James Franco accepted the award for Outstanding Performer of the Year last night at the Arlington. Although he was a bit late to the show, he still spent about 15 minutes signing autographs and greeting his adoring fans.
Adoring fans (as mentioned above).
Possibly too adoring?
It was crowded on the red carpet and I didn't have my trusty step stool!
Dear James, I love your dimples...and your uncompromising sense of self.
Tags: sbiff, c2sbiff, james franco, awards, outstanding performer of the year
I had a bit of an awkard time shooting the red carpet last night - somehow I ended up behind Annette and Warren. I still don't know how this happened.
The big shocker of the night (other than the surprise Foo Fighters concert at Velvet) was, of course, the appearence of unnamed Arlington Theater Employee Number 1 on the red carpet. The other surprise was me ending up at Paradise Cafe at the end of the night.
It was closing night of the film festival last night and things were wrapped up with the world premiere of George Gallo’s latest film ‘Middle Men.' Lots of the film's cast and production team were in attendance and so I was afforded my first opportunity to take pictures on a red carpet (I've done some blue carpet work, but it's not really the same). Actor Gabriel Macht (one of the film's stars) was in attendance and I really wanted to ask him if he would be my valentine (even though I was celebrating Singles Awareness Day yesterday) but, much to my chagrin, he had come along with his gorgeous wife and co-star Jacinda Barrett. Luke Wilson made it onto the red carpet a bit late and was quickly rushed by us with no interviews so I was unfortunately only able to snap a couple of lame photos (I do sincerely apologize for that one, although it’s not really my fault). I won’t say too much about the film itself (other than the fact that I loved it and can’t believe it’s a true story) because I have to get back to reality and do some homework for once in my life.
Composer Brian Tyler, Producers Chris Mallick and William Sherak
Robert Forster and wife
Beau Bridges and wife
Tags: c2sbiff, luke wilson, closing night, dinosaurs, santa barbara, jacinda barett, middle men, gabriel macht
'The Elephant in the Living Room' just had its world
premier at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on Thursday
afternoon. It’s showing again tonight at 6:30PM at Victoria Hall. I
know you can’t hear it, but I am yelling at you to PLEASE go see this
Before I watched this movie, I knew nothing about
the world of exotic animals in the United States. Now I’m completely
fascinated, frustrated, and totally blown away by what I’ve learned.
The Elephant in the Living Room follows Tim Harrison, a public safety
officer in Oakwood, Ohio who has responded to a countless number of
calls over the years involving people and their exotic pets. Harrison
is also director of a non-profit organization that he started in 2001
called Outreach for Animals and he’s been working with exotic animals
for 34 years. Exotic animal ownership has become a huge
problem in the United States ever since animal-based reality TV shows
became so popular in the 1990’s. After seeing these intriguing animals
on TV, a lot of people become inspired to buy one to keep in their
home. The problem is that people with little to no handling experience
are able to easily obtain animals like alligators, cobras, lions,
tigers, chimpanzees, and really any other animal you can think of.
What’s amazing about all of this is the ease in which a person can buy
something like an extremely deadly snake or a mountain lion. There are
no federal laws that govern this so whether or not you’re allowed to
own an exotic pet is usually governed by the state you live in. In the
United States today there are approximately 15,000 big cats that have
private owners and it’s totally legal for them to have them. There are
about 20 states that allow ownership of exotic animals as pets and in
about half of those states you are not even required to have a license.
Roger Pahkola, an emergency room doctor that’s interviewed in the film,
remarks that you have to have “dog tags for your dog but not tags for
your lion.” Unfortunately, there are a lot of people that don’t
want the issue of exotic animal ownership to become a topic of
conversation. Consider the fact that, in 2003, the sale of dangerous
exotic animals was a 13.5 billion dollar industry and I’m guessing it’s
even more now. As Director Mike Webber puts it, “this [is] the elephant
in the living room. This is an enormous thing and it’s not even really
obscure, it’s everywhere and nobody is talking about it and nobody
really knows that this exists.” ‘The Elephant in the Living
Room’ manages to educate its viewer about all of the issues surrounding
exotic pet ownership but it also doesn’t give just a narrow perspective
of what’s going on. In addition to following Tim Harrison for a over a
year, Webber also focused on Terry Brumfield who raised his two African
lions, Lambert and Lacy since they were a few months old. You get to
see how Brumfield interacts with the lions and how he literally loves
them as if they were his own children. I think this film very
successfully presents this incredibly complicated issue and will
hopefully cause us to have more of a dialogue about what we are
allowing to occur in this country. Please don’t worry that
you’re going to come out of this movie and feel totally disturbed and
emotionally drained. Instead, I think you’ll be glad that you got to
see such a beautifully told story play out on the screen. Harrison is
hoping that people will “ask tons of questions” after seeing this film
and “investigate [this issue] for themselves.” I’m still quite
dumbstruck by everything I’ve learned today and I really think (and
hope!) this film is going to make a big impact. I can’t wait to talk to
more people about what they think about this movie! Oh yeah, did I
mention that it’s playing tonight at Victoria Hall and you should
REALLY be in attendance.
I know you’re not supposed to judge a movie by its cover but regardless of that age-old tenet, I’ve avoided seeing ‘The Hurt Locker’ because I’m afraid of how it looks from the outside. Despite all of the amazing things I’ve heard about this film, I was sure that it was going to be stressful, emotional, and thought-provoking.
I tend to steer clear of movies with the aforementioned adjectives associated with them. If you were to review my iTunes movie rental receipt, you would find that most of the movies that I watch could be described as mindless and formulaic and yet oh so emotionally gratifying. And I don’t mean emotionally gratifying as in; “I just watched the most beautiful, haunting movie and it really touched the innermost core of my being.” Instead, I prefer to watch the flicks that make me sigh and say, “I just had a really long day and watched that movie because I knew that it wouldn’t force me think critically about my own romantic shortcomings, and instead, I can just sit here and revel in someone else’s completely unrealistic and yet satisfying courtship without holding myself accountable in any way.” This is why I’ve watched Twilight about 25 times in the past 8 months (not that I would ever admit that in a public forum).
Yet, despite my best effort to avoid subjecting myself to Kathryn Bigelow’s most recent film, I found myself walking into the Lobero Theater at 5:55 PM on Monday night, trying to prepare myself for whatever lay ahead. For those of you who have yet to see this film, “The Hurt Locker” follows the members of an Explosives Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team on duty in Iraq in 2004. Their incredibly dangerous job involves disarming the multitude of IED’s and roadside bombs that litter the streets of Baghdad. Not only does this film immerse the viewer in the reality of fighting this war, it also brings home the tremendous psychological impact it has on the soldiers involved. This film reminds you that the trauma of war is not just a side effect that some might suffer after they return from a tour of duty, but rather it’s something that is thrown in a soldier’s face on every single day of their job.
I’ve heard this movie described as an “edge-of-your-seat,” “spellbinding,” “adrenaline-rush;” a description which I completely agree with. In terms of my own personal experience watching this film, at one point I think I had fallen into the center aisle with my knees drawn to my chest, fist shoved into my mouth, and tears streaming down my face. This might be somewhat of an exaggeration, but, true or not, the impact of this film is visceral and immediate.
After the film ended, Kathryn Bigelow received her award for Outstanding Director of the Year. Roger Durling (SBIFF Executive Director) mentioned during his introduction that “defining Bigelow as a female director is irrelevant.” Oh, that’s great! I love when a woman is so good at something that she suddenly becomes androgynous (hmmph). Kathryn came across to me as being shy, modest and obviously very talented. She describes her film as “a tough little war film about an extremely unpopular war” and when Durling asked why she decided to make this film she remarked that it was “a personal response to a conflict that [she] felt deplorable.”
The film is "fictional,” of course, but by no means is it apolitical. While it does not try to force a certain agenda on the viewer, the fact that it is about an ongoing and controversial situation, makes it seem political by its very nature. Bigelow wants it to be taken as an “opportunity [for viewers] to get a glimpse of what’s going on”. Regardless of your own beliefs and politics, this film will likely serve its intended purpose and bring the very real, nonfictional current situation in Iraq to the forefront of your mind.
If you haven’t seen this amazing film already, I really hope you have the chance to do so in the near future. As for me, I feel that I’ve fulfilled my biannual duty of stepping out of my emotional comfort zone. I think I’ll go buy a scoop (please read: pint) of coffee-chip from McConnell’s and watch Step-Up 2: The Streets (2008).
Tags: c2sbiff, sbiff, santa barbara international film festival, sbarts, kathryn bigelow, hurt locker review, hurt locker, 2010
Step 1: Admit that you are powerless over your addiction
Whoops, sorry…I’m thinking of something else…
Choose the proper outfit and appropriate pre-film hangout
I was going for the “I’m trying to be an indie journalist” look, which is why I opted for my black “boyfriend” blazer, gray scarf, converses, and cross-body shoulder bag. I got a ride downtown (I’m also environmentally friendly) to my favorite SB hangout, Paradise Café, or, as I so adoringly call it, The Dice. I took my usual seat at the bar and ordered up a Shirley temple (I think it’s important to stay sober while reviewing a movie [or, see the original step 1 above]. As I was sitting there, I started psyching myself out about the task I was about to undertake. Perhaps I just shouldn’t go to the film…I probably won’t understand it anyway. What if I don’t like it? Are there going to be any dinosaurs or vampires in it (and, if not, how will I relate to it?).
Get to the theater and watch the movie
This of course, proved to be much more difficult than I would have thought. After convincing myself that this was something I could and should do, I headed over to the Metro 4, ready to check-in as a member of the press and take my seat. Of course, in the 5 minute walk from the Dice to the theater, I forgot the name of the movie I was going to see. I wasn’t sure if they were going to ask me at check-in what movie I was going to, so I had to take out my film festival schedule in front of all the people patiently waiting in line or milling around the outside of the theater. This made me feel like it was my first day of class and I had just pulled my campus map out of my backpack (which, sadly, I usually have to do even half way into the semester…I’m a bit of a forgetful person). Anyway, against all odds, I was allowed into theater 1 (on your left) for a screening of the 2009 Korean film “Private Eye.” Usually, when I go to movies by myself (which is quite often) I’m a little embarrassed about being there alone so I’ve learned little tricks to make it seem like I’m with com
pany (like buying two sodas, or saving the seat next to you with a carefully placed jacket). But, upon reviewing my first movie, I found that there was no need for any of my normal solo-movie-going antics. Instead, I felt like I was supposed to be there alone. Perhaps people even saw my cross-body shoulder bag and thought…she must be someone important.
Try to figure out something important to say about the movie you just saw.
Be gracious and appreciative of all the work that goes into making a film, but be honest about what you thought. Make your review witty, charismatic, and insightful all at once. Here are some examples in regards to Private Eye…
“The cinematography and art direction were absolutely stunning but the story was a bit difficult for me to follow at times.”
“Unfortunately, I can’t speak Korean or read English so this film was a challenge for me.”
“Hwang Jeong-min’s portrayal of the hesitant but charming Detective Jin-Ho was superb!”
Basically, just try to sound like you know what you are talking about regardless of your actual knowledge base or expertise. This goes for life in general as well. [I just employed another technique right there: Make sweeping generalizations that have little or nothing do with the film you are reviewing.]
Good luck with all of your future film-reviewing endeavors!