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Previews and Features

06 Jun 2017
The month of June brings the Palm Springs International ShortFest—the largest short-film festival on the continent. This leads to a common question: “What makes a film a short?” The answer: No, it has nothing to do with the height of the director. Instead, a “short film” is any motion picture not long enough to be considered a “feature film.” The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences defines a short film as “an original motion picture that has a running time of 40 minutes or less, including all credits.” Sometimes, the synopsis may seem longer than the actual movie. Lili Rodriguez is the festival director of the Palm Springs International ShortFest. Festival organizers receive more than 4,200 submissions for about 325 slots, organized into 90-minute themed screenings—and the nature of the films submitted often reflects the social and political issues of our time. “This year, we’ve seen a lot of…
05 May 2017
She stood in my office doorway, as palm trees from Palm Canyon Drive framed her long, dark-auburn hair. The cut of her emerald business suit clung to her curves in the all right places. The way she clutched her Kate Spade purse, I could tell something was really worrying her. Her deep hazel eyes betrayed her, showing the fear she had seen. “What’s on your mind, doll face?” I asked as I tried to keep my eyes on her in a professional way. I have years of practice at looking at the wrong places. With a pursing of her lips, she looked at me and said, “It’s already after 4 o’clock.” Her hands started to wring her purse tighter. “We’re going to be late for this year’s Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival.” Well, that’s how I would imagine it would go. The 18th annual film festival takes place May 11-14,…
22 Feb 2017
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Will La La Land suffer from enough backlash before the Acadamy Awards ceremony this Sunday, Feb. 26, to lose the Best Picture Oscar? Will Matt Damon show up to foil Jimmy Kimmel’s big hosting gig dressed as Batman? Will Ben Affleck stop pouting about how badly Live by Night bombed and re-accept the directing chores of The Batman? I know that last part was off-subject, but if you mention Damon, you have to mention Affleck. Alternative-newspaper writers are fined $78.53 if they fail to do so. Honestly, it’s odd to see so many people hating on a movie that is cleaning up at the awards. I’ve personally and publicly recommended La La Land to many people, feeling it was a sure thing, only to be met with scowls when they next saw me. One person actually punched me in the face and threw their drink at me. It was awkward…
24 Jan 2017
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One of the highlights of the Palm Springs International Film Festival is its extensive program of films submitted for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar—giving audiences a taste of the best movies from around the world (or, well, at least what government agencies around the world have decided are the best movies). This year’s festival featured 43 of the more than 80 Best Foreign Language submissions for the upcoming Oscars—including eight of the nine movies on the Academy’s shortlist. The five nominees, as well as the nominees in all the rest of the categories, will be announced tomorrow, Tuesday, Jan. 24. The nominees in the category generally tend toward the middlebrow, with serious historical dramas—often focusing on World War II—reliably taking up a few spots each year. Such is the case this year—three of the eight shortlisted movies shown at the PSIFF deal with World War II and its aftermath:…

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