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Archive for the 'Events' Category

NBFF 2017 Review: The Hero

One of the advantages of seeing smaller films touring around festivals is having a chance to see character actors in lead roles. The Hero provides the great Sam Elliot this chance and it’s a joy to watch. No stranger to cinema, Elliot has been a stable presence in many films and TV shows for over 40 years. Here’s a film that gets to play with his image, while also challenging the man to be more than just a mustachioed character actor with a deep and wonderful voice.

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NBFF 2017 Review: The Scent Of Rain And Lightning

There is a lot to get out of films surrounding family secrets. Ideally, you are gradually drawn into learning about who a family is, establishing various personas, only to have things turn around on you thanks to sudden reveals. It’s not a cheat to make these sort of twists, as you’ve been effectively coerced into feeling like a part of the family. The Scent of Rain and Lightning is a modern western with a mystery at its core. We are well aware that something bad happened early on, but the film wants us to continue questioning the validity of this fact throughout. Unfortunately, the results are not as effective as they could be, due to a disjointed narrative.

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NBFF 2017 Review: Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton

The tagline for this year’s Newport Beach Film Festival is “Go Deeper” and that is certainly fitting for the Opening Night premiere film. Take Every Wave: The Life of Laid Hamilton is both an extreme sports film, featuring some breathtaking footage, and a solid biographical study of big-wave surfer and ocean pioneer Laird Hamilton. This documentary from director Rory Kennedy certainly does take us deeper, as we spend nearly two hours watching the story of a fearless and quite affable athlete who has pushed himself hard to find various successes throughout his life, while also experiencing some literal and emotional tough breaks.

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Audience Awards Film Festival 2017 – Horror Shorts Reviews, Shout Outs & Award Winners Announced

The Audience Awards Film Festival wrapped this past weekend in North Hollywood, CA and it was a real hoot.  Not only did yours truly get to represent the great WhySoBlu.com by hosting and moderating a Q&A for the Project Earth Doc Challenge, but I also got to meet the illustrious Effie T. Brown and take in a gaggle of horror shorts to boot!  (That’s an evening!)  In any case thought I would pay tribute to the new fest by taking an “Encapsulated” look at the six flicks that made up the Horror Shorts program, give a few shout outs and post the release of the winners to which the fantastic festival gave over $100,000 in cash and prizes – read on!

 

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TAKE EVERY WAVE: THE LIFE OF LAIRD HAMILTON Opens 18th Annual Newport Beach Film Festival

For everyone looking to head to SoCal and check out some films this April, the 2017 Newport Beach Film Festival begins on the 20th. Additionally, the NBFF has announced TAKE EVERY WAVE: THE LIFE OF LAIRD HAMILTON as its opening night film. The screening will take place on Thursday, April 20, 2017 at 7:30pm at Edwards Big Newport in Newport Beach, followed by a gala reception at Fashion Island, also in Newport. The 18th annual NBFF will run from April 20 – April 27, 2017. Continue on to learn more about the upcoming opening night event, the film festival in general and where to find out more about the films being screened and how to purchase tickets.

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STAR WARS: FORCE FRIDAY II Debut THE LAST JEDI Toys On September 1st!

Force Friday ThumbDisney and Lucasfilm today announced Star Wars Force Friday II, a global fan event celebrating the launch of new products inspired by the highly anticipated “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” Toys, collectibles, books, apparel and more will go on sale beginning at 12:01 a.m. on September 1, 2017, with stores around the world opening for a weekend-long celebration of all things Star Wars.  The first Star Wars Force Friday event was truly unique, uniting fans across five continents in an unprecedented global live unboxing event ahead of thousands of midnight openings at retail,” says Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman, Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media. “We’re excited to confirm that Star Wars Force Friday is back for ‘The Last Jedi’. Plans for this year’s world-wide event are top secret but expect something befitting the excitement around the next episode of the Star Wars saga.” Continue reading ‘STAR WARS: FORCE FRIDAY II Debut THE LAST JEDI Toys On September 1st!’

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Sundance 2017 – Seven Feature Film Reviews + Final Fest Thoughts

sundance squareThe 2017 Sundance Film Festival has come to a close and it was interesting to actually be in Park City to experience an event I’ve only heard about all these years.  So to finish off all things Sundance related below are seven final feature film reviews including Bitch, XX, Where Is Kyra?, The New Radical, Nobody Speak: Hulk Hogan, Gawker And Trials Of A Free Press, Axolotl Overkill and Gook, a short review with the apt title F@cking Bunnies, plus a Sundance Thoughts section where I get honest about everything from venues to the films that played.  (Candid commentary alert!)  Plus as an extra bonus I’m doing a retro-review on a Slamdance 2017 documentary that took both the Audience and Jury prize titled Strad Style.  So slap on your snow boots and follow me into movie review territory for a final gander at all things Sundance 2017!

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Slamdance 2017 – Narrative Feature Winners Are Announced!

Slamdance Square copyWell, my Narrative jury time and of course WhySoBlu.com coverage of all things Slamdance Film Festival 2017 is officially over and it’s been one hell of a fun ride.  Not only did I get to watch tons of great films, brave the beauty of the snow and eat local food to die for (check out Freshies for amazing Lobster Rolls!), but I can now check being on a film jury off my bucket list.  I was so very proud to be a part of a festival that prides itself on picking great films and it’s a cherished memory I will hold near and dear.

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Slamdance 2017 – Four Feature Film Reviews

Slamdance Square copyThe illustrious Slamdance Film Festival 2017 is almost over and it’s been a wild ride.  Movies, jury duties and reviews galore, have made the Park City excursion a memorable time indeed.  But before we announce winners in Narrative (and the many other respective categories!) wanted to get up a few more reviews of flicks I saw outside my official duties.  Strange mother/son stories, docs about strong gals and backward boys and flick about finding closure all adorn the four reviews enclosed.  Check out the skinny on The Erlprince, Hotel Coolgardie, Supergirl and Suck It Up below.

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Sundance 2017 – Four Feature Film Reviews

sundance squareGotta say that in the Midnight section and late night movies line-up, Sundance has been surprisingly disappointing to me so far.  (Sole exception being the five-star Northern Ireland revenge flick Bad Day For The Cut!)  A handful of flicks dabbling in gross and disturbing plus a disappointing doc have brought the magnificent movie vibe to a low.  (But rest assured I have film faith and many more to go!)  So check out the skinny on some flicks that may or may not be hitting a theater near you – the review of the fearsome foursome via the Sundance Film Festival 2017 below!   Continue reading ‘Sundance 2017 – Four Feature Film Reviews’

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Slamdance 2017 – Twenty-Two Short Film Reviews

Slamdance SquareThings are moving at light speed here at Slamdance 2017 and with features, shorts and my own Narrative Jury duties it’s quite a haul.  (But an amazing one!)  First up are my reviews for a gaggle of shorts handed to me over my time here.  Whether it was through a personal reach out by the filmmaker or one I saw before a feature, anyone who got their short into my movie loving hands has equal consideration below.  So in various categories including animation, documentary, anarchy, experimental and simple block section, check out the massive twenty-two short film reviews below.  (In keeping with the shorts theme each review is quick!)  Plus hit the bottom for a little behind the scenes insight via my special Jury Section – enjoy!

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Sundance 2017 – “Bad Day For The Cut” Director Chris Baugh Talks Revenge (Plus Bonus Five-Star Review!)

sundance squareAfter a few underwhelming film false starts for me via the famed Sundance Film Festival 2017 (those reviews coming later!) I recently came upon a mecca movie here in Park City in the form of a five-star fabulous flick.  The movie in question goes by the name of Bad Day For The Cut, but fortunately for film fans it’s proves to be one good night at the movies.  An Irish import and official selection for this year’s Midnight Section, the film is about an average farmer who decides to seek some revenge for the murder of his mother.  Steeped in bold black comedy, colorful kills and bloody satisfaction, Bad Day For The Cut also features tasty turns by leading man Nigel O’Neill as the payback seeking son and Susan Lynch as the truly nasty baddie of the piece. Continue reading ‘Sundance 2017 – “Bad Day For The Cut” Director Chris Baugh Talks Revenge (Plus Bonus Five-Star Review!)’

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Lost In London: A Comedic Odyssey Matched With Experimentation

woodyOn January 19th, I was able to attend the screening of the first film to be shot live and broadcast simultaneously into theaters in England and the U.S. While one would expect an experience like this to be the brain child of some indie filmmaker making his name, a new, unexpected Cloverfield movie, or some found footage experience coming out of Blumhouse Productions, it actually came from the mind of Woody Harrelson. Lost in London is the result of an idea Harrelson had for a film, following an actual experience he had in London back in 2002. As the film opens, we are told “too much of this is true” and are then off and running on a unique odyssey shot in one take, with one camera.

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Slamdance 2017 – Jason Is On The Jury!

Slamdance Square copyI’m here is snowy Park City, Utah movie fans and it’s comfortably cold.  (I’m originally from Canada, so this place is a piece of cake!)  What am I doing in such a white mountain ridden place?  There’s a movie buzz in the air and where there are films unspooling I will be there!  (This year for the amazing WhySoBlu.com!)  Plus ardent cinema lovers are acutely aware that in January the very busy high altitude town is the home of two very amazing film festivals including the…

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Slamdance 2017 Interview: Dynamic Directing Duo Behind “Who Is Arthur Chu?” Talk Doc

Slamdance Square copyIt’s that time of year film festival fans – Park City movies time!  That’s right, yours truly will be covering both the Sundance Film Festival (stay tuned!) and the even more illustrious Slamdance Film Festival for the great WhySoBlu.com to include reviews, interviews and even special stuff you won’t see anywhere else.  (A very cool announcement coming this week!)  But since the films are coming fast and furious (an on purpose movie pun!) even before the festivals star let’s get this ride underway!

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Return Of The Living Dead 3 Blu-ray Day w/Brian Yuzna & Friends!

return squareWith my Blu-ray collecting cohort Brandon Peters having already covered all things Return Of The Living Dead 3 via the recent Vestron Video Collector’s Series release (check out his detailed review HERE!) it felt like all hope of obtaining my own cool copy was as illusive as fresh brains.  But just like the creatures in the film you can’t keep a demonic dream down and desire of owning my own dose of Trioxin not only came to fruition, but it was signature city baby via the recent Return Of The Living Dead 3 Blu-ray Day!  Yup, yours truly headed down to the genre happy Dark Delicacies for an amazing and star-studded event did not disappoint.  On hand to sign both copies of the new Blu-ray as well as other collectable items from the Return Of The Living Dead 3 family included Director Brian Yuzna, Writer John Penney, Director of Photography Gerry Lively and iconic Make-Up Effects legend Steve Johnson.  All signed stuff, chatted with fans and made the release of the new Collector’s Series all the sweeter.  Below is a cool photo tour of the event from start to finish (ending with my own copy signed!), plus a short interview with the amazing Brian Yuzna to boot – read on return fans! Continue reading ‘Return Of The Living Dead 3 Blu-ray Day w/Brian Yuzna & Friends!’

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Slamdance Film Festival Announces 2017 Competition Lineup

Slamdance SquareThe awesome and truly indie inspired Park City festival known for being self governed ‘By Filmmakers, For Filmmakers’ known as the Slamdance Film Festival will once again be taking place in Utah this January 20-26, 2017 for the 23rd Edition and we here at WhySoBlu.com are very excited.  The fest has a history of discovering some of the best filmmakers in the business (see Christopher Nolan, Jared Hess and Oren Peli to name a few!) and embodies the spirit of originality in film – a feat that deserves be recognized and celebrated.  We’re going to have announcements soon about our involvement in the upcoming fest (we’re so excited!), but needless to say we will be there to document and dissect cinematic pictures of all shapes and sizes in Park City for your movie pleasure.  For now we’re revealing the upcoming slate of films in the two main fest competition categories – Documentary and Narrative features. (And with a whopping 19 films overall there’s no shortage of amazing flicks!)  So check out 2017’s selected films below and then head over to www.Slamdance.com and get your tickets and passes now – see you there movie fans! Continue reading ‘Slamdance Film Festival Announces 2017 Competition Lineup’

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AFI Fest 2016: Split (Movie Review)

split thumbIt is irritating to see a filmmaker get close to putting something great out there, but still be ultimately undone by script issues. Split has the makings of a very clever and tense psychological thriller. A terrific turn from star James McAvoy certainly deserves plenty of praise. Still, for every new layer and reveal, there is a feeling suggesting how another look at this screenplay could have helped to better workout some of the old-fashioned ideas and configure a better resolve for the characters. Split does well to work in the moment as tense fun, but misses out on nailing what it promises in a better sense.

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