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Santa Barbara Fetes Forest Whitaker

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It was a cold night in Santa Barbara, one of the more beautiful places on the planet. The ocean stretches out longways on your left. On your right, giant homes dot the hillside, twinkling lights within. The Kirk Douglas award was being held at the Bacara resort, an opulent palace hooked over the sea. Oscars 2013 was coming to a close. I was on my way to see Forest Whitaker,…

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Emma Thompson to Receive Modern Master Award from SBIFF

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The Santa Barbara Film Fest will honor Emma Thompson with the Modern Master Award, their highest honor: Santa Barbara, CA – The Santa Barbara International Film Festival will honor actor, screenwriter and producer Emma Thompson with the Modern Master Award at the 29th edition of the Fest, which runs January 30 – February 9, 2014, it was announced today by SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling. The Tribute will take place…

Oprah Winfrey to Receive Montecito Award from SBIFF

Oprah Winfrey to Receive Montecito Award from SBIFF

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It was just announced that Oprah Winfrey will receive the prestigious Montecito Award from the Santa Barbara Film Festival on February 5, 2014. Winfrey receives the award for her work in Lee Daniels’ The Butler and as a celebration of her overall career.   In The Butler, Winfrey plays the wife of Cecil Gaines, a White House butler who last through many US presidents, but more to the point, the presidents who…

London Film Festival Wrap-up: The Last of the Unjust

London Film Festival Wrap-up: The Last of the Unjust

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Cor, I stink. And my nails are shockingly long. They enter the room before I do. My last shower was Friday, and I figure 48 hours is about the limit I ought to go without washing. Fuck it, 72 hours will have to do this time. It’s not like I’m spending my time in a sterilised bunker, I’m spending my time surrounded by people and dirt and all manner of…

London Film Festival: 12 Years a Slave

London Film Festival: 12 Years a Slave

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I saw Steve McQueen’s Hunger on opening weekend in 2008. The UK was one of the very first countries to see his debut feature, and the Belfast screening was packed, of course. It was the best film I saw that year. A little over two years ago, I was having a pretty bad day, and decided to treat myself. Rather than wait for its January release, I booked rail and…

London Film Festival: The Past & Stranger by the Lake

London Film Festival: The Past & Stranger by the Lake

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It’s my day off, kind of. I’m still seeing two films, and actually they’re both pretty high-profile Cannes entries: Asghar Farhadi’s The Past, for which Berenice Bejo won the official Best Actress award, and Alain Guiraudie’s Stranger by the Lake, for which he himself won the Un Certain Regard Best Director award. But these screenings are, respectively, showing at 18:00 and 21:00, so I have the afternoon to do what…

London Film Festival: Night Moves & Blue is the Warmest Colour

London Film Festival: Night Moves & Blue is the Warmest Colour

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Last Monday, I felt a cold coming on. Well, I thought it was a cold. It was tonsillitis. Not very pleasant. Got some penicillin from the doctor; by this time, the tonsillitis was subsiding. I packed what remained of the first packet out of two for London, and by the time I had run it through, my throat felt pretty much back to normal. It’s what, Thursday today? And the…

AFI Fest Adds Lone Survivor, August: Osage County and the Last Emperor 3D

AFI Fest Adds Lone Survivor, August: Osage County and the Last Emperor 3D

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Full list of the AFI fest: SAVING MR. BANKS – The extraordinary, untold story of how Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) and author P. L. Travers (Emma Thompson) proceed to turn her novel into the film MARY POPPINS. DIR John Lee Hancock. SCR Kelly Marcel, Sue Smith. CAST Tom Hanks, Colin Farrell, Emma Thompson, Paul Giamatti, Bradley Whitford, Jason Schwartzman, B.J. Novak. USA. North American Premiere. Thursday, November 7, 2013. Centerpiece…

London Film Festival: Eastern Boys & The Selfish Giant

London Film Festival: Eastern Boys & The Selfish Giant

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My stay here in London has so far been comprised of long stretches of business, punctuated by curious moments of inactivity. This morning was one of the latter. Three films today, all squeezed in to a mere few hours, with the first, Robin Campillo’s Eastern Boys, kicking off at 15:15. So, after a generous lie-in, a shower (the hostel showers here are proof against the existence of god, imo) and…

London Film Festival: Inside Llewyn Davis

London Film Festival: Inside Llewyn Davis

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There was a moment, yesterday, as I sat in the back of the taxi, watching the fare rise, imagining the first fifteen minutes of the film I was missing, Borgman, sweating like a priest in a playground, when I thought, “I’ve had enough. I haven’t even lasted two days in London. It can’t be worth this much stress. I might as well go home.” I did not go home. And…