By Alan Scherstuhl
By Amy Nicholson
By Charles Taylor
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Brian Feinzimer
By CAROLINA DEL BUSTO
By AMY NICHOLSON
By Amy Nicholson
Irish Spotlight on April 27: Lance Daly's Life's a Breeze is about a Dublin woman whose family surprises her with a home makeover that has her thrilled until she discovers they tossed her old mattress where she hid her life savings. When a physical search comes up empty, an ill-advised public appeal on the radio leads to a citywide hunt for the lost money.
Pacific Rim Spotlight on April 28: You know how Hollywood and, in particular, the makers of spaghetti westerns in Italy took old Japanese samurai movie stories and set them in the Old West? With Yurusarezaru mono (Unforgiven), Sang-il Lee turns the practice on its head, presenting a shot-for-shot remake of Clint Eastwood's Oscar winner Unforgiven—with samurais; Ken Watanabe stars. Flora Lau's Bends explores the classes through a prosperous housewife and her chauffeur who begin an unlikely friendship amid the pressures of Hong Kong society and the city's increasingly complex relationship with mainland China. South Korea's blockbuster Cold Eyes, which has a second NBFF showing scheduled, has co-directors Ui-seok Cho and Byung-seo Kim remaking the 2007 thriller out of Hong Kong Eye In the Sky. About the police force's Special Crime Unit battling a criminal mastermind, Cold Eyes is the best picture all NBFF programmers say they have seen this year. Mark Lamprell's Goddess has a singer taking a break to raise her 3-year-old twin boys on the southernmost tip of Australia while her husband works on the water to save the whales. Battling loneliness in her kitchen, she starts singing her "sink songs" into her computer, unknowingly becoming an Internet sensation.
European Spotlights on April 29: Per Fly's Waltz for Monica (Monica Z) was a big hit in Sweden, telling the story of real 1960s jazz singer and entertainer Monica Zetterlund. She escaped her small hometown in the Land of Meatballs, tried but failed to make it big in New York City, then returned to find fame and love in her homeland and thought it was quite the bumpy ride. Maria Sole Tognazzi's A Five Star Life has an Italian luxury-hotel inspector loving her work that takes her to wonderful settings around the world and the single life—until she meets a woman who makes her feel all tingly. Writer/director Sylvain Chomet's quirky little charmer Attila Marcel is about a mute in his thirties who lives in a Parisian apartment with his aristocrat aunts who dream of seeing him become a virtuoso pianist. He breaks out of his sheltered life when he meets an eccentric woman on the fourth floor.
April 30's Latino Spotlights: From Brazil comes Bernard Attal's A Coleção Invisível (The Invisible Collection), about a hard-partying young man who has his perspective on life changed after a personal tragedy leads to him taking over his family's antique store. Marcela Said's El verano de los peces voladores (The Summer of Flying Fish) has it becoming increasingly clear to a young girl on vacation in the south of Chile that she must stop her uncle's mad campaign to kill all the carp in his artificial lagoon. Claudia Sainte-Luce's Los insolitos peces gato (The Amazing Catfish) features a twentysomething woman in a Mexican hospital for appendicitis bonding with an ailing matriarch. Upon their release, the mother brings the younger woman into her quirky, bustling home, where she is quickly welcomed and accepted as a new part of the household—perhaps too accepted.
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Our hard-copy issue has an accompanying hard-copy, pull-out guide that has all the titles, and newportbeachfilmfest.com includes all the synopses and online video trailers for many entries, retrospectives and music videos.
Opening-night tickets are a steep $175 because it includes the film and gala afterward at Fashion Island. It's $125 for the gala only, which—sorry, kids—is 21-and-over because of that free-flowing booze mentioned earlier. Closing-night tickets will set you back $75 for the movie and party, which is also 21-and-over because of you-know-what.
The vast majority of films and shorts programs are a more wallet-friendly $12 for seniors and students and $14 for everyone else. Spotlight films are a few dollars more (or a few $10 more if you want to attend the 21-and-over parties associated with them).
There are also many free screenings, seminars and other events sprinkled throughout the festival. Roll 'em—oh, wait . . .
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