Category Archives: AFI

Juno: Marketing, The Dancing Elks And…Oscar?

As many have mentioned, Fox Searchlight might just reap gold with the possibly counter programming genius, that being the release of Juno in December when theaters are otherwise jammed with serious “awards films” and some movie goers simply want some diversion from the onslaught of There Will be Blood, Charlie Wilson’s War, The Kite Runner and No Country For Old Men. Not to disparage these films, of course. I’ve seen the Coen Brothers’ pic (genius), will be seeing Blood on Friday and am looking forward to seeing the others, but sometimes you need something….else. Juno fills the “funny and smart” niche to a T. You know what else? It’s also a bona fide Oscar contender for best original screenplay and has an outside chance at best actress, as well. I’ll definitely continue to be watching and posting on the awards buzz for this and the rest of the “contenders” as the winter unfolds!
Word of mouth on this film is overwhelmingly positive and so far it has an 81 on Metacritic but it ain’t just the critics who are pushing this pic. While the film is indeed worthy of praise (but there are two critics on the Metacritic list I am ashamed of agreeing with…guess who!) the studio has been pretty smart in building buzz at fests, in part by employing local teams of “Dancing Elks,” dressed like Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera) the progenitor of the “sea monkey” (Juno’s phrase, not mine!) being carried by the title character. They even hand out orange tic tacs, a favorite of Bleeker’s. No one knows what’s going on, so of course they ask and then are intrigued. Seems to be working at the three places I’ve seen it, Toronto, AFI and Denver. I wonder what they made of it in Thessaloniki and Gijón?
After the jump, some pics from Toronto, AFI and Denver:

Continue reading Juno: Marketing, The Dancing Elks And…Oscar?

AFI Fest 07: 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days… & 1 Dinner

Saturday marked the first AFI Fest screening of upcoming IFC First Take release 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days by Romanian director Cristian Mungiu. The 2007 Cannes Palm d’Or winner (and prohibitive favorite for a best foreign language Oscar nod) has been getting rave reviews and since I missed it at the New York Film Festival last month, I decided I had to catch it here (and did so on Monday). I wish I’d seen it before the dinner so I could have told Mungiu what an extraordinary film he’s made, but I suspect I’d not have been the first. More on this moving and delicate film in another post but as for the dinner, despite a few more attendees than planned for (extra tables were the order of the evening) the dinner was a pleasant gathering of friends new and old. The wine flowed and my head hurt the next morning.
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Photos top to bottom: SXSW Film Festival producer Matt Dentler; editors in chief of indieWIRE.com and Screen International (l to R) Eugene Hernandez and Colin Brown…(Colin is not a giant and Eugene is not tiny. It’s just a little forced perspective in action); The poster for the film.

AFI Fest 07: On The Road Again!

102011592,52C1DF427992D0ECF18.jpgOn the road again….. Yes indeedy. I am, as they say, on the road again. Or at least I will be a scant 35 hours from now, winging my way Westward towards AFI Fest and the American Film Market. After AFI comes the Starz Denver Film Festival and after that, a liver transplant, more than likely. Maybe I should call the trip the Rabbi Report’s “Ruin the Liver” tour… with opening act Bacon ‘n Onions? Nah, too meta and WAY too off the track.
Back on point, AFI Fest has grown in stature and size over the past several years to the point where I feel like I can’t cover it adequately by myself, such is the fact at so many festivals these days. Next year I am thinking I need a 2nd reporter but this year it’ll have to be solo. At any rate I figure I owe you guys a little bit of a primer on what to expect, should you choose to attend AFI Fest (and I strongly urge you to do so). I’ve seen several of the films on offer and am looking forward to seeing quite a few more, so without further ado, here’s a look at a (very) small selection of what’s on offer in Hollywood for the first 11 days of November.
A Pair of Pages: Juno and The Tracey Fragments
Do yourself a favor and catch this double shot of “The Tiny Canadian,” as she’s been dubbed (according to IMDb). Maybe you’ve read my thoughts on upcoming Fox Searchlight release Juno (more coming, to be sure) and perhaps you’ve heard that Juno scribe Diablo Cody is a possible best original screenplay Oscar nominee, well let me put the “possible” to rest. She’s a mortal lock and as soon as the Academy and critics groups get a load of Ellen Page’s performance as the titular Juno, she’s going to start pulling down kudos, too. The thing is, she’s no fluke.
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Photo © 2007 Twentieth Century Fox

Continue reading AFI Fest 07: On The Road Again!