Category Archives: Feature Film

BEING THE RICARDOS Is Coming!

Posted by Larry Gleeson

As America’s funniest and most beloved TV couple, Lucy and Ricky Ricardo have been a constant presence on television around the world since the characters first appeared in the iconic sitcom “I Love Lucy,” which premiered on CBS in 1951.

 

JAVIER BARDEM and NICOLE KIDMAN star in BEING THE RICARDOS Photo: GLEN WILSON © AMAZON CONTENT SERVICES LLC

 

As the quintessential dizzy redhead and the charismatic Cuban bandleader she married, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were among the brightest stars in the growing television universe, delighting their record-breaking audiences each week with Lucy’s hare-brained schemes and hilarious antics. But as America enjoyed the sitcom world of Lucy and Ricky, Ball and Arnaz were actually facing problems that could have brought an end to their newfound success and their marriage.

 

Director AARON SORKIN and NICOLE KIDMAN on the set of BEING THE RICARDOS Photo: GLEN WILSON © AMAZON CONTENT SERVICES LLC

 

Despite her gift for scene-stealing physical comedy as Lucy Ricardo, Lucille Ball was a demanding and hard-nosed perfectionist behind the scenes. Desi Arnaz, in addition to being a multi-talented showman like his television character, was also a shrewd and innovative businessman who built a powerful and prolific Hollywood studio.

 

JAVIER BARDEM, J.K. SIMMONS, NINA ARIANDA, and NICOLE KDIMAN star in BEING THE RICARDOS Photo: GLEN WILSON © AMAZON CONTENT SERVICES LLC

 

In addition, the Ricardos’ neighbors and landlords, Fred and Ethel Mertz were crucial to the show’s success. The constantly squabbling former vaudevillians appear in virtually every episode of the show and the actors who played them, William Frawley and Vivian Vance, became close friends of Ball and Arnaz.

 

NINA ARIANDA stars in BEING THE RICARDOS Photo: GLEN WILSON © AMAZON CONTENT SERVICES LLC

 

Frawley, a heavy-drinking veteran of Hollywood and vaudeville, is played by J.K. Simmons, winner of the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in Whiplash. Sorkin wrote the role of the cantankerous but loyal Frawley with Simmons in mind. Tony-winning actress Nina Arianda was chosen to portray Vance. Arianda says she grew up watching “I Love Lucy” and was intimidated by the idea of playing an iconic television star.

 

After sifting through the historical documents, writer Aaron Sorkin proposed going back in time some 70 years to chronicle one one production week of “I Love Lucy” — from Monday table read through Friday audience taping — Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz face a series of personal and professional crises that threaten their show, their careers, and their marriage. Oscar® winners Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem star as the power couple behind the beloved 1950s television sitcom “I Love Lucy” in Oscar-winning writer and director Aaron Sorkin’s behind-the-scenes drama, Being the Ricardos.

I’ve always been a fan of I Love Lucy having watched it with growing up, and I can honestly say I had never laughed as hard as I did as I watched The Long, Long Trailer (1953) starring Lucille and Dezi Arnaz. So, with bated breath, I wait until December 21 to see Aaron Sorkin’s Being the Ricardos. 

Until then, I’ll see you at the movies!

FILM REVIEW: The French Dispatch (Wes Anderson, 2021)

THE FRENCH DISPATCH. (Photo Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2020 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved)

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Searchlight Pictures and Indian Paintbrush’s American Empirical Picture presents Wes Anderson’s, The French Dispatch, being hailed as Anderson’s love letter to a fading vocation and literary form – magazine journalism. The French Dispatch brings to life a collection of stories from the final issue of a widely circulated American magazine, The French Dispatch (the film’s title) published in a fictional 20th-century French city, Ennui-sur-Blasé.

 

(From L-R): Elisabeth Moss, Owen Wilson, Tilda Swinton, Fisher Stevens and Griffin Dunne in the film THE FRENCH DISPATCH. (Photo Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2020 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved)

 

On the occasion of the death of its beloved Kansas-born editor Arthur Howitzer, Jr., portrayed by Bill Murray, his hand-picked staff—including the Cartoonist (Jason Schwartzman), the Story Editor (Fisher Stevens), the Legal Advisor (Griffin Dunne), the Copy Editor (Elisabeth Moss), the Proofreader (Anjelica Bette Fellini) and a cheery Writer Wally Wolodarsky – who has haunted the French Dispatch offices for years but never written a single word – assembles over the body to collaborate on an obituary.

They are led by Howitzer’s beloved writers, who he coddled and encouraged, and dressed down and built up, earning him their devotion and their love: Herbsaint Sazerac (Owen Wilson), the intrepid Cycling Reporter, drawn to the most unsettling and unsavory aspects of the far-flung cities he visits…J.K.L. Berendsen (Tilda Swinton), the critic and chronicler on intimate terms with every side of the modern art world…Lucinda Krementz (Frances McDormand), the solitary essayist who guards her journalistic integrity as closely as her private passions…and Roebuck Wright (Jeffrey Wright), the lonely expatriate polymath with a typographic memory, discovered and rescued by Howitzer under humiliating circumstances.

Memories of Howitzer flow into the creation of four stories: a travelogue of the seediest sections of the city itself from The Cycling Reporter; “The Concrete Masterpiece,” about a criminally insane painter, his guard and muse, and his ravenous dealers; “Revisions to a Manifesto,” a chronicle of love and death on the barricades at the height of student revolt; and “The Private Dining Room of the Police Commissioner,” a suspenseful tale of drugs, kidnapping and fine dining.

 

Timothée Chalamet and Lyna Khoudri in the film THE FRENCH DISPATCH. (Photo Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2021 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved)

 

The creative team behind The French Dispatch included Wes Anderson, executive producer Roman Coppola, director of photography Robert Yeoman A.S.C., production designer Adam Stockhausen, costume designer Milena Canonero, editor Andrew Weisblum, and composer Alexandre Desplat. The film also stars Liev Schreiber (Showtime’s Ray Donovan, SPOTLIGHT, ISLE OF DOGS), Edward Norton (BIRDMAN, THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL), Willem Dafoe (THE LIGHTHOUSE, SPIDERMAN), Saoirse Ronan (LITTLE WOMEN, LADY BIRD), Christoph Waltz (DJANGO UNCHAINED), Henry Winkler (Arrested Development, Barry, Happy Days), and Anjelica Huston (ISLE OF DOGS, THE ADDAMS FAMILY) as the Narrator.

The French Dispatch is definitely Wes Anderson fare for his loyal followers. It’s strongly written with humor intricately woven into the artsy cinematography/production design. Anderson professed his love for the New Yorker Magazine and the influence shines brightly through in The French Dispatch’s witty dialogue. Anderson is credited with the screenplay as well as directing. And….oh, what a cast! The creme de la creme. It’s such a treat watching their characters interact delivering deadpan humor that’s sure to keep any literary mind off-balance. The French Dispatch is an avant-garde delicacy. Highly recommended!

 

FILM CAPSULE NEWS: Cyrano (Joe Wright, 2021)

Posted by Larry Gleeson

A Special Tribute at the 48th Telluride Film Festival to powerhouse actor, Peter Dinklage, generated massive buzz before the world premiere of the new film musical, Cyrano, directed by MGM’s Joe Wright and written by Erica Schmidt (based on her 2018 play of the same name). Both stage play and screenplay are based on Edmund Rostand’s 1897 play, Cyrano de Bergerac, incidentally credited with introducing “panache” to the English language.

Peter Dinklage stars as Cyrano and Bashir Salahuddin as Le Bret in Joe Wright’s CYRANO – A Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film. (Photo credit: Peter Mountain © 2021 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

The film is breathtakingly beautiful with lavish costuming, epic battles, and spirited musical numbers. The film garnered three nominations at the Hollywood Music In Media Awards (HMMA): Best Original Song – Feature Film for “Every Letter”; Best Song – Onscreen for “Whenever I Fall”; and, Best Music Themed Film, Biopic or Musical.

 

Haley Bennett stars as Roxanne in Joe Wright’s CYRANO –  A Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film. (Photo credit: Peter Mountain © 2021 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

 

Haley Bennett stars as Roxanne in Joe Wright’s CYRANO – A Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film. (Photo credit: Peter Mountain © 2021 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

In Cyrano Dinklage strongly carries the weight of the lead with a remarkable melancholic voice, enhanced and embossed by Haley Bennett’s equally impressive performance as Roxanne. Both Bennett and Dinklage are reprising their roles from the 2018 Connecticut-based Goodspeed Musicals production of Cyrano.

Haley Bennett stars as Roxanne and Peter Dinklage as Cyrano in Joe Wright’s CYRANO – A Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film. (Photo credit: Peter Mountain
© 2021 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

Dinklage is a four-time Emmy Award-winner for his work as Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones and has turned in several strong performances on the big screen in Station Agent, Elf, and I Care A Lot, and was recently Dinklage was recently announced as a Gotham Award Performer Recipient. Numerous pundits are mouthing Dinklage’s performance as Oscar-caliber – the question being is it enough for this record-setting Emmy recipient to become an Oscar recipient?

Peter Dinklage stars as Cyrano and Kelvin Harrison Jr. as Christian in Joe Wright’s CYRANO – A Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film. (Photo credit: Peter Mountain
© 2021 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

Cyrano was coming out for the holidays…For most audiences, the date has been pushed back to January 21st, 2022, as the film recently positioned itself to take advantage of the upcoming Oscar nomination season by scheduling a one-week opening run in Los Angeles beginning December 17th, followed by a back-to-back platform release and national rollout in January. Oscar nomination voting begins January 27th and wraps up the first week of February.

American Underdog (Kurt Warner) Opening Christmas Day

Posted by Larry Gleeson

American Underdog, directed by Andrew and Jon Erwin, is an American sports biographical drama chronicling the inspirational, true story of Kurt Warner, who went from stocking shelves at a Hy-VEE supermarket in Iowa to become a two-time NFL MVP, Super Bowl MVP, and Hall of Fame quarterback.

American Underdog centers on the struggles and setbacks that derailed Warner’s aspirations to become a champion National Football League quarterback. Warner’s friend and co-worker bluntly says,  “Ain’t no NFL team gonna draft some dude from a Division 1-AA school.

When the dream seemed out of reach, Warner secured the faithful support of his wife Brenda, played by Anna Paquin, his coaches, and teammates to find the energy and strength to prove himself to the world. After honing his skills in the fast-paced, quick pass releasing “circus” Arena Football League, the St Louis Rams offer Warner an opportunity.

 

Zachary Levi, left, portrays Kurt Warner in the upcoming sports biographical drama American Underdog, opening in theatres on Christmas Day. Dennis Quaid, right, portrays the Super Bowl XXXIV Championship St. Louis Rams.

 

Zachary Levi portrays Kurt Warner. Dennis Quaid plays St. Louis Rams, Coach Dick Vermeil. Chance Kelly embodies Rams Offensive Coordinator “Mad Mike” Martz. The film, a City on a Hill Production, is being distributed by Lionsgate.

American Underdog is being promoted as “an uplifting story that shows anything is possible with faith, family, and determination.”If this is anything like the real “Greatest Show on Turf” story of the Super Bowl XXXIV Champion St Louis Rams, get out the handkerchiefs and tissue paper. American Underdog hits theatres on Christmas Day, December 25th, 2021.

Until then, I’ll see you at the movies!

 

Marcel the Shell Picked Up By A24

Posted b Larry Gleeson

Marcel the Shell With Shoes On (2021) made its world premiere on September 3rd, 2021, at the 48th Telluride Film Festival, where coincidentally, I celebrated my birthday. After receiving a warm birthday hug from Production Assistant Becca Bassen, an artistically talented woman who had dressed on Halloween as Marcel the Shell, I engaged Marcel the Shell with Shoes On lead, director, writer/creator Jenny Slate in a polite and deeply poignant conversation on the Telluride Film Festival and her work on Marcel the Shell With Shoes On with long-time collaborator Dean Fleischer-Camp.

I’d waited patiently for news of a distribution deal these last few months. I visited the Hi-Pointe Theatre-backlot in St. Louis recently and shared a few of my favorite films from the Telluride Film Festival with the owner, Diana Grayson, and Marcel the Shell With Shoes On was in the conversation. However, no sign of Marcel getting into the theatre. I began to fear the worst…

So, with a big smile, I share that the New York-based A24, an independent entertainment company specializing in film and television production, as well as film distribution, has acquired the North American right to Fleischer-Camp and Slate’s, Marcel the Shell With Shoes On (2021) as recently reported by the trade publications, Variety, and Deadline.

Marcel the Shell With Shoes On (2021), based on two YouTube short-form films and two published tomes, is a feature-length mockumentary on the scruffy, one-inch mollusk. Utilizing the interview as the film’s premise, the audience is introduced to the life of Marcel the Shell. Leslie Stahl (herself) and Isabella Rossellini (voice of Connie) come on board for the feature adding depth and an unexpected vocal treat.

Sharp writing and a creative narrative, and spot-on stop-motion animation made Marcel the Shell With Shoes On an audience favorite at the 48th Telluride Film Festival. Told charmingly with humor and a deep sensibility of the importance of community, Marcel the Shell With Shoes On is one of a kind! A “must-see” selection! Stay tuned….

Until next time, I’ll see you at the movies!

 

MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON from Dean Fleischer-Camp on Vimeo.

 

FILM REVIEW: Kenneth Branagh’s BELFAST

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast from Focus Features tells a humorous, tender, and intensely personal story of one boy’s childhood during the tumult of the late 1960s in the city of Branagh’s birth. Belfast is an impeccable work based on Branagh’s own upbringing in Belfast in the late 1960’s.

The soundtrack features a plethora of Van Morrison’s greatest hits, including a newly written song for the film, adding joy and optimism to the challenging circumstances a young couple is facing with their young children. Their nine-year-old boy must chart a path towards adulthood through a world that has suddenly turned upside down. His stable and loving community and everything he thought he understood about life have changed forever but joy, laughter, music, and the formative magic of the movies remain.

(L to R) Caitriona Balfe as “Ma”, Jamie Dornan as “Pa”, Judi Dench as “Granny”, Jude Hill as “Buddy”, and Lewis McAskie as “Will” in director Kenneth Branagh’s BELFAST, a Focus Features release. (PHOTO Credit : Rob Youngson / Focus Features)

The cast includes Golden Globe nominee Caitríona Balfe, Academy Award® winner Judi Dench, Jamie Dornan, Ciarán Hinds, and introduces the ten-year-old Jude Hill. Dornan and Balfe play a passionate working-class couple caught up in the mayhem, with Dench and Hinds as the quick-witted grandparents. The film is produced by Branagh, Laura Berwick, Becca Kovacik, and Tamar Thomas.

Caitriona Balfe (left) stars as “Ma” and Jamie Dornan (right) stars as “Pa” in director Sir Kenneth Branagh’s BELFAST, a Focus Features release. Credit : Rob Youngson / Focus Features

Exquisitely executed cinematography by Haris Zambarloukos, Director of Photography, utilizes various camera angles reminiscent of Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma and is simply a visual delight. Befitting the 1960’s the production design from Jim Clay hit the mark with a splattering of classic 1960’s vehicles, urban sidewalks, and building facades to match. The hair, make-up, and costuming donned by the handsome and vivacious actors are a feast for the eyes. Wakana Yoshihara and Charlotte Walker handled the respective departments.

Actor Jude Hill (left) on the set of BELFAST, a Focus Features release. ( PHOTO Credit: Rob Youngson/Focus Features)

The beautiful and talented Belfast actors were cast by Lucy Bevan and Emily Brockman. Úna Ní Dhonghaíle (The Crown) nailed the editing as she managed to draw the viewer into the 1960’s world and keep them there with seamless continuity. And, as mentioned, the music is from the Belfast-born legend, Van Morrison.

Said Kenneth Branagh:

Kenneth Branagh introduced his latest film, Belfast, at the Werner Herzog Theatre as part of the 48th Telluride Film Festival, Thursday, September 2nd, 2021. (Photo by Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee)

“Belfast is a city of stories and in the late 1960s it went through an incredibly tumultuous period of its history, very dramatic, sometimes violent, that my family and I were caught up in. It’s taken me fifty years to find the right way to write about it, to find the tone I wanted. It can take a very long time to understand just how simple things can be and finding that perspective, years on, provides    a great focus. The story of my childhood, which inspired the film, has become a story of the point in everyone’s life when the child crosses over into adulthood, where innocence is lost…”

 

Belfast, written and directed by Kenneth Branagh, has a perfectly directed runtime of 97 minutes,  a compelling storyline, and is so technically proficient that it appears to be an early favorite for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Oscar Awards for best film and best director. Highly recommended!

***Belfast began its theatrical release on November 12th, 2021, and recently screened November 5th, at Landmark’s Tivoli Theatre in University City, Missouri, as part of the 30th Annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival, November 4 -21, 2021.

FILM REVIEW: Jane Campion’s The Power Of The Dog

Posted by Larry Gleeson

THE POWER OF THE DOG: BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH as PHIL BURBANK in THE POWER OF THE DOG. (Photo credit: KIRSTY GRIFFIN/NETFLIX © 2021)

 

Jane Campion’s latest work, The Power of the Dog, screened as part of a Red Carpet Premiere at the historic Chinese Theatre in Hollywood California, during the American Film Institute’s  AFI FEST 2021, on Thursday, November 11th. Campion is a New Zealand screenwriter, producer, and director. She is the second of seven women ever nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director and the first female filmmaker to receive the Palme d’Or; both of these achievements came for The Piano (1993).

 

The Power of the Dog,  written and directed by Campion, is set in 1925 Montana and circles around two well-off brothers who own an influential ranching operation. The Burbank brothers, played by Jesse Plemons and Benedict Cumberbatch, come across as polar opposites. Phil Burbank, played by Cumberbatch, is an infamous Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Yale University who prefers the daily grind of working the ranch with the hired hands. Cumberbatch brings a deep dark presence to the character in what might be his best performance to date. Plemmons plays Gordon Burbank,  the slower, mild-mannered younger brother, embodying a ranch gentleman with grace and style. Kirsten Dunst portrays Rose Gordon, a compelling love interest as a saloon-style restaurant owner who serves dinners to the locals with her son, Peter, portrayed by Kodi Smith-McPhee in a breakout performance.

While The Power of the Dog is set in Montana, the actual film location is New Zealand – adding a surreal quality. And, Campion’s writing matches it full force. The twists and turns in the dramatic, psychological, roller-coaster ride narrative combined with Cumberbatch’s powerful, dark character portrayal set the audience on the edge of their seats and their eyes fixed on the big screen. Undoubtedly, Campion is in the mix for her second Oscar for screenwriting and appears to be in the mix for a directorial nod as well.

 

Q & A, on November 11th, 2021, following the screening of The Power of the Dog, inside Hollywood’s TCL Chinese Theatre. (Photo by Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee)

 

Following the screening, a fun-filled Q & A unfolded as the film’s actors, editor, cinematographer, and director sparred, cajoled, and informed under the watchful eye of moderator Hahn as she effectively marshaled the energies of The Power of the Dog conversation. The Power of the Dog, set for a December 1st, 2021, release date,  is a magnificent and majestic work tantalizing and titillating – a bonafide Oscar contender for now – in multiple categories! Highly recommended. One of the year’s best films!

 

Benedict Cumberbatch as Phil Gordon in Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog, set for a December 1st, 2021 release. (Photo Cr. KIRSTY GRIFFIN/NETFLIX © 2021 Cross City Films Limited/Courtesy of Netflix)

Until next time, I’ll see you at the movies!

FILM CAPSULE: Sean Baker’s RED ROCKET

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Sean Baker ( Tangerine, The Florida Project, Starlet) and A24’s Red Rocket, a dramedy, featuring Simon Rex, a standout media personality, Suzanna Son, and Bree Elrod, tells the tale of Mikey Saber, a washed up, 20 year veteran performer in the adult film industry who returns home for more of the same, screened last night at the 2021 AFI FEST.

Simon Rex as Mikey Saber in Sean Baker’s Red Rocket (Photo from fest.afi.com)

Red Rocket, follows Mikey Saber (played by a compelling Simon Rex), as he futilely careens in and out of harrowing situations in dark places never fully grasping the ramifications of his actions and choices. Bree Elrod as Lexi, and Suzanna Son as Strawberry, deliver riveting performances with exquisite line execution. Rex turns in a tour de force performance as Mikey Saber.

Red Rocket is Sean Baker at his best in this low, low-budget filmmaking. Providing a snapshot of Mikey and the socially marginalized characters that are in his orbit, Baker elevates Red Rocket with snappy dialogue, carefully executed camera work, and the trust he places in the audience. Captivating work from start to finish.

Interestingly,  the Q & A immediately following the screening led by AFI Programming Director Sarah Harris got a little saucy. Baker and Rex took exception when an audience member, who coincidentally works in the adult film industry and performs in Ninja Thyberg’s Pleasure, also screening at AFI FEST 2021, stated his displeasure hearing the audience guffawing loudly at a term thrown out by Lexi at Red Rocket’s end.

(Left to right) Sarah Harris, AFI Programming Director, Director Sean Baker, Actor Simon Rex, Actor Bree Elrod, and Actor Suzanna Son participate in a Q&A, on November 12, 2021, following the AFI FEST screening of RED ROCKET, at the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, Calif. (Photo by Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGLee)

Baker shared the film had five consultants work over the script and scene work to make Red Rocket’s depiction of a former porn star as realistic as possible. Rex chimed in stating few people in the audience would recognize the industry term.

Red Rocket is Sean Baker’s strongest work to date. Not for the faint of heart. Earthy with frontal nudity. Coming to theatres December 10th. Very warmly recommended!

FILM REVIEW: KING RICHARD Serves Up An Ace @AFIFEST

Posted by Larry Gleeson

King Richard, the Will Smith-led, Warner Bros. biopic, served as the 2021 AFI FEST Closing Night Film at the historic Hollywood Chinese Theatre with a Red Carpet Premiere.

King Richard tells the story of Richard Williams, the father of women’s tennis superstar sisters, Venus and Serena Williams. With a run time of 144 minutes, King Richard seemed to reach its conclusion too quickly – a tribute to how mesmerizing the film is. Numerous times the audience erupted with applause and approval as the Williams family overcame obstacle after obstacle. Will Smith portrayed Richard Williams with fortitude and tenderness – qualities not always evident from Richard Williams’ public persona. Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton portray Venus and Serena in very compelling performances. Aunjanue Ellis portrays Oracene ‘Brandy’ Williams. Ellis and Smith play off each other remarkably well. The pair were recently announced as the recipients of the 2022 Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s (SBIFF) Outstanding Performers of the Year. Kudos to Casting Directors Rich Delia and Avy Kaufman!

In life, Richard Williams often came across in the media as brash, touting with a braggadociousness how his daughters were coming to dominate women’s tennis, the likes of which had never been seen before, would never be seen again, and there wasn’t anything anyone could do about it. What he didn’t tell the public, and what King Richard tells so well, is he also wanted his daughters to have a real childhood, meaningful adolescence, and to be prepared to lead successful lives. Throughout King Richard, Richard Williams came across as a devoted husband, loving father, and dedicated coach delving into some of his formative life experiences growing up in a racist environment. Rearing his family in Compton, California, also had its challenges for Williams. But, Richard Williams had a plan – he wanted a better life for his family.

Technically speaking the film is very solid. The film’s cinematography is excellent. AFI Conservatory Alumnus, Robert Elswit utilizes some natural lighting with traditional lenses and frames for establishing shots juxtaposed with fast zoom lenses to capture the action with tight framing combined with extreme closeups of the Williams sisters, generating some major pace with their groundstrokes and capturing winning overhead smashes. Editor Pamela Martin made the shots and their complementary counterparts (returns) appear seamless with the continuity editing and helped create some riveting moments with the shots provided. In addition, non-diegetic sounds kept the film’s pace and helped match the film’s tone and the actors’ emotionality. Kris Bowers is credited with the music. Costuming, make-up, and production design are all complementary to the characters and the period covered in the film.

And, last but not least, Director Reinaldo Marcus Green, helming only his second feature film, steered King Richard to a beautiful conclusion culminating in Venus’s first professional matches and first tennis matches of any kind in three years. The excitement she (and Serena later) brought to the game of tennis encouraged an entire generation of young African-American girls that anything is possible if they are willing to put in the work. Credit to Zach Baylin for writing sharp dialogue and creating an engaging narrative.

King Richard is chock full of inspiration and hope. Ahhh…the power of film and the magic of AFI FEST – Hollywood. Talk about speaking truth to power in layers. Look for King Richard in theatres and on HBO Max Friday. Highly recommended!

Unti next time, I’ll see you at the movies!

Last chance to experience AFI FEST 2021!

Posted by Larry Gleeson

All good things must come to end – but not before one last day of amazing films! Tickets to today’s in-person and virtual screenings still available. VIEW SCHEDULE & BUY TICKETS

The ever-optimistic Buster Moon and his all-star cast of performers prepare to launch their most dazzling stage show yet…all in the glamorous entertainment capital of the world, Redshore City. There’s just one hitch: they first have to persuade the world’s most reclusive rock star – played by global music icon Bono – to join them. Screening at the TCL Chinese Theatre today at 2:00 p.m. BUY TICKETS

Following the screening, join us for an in-depth conversation with director Clint Bentley, Clifton Collins Jr.,  Molly Parker and more moderated by Variety’s Clayton Davis. Screening today at 2:00 p.m. BUY TICKETS

This whip-smart feature debut from Araceli Lemos is a potent and visceral tale of race, class and tradition filtered through body and social horror. Screening today at 7:30 p.m.BUY TICKETS

After escaping a labor camp during the Cultural Revolution in China, the film’s nameless hero has one goal – to watch a newsreel screening in which his daughter was briefly captured on film. On this journey, he meets a young orphan who has her own schemes for a newsreel, as well as a small village’s much-loved film projectionist named Mr. Movie. Screening in person today at 5:00 p.m.BUY TICKETS

Winner of the Best Documentary Award at Cannes, Payal Kapadia’s hypnotic feature directorial debut examines rediscovered, once lost film reels and a diary written by a student (“L”) to her absent lover at the Film & Television Institute of India. Screening in person today at 3:30 p.m.BUY TICKETSVIEW MORE FILMS

Whether you enjoy this year’s AFI FEST films in the theater or at home, make sure you vote after the screenings for the Audience Award!

(From AFI News)