has a great piece in The Telegraph on mirror scenes in movies, from the Marx brothers clowning in "Duck Soup" and the shootout in "The Lady from Shanghai" to Elizabeth Taylor scrawling on the mirror with lipstick in "Butterfield 8."
How Do Movies Show Time Passing? Someone once said that movies are "pieces of time." A few take place in "real time." Alfred Hitchcock's experiment, "Rope," unfolds in just the time it takes us to watch it, all in what appears to be one seamless shot. But others take place over days, weeks, years, even generations.
Boring TV Makes You Fat A new study finds that boring television leads to mindless snacking and that leads to putting on pounds.
So, watch programs that excite and engage you. Or, if the show is boring, turn off the television.
Switched at Birth and the End of Life I'm a big fan of ABC Family's Switched at Birth and have appreciated its complicated characters, honest and heartfelt relationships, and compelling storylines, as well as its unprecedented, in-depth portrayal of the deaf community. Last week's episode may have been the all-time best (SPOILER ALERT)
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Movie Mom's full archives of more than 2,500 reviews (including her 200 best films for families), 400 interviews with filmmakers and 4,000 blog posts is now on Beliefnet for searching.