Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Exit through the Gift Shop - Redux

Please enjoy the blog post submitted by our fab summer intern Anna Thorup:

Tonight at 8pm, we will be screening the acclaimed documentary, Exit Through the Gift Shop as a part of our summer documentary film series. The Oscar-nominated film, that was directed by the well-known and enigmatic street artist who calls himself Banksy, provides a glimpse into the inner world of street art by documenting Thierry “Mr. Brainwash” Guetta’s unexpected rise to stardom. The film’s original purpose, as Banksy explains, was to show an honest depiction of the culture of street art and graffiti, shown through footage by the obsessive and ever-present Guetta who shadows and films Banksy and other artists’ every move, but evolved into the representation of Guetta’s climb to fame. The film is composed of a blend of raw footage, captured by Guetta, and a series of interviews with various street artists. Banksy himself also appears in the film, but protects his anonymity by shielding his face and altering his voice. Overall, it is a unique and amazing documentary that depicts a culture that is not well-known To understand the world of street art further, we were able to chat with the Roanoke-based graffiti artist, Toobz.

Toobz’s work is both fascinating and beautiful. While he uses spray paint as his main medium, he also sculpts, uses acrylics, pencils, and digital photography. “I really try to get my hands in anything I can,” he told me, “if I find something that’s working for the moment and achieving the visual I’m trying to create then that’s what I do ... I have pretty much just been observing things around me since I can remember and just trying to condition myself to understand shapes and the way light falls against things. It’s basically the way the artist is, it’s just something within me.” Talking with him is much like watching him paint as his words flow smoothly and capture a unique sense of precision and depth within every thought. I loved hearing about his personal artistic endeavors and was excited to get his thoughts about the film.

When asking him what he thought of the film he replied, “I think it’s good, I think it’s put together well.” He then went on to admit his distaste for Guetta and his belief that there are many other street artists like Banksy who have not yet been discovered. I then asked him if he thought the film would create more interest in the street art and graffiti culture, to this he replied, “I think it’s possible. I think it will influence a small wave, but I think there’s already a huge wave out there that no one knows about.” He continued on to talk about the early stages of street art, boiling its beginnings down to man’s desire to leave his name, and where he thinks it’s going based on the cultures new-found mass notoriety, “I have been into graffiti since about ’88 so I’ve seen it from where it started roughly from the understanding of the tools that we use and now it’s forming into – it’s going in a good way, I think rather than I bad way...I think all in all it’s going to make it stay… it’s been around forever, since the beginning of man basically and it’s always going to be here regardless of what style it is or what it turns into, there’s always going to be someone leaving their name.”

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Yesterday we opened The Tree of Life, one the most eagerly anticipated movies of the summer (at least in the art house world). The Tree of Life is the impressionistic story of a Texas family in the 1950s. The film follows the life journey of the eldest son, Jack, through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father (Brad Pitt). Jack (played as an adult by Sean Penn) finds himself a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence of faith. It's a philosophical film, it's visually stunning and it's not like anything else you've seen before.

The Tree of Life is one of those films that doesn't belong anywhere other than an art house theater and we welcome the opportunity to bring it to you. It's a film that encourages dialogue and debate and isn't that what a good film is supposed to do, whether you appreciated the film or not?

Director Terrence Malick is one of those rare filmmakers left who is still shrouded in an air of mystery and reclusiveness. In the age of so much information, that's pretty hard to do. But there are still some things you can find out via the world wide web and here are some curious facts:
- Malick studied philosophy at Harvard, graduating Phi Betta Kappa. He even taught some philosophy at MIT for a time.
- He was also a freelance journalist before entering the film world and contributed to the obituaries for Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy in The New Yorker.
- Over one million feet of film was shot for his 2005 film The New World
- Malick is famously protective of his private life and his contracts always stipulate that his likeness may not be used for promotional purposes.
- Malick was born in Waco, Texas where The Tree of Life is set.
- The cinematic equivalent of JD Salinger, Malick took a 20-year sabbatical after 1978's "Days of Heaven" before agreeing to direct "The Thin Red Line" in 1998.
- Zoolander is one of Malick’s all time favorite films.
- Starting with The New World, Malick has instituted “rules” in his filmmaking, including using only natural light, no cranes, no big rigs, and handheld cameras only.

He's a pretty interesting dude and actually lives up to his mythical status.

Check out the trailer:

One more thing, some audiences in other parts of the country have not really understood how to appreciate Malick and The Tree of Life and theaters have had to resort to the following (courtesy of our good friends at the Avon Theater in Stamford, CT):

But we don't think we have anything to worry about in the City of the Arts....

Saturday, June 18, 2011


The spring of subtitles is ending this week, but we're not going out with a whimper. With a run of festival hits and Oscar fare, reading hasn't been so bad. This week's offering is Incendies, Denis Villeneuve's tail of a pair of siblings uncovering some heavy stuff about their family lineage. This one won me over from the first frame, as none other than Radiohead lent their song "You and Whose Army" to the film. You know you have a bad ass film when Thom Yorke says it's ok to use one of his band's songs. They should just rename it "Radiohead approves of this Movie," because I've already pronounced it seventeen different times, and the staff is already ringing up tickets when a customer starts trying to pronounce something with a quizzical look on their face.

Sitting pretty with a 91% approval rating on Rottentomatoes.com (sold out to the man, but not quite tainted yet - since Green Lantern is at 24%, I'll still buy their ratings), this isn't a feel good summer movie, but it is wonderfully acted and tells a very compelling story. Ty Burr of the Boston Globe sums it up way better than I could in his review. Local critic Mark Burger wasn't quite as enamored, but still recognized a stirring performance. But that's the beauty of movies - you can judge for yourself. Trailer below, only one week to catch it before Brad Pitt graces our screen (likelihood I will say that again? Similar Lloyd's chances with Mary in Dumb and Dumber).

Here is the trailer:

Friday, June 10, 2011

midnight in paris

Like the central character in Woody Allen's new film Midnight in Paris (opening today), I've always had a desire to take up residence in Paris for a time. The cafes, the wine, the crepes, the Seine and the bridges that cross it, the history that follows you everywhere...I'd have to agree with those who say that Paris is the most romantic city on earth. Midnight in Paris is great supporting evidence.

Here is the breakdown: This is a romantic comedy set in Paris about a family that goes there because of business, and two young people who are engaged to be married in the fall have experiences there that change their lives. It's about a young man's great love for a city, Paris, and the illusion people have that a life different from theirs would be much better. It stars Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, Kathy Bates, and Carla Bruni among others.

Check out the trailer:

One of the other reasons I love Paris so much is the wealth of art that both exists in its borders and that which it has inspired over the years. After seeing the film I was inspired to search and refresh my memory as to how famous artists have represented Paris over the years. Below are just a few of the works I uncovered... check them out now and then come back and take a look at them again after you see the film (you'll see why):

Ernest Hemingway said it best:

If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

european vacation

So who needs Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo to take a "European Vacation"? This week we have the European continent covered. We've already mentioned the French phenom Potiche, which is sticking around for another week and has really been a hit with the crowds. But we're not stopping there...we've also got the biggest foreign film of the year, Academy Award Winner In a Better World (Haevnen) from Denmark and the Italian thrill ride The Double Hour (La doppia ora).

In the film In a Better World, the lives of two Danish families cross each other, and an extraordinary but risky friendship comes into bud. But loneliness, frailty and sorrow lie in wait. Mark Burger of Yes! Weekly called it "...a worthy, well-acted meditation on the consequences of violence and how it impacts all ages" in his review. Check out the trailer:

The Double Hour on the other hand is of the suspense/thriller genre (with a little bit of romance), something which is always fun to add to the mix. Here is the gist, without giving too much away: Guido, a former cop, is a luckless veteran of the speed-dating scene in Turin. But, much to his surprise, he meets Slovenian immigrant Sonia, a chambermaid at a high-end hotel. The two hit it off, and a passionate romance develops. After they leave the city for a romantic getaway in the country, things suddenly take a dark turn. Matthew Lucas, local critic for the Lexington Dispatch and From the Front Row, says about the film, "It's as if (director) Capotondi channeled Hitchcock's style of suspense and revelation and combined it with Nolan's flair for labyrinthine psychological drama." Check out the trailer:

And don't forget we've got our Salute! Festival inspired screenings of Sideways tomorrow night at 10 and 10:30 with specials on Merlot from Cellar 4201!

Friday, May 27, 2011

trophy wife

So I sat down to write the blog about the film Potiche and really just discovered I wanted to pay homage to Catherine Deneuve instead. I figure since RiverRun closed the festival with the film, word was already out on the gift that is Potiche so I'm covered right? Just in case here is a link to the review from Matthew Lucas in From the Front Row and the trailer below:

On to the Catherine Deneuve tribute:

First, is she not the coolest mademoiselle ever?

Seriously, here she is with fashion icon (second to Bill Cunningham, of course) Yves Saint Laurent. She was considered his muse btw.

I'm sure when this photo was taken all of the hommes were wishing they were this miniature dog. Apologies for my liberal use of French...I don't speak it, but wish I did.

France even used her likeness for a while as their national emblem Marianne (following in the footsteps of Bridget Bardot).

And after over 100 films she still knocks 'em out (this image actually does happen to be from Potiche).

And on a personal note and to wrap up my idol worship, in my research I discovered that Ms. Deneuve has her very own engraved Jaeger-LeCoultre watch, a company I spent two years in marketing with...a nice bow to wrap up the package.

Friday, May 20, 2011

We're not the only ones who love PBR

It's Friday, and that can only mean new movie night at a/perture. This week it's the Will Ferrell film Everything Must Go. In perusing reviews I found a common denominator that was nice, but didn't give full credit to Mr. Ferrell's body of work. Yes, he takes a turn as someone a little more serious, but I don't want to hear how this is his Punch Drunk Love or his Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. He's tried that already, with Stranger than Fiction. Mark Burger avoided stigmatizing Ferrell's past roles as brainless fodder, and since I'm very obviously biased I applaud him for that and reward him by linking his review of the movie.

What Will Ferrell pulls off in this movie is to draw you in to the story of Nick Halsey, a recently laid-off salesman who comes home to find his wife has left him and dumped all of his worldly possessions out in the front yard. While Will is front and center in this film and pulls of a stunning performance, he has some help from the cast. The son of the rapper Notorious B.I.G (I love it when they call me Jig Poppa - RIP Biggie), Christopher Jordan Wallace plays a neighborhood kid who needs some direction, but ends up providing that for Nick. Along the way run-ins with the pregnant neighbor with an absentee husband (Rebecca Hall), an old high school flame (Laura Dern) and Nick's AA sponsor (Michael Pena) help Nick realize the only way to get his life back is to let everything go.

Being distributed by the indie Roadside Attractions, I figured Everything Must Go could use some of those fancy quotes they throw on trailers and ads talking about why you should run out and see a film IMMEDIATELY. So I found some quotes from his movies that somehow also gave a nod to his newest flick.

"Dear Lord Baby Jesus, I want to thank you for this wonderful meal, my two beautiful son's, Walker and Texas Ranger, and my Red-Hot Smokin' Wife, Carley and this awesome movie, Everything Must Go."
- Will Ferrell as Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights

"Hey Mom, can we get some meatloaf, and go see that rad movie Everything Must Go?"
- Will Ferrell as Chaz in Wedding Crashers

"Well, um, actually a pretty nice little Saturday, we’re going to go to Home Depot. Yeah, buy some wallpaper, maybe get some flooring, stuff like that. Maybe Bed, Bath, & Beyond and go to a/perture and catch Everything Must Go, I don’t know, I don’t know if we’ll have enough time.”
- Will Ferrell as Frank the Tank in Old School

"I love scotch. Scotchy, scotch, scotch and Everything Must Go. Here it goes down, down into my belly with some other wonderful a/perture concessions like cake balls, cheese straws, and chocolove bars."
- Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy? in Anchorman

If only I could have juxtaposed those into the trailer...speaking of which, after watching the snippet below, get excited about our own yard sale happening from 11-4 on Saturday on our patio (where you can enjoy the spring weather with refreshments of your choice from a/perture, even if you're not watching a movie).

Plus, while they last we still have some free t-shirts to giveaway with the purchase of an Everything Must Go ticket!!!!

Friday, May 13, 2011


So based on the description of the film OF GODS AND MEN (opening today), you might think it is a film to skip out on....

Eight French Christian monks live in harmony with their Muslim brothers in a monastery perched in the mountains of North Africa in the 1990s. When a crew of foreign workers is massacred by an Islamic fundamentalist group, fear sweeps though the region. The army offers them protection, but the monks refuse. Should they leave? Despite the growing menace in their midst, they slowly realize that they have no choice but to stay... come what may. This film is loosely based on the life of the Cistercian monks of Tibhirine in Algeria, from 1993 until their kidnapping in 1996.

Trust me it is not. It is an emotional, heartbreaking, and divinely-acted film about faith, community and devotion. It's the kind of film arthouse theaters love to screen not merely because it is a subtitled French film, but because it is a worldly film that encourages dialogue and further exploration into the historical events portrayed. Check out Mark Burger's review and the trailer below.

Last year Of Gods and Men won the Gran Prix at Cannes...so look at it this way...while the celebrities and paparazzi are partying it up on the beaches of Cannes as I write...you can experience your very own Cannes Film Festival at a/perture...just add a glass of wine.

Friday, May 6, 2011

"We all get dressed for Bill"

..so says Vogue editrix Anna Wintour and so would I if I had the most adorably fascinating octogenarian following me around town with his camera. But since Bill Cunningham is a die-hard New Yorker I doubt he'll be moving South anytime soon, so we'll just have to settle for watching him on the big screen when we open BILL CUNNINGHAM NEW YORK today.

For decades, this Schwinn-riding cultural anthropologist has been obsessively and inventively chronicling fashion trends and high society charity soirĂ©es for the New York Times Style section in his columns “On the Street” and “Evening Hours.”

Documenting uptown fixtures (Wintour, Tom Wolfe, Brooke Astor, David Rockefeller—who all appear in the film out of their love for Bill), downtown eccentrics and everyone in between, Cunningham’s enormous body of work is more reliable than any catwalk as an expression of time, place and individual flair. In turn, Bill Cunningham New York is a delicate, funny and often poignant portrait of a dedicated artist whose only wealth is his own humanity and unassuming grace. Check out the LA Times Review for their endorsement.

Take a second to watch the trailer and I promise you will be hooked.

BCNY shows 5/6-5/12 at 5:30pm (except Monday). Yes, there are just six shows so make your plans now!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Fun with Rochester and Jane

Hello high schoolers (I'm including those of us who wish we could go back) - have a book report due tomorrow? Then I really can't think of a better book to pick up than Jane Eyre. Why? Is there a book that's been made into a movie more? Well, yes, but this one's gone the big and little screen route. And more importantly it's playing at a/perture right now. Normally when I hear titles like Wuthering Heights or anything that Emma Thompson's been in, I run for the hills or hope Lawren will want to see said movie with her mom, but this version of Jane Eyre has been a little different. Cary Fukunaga, the man behind the camera for Sin Nombre? Yes please. Michael Fassbender, that inglorious basterd who will be playing Magneto in the new X-Men movie and graced our screen in Fish Tank? Double yes. And Mia Wasikowska, the alright kid who went a little trippy in Alice in Wonderland. If there was a Golden Globe for crew with last names most fun to say out loud, this group would be a shoo-in.

Okay, we all know the story, or at least we're supposed to, since I have reportedly read this book about three times. But just in case, here's two cliff notes versions of the film, and why you should see it, one from Roger Ebert and the other that appeared in Relish this past week. Visually stunning, here's a taste of the movie that had the highest specialty debut of 2011: