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Archive for the 'Newport Beach Film Festival' Category

NBFF 2016 Review: Winter Light And Lightning In The Hand

WINTER_LIGHT_film_still_RaymondJBarry_barFor this last post concerning my coverage of the 2016 Newport Beach Film Festival, I wanted to take the time to dig into some of the short films presented. Thanks to a lovely programmer, I was able to attend a couple shorts programs. A few in particular really stood out and while it is great to see short films in general, I want to specifically get into the two shorts that functioned as westerns; each of a different sort.

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NBFF 2016 Review: Call Of The Void

Steve (Mojean Aria) - 4It can be fun to learn a neat fact from a film. Call of the Void is a solid neo-noir whose title is translated from the French psychoanalytical term l’appel du vide, which refers a person having a self-destructive impulse. Armed with a camera and a desire to make a film hearkening back to an older time and genre, writer/director Dustin Kahia has made an interesting, stylish effort.

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NBFF 2016 Review: The Fixer

the fixer 1For closing night at the Newport Beach Film Festival, right after winning a Best Actor prize at the Tribeca Film Festival, The Fixer was screened. The film is a fish out of water mystery tale set in a small town, with a colorful cast of characters. Some interesting thematic angles are at play and while the film may not be quite as impactful as it could have been, there is enough strength from the actors and in other various elements that make it a story with plenty of intrigue.

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NBFF 2016 Review: Fare

fare thumbImagine the worst possible cab ride of your life and then take it to the next level by going weird with it. That’s what Fare is. This nifty 75-minute thriller from writer/director/star Thomas Torrey takes a single-location concept and allows for unexpected turns that build into a radical third act that pushes the nature of relationships to a true zenith of filmmaking imagination.

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NBFF 2016 Review: UNindian

unindian 1Here’s an innocent enough romantic comedy that plays up a culture clash angle and mostly comes out on top. UNindian follows many of the tropes you’d expect, but brings in a Bollywood element that certainly helps to establish an identity for it. Familiar or not, the film is effective enough given the cast chemistry and features a display of Indian culture in Australia that I was unfamiliar with.

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NBFF 2016 Review: Being George Clooney

being clooneyIt is fun to see a connection that ties together actors from all over the world. For the case of Being George Clooney, the connection is international voice dubbing. The process may be understood at surface level, but there are a lot of interesting things that go into being the voice of another actor. This documentary has fun checking in on the actors who have established themselves as the voice of the movie star, among other things, as well as taking a look at this little-talked about profession in Hollywood.

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NBFF 2016 Review: Remember Me

remember meA film like Remember Me makes me wonder why EGOT-winner Rita Moreno is not appearing more frequently in feature films. The veteran actor may be in the role of wise-cracking grandmother, but she plays it quite well and many should know she is capable of more. For now though, here’s an enjoyable film that gets a little too caught up in some raunchier humor at times, despite working well enough as a fun road trip movie with some emotional pull.

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NBFF 2016 Review: Show Business

show businessIf you are going to pay homage to Woody Allen, you better be sure everyone is on board to do the same thing. Writer/director/composer/star Alexander Tovar wears many hats for his film Show Business, but it felt as if he had a little bit of a tough time managing all of them to completely nail what he was going for in this Hollywood farce about a writer getting his shot. That does not mean the film was unenjoyable, but the light-heartedness of the film did seem to extend a bit far with some of the cast.

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NBFF 2016 Review: After The Reality

12957470_1111751962215593_4714805152280256639_oThis year After the Reality opened the 17th Annual Newport Beach Film Festival. Since Jewtopia served as the opening night feature a few years back, I have been doing my best to manage my excitement level for these premieres, but the film was certainly no dud. While a bit familiar, the comedy-drama took on some subject matter in an interestingly enough way to hold onto my attention and make good use of its key performers.

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17th Annual Newport Beach Film Festival Announcement

newport-beach-film-fest-2016-e1457241757778Here we are with another year for NBFF. The 17th Annual Newport Beach Film Festival is arriving this week (April 21-28th) and they have hundreds of films to present. This year, NBFF is proud to announce its Opening Night Film, the world- premiere of After The Reality starring Matthew Morrison and Sarah Chalke and Closing Night Film, The Fixer starring Dominic Rains and James Franco. I will be in attendance to cover as many films at the festival as I can and post my thoughts here. Continue on to learn more about the Opening and Closing Night films along with more about the festival.

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NBFF 2014 Review: ‘Arlo & Julie’

arlo and julie whysoblu thumbThe final film I was able to see for the Newport Beach Film Festival was this fun little indie called Arlo & Julie. I really enjoyed it. With a neat story, very likable characters, and a soundtrack consisting mostly of old jazz to better evoke some specific films and filmmakers that I see as likely influences, Arlo & Julie has a lot of what I like to see in smaller films that I can only hope to see reach a larger audience at some point. It does just enough to set it apart from other films, but also has plenty in common with the quaint little indies that I tend to like a lot.

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NBFF 2014 Review: ‘Follow Friday The Film’

ff the film whysobluSo what is all this Twitter business? Wednesday at the Newport Beach Film Fest afforded me the opportunity to check out a documentary that would have made more sense to see on a Friday. At least I now know what I can recommend via #ff on Friday, as Follow Friday the Film is an enjoyable documentary about Twitter. While not an instructional guide and more of an interesting look at how society is evolving, with a specific focus on popular social media, the film is not attempting to force Twitter on its audience, but instead invite folks to see the deeper value in typing a certain amount of characters into a program at any time. It helps that the film is structured together through a road trip, with plenty of interviews to really provide a broad perspective on the subject. As a person that uses Twitter plenty, I was happy to find a group that put out a film explaining this microblogging service so simply, yet in a charming manner.

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NBFF 2014 Review: ‘Unforgiven’

unforgiven whysoblu thumbMonday night at the Newport Beach Film Festival saw a film that I have been anticipating for some time be represented as the Japanese Spotlight feature of the night. I was quite happy to have seen it. The Japanese remake of Unforgiven makes a good case for why I am never against the idea of a remake, before I actually see it or have enough information to pass judgment. Clint Eastwood’s 1992 Best Picture winner is the film I consider to be his best work as a filmmaker (and as an actor, for that matter), so the concept of remaking his film should presumably strike ire in the hearts of those that claim remakes are always terrible. Of course, hypocrisy is a funny thing, as the reaction to Ken Watanabe starring in a samurai version of the same story seems to have made most skeptics excited about this particular idea. Still, this is not about the public at large, it is about what I thought of the film, which basically amounts to being an interesting remix.

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NBFF 2014 Review: ‘Cas & Dylan’

cas and dylanHere’s another Newport Beach Film Fest review focused on just one feature that I caught on Monday morning. Cas & Dylan is a Canadian-produced road trip comedy, focused on an odd couple that needs to be enjoyed, if one wants to enjoy this film as a whole. It is a bit cutesy in the way it presents a scenario that can be summed up by saying, “She’s a [blank] and he’s a [blank], but together, they’ll become best friends ready to do whatever.” Fortunately, Richard Dreyfuss and Tatiana Maslany make for a good pairing and the film gets enough mileage out of its comedy and drama to make this good-looking film a good watch as well.

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NBFF 2014 Review: ‘Felony’

felonyI only checked out one film on Sunday, for the Newport Beach Film Festival, but it was an interesting Australian crime drama serving as a morality tale and a showcase for the three lead characters. Felony features some strong performances, with Tom Wilkinson, in particular, making a good case for why he is almost always enjoyable in whatever role is given to him. The idea of seeing not just two, but three sides of the law makes for an interesting story to be told and Felony works that angle about as far as it can go, before settling in a way that left me satisfied.

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NBFF 2014 Reviews: ‘Teacher of the Year’ and ‘Obvious Child’

teacher of the yearSaturday Night at the 15th Annual Newport Beach Film Fest was another challenging scenario, as a number of films were showing and I had to consider how to best spend my time. Fortunately, the two movies I was able to see were both quite good. Teacher of the Year is my favorite film of the festival so far (granted I have only seen a small percentage of what has been available), as it was funny and heartfelt in the right ways. Obvious Child was fine too, given that it fits in the realm of quirky indie comedy, but has a sort of truth to it that puts it slightly ahead of typical indie fare. There continue to be plenty of exciting options though and Saturday just fit as another strong night for the fest and what I have ended up choosing.

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NBFF 2014 Reviews: ‘Cheatin’’ and ‘The One I Love’

Friday at the Newport Beach Film Festival found me with a lot of options to choose from. While I had heard many good things about a number of the films featured and had considered attending at least four different films playing around the same time, I ultimately chose to go with Cheatin’ and The One I Love. One is an animated feature from famed cartoonist Bill Plympton, the other was a romantic comedy-drama with a unique twist that I do not plan to spoil here. I found both to be worth watching, especially those in the mood for something a bit off center from the norm.

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NBFF 2014 Review: Lovesick

nbff thumb 2014Opening night at the 15th Annual Newport Beach Film Festival was a nice start to what should be an exciting festival to keep track of.  Given the difficulty I have had at nailing down exactly which films to check out on what days, due to interest in so many, it seems like I am in for a lot of good, interesting, or at least entertaining features.  With that in mind, I was happy to find the opening film, Lovesick, to be enjoyable enough, for what it is.  I say this because the opening night film tends to be a more palatable feature, in an effort to please the general audience as a whole, given the crowded attendance in the Big Newport Theater on Opening Night.  The film is simple enough, but the cast makes it a bit more appealing.

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