Small films, big results, in ‘Oscar Nominated Short Films 2014’
Where are the next generation of filmmakers and animators coming from? Most are getting their start in short films, a less expensive, yet no less creative way of breaking into the movie biz. It used to be that the five live-action and five animated short films nominated for the Oscar each year were viewable only by Academy voters or at film festivals, but more recently, the 10 nominees have been collected into two anthology programs and offered for theatrical release to the general public. This year’s Oscar Nominated Short Films 2014 arrive in two complete and separate programs in advance of the Academy Awards telecast on March 2.
New film has a special connection to UCSC-based Dickens Project
A new film directed by Ralph Fiennes looks at the private life of author Charles Dickens, an author with a special resonation here in Santa Cruz.
The Invisible Woman (three and a half stars out of four, see Film Guide), which opens locally on Friday, Jan. 24 is the true story of the British author’s longtime affair with actress Nelly Ternan, who was 27 years younger than him. It’s based on Claire Tomalin’s 1990 book of the same name. Tomalin is an acclaimed biographer who has also written extensively about writers Mary Wollstonecraft, Thomas Hardy, Samuel Pepys and Jane Austen.
Durable Clancy hero back in diverting reboot 'Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit'
Jack Ryan has more lives than Morris the Cat. The brilliant CIA analyst-turned-op, fictional hero of some dozen spy thriller novels by Tom Clancy, has also been featured in several high-profile spy movies of the '90s. Now the folks at Paramount have decided to give the character a face-lift (or should I say a youth potion) and trot him out anew for the next generation of audiences in the sleek, efficient thriller Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.
Man behind myth explored in ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom’
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom—the latest biographical drama from Justin Chadwick (The Other Boleyn Girl)—is in many ways as thoughtful and imposing as both its subject, the formidable Nelson Mandela, and its impressive star, Idris Elba.
The real-life Mandela passed away this past December, at the age of 95, lauded and eulogized the world over as an icon of peace, humility, forgiveness and cooperation. But Mandela was far more complicated than the stoic, sagacious, grandfatherly peacemaker so beloved by the world in his later years.
Relationship and connection venture into uncharted territory in the powerfully moving tale that is ‘Her’
We live in an era where our interactions and repeated behaviors with our electronic devices suggest a strong sense of devotion to them. More often than not, we hold our smart phones more than we do other people, or we hold our gaze upon computer screens with far more determination and presence than we do if we were sitting across from another person. Two human beings meeting for, say, coffee, might become distracted and eventually find themselves being more committed to making a connection to their electronic device than remaining present in the conversation taking place in front of them. It is no stretch by any means to suggest that most individuals in the 21st century are already having some type of relationship with their electronic pals.
Playwright (and sometimes actor) Tracy Letts garnered a Pulitzer Prize for “August: Osage County,” which first hit Broadway in 2007 with actress Deanna Dunagan in the lead role of Violet, the 65-year-old, boozing, pill-popping, cancer-stricken, sharp-tongued matriarch of the Weston family. Estelle Parsons later morphed into the role on tour and did a superb job with it. On stage, the spectacle unfolded into a brilliant, three-act odyssey of dysfunctional family dynamics and the emotional quicksand from which people struggle to be freed.