How can you choose just one movie at the 2012 AFI Fest in Hollywood?

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Well it’s that time of the year when great films from all over the world will be screening in Los Angeles/Hollywood for the AFI Fest presenting sponsor is Audi so the tickets are free but NOT easy to get!  The festival takes place from November 1 – 8, 2012 so don’t forget to VOTE! enough about politics Let’s talk MOVIES!  I’m covering the red carpet for a couple of events and look foward to speaking with directors, cast and writers about the creative process!  Their are quite a few films that I would love to see but can’t be in two places at one time, some tickets sold out and I have to eat/sleep/work these are the films I recommend EVERYONE else try to see during the festival.  Especially the foreign films since not all of them will be released domestically or even on DVD.

Now this isn’t all the films I’d like to see but they are the ones that really stuck in my mind when I requested tickets.  It’s a good mix of big Oscar (likely) nominated films, documentary, foreign, domestic, horror, drama, comedy and well movies difficult to pigeon hole.  If you weren’t able to get tickets in advance they usually have standby or see if one of your friends have extra tickets.  If your in the LA metro areay you’ll be kicking yourself if you miss the 2012 AFI Fest!


Central Park Five

Ken Burns joins daughter Sarah Burns and her husband David McMahon to tell a story based on Sarah Burns’ book, “The Central Park Five: A Chronicle of a City Wilding.” They take us back to a night in 1989 when five young black and Latino teenagers were arrested in New York City’s Central Park under suspicion of committing random assaults in the park. Later that same night, a young white female jogger, who had been brutally attacked and raped, was found in the park and the immediate public outcry sparked by her discovery changed the fate of those five young men forever as they became victims of a city-wide frenzy and extreme police action. The accused men can never recapture their teenage years spent behind bars, but by telling their stories, the filmmakers remind us they will not be forgotten. This moving documentary about a miscarriage of justice remains, sadly, as relevant today as it was in 1989. —Jacqueline Lyanga


Life of Pi Friday, August 1, 2012

Director Ang Lee (BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN; CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON) creates a groundbreaking movie event about a young man who survives a disaster at sea and is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an amazing and unexpected connection with another survivor — a fearsome Bengal tiger. LIFE OF PI takes place over three continents, two oceans, many years and a wide universe of imagination. Lee’s vision, coupled with stunning 3D visuals, has turned a novel long thought unfilmable into a thrillingly audacious mix of grand storytelling and powerful and provocative themes. The film takes us through a young man’s incredible adventure, at turns thrilling and spiritual; harrowing and triumphant; humorous and inspirational


Screening Friday, November 1, 2012

Set in classic Hollywood in the 1950s, HITCHCOCK is the behind-the-scenes story of the famous director’s personal life and his love affair with his wife and partner,
Alma Reville. Told against the backdrop of the making of the director’s seminal masterpiece, PSYCHO, Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren play Hitchcock and his wife, and Scarlett Johansson plays Janet Leigh. The film is directed by Sacha Gervasi (ANVIL: THE STORY OF ANVIL) and also stars Jessica Biel, Toni Collette, Danny Huston, Michael Stuhlbarg and James D’Arcy. Together Hitch and Alma challenged the studio and risked everything to make the film, gambling their home and their reputations. What begins merely as an ambitious film project eventually tests the limits of their marriage, yet with groundbreaking new editing, sound and advertising, the two overcome the odds and create one of cinema’s enduring masterpieces.

Lincoln Friday, November 8, 2012

Steven Spielberg directs two-time Academy Award® winner Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln, a revealing drama that focuses on the 16th President’s tumultuous final months in office. In a nation divided by war and the strong winds of change, Lincoln pursues a course of action designed to end the war, unite the country and abolish slavery. With the moral courage and fierce determination to succeed, his choices during this critical moment will change the fate of generations to come




In his first feature film, Raúl Fuentes dares to explore the psyche of a woman caught in a vicious self-sabotaging cycle that incapacitates her ability to love. EVERYBODY’S GOT SOMEBODY…NOT ME details the story of Alejandra, a condescending intellectual with many emotional problems, who lacks the capacity to connect with anyone around her. When Alejandra meets Maria, an evolving and curious private school teen, the two start a passionate love affair that makes their generation gap seem trivial. Before long, the couple realizes their differences when Alejandra obsessively tries to control Maria’s activities, interests and decisions. Alejandra’s oppression becomes worse than a parent’s and Maria must decide whether or not she wants this intense relationship with such an apprehensive person to continue. Shot in black and white, Raúl Fuentes’ innovative filmmaking approach and his unconventional narrative unquestionably marks him as a new and exciting voice in contemporary Mexican cinema. —Dilcia Barrera


From the novel by David Wong comes this instant cult favorite that has been thrilling audiences at festivals around the world. John and Dave are problem solvers — and it’s all thanks to drugs. After taking “Soy Sauce,” the two are able to see formerly hidden monsters and demons that have invaded our dimension. Like a pair of low-rent Ghostbusters, they do battle with the supernatural. Everything from Burroughs-esque bugs to re-animated meat zombies are thrown at them in the shadow world revealed by the drug. Characters that slide between life and death and trans-dimensional conspiracies make this adaptation natural territory for director Don Coscarelli. Known for flinging murderous silver orbs (PHANTASM) or pairing a black JFK with an elderly Elvis (BUBBA HO-TEP), Coscarelli is the ideal horror maestro to helm this story. Starring Paul Giamatti as an investigative reporter, JOHN DIES AT THE END is an unpredictable modern nightmare. —Lane Kneedler


A young couple on vacation takes a small boat to a picturesque island. On arrival, they find a strangely isolated world, one seemingly devoid of adults. At first, they shrug off the strangeness and think it’s nothing more than a traditional siesta. But soon it becomes clear that something horrible has happened and, if they want to survive and protect their unborn child, they must commit unthinkable atrocities. Makinov’s film is a remake of WHO CAN KILL A CHILD, a rarely seen film from the 1970s that has a special place in the heart of horror fans. COME OUT AND PLAY places its protagonists in an unthinkable situation with a horrific challenge in front of them. After you have seen this film, what once sounded so innocent, the laughter and cheers of a child, will send chills down your spine. —Lane Kneedler


In NOT IN TEL AVIV, first-time director Nony Geffen stars as Micha, a repressed high school teacher who, upon losing his job, kidnaps one of his students, kills his mother and reconnects with a former high school crush. The trio embarks on a road trip where they take on a group of feminists, a movie star and the cops. Geffen as Micha is reminiscent of Vincent Gallo in BUFFALO 66 with his neuroses worn on his sleeve and an uncanny knack for charming his captives into bed. Outstanding supporting work is provided by the fantastic Romi Aboulafia and Yaara Pelzig as women who willingly go along with Micha and eventually find themselves fighting over him. Part dark comedy and part road movie, NOT IN TEL AVIV brings a refreshing change of pace to the international indie film scene making Nony Geffen a director to watch. —Jenn Murphy


Nermina Lukac’s electrifying performance as Raša is the heart of director Gabriela Pichler’s feature debut. A Montenegrin-born young woman living in rural Sweden, Raša is laid off from her job at a food-packing plant. Her ensuing job search pulls us through the maze of limited prospects and frustrating bureaucracy facing the country’s working immigrant population. Affable, resilient, street smart and soft-hearted, Raša’s natural magnetism draws us in completely. We feel every ounce of her disappointment, fear and elation as she soldiers on, looking for work. An Audience Award winner at the Venice Film Festival, EAT SLEEP DIE‘s assured naturalism and political conviction single out Pichler as a bold, exciting new cinematic voice. Her film is a positive rallying cry for low-wage workers who dream of a life that won’t merely add up to the three verbs that form the film’s title. —Mike Dougherty


A conversation with musician and director Ariana Delawari and producer Yasmine Delawari followed by a screening of their new film WE CAME HOME.

Born in LA the year the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, Ariana Delawari’s life is filled with refugees, Afghan music and her father’s dedication to his homeland. September 11 changes their lives. Her parents sell everything and move back to Kabul where Delawari finally sees Afghanistan for herself. She spends 10 years documenting her father’s homeland through photographs, film and music, believing she is witnessing the birth of a free country. Her father thrives as he helps reconstruct Afghanistan’s banking system. With the Taliban resurgence, Delawari records an album with Afghan master musicians in Kabul and names it “Lion of Panjshir” after Afghanistan’s revolutionary hero. When filmmaker David Lynch releases the album, Delawari
receives international acclaim, yet she is heartbroken, as the situation in Afghanistan grows worse. In 2011, Delawari’s father is arrested and, terrified that he could be wrongfully imprisoned, she finally understands why her father could never abandon
his people and grasps why Afghanistan cannot be forgotten.

 Divorced father Marius will finally be allowed to take his five-year-old daughter Sofia on a much anticipated weekend vacation to the beach. He takes time off from school, borrows his parents’ car and even buys little Sofia a stuffed octopus. Impatient to leave, Marius is told by Sofia’s grandmother that his daughter is not free to go until her mother, Marius’ ex-wife Otilia, returns from the salon. When Otilia walks through the door, the film veers sharply, quickly reaching a point of no return. Losing control of his emotions and the situation, Marius’ anger escalates with horrifying consequences. Disguised as a family drama, EVERYBODY IN OUR FAMILY is a suspenseful exploration of a father being pushed to his limits when his child is kept from him. Shot in real time and set mostly in one location, Radu Jude’s third feature film is a dangerous, claustrophobic tale that sets the bar high for contemporary Romanian cinema. —Dilcia Barrera


In the age of enlightenment, a young woman becomes Queen of Denmark via an arranged marriage, but shortly after the ceremony it becomes clear that the young king suffers from mental illness. German physician and philosopher Johan Struensee is called to attend the unstable King and an epic romance results between the doctor and the queen, giving Johan the power to make transformational social changes within the Danish kingdom. Based on a true story, A ROYAL AFFAIR is Denmark’s official submission for Academy Award® consideration. —April Wright




A harrowing drama laced with moments of exquisite beauty, WAR WITCH unfolds as a bedtime story of sorts — told by a 14-year-old African child soldier to her unborn son. Taken from her village at gunpoint, Komona (Rachel Mwanza) is given a rifle and fed an hallucinogenic milk that gifts her with the ability to see the ghosts of the fallen. Fighting alongside an albino boy named Magician, she soon comes to understand that her career as “Witch” to the rebel leader will only last as long as their victories. The two set off together, putting their violent past behind them while searching for the white rooster she has demanded as proof of his love. Crafted over a 10-year period, Canadian director Kim Nguyen has interwoven true stories of child soldiers in Burma with footage captured in the Democratic Republic of Congo to create something raw, immediate and emotionally true. —Dayan Ballweg


In 1982, amid the fighting of the Lebanese Civil War, Israeli pilot Yoni (Stephen Dorff) crash lands in Beirut, where he is taken prisoner by the combat-trained inhabitants of a Palestinian refugee camp. Among the captors is Fahed, a young orphan whose father was killed during an Israeli air raid. When Fahed secretly releases Yoni in exchange for passage into Israel, Eran Riklis’s emotionally charged film develops into an unlikely road/buddy picture. The two travelers share a mutual distrust that borders on hatred, but while navigating harrowing encounters at checkpoints, roadblocks and minefields, they begin to recognize each other’s humanity. With stunning cinematography that masterfully captures the stark war-torn locations, Riklis places us in a vivid rendering of the devastating conflict. Within that devastation, the friendship that develops between Yoni and Fahed reminds us of the possible human connection that is often lost between wartime enemies. — Mike Dougherty


SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME continues in the comedic tradition of Bob Byington’s 2009 film HARMONY AND ME, albeit with the presence of a mysterious suitcase. There’s something unusual about Max’s story as he is oddly immune to aging, a curious trait that the principal people in his life don’t seem to notice. After Max discovers his ex-wife in bed with another man, he capriciously marries again, the disastrous cycle repeating itself perfectly. As he traipses through life trying to navigate love, friendship with his co-worker and business partner and the turbulent business world, Max clings to the suitcase, which might just possibly contain his personal fountain of youth. With this, his fourth feature, Byington is at the top of his comedic game, crafting memorable characters with a first-rate acting ensemble, including Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman, Keith Poulson and Jess Weixler. —Lane Kneedler


Dolph Springer (the wonderful Jack Plotnick) awakens one morning to realize he has tragically lost the love of his life — his dog, Paul. So begins WRONG, the micro-epic tale of Dolph’s quest to reunite with his best friend and set his world right. Things quickly spiral into the realm of the absurd. Using epic super-realism, Quentin Dupieux creates a surrealist world tinged with a heightened reality bordering on the bizarre. Impeccably cast and directed, Dupieux’s gifted company raises the tension of existence so high that audiences have no choice but to laugh at the absurdity of it all. The director’s previously fantastical trademarks are also on display here. Shadowy organizations and magical/supernatural occurrences are front and center. But what makes WRONG such a bold step forward for this artist is his uncanny control over the diction, breadth and mise en scene of this world, creating a dizzying, absurdist canvas you won’t forget. —Lane Kneedle

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