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Previews and Features

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:…
26 Dec 2016
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In 1973, Jewel Thais-Williams opened a nightclub in Los Angeles called Jewel’s Catch One—and it quickly gained a reputation as the Studio 54 of the West. For 42 years, the people at Jewel’s Catch One challenged racism and homophobia while offering assistance to those stricken by the AIDS epidemic and becoming a haven for African Americans, all while spurring innovation in fashion and music. In 2015, Jewel’s Catch One closed its doors. A documentary about Jewel Thais-Williams and her club, Jewel’s Catch One, will be screened three times as part of the Palm Springs International Film Festival. During a recent phone interview with Thais-Williams and filmmaker C. Fitz, Thais-Williams talked about disco and her club’s legacy. “It definitely had an impact on the gay and lesbian population, because at that time in California, specifically in Los Angeles, there were laws against those of the same sex dancing with each other,”…
06 Jun 2016
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I realize that the summer movie season got its actual start more than two months ago with Batman v Superman: Dick Holes. That piece of diseased sloth eye-mush came out on my birthday, of all days, and sent me into a cinematic stupor of the bad kind. Thanks a lot, Warner Bros. Hey, WB, why don’t you just shit in my face on next year’s birthday? That would be far more festive. The good news is I’ve recovered thanks to a little movie called Captain America: Civil War, which is a superhero movie done right. Marvel has proven that it is possible to pit two superhero icons against each other without causing Tourette-type fits in the parking lot, diarrhea and disassociation at the workplace. I hadn’t been that grouchy since Batman and Robin came out. Already Out The Nice Guys (Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe rock); The Angry Birds Movie…
27 Mar 2016
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Michael Showalter is best known as one of the creators and stars of the cult classic Wet Hot American Summer and its prequel, the hilarious 2015 Netflix series, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. He’s a veteran of legendary comedy troupes The State and Stella. In 2014, he co-wrote the funny rom-com spoof They Came Together, co-starring Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler; it was co-written and directed by his fellow State and Stella alumnus, David Wain. In 2005, he made his feature-directing debut with The Baxter, a criminally underrated and charming comedy starring himself, Elizabeth Banks, Michelle Williams and Justin Theroux. Now, 11 years later comes his sophomore feature-directing effort, Hello, My Name Is Doris, starring the one and only Sally Field. Field plays the title character, an oddly dressed cubicle-dweller who falls in love with a much-younger man (Max Greenfield) at the workplace. This results in strange…