Last Flag Flying Opens New York Film Festival

Richard Linklarer’s Last Flag Flying will open this year’s New York Film Festival.  It stars Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston and Laurence Fishburne who are Navy veterans that reunite to bury the son of Carell’s character, who has been killed in the Iraq War.  Last Flag Flying is supposed to be a quasi-sequel to the 1973 Hal Ashby comedy The Last Detail. 

NYFF Director and selection committee chair said in statement “Last Flag Flying is many things at once — infectiously funny, quietly shattering, celebratory, mournful, meditative, intimate, expansive, vastly entertaining, and all-American in the very best sense,” NYFF director and selection committee chair Kent Jones said in a statement. “But to isolate its individual qualities is to set aside the most important and precious fact about this movie: that it all flows like a river. That’s only possible with remarkable artists like Steve Carell, Laurence Fishburne and Bryan Cranston, and a master like Richard Linklater behind the camera.”

Each year, the New York Film Festival becomes more and more a precursor to the Oscars. It’s not quite Telleride or Toronto, but it is beginning to make a name for itself. Previous opening films include The Walk, Gone Girl and Captain Phillips. Last years Oscar Best Picture Moonlight was one of the featured films that played NY. 

The New York Film Festival runs Sept. 28 – Oct. 15.

Amazon Studios will release the film on Oscar friendly date of November 17th. 

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk Premieres at NYFF 

Now that The Birth of a Nation is pretty much dead in the water, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk jumps up a notch in the Best Picture race. America will now gets its first look at Ang Lee’s highly anticipated film as it will screen as a Special World Premiere Presentation at the 54th New York Film Festival on Friday, October 14th at the AMC Lincoln Square. 

Committee Chair Kent Jones said, “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk astonished me, and it moved me deeply—in the grandest way, as a story of America in the years after the invasion of Iraq, and on the most intimate person-to-person wavelength. Ang Lee has always gone deep into the nuances of the emotions between his characters, and that’s exactly what drove him to push cinema technology to new levels. It’s all about the faces, the smallest emotional shifts. In every way, Billy Lynn is the work of a master.”

The “cinema technology ” he refers to BFLHWH being the first full-length film shot in 4K, native 3D at the ultra high rate of 120 frames-per-second. This will be the first time ever that this format will be screened publicly. I would guess that the Alice Tully Hall and Walter Reed Theater, the usual NYFF screening locations, are not equipped to screen in this new format. Hence the Lincoln Center AMC location. 

This will be my third year attending the NYFF.  Those of us with limited resources have to narrow down our top choices and hope the dates are close together. My hope is to catch Billy Lynn, Manchester by The Sea and possibly Moonlight or Personal Shopper.

 

Ava DuVernay’s The 13th Opens New York Film Festival

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Ava DuVernay’s documentary The 13th is the Opening Night selection of the 54th annual New York Film Festival. The festival take place September 30 – October 16 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. The 13th is the first documentary to open the NYFF. It will then debut on Netflix and open in a limited theatrical run on October 7th.

Chronicling the history of racial inequality in the United States, The 13th examines how our country has produced the highest rate of incarceration in the world, with the majority of those imprisoned being African-American. The title of DuVernay’s extraordinary and galvanizing film refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution—“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States . . . ” The progression from that second qualifying clause to the horrors of mass incarceration and the prison industry in the U.S. is laid out by DuVernay with bracing lucidity.

The Walk Premieres at New York Film Fest

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The New York Film Festival Kicked off on Friday with the world premiere of THE WALK.  A film many were not expecting much from ends with rousing applause.

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Most of the discussion revolves around the work of Director Robert Zemeckis and his authenticity of 1970’s New York. And a visual tribute to the Twin Towers. Very little is being said about the performance of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and his attempt at a French accent, not a good sign for an acting nomination. It now has a mediocre score of 64% on Rotten Tomatoes, so far. The first half of THE WALK is described as slow while you wait for the actual walk when the suspense kicks in.

Sounds like there may not much awards buzz for THE WALK. Maybe a few technical nominations for the re-creation of the World Trade Center, but not much else.

The Time I Tried to Buy Film Festival Tickets

On the day that tickets went on sale for the New York Film Festival, I sat at my computer knowing that my chances were slim. After the site locked up a few times or put me endlessly in queue, I gave up. As hard as is to believe, my MovieAwardsPlus credentials do not get me into any special screenings. I logged on one last time and was given 10 minutes to purchase a ticket from the leftovers. The GONE GIRL premiere was sold out, BIRDMAN was long gone, INHERENT VICE uhhh, no. With time running out I found a screening that still had tickets!!! I quickly clicked on my lucky find. What was it? The Ghost and Mrs. Muir……the 1947 The Ghost and Mrs. Muir! Really? It was nominated for an Oscar that year for cinematography, but I moved on. I soon found a few tickets left for FOXCATCHER. I paid the $25 per ticket for the October 11th screening at the Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. This is far from a “World Premiere” or exclusive event. FOXCATCHER has already played Cannes,Telluride,Toronto and a few times already in New York. Nonetheless, I am looking forward to my first film festival experience.

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Gone Girl Opens New York Film Festival

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GONE GIRL opened the New York Film Festival on Friday night. It was billed as the World Premiere of GONE GIRL, but technically it was shown  to a small group of critics last week including the Hollywood Foreign Press. Regardless, the reviews coming out of NYFF have put GONE GIRL into the Oscar race….maybe. David Finchers adaptation of the book by Gillian Flynn is a dark and gritty film that usually turn off Oscar voters. The reviews have been mostly positive.

Positive reactions from Twitter:

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Not everyone felt the same way:

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Currently GONE GIRL has an 82 on Metacritic and 85% on Rotten Tomatoes. These numbers will sway one way or the other as the film opens October 3rd, but GONE GIRL may be too divisive for the Oscar race. The majority of the audience at film festivals are critics, NOT members of the Academy. Critics darlings rarely translate to the Oscar world.  New Regency is planning a full on Oscar campaign and we know that the Academy loves Ben Affleck. Time will tell if GONE GIRL has the legs to make to the end. Fall has only just begun.