Indie films on YouTube

Posted on June 25, 2008 at 4:00 pm

YouTube has set up a new site for independent film-makers, a curated collection of the very best films you are unlikely to find in theaters or on television, shown in an upgraded High Quality viewing system. Check it out to get a look at the next generation of outstanding film-makers.
Current films include the Oscar-nominated “Our Time is Up” with Kevin Pollak as a therapist who rethinks his theraputic technique when he gets some bad news, an animated opera called “Love and War,” and “Are You the Favorite Person of Anybody?” with John C. Reilly, Mike White, and Miranda July, who wrote it.

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Shorts

AFI Salutes Warren Beatty

Posted on June 25, 2008 at 8:00 am

The American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony for Warren Beatty will be broadcast tonight at 9 pm EST on the USA Network. Beatty’s notorious romantic life and political activism has sometimes distracted the media from his achievements as an actor, writer, and director. (Expect some jokes about his appearance in two of the biggest money-losers of all time, the not-as-horrible-as-its-reputation “Ishtar” and the even-worse-than-you-can-imagine Town and Country).

Watch him in the final scenes of his very first film, Splendor in the Grass, a pioneering exploration of sexuality and repression. Beatty and co-stars Natalie Wood and Zohra Lampert are heart wrenching as each must confront the compromises necessary for achieving maturity.

His most family-friendly performance is in Heaven Can Wait, the remake of Here Comes Mr. Jordan. It is the sweet romantic comedy about a football player whose soul is mistakenly taken up to heaven by an over-eager angel and who therefore must find a new body to complete his life journey.

Mature audiences should see the classic (but very violent) Bonnie and Clyde, 70’s thriller The Parallax View, and the historical epic about writer/communist activist Reds .

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For Your Netflix Queue Great Movie Moments Rediscovered Classic

Definitely, Maybe

Posted on June 24, 2008 at 9:00 am

definitely%20maybe.jpg“Definitely, Maybe” is the story of the three great loves of a man’s life. That’s “story” in the literal sense, as in the bedtime story he tells his young daughter, who wants to know how he met her mother and, implicitly, why they are getting divorced.
Ryan Reynolds plays the idealistic Will Hayes, who relives his romantic life after receiving his final divorce papers, trying to figure out how he got where he is and what to do next. His daughter Maya (Little Miss Sunshine‘s Abigail Breslin), just out of her first sex education class, asks him how he met her mother, and he answers by telling her about all three of the women he loved, making her guess which one became his wife. Both of them realize that it is not really how they met but a better understanding of what went wrong that matters.

(more…)

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Comedy Romance

Quiz: How Well Do you Know Your Robot Movies?

Posted on June 24, 2008 at 8:19 am

Wall*E, the new Pixar release, was inspired in part by one of the most loveable robots in movie history, R2D2 from “Star Wars.” Wall*E, an adorable garbage drone, inspired me to create this quiz about other memorable robots from movies and television. How many can you answer?
1. What film features three little robots who tend a garden and cheat at cards?
2. In what movie set in the future does a famous writer/director play a character who pretends to be a robot?
3. What robot’s most famous line was “Danger, Will Robinson!”
4. Robin Williams played robots in two movies. Can you name them?
5. This Disney Channel special had a scientist father who created a robot son.
6. Klaatu barada nikto were the special code words to stop which robot from destroying Washington?
7. This robot from one of the first big-budget science fiction movies was inspired by a character from Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.”
8. This sit-com was about a little girl robot who lived in a suburban family.
9. Another short-lived sit-com featured a beautiful female robot named Rhonda.
10. This gold-colored robot who appears in many movies has an English accent. What is his name? (bonus: Who built him?)
11. Robots were the stars of an animated film based on famous Shakespeare love story.
12. This robot wore an apron and carried a feather-duster in an animated sit-com.
13. A little boy robot becomes very attached to his human mother in this movie that was a collaboration of two of the world’s greatest directors.
14. Killer female robots attacked the hero of this comedy spy spoof.
15. His name means “information” but this beloved character from a long-running television series is almost human.
16. Is a replicant a robot or a human? Name three characters concerned with this question in “Blade Runner.”

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Quiz

The Sword in the Stone

Posted on June 23, 2008 at 4:55 pm

A-
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: G
Profanity: None
Alcohol/ Drugs: None
Violence/ Scariness: Cartoon violence
Diversity Issues: Class issues
Date Released to Theaters: 1963
Date Released to DVD: June 17, 2008
Amazon.com ASIN: B0015XWU9U

Based on the book by T.H. White, this is the story of the early years of King Arthur. Nicknamed “Wart,” the future King Arthur is squire to a knight when he meets Merlin the magician, who promises to take on his education. Merlin turns him into a fish, a bird, and a squirrel to teach him lessons like the importance of brains over brawn. He gets to see this in action when Madame Mim, Merlin’s enemy, challenges Merlin to a duel by magic, and, though she cheats, Merlin is able to defeat her.

Wart still has his duties as a squire, and, having forgotten the sword for a jousting match, he runs to get it. He sees a sword stuck in a stone and pulls it out, not knowing the legend that whoever will pull the sword out of the stone will be the rightful king. He becomes King Arthur, and listens when Merlin reminds him that knowledge is the real power.

Discussion: The Arthur legend has fascinated people for centuries, and this story about Arthur’s childhood as special appeal for children. Aside from the fun of seeing what it is like to be a bird, a squirrel, or a fish, and from having your very own wizard as a teacher, there is the highly satisfying aspect of having one’s worth, unappreciated by everyone, affirmed so unequivocally.

Questions for Kids:

· What made Arthur the one who could pull the sword out of the stone?

· What did he learn from his adventures with Merlin?

· How will what he learned help him to be a good king?

· How did Madame Mim cheat?

· How did Merlin fight back when she did?

Connections: Older kids may like to see “Camelot,” the musical by Lerner and Lowe (of “My Fair Lady”), to find out some of what happened to Arthur later (WARNING: the focus of that movie is on Guinevere’s infidelity with Lancelot). Mature teenagers might like the rather gory “Excalibur,” which has some stunning images.

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