TCFF Full Lineup is here! See what’s playing from Sept. 20-25

As TIFF is underway in Toronto starting yesterday, I’ve been anticipating our own Twin Cities Film Fest (TCFF) that’ll be starting in two weeks starting Tuesday, Sept. 20. A couple of days ago the full lineup is finally announced, yippeee!! I am truly excited for this, I think the organizers did a great job getting a great mix of studio features, documentaries, independent movies, and locally-produced films.

Download the full lineup list (PDF)

I’ve previously reported the films that will open and close the event, which are The Bully Project & Like Crazy, scheduled for Tuesday and Saturday, respectively. Now below is a list of other lineup highlights with info about which filmmakers/actors will be attending:

Wednesday 9/21

Summit Entertainment will present 50/50, a film formerly called I’m With Cancer that’s been catching a lot of buzz around film festivals. Inspired by personal experiences, it’s an original story about friendship, love, survival and finding humor in unlikely places. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen star as best friends whose lives are changed by a cancer diagnosis in this new comedy directed by Jonathan Levine from a script by Will Reiser. Star Anna Kendrick will be conducting a Q&A following the film.

Looks like I’ll be packing lots of tissues to see this one. Even from the trailer, it looks like it’ll be an emotional and heart-wrenching movie about how a 27-year-old man deals with his diagnosis. Levitt consistently turns in a good performance but looks like he ups the ante in this one. Check out the trailer below:


Thursday 9/22

White Knight is also another unlikely comedy that deals with a hot-button subject matter. It tells the story of the Leroy Lowe, a Grand dragon of the Texas Ku Klux Klan who confronts everything he’s been taught to hate when a Hispanic field worker becomes his cellmate. There’s also has an unconventional love story between Leroy and Madalena, a beautiful Mexican maid hired to clean the warden’s office.

The main cast from the film, Tom Sizemore, Hector Jimenez, and Olga Segura will also host a Q&A after the film.

Friday 9/23

Wahooooooo!!! [doing a little dance with both hands in the air]… ok, now that I’ve got that out of the way…

Y’all already knows how much I’ve been anticipating this, so imagine my delight when I heard Machine Gun Preacher is going to be shown at TCFF!! It’s scheduled for limited release on Sept. 23 but it might be another couple of months before it arrives in Minnesota.

In case this is the first time you heard it, this film by Relativity is based on a true story staring Gerard Butler as Sam Childers, a former drug dealing biker who found God and becomes a crusader for hundreds of Sudanese children who have been forced to become soldiers.

I’ve posted the trailer, poster and one of the clipsfrom the movie, but in the last couple of days, I found more stills and clips.

Butler with Michael Shannon

Vodpod videos no longer available.
Build It Again, posted with vodpod

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Childers playing with the children, posted with vodpod

Sunday, 9/25

Now this is a must-see for any comic fans or anyone who enjoys watching any Marvel superhero movies. With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story is a feature length documentary on the life and creations of Stan Lee.

Here’s the full description from TCFF official site:

With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story explores the vivid life and imagination of Stan Lee from the early days of his Great Depression era upbringing through the Marvel age of comics and beyond. The film uncovers original transcripts, illustrations, photographs and stories of Lee’s fascinating journey from his early years at Timely Comics.

Told through the words of Stan himself, as well as numerous interviews with comic book creators, actors, film producers, family and friends, “With Great Power” paints a portrait of a man whose creativity knows no bounds and whose characters have grown from humble beginnings in the pages of Marvel Comics in the early 1960’s to power house properties in all media  – including film, television, video games, toys, merchandising, and beyond.

I definitely will be seeing this one. Stan Lee is such a hugely charismatic guy and his legacy is nothing short of amazing!

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Other studio films include the horror comedy Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, Undefeated, which chronicles the Manassas Tigers’ 2009 football season, and Thunder Soul, a story of extraordinary alumni from Houston’s storied Kashmere High School Stage Band, who return home after 35 years to play a tribute concert for the 92-year-old “Prof.”

In addition, Twin Cities Film Fest is excited about the other programming and events for 2011, which will again feature Minnesota films, including different Minnesota Shorts Series,  some Women in Film programming, India Independent programming, panels, and a special screening of Fargo.

Tickets will be available Friday, September 9th on fandango.com. Please visit www.twincitiesfilmfest.org or www.showplaceicon.com for more information.


Minnesota film fans, I hope you can set aside some time to support this wonderful event! As for the rest of you, are you interested in any of these fims?

Exciting news updates for Coriolanus and Machine Gun Preacher!

I just want to share exciting news in regards to two of my highly-anticipated movies of the year: Coriolanus and Machine Gun Preacher, both of which will be released in time for Oscar season!

I’ve talked about both movies several times already, but here’s the quick summary on the plot and cast:

Coriolanus

A modern retelling of a Shakespeare political play, Ralph Fiennes directs and stars in the title role as the banished hero of Rome who allies with a sworn enemy Tullus Aufidius (Gerard Butler) to take his revenge on the city. The rest of the cast includes Vanessa Redgrave, Brian Cox, and Jessica Chastain from a script by John Logan (Gladiator, Last Samurai, The Aviator).

The Film Stage reported that The Weinstein Company will release the film on limited release on December 2, 2011. I sure hope it’ll make its way to Minneapolis on that time, too, as I definitely would make my way to any theater in town on opening night!

I love what my friend Sheri wrote on her blog JHMO about the story and the casting:

I’ve read the play (although it has been many years since I have done so.) It is a story filled with passion and violence and politics and themes like ambition and familial devotion, friendship, and betrayal. While some may instantly grimace at the idea of sitting through a filmed version of a Shakespearian tragedy (and I fear some of those people will never be able to open their minds to the possibility,) there are parallels to be found in current world politics and if done right, will resonate with a modern viewer.

It is my hope that this film will not only serve to prove that Ralph Fiennes has successfully joined the ranks of a mere handful of actors who have transitioned from in front of the camera to behind it and back again, but also to prove what a small but vociferous bunch of us have known for a long time, that Gerard Butler is a very talented actor.  More talented than his recent foray into romantic comedy and action adventure would have indicated; the talent that seemed evident in much of his earliest work and seemed to want to break out of the constraints of a caged serial killer.

I’ll post the trailer as soon as it’s available, but in the meantime, check out more details and on-set pictures of the project, as well as BERLINALE review.


Machine Gun Preacher

I don’t know if this happens very often as I don’t have much knowledge in Hollywood business dealings. Lionsgate apparently couldn’t accommodate director Marc Forster request to have the film released this year due to its full lineup, so Relativity Media stepped in to distribute the fact-based drama in the US this Fall (per Deadline) and possibly making an Oscar push for this flick! There is no official release date announced yet, but most likely it’ll be sometime this Fall.

I read some snooty remarks from some sites (one of which is a very pompous site in general) in regards to hearing Gerard Butler’s name and Oscar in the same sentence, but as you know, I’ve long believed the Scot is soooo much more than his 12-pack abs in 300 and or what you see in his recent rom-coms. I always think he’s a talented and versatile actor with varied roles in the past 10 years, as I’ve outlined in my post of top five Gerard Butler roles.

The film is inspired by the real-life preacher Sam Childers in his book Another Man’s War: The True Story of One Man’s Battle to Save Children in the Sudan, a former drug-dealing biker tough guy who found God and became a crusader hundreds of Sudanese children who’ve been kidnapped and pressed into duty as soldiers in the Lord’s Resistance Army (L.R.A.). I recently read Childers’ interview in Vanity Fair, and he’s definitely got a story worth telling. The caption under the photo on that article reads, “I found God in 1992,” says Sam Childers. “I found Satan in 1998.” The reference is to Joseph Kony, leader of the outlaw L.R.A..

Childers & Butler at the Have A Heart For Children charity event

In addition to Butler, the rest of the cast is an impressive one as well: Kathy Baker, Michelle Monaghan, Michael Shannon (the soon-to-be General Zod) and Souleymane Sy Savane, the Ivorian actor who received rave reviews for his performance in Goodbye Solo. I’m also a fan of Forster’s work, especially Stranger than Fiction and Finding Neverland (Not crazy about Quantum of Solace but it certainly wasn’t terrible). I share Sheri’s sentiment about Forster on her JMHO blog entry on this project:

I’ve had a really good feeling about this one from the moment I heard Marc Forster was directing. He’s a talented and versatile director who manages to pull the best out of his actors. Monster’s Ball was brilliant and he not only got an Oscar -worthy performance out of Berry, but he got amazing performances out of Heath Ledger and Billy Bob Thornton as well.A nomination for Johnny Depp was among the seven earned by  Finding Neverland. Hell, Will Ferrell was nominated for a Golden Globe for Stranger Than Fiction. I’m a fan of all three of these films. I’m also a fan of Forster’s much-maligned Quantum of Solace.

Filming locations took place in Michigan and South Africa. Check out these on-set photos of Butler last Summer with his biker getup, complete with the mullet 😀

Now if only the Weinsteins and Relativity Media would grant us trailers for these movies real soon, I’d be a happy camper!!


What do you think folks? Does either one of these movies interest you?