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Monday, Apr 26, 2010
The Ian Dury biopic Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll fails to take many risks.

The opening night of my Tribeca Film Festival experience began with the showing of Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll. Being a biopic of the late, great Ian Dury, I decided to do a little research on the English rocker beforehand. Relatively ignorant to music of the ‘70s and ‘80s, I was happy to find that Dury’s life was everything but ordinary, setting the foreground for an exhilarating film with limitless possibilities.


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Monday, Apr 26, 2010
The Tribeca Film Festival revisits "this intellectually challenging film on its 10th anniversary” with a panel that featured special guests from both "science and screen".

Over the past decade, director Christopher Nolan has left an indelible mark on Hollywood. Few movies will escape from the eclipse of 2008’s blockbuster The Dark Knight. But in 2000, five years before the Batman Begins reboot, Nolan delivered Memento, a mind-bending film that challenges the viewer to wrap his head around it.


For the 10-year anniversary of Memento, the Tribeca Film Festival put together a panel discussion entitled “The Science of Memory” for after the movie’s screening.  Christopher Nolan was unable to attend due to our new favorite Icelandic volcano, but other panelists included his brother and co-Memento writer, Jonathan Nolan, actors Guy Pearce and Joe Pantoliano, academics Dr. William Hirst (New School Professor of Psychology) and Dr. Suzanne Corkin (MIT Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience), and NPR’s NPR’s Robert Krulwich as moderator.


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Monday, Apr 26, 2010
The Independent Film Festival of Boston is running April 21-28 at various locations throughout the greater Boston area.

Now in its eighth year, the Independent Film Festival of Boston (or Biff, as I affectionately call it) has solidified its position as New England’s premier film event, only getting better as times goes on. Biff celebrates all that is alive and burgeoning in independent filmmaking by trotting out its typically diverse lineup of narrative films, documentaries and shorts, featuring work by established directors and fledgling first-time filmmakers, and boasting name stars and young up and comers, .


This is my fourth year covering the festival for PopMatters, and in that time I’ve been fortunate enough to see some great diamonds in the rough. I’ve also seen some real dogs that never should have made it past the vetting process of the festival board—or even been allowed for consideration in the first place. Sadly, I’ve spent more time trying to sort out schedules and conflicts than seeing actual films, and whiffed on seeing films that broke out of the festival to have some popular success (e.g. 500 Days of Summer, from last year) in favor of films that I thought would do better (Beeswax, also from last year).


In fact, this has happened so often over the last three years that this year I’m consciously going against all my instincts.  (Hopefully this will prove as successful as it did for George Costanza).


So, on to the films – and there are a lot of them. They need previewing, watching, and reviewing. I’ll be doing a little of the first and a bit of the latter in these posts, but mostly I’ll be holed up over the weekend and well into next week, at the Somerville Theater in Somerville, or the Brattle Theater in Cambridge. (The great joke of the Boston Indie Film Festival is that very little, if any, of it is ever actually held in Boston).


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Tuesday, Dec 8, 2009
Dogtooth by Yorgos Lanthimos: 29 November 2009 - Cinecity Film Festival - Brighton, England

Winner of the award “Un Certain Regard,” Dogtooth is Yorgos Lanthimos’ second feature film.  Thus far it has received great acclamation and has won awards at film festivals in Toronto, Munich, Catalonia, and, most recently, Stockholm.  Dark, provocative, humoristic and twisted are some of the words that best describe Lanthimos’ film, which will be the subject of long discussions when officially released in the UK and US.


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Monday, Nov 30, 2009

The 2009 Cinecity Film Festival in Brighton opened with a preview of Micmacs à tire-larigot, the first film from Jean-Pierre Jeunet since 2004’s A Very Long Engagement. The film proclaims itself to be a satire on the world of arms trading. The official press release states:  “Is it better to live with a bullet lodged in your brain, even if it means you might drop dead any time?  Or would you rather have the bullet taken out and live the rest of your life as a vegetable?  Are zebras white with black stripes or black with white stripes?  Is scrap metal worth more than landmines?  Can you get drunk from eating waffles?  Can a woman fit inside a refrigerator?  What’s the human cannonball world record?  Find out answers to these questions and more.  A comedy in the vein of Delicatessen,  and Amélie.”


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