Venice 2017: Samuel Maoz’s ‘Foxtrot’ is a Brilliant Tale of Life in Israel

Foxtrot

Oh my goodness, this film is brilliant. You won’t be ready for this when it hits you, no matter how prepared you think you may be. Foxtrot is the new film from Israeli director Samuel Maoz (of Lebanon previously) and clearly confirms that he’s a master filmmaker who has so much to show us. Foxtrot is both the story of a family, and the story of a soldier. It’s distinctly an Israeli film, criticizing not only the society and culture of the country, but especially their military and the idea that they’re supposedly doing good. I had heard great things before, but I was still completely floored by this film when I saw at the Venice Film Festival. It’s the kind of perfect film that leaves you speechless at the end, you don’t even know what to say other than “wow.” ›››

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The Venice Film Festival is a Wonderful Film Fest That Stole My Heart

Venice Film Festival

“Venice was and is full of lost places where people put up for sale the last worn bits of their souls, hoping no one will buy.” (-Ray Bradbury) The canals, the tiny streets, the little bridges, the amazing food. There’s so much to love about Venice, the beautiful Italian city on the water. I wasn’t sure what to expect attending the Venice Film Festival for my first time, but at the end of it all, I have to admit it is a wonderful festival in an extremely lovely city. At the beginning of the fest, I wrote about how much I love the Telluride Film Festival and how sad I was to skip that fest and attend this one instead. But, Venice stole my heart, and has shown me there’s just as much to love about this festival as there is about Telluride. Not only do they show some of the best films every year, but there is a charm to the city that can’t be found nearly anywhere else. ›››

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Venice 2017: George Clooney’s Dark Comedy ‘Suburbicon’ is Perfection

Suburbicon Review

Well, it looks like George Clooney has brought us the best Coen Brothers movie in years. Suburbicon is perhaps Clooney’s best work as a director and it’s one of the most humorous, deceptive, devilishly enjoyable dark comedies this entire year. I walked out of the cinema in Venice totally high, my heart racing, because I was so overwhelmed by how perfect it is, and by how much I loved every last twist and turn and reveal. It’s so very dark, witty, engrossing, sharp, and lovable, in all the right ways. Suburbicon is co-written by Joel & Ethan Coen, with Clooney & Grant Heslov, so it’s fair to call this a Coen Brothers film. But I don’t want to get too wrapped up in that, because Clooney’s direction here is seriously impressive and deserves the praise. ›››

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Venice 2017: ‘Brawl in Cell Block 99’ is Brutal, Slow Burn Satisfaction

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Review

This is not an action movie. Even though it has some very gritty, brutal action scenes, it is more of a thriller (or drama) than anything. That said, action fans should take an interest in this one anyway. Brawl in Cell Block 99 is the latest film from director S. Craig Zahler, of Bone Tomahawk previously, and he once again proves his prowess at delivering totally gnarly moments of violence. Zahler’s Brawl in Cell Block 99 is a slow burn drama about a man and his wife, and the lengths he goes to protect her and raise a family safely in a nice house. It’s kind of, sort of criticizing the American dream in a subtle way, but also glorifying a hero made of muscles who only says exactly what is necessary and never anything else. He is so fucking badass. ›››

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Watching Excellent Films on the Lido at My First Venice Film Festival

Venice Film Festival

My goodness, this is a beautiful place. I am currently in Venice attending the Venice Film Festival, aka Venezia 74, for my very first time. After nine years in a row attending the Telluride Film Festival, I decided to switch things up and head down to Venice. Honestly, the main reason is that I could not afford the cost of going to Telluride. Now that I live in Berlin, the total cost of flying back, staying in the city, and buying a badge was just too much. As crazy as it sounds, flying down to Venice and attending this festival is actually cheaper. Telluride and Venice both take place at the same time, and they both play many of the same films. But they take place on opposite sides of the world so I had to choose one or the other. But it doesn’t matter, you can watch great movies anywhere around the world and I’m lucky to be able to enjoy this lovely festival. ›››

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Michael Jackson’s Groundbreaking ‘Thriller’ Music Video Will Premiere in 3D in Venice

Michael Jackson's Thriller 3D

Michael Jackson‘s Thriller is perhaps the greatest music video of all time. It was the first music video of its kind, created as a nearly 14-minute short film that happened to have a chart-topping song playing throughout. The music video was such a publicized spectacle that it premiered at the AVCO Theatre in Los Angeles in 1983 and went on to sell out every night for three weeks straight. Thriller is also the only music video to be inducted into the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, which is a pretty big deal.

Now fans will get to experience Thriller as they never have before when it screens in 3D at the Venice Film Festival. After being announced back in 2014, the 3D conversion of the music video directed by John Landis is finally ready for audiences to see it. Find out more about Michael Jackson’s Thriller 3D below.

A press release has announced that Michael Jackson’s Thriller 3D was completed by Optimum Productions with assistance by John Landis, using the original 35mm film negative available in the King of Pop’s archives. It sounds like the process has taken longer than anticipated since the 3D conversion of the music video was intended to be released in theaters and on Blu-ray in 2015.

In addition to the 3D conversion, the sound from the video has been given a makeover as well. All of the audio, including Michael Jackson’s signature tune, Elmer Bernstein‘s score, and even the sound effects, have been converrted to 5.7, 7.1 and Dolby Atmos standards for the highest quality audio visual experience of Thriller since it debuted in theaters all those years ago.

Here’s what John Landis had to say about the big news:

“I am so happy to have had the chance not only to restore but enhance Michael Jackson’s Thriller! We took full advantage of the remarkable advances in technology to add new dimensions to both the visual and the audio bringing it to a whole new level. Even though Thriller was shot traditionally, I was able to use the 3-D creatively. Let me just warn you, there is a rather shocking surprise in there!”

Since Thriller wasn’t reedited or recut for this 3D conversion, I’m curious as to what this shocking surprise is that John Landis is talking about. Those in attendance will also be treated to a screening The Making of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, a 45-minute documentary and was only available on VHS from 1983-1990 and never available on any format since then. Fun fact: MTV and Showtime paid $ 250,000 each for the rights to the documentary, which is how the music video, the most expensive ever made to date, was funded.

Sadly, most of us will be waiting awhile to see Thriller in 3D since it’s only premiering at the Venice Film Festival for now. However, since the previous plan was to release Michael Jackson’s Thriller 3D in theaters and on Blu-ray, I’m willing to bet that we might get to see the music video come back to theaters, complete with the making of documentary, sometime down the road. After all, Halloween isn’t too far away, and with two months between the Venice Film Festival and the spooky holiday, that should be enough time to get some kind of theatrical distribution plan together for the music video.

Stay tuned to find out when you can see Michael Jackson’s Thriller 3D yourself. In the meantime, here’s the original video:

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Bruce Willis in Trailer for Action Comedy ‘Once Upon a Time in Venice’

Once Upon a Time in Venice Trailer

“What are you doing?” “I gotta go steal back some drugs for these gang guy so I can get my dog back.” RLJ Entertainment has released an official trailer for a new action comedy titled Once Upon a Time in Venice, starring Bruce Willis and John Goodman. This film seems like a straight up John Wick rip off, but maybe it’s not even that, perhaps it’s a John Wick spoof, a “SoCal John Wick”. There’s a badass guy in disguise, and someone steals his dog, so to get him back he has to bust some heads. Simple as that. The cast includes plenty of cool people: Jason Momoa, Famke Janssen, Elisabeth Röhm, Kal Penn, Adam Goldberg, Thomas Middleditch, Stephanie Sigman, and Wood Harris. This kind of looks fun, but it also seems like it could be terrible, hopefully not. It’s from the same writer as Cop Car, for reference. Enjoy. ›››

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