Sunday Morning Playlist: 1.12.13

Words: Devin Kelly

This Sunday’s playlist features an eclectic mix of this new-age R&B that’s been gaining popularity in the aftermath of genre-defining artists such as The Weeknd. While The Weeknd has taken the spotlight, there are other artists who have brought their brand of soul-tripping, slow-burning R&B to the table.

Rhye is changing the game of white-people-singing-songs-that-only-used-to-be-sung-by-Marvin-Gaye. Listen to the live piano track of their stunning single “The Fall,” and you’ll see why you need to wake up to it every Sunday. read more

13 for 2013 Movie Picks

Words: Rob DeStefano

The praise of 2013 as the year for film is becoming repetitive. ON REPEAT. Constant, y’all! We tried coding a Spring Breakers‘ James Franco to recite our list, but had some technical difficulties separating those sound clips from his nine other releases this year.

He wasn’t the only force; this was a powerhouse turnout for some of the best directors working today, fleshing out every niche of the medium. To agree with all the hype, it was an unprecedentedly deep roster – choices down to our #30 are easily recommended. And since we don’t have enough domain space to hit our list’s stratosphere, here are some honorable mentions that just missed the top 13: Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, Shane Carruth’s Upstream Color, Jeff Nichols’ Mud, Nicole Holofcener’s Enough Said, and Asghar Farhadi’s The Past, to name just a few.

Without further ado, let’s get down to business (to defeat, the Huns).

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Top 25 Albums of 2013

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Words: Jordan Catalana, Kathryn Freund, Devin Kelly, Bryant Kitching, James Passarelli, Danny Walsh, & Ryan Waring

The year 2013 in music saw the dawn of freak-wave, the continued rise of Beyonce, and, by my blind estimation, another Daughtry album.  None of this will be covered in what follows.  Our New Year’s resolution is to get our 2014 list through the fiber-optics before the ball drops…but we have all year to do that.  Besides, we’ve always said that hindsight is 20-20 (the ultimate rationalization of procrastination),so another couple days can only improve the list, right?  Right.  In the meantime, let’s look back on the best of what reached the Ferret’s feeble, air-filled ears last annum.
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The Moviegoer’s Guide to Thanksgiving: 2013

Words: Rob DeStefano

Imagine a world where your dining room table was equipped to extend indefinitely, supporting leaf after leaf, friend after friend, doily after doily. That is the dream I dreamed, and since dreams are dreams, we composed our list of 10 characters from 2013 releases you can leave out in the cold; the list can also be referred to as The Honorary Anne Hathaway Awards.

IF wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving!

10. Adele (Adele Exarchopoulos in Blue Is the Warmest Color)

blue is the warmest color

So many sweet images we could have put up for Adele, but we chose to delve into the savory. A nice bowl of pasta, oozing with tomato sauce and just waiting to be slurped down, splattered across cheeks, and made into an Oliver Twist reference. She might have made our “Best” list if she was given thirty moist towelettes and required to eat at the kids’ table. We’re well aware that spaghetti is not a staple for this holiday, but just imagine the clean-up that would follow after she laid her hands on a stuffed artichoke. read more

Interview: Irene Taylor Brodsky

The Maidstone. East Hampton, NY
Interview: Rob DeStefano

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When talking about his father, one of the children says, “He loved us a lot, but he still committed suicide, so that’s very confusing.” Irene Taylor Brodsky’s documentary is challenging to watch without shedding a tear, but I can only imagine how it is for a child to cope with a family member’s death and even confess it to a camera. ONE LAST HUG is approximately thirty-five minutes long, and in that short span, Brodsky takes us through an intimate three days at Camp Erin, one of forty-one free bereavement camps for youth. For someone who was unaware of these programs, the documentary gives a glance into the structure of the seventy-two hours; more importantly though, it reminds us how delicate and amorphous a child’s world is. The filmmaker tells this story with simplicity and grace; she doesn’t shy away from the children’s grief, yet she knows when to bring about repose. Brodsky’s previous credits include an Academy Award nomination for her non-fiction short The Final Inch (2009) and the Sundance Audience Award for her feature length documentary Hear and Now (2007). To add to her success, ONE LAST HUG deservedly received the HIFF 2013 Audience Award for Best Short Documentary. It was our pleasure to meet with this prestigious storyteller and discuss her work.

Documentary: ONE LAST HUG (…and a few smooches): Three Days at Grief Camp
Director: Irene Taylor Brodsky
Network: HBO Documentary Films
Premiere: 2014

Inflatable Ferret: What led you to direct ONE LAST HUG?

Irene Taylor Brodsky: My first documentary I made back in the early nineties for UNICEF – I was living in Nepal at the time, and I made it about deaf children living in the Himalayas. My first theatrically released documentary was in 2007 called Hear and Now. It premiered at Sundance, and it won the Audience Award there. I was very fortunate with my first feature length to get some recognition. It opened a lot of doors for me to continue making films. I have a long history of making television documentaries before I made that theatrical film. read more

HIFF 2013 Notes: Her

Words: Rob DeStefano

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What do you want to do today? I don’t know. What’s on your mind? I don’t know. What kind of food do you want? I don’t know. Forget a pregnant woman’s craving for eggplant parmigiana with peanut butter cups, deciding what type of meal would most satisfy your system at a given moment is not a black and white selection. First we factor in the taste we want: do we introduce our buds to something with spice, or is it the sensation of the sweet that’s required? Traveling down the tract, we then have another choice: should the post-digestion feeling leave us warm and full (Paula Deen’s Lucky Charm encrusted stick of butter) or lightweight and healthy (triple-washed kale)? Then there’s cost and convenience that needs to be factored in, along with other nonsense, making the “I don’t know” a perfect substitution for the time it takes to calculate and process all of these thoughts. Spike Jonze is undoubtably a complex and intelligent filmmaker. He manipulates the medium to serve up an immediate and visceral feeling, even when some of his stories require extra unpacking. The characters in his fourth feature, Her, habitually respond with “I don’t know.” It derives from complication, and it feels honest and empathetic, fitting the film perfectly into his impressive and now increasing body of work. read more

Interview: John Krokidas

The Maidstone. East Hampton, NY
Interview: Rob DeStefano

kill your darlings cast

Film: Kill Your Darlings
Director: John Krokidas
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHaan, Michael C. Hall, Ben Foster, Jack Huston, Elizabeth Olsen, Kyra Sedgwick, Jennifer Jason Leigh, David Cross

John Krokidas’ Kill Your Darlings garnered The Venice Days International Award at the Venice Film Festival and a Grand Jury Prize nomination at this year’s Sundance. The director himself is the recipient of the Directors to Watch prize at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. His rendering of the initial days of the beat generation has launched him into the spotlight, and though his talent is clearly recognized, his open and zealous personality have unquestionably aided in the industry’s gravitation towards him. IF had the gratifying opportunity to discuss with him his early career and the making of his hotly awaited feature.

Inflatable Ferret: Welcome to HIFF. I understand you have a bachelor’s in both American and Theater studies. Did this draw you towards making a historical fiction feature?

John Krokidas: Ultimately what you study comes back to haunt you, in a good way. One course that really meant a lot to me while I was at Yale was a study in Film Noir and WWII. I realized while writing this movie with my former college roommates that it was a murder story that took place in 1944, and Double Indemnity was nominated for Best Picture that year, so we ended up structuring it like a film noir and using a lot of what we learned at school in the film. read more

Sunday Morning Playlist: 10.13.13

Words: Devin Kelly

Five songs. Enough time to fry some eggs and brew a pot of coffee on Sunday morning. Enough time to snooze, off and on, before getting up for brunch. Enough time to regret things, or remember them, or merely dwell. Enough time to get ready for something.

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HIFF 2013 Notes: Breathe In

Words: Rob DeStefano

Breathe In

The film Like Crazy received the spotlight treatment at HIFF in 2011. It is a movie I still think about from time to time, but as much as I am affected by the subject matter – people unwilling to let go of something that might have already let go itself – I do question the packaging. Writer/director Drake Doremus is a proponent of extended improvisation, and I think this let in too much air. Without a concrete backbone, the film’s strong performances and inherently melancholic topic did not build to the work it could have.

Doremus returns to the festival this year, bringing along star Amy Ryan to promote his follow-up feature Breathe In. Now upping the age of his subjects, well sort of, Doremus revisits the romantic-drama territory. Keith (Guy Pearce) and Megan (Amy Ryan) live the suburban life, enjoying bayside barbeques and annual family photoshoots with their 17-year-old daughter Lauren (Mackenzie Davis). This picturesque world is eroded when they take in Sophie (Felicity Jones), a foreign exchange student who connects most strongly with Keith; the two are both musicians, but Sophie has what Keith is longing for, youth and spontaneity. Working with another talented cast and themes as understandable as (potential) infidelity and regret, does Doremus produce something with more weight than his 2011 submission? My answer for this year’s entry is, again, “No.” read more

HIFF 2013 Notes: Kill Your Darlings

Words: Rob DeStefano

kill-your-darlings

The streets are alive with the sound of:
a) Sponsors requesting that you fly American Airlines! And stuff your face with Doritos!
b) Founder’s Pass holders grumbling after their all inclusive (and dangerously expensive) tickets still require them to stand frantically in a line
c) Chattering from the publicity reps through espionage devices, “Ralph Fiennes wants a taco!” or
d) Both silence and applause after a film – they sometimes can mean the same thing.

Although these noises culminate to a cacophony that again brings life to the autumnal, under-stuffed Hamptons, the general sound after the opening of this year’s 21st Hamptons International Film Festival was steady applause. read more


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