Wednesday, September 30, 2015

(Article by Stephen M., photos by Wai Y.)

Urbanworld Film Festival ended September 26th, 2015 with ballerina Misty Copeland's A Ballerina’s Tale, directed by Nelson George.  She was among the stars that walked the red carpet for the closing night along with Tyrese Gibson again who was there for his short film Shame.  Others that walked the carpet included Brely Evans, Jessica Sula and many other filmmakers and stars.

Congratulations to the winners of the festivals:
Best Screenplay - Y Los Hipsters Que - Written by Johanna Baez
Best Feature Documentary – We Like It Like That - The Story of Latin Boogaloo - Directed by Mathew Ramirez Warren
Best Narrative Short - Standing8 - Directed by Michael Molina Minard
Best Narrative Feature (U.S. Cinema) - Pocha - Directed by Michael Dwyer
Best Narrative Feature (World Cinema) - Carmin Tropical - Directed by Rigoberto Perez Cano (Mexico)

Audience Awards
Best Feature - Somewhere In the Middle - Directed by Lanre Olabisi
Best Short - Taking Chance - Directed by Jerry Lamothe

Please enjoy our pictures:

The Walk
Releases September 30th, 2015 (Nationwide); September 26th, 2015 (NYIFF 2015)
2 hrs 3 mins
Rated PG


Director: Robert Zemeckis
Writer: Robert Zemeckis, Christopher Browne based on novel by Philippe Petit

Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Philippe Petit
Ben Kingsley as Papa Rudy
Charlotte Le Bon as Annie Allix
James Badge Dale
Ben Schwartz as Albert
Steve Valentine as Barry Greenhouse

Review by Mister Goodfella's Reviews

Robert Zemeckis returns to bring Philippe Petit's courageous story to life in his latest "IMAX" 3D adventure!  Philippe Petit's walk between the towers was so intense that the only way an audience would truly get immersed into the experience is by going on the journey in "IMAX" 3D to obtain the full effect of the film. Like Alfonso Cuaron's "Gravity" and Christopher Nolan's "Interstellar", the immersive "IMAX" 3D lets the audience step into the shoes of the main character but falls under the category of only truly being spectacular when presented in that format. The plot of the film follows Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon Levitt) who is a "High Wire Artist" with a dream of taking his talent to the next level by placing his wire between the "World Trade Center Towers" and walking across. Such a simple plot but then again this film did have a lot to go against, one being that it's retelling a story that's already been told through documentary format. 

The documentary I refer to is "Man on Wire" directed by James Marsh that was based off of Philippe Petit's book about the journey. Zemeckis had to battle the "Been There Done That"  vibe that was already in the air because of Marsh, but I think he succeeded in making a second reliving of the story worthwhile. "The Walk" has some of the best visual effects you’re going to see this year, realistic and immersive. The film is also carried by great performances by Joseph Gordon Levitt, Charlotte Le Bon and Ben Kingsley. I have to admit when I watched the trailer a few months back I couldn't help but laugh at Levitt's take on a French accent but honestly within the first 2 minutes of the film you're convinced he is Philippe.

Levitt truly immerses himself into his character and makes the journey feel so natural by "Breaking The Fourth Wall" and narrating the journey. I think the biggest accomplishment here was that "The Walk" didn't take itself so seriously.  Due to the content I think it was better to go the lighthearted route and basically just make it a fun immersive experience for all ages. If I had to pick one thing to criticize it has to be the score of the film. Alan Silvestrie to me mocked famous scores such as Brian Depalma's  "Mission Impossible" score as well as trying to get a 1970's Scorsese New York kind of sound. In my opinion the music just didn't work for me but during the actual journey across the towers the music compliments the scene very well giving it a more fantasy like vibe. "The Walk" also took its visuals to the next level even though the journey across the towers had to be CG, the set pieces looked so authentic that mixed in with the top of the line visuals it looks very realistic. 

I myself suffer from extreme vertigo and wouldn't dare look anywhere but up if I'm at a tall height. "The Walk" grabbed my vertigo by the neck and shook it during the second half of the film.  Some scenes in particular I was clenching my armrest with sweaty palms. All in all Robert Zemeckis never fails to remind us of why he is the man he is today.  He brings his light hearted personality into every film he does and tackles his topics as realistically as possible. I was such a huge fan of when "Flight" released in theaters because I knew even though the movie itself would be fantastic, the scene in which the plane is going down would be ever so realistic that I couldn't take it. This is a trait that as a director if you obtain, you will always be in control of what the audience feels which is basically playing God. In closing "The Walk" is phenomenal and I wouldn't be surprised if it secured the nomination for "Best Visual Effects" in the "Academy Awards". I absolutely loved this film and recommend the whole family to walk "The Walk".  It’s the best steps you'll be taking together.

Rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Cop Car
Released on Blu-Ray + Digital HD/DVD on September 29th 2015

Cop Car was released on DVD and Blu-Ray + Digital HD today September 29th, 2015.  We were given a copy to review of which we will discuss the "extras" first.  If you wish to purchase the Blu-Ray + Digital HD copy, you can do so here on Amazon.

As part of the Blu-Ray + Digital HD, it included three trailers (Maps to the Stars, Tremors 5, and as well Dope).  The Blu-Ray included an extra feature of "Their first and last ride: The Making of Cop Car," that runs 2 minutes 58 seconds.  The segment is essentially broken into two parts, showing how the car stunts are done and the shootout scene is done.  As far as the movie itself three different types of subtitles are offered, English, Spanish and French.  The only audio available was English.

Overall, I felt the Blu-Ray didn't really offer enough bells and whistles for being a Blu-Ray copy.  For $2 more than the DVD version it is not a bad deal if you are going to buy it anyway and have a Blu-Ray version to get the Digital HD download.  I would have liked to see more extra behind the scenes besides the less than 3 minutes worth.

Here is our original review of the movie Cop Car by The Secret Screener:

Street Date: September 29, 2015
Copyright: 2015 Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Selection Number: 62171305
Layers: BD-50
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Rating: R for language, violence and brief drug use
Languages/Subtitles: English SDS, French and Spanish Subtitles
Sound: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Run Time: 1 hour, 28 minutes

Street Date: September 29, 2015
Copyright: 2015 Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Selection Number: 62171304
Layers: Dual
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Rating: R for language, violence and brief drug use
Languages/Subtitles: English SDS, French and Spanish Subtitles
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1.0
Run Time: 1 hour, 28 minutes

Monday, September 28, 2015

3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets
Released June 26, 2015 (Limited) September 25, 2015 (Urbanworld Film Festival)
1 hr 38 mins
Not rated


Director: Marc Silver
Writer: Marc Silver

Leland Brunson as Jordan's Friend
Angela B. Corey as State Attorney
Ron Davis as Jordan's Father
John Guy as Asst. State Attorney
Russell Healey as Circuit Court Judge
Lucia McBath as Jordan's Mother
Vic Micolucci as TV Reporter
Tommie Stornes as Jordan's Friend
Cory Strolla as Defense Attorney
Tevin Thompson as Jordan's Friend

Review by Stephen M.

3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets is a documentary on the shooting death of Jordan Davis in 2012 and the trial of his killer Michael Dunn.  Incredibly engrossing with the use of interviews with friends and family and footage from the trials and added soundbites and footage from various sources creating as complete a picture as possible without any direct involvement from Michael Dunn.  It's a chilling tale that no parents would want to go through, but as Jordan's parents mentioned in their Q&A at Urbanworld Film Festival, it was important for them for them to tell their son's story as an outlet of for what they were going through and not have Hollywood tell it.

What really impressed me about the documentary is the use of court room footage which I actually do not see quite often in other documentaries to this extent.  The interviews with the surviving friends from that night's incident was also a nice touch adding a softer human element in getting to understand the kids and their friend, Jordan.  The only thing that I wish they would have included if possible was an actual interview with Michael Dunn after the trials instead of sound bites here and there.

Overall, I enjoyed the documentary and found it extremely interesting in the dissection of the case especially in the courtroom.  The documentary tugs at your emotions in many different ways and makes you wonder a lot of what ifs.  From the portrayals of the youth and the killer in the media to the courtroom, we see a lot of things that has been resonating in America the past few years.   As I have said before, I would have like to see an interview with the shooter especially after his second trial for the first charge of manslaughter.

During the Q&A, it was asked to the parents of Jordan that was part of the Q&A if they felt the judicial system today works against and tries to deter parents of victims to pursue their case.  They responded from the very beginning of the case, the judge told them they were not allowed to make any sound or sudden movement and must sit in the second row for the case.  In most cases, the first row is allowed for parents, but the judge for their son's case denied them this.


Pictures from Q&A at Urbanworld Film Festival: