Each fall, it seems like there’s a film festival every single week. Toronto, Telluride, Fantastic Fest and New York are just four of the bigger ones we cover on this site. But smaller festivals abound too, each filled with so many movies it’s hard to keep track. Thankfully, in Los Angeles, we have a fantastic fest ourselves that serves both as a wrap up to the Fall and kick off to award season. It’s the AFI Fest Presented by Audi.

This year, the fest takes place November 1 through 8 in Hollywood, California, at the historic Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, the Chinese 6 Theatres, the Egyptian Theatre and the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. It kicks off with Hitchcock, ends with Lincoln, and will also feature Life of Pi, Silver Linings Playbook, Holy Motors, The Impossible, Room 237, On the Road, Rise of the Guardians, Quartet, West of Memphis, Rust and Bone, The Central Park Five and more. Much more. Those are only the Gala Screenings, Centerpiece Screenings and Special Screenings.

And the best part? They’re all free. Read more after the jump. Read More »

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It’s difficult to decide which aspect of My Week With Marilyn is its best asset. The film provides an insider look at movie history, gives interesting insight into legendary personalities, has magnificent performances and a wonderful score. Nope, it’s none of those things. The best thing about My Week With Marilyn, Simon Curtis‘ delightful snapshot of Hollywood history, is how it gives audience the ultimate wish-fulfillment. We get to experience what it would be like to do something we’ve all dreamed of: spend a day with the most beautiful and famous person on the planet.

Scheduled for release November 23, it’s based on the true diaries of a young man named Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) who talked his way into a job with Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh) and, while shooting the film The Prince and the Showgirl, developed a unique relationship with the most famous woman in the world: Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams).

My Week With Marilyn screened at the AFI Fest Presented by Audi and you can read more about it below. Read More »

In the past several years, Luc Besson‘s name attached to a movie usually meant two things: he didn’t direct it and it’s a cheesy action film. Since The Fifth Element in 1997, Besson has directed a few films, but he’s produced many more and it felt like the man who made Leon: The Professional and La Femme Nikita was just waiting for some inspiration. Maybe he was waiting for Aung San Suu Kyi.

A Nobel Peace Prize Winner in 1991, Aung San Suu Kyi is the daughter of a Burmese General who was murdered in 1947, eventually leading to the military taking control of the country. Years later she left Burma to go to school but in 1988, after marrying a foreigner and having two sons in Oxford, she returned and immediately took her father’s place as the head of a pro-Democracy movement in the beautiful but violently oppressed country. Over twenty years and several terrible hardships later, she’s still struggling today.

This is the story of The Lady, and it’s a return to form for a more mature Besson.  It’s not flashy, it’s not action-packed, it’s just Michelle Yeoh as Suu Kyi, David Thewlis as her husband Michael (and his twin brother) and one of the most incredible true stories of standing up against evil imaginable. The film recently played at the AFI Fest Presented by Audi, opens on December 2 and you can read more after the jump. Read More »

The titles Carnage and Kill List sound like they could be the same movie. Kill List: Carnage. Carnage: The Kill List. I’d see that movie. In reality though, they’re two movies which, besides their ominous titles, couldn’t be more different. One is a comedy, the other a thriller. One is American, the other British. One is from a well-known filmmaker, the other an up and comer. And one has four of our most celebrated actors while the other is populated by unknowns. Yet despite being so different, these two films, both of which played at AFI Fest Presented by Audi, make nice bed fellows because they’re so different. Read some thoughts on both of them after the jump . Read More »

Odds are when you first saw the trailer for Haywire, Steven Soderbergh‘s action film starring MMA fighter Gina Carano, you thought, “Why is a Steven Soderbergh movie starring Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas, Channing Tatum and Antonio Banderas coming out in January?” January is an odd movie month as it’s generally a place studios can release films they’re unsure about. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re bad, just without obvious award or blockbuster potential and such is the case with Haywire. It’s an understated, down-the-middle action/spy film elevated by Soderbergh’s direction.  Haywire basically comes off as an exercise to watch an attractive woman beat the crap out of a bunch of famous guys.

The film had its world premiere in Grauman’s Chinese Theater Sunday night as part of the 25th annual AFI Fest Presented by Audi. Read some thoughts after the jump. Read More »

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