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Posts tagged: movies

Hills alive with ‘Sound of Music Sing-a-Long’

Looking for something fun to do with the family during Christmas week? Dress 'em up in lederhosen and start rehearsing “My Favorite Things.”

The “Sound of Music Sing-a-Long” has been booked into the INB Performing Arts Center, Dec. 30, 7 p.m. This is the 1965 movie classic, shown complete with subtitles and audience participation.

Lots of audience participation. Think of it as a kind of clean-cut, well-scrubbed version of “Rocky Horror.” The audience helps sing all the songs, and also acts out  in other ways. Every audience member receives a “Bag of Musical Moments,” full of props to utilize at key moments in the film.

There's also a costume contest for the most clever and outrageous outfits.

The sing-a-long began in Manhattan in 2000 and then went on to a big Hollywood Bowl event in 2001. It has since swept the country. Tickets are $20, $25 and $30 and will go on sale Nov. 18 through all Ticketswest outlets (800-325-SEAT, www.ticketswest.com).

A ‘Vision Quest’ benefit for Garland restaurants

The Garland Theatre, 924 W. Garland, is hosting a showing on Saturday at 10 a.m. of the 1985 coming-of-age movie “Vision Quest” as a benefit for two restaurants just down the street, Ferguson's Cafe and the Milk Bottle.

Both restaurants were badly damaged in a recent fire. The theater suggests a $5 minimum donation.

The choice of “Vision Quest” is fitting. Both restaurants served as locations for this movie. It stars Matthew Modine and Linda Fiorentino, but it also features two other performers who were not yet stars, Forest Whitaker and Madonna.

‘River Sorrow’ to open at Magic Lantern under new name

“The River Murders” opens Friday at the Magic Lantern Theatre, 25 W. Main Ave., but you may remember it under a different name: “The River Sorrow.”

This Ray Liotta-Christian Slater-Ving Rhames thriller was filmed as “The River Sorrow” in Spokane last fall. It still carried its old title at the Cannes Film Festival in May when it had its premiere and gala party. Yet sometime between then and now, it had a title makeover.

The director, Rich Cowan (“The Basket”) of Spokane’s North by Northwest production company, said that Sony now owns the movie and they changed the name for marketing reasons. They didn’t consult with Cowan, who is still partial to the original name.

The movie will play for a week at the Magic Lantern, but it won’t have a wide theatrical release.

In fact, the DVD release is scheduled for Tuesday. It features a number of local actors – Wes Deitrick, Nike Imoru, Kelly Eviston and Patrick Treadway, to name just a few.

Check out the great ‘Badassdom’ trailer

“The Knights of Badassdom” trailer debuted at the Comic-Con convention in San Diego two weeks ago — and it makes me more convinced than ever that this could be that most elusive of creatures — a Spokane-filmed movie that might actually be a hit (if only a cult hit). It's funny and loaded with nice touches.

Big buzz for ‘Badassdom’

The Joe Lynch  movie, “Knights of Badassdom,” filmed in Spokane last summer, is getting some priceless national publicity.

Entertainment Weekly gave this indie-comedy-fantasy a full page treatment in its “First Look” section in its July 22 issue, with photos of stars Summer Glau, Ryan Kwanten, Steven Zahn and Peter Dinklage.

EW said the cast is “sure to get the fanboy seal of approval.” Here's the link to the EW piece and photos.

Lynch, on the film's website, called it “another moment of serendipity for this crazy flick.” 

The movie's trailer will be unveiled at Comic-Con this week. The movie still doesn't have a release date, but with this kind of buzz, we can expect some new urgency.

Spokane-filmed ‘The Ward,’ by popular ‘demand’

John Carpenter's horror flick, “The Ward,” which was filmed in Medical Lake and Spokane, became available through various cable on-demand services today. It stars Amber Heard as a woman in a mental institution. And guess what? This mental institution is not what it seems.

This movie has not exactly received stellar  reviews, but so far it has been treated more kindly than many other locally filmed movies. It has a 48 percent positive score among reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes. The Guardian, a British paper, called it a “well-made film, with some finely crafted shocks and a steady pace that almost seems stately in these days of fast-cut horror.”

Many of the reviews are from the UK, where it has apparently been released in theaters. Most agreed that it was not Carpenter's best work, but it still had flashes of the legendary Carpenter style.

Here the link to the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.

The film is scheduled for a limited theatrical release on July 8 and will go to DVD and Blu-Ray sometime after that.

Is ‘brain-damaged’ a movie critic compliment?

Here we go again: Another Spokane-made movie, direct to DVD, complete with atrocious reviews.

“The Big Bang,” the Antonio Banderas movie shot here in fall 2009, came out on DVD last week and the critics have been merrily brutalizing it.

Andrew Barker of Variety called it  “unintelligible,” scattershot” and “a Lynchian neo-noir that takes intellectual and aesthetic risks it has no reasonable attempt at pulling off.”

Stephen Holden of the New York Times called it “a low point for Mr. Banderas, who is painfully miscast as a tough guy and whose Spanish accent has never been more of an impediment.”

Other top critics called it “trash,” “budget-bin” and “bleary.”

Leave it to Rex Reed of the New York Observer to muster the most vituperation, calling it “brain-damaged, inept, unsupervised and moronic.”

Check out a collection of reviews here, on Rotten Tomatoes.

What? You say you don't trust those snooty film reviewers? The general public hasn't been kind either, with a 2.5 star audience rating (out of five) on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 5.5 rating out of 10 on IMDB.

I would see this movie for myself , except I still haven't recovered from the trauma of watching three other Spokane filmed movies, “Give 'em Hell, Malone” with Thomas Jane , “Wrong Turn at Tahoe,” with Cuba Gooding Jr., and “Lies & Illusions” with Christian Slater. 

And that was more than a year ago.

Photos from ‘River Sorrow’s‘ Cannes premiere

We found an online photo album from Monday's Cannes Film Festival beach party for the premiere of the Spokane-filmed “The River Sorrow,'” directed by North by Northwest's Rich Cowan. It looks like a glamorous event, with stars Sarah Ann Schultz and Gisele Fraga. Here's a link to the photo album.

On a more sobering note, the movie did not get a stellar, to say the least, review from the Hollywood Reporter. The words “amateurish,” “lousy” and “quagmire,”are not words you want to see in the review of your movie. Here's the link to the Hollywood Reporter review.

Jack Black to star in film of Jess Walter novel

Spokane novelist Jess Walter's latest book, “The Financial Lives of the Poets,” has just been picked up as a Jack Black movie vehicle, re-titled “Bailout.”

The screenplay was also written by Walter, and the director will be Michael Winterbottom. Filming is scheduled to begin in August.

This news came of the Cannes Film Festival and was reported by the Hollywood Reporter. Here's the link.

An interview with Spokane-filmed ‘Big Bang’ director

The New York Times ran an interview on Wednesday with Tony Krantz, director of another Spokane-filmed thriller, “The Big Bang,” starring Antonio Banderas. Here's a link

The Times said the movie is “undoubtedly one of the stranger films to make it to theaters this year,” and compared it to some of David Lynch’s movies.

The movie will be released today in New York and L.A. only. That will probably be the extent of the theatrical release. It comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray on May 24

A Spo-Cannes party on the Riviera

Spokane will be represented at the Cannes Film Festival on the French Riviera on Monday.

That’s the day that “The River Sorrow,” filmed in Spokane by North by Northwest, will have its European premiere and an after-party in a giant tent on the beach.

Star Christian Slater will be there, along with director Rich Cowan of North by Northwest. It also stars Ray Liotta and Ving Rhames. This murder mystery/thriller has already been picked up by Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions.

An American release date is scheduled later this summer, but that could change depending on how well the movie is received at Cannes.

We're expecting Cowan to check in with updates— unless his head has been turned by sun and stars.

Spokane Jewish Film Festival opens Saturday

The Spokane Jewish Cultural Film Festival has become an annual tradition in the area.

Larry Weiser, a Gonzaga University law school prof, has been organizing this for several years. This year he assembled three films for screening at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (MAC), 2316 W. First.

Here's the lineup:

 “Saviors in the Night” — Saturday, 7:30 p.m.. The story of courageous Catholic farmers who hid Marga Spiegel and her family from the Nazis.:

“Black Over White” and “These Are My Names”– Sunday, 2 p.m. The first is a documentary about the popular Israeli music group, the Idan Raichel Project, and their tour of Ethiopia. Music takes the center stage, but there are also revealing scenes about identity and heritage amongst the musicians. The second is a short film about Ethiopian Jews.

“Seven Minutes in Eden” – Monday, 7:30 p.m. The story of a young couple on a bus, bombed by terrorists. The young woman attempts to stitch her life back together.

Tickets are $8, available at the door or at this site.

‘Thunderballs,’ filmed in Spokane

North by Northwest has just signed a contract to film, “Thunderballs, ” a sitcom pilot, for the cable TV channel Spike.

It’s about three 30-something guys on a beer league bowling team. As North by Northwest’s Rich Cowan points out, “Spokane should be a good city for that.”

The pilot will be filmed in May and if it gets picked up by Spike network, the entire series will be filmed here.

Will it have stars? Casting is still under discussion, but Cowan predicts it will have some “recognizable” names. It will probably use some local actors and extras as well.

North by Northwest, a Spokane production company, has filmed dozens of movies, but this will be the company's first foray into television.

Spokane’s new 50 Hour Slam film contest

A new instant-film competition has been announced in Spokane: The 50 Hour Slam.

It’s a bit like the popular 48 Hour Film Festival, except … well, you’ll have two extra hours to complete your three-to-six minute film.

Actually, there are plenty of other differences. This contest will have a TV component – the entries will air on CMTV (Community Minded TV, channel 14) for a month. It will also have a considerable web component, with entries available for viewing in a four-month long “viral” contest, with online voting.

Also, CMTV will host a workshop a few weeks prior to the events, covering the technical aspects of filmmaking.

The organizers include: FAVES (Film and Video Enthusiasts of Spokane), Purple Crayon Pictures, CMTV, The Magic Lantern, CORPX and Isabella’s Restaurant. Juan A. Mas, known for his extensive work on many North by Northwest productions, is one of the event’s guiding forces.

Here are the key dates:

Tuesday, 7 p.m. at the Magic Lantern, 25 W. Main – A general meeting outlining the rules. Not mandatory, but highly recommended.

April 1, 7 p.m. at the Magic Lantern – Kick-off event in which the festival criteria are announced and the competition begins.

April 3, 9 p.m., at the Magic Lantern lobby – End of the 50 hours.

May 1, various times, Magic Lantern – Movie screenings and awards party.

Continue reading to see the complete news release: 

The Golden SpIFFY Awards

Congratulations to the winners of the 2011 Spokane International Film Festival (SpIFF) top awards, which they call the Golden SpIFFys:

Best Feature Film: “Tucker & Dale vs. Evil,” director Eli Craig.

Best Documentary: “An Ecology of Mind,” director Nora Bateson.

Best Short Film: “The Fall Line,” director Tyler Stableford.

Best Animation: “The Lost Thing,” director Shaun Tan, Andrew Ruhemann.

Best of the Northwest: “Tucker & Dale vs. Evil,” director Eli Craig.

Audience Award, Feature: “The Waste Land,” directors Lucy Walker, Karen Harley, Joao Jardim.

Audience Award, Short: “The Big Sayonara,” Don Hamilton.

Most Promising Filmmaker: Adam Harum, “Disintegration” and Sara McIntyre, “Two Indians Talking.”

A CDA Oscar nominee

Michael Owens, who now lives in Coeur d'Alene, is an Oscar nominee for Best Achievement in Visual Effects for his work on the movie “Hereafter.”

Owens is the real deal: He was a longtime visual effects supervisor for George Lucas's Industrial Light and Magic. He got his start as a camera assistant on “ET: The Extra-Terrestrial” and as a visual effects cameraman on films such as “Star Wars VI, Return of the Jedi” and “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.”

Then he went on to be visual effects supervisor on dozens of big movies, including “The Witches of Eastwick,” “The Doors,” “Van Helsing,” “Meet Joe Black,” “Gangs of New York,” “Flags of Our Fathers,” “Letters from Iwo Jima,” “Gran Torino,” and “Invictus.”

“Hereafter” is the Matt Damon movie directed Clint Eastwood, a director Owens evidently has a certain affinity with, since he has worked with Eastwood so many times.

Owens shares the nomination with others on the “Hereafter” special effects team, Bryan Gill, Stephen Trojansky and Joe Farrell.

Owens likes to keep a low profile in CDA. He declined our request for an interview, which I find, in a way, refreshing. He's apparently a Hollywood type who is not an attention-hog.

But I wanted to let people in CDA, Spokane and vicinity know that we can root for a local name on Oscar night, Feb. 27.

“A River Sorrow” trailer


The people at Spokane’s film production company, North by Northwest, are particularly high on their new thriller “The River Sorrow.” It was filmed this fall in Spokane with Ray Liotta, Christian Slater, Ving Rhames and Gisele Fraga.

NXNW’s own Rich Cowan was the director.  It has already been picked up by Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions — which already catapults it beyond the average Spokane-filmd movie — and Cowan plans on taking it to the Cannes Film Festival this spring.

Now, the trailer for “The River Sorrow” is out and, yes, it certainly does make the movie look stylish, moody, chilling and decidely R-rated. It’s about a string of sexual murders with one common thread – all of the victims are former girlfriends of the detective played by Liotta.

You'll also catch glimpses of several Spokane locations, including Riverfront Park and the Agave Latin Bistro downtown.

See the trailer for yourself here and let us know what you think of “The River Sorrow.”

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