AFI Fest opens tonight in Los Angeles with the world premiere of J.C. Chandor’s A Most Violent Year, starring Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac. “In a weird way, while the movie is set in New York,” Chandor tells the Times‘ Mark Olsen, “its DNA is a good ’70s and ’80s Sidney Lumet-style movie-movie. There’s a good old Hollywood feel, so it’s a fun place to launch.”
Olsen notes that another world premiere will be Rupert Wyatt’s The Gambler with Mark Wahlberg and that “other high-profile screening slots are the Los Angeles premieres of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice, Tommy Lee Jones’s The Homesman and the festival’s closing night film, Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher.” What’s more, public tickets are free for the sixth year running.
Paul Sbrizzi previews eight films at Hammer to Nail, among them, The Blue Wave: “First-time directors Zeynep Dadak and Merve Kayan have crafted a real gem—an effortless, low key group portrait of Turkish teenage girls exhibiting the same kind of magical thinking and reckless behavior, alternating with sudden, fearful hesitation, as teens anywhere in the world.”
The LA Weekly‘s picked out “10 that our critics think are worth watching.” Doug Cummings, for example, recommends Love Streams: “John Cassavetes’s masterpiece (screening in honor of its 30th anniversary) comes at viewers in disconnected vignettes of eccentric drama. Characters and conversations separate and overlap in a patchwork of pathos that builds to a mesmerizing, surreal finale.”
Steve Pond at TheWrap: “As usual, the AFI Fest has Oscar hopefuls (Still Alice, Mr. Turner, Inherent Vice) and midnight movies (It Follows, What We Do in the Shadows); American indies (10000 KM, Heaven Knows What) and international cinema, including nine Oscar foreign-language entries (Mommy, Two Days, One Night, Timbuktu); documentaries (Red Army, Tales of the Grim Sleeper, Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles) and revivals (Cinema Paradiso, Love Streams). And taking a cue from last year’s preview of the first six minutes of David O.Russell’s American Hustle, Ava DuVernay will present a first-look at 30 minutes of footage from her unfinished film Selma, followed by a conversation with DuVernay, actor David Oyelowo and producers Jeremy Kleiner, Dede Gardner and Oprah Winfrey.”
For the Advocate, Daniel Reynolds and Jase Peeples spotlight “eight films that have LGBT themes, characters, or creators, ranging from an Yves Saint Laurent biopic to a portrait of Girlhood in France to a gender-bending teenage boxer in Slap.” The LAist highlights “20 Films We Want To See.” And Anne Thompson and Ryan Lattanzio have “initialed and graded our individual picks.”
The Playlist‘s Kevin Jagernauth notes that Paul Thomas Anderson “will join director Robert Carl Cohen for a screening and conversation about Mondo Hollywood this weekend. Cited in the announcement of the event as an influence on Inherent Vice, the oddball 1967 movie documents the weirder, counterculture side of Los Angeles, profiling a range of personalities from skydivers to artists to fashion designers and more. It also chronicles the social and political climate of the time, while famous faces like Jayne Mansfield, Frank Zappa, Sonny and Cher, Alfred Hitchcock, Brigitte Bardot, Ronald Reagan and more show up briefly.”
Twitch previews its top ten picks.
Update, 11/10: For the Hollywood Reporter, Tim Appelo recounts the highlights of the Indie Contenders Panel, which featured Kristen Stewart, Marion Cotillard, Jake Gyllenhaal, Tilda Swinton, Michelle Monaghan, Damien Chazelle, J.C. Chandor and Bill Hader.
The AFI’s interview with Sophia Loren is the cover story of the new issue of American Film.
Update, 11/13: Hey, it’s the awards:
NEW AUTEURS WINNERS
VIZIO Visionary Special Jury Award: Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy’s The Tribe.
Special Jury Mention for Screenwriting: Alonso Ruizpalacios and Gibran Portela for Güeros.
Special Jury Mention for Cinematography: Nicolas Karakatsanis for Violet.
GRAND JURY AWARDS
Grand Jury Prize for Live Action Short: Buffalo Juggalos.
Grand Jury Prize for Animated Short: Bernardo Britto’s Yearbook.
Special Jury Prize for Breakthrough Filmmaker: Joe Callander for Gary Has an AIDS Scare.
Special Jury Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Direction: Morgan Knibbe for Shipwreck.
World Cinema Audience Award: Gabe Polsky’s Red Army.
New Auteurs Audience Award: Alonso Ruizpalacios’s Güeros.
American Independents Audience Award: Carlos Marques-Marcet’s 10,000 KM.
Breakthrough Audience Award: Sarah Adina Smith’s The Midnight Swim.
Meantime, Shalini Dore for Variety: “Sophia Loren had the AFI Fest audience laughing, applauding and cheering as Rob Marshall led her through her decades-long career during a retrospective at the Dolby Theatre on Wednesday.”