Oscars 2014: Waiting for Marty



There has been some major release date shifting in the last few weeks, and for anyone with even the slightest interest in the Academy Awards season, the moves have been fascinating. Three relative biggies — Grace of Monaco, The Immigrant, Foxcatcher — all moved to 2014. And despite assurances to the contrary, rumors are flying that Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street” will not make its November release date, and could shift to December, or beyond.

The Los Angeles Times quoted an anonymous Paramount exec, who indicates that November is almost certainly out of the picture: “‘We’re preparing for several different scenarios,’ says a source at Paramount Pictures, the studio releasing ‘Wolf,’ adding that the original Nov. 15 date is definitely not among them.”

Perhaps this is all another indicator that there are simply too many films being released in the last few months of the year. There are many, many films that suffered as a result of dropping at the height of the holiday season, some Oscar casualties (“Ali”), others more commercial films that likely would have performed better at another time (“Jack Reacher”).

On a personal level, I’d hate to see “Wolf” move to 2014 because, well, I want to see it. It worked for “Shutter Island,” but “Wolf” seems to be a film that could manage to please audiences and critics. It all hinges on Scorsese, says the LA Times article:

“‘Truthfully, the only person who knows when the movie is going to be done is Martin Scorsese, and he probably doesn’t even know,’ said a Paramount source. ‘It’s the equivalent of a painter putting that last brush stroke on his work. That’s what we’re waiting for right now, that last brush stroke.’”

Photo: Mary Cybulski / Paramount Pictures and Red Granite Pictures

Jazz Noir 2 features Cassavetes’ classic Shadows


A few weeks I told you about Jazz Noir, the great film series at Hallwalls. Tomorrow, October 8, is probably the high-point of the series: John Cassavetes’ “Shadows.”

I am admittedly a bit of novice when it comes to the late actor-director, but I have seen “Shadows,” and while I did not adore it, it was easy to see its influence, and why it made such a seismic impact.

Here is a great article from 2009 about the film, and how it changed American cinema forever. As author Elbert Ventura puts it:

“Cassavetes’ movie not only anticipated Mean Streets, Stranger Than Paradise, She’s Gotta Have It, and Slacker, among countless others — it helped will them into being. As Martin Scorsese noted, after Shadows, there were ‘no more excuses’ for aspiring filmmakers: ‘If he could do it, so could we!’”

BIFF returns, with its finest lineup yet


Many Buffalonians seem unaware that there are several film festivals, of varying size and degrees of quality, held each year in Western New York. Perhaps the most interesting is the Buffalo International Film Festival, a festival that mixes unique documentaries with a few premieres and local-centric works. It kicks off tonight (the fest also screened Sondheim’s “Company” to tie in with September’s Curtain Up! event), and runs through Sunday.

The Buffalo News has a nice article today on the fest, focusing on two films involving animator Richard Williams and his ill-fated “The Thief and the Cobbler.”

Check out the BIFF site for a full schedule.

The “mindblowing” Leviathan screens at Squeaky Wheel


Squeaky Wheel keeps the greats coming this week with one of the year’s most critically praised films, “Leviathan.” (Nope, NOT the crappy sci-if one.) Here is a description of the film from the Squeaky site:

“For one night only, Sugar City presents a special screening at Squeaky Wheel of the groundbreaking, critically-acclaimed documentary Leviathan, a stunning and unforgettable portrait of the North Atlantic fishing industry that is unlike anything ever seen before on a movie screen. Don’t miss the ONLY Buffalo-area screening of this incredible film, which the New York Times called ‘filmmaking at its most visceral and immersive’ and the LA Weekly described as ‘mindblowing,’ with ‘some of the most astonishing footage ever captured.’,

It is directed by Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor, the acclaimed team from the Sensory Ethnography Lab at Harvard and directors of the 2009 film Sweetgrass. The team “find their jumping-off point in New Bedford, Massachusetts, once the whaling capital of the world and inspiration for Mellville’s Moby Dick. From there they journeyed for weeks at a time on a lonely, hulking fishing trawler out into the murky black waters of the Atlantic, where they worked and filmed 20-hour days alongside the crew, the waves, and the never-ending avalanche of fish and marine life pulled from the sea below.”

It screens this Thursday, October 3, at 7 p.m.

For more Squeaky info, click here.