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Weekend Flicks Preview: Fairhope Film Festival, 12 Years A Slave, and more…

05 Nov 2013

written by Loganite

12yearshead

This weekend is a big one for movies in the Mobile Bay area and has plenty of options for movie lovers from all walks of life. For starters, we have one of the most talked about films of the year, 12 Years A Slave, opening up a 3 week run at The Crescent Theater. The film, directed by Steve McQueen, tells the tale of Solomon Northup (portrayed by Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man who is abducted and sold into slavery. The film follows a 12 year journey through his trials and tribulations until he meets Bass, a Canadian abolitionist (portrayed by Brad Pitt) which changes his life.

The film features arguably one of the best casts you can find in recent memory. The aforementioned Ejiofor and Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Alfre Woodard, Quvenzhané Wallis, Garret Dillahunt, Michael K. Williams, and more all round out the cast for what is one of the highest rated and well received films of the year. Currently sitting at 96% on Rotten Tomatoes and 97% on Metacritic (typically Metacritic scores come in lower than RT), 12 Years A Slave is well on its way to a flurry of prestigious awards come 2014, and it’s in limited release at the moment. Lucky for us, we have the Crescent Theater.

It begins its 3 week run at the Crescent starting Friday, November 8th. They are still planning out 3rd week times, but you can catch it at 2:00PM, 6:00PM, and 8:40PM starting this Friday.

And that brings us to the other big movie event of the weekend, the inaugural year of the Fairhope Film Festival. The tagline on their logo is “The Best of the Best”, and the first year festival is bringing not just high quality films to the Bay area, but a lot of them, too. With 38 feature films (Documentary & Narrative combined) it presents itself as a very ambitious first year festival.

Several of the films have already screened at The South Alabama Film Festival not too long ago, as well as regular runs at the Crescent Theater, but if you were unable to catch them then, I recommend you check them out now while you still can. Of the ones I’ve seen I can recommend, without hesitation, The Spectacular Now, The Sapphires, Good Ol’ Freda (which just finished up a run at the Crescent), and my personal favorite of the lot, Bones Brigdade: An Autobiography.

If you grew up in the 80’s and had any sort of grasp on pop culture, there was a good chance you knew who the Bones Brigade was. Bones Brigade: An Autobiography tells the story of the legendary Powell-Peralta skating team of the same name from the 1980’s, and features candid stories and behind the scenes footage from skateboarding legends Tony Hawk, Rodney Mullen, Steve Caballero, Lance Mountain, and all the other members. I was never a skateboarder, but I knew who the Bones Brigade was, and whether you knew anything about them or not, this documentary is utterly fascinating and extremely well done. If you have any recollection of the Bones Brigade I can’t recommend this movie enough. If you don’t? You should still see it, you will find yourself completely fascinated. It makes me happy that this documentary is being shown around here.

There are a handful of other recognizable titles in the Fairhope lineup. A Hijacking is half of the yearly phenomenon where nearly identical movies are made. Its counterpart, Captain Phillips, is a well regarded film in its own right, but many critics feel A Hijacking was done better and is definitely a film to consider at the festival.

20 Feet From Stardom is the compelling documentary about the under appreciated life of backup singers to some of the world’s biggest musical acts. The heralded doc has a 99% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and that’s not a small sample size either (73 fresh, 1 rotten), and a complimentary score of 83% on Metacritic. The documentary is one of the possible front runners for the Academy Awards.

If the plot of Starbuck sounds familiar, it should. The French-Canadian comedy film is about a man who donates his sperm to a fertility clinic, only to find out years later he’s being sued in a class action lawsuit by 142 of his 533 fathered children, all bore from his fertility donation through artificial insemination. If this sounds like a familiar upcoming Vince Vaughn movie, you’re not crazy. The Vaughn vehicle (titled Delivery Man) is actually a remake of the film. It’s even directed by Starbuck‘s co-writer/director, Ken Scott. Fun Fact: The name Starbuck references a famous Canadian bull whose genes were considered so desirable that its sperm sold for $25 million during his life and bore more than 200,000 daughters. He was so special scientists cloned him after his death and named his clone Starbuck II.

These movies I’ve profiled are just the tip of the iceberg with The Fairhope Film Festival. It takes place in quaint downtown Fairhope and all venues are within walking distance of one another. For more information on tickets, prices, scheduling, and full lineup, check out http://www.fairhopefilmfestival.org.

And that brings us to what Hollywood has in store for us this weekend. If you’re planning on going to the movies this weekend, and you’re not going to see 12 Years A Slave or attending the Fairhope Film Festival, chances are you’re going to be seeing Chris Hemsworth reprise his role as Thor, the God of Thunder in the Marvel Comics movie Thor: The Dark World. Of all the superhero movies that tied into the epic Avengers movie (Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America, and Iron Man), the Thor film has garnered an absurd fanboy/fangirl level of love far greater than that of the other films (save for Iron Man, I suppose, but that was already an established franchise). I’m excited about it. It’s superhero popcorn fodder and I can’t wait, as I’m sure many of you can’t either.

For those interested there will be “midnight” showings on Thursday. I put midnight in quotations because theaters like Carmike Wynnsong and Hollywood Theaters are doing this wonderful thing now where midnight showings actually take place at 8PM, since most folks have jobs and can’t afford the time to go to a 2 hour movie at midnight. Carmike Wynnsong, specifically, will host a Thor marathon starting at 3PM with the first Thor movie in 3D… but if you’re as geeked out about it as I am, you might’ve already known that.

As for DVD releases, according to Amazon the big ones that are coming out today are going to be White House Down and Grown Ups 2. If you’re vomiting in your mouth like I am right now, might I suggest some other options, according to Amazon’s release schedule for this very day?

The Extended Edition of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is being released. So if the nearly 3 hour epic wasn’t long enough for you before, now your dreams have come true. There is also the mix reviewed Lovelace (55% on RT), the biopic about pornstar Linda Lovelace starring Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard, James Franco, Hank Azaria, and more. Or if you want to press your luck you can take a stab at the James Franco directed adaptation of William Faulkner’s classic, As I Lay Dying, which has received quite awful reviews (38% on RT). Perhaps it will be of the so-bad-it’s-good variety? Who knows. I think my favorite blurb on RT might be the top one which states “I don’t pretend to have a clue how to adapt William Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying” for the screen, but unlike James Franco, I, at least, didn’t try.” Ouch.

And last, but certainly not least for a lot of you out there… I am not a “Whovian” (a Doctor Who fanatic, I’m told), but since a lot of you are the ultra expensive Limited Edition Blu-Ray Gift Set of Doctor Who Series 1-7 is being released, and can be yours for the price of $299.99. That will get you 29 discs covering 3 Doctors and a plethora of special features, 3 Art Cards, a comic book, and your very own Sonic Screwdriver that doubles as a universal remote control. Sounds like the ultimate fan pack, but I don’t think I’d drop $300 on something like this, but to each their own. If you can afford it, who am I to judge?

That wraps up this week’s Weekend Flicks Preview. If you want more movie goodness you can read our well worded reviews here on Mod Mobilian, or you can listen to our sloppily spoken radio show, The Logan & Tony Movie Show, on Mod Mobilian Radio Sundays at 2PM. If you can’t catch the Sunday show, fear not! We archive all of our shows at our website, http://ltms.loganbowes.com. Go there and bask in the movie goodness!

Until next time!


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