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Whiplash is the right title for this film.

This weekend, we screen Whiplash, the 2014 film nominated for 5 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Co-star JK Simmons won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as the sadistic teacher.

The film is exhilarating, bracing, sometimes poignant and it explores the relationship of teacher and student, where both have serious “issues”.

If you are intrigued by this film, stop by the Crown Grill on Broadway after our 3 pm Sunday screening, to discuss the movie. It’s our second Hangout – a chance to relax, have a drink or bite to eat, and discuss this film, and others, if you like. They are fun! Hangout starts at 5 pm, in their “library” in the back. No cover charge

An Elegant Tale of Terror

The Babadook… an elegant tale of terror for Friday the 13th

Yes, it’s that time again… one of THREE Friday the 13ths in 2015. And what better way to celebrate than with the film Variety called an “accomplished and imaginative psychological horror tale.” The Babadook debuted at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, where Criticwire said “sometimes, you get to be part of the first audience to see an unknown filmmaker (Australian director Jennifer Kent) make her debut with a flat-out masterpiece.” Join us this weekend when you, too, can share that magical discovery experience which makes independent film so special.

The plot? Six years ago Continue reading “An Elegant Tale of Terror”

The Pacific Crest Trail – Truly Wild

Wild depicts the 1000 mile Trek made by Sheryl Strayed, a woman at the end of her rope who decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. This trail is a truly monumental feat of nature and governmental cooperation. The Trail begins in Mexico, and runs all the way to Canada. The trail is billed as about 2600 miles long, but no one really knows for sure exactly – especially as the trail does shift and change with foot traffic and weather.

The photography is beautiful in this film, and easy to take for granted. But filming in this setting had to create its own set of challenges for the actor and crew. In California, there can easily be 25 – 30 miles between water stations. From top to bottom, the trail climbs nearly 60 major mountain passes, descends into 19 major canyons and moves past 1,000 lakes and tarns.

Let us know what you think. Should we show more hiking/outdoor sport films?

 

 

The Oscars Are Over…What’s Next?

If you subscribe to our Twitter feed, you received up-to-the-minute Oscar results on Sunday night. There were a few surprises, non?

We always show the Oscar-nominated shorts on Oscar weekend.  There are three categories: Animated, Live Action and Documentary. They are always provocative and a really refreshing change of pace from long-form movies. This year, the themes were very somber. So somber that, during our documentary screenings, some patrons actually left! It was one pretty sad movie after another, with a somewhat lighter note at the end.

Should we have held an Oscar party this year? Maybe. The preparations around the purchase and installation of our new digital projector, plus the development work on our new Membership options frankly left us a bit “depleted”. Since the Oscars are only once a year, we are considering some other options.  How about a Cannes Film Festival party, with everything French? C’est bon?

Let us know what you think. What would be your ideal “friend-raiser”?

The Buzz on Pride

Dateline, 1984.  This is the Margaret Thatcher era in Great Britain, and for striking miners and gay activists, times are pretty rough.  But the miners in this true story are Welsh, rural, and culturally conservative. The London gays are urban, hip, and stylin.’  The two cadres would seem to have very little in common beyond their shared enmity for the Iron Lady, the police, and the mainstream press.  Is this enough to bear the weight of a sudden coalition?

Based on real events, the historical comic drama Pride tells the story of a group of gay rights activists who decide to take up the cause of striking workers in a struggling mining town in south Wales’ coal-seamed Dulais Valley.  The miners – no champions of gay rights themselves – never asked for this, and they’re not at all sure they want it.  So it’s up to the urbanites from London to persuade the dour labor leaders they can do some good, and that the two groups actually share authentic common ground.  And yes, those are the distant strains of The Full Monty and Made in Dagenham you’re picking up – Pride will ring some bells.  What keeps it fresh is less the plot than the film’s irrepressibly “infectious high spirits” (NPR) and its stunningly well- rounded performances by some of England’s best-loved actors, like Paddy Considine (as an embattled union leader), and Bill Nighy (as the union secretary) and Imelda Staunton (as a smalltown mother hen).  Relative newcomer, Ben Schnetzer, as the charismatic, ebullient gay leader Mark Ashton (yes, he was in The Book Thief, but you probably won’t recognize him), keeps us watching closely, too.  Is it director Matthew Warchus’s long career on Broadway and London’s West End that evokes these full-bore turns?  “It never feels like a canned, greatest-hits collection of news clippings, but a fiery, live performance,” offers the San Francisco Chronicle.

And yes, it happened.  A group called Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners once raised thousands of British pounds for rural communities whose working men had been on the picket line for months. This is one chapter in that much larger story, and “a funny, moving, audience-rousing experience” (The Boston Globe) it is.

And can you look forward to the obligatory bonding dance scene with some fabulous disco?

Oh, baby, you know it.

Save the Date–Annual Members Meeting, October 21st

Film Forum members! Please join us for the Saratoga Film Forum’s Annual Members Meeting on Tuesday, October 21st, 2014, from 6:00–8:45 p.m. We appreciate your support, suggestions, and patronage all year long. October is an especially important month; that is when we elect new people to our Board. At this meeting, you will have a chance to meet the proposed board members and participate in the board elections.

Continue reading “Save the Date–Annual Members Meeting, October 21st”

June 10 Fact2Film film festival cancelled

Please note that the Fact2Film film festival scheduled for June 10th has been cancelled. We apologize for any inconvenience.