Countdown to DIFF part 3

17 03 2010

Last year seems just like yesterday.

Oscar Winner Kathryn Bigelow brought Jeremy Renner and screened The Hurt Locker at last year’s festival.
Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel Weisz, and Rinko Kikuchi  starred in the opening night gala film, The Brothers Bloom.  Star Awards went out to Mrs. Bigelow, Brody, Rita Hayworth (given to her daughter Princess Yasmine Aga Khan on behalf of her late mother), and a special screening of Chinatown with writer Robert Towne.
The three pics below were taken on opening night.  Robert is the man on the left with his hands crossed in front of him.  Then two shots of Mr. Brody.  *Mark good eye sir!!
Just like the previous year’s recap, here are the top three moments from AFI Dallas 2009.
# 3 – Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are UNDead
Tom Stoppard added to the Shakespearean library with his mid-sixties play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.  This tweaking of Stoppard is done by young up and coming writer/director Jordan Galland. At the Q & A after the screening of the film we learned a lot about young Mr. Galland.  Like his good friend Sean Lennon (yep that one) let Tom Stoppard know about his friend’s joke of a script.  Three years later Jordan was trying to figure out who to cast as the lead, Julian Marsh.  His old college buddy and Dustin Hoffman’s son, Jake enters into the casting.  Throw in our lovable favorite so far of AFI Dallas, John Ventimiglia (he was in another film, The Missing Person) and you have one funny raucous tale about Vampires staging of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Mix in funny titled sequences and quirky animation and you have a fun film for all folks.  Granted keep the kiddos away – violence, language and ample nudity.  Watch out Jordan Galland has the knack, obviously great connections, and a quirky nature to make it.  Also you’ll just fall in love with Mr. Hoffman, spitting image of daddy.  And once again I can’t stop praising John Ventimiglia.  He is  wonderful as Theo/Horace/Horatia the Vampire leader.
Pictures – Jake Hoffman (top photo) and Kris Lemche.  Yes that is the KARATE KID – Ralph Macchacio.   And John Ventimiglia and the hotties.
Overall the experience of the screening was fun and Q and A was insightful.  This film hasn’t gotten the play as much I thought it would, but then again horror films (even funny ones) usually need a big buzz to get truly noticed.
#2 – Gigantic wins our heart
Went with my “photographer” to see this film by director Matt Aselton.   It was a lovely and quirky film. Paul Dano stars with Zooey Deschanel, John Goodman, and Ed Asner as we see sides of New York we haven’t really ever thought about.  Dano, a high-end mattress salesman, spends his free time dreaming of adopting a chinese baby, chatting it up with his college buddy, triping on schrooms with his two older brothers and there 80 year old (wealthy) father (Asner), and o yeah he is being horribly beat up by a crazed character (played by comedian Zach Galifianakis).  Since AFI the film did decent in the theaters, and has been picked up by a few TV networks.  Aselton came across as an intelligent but also timid.  Dano has turned into a legit actor with his star changing role in There Will Be Blood.  And of course, ZG hit huge with The Hangover.  Ed Asner helped out a little with a film called UP.  And Mr. Goodman is slated for a new HBO series from the writers and producers of The Wire series.
By far the most entertaining experience was the screening, Q and A and post Q and A questions for the film, Rock Prophecies. Robert Knight has shot (with his camera) everyone major from Clapton to Jimi to Stevie Ray to the Stones and now he’s finding the newest talent.  How about Panic at the Disco, well Robert found them and put them on guitar center.  What?  Yeah Robert Knight is the reason that you see all those big pictures out front of the stores.  The film takes us thru Robert’s life as well as introduces a new band, The Sick Puppies, and a new kid with amazing guitar skills, Tyler Dow Bryant.  The way director John Chester weaves in Robert’s life (both his heartbreaking story of taking care of his mother who is stricken with Alzthemier’s, to his constant refusal to “sell” his legendary achrieve) and the potential huge future of the young folks.
Robert, Tyler, and John Chester were all very approachable and receptive to the questions given.  It was really hard to not mention Guillermo Arriaga’s film The Burning Plain, but Rock Prophecies was that incredible.
The Pictures below – Tyler in Car (like our TMZ style shot).  Director John Chester.  And the Legend Robert Night.

We are now done recapping AFI Dallas over the past few years.  Now its time to figure out what to see for the Dallas International Film Festival.  This sunday edition of the Dallas Morning News will have a nice pull out for the DIFF films.  We’ll have our evaluations of the films coming to our fair city and also some fun insights into how to have the best time at the festival.  Remember the Ghost Bar is worth it!!!



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