Items tagged with 'film'

The Triplets of Belleville with live score at Proctors

This could be fun: Proctors will be hosting a screening of the animated film The Triplets of Belleville with a live performance of the score in the GE Theater February 13.

The score will be played be a nine-piece jazz ensemble -- Le Terrible Orchestre de Belleville -- led by Benoît Charest, who wrote much of the music for the film. The clip embedded above is the ensemble playing along with the film in Montreal a few years back.

And if you've never seen the film -- it's a surreal blending o 1930s jazz, the Tour de France, the mob, and a mystery.

The performance at Proctors is Saturday, February 13 at 8 pm. Tickets are $20 and up.

A quick scan of the reviews of As You Are at Sundance

as you are sundance still

Updated with another review.

The movie As You Are -- which filmed in/around Albany last year, and is directed by Albany Free School grad Miles Joris-Peyrafitte -- debuted at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival this week. Here's a clip from the festival description:

Set in the early 1990s, As You Are unfolds as a series of disparate memories. Prompted by a police investigation, we witness alternating perspectives of pivotal moments in the relationship between three teenage friends: Jack, Mark, and Sarah. Bound by their aversion to the culture around them, Jack and Mark explore the limits of friendship and love until Mark's judgmental father tears them apart.

The film stars Owen Campbell, Charlie Heaton, Amandla Stenberg, Scott Cohen, John Scurti, and Mary Stuart Masterson.

There are already a handful of early reviews, so here's a quick scan...

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"As If! A celebration of Clueless" in Saratoga

as if clueless jen chaney coverNorthshire Saratoga and the Saratoga Film Forum are hosting a screening of/talk about the film Clueless January 23. Journalist Jen Chaney -- author of As If: The Oral History of Clueless as Told by Amy Heckerling and the Cast & Crew -- will be appearing via Skype for a talk and Q&A.

Blurbage:

Acclaimed pop culture journalist Jen Chaney celebrates the twentieth anniversary of the classic film's release in the first book of its kind, weaving together original interviews with writer and director Amy Heckerling; key cast members, including Alicia Silverstone (Cher), Paul Rudd (Josh), Stacey Dash (Dionne), Donald Faison (Murray), Elisa Donovan (Amber), Wallace Shawn (Mr. Hall), Twink Caplan (Ms. Geist and associate producer); ... Chaney explores the influence of Jane Austen's "Emma" as the unlikely framework for Heckerling's script, the rigorous casting process (including the future stars who didn't make the cut), the functional yet fashion-forward wardrobe, the unique slang that drew from the past and coined new phrases for the future, the sun-drenched soundtrack that set the tone, and above all the massive amount of work, creativity, and craft that went into making "Clueless" look so effortlessly bright and glossy. "As If " illuminates why plaid skirts and knee socks will never go out of style, and why "Clueless" remains one of the most beloved comedies of all time.

The event is Saturday, January 23 at 7 pm at the Saratoga Film Forum at The Arts Center (320 Broadway in Saratoga Springs). Tickets are $29 for one seat and one book / $39 for two seats and one book -- and they're on sale now.

Northshire advertises on AOA.

New film to be screened in local theaters

star wars force awakens still

How many screenings?

Our license to publish things on the internet will apparently be revoked if we don't do something about the new Star Wars film, so here's our offering:

Of all the screenings at Capital Region theaters* on Friday, "opening" day** for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, almost 30 percent will be Star Wars in some format.

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Echoes from the Neighborhood that Disappeared and The Great Ledge: Exploring Thacher

A follow-up to The Neighborhood that Disappeared -- Mary Paley's documentary about the area taken for the Empire State Plaza -- will air this Tuesday, December 1 on WMHT at 7:30 pm. Blurbage for Echoes from the Neighborhood that Disappeared:

"Echoes" is the companion film to "The Neighborhood That Disappeared," an examination and celebration of Albany, New York's multi-ethnic South End enclave, which was demolished for the construction of the Empire State Plaza in the early 1960s.
"Echoes" continues the story of the South End's vibrant Italian immigrant community by exploring the lives and culture of their children and grandchildren, many of whom were displaced by the demolition of 98 residential acres in the heart of the capital city. These engaging residents reminisce, sometimes sadly, often humorously, on the joys and cohesion of their close-knit upbringing, as well as the challenges of assimilation.

The doc will re-air at multiple times over the next week (check the first link above). The Neighborhood That Disappeared will also air Tuesday night, at 9 pm.

Earlier on AOA: Who lived in the neighborhood knocked down for the Empire State Plaza?

The Great Ledge: Exploring Thacher
Also premiering this week on WMHT: The Great Ledge: Exploring Thacher. Blurbage:

This documentary is filmed in ultra-high definition. Footage is edited with additional historic and scientific interviews, recreational footage, and archival images from both the Albany Institute of History and Art and the Library of Congress, to create a breathtaking and informative program for viewers. The documentary explores the wonder of Thacher Park from never before seen perspectives and ask challenging questions about land use, conservation and historic preservation.

It's set to air Wednesday, December 2 at 7:30 pm.

The Spectrum is being sold

spectrum marquee at night.

The owners of the Spectrum 8 Movie Theatres announced this past weekend they're selling the movie house to the Landmark Theatres chain:

After 35 years in the movie business, we felt it was time to hand over the stewardship of the Spectrum. We searched long and hard for a company that reflects our views about the importance of independent film. Landmark showcases much of the same type of programming that the region has come to expect from the Spectrum and therefore we feel that Landmark will serve our community well. We are very grateful for the support that the Capital District has afforded us over the years. As some of you may remember, two couples, Sugi and Keith Pickard & Annette Nanes and Scott Meyer, started the 3rd Street Theatre in Rensselaer in 1980 and The Spectrum in 1983. We have always felt very fortunate to have partnered with such an involved, enthusiastic and passionate community. With gratitude for your support over the last 35 years, our last day running the Spectrum will be November 17th. The theatre will close for 2 days and then reopen with Landmark at the helm.

Over at the Times Union Amy Biancolli has more details about the decision and the sale.

Of course, The Spectrum is a staple not just of its Delaware Ave neighborhood, but the wider Capital Region. It's provided a place to see both limited-released films and blockbusters in a cozy venue. (Noted: The Spectrum says the popcorn and butter will stay the same.)

The Landmark Theatres group has 54 theaters (with 259 screens) in 25 markets, many of them in the western and midwestern US. It bills itself as "a recognized leader in the industry for providing its customers consistently diverse and entertaining film products in a sophisticated adult-oriented atmosphere." Here's the current lineup of films running at its two locations in Boston -- it's a slate that wouldn't look out of place at The Spectrum.

And one other bit that caught our eye: The company that backs Landmark is one of Mark Cuban's companies -- you know, the guy who owns the Dallas Mavericks and is on Shark Tank.

The Spectrum advertises on AOA.

APL Silent Film Spectacular 2015

Peter Pan 1924 still

The 1924 version of Peter Pan is among the silent films on the slate.

The Albany Public Library's Silent Film Spectacular returns for another season this month. The APL will be screening silent movies with live soundtracks performed by local bands.

The screenings are the next four Wednesdays in the large auditorium of the APL's main branch on Washington Ave, starting at 7 pm. They're free.

Here's the full lineup:

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Film Columbia 2015

The trailer for Band of Robbers, a modern day take on Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, that's playing as part of FilmColumbia.

The annual FilmColumbia film fest returns October 19-25. And this year's festival has expanded to include screening venues in both Chatham and Hudson.

As usual, the festival slate includes a bunch of films that are already getting attention because of screenings at other festivals and/or they're eagerly awaited because of stars or directors involved.

A few of this year's selections that caught our eye are after the jump.

Tickets for the general public go on sale October 9. They're $12 for day films, $16 for evening films. There are also festival passes for all films ($225) and all films + events ($250).

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Palace Movie Series 2015-2016

ghostbusters still

The season opens with Ghostbusters on October 12.

The schedule for the new season of The Palace's movie series is out. It includes 18 dates, with films that range from classics (Rear Window) to holiday favorites (A Christmas Story) to popular recent releases (The Minions).

Here's the schedule...

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15 Minutes Max film fest

15min max film fest logoThe 15 Minutes Max film festival returns to the Madison Theater October 2. Ten student films -- no longer than 15 minutes -- will be competing for prizes at the festival, which is organized by the College of Saint Rose.

Blurbage: "The juried competition was open to students attending colleges within a 50-mile radius of Saint Rose and, for the first time, to high school students within the same radius. More than 50 entries were submitted by students from 12 area colleges and high schools. Categories included fiction, non-fiction, music video and animation."

The screening is Friday, October 2 at 5 pm. It's free.

NYS Writers Institute visiting writers fall 2015

nys writers institute visiting writers 2015 fall composite

The fall lineup for the NYS Writers Institute visiting writers series is out. And, as usual, it's full of notable, award-winning writers and names you'll recognize.

Here's the full lineup, compressed and expanded...

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Mel Brooks at Proctors

mel brooks

Mel Brooks is set to appear at Proctors October 16 as part of a screening of his film Blazing Saddles. Tickets go on sale this Thursday (August 20) -- they're $40 and up.

The event will include a screening of Blazing Saddles on the Proctors main stage screen, followed by "a live conversation and audience Q&A" with Brooks.

It's been four decades since Blazing Saddles was first released. It's #6 on the AFI's list of "100 funniest American films of all time." Last year Brooks talked with Entertainment Weekly about the film -- touching on the conflicts with the studio, the contributions of Richard Pryor, and whether the movie would be made today.

Ballston Spa Film Festival 2015

zepo short film still

One of the films on the schedule is Zepo by César Díaz Meléndez, which was animated with sand. Here's a making-of video.

The Ballston Spa Film Festival is back this Friday and Saturday in the eponymous village. As in years past, the "open air, bring your own chair" festival screens a family-friendly slate of short films. Blurbage for this year:

This year's festival will present 45 short films, ranging in length from 1 to 14 minutes each. The films come from young filmmakers, emerging student filmmakers and established (but still emerging) filmmakers. Submissions to this established, local film festival arrive from across the country as well as all over the globe. Many of the films have won awards at other film festivals, while some will be making their world premier at the Ballston Spa Film Festival.

Here's the list of film slates and the schedule. The films are shown at two sites: Ballston Spa High School and Old Iron Spring Park. And it's free.

AOA is a media sponsor of the Ballston Spa Film Festival.

The Greenville Drive-In has flickered back to life

greenville drive-in grassSome quick follow-up: The effort to revive the Greenville Drive-In successfully met its Kickstarter goal and the drive-in theater on Route 32 re-opened in July. (Greenville is in northern Greene County, right on the boarder with Albany County.)

The theater has been showing classic films, and this coming weekend it's showing Ant-Man. It's also hosting special events, such as a screening of the documentary Going Attractions: The Definitive Story of the American Drive-In Movie on August 12. The doc's director, April Wright, will be there for a pre-show Q&A.

Something else that caught our eye: The Greenville Drive-In is also hosting video game nights in which people can play games on the theater's 80-foot screen. One of those nights is tonight (August 3) -- they'll be playing Bakugan Battle Brawlers.

photo via Greenville Drive-In FB

YouthFX film selected for Los Angeles Film Fest

youthfx falling promo still

This is great: One of new films produced by the YouthFX program in Albany has been selected to screen at this year's Los Angeles Film Festival. The film -- Falling -- will play as part of the festival's Future Filmmakers Showcase.

Here's a short description of the 10-minute narrative short:

As two girls discover their feelings for each other, one of them is forced to choose between her new relationship and her father's disapproval. FALLING is an experimental narrative film that explores the challenges faced by LGBTQ youth as they navigate the intersections of love and family.

The co-directors of Falling, Imani Peterkin and Maya Suchak, and the lead actors, Mikayla Appleberry and Cici Rivas, have been invited to LA to take part in a mentorship program and workshops connected to the festival. YouthFX is raising $5,000 to send them -- here's a GoFundMe campaign to help out.

YouthFX helps teens in Albany learn media production skills through hands-on projects, and they end up producing some very good work.

There's an encore screening of its newest slates of films Wednesday evening at the Spectrum at 6:30 pm. Tickets are $11 for adults / $7 for students. The filmmakers will be there for a post-screening Q&A.

Earlier on AOA: Hey there, Bhawin Suchak, YouthFX program director (2014)

YouthFX 2015 premiere

youthfx summer 2015 students working

The award-winning YouthFX filmmaking program has the premiere of its 2015 short films lined up for March 26 at the Spectrum. Tickets are $11 adults / $7 for students. (Proceeds go to support YouthFX.)

Blurbage for this newest group of films:

Among the wide range of topics the Youth FX filmmakers explored this past year were documentaries about local refugee youth, a profile of a local legend from Grand Street, a story of two girls who fall in love against the wishes of one of their fathers, an exploration of Black hairstyles, and the program's first film written, directed and starring an all Karen, Burma cast.

The aim of YouthFX, part of the Grand Street Community Arts, is to help teens in the city of Albany become producers of media so they can tell their own stories. Films from the program have played in festivals around the world.

The screening at the Spectrum on March 26 starts at 6:30 pm, and it will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers. Last year's premiere event sold out, so if you're interested in going, it's a good idea to get tickets ahead of time.

Earlier on AOA: Hey there, Bhawin Suchak, YouthFX program director

photo: YouthFX

Screening of Hits, and Skype Q&A with David Cross, at The Spectrum

Hits -- a new film from actor/comedian/director David Cross (you know, from Arrested Development) -- will screen at the Spectrum February 19, with a live Skype Q&A with Cross following the screening. Tickets are pay what you will, and sales will be directly split between the film and the Spectrum.

Splitsider describes Hits as "a darkly caustic journey into the pathetic depths of viral videos, internet fame, and the insatiable vacuum of lowest-common-denominator post-reality culture."

It's the first film directed by Cross, and he's using some unusual ways to get the film out there. There will be pay-what-you-will screenings -- like the one at the Spectrum -- at < href="http://www.hitsfilm.com/">a handful of theaters around the country. And the film will also be released using BitTorrent.

The pay-what-you-will screening at the Spectrum is Thursday, February 19 at 6:30 pm. The Skype Q&A with Cross will follow.

The Spectrum advertises on AOA.

Four ideas for changing things for the better in marginalized communities

Wednesday evening at The Spectrum there's a screening of The Throwaways, a documentary created by local activist Ira McKinley and local filmmaker Bhawin Suchak. The duo co-produced and co-directed the film, which is about how people in many inner city communities, especially African-American men, have become marginalized by race, the criminal justice system, and economics -- and the challenges and frustrations that result. As Suchak described it to us, the film is a "raw and real" look at the topic through the eyes of McKinley.

The film comes along when these issues are getting a lot of national attention because of what's happening in Ferguson, Missouri.

"I think we're at a really important moment in this country's history when it comes to relationships between folks from different races," Suchak told us this week. "I think it's important for white people to not be defensive and to listen, and also do their own work. For me, part of what that means is trying to connect and make the connections that people who are living this are making all the time because they have to because it's survival. So I hope, and I think we've seen in our screenings, that our film can be a way to begin conversation."

With those sorts of conversations in mind, we asked McKinley and Suchak for suggestions about how to change things for the better in marginalized communities in our area.

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Talking about talking about movies

film critic wesley morrisOne of the events at the currently-in-progress Film Columbia that caught our eye is this panel on Saturday about film criticism -- and its lineup:

+ Moderator: Peter Biskind, author and Vanity Fair contributing editor

+ Owen Gleiberman, former head critic for Entertainment Weekly and current critic for bbc.com.

+ Eric Kohn, chief film critic and senior editor at Indiewire.

+ Wesley Morris, 2012 Pulitzer Prize winner and staff critic at Grantland. (That's Morris on the right.)

+ Alison Willmore, film critic for BuzzFeed and co-host of the podcast Filmspotting: SVU.

The panel discussion is Saturday, October 25 at 10 am at Tracy Memorial Village Hall in Chatham. Tickets are $15 and available online.

photo via Wesley Morris Twitter

Palace Premier Movie Series 2014-2015

The Goonies Chunk

You'll neither have to plead nor do the truffle shuffle -- the schedule is below.

The schedule for the new season of The Palace's Premier Movie Series is out. It includes 18 dates, with films that range from classic classics (The Wizard of Oz) to holiday classics (It's a Wonderful Life) to cult classics (The Big Lebowski) to 80s classics (The Goonies) to modern could-be-classics (Frozen).

Tickets are $5 , but The Palace is also offering a season pass -- $45 for all 18 dates (half price). They're on sale now.

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Film Columbia 2014

birdman michael keaton screengrab

Birdman, starring Michael Keaton, is on this year's slate.

Film Columbia -- the annual autumn film festival in Chatham -- returns October 22-26. As in years past, the festival slate includes a bunch of films that are already getting attention because of screenings at other festivals and/or they're eagerly awaited because of stars or directors involved.

A few of this year's selections that caught our eye are after the the jump.

Tickets for the festival go on sale October 4 online, and October 3 in person . Individual screenings are $12 (day) and $16 (evening). An all-festival pass (screenings + events) is $250 / an all-screenings pass is $225.

Many of the screenings sell out, so if you'd like to attend, it's probably better to buy earlier rather than later.

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Found Footage Festival at Proctors

found footage festival totally tulip

From the fabric painting instructional video "Totally Tulip."

Could be (cringe-inducing) fun: The Found Footage Festival tour, a film and live comedy show, will be at Proctors this Wednesday. Blurbage:

The Found Footage Festival is a one-of-a-kind event showcasing videos found at garage sales and thrift stores and in warehouses and dumpsters throughout North America. Curators Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher take audiences on a guided tour of their latest and greatest VHS finds, providing live commentary and where-are-they-now updates on the people in these videotaped obscurities. From the curiously-produced industrial training video to the forsaken home movie donated to Goodwill, the Found Footage Festival resurrects these forgotten treasures and serves them up in a lively celebration of all things found.

Among the videos they'll be screening: a 1997 instructional video called "How to Have Cybersex on the Internet."

The Proctors show starts at 8 pm Wednesday. Tickets are $9 / $6 for students.

Earlier on AOA: The First (and Probably Last) Annual Capital Region Feline Film and Video Festival for Humans at The Spectrum

photo: Eric Llung

The First (and Probably Last) Annual Capital Region Feline Film and Video Festival for Humans at The Spectrum

Because we are a site on the internet we are required to post something about this -- because cats: The [deep breath] First (and Probably Last) Annual Capital Region Feline Film and Video Festival for Humans will be at The Spectrum October 7. As best we can tell, it's pretty much what's on the label.

The fest is the creation of Albany native Mike Keegan, who now lives in San Francisco. He teamed up with film festival veteran Jay Wertzler to produce the First Annual San Francisco Intergalactic Film + Video Feline Festival for Humans this past May. Here's a recap of the event (we won't spoil the stunning twist involving Keegan about 2/3 of the way into the article).

The duo are now taking the show on the road. Keegan reached out to us today because they'd like to include cat videos from the Capital Region in the Spectrum show -- there's info on how to submit videos at that link.

The Spectrum screening starts at 7 pm on Tuesday, October 7.

In related news: The cats are now one step closer to thoroughly distracting humans as they advance their plot to take over the world.

The Spectrum advertises on AOA.

H., as in the film (and giant floating head)

Two bits from the recent past resurfacing together:

+ Remember that giant head that was pulled out of the Hudson last year?
+ Remember that film that was shooting in Troy earlier this year?

The film -- titled H. -- is set to premiere at the Venice Film Festival in Italy this week. And, inspired by that story about the floating head last summer, the film's plot includes a giant head floating in the Hudson River.

After the jump there are photos from the shoot this past April involving the giant, floating head.

The trailer for H. is embedded above. It was written and directed by Rania Attieh and Daniel Garcia. A description of the film, from a Variety story: "a contempo greek tragedy about two women, both named Helen, whose lives and relationships begin to unravel in the wake of a meteor explosion over their town of Troy, NY."

We haven't heard anything about a local screening, but you gotta figure the film will make the rounds on the festival circuit first. So it could be a while before it shows up locally.

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Proctors AnimationFest 2014

mr hublot film short still

A still from Mr. Hublot, one of the Oscar-nominated short films that will be shown during the festival. (It won the Academy award for best animated short.)

The annual AnimationFest returns to Proctors next week -- it runs August 19-23.

As in years in past, the slate of approximately 20 films is wide ranging: from the recent popular (The LEGO Movie) to comic books (Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher) to the critically-acclaimed (Oscar-nominated short films) to anime classics (Akira).

Multiple films will be screened each day, and each film will get multiple screenings. The schedule includes some kid-friendly morning screenings, too.

Tickets for individual screenings are $5 for adults, $3 for kids. Festival passes are $25 for adults, $15 for kids.

Outdoor movies at the Capitol start this week

friday night flicks 2014 composite

Just a heads-up: The "Friday Night Flicks" outdoor movie series in Albany starts this Friday, August 8 in West Capitol Park. The first movie up is Despicable Me 2.

Here's the schedule for the rest of this summer's series:

August 15: Forbidden Planet

August 22: The LEGO Movie

August 29: Casablanca

The movies start at 8 pm, and they're free. (Bring a chair or blanket.)

And West Capitol Park? It's the park between the Capitol and the Smith Building.

AOA is a media sponsor of the NYS OGS Friday Flicks Series.

Ballston Spa Film Festival 2014

mouse_for_sale_short_film_still.jpg

A still from Mouse for Sale, by Wouter Bongaerts, one of the shorts on the schedule.

The Ballston Spa Film Festival returns this Friday and Saturday, August 1 and 2. The family-friendly festival shows slates of short films. Blurbage:

This year's festival will present 38 short films, ranging in length from 1 to 18 minutes each. The films come from young filmmakers, emerging student filmmakers and established (but still emerging) filmmakers. Submissions to this established, local film festival arrive from across the country as well as all over the globe. Many of the films have won awards at other film festivals, while some will be making their world premier at the Ballston Spa Film Festival.

The four slates of films are split up between screenings at Ballstron Spa High School and outdoors at Old Iron Spring Park on Front Street (bring chairs and blankets). Here's the schedule of events.

And it's free.

Earlier on AOA: In-between places: Ballston Spa

Schenectady's Little Italy outdoor film festival

Moonstruck poster.jpgSchenectady's Little Italy opens an outdoor film series with an Italian flare this Friday.
The Dan DiNicola Film Series , named for the late arts journalist and entertainment critic, will be held in the parking lot behind Perreca's in Schenectady. It's a bring your own lawn chair event. The series opens this Friday with Moonstruck, and continues on Friday nights through August 22. Here's the rest of the schedule:

August 1 - Big Night

August 8 Fellini's- 8 1/2

August 15 - Roman Holiday

August 22 - My Cousin Vinny

Earlier on AOA

+Friday night flicks outdoor movies

Capital Region drive-in theaters

jericho drive-in movie screening

The Jericho Drive-In in Glenmont. / photo: Chuck Miller

The drive-in movie theater might seem like something from the past, the setting for memories about teenage dates during the 1950s. And while there were once thousands of the theaters, there are now just a few hundred across the nation.

But this area is lucky that it still has multiple drive-ins. And they can be a fun night out -- a thrifty, retro experience for a couple or a whole family. Even dogs are now allowed at many theaters.

Here's a quick look at some drive-ins around the Capital Region...

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Friday Night Flicks outdoor movies

LEGO movie still

The Lego Movie

Back when the schedule of summer events at the Empire State Plaza was announced for this summer was released, organizers also announced that the outdoor movie series would be back -- but in a different place, West Capitol Park. They also said the movies to be shown would be released later. And now the list is out:

August 8: Despicable Me 2

August 15: Forbidden Planet

August 22: The Lego Movie

August 29: Casablanca

The movies start at 8 pm. They're free.

NYS OGS advertises on AOA.

The 46ers

Check out this trailer/preview for The 46ers*, a documentary about people who hike the Adirondack's High Peaks. The cinematography is beautiful.

Film blurbage:

"The 46ers" is a documentary feature about the men and women who hike all of the 46 High Peaks (over 4,000 ft elevation) in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate NY. The filmmakers set out to answer the question, "what transformers ordinary men and women into the legendary mountaineers known as the 46ers?" ...
The idea for the project came about in July, 2012 when director Blake Cortright summited Mt. Marcy, New York's tallest mountain. As he took in the surrounding view, he was amazed that this area hadn't been given better cinematic treatment. After an exhausting weekend hiking Marcy, Tabletop, and Wright Peak, Blake began to ask "why do people do this?" That started the idea for the project.

The film's executive producer is Dan Swinton, who's been involved in a bunch of local projects, including William Kennedy's Prohibition Story and The Hard Places: The Tom Little Story.

The project raised more than $14,000 on Kickstarter last year. The filmmakers are aiming for an "early 2015" completion, according to the project's website.
____

* There are 46 of the peaks, thus the name for the people who hike them all.

Earlier on AOA:
+ The winter 46ers
+ How to hike the High Peaks and not be That Guy

Knickerbocker Film Festival 2014

hellions documentary still shannon straney

A still from Hellions.

The Knickerbocker Film Festival returns this Friday, April 18 to start week of screenings at locations in Albany and Troy. This year's festival slate includes 12 films -- including fiction and documentaries -- from filmmakers both local and international. (The film lineup, with short blurbs, is after the jump.)

New this year is the festival's expansion to Troy with a screening at the Arts Center this Friday night. Among the films lined up for that screening: Hellions, a documentary by Shannon Straney about the Hellions of Troy roller derby team.

Tickets for screenings are $10 and available online. There's also an awards show and reception next Thursday, April 24, at Taste in downtown Albany -- tickets for that are $35 ($30 with festival screening ticket stub).

AOA is a media sponsor of the Knickerbocker Film Festival.

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Being Ginger in Troy

Being Ginger documentary still

Scott Harris in Being Ginger.

The League of Extraordinary Red Heads returns April 2 with a screening of the documentary Being Ginger at the Arts Center in Troy. The doc's director, Scott Harris, will also be there to talk about the film, which is about his experiences as a red head. Blurbage:

Though the movie offers many rarely seen glimpses into the peculiarities of life as a redhead -- one of the smallest segments of the human population, at around 2 percent -- its true intent is to speak to a universal audience.
"I've used dating as a subject in the film because the quest for love is something that everyone can relate to," Harris said. "It might be more accurate to say that the film is about the quest to be accepted. This is a film for anyone who has ever felt different, for any reason. In my case, it just happens to be the color of my hair that sets me apart, and the way people treat me because of it."

Here's the trailer for the doc.

The screening at 6:20 pm on April 2. Tickets for the screening and talk are $10. There's after party at the Confectionery, featuring specials on red wine and Nine Pin cider fermented with ginger. There's no ticket required for the after party.

Catching the Oscar winners in a theater (again)

If, after the Oscars, you'd like to see the winning films again in the theater (or for the first time), it looks like it is still possible to catch most of them here in the Capital Region:

Best Picture, Supporting Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay: 12 Years A Slave - Steve McQueen's film about the story of Solomon Northup -- a man from Saratoga Springs -- and his kidnapping into slavery and eventual return to freedom, is currently playing at the Scotia Cinema. Lupita Nyong'o also won the Oscar for best supporting actress for 12 Years a Slave. And John Ridley won for the screenplay.

And, as you probably know now, the film is based on Northup's 1853 memoir, Twelve Years a Slave. Versions of it are available on archive.org.

Best Actor and Supporting Actor: Dallas Buyers Club - The film starring Matthew McConaughey (leading actor) and Jared Leto (supporting actor) is playing at The Spectrum.

Directing (and Cinematography): Gravity - Alfonso Cuaron's space survival film is still playing in 3D at the Crossgates Regal.

Animated Feature: Frozen The Disney blockbuster is still playing at the Crossgates, Colonie Center, and Clifton Park Regals, as well as the Bow Tie Saratoga Springs. Scotia Cinema is also hosting the Frozen sing-along version on Saturday and Sunday.

Original Screenplay: Her Spike Jonze's film about operating system love is playing at The Spectrum.

Foreign Language: The Great Beauty - The Italian film is screening at The Spectrum.

Shorts - The Spectrum is still showing the Oscar-nominated live-action and animated shorts.

The only high-profile category you can't currently catch in a local theater is Blue Jasmine, for which Cate Blanchett won lead actress Oscar.

Around the track with The Hellions

Check out this short documentary about the Hellions of Troy Roller Derby. It's a good introduction to some of the culture of roller derby, including the basics of the game, the names, and what draws people to play.

The creator of the doc is Shannon Straney, a photographer here in the Albany area. (Maybe that name sounds familiar -- we interviewed her last fall about a different documentary project.)

The Hellions 2014 season will be starting up soon -- they play their home matches at the Rollarama in Schenectady.

As it happens, the Capital Region has not one but two roller derby groups. The Albany All Stars' season picks up again in February at the Washington Ave Armory.

A peek at the reopening Madison Theater

madison theater exterior 2014-01-06

The screens at the Madison Theater in Albany will flick back to life January 17 when the theater opens for the first time after a renovation.

The 85-year-old venue has lived through many different versions in its history. But this next life represents a significant transformation. The Madison is now operated by Tierra Farm, the Columbia County-based organic nuts/coffee/dried fruit company that also runs the coffee shop at the front of the building. Tierra has big plans for the space: upgraded theaters, digital projectors, a retail store for its products, and, eventually, an event space.

We stopped by the theater Monday to get a look at the renovations and hear a little bit more about what's planned for the neighborhood theater.

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The Great Chicken Wing Hunt screening at The Spectrum

great chicken wing hunt director Matt Reynolds eating a wing

Matt Reynolds, director of The Great Chicken Wing Hunt

Could be fun: On January 22 the Spectrum will be screening The Great Chicken Wing Hunt, a documentary about the search for the world's best Buffalo chicken wing. Event Blurbage:

THE GREAT CHICKEN WING HUNT is an award-winning documentary comedy about Buffalo wings and the band of misfits who set out to find the world's best one. Join us for the Albany premiere of the film critics call "The Big Lebowski of documentaries" and "One of the bonafide best movies of the year". Featuring several scenes shot in Albany. Associate Producer and Albany native Melinda Person will introduce the film. Director Matt Reynolds will Skype in for a Q&A.

The trailer is after the jump.

And here's a review of the doc by Eater's Joshua David Stein from this past November -- he calls it "hugely enjoyable."

The screening at the Spectrum is Wednesday, January 22 at 7 pm. Tickets are $10 and available online.

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It's history. It's theater. It's film. It's all three.

actor stephen langThis Sunday, actor Stephen Lang -- you know, from Avatar -- will be at the Crandell Theater in Chatham for a one-man show and film about the Battle of Gettysburg, called The Wheatfield. Blurbage:

"The Wheatfield" is a swiftly moving and vastly entertaining 70 minutes of live theatre, film, music, and anecdotal history commemorating the most significant three days of the Civil War. It was conceived and constructed by renowned actor/playwright Stephen Lang (Avatar), a Kinderhook resident, and was originally performed last summer as part of the Gettysburg Foundation's "Salute to the States."
The afternoon program begins with Lang performing his solo piece "The Wheatfield," in which he portrays Union officer James Jackson Purman, a Lieutenant who was awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism during the Battle of Gettysburg. In this live, testimonial theatre piece it is 50 years after the war and Purman is attending a gathering of former veterans where he vividly recalls the fateful encounters that took place on July 2nd and 3rd, 1863. Stephen Lang notes that "Purnam was wounded aiding a comrade and subsequently saved by a Confederate soldier. This is the story Gettysburg and indeed the entire war, through the experiences of one man."
Lang's live performance is followed by a short film, also called "The Wheatfield," that he wrote and in which he performs.

The program will be hosted by historian Harold Holzer. It starts at 4 pm on Sunday, December 15. Tickets at the door are $15 / $10 students.

Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight at the Palace

The Palace announced today that Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight -- the HBO film that shot in Albany and Schenectady last year -- will be screened at the theater December 4. The film premiered on the cable channel back in October.

Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight is based on the Howard Bingham book of the same title -- it's about Ali's refusal to fight in the Vietnam War, and specifically, the Supreme Court's handling of the case. In fact, Ali apparently only appears in the film via archival footage. Most of the action seems to center on the justices and their clerks.

The movie was directed by Stephen Frears, and stars Christopher Plummer, Danny Glover, Frank Langella (they play justices), and Benjamin Walker (a clerk). It got "generally favorable" reviews.

The Palace screening is at 7 pm on December 4. Tickets are free -- they're available at the Palace box office on first come, first serve basis.

Earlier on AOA: Gawking at the shoot of Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight in Albany

12 Years A Slave now screening locally

The film 12 Years A Slave -- based on the 1853 memoir of Solomon Northup, a man from Saratoga Springs kidnapped and sold into slavery -- opens locally today. It has been getting exceptional reviews.

At Grantland, Wesley Morris explains what sets 12 Years A Slave apart, both as a film and a depiction of slavery in America:

It's a rare sugarless movie about racial inequality. [Director Steve] McQueen doesn't even give you any orchestral elevation. The score is hard and churning and sparingly used. The movie is about Northup, and at several points an audience is free to remember that most movies about the Civil War and slavery have been appeals to our higher, nobler selves. They've been appeals to white audiences by white characters talking to other white characters about the inherent injustice of oppressing black people at any moment in this planet's history. ...
The quality of these films is not the issue. A few of them are great. But after decades and decades and dozens of titles, you get the political point. Movies are the most powerful ways Hollywood has to say it's sorry. There is a kind of audacity in something like Lincoln, in which important white men get discursive about the moral quandary in which slavery mires the country. That debate required men to search their souls and vote accordingly. But after enough of these movies, you're just hot with insult. You have to stop accepting apologies, accepting, say, The Help, and start demanding correctives, films that don't glorify whiteness and pity blackness, movies -- serious ones -- that avoid leading an audience to believe that black stories are nothing without a white voice to tell them that black people can't live without the aid of white ones.
McQueen and [screenwriter John] Ridley turn that dynamic inside out. Their movie presents the privilege of whiteness, the systematic abuse of its powers, and black people's struggles to get out from beneath it. A different movie might have taken this story and turned it into a battle between Epps and the white men who feel a duty to free Northrup. That's what we're used to. There have been complaints that the movie is too violent, that it depicts too many lashings, too many cruelties, too much interracial abuse, that all the gashes on all the backs (what Toni Morrison poetically described as chokecherry trees) are just too much. But that's a privileged concern.

12 Years A Slave is being screened at the Colonie Center Regal, the Bow Tie Cinemas in Schenectady and Saratoga Springs, and the Spectrum (on two screens). Saturday morning at The Spectrum there's a "watch and discuss" screening of the film at 9 am with a panel discussion afterward, organized by the group Filling in the Gaps in American History.

Twelve Years A Slave, the memoir: Northup's original memoir is available from archive.org.

More on Solomon Northup
+ A recent WSJ article touched on the mystery of Northup's life after he regained his freedom
+ A Union College professor and a former librarian from the State Library have written a companion book about Northup, which also looks at Northup's life after regaining freedom.

The novelty's wearing off

film novelty research themes Sreenivasan

a) all films b) science fiction films c) science fiction films

The chart above is from an interesting new paper about movie theme novelty by RPI researcher Sameet Sreenivasan in the journal Nature Scientific Reports. Sreenivasan used keyword tags from IMDB to track rise and fall and certain themes -- and calculate novelty scores based on the use or combination of those themes -- for films over the last 80 years. That streamgraph chart tracks popular themes over time (here's a bigger version).

Sreenivasan's paper is full of interesting bits and assertions about films over the years. Maybe the biggest one is that novelty in films increased dramatically after the demise of the old-school studio system and has been slowly declining since. This Wired article is a good write up of the study's findings.

Also interesting (to us): Sreenivasan is a physicist -- but he's a research associate at RPI's three-year-old Social and Cognitive Networks Academic Research Center. From a short bio on his web page:

The topics I work on include investigations of peer-influence driven processes on social networks, studies aimed at uncovering community evolution on dynamic networks, mining the hierarchical relationships hidden within crowdsourced keyword sets and devising metrics that quantify novelty from these sets.

Some of the discussion at the end of his film novelty paper point at some of the future applications of this sort of research -- including "artificial or computer-aided story generation."

Oh, and we learned a new word today: culturomics.

graphs: "Quantitative analysis of the evolution of novelty in cinema through crowdsourced keywords," Sameet Sreenivasan, Nature Scientific Reports

APL Silent Film Spectacular 2013

the lodger 1927 hitchcock still

A nefarious lodger?

The Albany Public Library's annual "Silent Film Spectacular" series returns this week. Over the course of October it will show classic silent movies -- "from the dramatic to the macabre" -- accompanied by a score performed live by local musicians.

The screenings are the next four Wednesdays in the large auditorium of the APL's main branch on Washington Ave, starting at 7 pm. They're free.

First film up, this Wednesday (October 9): Hitchcock's The Lodger, with score performed by members of Alta Mira, Hand Habits, Maggot Brain, and The Slaughterhouse Chorus.

The full lineup is post jump.

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Film Columbia 2013

crandell theater chatham

Film Columbia -- the annual autumn film festival in Chatham -- returns October 22-27. As we've come to expect, the festival slate includes a bunch of films that are already getting attention because of screenings at other festivals and/or they're eagerly awaited because of stars or directors involved.

A few of this year's selections that caught our eye are after the the jump.

Tickets for the festival go on sale October 4. Individual screenings are $10 (day) and $15 (evening). An all-festival pass is $199. Many of the screenings sell out, so if you'd like to attend, it's probably better to buy earlier rather than later.

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Edgar Wright at The Crandell

Check it out: director Edgar Wright will be at The Crandell in Chatham this Sunday for a screening of his new movie The World's End. He'll introduce the movie and hold a Q&A afterward. The screening's at 4 pm and tickets are just $7.

The World's End is the third movie in Wright's "Cornetto trilogy" of comedies, which also includes Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. It stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (of course), along with Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan, and Rosamund Pike. It's gotten very good reviews.

Wright also directed the adaptation of Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, and going way back, the British sitcom Spaced.

The Crandell screening is at 4 pm Sunday. And tickets are just $7.

Film Columbia: You might be thinking, "Shouldn't the slate for this year's Film Columbia be out soon?" The answer is yes, yes it should. Keep an eye out for next week.

Palace classic movies series 2013-2014

roman holiday vespa scene

From Roman Holiday.

The Palace Theatre has released the slate for the next season of its classic movie series. It includes 15 films and ranges from old classics such as Roman Holiday to more recent favorites such as Back to the Future and Pulp Fiction. The screenings are Monday nights (with a few exceptions), and start in October.

Tickets are $5 , but The Palace is also offering a season pass -- $37.50 for all 15 films (half price). They're on sale now.

The schedule is after the jump.

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Trailer for Ass Backwards

The comedy Ass Backwards -- AKA Sister Spirit, AKA That Movie That Shot in Center Square/Hudson/Park and Other Parts of the Capital Region -- is now set for release this September 30 (video on demand) and November 8 (in theaters).

The trailer is embedded above.

Casey Wilson and June Diane Raphael star as friends who travel to their hometown for beauty pageant. Wacky hijinks ensue. The movie also stars Alicia Silverstone, Jon Cryer, Vincent D'Onofrio and a few other names you might recognize. Wilson and Raphael wrote the screenplay.

Ass Backwards shot here all the way back in 2010. And behind the scenes -- at least locally -- wasn't all laughs. The financial backing for the production fell through after it shot here, leaving many bills unpaid. That prompted a Kickstarter campaign in 2011 (that funded) to help fill some of the gap. And then an angel investor put up more money last year to help finish the movie. It premiered at Sundance this past January. [TU] [Kickstarter] [TU] [AOA]

Early reviews after that Sundance screening covered a wide range -- from harsh to very positive.

[via @CJLaisTU]

Earlier on AOA: Trailer for Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight, which shot in Albany and Schenectady

Trailer for Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight, which shot in Albany and Schenectady

Embedded above is the trailer for Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight, the HBO movie that filmed in Albany and Schenectady last year. The film is set to debut on HBO October 5. (Presumably it will eventually be released on DVD, too.)

It's hard to tell if any local spots appear in the trailer. There are a few shots that could be the State Education building in Albany -- it served as a backdrop meant to resemble buildings in DC (and very easily could with a little CGI).

Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight is based on the Howard Bingham book of the same title -- it's about Ali's refusal to fight in the Vietnam War, and specifically, the Supreme Court's handling of the case. In fact, Ali apparently only appears in the film via archival footage. Most of the action seems to center on the justices and their clerks.

The movie was directed by Stephen Frears, and stars Christopher Plummer, Danny Glover, Frank Langella (they play justices), and Bejamin Walker (a clerk). It was screened at this year's Cannes film festival. A Variety review from earlier this year called it "a worthy but faintly dull civics/history lesson."

[via @SarahLaDuke]

Earlier on AOA: Gawking at the shoot of Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight in Albany

Proctors animation festival 2013

paperman animated short still

From Paperman, the short that won the Oscar this year. The festival will be showing the 2013 Oscar-nominated animated shorts.

The annual animation festival at Proctors returns next week, running Monday-Saturday (August 26-31) in the GE Theater.

The festival slate includes more than 20 animated films. There's a broad range of material -- from old-school kids stuff (Lady and the Tramp) to new-school kids stuff (Frankenweenie) to adult fare (Cowboy Bebop) to modern classics (WALL-E).

And the festival really packs in the screenings -- films will be shown pretty much all day throughout the week, so each film gets multiple showings.

Individual-screening tickets are $5 (17 and under $3). A festival pass is $25.

still: Walt Disney Animation Studios

Space Beyond the Pines

The trailer for Starcrash, from 1978. Yep, that really is Christopher Plummer.

It Came From Schenectady has another movie marathon at Proctors coming up: Space Beyond the Pines on August 24 (a Saturday).

The slate includes 6+ sci-fi movies:

Block 1
+ Logan's Run
+ Brazil
+ Starcrash

Block 2
+ A "surprise" short
+ Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome
+ Serenity
+ Attack the Block

It looks like a strong lineup, ranging from the cheese-tastically bad (Starcrash) to the strangely brilliant (Brazil) to the under-appreciated (Serenity*, Attack the Block)

A whole-day pass is $25, or you can buy a ticket for one block of films for $15. (No single-movie tickets.)

* Firefly is better. Obviously. But... I am a leaf on the wind.

Pines on DVD

place beyond the pines dvdThe Place Beyond the Pines is now out on DVD/Blu-Ray. And it's also available via download from Apple and on demand from TWC, which apparently has a whole Ryan Gosling collection. (We hear he's very dreamy.)

It available as a disc from Netflix, but not for streaming. It will be available as a disc from Netflix September 3.

Aside from the DVD being a chance to see the film (again), now you can pause it for all those "Hey, that's that place!" moments from around Schenectady.

The DVD also includes some deleted scenes.

Earlier on AOA:
+ A few things we learned covering The Place Beyond the Pines red carpet in Schenectady
+ My Place Beyond the Pines
+ A quick scan of Place Beyond the Pines reviews

Beasts of the Southern Wild -- with live score -- at MASS MoCA

beasts of the southern wild still

MASS MoCA will be screening Beasts of the Southern Wild on August 10 -- with the score played live by composers Dan Romer and Benh Zeitlin, accompanied by the Wordless Music Orchestra.

As you might know, Zeitlin also directed the much-praised and Oscar-nominated film. Here's a clip from a Zeitlin interview with ASCAP about both directing and scoring the film:

While it's a lot more work, creatively it helps because it's always a delicate thing for a director to agree to what music takes the forefront in a film. Oftentimes, if the music is taking the lead too hard it can feel over-scored. To me, "over-scored" is what happens when there is a different creative energy actually taking over for the primary creative vision. So scoring my own films helps us to use music in a really strong, leading, forefront way. Because it's coming from the same imagination, it never feels like it's interrupting or cutting against the overall texture of the film.

After the jump is a video clip from a performance of the score by Zeitlin and Romer in LA last November.

The MASS MoCA screening/performance starts at 8:30 pm on August 10 (a Saturday). Tickets are $15 ahead / $19 day of.

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Ballston Spa Film Festival 2013

pigeon impossible film still

From Pigeon Impossible, one of the shorts on the slate for this year's festival.

The annual Ballston Spa Film Festival is back this Friday and Saturday in (where else) Ballston Spa.

This year's festival includes 41 short films, both from around the world and locally produced. Films range from 1-11 minutes. Here's the schedule of films.

The outdoor screening part of the festival has a new location: Old Iron Spring Park, at Front Street and Fairground Ave (map) -- attendees are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs. The indoor screenings are back at Ballston Spa High School. Here's the schedule.

All the screenings for the BSFF are free.

Earlier on AOA: In-between places: Ballston Spa

Saratoga Skate Jam, and a screening of Capital Distruct

From Capital Distruct.

The Spring Street Gallery in Saratoga Springs is hosting a free screening of Capital Distruct -- a new skate film from Albany's Seasons Skate Shop -- on July 25. It starts at 8 pm.

That Saturday -- July 27 -- is Saratoga Skate Jam at the Saratoga Skatepark at the city's East Side Recreation Field. The event includes free food and drinks, raffles, and the "worst trick demo." Suggested donation $5.

We originally had the date wrong for the Skate Jam. Sorry about that. It's been fixed.

Earlier on AOA:
+ In the park for Go Skateboarding Day
+ 2011: A concrete vision of the future for skateparks in the Capital Region?

Movies and music

The Andrew Alden Ensemble playing a score for Night of the Living Dead.

Three chances this week* to catch classic films with the scores performed live:

Night of the Living Dead with The Andrew Alden Ensemble
Friday: The Sanctuary for Independent Media will be showing Romero's Night of the Living Dead with a live score performed by the Andrew Alden Ensemble, a contemporary chamber music group from the Berklee College of Music in Boston. The group is touring the country this summer playing scores for classic films. Friday 9 pm - free

The Black Pirate with Alloy Orchestra
Saturday: MASS MoCA is screening the Douglas Fairbanks silent film The Black Pirate with live score by the Alloy Orchestra, a three-person group from the Boston area that's write and performed music to accompany a bunch of silent films. Saturday 8:30 pm - $15 ahead / $19 day of

West Side Story with the BSO
Saturday: The Boston Symphony Orchestra will be performing the score for West Side Story at Tanglewood while a recently re-mastered version of the film screens in high definition. (The original vocals and dialogue will be intact -- the BSO will be filling in the rest with a performance of Leonard Bernstein's score.) Saturday 8:30 pm - $20 and up

*Using journalist math, three = a trend.

Eight grumpy men

Thumbnail image for hbo_ali_albany_shooting6.jpgFrom a Variety review of Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight, the HBO movie that shot in Albany a year ago, and recently screened in Cannes:

[Director] Stephen Frears splices in archival footage of Ali at his articulate, charismatic best, but really, the main dramatis personae are Eight Grumpy Men from the Supreme Court (one, Thurgood Marshall, recused himself) as they argue around a conference table. Result is a worthy but faintly dull civics/history lesson that's well suited to broadcast by producer HBO, but doesn't have the muscle mass for theatrical distribution.

Here are a few clips from the movie at Indiewire.

The movie's slated for HBO in the fall. [EW]

YouthFX screening latest crop of shorts

youthfx shooting film 2013 springThe Grand Street Community Arts' YouthFX teen filmmaking program is premiering the short films from its 2012 season tonight (Thursday) at the Madison Theater in Albany.

Twelve films are on the slate covering a range of topics, among them: bullying, poetry, the Albany High School girls' basketball team's championship season, and the city of Albany's youth boxing program. The full slate is after the jump.

There are two screenings: 7 pm and 9:15 pm, with a Q&A with the filmmakers after each. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 students. Proceeds go to support YouthFX's summer program.

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"The Neighborhood That Disappeared"

corning tower constructionInteresting-looking local project currently funding on Kickstarter: "The Neighborhood That Disappeared," a documentary about the Albany neighborhood replaced by the Empire State Plaza.

The trailer is embedded above. Some of the old photos are great.

Based on the description on the Kickstarter page, it sounds like the doc is coming at the topic very much from an ESP-skeptic perspective. Blurbage:

From beneath the cornerstone of the Empire State Plaza, our film team will unearth a vibrant ethnic neighborhood that housed courageous immigrants and the Greatest Generation.Young boys invented street games; goods were exchanged in place of cash; no child grew up anonymously; no one went hungry. In these Italian American stories, viewers will find an inspiring resourcefulness that's gone missing in America.

Also: "When Albany's political bosses were outmatched by a billionaire governor, they sold the South End for some pieces of silver."

The team behind the doc: Mary Paley, John Romeo, and Bernie Mulleda. The total cost of the project is $35k, according to the project page. The Kickstarter campaign is looking to raise $5k. Funding ends May 24.

[via @Sorti_ca]

photo via "The Neighborhood That Disappeared" FB page

Electric City

electric city location scouting photo

A location scouting photo from the movie's Facebook page.

Another film -- appropriately titled Electric City -- is set to film in Schenectady this summer. Among its producers: Metta World Peace -- yep, the NBA player (formerly known as Ron Artest)*. Metta -- or, World Peace -- is even slated to appear in a scene at Newest Lunch. [Daily Gazette]

Here's a plot outline for Electric City. The director and writer is Nick DeRuve, a Schenectady native and Niskayuna High School grad. (One of his student films: The Inner Workings of William Balltown. Nisky reference?) Here's a little bit of background on both the movie and DeRuve. He's been posting bits about production on on Twitter and Facebook.

The Electric City cast includes Joey Lauren Adams, Emma Holzer (Boardwalk Empire, Spring Breakers), Liz Mikel (Smash's mom on Friday Night Lights), and Harrison Holzer.

* Our favorite Metta World Peace/Ron Artest Moment: When he thanked his psychiatrist after the Lakers won the title in 2010.

photo: Nick DeRuve / Electric City Facebook

A few things we learned covering The Place Beyond the Pines red carpet in Schenectady

pines schenectady premiere composite

We're going to let you in on a secret here: We don't cover many red carpet events. Let's rephrase that: We've never covered a red carpet event. Until now.

Last night we headed over to the Bow Tie Cinema for the local premiere of The Place Beyond the Pines in Schenectady -- which, like us, is also not accustomed to red carpet events.

For those of you who also have never attended a red carpet event, here -- in no particular order-- are a few things we learned or observed, and some pictures of what we saw.

And, yes, there are a few pictures of Bradley Cooper.

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My Place Beyond the Pines

place beyond the pines my house leah

A scene from the story that usually plays at Leah's house.

By Leah Wolff-Pellingra

Somewhere, there is an Italian restaurant where Michael Corleone shot Sollozo and McCluskey.

Somewhere, there is a bar where Matt Damon slammed a piece of lined paper on a window and said, "I got her number. How d'ya like them apples?"

Somewhere there is a bench where Forest Gump sat, a ring where Rocky fought, and a stage where Jennifer Hudson, threw out her arms, opened up her throat and sang, "You're going to love me."

I was watching the mastery that is Silver Linings Playbook last week, watching Bradley Cooper start to reach the height of his craft, and all I could think was: "Oh crap. You know that scene that will finally win Bradley Cooper his Oscar? That's going to be in my house."

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A quick scan of Place Beyond the Pines reviews

place beyond the pines ryan gosling shirtless

Ryan Gosling's tattoos co-star in the film.

Because you've probably heard not one thing about it: The Place Beyond the Pines opens today in New York City and LA. (It'll start screening here April 12.) So most of the major publications have reviews today of the film, which as you well know, was shot in Schenectady.

Many of the critics seemed to be generally positive about the film, if maybe a little let down. (If anything, none of the reviews that we read today remarked about whether the actors were too hot to live in Schenectady, as one of the early festival reviews did.)

Here's a quick scan of a handful of the reviews...

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Place Beyond the Pines Schenectady special screening

place beyond the pines gosling still

But will Ryan be there?

Update: We hear the screening is full -- tickets were basically available to people somehow connected to the production.

Just announced: there will be a special screening of The Place Beyond the Pines April 11 at Bow-Tie Cinema in the Schenectady.

Director Derek Cianfrance is expected to be there, along with "select cast and crew members from the film."

So, will you be able to go? Details on how to get tickets won't be available for a couple of days, but the publicists for the film say they're trying to accommodate everyone who'd like to attend.

The full release is posted after the jump.

Pines opens this Friday in New York City and LA. It'll be released here April 12 at the Bow-Tie, Spectrum, and Regal Colonie Center.

Earlier on AOA:
+ The Place Beyond the Pines local release
+ The Place Beyond the Pines trailer

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The Place Beyond Pines local release

place beyond the pines gosling still

The Gos.

This Friday is the release of The Place Beyond the Pines -- but it's a limited release. Like, really limited. As far as we can tell, the movie will be showing in four theaters total -- two in LA, two in New York City.

The film goes into wider release April 12, and there will be at least two local theaters showing it starting that day: the Bow-Tie Cinemas in Schenectady and the Spectrum in Albany, according to the websites for both theaters. Update: It will also be showing at the Regal Colonie Center.

As you know, this movie was shot in and around Schenectady back in 2011. We haven't heard word lately of any local premiere/event.

Update: We checked in with Don Rittner, who was involved in bringing Pines to Schenectady. He says he's organized a "People's Premier" at the Spectrum the evening of April 12 for locals who were involved with the film. He says he still has a few tickets. (Don also says he's looking forward to seeing himself get beaten up by Ryan Gosling in the film.)

Soundtrack: The soundtrack for the film -- by Mike Patton -- was released today. Pitchfork is streaming it. We'd call it... moody.

Bank robbers: This is from last fall, but we just came across it today and it included an interesting bit: In an interview with NY Mag, Pines director Derek Cianfrance says Schenectady police brought him a former bank robber so he could meet a real one. (Ryan Gosling's character in the movie robs banks.)

Earlier on AOA: Early reviews of The Place Beyond the Pines

still: Focus Features

Knickerbocker Film Festival 2013

The trailer for the SMALLBANY documentary by Dana Owens, one of the selections for this year's festival.

The Knickerbocker Film Festival is back this year with screenings April 2 (The Linda) and April 3 (The Spectrum). Each screening starts at 6:45 pm. Tickets are $10.

There's also an awards party April 4 at Elda's at 7 pm -- that's $30 (includes food and beverages).

This year's festival includes nine short films. The lineup is post jump.

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Life of Pi waves started in Colonie

Last night Life of Pi won the Oscar for visual effects -- thanks in part to a Cohoes company.

Aquatic Development Group -- which designs and makes equipment for waterparks and pools -- made the wave tank used to simulate the ocean in the film (which involves the main character being trapped with a tiger on a life boat). It was installed at former airport in Taiwan, where the movie was shot.

The photo above -- from a ADG press release -- is from the Life of Pi wave pool. During the acceptance speech, the Life of Pi effects team mentioned the tech "kept us from having to go out to the real ocean."

Here's a TU profile of the company from this past November.

ADG's tech was also used in Master and Commander and the 2006 Kevin Costner film The Guardian. The company has installed 90 percent of the wave systems in the United States, according to its website.

(Thanks, Erik.)

Chris Millis wrote Small Apartments in 3 days. And it was published. And turned into a film.

small apartments still

From Small Apartments

About twelve years ago, on Labor Day weekend, Chris Millis sat down in his Saratoga Springs home to write his first novel -- in three days. The attempt was part of the 23rd annual International 3-Day Novel Contest.

"I wanted to do it for a long time, and my wife went away for three days, so I decided I'd try."

He spent the entire week before mapping out an outline, which was allowed under contest rules. But when he sat down with his legal pad to begin writing, he threw the outline away and started writing an entirely new story.

"I just wrote it off my head," he says. "I said I'm just going to start with a guy who gets into trouble and see if I can get him out of trouble."

The book he ended up writing, Small Apartments, won the contest. It was published, and eventually the story was optioned for a film. Millis wrote the screenplay.

The resulting film -- also called Small Apartments -- was directed by Jonas Akerlund and stars Matt Lucas (Bridesmaids), Billy Crystal, Juno Temple, Rebel Wilson, James Marsden, James Caan, Rosie Perez and a bunch of other actors you'd recognize. The film premiered at SXSW last year, went into limited theatrical release earlier this month, and this week was released on DVD.

Next week, the film will screen in Saratoga.

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Early reviews of Ass Backwards

ass backwards still higher quality

Casey Wilson and June Diane Raphael in Ass Backwards.

Ass Backwards -- AKA Sister Spirit, AKA That Movie That Shot in Center Square and Other Parts of the Capital Region During Summer 2010 -- premiered at Sundance this week. It was one of a few comedies that was reportedly "generating advance buzz."

So we've pulled together a handful of early reviews. They cover a wide range -- from harsh to very positive...

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Ass Backwards at Sundance

ass backwards still higher quality

Casey Wilson and June Diane Raphael

Ass Backwards -- AKA Sister Spirit, AKA That Movie That Shot in Center Square and Other Parts of the Capital Region During Summer 2010 -- is premiering at the Sundance Film Fesitval next week. NYT says the movie is one of a few comedies "generating advance buzz."

The behind-the-scenes story on Ass Backwards -- at least locally -- wasn't all laughs. The financial backing for the production fell through after it shot here, leaving many bills unpaid. That prompted a Kickstarter campaign in 2011 (that funded) to help fill some of the gap. And then an angel investor put up more money last year to help finish the movie. [TU] [Kickstarter] [TU]

Presumably Ass Backwards will find a distributor at/after Sundance, and could end up in theaters/on demand/something later this year.

The stars of the movie -- Casey Wilson and June Diane Raphael -- also wrote the screenplay. And in the years it's taken to finish the film, they've both become more famous thanks to TV (Wilson is a star of Happy Endings and Raphael's popped up on a bunch of shows). From an Entertainment Weekly article this week:

"It's definitely a real love story between friends, and this crazy, insane co-dependent friendship," Raphael told EW on set last July about the female buddy comedy. "Based on our own lives in New York City many, many years ago. It's just about that crazy time when you're not yet married, not a child anymore... it's a weird zone." Inspired by movies such as Thelma & Louise as well as Dumb & Dumber, "It's been a labor of love," Wilson said.

The Ass Backwards cast also includes Alicia Silverstone, Jon Cryer, Vincent D'Onofrio and a few other names you might recognize. One of the producers is Albany native Molly Conners.

The Hard Places: The Tom Little Story

Hard Places Sign.jpg

The late Dr. Tom Little is the subject of an upcoming documentary.

In August 2010, Tom Little -- an optometrist from Delmar -- was part of a group of ten humanitarian aid workers killed in Afghanistan. The Taliban later took credit for their deaths. Dr. Little had spent most of his life there, and made it his mission to bring eye care to Afghans in need. He was known in humanitarian circles around the world, and in Afghanistan there's a hospital wing named after him. In 2011 he was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

But here in the Capital Region, where he and his family maintained a residence, he appeared to be an everyday guy -- until news spread of his death.

Capital Region public television producer Dan Swinton never met Tom Little, but he remembers being very moved by reports of his death. He couldn't stop thinking about it. Later that day he found himself in the grocery store. "I was looking at this wall of ice cream debating about what flavor I should get," says Swinton, "and suddenly I was so deeply affected by how much I have and how spoiled I am -- how I lack for nothing -- and how what kind of ice cream I get is the kind of choice I make. And here was a guy who died in another country for something he cared about and who deprived himself of so much."

For a lot of people, that would be the end of the story. But two and a half years later, Dan Swinton is now preparing to go to Afghanistan with Little's wife, Libby, and a pair of German filmmakers, on a mission of his own. They'll tell the story of Tom Little, and of the people and the place that became so important to him in a documentary called The Hard Places.

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The Place Beyond the Pines trailer

The trailer for The Place Beyond the Pines is out. And it's embedded above. And, yep, you can recognize Schenectady.

Focus Features has scheduled the film's release date for March 29 "in select theatres." That usually means a film will be released in a few big cities, and then a few weeks later be expanded across the country. (It'd be great if Schenectady could be one of those first cities, though that's probably unlikely.)

Earlier on AOA: Early reviews of The Place Beyond the Pines

Collar City Film Fest

collar city film fest 1 posterThe first Collar City Film Fest is this Saturday at 51 3rd Street in Troy. It's a "2 hour collection of short films from artists all over the capital district and slightly beyond."

The screenings start at 7 pm. There will be a musical intermission from Ryan Ross Smith. It's a $3 suggested donation.

The organizers are Emily Berçir Zimmerman, India Lombardi-Bello, Ryan Jenkins -- all of whom you might recognize from the local arts community. The Troy Record's Danielle Sanzone recently talked with some of the organizers for backstory on the fest.

Release date for The Place Beyond the Pines

place beyond the pines gosling still

And, of course, it stars the Gosling.

There's now a release date for The Place Beyond the Pines: March 29, 2013.

The website for the film's distributor, Focus Films, notes Pines will be "in select theatres" on that date. That often means a film will initially be released only in a few large cities, with wider distribution later on. (It'd be appropriate, if not not necessarily likely, that Schenectady could be one of those early release cities.)

The Place Beyond the Pines -- which as you well know, was largely filmed in Schenectady in summer 2011 -- debuted a the Toronto Film Festival in September. The early reviews covered a wide range -- some were very positive (there were comparisons to The Godfather), others called it slow and and uneven.

Silent Film Spectacular Series at APL

dr jekyll and mr hyde 1920The Albany Public Library has brought its silent film series back. During October it will be showing four Halloween-appropriate silent films at the main branch on Washington Ave -- with a live score performed by local musicians.

This year's slate starts with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde on October 10, and runs every Wednesday through October 31. The screenings all start at 7 pm -- and they're free.

Full schedule and descriptions post jump.

Murder of Cherry Hill: Speaking of the macabre, the APL has also has two talks about the Cherry Hill murder lined up. Historian Jane Ladouceur will be talking about the story surrounding the infamous 1827 murder in Albany's South End -- it involves a prominent family, love, cheating, trials, and a public hanging (if it happened today, Nancy Grace would probably self combusted with excitement). The talks are October 6 at 1 pm at the main library, and October 10 at 2 pm at the Pine Hills branch.

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Film Columbia 2012

crandell theater chatham

Many of the screenings are at the Crandell.

Film Columbia -- the annual film festival in Chatham -- is October 17-21 this year. And the schedule is now out. As in years past, it includes upcoming films that you've probably heard about -- or will hear about -- as well as panels, discussions, and parties.

A few of the selections that caught our eye are after the jump.

Tickets go on sale to the general public this Sunday (September 30). The screenings often sell out.

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Palace classic movies series 2012-2013

palace theater exterior 2012 sunny

The Palace has released the slate for the next season of its classic movie series. It includes 15 films and starts later this month. The screenings are Monday nights (with a few exceptions).

Tickets are $5, but The Palace is also offering a season pass -- $37.50 for all 15 films (half price). They go on sale starting this Friday.

The schedule is after the jump.

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Reviews of The Place Beyond the Pines

place beyond the pines gosling still

Ryan Gosling plays a motorcycle stunt rider who knocks over banks. Apparently it's less ridiculous than that sounds.

The movie that shot in Schenectady last summer -- The Place Beyond the Pines -- debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival Friday night. It stars Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Rose Byrne, Dane DeHaan, and a bunch of other actors you'll recognize. It also reportedly includes many locations you'll recognize around the area.

The film has been picked up by prominent art house film distributor Focus Features after what was apparently a bidding war. Director Derek Cianfrance says it will be released sometime in 2013. [IndieWire] [IndieWire]

Here's a quick a scan of the post-debut reviews...

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Drawing: Sleepwalk with Me and dinner

Drawing's closed! Winner's been emailed!

Mike Birbiglia's Sleepwalk with Me opens at the Spectrum this Friday. The indie comedy -- from Birbiglia and the producers of This American Life (Ira Glass co-wrote the film) -- is in limited release (TAL has been urging people to request it at theaters).

We know of lot of people in the AOA crowd are fans of Birbigs and TAL, so we pulled together a drawing for what should be a fun night out: two free tickets to Sleepwalk with Me at the Spectrum, plus a $25 gift certificate for dinner at the nearby Capital City Gastropub.

Because Sleepwalk is (in part) about the dreams of Birbiglia's character, please answer this question in the comments:

What's your surreal dream for the Capital Region?

It could be a dream as wish for the future -- "My dream is to build a new Corning Tower out of bacon" -- or an actual (sleeping) dream that you've had. We'll pick one winner at random. That person gets the tickets and the gift certificate. The tickets are good for any showing of Sleepwalk during its one-week run at the Spectrum.

From the blurbage for Sleepwalk with Me:

The story: when an aspiring stand-up fails to express his true feelings about his girlfriend and his stalled career, his anxiety comes out in increasingly funny and dangerous sleepwalking incidents. SLEEPWALK WITH ME features Lauren Ambrose ("Six Feet Under"), Carol Kane ("Taxi"), James Rebhorn ("Meet the Parents"), Cristin Milioti (star of Broadway's "Once"), plus comedians Marc Maron, Kristen Schaal, Wyatt Cenac, Jessi Klein, Henry Phillips and David Wain.

The trailer is embedded above. And, due to the ultra-competitive nature of the film industry, Birbiglia and Glass have started a feud with Joss Whedon.

Important: All comments must be submitted by noon on Tuesday, September 11, 2012 to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by 5 pm on Tuesday and must respond by noon on Wednesday (September 12).

AOA is a media sponsor of the film at Spectrum.

100 classic films at Proctors

Orson Welles in Citizen Kane

Rosebud is... well, you'll just have to watch.

This is kind of crazy (in the good way): Proctors is starting a series called "Film 100." On Mondays for the next two years it will be showing 100 classic films from the American Film Institute top 100 list (well, not the newest list -- the one that includes movies up to 1996). Films will be drawn from the 1997 and 2007 list, all of them produced between 1912 and 1996.

The first screening is September 17 -- 1942's Yankee Doodle Dandy. Among the films coming up soon: Ben-Hur, The Apartment, The Last Picture Show, Goodfellas, and Unforgiven. The slate for the rest of this year is after the jump.

Tickets for the screenings are $5. A series pass -- yep, for all 100 movies -- is $100.

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Short film "concert" at The Linda

still from The Lost Thing

From The Lost Thing

A touring "short film concert" from the Asbury Shorts series in New York City will be playing at the Linda September 15. From the blurbage:

"The NY Short Film Concert" features the best in live action comedy, drama and outstanding animation, without promoting competition. Four-time Academy Award nominated Director Jason Reitman ("Juno," "Up in the Air", "Thank You for Smoking," and "Young Adult") calls Asbury Shorts: "The Best Short Film Show I've ever seen!" Screening classic shorts, combined with new international festival winners, ASNY provides a rare opportunity for the public to see world-class films on the big screen, in a theatrical setting, instead of an iPod or computer.

Among the films on the slate: The Lost Thing, the 2011 Oscar winner for best animated short; and Her Telling Heart, an adaption of Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart by local filmmaker Eli Meissner that was shot in Schodack.

Tickets are $10.

In the park, action!

the perfect color shoot Washington Park

Setting up a shot.

We were walking through Washington Park this week when we happened upon... a movie shoot. (You know, just a usual day in the park.)

The shoot was for an indie film called The Perfect Color, directed by local filmmaker Justin Halstead. The project raise more than 16,000 on Kickstarter earlier this year. It started production this week, the whole movie will be shot in Albany.

From the plot synopsis:

Chance encounters with Jane over the next few days force Bill to relive his past. The world seems to take on whatever color she happens to be wearing when he sees her. The more Bill gets to know her, the more he sees her imperfections. She's supporting a drug habit by shacking up with Bill's closest thing to a friend, RASHID, a raunchy loud-mouth with expensive tastes. This news brings Bill to the brink, the point of no return, where he must decide whether to retreat and continue living in black-and-white nothingness or accept Jane for who she is and take a chance on imperfect color of life.

Sleepwalk with Me at the Spectrum

The Spectrum posted today that it will start screening Sleepwalk with Me on September 14. We hear it will run at least a week.

Sleepwalk is an indie comedy from Mike Birbiglia and the producers of This American Life. The trailer is embedded above. Birbiglia and TAL have been urging fans to contact their local theaters in an effort to get the film picked up around the nation. A few weeks ago the Spectrum posted it was "getting a ton of requests" for the film.

In addition to Birbiglia, Sleepwalk also stars Lauren Ambrose, Marc Maron, Kristen Schaal, Wyatt Cenac, Jesse Klein and a bunch of other comedians.

Ballston Spa Film Festival 2012

DRINKme-EATme-READme, one of the shorts at this year's Ballston Spa Film Festival.

The Ballston Spa Film Festival is back this weekend. This year's festival includes 39 short films from five countries, and a few local filmmakers. Here's the full slate of films.

Screenings are at two locations -- the Ballston Spa High School auditorium and Ballston Spa's Wiswall Park (bring a blanket and/or lawn chairs). There are two sessions each on Friday and Saturday evenings. Be sure to check the schedule for times and titles.

The festival is now in its fifth year. It's a good time -- and free. It's hard to beat that combination.

The Place Beyond the Pines debuting in Toronto

place beyond the pines gosling still

Ryan Gosling. And his motorcycle.

The Place Beyond the Pines will be debut at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. The festival has become one of the most influential in the world, often helping to start order the Oscar field -- so a spot for Pines is at least an early indication that someone thinks it could be good.

It was almost just a year ago that Ryan Gosling and company were in Schenectady area filming the movie. (We heard a crew was back in town this past May doing a bit more shooting.) There isn't a release date for the film, yet.

In case you've forgotten from last year's local media blitz: The Place Beyond the Pines is directed by Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine) and stars Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Rose Byrne, Ray Liotta, Dane DeHaan (buzzed about, apparently), and Bruce Greenwood (that guy).

By the way: Virgin Alexander, the indie comedy shot in Saratoga a few summers back, is now available on DVD. (Thanks, Pat)

Ballin' at the Graveyard

Ballin at the Graveyard  Dunk.jpg

Ballin' at the Graveyard opens Friday at The Spectrum

Every subculture has its own nuances, unwritten rules, set of characters. And after watching Ballin' at the Graveyard, you're likely to think about the subculture of pick-up basketball every time you pass a busy court.

The documentary, created by local pick-up baller Basil Anastassiou and director Paul Kentoffio, is billed as "a gritty, intimate look into the culture and community of pickup basketball as told by a group of hardcore ballers at Albany NY's Washington Park." The film examines the scene at the basketball court there known as "The Graveyard," looking at the lives of some of the men who play there.

The film opens Friday for a limited run at The Spectrum. Anastassiou and Kentoffio took a few minutes to talk with us about the film, rules of the court, the importance of trash talk -- and taking it to Mario Cuomo.

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TvFilm 4

TvFilm 2TvFilm -- WMHT's showcase of short films created by regional filmmakers -- returns this Sunday (June 24), and will have new episodes for six weeks. From the blurbage:

WMHT sought out unique and original independently-made short films created in upstate New York and western New England with the idea that you don't have to be in the Big Apple or Los Angeles to make, watch or enjoy independent cinema. TvFILM proves that filmmaking is alive and well in our region. From short films to documentaries to animated shorts, TvFILM leaves no cinematic stone unturned.

The schedule is post-jump. We noticed the second episode (July 1) includes the documentary about Tyler Rhodes, the Albany teen fatally stabbed in Hoffman Park, created by the Grand Street Arts' YouthFX program.

TvFilm airs at 10:30 pm on Sundays.

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Gawking at the shoot of Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight in Albany

Ali shoot in Albany Benjamin Walker

Benjamin Walker was having trouble with his car.

The HBO film Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight was shooting in downtown Albany today -- that's why Washington Ave was shutdown near the Capitol -- so we stop by to have a look.

We watched the crew film a scene on Washington Ave outside the state Education Building. (The state Ed Building is standing in for Washington DC.) The crew will be filming in Albany through the night, and then in Schenectady Friday evening. [Daily Gazette]

Here are a bunch of photos -- and a short video clip -- from this afternoon's shoot...

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HBO Ali movie shooting in Albany -- parking, traffic restrictions, action

muhammad ali 1967The crew for the HBO film Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight will be shooting in downtown Albany Thursday and into Friday morning. There will be significant parking and traffic restrictions on Thursday -- for example, sections of Washington Ave will be shut down for chunks of time. The list is after the jump.

Incidentally, you can also use the restrictions a guide for when/where to gawk at the filming.

A description of the film via the Albany County Convention & Visitors Bureau (link added):

The film centers on the cultural icon's battle with the United States government over his refusal to serve in the military due to his religious beliefs and opposition to the Vietnam War. Ali was arrested and found guilty on draft evasion charges, and later stripped of his boxing title and had his boxing license suspended. While not imprisoned, he did not fight again for nearly four years while his appeal reached the U.S. Supreme Court.

The film is directed by Stephen Frears (The Queen, Dirty Pretty Things, High Fidelity). It includes stars such as Christopher Plummer, Danny Glover, Frank Langella, and Benjamin Walker (OK, not really a star yet, but he's Abe Lincoln in the upcoming Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Yes, that's a real movie.) It looks like Ali will be appearing in the film as himself through archival film clips (which sounds a little odd).

Here's more about the story covered in the film from screenwriter Shawn Slovo. [Spectator (UK)]

photo: Ira Rosenberg via Wikipedia

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Texting during movies?! OMG, no!

colonie_center_theater_exterior.jpgPerhaps it's just an artifact of our rapidly impending old age, but this seems like an annoyingly bad idea: the head of Regal Entertainment -- which owns six movie theaters in the Capital Region, including the megaplexes at Crossgates and Colonie Center -- recently floated the idea that her chain could start allowing the use of mobile phones during some screenings in an attempt to attract "today's savvy moviegoer" (read: teens and young adults). "You're trying to figure out if there's something you can offer in the theater that I would not find appealing but my 18-year-old son [might]," she said at an industry panel discussion last week. [LA Times] [Deadline]

Watching a movie in a big theater is already borderline miserable. They run commercials for random crap before the movies. The kid behind you won't stop kicking your seat. And the guy next to you apparently thinks he's recording the DVD commentary for the film. Yes, please add officially sanctioned texting to this mix.

The only reason to go see a movie in a big theater these days is to watch a film on a huge screen in a somewhat immersive environment. Otherwise, you can be just as as happy (if not happier) watching at home with your comfy couch, flat screen TV, and popcorn at non-extortionist prices. Hearing the clack of tiny keys and catching the tiny white glow of a mobile while the person next you text her friends every time Chris Hemsworth flashes his pecs does not help cultivate the immersive experience. (Here's a counter argument.) [Slackerwood]

Remind us to hug the Spectrum the next time we're there.

By the way: The Alamo Drafthouse in Austin has a strict no-texting policy -- get caught texting, get thrown out.

YouthFX screening includes documentary about Tyler Rhodes

youthfx summer 2011The Grand Street Arts' YouthFX filmmaking program is premiering its 2011 short films this Thursday at the Madison Theater. Among the films on the slate: a documentary about Tyler Rhodes, the Albany High student who was fatally stabbed in Hoffman Park last year. From a press release:

Tylerʼs death sent shockwaves through the entire community at Albany High School, where he was a well-known student and athlete. This past summer many Youth FX participants, many who knew Tyler personally, brought up the idea of doing a documentary about his story and raising awareness about the issue of teen violence in Albany. Other films will include fiction shorts about lost relationships, the precarious allure of money, a documentary about local artists and a hilarious mockumentary about competitive texting. All the projects were conceived of and produced by the teen participants of Youth FX.

YouthFX is a summer program for teens that involves "the creative and technical aspects of digital filmmaking and doing hands on workshops to practice their skills." Liz met some of the teens involved last year and came away very impressed.

The screening at the Madison starts at 7 pm Thursday. Tickets are $7 (adults) and $5 (kids under 12).

photo via YouthFX Facebook

Oscar nominated short films

Morris Lessmore.jpg

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore -- a 2012 animated short nominee.

You can see a lot of this year's Oscar nominees in theaters now, and all the best picture nominees have screened in the Capital Region at some point. But it's harder to catch the short films. Sure, you can get them on Netflix later, but if you want to see them in the theater, before the Oscars, your opportunities are limited.

Over the next couple of weeks the collection of Oscar-nominated shorts -- both live action and animated-- are making a pass through the Capital Region.

Seeing the short film nominees can be a lot of fun. You get to see a whole bunch of well-told, vastly different stories in one sitting. We've left the event kind of marveling at the variety of stories, and at what filmmakers are able to do.

The Oscar-nominated short screenings open at The Spectrum on Friday, February 17 and run for one week. The Saratoga Film Forum is screening them from February 23-26. And Time and Space Limited in Hudson will show them February 10, 12, 23 and 24.

More on the boxing movie being filmed at the TU Center

Kent Moran - The Challenger director.jpgHere's a little more background on the film being shot at the TU Center next month. The Challenger, was written and directed by Kent Moran(that's his picture on the right), who says they signed Smallville's Justin Hartley for the film today. It will also star Moran and Ernie Sabella.

Moran says the film is an inspirational movie about a kid growing up in the South Bronx "He has to turn to boxing to win his life back. It's his journey of finding himself and getting confidence back and rekindling relationship with his family."

If you come to the TU Center for the February 4 fight, you'll have the opportunity to stay and be an extra in some of the crowd shots. That shoot will start around 10 pm and run through the night.

We spoke with Moran today and he says there will be a few other opportunities for locals to be a part of the film. They're looking to get a crowd to show up at the TU Center during the day on February 27, when they'll be filming scenes with some of the leads. That shoot may bleed over into the 28. He says it's a family film and they're looking for all types and all ages. Anyone who shows up will have a chance to take part.

The TU Center is the only Capital Region location being used in the film. The rest of the movie will be shot in The Bronx. Moran says he found the TU Center after a scout, but had heard the Albany was a supportive place to make films.

There are also a few small roles that remain un-cast and Moran says he may look to local actors to fill some of those.

A few years ago he wrote a film called Listen to Your Heart, which starred Cybil Shepard and Ernie Sabella. That film was distributed in limited theatrical release, then on-demand and then picked up by television. Moran describes The Challenger as "a low budget indie" and expects that it will be more of a festival film which will then make its way to theaters.

Tickets for Brunswick x2

The trailer for Brunswick.

Brunswick soundtrack Cover matthew carefullyDrawing's closed! Winner's been emailed!

The new documentary Brunswick -- about a farmer, local politics, and the tension between farming and development in Rensselaer County -- will be screened for the first time at the Spectrum next Wednesday (December 7). It's already sold out.

This Sunday at 7 pm, Matthew Carefully will be performing the music he composed for the Brunswick soundtrack at Caffe Lena. We're guessing it will be a packed house.

You still can go to both the screening and the concert -- because we're giving away a pair of tickets to both of them. To enter the drawing, please answer this question in the comments:

If could grow anything, what would it be?

Of course, "anything" in this case could be fruits or vegetables. It could also be... well... anything. Creative answers encouraged.

We'll draw one winner at random. That person will get a pair of tickets for each event. And if you could attend both, that would be extra swell.

Here's a bit more about Brunswick, which is directed by Nate Simms. And here's more from Matthew about the soundtrack. Bonus: the Caffe Lena show's opener is Bailiwick.

Important: All comments must be submitted by 10:30 am on Thursday (December 1, 2011) to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly -- seriously, if you win, we want to give you the tickets) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by noon on Thursday and must respond by 9 am Friday (December 2).

Brunswick

Debuting soon: Brunswick, a documentary by Nate Simms about the tension between development and farming in the Rensselaer County town. From the blurbage:

Brunswick is a film about landscape change, told through the personal story of a farmer's lifelong connection to his now-threatened land. The film weaves together the plight of Sanford Bonesteel, an aging farmer in his 90s, with the dynamics of small-town politics as a residential development is planned on Sanford's former land.
The film takes place in Brunswick, New York, a small country town facing the challenge of balancing economic growth with the preservation of its rural character. It is a story both specific to Brunswick and yet recognizable to rural communities all over the United States.

All we've seen of the doc is what it's in the trailer embedded above, but it appears to be about the proposed Highland Creek development, that was to be built on farmland acquired in a deal involving the town supervisor. The development was the subject of multiple lawsuits and allegations of conflicts of interest. Bonesteel passed away at the end of 2008. [Troy Record 2008] [Wikipedia] [Troy Record 2006] [Troy Record 2008]

The first screening of the doc will be December 7 at the Spectrum. Tickets are $6.

Bonus bit: The soundtrack for the documentary was composed and performed by Matthew Carefully, who will be performing the music at Caffe Lena on December 4.

Ass Backwards closer to release?

ass backwards AKA sister spirit still

What we think is a still from the movie. (We grabbed it from the Kickstarter page.)

Ass Backwards -- AKA Sister Spirit, AKA that movie that shot in Center Square and other parts of the Capital Region during summer 2010 -- was sold this week to a distributor, and IMBD has it listed for a 2012 release (with no specific date). [Media Mikes] [Variety]

Production on the film -- a comedy starring June Diane Raphael, Casey Wilson, Alicia Silverstone, Jon Cryer, Vincent D'Onofrio and a few other names you might recognize -- had stopped last year after financing for the project fell through, leaving many of the project's bills unpaid. Raphael and Wilson, who wrote the film, raised more than $50k on Kickstarter this past summer to help finish the project. [TU]

The description of the film from the Kickstarter page:

The story follows loveable losers Kate and Chloe who fancy themselves as high powered stylish New York City gals- even though they share a water bed, sell their eggs for cash and think a table at Starbucks is a corner office. They take a road trip back to their hometown to claim the beauty pageant crown that eluded them as children.

One of the movie's producers is Molly Conners, an Albany native who also worked on Frozen River.

[via Justin, who says the production still owes him money]

Film Columbia 2011

crandell theater chatham

The screenings are at The Crandell Theater in Chatham.

By Siobhan Connally

FilmColumbia -- the annual film festival in Chatham -- has become very popular.

So popular that the all-films pass for this year's festival, which starts next week, already sold out. But tickets are still available for most of the individual film screenings and events.

As in year's past, this year's lineup includes a handful of much-anticipated films.

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A super villain's greatest challenge: motherhood

super knocked up doctors office

Awkward.

By Emily Rippe

Jeff Burns is a pretty cool guy, for a geek.

Born and raised in the Capital Region, Burns is fairly certain he was born a geek -- though he doesn't recall the exact details -- and proudly embraces the title. Among the indicators:

1. His favorite movies are the original three Star Wars flicks.
2. He has a penchant for Shakespeare, medieval history and musicals (getting geekier...)
3. He just wrapped up the filming portion of his new live action web-series Super Knocked Up.

That last bit screams geek, but since he spends his free time surrounded by gorgeous actresses portraying super-villains, he must be doing something right.

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William Kennedy's Prohibition Story

Legs Diamond Shoot Ryans Wake Bar.jpg

A scene from William Kennedy's Prohibition Story -- location: Ryan's Wake

Next week PBS premieres the new Ken Burns documentary, Prohibition.

There's quite a bit of prohibition era history wrapped up here in the Capital Region, and a whole bunch of talented local actors and filmmakers are working on a local companion piece that will air alongside the Burns documentary on PBS stations around New York State.

Here's a preview:

Watch the full episode. See more WMHT Specials.

More on the project, plus some great location photos, after the jump.

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Palace Theater movie series 2011-2012

We are laughing at the superior intellect -- November 21.

The Palace announced the lineup for its 2011-2012 movie series today (the topic came up recently).

The series starts October 24 with the Rocky Horror Picture Show. The rest of the schedule after the jump.

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The Virgin Alexander screening

virgin alexander screening charlotte sean

Virgin Alexander directors Charlotte Barrett and Sean Fallon during a post-screening Q&A.

We had a lot of fun last night at the two Virgin Alexander screenings at The Spectrum.

It was good to finally see the indie comedy that shot in Saratoga last summer. And it was interesting to hear from writer/directors Charlotte Barrett and Sean Fallon in the post-screening Q&A. (Q: How did a Rensselaer County sheriff's department car end up in the movie? A: What sheriff's department car...)

Thanks to everyone who came to the screenings. We were very happy to meet so many people again -- and meet others for the first time. (Tim looks just like his Twitter thumbnail when properly framed.) And many thanks to The Spectrum and New World Bistro Bar for working with us on the event.

A few more pics from the night are after the jump.

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A few tickets left for Virgin Alexander screening at The Spectrum

virgin alexander still adirondack trustJust a quick reminder that a few tickets are left for the 9 pm screening tonight of Virgin Alexander at The Spectrum. The 6:30 pm screening for the indie comedy shot in Saratoga last summer is already sold out.

The film's writers/directors -- Sean Fallon (a Saratoga native) and Charlotte Barrett -- will be there tonight to introduce the film and answer questions afterward.

Tickets are $9.25, the regular price for a movie at the Spectrum. You can buy them online until 2 pm. If you're planning to go, it's probably a good idea to buy ahead -- it looks like the second screening will also sell out.

After 2 pm, remaining tickets will be available at the Spectrum box office starting at 3 pm.

Yep, AOA organized these screenings.

Tickets for Virgin Alexander

virgin alexander still adirondack trust

Rick Faugno and Bronson Pinchot in a scene shot in the Adirondack Trust building.

OK, change of plan: we're just giving away the tickets -- and extended the deadline. (original post after the jump)

We're giving away two tickets to the soldout 6:30 pm screening of Virgin Alexander at the Spectrum on August 3. If you'd like to enter the drawing for them, answer this question in the comments:

What's your favorite movie comedy and why?

That's it. We'll draw a name at random.

As mentioned above, the 6:30 pm screening on August 3 is sold out. But we were able to add a second screening at 9 pm. There are still tickets available for the second screening. They're $9.25 (the regular price for a movie at the Spectrum). You can buy tickets online -- which we recommend, because the second screening is already about half full.

Important: Comments must be submitted by 5 pm Friday (July 29, 2011). You must answer the question completely to be in the drawing. And you must include a working email address (that you check regularly). The winner will be notified by noon on Saturday and must respond by 9 am Monday (August 1).

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Ballston Spa Film Festival lineup

Take your blind date to see Blind Date

The Ballston Spa Film Festival is coming up next week, and today it announced its lineup of films. A few highlights:

+Mineville - The BSFF is showing its first feature-length film this year: Mineville, which was shot in Essex County. It's about the struggle of early 1900s miners in the North Country to unionize. It stars William Sadler, Paul Sorvino, and Nick Wechsler.

+ There are two films from Aardman, the animation company behind Wallace & Gromitt: Blind Date (embedded above) and Fly.

+ The Gruffalo - The animated short was nominated for an Oscar this year. It features the voices of Helena Bonham Carter and John Hurt.

+ Films from locals such as Kevin Craig West and Michael Feurstein.

The festival starts August 4. Screenings are free.

The full lineup is after the jump.

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Second Virgin Alexander screening added

After the first AOA-organized screening of Virgin Alexander at The Spectrum sold out in something like a day and a half, we started getting questions about whether there might be a second screening. And we now have an answer: yes!

The second screening will be the same day, August 3, at 9 pm. As with the 6:30 screening, the directors -- Sean Fallon and Charlotte Barrett -- will be there to introduce the film and answer questions afterward.

Virgin Alexander stars Rick Faugno, Paige Howard, Bronson Pinchot, and Mika Boorem. The indie comedy was shot last summer in Saratoga (Sean Fallon's a Saratoga native). Here's a recent review. The trailer is embedded above. You'll recognize a bunch of locations.

Tickets for the screening are available online. They're $9.25, the regular price for a movie at The Spectrum.

Earlier on AOA:
+ Virgin Alexander
+ An interview with Sean Fallon and Charlotte Barrett

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Virgin Alexander at the The Spectrum

Update: We've arranged for a second screening the same day.
____

We've been curious to see Virgin Alexander, the indie comedy that was shot last year in Saratoga. So we organized a screening.

Virgin Alexander will screen at The Spectrum on August 3. Directors Sean Fallon (a Saratoga native) and Charlotte Barrett will be there for a Q&A. And the first 50 people to buy a ticket for the screening will also get an invite to an after-party at the New World Bistro Bar just down the block.

Tickets are $9.25, the regular price for a movie at The Spectrum.

Virgin Alexander stars Rick Faugno, Paige Howard, Bronson Pinchot, and Mika Boorem. Here's a recent review. The trailer is embedded above. You'll recognize a bunch of spots in Saratoga.

The film just screened in New York City this past weekend at VisionFest. It was nominated for five awards and won for editing.

This Spectrum screening is the first and only currently scheduled local showing of the film. You can buy tickets online -- and you should, if you're planning to go. We've heard a lot of people asking about a local screening, so we expect a full house. It should be a good time.

Earlier on AOA:
+ Virgin Alexander
+ An interview with Sean Fallon and Charlotte Barrett

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Scouting the places beyond the pines

place beyond the pines location inquiryThere were a few reports this week that pre-production crews for The Place Beyond the Pines, the movie starring Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper, were scouting locations around the Schenectady area.

Jason tweeted that the film's director, Derek Cianfrance, actually stopped by his house Thursday. And @BUNKRE shared the flyer a location scout had left on his house in the Old Niskayuna neighborhood. That's the flyer on the right -- there's a bigger version after the jump.

The flyer says crews are "tentatively scheduled" to film in the neighborhood sometime in September. And the description of the film:

Luke [Ryan Gosling] is a professional motorcycle rider who turns to bank robberies to support his newborn son. But when he crosses paths with a rookie police officer [Bradley Cooper] their violent confrontation spirals into a tense generational feud. THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES is a rich dramatic thriller that traces the intersecting lives of fathers and sons, cops and robbers, heroes and villains.

It's not any more far-fetched than Angelina Jolie jumping from trucks while being chased by the CIA with the Albany skyline in the background.

By the way: the name Schenectady comes from a Mohawk word that roughly means "beyond the pine plains."

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Back in town: Eric Ayotte

By Jessica Pasko

eric ayotteTraveling film fest impresario, musician and Troy native Eric Ayotte will be back in town this week, performing and showing films at Tuesday at the Albany Social Justice Center.

While living in the New Paltz area, Ayotte had the idea for a traveling film festival that could help foster a stronger community for DIY filmmakers like himself. That led to the creation of the Gadabout Film Festival almost a decade ago, a collection of short films that Ayotte and others brought from town to town in a bio-diesel powered van. Since then, the festival has completed several national tours and screened the works of filmmakers from all over the country and the world. It's a festival that's not competitive and is aimed more at creating connections and building communities among those producing truly independent film.

Ayotte's also a musician and he'll be showing off both talents at Tuesday's show.

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Skipping ahead to the good parts

salt trailer 2 ESP

Hey, that's not Washington, DC...

Amy pointed out recently that both Salt and The Other Guys are now available for streaming from Netflix -- which makes it a lot easier to just watch the scenes shot in Albany.

If you're so inclined, here's where the Albany scenes show up...

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Hey, that's Dan Bazile up on the silver screen!

Dan BazileSusan emailed us this week: "Went to see a preview of The Adjustment Bureau last night at Colonie Regal, and WNYT and Dan Bazile have a cameo in the movie."

How about that! We hadn't heard about this, so we emailed Dan for the scoop about his appearance on a screen that's a bit bigger than the one where he usually appears.

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Like Salt in a wound

salt ending credits no thanks for Albany

Angelina, how could you?

Akum pointed this out the other day: Albany gets no love in the credits for Salt.

New York City, New York State, Westchester County, and the Washington Metro all get a "special thanks" -- but not the city that contributed its Beltway-like overpasses. The city with an "elaborate freeway system" specifically praised by the director of the movie, and touted as a "supporting character" in one of the action scenes.

Well. We feel a little used.

Earlier on AOA:
+ So, is Salt any good?
+ More Angelina and more Albany
+ That's Angelina and that's Albany

Virgin Alexander trailer

Check it out: there's now a trailer for Virgin Alexander, the indie film that shot in Saratoga last summer. You'll probably recognize a few local spots:

Virgin Alexander was co-written and co-directed by Sean Fallon, a Saratoga Springs native, and his wife Charlotte Barrett. It stars Rick Faugno (as Alexander), Bronson Pinchot (yep, Cousin Balki), Mika Boorem (Dawson's Creek) and Paige Howard (daughter of Ron).

We hear they still have a few more weeks of work left on the film. They're aiming for a release sometime this year.

Earlier on AOA:
+ Virgin Alexander coming along (photos)
+ A chat with Sean Fallon and Charlotte Barrett
+ Virgin Alexander

The Grand Street Arts' Youth FX

YouthFX People

Darian, Bhawin and Michael at Grand Street Community Arts Center

By Liz Clancy Lerner

Darian Henry and Michael Mejia are teenage filmmakers from Albany and they're presenting their work at Madison Theater Thursday night. They're part of Grand Street Community Arts Youth FX , a six week intensive, hands-on summer film program.

The mission of Youth FX is to "empower and inspire youth through the acquisition of technical skills in the emerging field of digital media as well as to foster their creativity through the art of visual storytelling." I can't speak for all of the students, but from the short time I spent with Darian, Michael and the program's director, Bhawin Suchak -- their mission succeeded, and then some.

Their film, The Third Rail, blew me away. I had the opportunity to screen it this past week and I wasn't expecting what I saw -- at all.

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Q-Fest at Proctors

The trailer for The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

By Liz Clancy Lerner

Q-Fest, Proctors' LGBTQ film festival, begins tonight.

If you're thinking about going, but can't figure out which movie(s) you want to see, we've got the synopses and reviews below. There's a whole range of films -- from serious activist documentaries, to the campy ABBA-soundtracked films...

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Confirmed: EMPAC looked at for Iron Man 3

empac_bottom_look_up.jpgAfter mentioning the rumors about EMPAC possibly being used as location for the next Iron Man movie on Monday, we heard from multiple sources that members of the RPI administration talked about the possibility at this week's Student Senate meeting. So we followed up for an official confirmation.

And here it is, via EMPAC media rep Jason Steven Murphy:

We can further confirm, as you have seen around the internet, that Marvel was given a tour some time back in regards to possibly using EMPAC as a location for the "Iron Man 3" shoot.

So, there you go. Giving a location scout a tour is a long way from Robert Downey Jr actually showing up in EMPAC's lobby. But it's a fun thought, right?

ComicBookMovie.com reported that EMPAC was being scouted as "the secret lab of the unspecified villain in Iron Man 3." If this unspecified villain's MO includes using mixed-media in non-standard narrative performances, you gotta figure EMPAC's at the top of the list.

Iron Man 3 is slated to be released in May 2013 (the character will make an appearance in the Avengers movie slated for 2012). So, you figure shooting (wherever it happens) will probably start sometime late next year or in early 2012.

Earlier on AOA: EMPAC for Iron Man 3?

EMPAC for Iron Man 3?

empac_exterior_looking_up.jpg

Fit for a villain?

Update December 1, 2010 RPI has confirmed a location scout did tour EMPAC for possibly using it in Iron Man 3.
____

Totally unconfirmed, should-be-taken-with-a-shaker-of-salt rumor of the day: EMPAC is being scouted as a location for the next Iron Man movie.

From a post last week at ComicBookMovie.com:

And I was also tipped months ago that from an attendee, a Marvel Studios rep took a tour of the Experimental Media Performing Arts Center (EMPAC), location scouting for a place in the multi-venue center, located in Troy, New York to act as the secret lab of the unspecified villain in Iron Man 3. The attendee included that no decision was final, but was under consideration.

For what it's worth, this same rumor popped up in an IMDB comment thread in September. And EMPAC does look the part.

We contacted EMPAC's media rep, Jason Steven Murphy, to see what was up. His response via email:

EMPAC at Rensselaer is always involved in numerous ongoing discussions with various parties, related to work and/or performances that could take place here. As a matter of policy, we generally do not make any announcements until and if any final arrangements have been made and agreements have been signed.

OK, kind of what we expected. But it wasn't a denial, either.

Iron Man 3 is slated to be released in May 2013 (Iron Man -- and Robert Downey Jr -- will make an appearance in the Joss Whedon-directed Avengers movie in 2012). So, you figure shooting (wherever it happens) will probably start sometime late next year or in early 2012.

Virgin Alexander coming along

virgin alexander behind the scenes

Paige Howard on the left, Mika Boorem in the center

It looks like Virgin Alexander, the indie film that shot in Saratoga this past summer, is almost finished. Based on the updates posted to the film's Facebook page, editing on the film is finished and they're working on the final mix.

The page also has a bunch of photos from the shoot.

Virgin Alexander was written and directed by Sean Fallon and Charlotte Barrett (Fallon grew up in Saratoga). The film features Rick Faugno (as Alexander), Bronson Pinchot (yep, Cousin Balki), Mika Boorem (Dawson's Creek) and Paige Howard (daughter of Ron).

Earlier on AOA:
+ Virgin Alexander
+ An interview with Sean Fallon and Charlotte Barrett

photo via Virgin Alexander Facebook

FilmColumbia


The trailer for Tiny Furniture

The annual FilmColumbia festival in Chatham starts up this Wednesday and runs through Sunday. This year's slate of films looks very good.

Here's the full schedule. A bunch of films that caught our attention are after the jump.

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30 years of The Spectrum

spectrum exterior

Good movies -- and your feet don't stick to the floor.

The Spectrum is celebrating its 30th anniversary of operation this Sunday. And they're giving away free popcorn to people attending movies that day (real butter!).

A little bit about the history of the Spectrum, from a press release:

In 1980, Scott Meyer, Annette Nanes, Keith Pickard, and Sugi Pickard acquired and renovated the Third Street Theatre in Rensselaer, NY to program repertory cinema. In 1983 they bought the former Delaware Theater on Delaware Ave. in Albany and eventually expanded their programming and the number of screens to 8. In 2005, The Ultraviolet Café, serving fair trade coffee and teas, smoothies, paninis, and soups was added next door. The four partners still operate the Spectrum.

Delaware Ave is looking really good these days -- thanks to the reconstruction, but also because of a bunch of new (and good) businesses along there. It'd be hard to imagine all that development without the Spectrum anchoring that stretch.

Metropolis at Proctors

This could be cool: Proctors is showing the remastered version of Metropolis, the landmark 1926 film by Fritz Lang. The silent film will be accompanied by a new score written for -- and played live on -- Proctors' Wurlitzer organ.

Metropolis includes some striking imagery -- especially for its time. This new version of the film also features 25 minutes from the original that were thought to be lost -- until someone found the footage in archive in Argentina in 2008. The newly put-back-together version of the film debuted earlier this year.

There will be two screenings at Proctors -- this coming Sunday (at 2 pm) and Monday (7:30 pm). Tickets are $10 ahead of time, $12 at the door.

Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then

This could be interesting/odd/compelling: EMPAC is screening Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then Friday night. It's a stop-motion film, using live actors and wooden characters, directed by Brent Green. From the blurb:

Based on the true tale of Kentucky hardware clerk Leonard Wood, Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then tells an inspiring, poignant, and darkly humorous love story of a man who built a bizarre and sprawling home for his wife by hand in the hope that it would cure her of terminal cancer. Accompanied by a stellar band of musicians that include Brendan Canty (Fugazi), Howe Gelb (Giant Sand), Catherine McRae, and others, Green uses intense narration ranging from quiet, vulnerable storytelling to cathartic fumes bordering on the evangelistic.

The screening starts at 8 pm. Tickets are $15.

NY Post gives harsh thumbs down to local kid film critic

You've probably seen Jackson Murphy, a local 11-year-old, do movie reviews on YNN. He goes by the name "Lights Camera Jackson." He started reviewing movies when he was seven.

Murphy's gotten a lot of attention for his reviews. He's won an Emmy. He's interviewed Jane Lynch (you know, from Glee). And in July, he appeared on the CBS Early Show (embedded above).

That CBS appearance set off NY Post film critic Kyle Smith. From his almost-800-word piece:

Leave aside that our latest cultural commentator is too young to see PG-13 movies. Forget the shouty nonsense he thinks equals a movie review. Let's get to the real issue: me. Am I jealous? As Jackson would put it, "Of COURSE!"
Being a movie critic these last five years has been like Act 3 of a slasher flick. What happened to all my friends?
If there are beaming 11-year-old stage monsters who can do my job well enough to be on national television, WHY DIDN'T I GO TO LAW SCHOOL?

Dude. A little touchy, huh.

Smith's piece did include this bit we hadn't known: Jackson Murphy is the son of former WTEN sport anchor Dan Murphy.

[via @Metroland]

EMPAC Fall 2010

laurie anderson empac fall 2010The schedule for the upcoming fall season at EMPAC is out. And, as we've come to expect, it includes a bunch of interesting/odd/challenging shows.

Here are a few that caught our eye while scanning the list...

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Classic movies at The Palace 2010-2011

NorthByNorthwest posterThe Palace Theater in Albany has released the schedule for its 2010-2011 classic movie series.

It looks like a good slate: North By Northwest, Bonnie and Clyde, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and a bunch other favorites. The full schedule is after the jump.

The films run on Monday nights. They're $5 for adults and $3 for kids. You can buy a season pass for all 18 films for $45 (that's half price).

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The Drum Set

Check out this short film by Niskayuna high school student Alexandre Gilmet. There's a twist at the end.

"The Drum Set" won the "best film high school" award at the Ballston Spa Film Festival this past weekend. It also won the "best direction" award at the Rod Serling Video Festival, a statewide competition for high school students.

What about The Other Guys?

other guys grab 1

A shot from the opening scene of The Other Guys -- the sequence was filmed in downtown Albany.

The Other Guys, the Will Ferrell-Mark Wahlberg cop comedy that shot a scene in Albany, is in theaters today.

Is it any good? Metacritic gives it a score of 64 (generally favorable reviews). And Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 79 percent (certified fresh).

Here are a few clips from reviews...

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Sister Spirit looking for extras

Hamilton Street -Sister Spirit.JPGSister Spirt, the movie that's been shooting in Albany, is looking for "sisters" to be extras in scenes next week.

An email from the casting director is after the jump -- it also includes details about who's starring in the movie (Alicia Silverstone, Vincent D'Onofrio and a few other actors you might recognize).

Oh, and if you play the didgeridoo, here's the chance you've been waiting for...

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The Ballston Spa Film Festival

french roast film still

French Roast, last year's animated short winner, was nominated for an Oscar. It's screening again this year.

Move over Cannes. Stand back Sundance.

This weekend short films from around the world will be screened in Ballston Spa.

The third annual Ballston Spa Film Festival gets underway tomorrow night. 45 short films from as far away as Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Indonesia and as nearby as -- well -- Ballston Spa, will be screened both outdoors at Wiswall Park in the village and indoors at Ballston Spa High School.

A whole weekend's worth of movies, workshops and panel discussions --for free.

A little preview after the jump.

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A chat with the producer of the mysterious Albany movie

Hamilton Street -Sister Spirit.JPG

On location for Sister Spirit.

OK, so as it turns out, the current working title of the movie currently filming in Albany is, in fact Sister Spirit -- though you'll have more luck finding info online searching for Ass Backwards, the original title.

Molly Conners, a Capital District native is one of the producers of Sister Spirit (she also co-produced the Oscar-nominated Frozen River, filmed in Plattsburgh, starring Melissa Leo). Conners took a few minutes from the set today to answer what she could about the movie, working in Albany, and yesterday's unfortunate Hamilton Street towing incident.

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Inside the movie house on Hamilton Street

Nymphs and satyr 1.JPG

What, your dining living room doesn't look like this?

Yesterday, while we were on Hamilton Street checking out the set of that movie (whatever it's going to be called) we got a quick look inside the house where they're filming.

Turns out the 140 year old brownstone is kind of interesting on its own, even without a movie crew hanging around.

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Details on the mysterious Albany movie shoot

Ass Backward shoot

The scene on Hamilton Street this morning.

Updated August 8: a casting email that went out on Friday included more details about who's staring (Alicia Silverstone, Vincent D'Onofrio)

Updated August 4 -- we talked with one of the movie's producers.

The movie that's been filming in various locations around Albany in the last week landed on Hamilton Street in Center Square today.

We checked out the scene and picked up a few details (and photos) about the very hush-hush production.

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So, is Salt any good?

Salt movie stubs from the Spectrum

Lou got two tickets to see Salt at the Spectrum.

By Lou Quillio

Because Albany makes a cameo -- or, perhaps, even stars as a "supporting character" -- in Salt, we thought it would be fun to have someone do a review. So we asked people to post comments about their favorite movies and we picked one person for the review. That person was Lou. Here's his review...

What isn’t Salt? It isn’t about vampires, hasn’t time for quirky characters, and there’s no sex except for what seeps from Angelina Jolie’s pores. Since that’s not her fault, there’s no sex. Technically.

Let’s stop here for a survey.

Dislike modern action pictures? Trouble suspending mild, fast-moving disbelief? Testosterone-intolerant? Live in an arthouse? Salt is not for you. Ignore it. Your Farmville needs tending.

Salt works. If you like the Bourne films, you’ll like Salt — in some ways less, others more.

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We want you to review Salt

salt trailer 2 U-Haul

The U-Haul building, serving as an extra with Angelina.

Update: Lou will be reviewing Salt!

Update: The deadline has passed. We'll contact the winner tonight. Thanks to everyone who entered!

As you know, Salt -- the Angelina Jolie movie -- was partially shot here in Albany (the director would like to thank the citizens). And it opens this Friday.

So, we're looking for someone to review the movie. And that person could be you. Here's the deal:

+ Post a comment telling us what your favorite movie is, and explain why. It doesn't have to be anything long. A few sentences will do.

+ Based on the posted comments, we'll pick a winner to review Salt.

+ That person will get two free tickets to see Salt at the Spectrum this weekend -- so you can bring a friend (it's always good to talk about a movie with someone afterward).

+ The winner then sends us a short review of Salt by Monday at 9 am. The review should be no more than 500 words. And we hope you'll pay special attention to Albany's cameos in the movie (787 apparently makes quite an appearance).

+ We post the review later that day.

So, that's the deal. We think this could be fun.

Important: One entry person. You must answer the question to be considered. Your comment must be posted by 5 pm Wednesday July 21. You must include a working email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified by 11:59 pm on Wednesday and must respond by noon on Thursday July 22.

Earlier on AOA:
+ Lining up for Salt
+ More Angelina and more Albany
+ That's Angelina and that's Albany
+ Angelina Jolie to stop traffic in downtown Albany

screengrab: Sony

The director of Salt would like to thank you

salt shot albany

So, a supporting actor nod for 787?

Said Salt director Phillip Noyce of the action scenes shot in Albany, to NBC:

"Due to excessive pork barreling over the years, the capital of New York has built up the most elaborate freeway system you have ever seen," Noyce said at a screening of the film on Monday night.
There was even "one overpass to nowhere which just stopped," he added with a little surprise. While clearly a symbol of taxpayer waste, Noyce had to admit: "It was really convenient to one (movie) sequence," he said. "It's a tragedy (for taxpayers) but great for filming."

The article goes on to mention that Salt "is impressive in its use of the freeway as a supporting character in one memorable action scene."

The movie opens this Friday.

Earlier on AOA:
+ More Angelina and more Albany
+ That's Angelina and that's Albany

screengrab: Sony

Proctors animation festival

still from Persepolis

Persepolis

If you're looking for something fun (and air conditioned) to do this week, you might want to stop by Proctors' animation festival, which started Sunday and continues through Friday.

The festival is showing a handful of animated flicks each day. The lineup includes 15 films -- among them a few old ones (1939's Gulliver's Travels) and a bunch of newer ones (Coraline). Among the highlights:

+ The Iron Giant (directed by Brad Bird, the guy directed The Incredibles and Ratatouille for Pixar) - Tuesday at noon, Wednesday at 4 pm

+ Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit (Cheese, Gromit!) - Thursday at 8pm

+ Persepolis (based on Marjane Satrapi's coming of age graphic novel set during the Iranian revolution) - Tuesday at 6 pm, Wednesday at 8 pm

Here's the full schedule.

Tickets are $3 for each film. A week-long pass is $15.

image: Sony Picture Classics

Lining up for Salt

line for Salt premiere tickets at The Palace

They really want to see Angelina on 787.

Mike sent along this picture of people camped out this morning around 9 am for the last 300 tickets for the Salt premiere at the Palace Theatre.

The tickets were released at 10 am, but the line had formed long before that. Shelley Thomas, the box office manager at the Palace, told us that people started lining up at 6 am this morning. At 10 am, she says they gave out all the remaining tickets to people in the line.

The Albany Salt premiere is July 22. It opens July 23.

Earlier on AOA:
+ More Angelina and more Albany
+ That's Angelina and that's Albany

photo: Mike Wren

Last bunch of Salt premiere tickets released today

salt trailer 2 U-Haul

Will the U-Haul building and other Albany landmarks make it into the final cut?

Update: @tenacioustij reports that the tickets are all gone -- and were gone before 10 am.

After apparently overwhelming demand, the Palace Theatre is releasing its last bunch of tickets to the July 22 Albany premiere of Salt today. The Palace says it will be giving out 300 of the free tickets at its box office starting at 10 am today.

If you're looking to snag tickets, you should show up early. The first batch of tickets was reportedly snapped up right away on Friday. There's a limit of four tickets per person. [Daily Gazette]

One of the big car chase scenes for Salt was shot in downtown Albany -- and Angelina Jolie was here for some of it. It'll be fun to see how much of the city has made it into the final version. You could see parts of the skyline very clearly in some of the trailers.

Salt opens in theaters July 23. The Other Guys -- the Will Ferrell cop comedy that also shot some scenes downtown -- opens August 6.

Earlier on AOA:
+ More Angelina and more Albany
+ That's Angelina and that's Albany

images: Sony Pictures

Sean Fallon, Charlotte Barrett & Virgin Alexander

Virgin Alexander directors Sean Fallon and Charlotte Barrett

Sean Fallon and Charlotte Barrett

When he was 13, Sean Fallon and his buddies were running around Saratoga making movies with a camcorder plugged into a VCR.

This summer, Sean Fallon and his wife and film making partner, Charlotte Barrett, will be running around Saratoga making movies again. Only this time they'll have high-def cameras, a professional crew and a cast that includes Bronson Pinchot (yep, Cousin Balki) , Paige Howard (Adventureland, daughter of actor/director Ron Howard) and Mika Boorem (Dawson's Creek, and a whole bunch of other stuff).

Sean and Charlotte wrote the script for Virgin Alexander -- their first feature film. They took time out from scouring garage sales and scouting locations to talk with AOA about the script, the cast, and shooting in Saratoga.

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Virgin Alexander

Alexander's House.jpg

The location set to play the main character's house -- it's on Crescent Street in Saratoga Springs.

Another movie is set to shoot in the Capital Region this summer. But there's no Angelina this time -- this film's an indie.

The "ultra low budget" romantic comedy Virgin Alexander will be filmed in Saratoga Springs in June. And the current casting rumors include Paige Howard (daughter of Ron and sister of Bryce) and Bronson Pinchot (yes, Cousin Balki himself).

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The Other Guys trailer

Check it out: the trailer for The Other Guys, one of the films that shot in downtown Albany last year, is now online:

You can see bits of Albany here and there -- if you look closely and don't blink. A few examples (with matching spectator video) are after the jump.

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More Angelina and more Albany

salt trailer 2 ESP

What isn't better with some Egg?

The second trailer for Salt popped up online today -- and it includes more shots of Albany (let's face it, 787 is really the star of this movie). As you can see above, the Egg and ESP get a cameo.

A few more screen grabs are after the jump.

It'll be interesting to see how much of Albany actually makes it into the movie. The first trailer included some shots of local signs -- it looks they've since been fixed with CGI so that they look like they're actually on the Beltway around DC.

Judging from the trailer, Salt looks it could be OK summer movie. Angelina against everybody. Car chases. Stuff blowing up. Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Salt is in theaters July 23. The Other Guys -- the Will Ferrell movie that also shot in downtown Albany last year -- is scheduled to be released August 6.

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TvFilm 2.0

TvFilm 2WMHT's indie cinema series is looking for another round of submissions:

WMHT is looking for the very finest, unique and original independently made short films upstate New York has to offer in order to showcase on TvFILM, premiering in June. Hosted by Brandon Bethmann, TvFILM will also engage dialogue with winning filmmakers to discuss the inspiration, ideas and concepts behind their work. In addition, TvFILM will profile the people, places and events that are shaping WMHT's growing independent film and media community.

The deadline to enter is April 16.

What your neighbors are watching tonight

edward scissorhands dvdAccording to Netflix, here are the DVDs that people in the Capital Region are currently renting "much more than other Netflix members."

Albany
Ride with the Devil

Schenectady
Snow Buddies

Clifton Park
Edward Scissorhands

Saratoga Springs
Music of the Heart

Troy
Scarface

The top 5 for each city/town is after the jump.

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Encounters at the End of the World

encounters end of the earth

From the doc.

EMPAC will be screening Werner Herzog's documentary Encounters at the End of the World this evening. From Manohla Dargis' review in NYT:

Few filmmakers make the end of days seem as hauntingly beautiful as Werner Herzog does, or as inexorable. In his documentary "Encounters at the End of the World," this professional madman and restlessly curious filmmaker travels to the blinding white of the Antarctic, where he meets melancholic scientists, brooding journeymen and various poets of the soul who, ensconced in the American headquarters, McMurdo Station, have traveled so far beyond the familiar coordinates -- so far beyond traditional cities, suburbs and banal existence -- that they might as well be on another planet.

Herzog has directed a whole bunch of films -- including the well-regarded 2005 doc Grizzly Man.

The screening starts at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $5.

Holiday Gift Guide: Spectrum passes

Spectrum Tickets.JPG

Just add popcorn (with real butter).

'Tis the season and all that, so chances are you're doing a little holiday shopping.

If you're looking for something cool and you want to shop local, the AOA elves have pulled together a few fun holiday gifts that come from right here in the Capital Region.

Day 1: the gift of film

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That's Angelina and that's Albany

salt shot albany

You can see the State Library in the background on the right.

The trailer for Salt, the Angelina Jolie spy movie that filmed in downtown Albany back in April, was posted online today. And you can make out Albany very clearly in some of the shots. (It looks like they digitally added the Washington Monument and a few other DC buildings to make it look like the Beltway.)

The full trailer is embedded after the jump. Albany's cameos start at about the 1:17 mark.

We also pulled another screengrab of a shot from I-787. It looks like the footage has been flipped horizontally. How can you tell? The interstate signs are backwards. We're guessing they'll fix that before the movie's released next year.

(Thanks, JMc and others!)

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Beware! Silent dinosaurs!

lost world still

Grr. Argh.

The Albany Public Library is starting a silent film series this evening. A screening of the 1925 film adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World will be accompanied by an original score by local electropop band Beware! The Other Head of Science. The APL says the Beware! crew has written "a fittingly unusual score to this dinosaur movie classic."

The screening starts at 7 pm in the large auditorium at the main branch on Washington Ave. It's free.

(Thanks, Jess!)

The Everything Film Show

madison theater marquee

A recent show about independent theaters featured Madison owner Jay Pregent.

By Jessica Pasko

Albany-based filmmaker Jeff Burns loved listening to film podcasts, but couldn't find exactly what he was looking for. So he created one of his own.

With friend and fellow filmmaker Jay Ruzicka, Burns started "The Everything Film Show" in April. Since then, the show has featured interviews with directors, producers and other people in the film business -- both national and local.

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Flipping over the Other Guys

Check out this video posted by YouTube user rimcrae -- it's of a van crashing/flipping over during the Other Guys shoot on Friday in downtown Albany:

You can see the crew run over to the van after it skids to a stop -- the stunt wasn't supposed to go exactly like that, apparently. It looked like everyone was OK.

Filming here in Albany on the movie wrapped this past weekend. There are a bunch of clips on YouTube of the locally-shot scenes -- including this Sunday's helicopter stunt.

Speeding Car + Ramp + Bus = Yeah!

Check out this video clip from the Other Guys shoot this past weekend in downtown Albany:

There's a clip of the same stunt, from a different angle, after the jump (the sound is better on the second clip).

And check out the pic Brian posted of the car stuck in the side of the bus.

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More from the Other Guys shoot

motorcycle

Vroom.

B captured this photo from The Other Guys shoot in downtown Albany. He has a handful of others, including one that shows a prop guy holding an enormous gun, posted in a photoset. (Brian snapped a few pictures yesterday, too.)

An article in the TU today also included a bunch of good photos. Interesting fact from the piece: the days of shooting here will result in all of three minutes of movie.

Earlier on AOA: Detours and parking restrictions related to the shoot

photo: B

The Other Guys shoot in Albany

other guys shoot 1

It's a spoof of buddy cop movies.

Check out the pic Brian took this morning at the shoot of that Will Ferrell/Mark Wahlberg movie in downtown Albany near Broadway and State.

The film crew is scheduled to be in town through next Monday shooting action shots and exteriors. Apparently none of the headlining stars will be here.

A few more photos after the jump.

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Detours/parking restrictions for that Will Ferrell movie shoot



Map created by Craig -- here's a bigger version

Hollywood is in town, which is either exciting or annoying, depending on where you live and where you work. Next week Columbia Pictures will start shooting in Albany for the Will Ferrell/Mark Wahlberg movie "The Other Guys."

Since the scenes will be shot on the streets of downtown Albany, parts of downtown will be closed to road and pedestrian traffic. So if you live or work downtown, you're going to
need to plan ahead. And if you just want to...you know ... gawk at movie stars (well, stunt people) and take pictures, you'll know need to know where to do that too.

Scheduled closings and detours and filming sites after the jump:

(Thanks B.!)

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The Sounds of Science

seahorse xray

Painleve is also know for his films about octopi.

EMPAC has something that looks nerdy/beautiful/cool going on Thursday evening. It's "Unfiction" series will be showing The Sounds Of Science, eight short films by French filmmaker Jean Painlevé. And get this: the films have an original score by Yo La Tengo.

Here's a blurb about Painleve from the Criterion Collection (there's also a clip at that link):

The mesmerizing, utterly unclassifiable science films of Jean Painlevé (1902-89) have to be seen to be believed: delightful, surrealist-influenced dream works that are also serious science. The French filmmaker-scientist-inventor had a decades-spanning career in which he created hundreds of short films on subjects ranging from astronomy to pigeons to, most famously, such marine-life marvels as the sea horse and the sea urchin.

The screening starts at 7:30 pm. Tickets are required, but they're only $5.

image: Buste d'Hippocampe, Jean Painlevé 1931 © Les Documents Cinématographiques, Paris

Waiting four hours for your 15 minutes

Casting call line.JPG

Yep, it wrapped around the corner of State Street.

So on Saturday we thought we'd head over to the Crowne Plaza and check out the casting call for extras The Other Guys, that that Will Ferrell/Mark Wahlberg movie that's shooting in Albany.

Whoa!

We stopped by about an hour after things got going. By then the line wrapped around a ballroom twice, down a long corridor, out the door and down the block. Eventually it rounded the corner of State Street.

Over a thousand people showed up for at for the casting call. Who was there? It was a mix of professional and amateur actors and folks who were just out to have a little fun and maybe get a few seconds of screen time. Some people waited up to four hours for a two minute interview with the casting director.

A few more pictures of the scene after the jump.

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Will Ferrell movie shooting in Albany

will ferrell anchorman

The movie is being directed by the same guy who directed Anchorman.

So you didn't get your car into the highway scene in Salt and you weren't cast as a hippie in Taking Woodstock? Well, you've got another chance to grab a few seconds of big screen fame. Hollywood is coming back to A-Town and they're looking for extras.

Columbia Pictures will be casting extras for an upcoming Will Ferrell movie called The Other Guys. There's an open casting call on Saturday from 9AM-8PM at The Crown Plaza in Albany.

The movie also stars Mark Wahlberg and Craig Robinson (Darryl, from The Office).

Shooting is scheduled for September 23rd through October 4th. No word yet on what the movie is about, exactly where they're filming or if Ferrell or the other stars will be in town for the shoot. Update: The TU reports that there will be some shooting in downtown Albany.

(Thanks, K!)

Ballston Spa Film Festival 2009

come wander

Come Wander with Me

The Ballston Spa Film Festival is back this year -- and it's added a third day.

This year's schedule gets rolling Thursday night with the premiere of the second season of eScape, the kids series directed by local filmmaker Mike Feurstein. Here's the trailer -- it looks like the second season has some good special effects.

Friday and Saturday nights feature a slate of short films. One of the highlights from Friday: Phillip Van's Come Wander with Me, which looks beautiful and strange.

Many of the screenings at the BSFF are outdoors in Wiswall Park. The Thursday screening of eScape starts at 9 pm. Friday and Saturday night screenings start at 7 pm and 9 pm. Screenings are free.

While the muggles sleep...

harrypotter halfbloodLocal Harry Potter fans will be at the movies tonight.

As of this afternoon, 13 screenings of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince had sold out at local theaters, according to Fandango. Everything was bought up at Colonie Center and there was one showing still open at Crossgates.

There were still open midnight screenings at The Spectrum (you can now buy online), the AMC Loews Rotterdam, and the Bow Tie Movieland in Schenectady (two screenings).

[via @CBS6]

Taking Woodstock

Taking Woodstock, the Ang Lee movie filmed in Columbia County, opens August 28 (August marks the 40th anniversary of the event). Here's the trailer (with a short intro by Demetri Martin, who plays one of the leads):

(The trailer's available in much higher quality at Apple's site.)

This film is a comedy -- and we gotta say the phrase "a comedy from Ang Lee" didn't exactly light us up. But the early reviews have been generally positive -- if anything, reviewers seem to think it actually is funny.

From what we hear, a bunch of local people were extras in the film. It'll be fun to see if we recognize anyone.

Earlier on AOA: A peek at the Taking Woodstock shoot

Justin Maine: "So Right, So Smart"

Justin.jpg

Justin Maine, one of the directors of "So Right, So Smart."

Local filmmaker Justin Maine just got back from New Zealand where he collected the Best Feature Film prize at the Reel Earth Festival for his new documentary, "So Right So Smart."

Maine is one of the owners of MagicWig Productions in Schenectady. Usually they produce corporate video, but for the last three years his team (Guy Noerr, Leanne Robinson Maine and Michael Swantek) has been flying around the country documenting the efforts of businesses to "go green."

The resulting film, narrated by Daryl Hannah, covers a wide range of businesses -- from a farm to a brewery to a clothing company to Barenaked Ladies (yep, the band) to Wal-Mart.

So Right, So Smart makes its local debut on Saturday at Albany's Palace Theater.

Before he left for New Zealand, Justin hung out with us over bagels and told us how the worlds largest manufacturer of commercial carpeting taught him about the importance of going green, why Al Gore isn't in his movie and what he and his team have in common with folks like Kevin Smith and Peter Jackson.

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The revolution will take forever

Che still

Benicio del Toro takes his time in Che

If you ever wanted to see Steven Soderbergh's epic biopic Che in the theater, here's your chance. Or, rather, chances.

You see, Che is so long -- 4:17 to be exact -- that Proctors is showing it over two nights. Part one (The Argentine) is showing tonight. Part two (Guerilla) screens tomorrow. Tickets are $6 bucks a showing.

Is it worth the time? Well, Che has gotten "generally favorable" reviews -- though some people really liked it and others thought it was terrible. Maybe it helps to be wearing the t-shirt.

Also: Proctors has a bunch of movies on its slate for this month. Many of them are second-run pics (Curious Case of Benjamin Button, for example) that are only $3.

image: IFC Films

Local spots on the big screen

winter frozen dreams

From Winter of Frozen Dreams: yep, that's Schenectady.

A couple of films that were shot in the Capital Region have surfaced lately.

The Skeptic, which was shot in Saratoga and a few other local spots, opens at the Spectrum on Friday. The film's writer/director, Tennyson Bardwell, will be at the theater for a post-screening talk Friday and Saturday evening.

Bardwell told the Gazette recently that Upstate New York is a good place to make movies because there's "not a jaded film community like you see in L.A. or New York." The centerpiece location of the The Skeptic is the Batcheller Mansion in Saratoga -- it's all over the film's trailer.

The other locally-shot movie is Winter of Frozen Dreams, which is based on "the bizarre tale of a brilliant biochemistry student who lead a shocking double life." It was shot at many locations around Schenectady -- in fact, First Prize Mike's shows up prominently in the trailer. WoFD is already available on DVD -- and it's scheduled to be shown at Proctors on May 14.

So are these movies any good?

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Angelina Jolie to stop traffic in downtown Albany

787 Corning view

The scene of a car chase?

Well, it might not actually be her, exactly. Parts of I-787 and the ramps to/from the ESP are scheduled to be closed toward the end of this week -- and at times during the next two weeks -- so scenes for an Angelina Jolie movie can be filmed.

The movie is called Salt. It's a spy thriller. Jolie's character is some sort of CIA agent who's wrongly accused and has to clear her name and save the world. Apparently Tom Cruise was originally scheduled to play the leading role (though, sadly, not in drag) -- the gender of the lead character was changed when Jolie came on board. Liev Schreiber, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Smash from Friday Night Lights also star.

The production company isn't saying if Jolie will be in town for the filming. We're kind of curious why the scenes are being filmed here -- we'll poke around and see if we can find out.

(Thanks, B and Beth!)

The list of road closures is after the jump.

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The Hollywood Drive-In


So in these days of downloads, Netflix, Hulu and big screens in your living room, justifying going out to a movie might be tough. Never mind justifying going to see a movie while sitting in your car.

But that's what Frank Fisher thinks you should do.

Fisher's Family has been running The Hollywood Drive-In on Route 66 (yep, a drive-in on Route 66) since 1952. He took a few minutes to talk with us about why he still runs the place, what people get out of going to a drive-in... and the woman who tied her boyfriend up in the trunk.

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This American Life: Live

This American Life Live.jpgThe popular public radio show is taking its show on the virtual road. On Thursday April 23rd a live episode of TAL will be beamed to 400 theaters throughout the country -- including two in the Capital Region.

You can catch it at the Crossgates Regal Cinemas in Albany and -- in what's probably a place more fitting with the TAL aesthetic -- Time and Space Limited in Hudson. Scheduled contributors include Dan Savage, Starlee Kine, Mike Birbiglia and David Rakoff -- with a special guest appearance by Joss Whedon. Yep, Joss Whedon. That squealing you hear is all the public radio nerds crying out in thanks for their unexpected bounty.

Tickets are $20. You can buy them online for Crossgates. Reservations at TSL are via phone: (518) 822-8448. (It also looks like TSL will be showing an encore at Saturday, April 25.)

Harold and Maude at The Palace

Harold and Maude.jpg The Palace Theater's classic movie series continues tonight with the darkly funny cult classic Harold and Maude. This 1972 film about a May-December affair between a death obsessed 20 year old and a free-spirited 79-year old, is on AFI's list of funniest films (#45), most romantic films (#69) and most inspiring films (#89) and earned Oscar nominations for stars Bud Court and Ruth Gordon.

There are a lot of interesting questions beneath the surface of this dark comedy, but on the surface there are great performances, outrageously bizarre suicide attempts that shouldn't be funny--but are, and a Jaguar pimped out like a hearse. 7PM. $5

The Hitchcock Film Festival

hitchcock festivalProctors is showing a bunch of Alfred Hitchcock films this week. The series, organized by It Came From Schenectady, will show three Hitchcock flicks a day -- at 3, 5:30 and 8 pm -- Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Tickets are $6 for individual screenings -- but you can also buy a $25 pass that will get you into all the showings.

It looks like the best slate might be Friday: Rear Window plays at 5:30 followed by Psycho at 8.

(Thanks, Kim!)

Zidane at EMPAC

zidane

All Zizou, all the time.

EMPAC's "unfiction" series continues this Friday with a screening of Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait.

The documentary follows soccer great Zinedine Zidane* through the course of a 2005 club match -- literally. Seventeen cameras were used to shoot Zidane -- and only Zidane -- the whole time.

Wrote Manhola Dargis in NYT:

You learn little by way of hard facts about the adored French soccer star and famous head-butter Zinédine Zidane in the formalist exercise that bears his name. But after 90 absorbing minutes watching him walking and running across a field in "Zidane," dripping and pouring sweat, inscrutably staring into space and the breathing, cheering wall of humanity circling him, and leaping and twisting into the air to guide the ball toward victory, he will seem more expressively human, less of an aesthetic conceit and more of a man, than he does at the start of this self-described "21st Century Portrait."

Added Wired: "Zidane plays like an extremely expensive, star-driven conceptual art project."

Here's the trailer.

EMPAC is showing Zidane Friday at 8 pm in its theater. Tickets are $5. Word is this could be a sell-out, so you might want to think about buying ahead of time.

*For those who don't follow soccer (er, football), Zidane is one of the greatest players of the last decade -- and maybe of all time. And, yep, he's also the guy who bizarrely head butted an opposing player during the 2006 World Cup.

still: Universal

Rachel and Slumdog tonight

rachelgettingmarried posterIf you're looking for something to get out of the house this evening (bundled up, of course), it might be a good night to see a movie.

Proctors is showing Rachel Getting Married today in its GE Theater at 2:45, 5:15 and 7:30. Rachel was one of the best-reviewed movies of last year -- and Anne Hathaway's performance in it was nominated for an Oscar. Tickets are $6.

Also: it's discount night at the Spectrum (all shows $7). The current slate of films includes four of the five Best Picture nominees (including winner Slumdog Millionaire) and the highly-rated The Wrestler.

Frozen River out on DVD

Frozen River posterFrozen River, the Oscar-nominted film written and directed by Chatham's Courtney Hunt, was released on DVD this week.

Netflix has Frozen River currently tagged as a "long wait" disc. Blockbuster's site indicates the film is available at what looks like all of its local stores (alas, no permalink). And Hollywood Video's site says it's available at "most" of its stores.

As for purchase: Amazon has it for $19.99, B&N for $20.29 and Borders for $30.99.

Frozen River is currently the highest rated film on the recent DVD release list at Metacritic.

Earlier stuff about Frozen River on AOA.

Casablanca at The Palace on Monday

Casablanca.jpgHere's the best pre-Valentine's Day date value in the Capital Region. Casablanca -- on the big screen at The Palace -- for $5.

Yes it's on a Monday night, but it's Casa-freaking-blanca! The classic tale of intrigue and romance is #2 on AFI's list of the top 100 films (Citizen Kane is #1). Has it become a little cliche-- maybe. But we don't care. Bogart is charming, Bergman is gorgeous, Paul Henreid is dashing. But our favorite has always been Claude Rains as the cad of a police chief ( "I'm shocked, shocked to learn that gambling is going on in this establishment.")

For 20 bucks you can make a night of it with the dinner and a movie package at The Victory Cafe. Casablanca isn't one of the movies listed on their website, but we checked and the package still applies.

Here's lookin' at you kids.

Synecdoche in Schenectady

synecdoche.jpg

Synecdoche in Schenectady. Dude, that's meta.

Yes, it's finally happened. Charlie Kaufman's "Synecdoche" has come to Schenectady. Proctor's is showing the Kaufman flick which stars Phillip Seymour Hoffman as a Schenectady theater director who gets a MacArthur grant and builds a giant New York city, casting actors to play himself and everyone else in his life.

And you can see it in Schenectady. The only way this gets more meta is if Kaufman sits next to you and provides a running commentary. We caught it last week at the Spectrum. It left us with a charlie horse in our heads, but it was worth seeing. You can catch it tonight or at one of 3 showings on Wednesday for $6

Also, if the eloquence of the new administration has you missing words like misunderestimated and phrases like, "gynecologists can't practice their
love with women" you can catch Josh Brolin as #43 in Oliver Stone's "W" at Proctor's today and tomorrow. That one is only $3.

Waiting for Mercy

waiting for mercy stillWaiting for Mercy, A documentary about the two Muslim men caught in a 2004 FBI sting in Albany, has been playing this week at the Madison Theater. Here's the blurb from the doc's website:

Waiting for Mercy tells the story of a fabricated FBI sting operation that took place in Albany, New York during the winter, spring and summer of 2004. The complex operation was designed to entrap Yassin Aref, 37 (a refugee from Kurdistan in northern Iraq) and Mohammed Mosharref Hossain, 51, a United States citizen and an immigrant from Bangladesh.

There's a trailer up on Youtube.

There are still showings this week: at 7 pm and 9:30 pm today and Thursday. Tickets are $8.

(Thanks, Jess)

Scrooged at The Palace

SCROOGED posterAlright, enough with the snow, the shopping the wrapping, the baking. It's time for a holiday chuckle. The Palace Theater's Classic Movie Series continues tonight with our favorite version of the Christmas Carol story, Scrooged. Bill Murray plays a bitter TV executive who gets hysterical late night visits from David Johansen and Carol Kane. (One of the meanest/funniest Christmas movie moments ever -- when Murray's Scrooge
orders wardrobe to staple antlers to the mice to make them look more like reindeer.) If you've got time for dinner first, The Victory Cafe is running a $20 special for movie goers tonight.

Heads up, though, if you can't walk or take the bus: it's worth paying for space in the lot across from the Victory tonight. The movie starts at 7, but there's a snow emergency in effect in Albany tonight, which means you'll have to move the car at 8 you may have a holiday humbug of your own.

You. In a movie. In Troy.

Roman Jacquez, who directed the mini documentary about the 400 block of Troy's River street (embedded above), emailed us this week:

This coming Sunday, I will be directing a scene for a Christmas movie at Monument Square in Troy, just across the street of The Art Center. The scene I will be filming is the martini scene of the movie and entails a town coming together with candles around a Nativity Scene.

Here is a description line from the script Away In A Manger:
"In the gloomy dark, lighted candles appear. They come from all directions and glow like a small galaxy of flickering stars. The town's people with their tiny lights file around the stable and come close to the manger."

This could be a fun thing to do for those who want to be an extra... is definitely a great a excuse to go out for dinner at the nice restaurants in the neighborhood. We are looking for extras to join us and help create the atmosphere. The filming is between 5:30 and 8pm.

More honors for Frozen River

Frozen River posterFrozen River, the film directed by Chatham's Courtney Hunt, was nominated in a bunch of categories for this year's Spirit Awards (kind of like the Oscars for independent film).

It picked up nominations for best feature, best director, best first screenplay, best female lead (Melissa Leo), best supporting female (Misty Upham), best supporting male (Charlie McDermott), and a producers award. Frozen River won the grand jury prize earlier this year at Sundance. And it's gotten rave reviews from critics.

Synecdoche, New York, the Charlie Kaufman film that's partially set in Schenectady, also got a handful of Spirit nominations.

The winners will be announced in February.

(Thanks, Kelly!)

Twilight and ticket prices

Twilight posterAfter seeing a story about how the first midnight showings of the teen-lit vampire flick Twilight are selling out around the country, we decided to check Capital Region theaters. And, as far as we can tell, there still are tickets available for the local Thursday night (Friday morning) showings (Friday night, too.) We're sure the 13-year-old girl in your life will be happy to hear that.

While checking for ticket availability, we noticed that tickets are now $10.25 at both Crossgates and Colonie Center. To which the crankiness of our advancing old age implored us to exclaim: holy moly! That's an entire month of Netflix if you're buying two tickets.

So we decided to look up ticket prices for other local movie theaters. The short story: tickets are cheaper if you go someplace other than Crossgates or Colonie Center.

The list is after the jump.

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Movies & Mimosas at The Bow Tie

Gone with the Wind poster

Frankly my dear, I'd like some champagne.

We need to test it out, but this sounds like an awesome idea. The Bow Tie Cinema on State Street in Schenectady is showing classic movies every Saturday morning -- with a champagne twist.

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FilmColumbia

Crandall Theater in Chatham

One of the sites for FilmColumbia screenings.

By Jessica Pasko

It might not be Cannes or Sundance, but the lineup at this week's Chatham's FilmColumbia is still pretty impressive.

The annual festival is bringing four days of films to this adorable Columbia County village, including the new Charlie Kaufman film Synechode, New York.

And there's a lot more to look forward to.

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A peek at the Taking Woodstock shoot

Taking Woodstock set 1

Where are the good drugs, man?

Look what showed up in our inbox today: pictures from the set of Taking Woodstock, the comedy (yes, comedy) Ang Lee has been shooting in Columbia County.

There are a few more pics after the jump. They appear to be from some kind of first aid or medical station set. Everyone seems sufficiently hippie-ish.

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I Love NY short film winner

NY_Movie_Logo.jpgRemember a while back when the I Love NY folks announced a make your own commercial contest? Well, the very famous judges (including Tina Fey and Phillip Seymour Hoffman) have spoken. And the winner is...

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Toto, we're not in Leningrad anymore

Wizard of Oz still

The yellow brick road was just a yellow brick road, right?

There are two film screenings tonight that you might be interested in -- though for totally different reasons.

The Palace Theatre is showing The Wizard Oz. Sure, you've already seen it (hundreds of times) -- though we're guessing that seeing it on the big screen a horse of a different color (oof). And if you really want to dress up the experience, ponder the economic and and political allegories woven into the story as they relate to the current Wall Street Meltdown and presidential race.

Or not. We recommend just enjoying the ruby slippers and the flying monkeys. The screening starts at 7 pm. Tickets are $5.

Also tonight is a screening of The Russian Question at the Spectrum. As it happens, our knowledge of 1940s Soviet cinema is limited, so we'll let the blurb from the Spectrum site take it from here:

Based on a play by K. Simonov, The Russian Question (1947) is a rare Soviet Cold War film that shows the Soviet perspective on the Cold War. It tells the story of Garry Smith, an American journalist who spends time in Russia and sees socialism in action. Upon his return to the United States, a prestigious editor asks Smith to write a book about his experience. A handsome advance is given, and Smith and his fiancé are able to buy a house, a car and other symbols of the American dream. But the advance comes with a caveat: Smith's book is to be a real hatchet job against Soviet society. Will Smith simply keep the money and do what's expected of him? or will he instead speak the truth?

Others have described the film as "a fascinating piece of inaugural Cold War agitprop" and "flat-out Soviet propaganda." There are two screeings today: at 1 pm ($6.75) and at 6 pm ($8.50).

Manhattan Short Film Festival in Hudson

Ode Ober

A still from one of this year's finalists, Ode Ober.

Here's something cool going on in Hudson this Sunday and through the next week. The Manhattan Short Film Festival is screening a slate of films at locations all over the world, including Space360 in Hudson. Everyone who attends gets to vote on their favorites and the winners are picked by the worldwide tally.

It looks like this festival has a track record of showing some quality films. Last year's winner, I Met the Walrus, was nominated for an Oscar. Here are this year's finalists.

Space360 will be showing the slate of 12 movies Sunday at 2 pm and 5 pm, and then on Thursday, Friday and Saturday next week at 2 pm, 5 pm and 7 pm. Tickets are $8.

Grabbing something to eat at one of Hudson's cool restaurants and seeing these shorts could definitely be a good time.

(Thanks, Melissa!)

Sounds like Schenectady

Synecdoche posterThere's a trailer online now for Synecdoche, New York, the Charlie Kaufman film that's both partially set in Schenectady and plays on the city's name. (Synecdoche? You remember from literature class, right?) The film is coming out at the end of October.

What's it about? Well, it's a Kaufman film so that's not exactly an easy question to answer. Here's a bit about it from Slashfilm:

Synecdoche, New York stars Philip Seymour Hoffman as a theater director named Caden Cotard, whose life in Schenectady, New York is looking bleak. His wife Adele has left him to pursue her painting in Berlin, taking their young daughter Olive with her. A new relationship with the alluringly candid Hazel has prematurely run aground. And a mysterious condition is systematically shutting down each of his body's autonomic functions. Worried about the transience of his life, he moves his theater company to a warehouse in New York City. He directs them in a celebration of the mundane, instructing each to live out their constructed lives in a growing mockup of the city outside. Catherine Keener, Michelle Williams, Samantha Morton and Tilda Swinton co-star.

The early reviews have been relatively positive. Though as A.O. Scott commented in the New York Times, Synecdoche makes the Kaufman-written films Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind look "almost conventional."

The trailer is embedded after the jump.

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It Came From Schenectady!

sci-fi movie posters

Blade Runner, Barbarella and Forbidden Planet are three of the films playing this weekend.

By Jessica Pasko

One of the organizers of the first It Came from Schenectady film fest says the event "began as the musings of four dorks in tinfoil hats who happen to be in the right place with the right set of tools, toys and passions."

OK, stop. You had us at "four dorks in tinfoil hats."

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Frozen River at the Spectrum

Frozen River posterHere's yet another thing to do this weekend. If Hurricane Hannah ends up dumping a bunch of rain on, you might think about swinging by the Spectrum to catch Frozen River.

The indie film, directed by Chatham's Courtney Hunt, won the Grand Jury Prize at this year's Sundance Festival and it's gone on to get great reviews. Here's a clip from the film's synopsis:

Frozen River is the story of Ray Eddy, an upstate New York trailer mom who is lured into the world of illegal immigrant smuggling when she meets a Mohawk girl who lives on a reservation that straddles the US-Canadian border.

It's been running already in other cities for a few weeks now, but this is the first weekend for it here in the Capital Region.

Casablanca at Proctors

casablancaAttention film buffs! Grab the popcorn. Casablanca . On the big screen at Proctors. Today.

Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Claude Rains are at their absolute best in the 1942 classic that spawned some of the best lines in movie history (No, "play it again Sam" wasn't one of them) .

Sure you can watch it on DVD anytime, but Proctor's is just the kind of nostalgic setting it begs for. Catch it at 2:30, 5 or 7:30 P.M.

Tickets are $3 for adults and $2 for anyone 17 and under.

I.O.U.S.A.

IOUSA documentary posterHere's something to feed your inner policy wonk. There's a special screening next week at Crossgates of I.O.U.S.A., a documentary about the national debt (trailer). Following the showing, there will be a live broadcast of a discussion with Warren Buffett, David Walker (former head of the GAO), and Pete Peterson (another rich guy).

Sounds scintillating, right? Well, you might be surprised. A little. The doc has been compared to An Inconvenient Truth. And Steve Martin makes an appearance.

Of course, as the The Economist noted, "tales of fiscal folly are an acquired taste." So maybe it's not a popcorn movie.

The screening is next Thursday at 8 pm. Tickets are $12.50.

The Ballston Spa Film Festival?

BS fest.jpg

Cannes, Sundance, Ballston Spa

It may not be mentioned in the same breath as Sundance or Cannes, but this weekend the village of Ballston Spa is hosting a film festival. Dozens of short films from all over the United States, England and Canada will be screened throughout the village on Friday night and Saturday. And yes, there's a bunch of other fun stuff that goes along with a film festival.

(there's more)

The Zombie Film Feast

By Jessica Pasko

Zombiefest.jpgBRAAAAIIIINNS!

Prepare for a zombie invasion this Saturday as the Zombie Film Feast staggers into Albany.

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What your neighbors are watching tonight

burbs movie posterAccording to Netflix, here are the DVDs that people in the Capital Region are currently renting "much more than other Netflix members."

Albany
The 'Burbs
We were surprised, too. Tom Hanks and suburban hijinks from 1989.

Schenectady
24: Season 3
Jack Bauer kicks a heroin habit in, like, three hours.

Troy
Ghost Rider
Nicholas Cage is on fire. And he rides a motorcycle.

Saratoga Springs
The Ringer
Johnny Knoxville tries to rig the Special Olympics.


The top five for each city after the jump...

(there's more)

The 400 block

Check out this great entry into the TU's Best of the Capital Region video contest. It's kind of like a mini-documentary about the 400 block of River Street in Troy.

And did you see the winner of that TU contest? It's pretty funny.

Catch the Mame Faye doc this week

mame fayeSittin' on a Million, the documentary about legendary Troy madame Mame Faye will be screening at the Spectrum tonight at 7 pm. The doc's directors, Penny Lane and Annmarie Lanesey, will be there for a discussion after the showing.

And if you miss it at the Spectrum, Sittin' on a Million will air tomorrow night at 10 pm on WHMT as part of the TVFilm series.

Earlier on AOA: Mame Faye: the inside scoop on Troy's second most famous figure

TvFilm short film screening

TvFILM logoSo you couldn't make it to Cannes or Sundance this year (scheduling conflicts, of course), but you have a hankering for fresh new independent film. Then you might want to check out TvFilm. WMHT's newest program will showcase films produced by filmmakers here in the Capital District.

The series kicks off on Thursday June 12, but if you're the looking for that Riviera on the Hudson experience (what's Monaco got on Defreestville? -- don't answer that), there's a preview screening this Saturday at 1 pm at the WMHT Studios in the Rensselaer Tech Park. The filmmakers will be there if you'd like to do the meet and greet thing. (The screening is free, but you have to reserve a spot.)

As for what you'll see, it looks pretty eclectic. The 15 films include: a documentary about an infamous Troy madam, a thriller about karma and the human psyche in the age of technology, an artistic exploration of the human form, and a look at growing up from a parent's point of view.

The TV Film blog has all the details. A few trailers are embedded after the jump.

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Overheard at the new movie theater

colonie center theater ticket counterA woman is waiting in line for one of the discount movies at the new movie theater at Colonie Center. An usher is handing out promotional flyers.

Woman: What do you know about this Sweeney Todd?

Usher: Not much. All I know is what I heard from Regis Philbin. He says it's really bloody and gory.

Jaws at The Palace

Jaws poster(Cue ominous music)

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to The Palace, the biggest, scariest movie star of 1975 is back. No, not Jack Nicholson -- the giant shark from Jaws.

Tonight at 7 the classic film series at Albany's Palace Theater winds up its season with the 1976 Academy Award winning film that scared the bejesus out of beach lovers everywhere. (And launched the idea of the blockbuster summer movie.) We're not sure how the special effects will hold up after 30 years, but it's #46 on AFI's list of the 100 best movies of all time, and it's a chance to see what Spielberg did before he was "SPIELBERG." That alone makes it well worth the $5 price of admission.

The theater at Colonie Center: thumbs up or down?

ticket counter at the Colonie Center theater

Is that sweet and sour pork I smell? And pizza. And soup.

Updated May 19, 2008

Figuring "Who are we to turn down a movie for $2?", we checked out the new Regal Cinemas at Colonie Center last night. Here's our quick review, Siskel-Ebert-Roeper-Whoever-It-Is-Now style...

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Preview the new theater at Colonie Center

movie posters

For $2, there's probably something you'll like.

You know that movie theater they've been building on the roof of Colonie Center for seemingly forever? Well, it's finally ready.

The official opening is this Friday, but the theater's having a sort of dress rehearsal the next few days, which means you can check it out for cheap. Really cheap. Admission is $2 to showings of not-exactly-new-anymore movies. Popcorn and drinks are also two bucks.

The preview lineup is kind of a mixed bag. For every Atonement there seems to be a 10,000 BC. But it's hard to go wrong for $2. And given that the place is brand new, your feet might not even stick to the floor.

Edwood film camp

By Jessica Pasko

edwood logoIf what you really want to do is direct , here's your big chance.

Inspired by the iconic campy film director Ed Wood, the folks from the Edwood Film Fest are back at work on their 11th local independent film festival. This year organizer Peter Barnett has added a new twist for wannabe filmmakers.

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Lawrence of Arabia at The Palace

Lawrence of Arabia posterThe Palace Theater's classic film series continues tonight with #5 on the AFI list of greatest movies of all time, Lawrence of Arabia. Peter O'Toole (sigh) stars as T.E. Lawrence, the conflicted British military figure who struggles with violence but eventually leads the battle to destroy the Ottoman Empire.

The rest of the cast is a who's who of the finest film actors of the day: Jose Ferrer, Alec Guinness, Claude Rains, Omar Sharif -- and we're just getting started.

Thanks in part to the award-winning art direction -- and in part to Peter O'Toole (sigh) -- this film is gorgeous to look at. And it's widely viewed as the most influential on the film making industry. It won seven academy awards in 1963, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Score. We like it for Peter O'Toole (sigh).

As always, curtain is at 7 and admission is only $5.

Sittin' on a Million: Mame Faye premiere announced

mame_faye.jpg

Sure, Uncle Sam is better known than Mame Faye, but she has her own movie.

Roll out the red carpet. The much anticipated documentary about Troy, New York's second most famous citizen is about to make it's big local premiere. "Sittin' on a Million" is a look at infamous Troy madam Mame Faye, known throughout the world for her... umm... hospitality. Filmmakers Penny Lane and Annmarie Lanesey are hosting two screenings on June 14th at Troy's recently re-opened Sanctuary for Independent Media, complete with the big band music of The Georgie Wonders Orchestra.

A rough cut of the film shown last year on Mame's birthday played to a standing room only crowd, so reservations are recommended.

Admission is $10. There's a $5 discount for folks who can't afford full price. You can make reservations via e-mail at amlanesey@gmail.com. Be sure to let them know which show you want to attend. Screenings are at 7 pm and 8:45 pm.

Earlier on AOA: The inside scoop on Troy's second most famous figure

Spartacus at The Palace

Spartacus posterThe eyes, the hair, the dimple... the sheer charisma of Kirk Douglas -- on the big screen.
They're reason enough to see Stanley Kubrick's 1960 classic "Spartacus" at Albany's Palace Theater tonight. This story of a slave turned gladiator who leads a revolt against the Roman Empire won four Oscars back in the day. It also stars Olivier, Peter Ustinov
and, of course, Tony "I love you Spartacus" Curtis.

And you gotta love the tag line: "They trained him to kill for pleasure... but they trained him a little too well." Schwarzenegger only wishes he'd played such a badass. The show starts at 7PM, and tickets are just $5.

What your neighbors are watching tonight

goonies_poster.jpgAccording to Netflix, here are the DVDs that people in Albany are currently renting "much more than other Netflix members."

1. The Goonies
we wouldn't have guessed this one either

2. December Boys
Daniel Radcliffe, but not as Harry Potter

3. What the #$*! Do We Know!?
this is called a documentary, but many contend it's more a work of fiction

4. The Princess Bride
wow, first Goonies and now this

5. The Business of Being Born
doc about maternity care

6. Sopranos: Season 5
it's all about the family

7. Battlestar Galactica: Season 1
maybe people are getting caught up now that the final season is here

8. Miller's Crossing
the Coens do 30s-style gangster

9. Happiness
from the Netflix description: "not for the squeamish"

10. Arrested Development: Season 1
meet the Bluths


Lists for Saratoga Springs, Troy and Schenectady after the jump...

(there's more)

State budget finished, biting the bullet in Colonie, rebuilding Uncle Sam's house, UAlbany's hottest professor

The state budget is done. The final tally was close to $122 billion, up almost 5 percent over last year. That works out to about $6,400 for every person in New York State. Comments about the plan from budget watchers included the word "larding." [NYT]

The Town of Colonie is looking to take a big bite out of its state-scolded $18 million budget deficit by asking homeowners to chip in an average of $250 in a one-time tax. [TU]

Troy has hired an architecture firm to help plan a mixed-use development at the intersection of Congress and Ferry streets. One highlight of the tentative plan: rebuilding the house of Sam Wilson, the guy who inspired the character Uncle Sam. [Troy Record] [TU]

The Malta Drive-In is adding a second screen. The brothers who own it hope the addition will help them turn a profit for the first time. [Saratogian]

Michelle Mosier is apparently UAlbany's hottest professor. She attributes her title to great shoes. [TU]

West Side Story at The Palace

west_side_story_posterBoy boy, crazy boy... if dancing gang members on the rooftops of New York do it for you, bring your posse to Albany's Palace Theater tonight for a $5 screening of West Side Story. This musical Romeo and Juliet set in late 1950's NYC won 10 Academy Awards back in 1961, including best picture and best score (Leonard Bernstein and a very young Stephen Sondheim.) The dancing gang member thing may not work so well in 2008, but the choreography is fabulous, the score holds up nicely and the story is timeless.

But if you find yourself saying things like "cats" and "daddy-o" for a few days, don't blame us.

What your neighbors are watching tonight

red_dragon_dvd.jpgAccording to Netflix, here are the DVDs that people in Albany are currently renting "much more than other Netflix members."

1. Red Dragon
the Silence of the Lambs prequel

2. The Apartment
the classic Billy Wilder film

3. The Age of Innocence
parts of this were shot in Troy

4. Mad Hot Ballroom
a doc about ballroom dancing kids

5. Meet the Parents
DeNiro, Stiller, lie detector

6. Brooklyn Rules
indie mob drama starring Freddie Prinze Jr.

7. The Office: Season 1
that would be the American version

8. 21 Grams
Penn, Watts, del Toro, angst

9. Romance & Cigarettes
great cast, not so great reviews

10. The Sopranos: Season 4
Tony has issues, but what else is new


Lists for Saratoga Springs, Troy and Schenectady after the jump...

(there's more)

The Diving Bell and The Butterfly at Proctors

diving bell poster Everyone's talking about how amazing Julian Schnabel's film The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is. Even the trailer is mesmerizing. If you missed it in it's first run, you can catch it tonight at Proctor's Theater. There are screenings at 2:15, 4:45 and 7:30. And hey, be a sport and treat someone. The tickets are only 3 bucks.

Schindler's List at The Palace

Schindler posterSchindler's List is the kind of movie you're always meaning to rent, but are usually not sure you're up to watching. It's a painful but important film, and it's beautifully made. Tonight Albany's Palace Theater is hosting a free screening of Schindler's List. It starts at 7:00 and it's presented in collaboration with Holocaust Survivors & Friends Education Center and Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of NENY.

Your movies on TV

wmht tvfilmSo what you really want to do is direct? Well now there's a new way to get your films seen by local audiences. WMHT is tapping into the growing indie film scene in and around Albany with a series called Tv FILM. The deadline for entry is March 31. Filmmakers must reside in the WMHT viewing area. Sorry Mr. Scorsese.

Certified Angus Beef Movies at The Palace

Raisin in the Sun movie posterIf you're taste in films is a little more old school, you might want to check out Albany's Palace Theater. Tonight at 7:00 The Palace is screening Sidney Poitier's 1961 classic, "A Raisin in the Sun". The theater's a classic too. Recently renovated and gorgeous to look at, so get there in time to scout out the perfect balcony seat and enjoy the atmosphere. Ticket's are only 5 bucks, so you can splurge on popcorn or wine. It's part of the theater's Certified Angus Beef classic movie series. Yes, you read that correctly. No, there's no beef involved. What do you want for 5 bucks.

The Scoop

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