Two recent films showed the influence of this classic French film about a little boy befriended by a red balloon and now the original is available on DVD for the first time. “CJ7″ from China and “The Flight of the Red Balloon” from France (with a Taiwanese director) both make direct visual references to the 1956 short film, the only Oscar-winner for best screenplay without a single line of dialogue.
The Red Balloon is the story of a lonely boy (Pascal Lamorisse, son of writer/director Albert Lamorisse) who finds a large red balloon on the way to school. It has a mind of its own, following him to school like Mary’s little lamb, waiting patiently for him outside his bedroom window when his mother will not allow it in the house. The balloon is an imaginative and playful friend. When it is attacked by bullies, it seems that Pascal’s friend is lost. But an unforgettably joyous ending reminds Pascal of the power of friendship.
Jeremy Sisto at the red carpet premiere of “Ball Don’t Lie”
Melissa Leo at the red carpet premiere of “Ball Don’t Lie”
More movies….”Bart Got a Room” stars William H. Macy and Cheryl Hines in a story of a boy who needs a date for the prom, in “The 27 Club” a rock star whose bandmate and best friend overdoses at age 27 — the same age Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and many other rock stars were when they died — goes on a journey home with a grocery clerk as his driver, and in “Somers Town” two young teens become friends in a part of London undergoing a transformation with the building of a new train terminal. I had a blast and hope to be back next year!
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.
Interview: Thunder Levin of "Sharknado" and "Sharknado 2" One of the highlights of Comic-Con was the chance to catch up with Thunder Levin, screenwriter of the sensation, "Sharknado" and the sequel, "Sharknado 2," which premieres tonight on Syfy. The original was remarkable for its over-the-top storyline and even more for the Twitter-nado it inspired.
Intuition -- A Short Film from Danielle Lurie I love this short film from Danielle Lurie about a young woman who needs to learn to listen to her heart, with a wonderful performance by Montse Muñoz.
Interview: Joseph Nasser of "Amber Alert: Terror on the Highway" Reserve Police Officer Joseph Nasser produced Amber Alert: Terror on the Highway to help raise awareness of the Amber Alert system. It stars Tom Berenger as a man on the edge, making a dead rush for Mexico and kidnapping two young girls along the way. He is hotly pursued by police chief Martha Geig
"Guardian of the Galaxy's" Awesome Mixtape One of the many pleasures of "Guardians of the Galaxy," opening this week, is the soundtrack featuring some 70's classics from an "Awesome Mixtape" played by Peter "Star Lord" Quill (Chris Pratt). Here are some of the highlights.
"Hooked on a Feeling" by Blue Swede
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