The ESPN documentary series, 30 for 30, continues a phenomenal and original run at uniting fans of sports history and cinema with Straight Outta L.A. Directed and narrated by Ice Cube, in O.G. gruff mode, the doc examines the stylistic endorsement of the Los Angeles Raiders in the mid-to-late ’80s by West Coast gangsta rap pioneers N.W.A., and proposes that Cube’s group cultivated everlasting, if unsolicited, street cred for the franchise as a multi-billion dollar brand. At this point in Ice Cube’s movie and music career, I was skeptical going in. Would his contribution to 30 for 30 play like self-serving promotion for N.W.A.’s back catalogue and the NFL’s fat merchandising arm? There’s a little hustle on hand, sure, but overall I enjoyed this well-organized, brisk look at the fashionable assimilation of a corporate/athletic identity by young black artists…with attitude.
For any guy who owned/stole a “Real Men Wear Black” t-shirt, more than one Starter jacket, or Dr. Dre‘s The Chronic in the early ’90s, Straight Outta L.A.‘s subject matter is enticing and nearly irresistible. This mix of enthusiasm and nostalgia is sensed in several of the interviewees enlisted from the world of old school hip hop (Ice-T, MC Ren) and Raiders’ record books (Howie Long, Marcus Allen). And Ice Cube goes the extra step by speaking with journalists, city employees, and figure-loving merchandising guys from the era. The biggest catch is his interview with aging “maverick” Raiders owner, Al Davis, regarding the team’s legacy and its controversial move from Oakland to L.A. and back again. (Note: Darth Vader after the jump.)
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Australian composer (Alex Proyas’ Garage Days) and short film filmmaker Andrew Lancaster makes his feature directorial debut with Accidents Happen, an indie dramedy that premiered at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival.
There are dysfunctional families… and then there are the Conways. After a family tragedy, 15-year-old Billy Conway (Harrison Gilbertson) has become the de facto glue between his bitter mom (Geena Davis), distant brother (Harry Cook), and stoic dad (Joel Tobeck). But when Billy starts to act out, everything changes for him and his family.
Based loosely on Brian Carbee’s autobiographical book and one-man theater production, the film is set in 1980’s New England, but was shot in Sydney. The film was named by New York Post as one of the five films to look out for at Tribeca, and the Examiner called it “a promising feature debut (by director Andrew Lancaster and writer Brian Carbee) that isn’t shy in its examination of a nasty-yet-funny family dynamic.” Check out the teaser trailer after the jump.
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In this special bonus episode of the /Filmcast, David Chen speaks with Katey Rich from Cinemablend, Matt Singer from IFC News, and Russ Fischer from CHUD about the Tribeca film festival and Independent Film Festival Boston. The four of them discuss some of their favorite movies from the festival, their disappointments, and what the festival experience was like this year.
As always, if you have any feedback, feel free to e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993.
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I debated on if I should even write this story. I mean, how many readers out there even know who Geoffrey Gilmore is, or why he is important to the landscape of independent film? Followers on Twitter encouraged me to write the piece anyway, and try to explain the significance. Many people believe that Robert Redford is the guy who runs the Sundance Film Festival, and while that might technically be true, Geoffrey Gilmore is the director of the festival’s programing. He’s been with the festival for 19 years and prior to Sundance, he served as head of the UCLA Film and Television Archive’s Programming Department for 15 years.
Today it was announced that Gilmore would be leaving Sundance to join New York’s Tribeca Film Festival as Chief Creative Officer. It’s hard to explain the significance of this move without an understanding of how Sundance changed the landscape of independent film. And unfortunately, I don’t have the time to go into that fully. But if you can understand for a moment that Sundance is a festival that sets the tides for the independent film, and that Gilmore was the head tastemaker behind the organization, than you will only begin to understand how Gilmore has effected Independent film as a whole. In theory, a great film will be eventually discovered. But in reality, it doesn’t always happen that way.
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Remember earlier in the year when rumor spread across the interwebs that Josh Brolin would be playing a Terminator in McG’s Terminator Salvation? Well it turns out there was something to the rumor after all. Brolin admitted to MTV that he was in talks to join the production.
“Yeah. I talked to Christian [Bale] for a couple hours,” Brolin told MTV. “I really liked the script though I hear that’s not what they filmed. The one I read was very interesting and dark. Ultimately though I didn’t think it felt right.”
Brolin would probably have played the character of Marcus, which is played by Avatar star Sam Worthington in the completed film. And speaking of the completed film, McG told a German Newspaper that the final running time for the movie will be around 2 hours and 10 minutes! So those of you who are expecting a 90 or 100 minute popcorn movie, might want to think again.
Cool Posts From Around the Web:
The Pitch: Are You A Film Junkie? These series of Film Junkie spots were created for the Tribeca Film Festical by Scott Vincent. More after the jump. Thanks to /Film reader Kinomozg for the tip.
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I always wondered why Adam Carolla never took off as a movie star. His comic timing and charisma has carried him through the popular long running radio show Loveline, and the popular television show The Man Show. Last year Corolla went out and filmed an independent comedy called The Hammer, which premiered at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival to a nice response (the film is currently getting a 8.4 on imdb). Check out the trailer after the jump.
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When we talked to Rosario Dawson a couple months ago at the Grindhouse junket, she was very excited about her first effort as a producer:
I went to Strasburg with Hayden Christensen, Scarlett Johansson, and I’m in these classes and that’s how I met Talia Lugacy, wearing her long curly hair and big Stanley Kubrick t-shirt. She was very very serious, and walked into the DGA at ten years old to try to get her card. And they were like, “Read cute little girl, try again.” And I met her when I was sixteen and she was fifteen and we always said she was going to write and direct and I was going to act and produce. I was in all except one of her sight and sound films at NYU. I produced her thesis film which was this twenty minute film we did called the Bliss Fires on 35 mill. They asked me at Glamor magazine to direct a short film and I asked if she could direct it and it really established us as a bona-fide team. And this is our first feature together, but this is something that has been twelve years in the process. So it is very exciting for me to bring this out, as much as it seems like I’m piggybacking off of other stuff. This has always been in the agenda.
Descent (not to be confused with last year’s horror film The Descent), is about a college co-ed who is brutally raped and takes revenge into her own hands. From what I understand, the film is very very dark and raw. It premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this month to lackluster reviews. But this new movie trailer has caught our interest (although the voice over guy needs to be replaced). Check it out after the jump.
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The following film was screened at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival.
The Optimists (Optimisti)
Dir: Goran Paskaljevic
Everything’s good and getting better, or so the characters in The Optimists think. With a vivid sense of humor, irony, and sadness, director Goran Paskaljevic creates five stories of people struggling to overcome their harsh realities, while fighting to see the good in their endeavors. Paskaljevic presents a crew of confused individuals, blinded by their hopes of prevailing, that continue to get stuck in unfortunate situations. With a magnificent performance by Lazar Ristovski, from Kusturica’s Underground, the film is able to transmit tales of twisted, amusing episodes contrasted with sorrowful experiences. The persons within the film have something going against them, and they either confront this reality with humor or despondency.
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