FILMS GONE WILD: My Personal Happy Moments at this year’s Dallas International Film Festival

FILMS GONE WILD: My Personal Happy Moments at this year’s Dallas International Film Festival

And let me tell you, it is very hard to convince a famous director or movie star, etc. to leave their home in New York City or Beverly Hills or wherever to come spend a couple days at a film festival in Oxford, Mississippi, or Wichita, Kansas, or Birmingham, Alabama, or Dallas, Texas, so they can have film fans make a big deal over them, talk about a film or films they made 10 or 20 years ago, and receive a cool award and endless praise. It’s even harder to convince a personal publicist, or agent, or manager.

FILMS GONE WILD: WTxFF’s Special Screening of XX at Alamo Drafthouse Dallas on International Women’s Day

FILMS GONE WILD: WTxFF’s Special Screening of XX at Alamo Drafthouse Dallas on International Women’s Day

While discussing the films in XX, praise was evenly distributed among THE BOX, BIRTHDAY PARTY, and HER ONLY LIVING SON for various reasons, but the biggest laugh of the night came from the diminutive Niki Pence, when she explained her preference of DON’T FALL by explaining that the film connected with her since throughout her life, she has been “full of rage.”

FILM FESTIVAL NEWS: The 12th Annual Harlem International Film Festival (May 4-7) unveils its schedule

FILM FESTIVAL NEWS: The 12th Annual Harlem International Film Festival (May 4-7) unveils its schedule

“This year’s lineup is typically diverse, both in content and the filmmakers responsible for the films, bookended by personal profiles that hit close to home both because of their redemptive themes and because they get to the heart of what is the best in humanity,” said Harlem International Film Festival Program Director Nasri Zacharia, “In our 12th year, the festival will once again provide a forum for wonderful storytelling and exciting moments on the big screen created by talent all around the world.”

FILM FESTIVAL NEWS: EARTHxFilm’s Green Carpet is rolled out once again for the Global Green Gala on Friday, April 21

FILM FESTIVAL NEWS: EARTHxFilm’s Green Carpet is rolled out once again for the Global Green Gala on Friday, April 21

EARTHxFilm and Earth Day Texas rolled out the Green Carpet to honor environmental heres and activists at the Global Green Gala on Friday, April 21 at Fair Park, in Dallas. Featuring a heady mix of people on the front lines working to literally save the earth, as well as filmmakers documenting and illustrating those efforts, the red carpet also included several of the guests contributing to the mission.

FILM FESTIVAL NEWS: EARTHxFilm’s Opening Night Green Carpet for CHASING CORAL

FILM FESTIVAL NEWS: EARTHxFilm’s Opening Night Green Carpet for CHASING CORAL

The very first red….er, I mean GREEN carpet for the very first EARTHxFilm and their very first Opening Night Gala selection, Jeff Orlowski’s CHASING CORAL featured Earth Day Texas and EARTHxFilm luminaries, a cool race car driver, and an Oscar winner! All of them walked along a turf carpet that could double as a putting green outside Fair Park’s beautiful Music Hall.

TRIBECA 2017 REVIEWS: Marc Meyers’s MY FRIEND DAHMER examines the real terror behind the creation of a killer

TRIBECA 2017 REVIEWS: Marc Meyers’s MY FRIEND DAHMER examines the real terror behind the creation of a killer

Could the savage butcher Jeffrey Dahmer been brought back to a course that could have led to a normal, fulfilling life? Obviously, we can never know. What we can know is that a lot of people failed him. And to be fair, it certainly seems like a dark cloud was lodged deep in his psyche, perhaps one which could not be repaired. But this film attempts to find the humanity within this real-life character, employing an organic approach which gives the figure perhaps the best chance his life could ever get to a fair trial.

TRIBECA 2017 REVIEWS:  Oren Jacoby’s engaging documentary SHADOWMAN doggedly profiles New York’s enigmatic East Village artist, Richard Hambleton

TRIBECA 2017 REVIEWS: Oren Jacoby’s engaging documentary SHADOWMAN doggedly profiles New York’s enigmatic East Village artist, Richard Hambleton

In concert with celebrating Hambleton’s achievements, the film looks unflinchingly at the insanity and degradation which is the artist’s very messed up life. As the details unfold, we find some of the usual suspects behind self-destructive geniuses. More surprising are the nuances of this troubled man’s path, the almost pure motivations which repulsed him away from success, intermingling with the frailty of a human being succumbing to an endless parade of indulgence and personal neglect.

TRIBECA 2017 REVIEWS: Julia Solomonoff’s NOBODY’S WATCHING sidesteps escapist gags or Oscar-hounding histrionics, delivering subtle realism, patiently uncomfortable scenes, and a whole lot of empathy

TRIBECA 2017 REVIEWS: Julia Solomonoff’s NOBODY’S WATCHING sidesteps escapist gags or Oscar-hounding histrionics, delivering subtle realism, patiently uncomfortable scenes, and a whole lot of empathy

What could have easily have gone off the rails as a series of zany low-grade sitcom vignettes settles in as a restrained effort relying on quieter moments of experience showing (rather than dialogue explaining) both the laughs and the tears. Refusing to play it safe, there’s a lot of tough scenes between the lighter fare, including some stark and belligerent sexual encounters.

Special Features

VOD REVIEWS: Justin Kurzel’s THE SNOWTOWN MURDERS is an under appreciated horror masterpiece waiting to be re-discovered on VOD

VOD REVIEWS: Justin Kurzel’s THE SNOWTOWN MURDERS is an under appreciated horror masterpiece waiting to be re-discovered on VOD

The reek of degradation is so impactful, it’s hard to wash away from the mind. And therein lies the true horror the film offers as well as its cinematic triumph. The murders take a back seat to the explorations of the utter raping of the psyche of a teenager we are subjected to. No amount of gore could make an audience more uneasy, seeking the exits than what The Snowtown Murders has conjured.

VOD REVIEWS: Martin Koolhoven’s BRIMSTONE delivers a brutal, bloody western with three old school star turns by Dakota Fanning, Guy Pearce, and Kit Harrington

VOD REVIEWS: Martin Koolhoven’s BRIMSTONE delivers a brutal, bloody western with three old school star turns by Dakota Fanning, Guy Pearce, and Kit Harrington

Yes, it is unforgivingly violent, and frequently – literally perverse, and twisted, but ultimately the strength of the film falls on the two leads, Fanning and Pearce, as well as a supporting turn by “Game of Thrones” star, Kit Harrington, as a gunslinger who becomes an ally to Liz, during an earlier chapter of her life.

VOD REVIEWS: Nicolas Pesce’s THE EYES OF MY MOTHER chills and charms as only a beautiful country surgeon could

VOD REVIEWS: Nicolas Pesce’s THE EYES OF MY MOTHER chills and charms as only a beautiful country surgeon could

Since, by design, the audience spends a lot of time with the character of Francisca, we are made complicit in her actions toward the unfortunate people that come into her isolated universe. The film emphasizes “less is more” both in terms of gore and information, so we are left to our imaginations to determine what exactly just happened or what has transpired during long stretches of time in between the films “chapters.”

TEN BURNING QUESTIONS: Christian D. Bruun’s BLUE GOLD: AMERICAN JEANS

TEN BURNING QUESTIONS: Christian D. Bruun’s BLUE GOLD: AMERICAN JEANS

Christian D. Bruun’s documentary, BLUE GOLD: AMERICAN JEANS, is a pretty classic version of a documentary that likely introduces you to a world you had no idea ever existed. The film looks at the literal history of blue jeans from their creation, the evolution of jeans as a wardrobe staple, and then a fashion sensation, and international presence, and finally, a highly coveted collectors item.

TEN BURNING QUESTIONS: Beth Dewey’s ERASING EDEN

TEN BURNING QUESTIONS: Beth Dewey’s ERASING EDEN

We often see men in roles that are a complex character study, but not women. Eden is a modern woman who is self-actualized, self aware and self-destructive. I was bent on reinforcing the fact that a man isn’t going to fix her and she knows it.

TEN BURNING QUESTIONS: Brooke and Doug Purdy’s QUALITY PROBLEMS

TEN BURNING QUESTIONS: Brooke and Doug Purdy’s QUALITY PROBLEMS

When I first got diagnosed, I was in a daze. You’re shuffling from this doctor to that surgeon to that oncologist. Plus, I was juggling a 3 ½-year-old and an 18-month-old. It. Was. Bananas. Since I went to film school and both of us are arty types, the only thing I could think to empower myself in an otherwise powerless situation was to document.

SHORTS and to the Point: Jennifer Sheridan and Matthew Markham’s SET ADRIFT is a sad doggie story that will make you cry in 8 minutes flat

SHORTS and to the Point: Jennifer Sheridan and Matthew Markham’s SET ADRIFT is a sad doggie story that will make you cry in 8 minutes flat

You also have to know what the correct incentive to use to get the right emotion. For example, if you want to evoke a sense of longing/ pensiveness then use chicken or turkey, but if you need a more alert/ concentrated look- you should use a tennis ball. It’s all about how to get the best performance out of your actor and Bowie is no exception. I’ve yet to try the chicken technique with real actors though.