film

In 2013, fairy homes — with doors custom-built for the hollows of trees and tiny furniture nestled inside — cropped up on a wooded trail in Overland Park. Firefly Forest, as it was called, appeared as if by magic. People tucked hundreds of notes into these small abodes, listing their struggles and dreams. And, to their surprise, the fairies answered.

This story is part of True/False Conversations, a series of in-depth interviews with the filmmakers of this year’s True/False Fest.  Find the rest of them here or download the podcast on iTunes.

Back in 2008 filmmaker Ed Cunningham heard a strange story on the news about a man who bought a barbecue smoker at an auction and found a severed human leg inside. A legal battle ensued between the finder of the foot and the man it once belonged to.


The Man who is ‘Almost There’

Mar 6, 2015

This story is part of True/False Conversations, a series of in-depth interviews with the filmmakers of this year’s True/False Festival.  Find the rest of them here or download the podcast on iTunes.

83-year-old artist Peter Anton was only known in his community of East Chicago before filmmakers Dan Rybicky and Aaron Wickenden stumbled into his life. The film “Almost There” follows Anton as the filmmakers become his caretakers and advocates for his art exhibit, which quickly becomes controversial.


In 1915, a famous director and an aggressive journalist battled over the inherent racism in the film, The Birth of a Nation. On this edition of Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with author Dick Lehr about the controversy behind this influential and infamous film. 

Guest:

IFC Films

In Two Days, One Night, the new film from the Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Marion Cotillard gives a complex, tough performance as a wife and mother scrambling to keep her job.

On a Friday, Cotillard's Sandra learns that sixteen of her co-workers at a solar panel factory have voted to take a bonus of 1,000 euros rather than keep her on the payroll. Devastated yet not defeated, she spends all Saturday and Sunday on a desperate and humble but hopeful campaign to personally convince each colleague to change his or her mind before a Monday-morning vote.

Sony Pictures Classic

  The weather forecast for the next few days makes getting out and about a no-brainer.  Top off your weekend  by taking in a movie.  Up To Date's indie, foreign and documentary critics offer their picks to see this weekend.

Cynthia Haines:

  • Selma
  • Boyhood
  • Birdman

Steve Walker:

Julie Denesha / KCUR

When the Glenwood Arts Theatre at the Metcalf South Shopping Center closes on Jan. 25, it marks the end of an era, nearly 50 years of a Glenwood theater on Metcalf. 

Fox Searchlight

From a thousand-mile journey of self-exploration to a raunchy bromance that has the nation talking, Up To Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics suggest some films they think are worth heading to the theaters this weekend:

Cynthia Haines:

  • Boyhood
  • The Interview
  • Whiplash 

Steve Walker:

Courtesy / Lacey Schwartz, Truth Aid Media

“White people will think anything,” says a guy named Matt in Lacey Schwartz’s documentary, Little White Lie.

We don't have flying cars, and futurists guess we never will. That's an infrastructure thing. On the other hand, leaps in communication technology have changed our lives in ways that surpass most of our wildest dreams. How does the 2015 we are living in compare to the 2015 visited by Marty McFly in Back to the Future Part II? Up next: Blade Runner, 2019.

Guests:

Miramax

Weather reports are calling for bitter temperatures this weekend so a warm movie theater may be just the place to spend some time.  The Up to Date independent, foreign, and documentary film critics have some suggestions that will make it worth getting in the car:

Cynthia Haines:

  • Boyhood
  • Wild
  • Whiplash

Steve Walker:

Black Bear Pictures

It is a tradition for many to take in a movie over the holiday weekend.  If you're trying to decide which to see, Up to Date's independent, foreign, and documentary film critics have a few suggestions for you:

Cynthia Haines:

  • Boyhood
  • Wild
  • Whiplash

Steve Walker:

The Best Independent, Documentary And Foreign Films of 2014

Dec 26, 2014
IFC Entertainment

For those who prefer art houses for their film viewing, it's been a very good year. From the class system that develops on a train of the future to musician Nick Cave marking his 20,000th day on the planet to a young novitiate nun in 1960s Poland,  independent, documentary and foreign filmmakers have given moviegoers plenty to choose from.

Fox Searchlight

Cheryl Strayed's best-selling memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail suggested to more than a million readers that the way to tame inner demons is to redefine what it means to navigate a wild life. Jean-Marc Vallee, the director of last year's Oscar-winning Dallas Buyers Club, has adapted Strayed's book into a beautiful and gritty film with a transformative performance by Reese Witherspoon at its core.

Ayah Abdul-Rauf / Kansas City Art Institute

Film and animation students at the Kansas City Art Institute get some big-screen time – and a chance to see how their work goes over with a live audience – at their end-of-semester show on Wednesday at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in downtown Kansas City, Mo.

Beth Lipoff / KCUR

Beautiful women, crime and doomed lovers dominate the screen when it comes to film noir. At their height, these films featured star players, such as Humphrey Bogart, Burt Lancaster and Marilyn Monroe.

On Friday's Up to Date, our DVD Gurus highlighted their favorites of the genre. We also talked with a few special guests from the Noir City film festival.

Courtesy Dogwoof Pictures

Prior to 1990, scientists had unearthed only twelve Tyrannosaurus rex skeletons, none of them more than 40 percent complete. In August of that year, Sue – the titular T. rex in the riveting new documentary Dinosaur 13 – changed everything.

Samuel Goldwyn Films and Paramount Home Media Distribution

When Casey Twenter came up with the idea for the movie Rudderless, starring Billy Crudup and directed by William H. Macy, he was a Kansas City guy working at an advertising agency. This conversation shares Twenter's story and offers insight into his on-screen exploration of parenthood and loss, love and guilt.

Bob Mahoney / courtesy: Warner Brothers

Kansas City has been missing out on valuable economic development – and image enhancement – opportunities by not having a fully staffed film office, but that should change now that Stephane Scupham has joined the Visit KC tourism office as film and new media manager.

Courtesy: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

"We're still here," says Gaylene Crouser of the Kansas City Indian Center. That's one of the many things she'd like people to understand about American Indians, a detail they might not pick up from mainstream movies. How have recurring characters on-screen shaped our perceptions of what it means to be indigenous in America? 

Guests:

20th Century Fox

Gone Girl, a new film based on the best-selling thriller by Kansas City native Gillian Flynn, opens this Friday.

It's directed by David Fincher (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Fight Club, Seven), and Flynn wrote the screenplay. Cape Girardeau, Mo., on the banks of the Mississippi River, was a stand-in for the fictional North Carthage, Mo. 

Looking for a great film to see the weekend of Sept.5-7? Up to Date's independent, foreign, and documentary film critics share their favorites showing on area screens:

Steve Walker:

Cynthia Haines:

Two people who just want to be friends might get more than they bargained for, a married couple go on a retreat to salvage their marriage and Errol Flynn's last days are recreated on film.

We look at those film plots and more on Friday's Up to Date with our indie, foreign and documentary film critics.

Here's a list of the films they discussed:

Courtesy Music Box Films

Everyone who’s ever stayed at a hotel turns into a hotel inspector as soon as the bellman closes the door. Does the bedspread look plush or threadbare? Is the bathroom gleaming or grungy? Will room service arrive promptly and hot or late and cold? In the new Italian film A Five Star Life, Margherita Buy wonders these and other things as a hotel inspector beginning to question the constriction and loneliness of a career that looks awfully glamorous from the outside.

Writer Lois Lowry On 'The Giver'

Aug 25, 2014
courtesy: NEH

Acclaimed Newbery Award-winning children's author Lois Lowry's book for young people, The Giver, is now a film. 

"The Giver was the first book that I wrote that veered out of the realistic, and tiptoed a bit into fantasy. Some people call it science fiction. I don't like to think of it that way," Lowry tells our New Letters on the Air host Angela Elam.

Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

The new dysfunctional family comedy Happy Christmas may have modest goals, but it makes an impact thanks to several lively and well-crafted performances. Chief among those is Anna Kendrick. The Oscar nominee from Up in the Air is delightfully scattered as Jenny, a young woman fresh off a break-up who retreats to her brother’s home in Chicago in hopes of reconnecting with old friends and sustaining a semi-permanent buzz.

Courtesy: Drafthouse Films

Those whose movie addiction firmly took hold in the 1970s have a deep affinity for such films as Nashville, Taxi Driver, and Dog Day Afternoon, three perfect melds of storytelling and cinematic virtuosity. What many may forget about the latter film - directed by Sidney Lumet and with a volcanic Al Pacino at its core - is that it was based on a real bank robbery concocted by a real person, now the subject of The Dog.

Looking for a great film to see the weekend of Aug. 1-3? Up to Date's independent, foreign, and documentary film critics share their favorites showing on area screens:

Cynthia Haines:

  • Boyhood
  • A Most Wanted Man
  • Life Itself

Steve Walker:

Matt Lankes / courtesy of IFC Films

The fact that Richard Linklater’s extraordinary movie Boyhood was filmed over the course of 12 years could come off as a gimmick. Yet this amazing accomplishment is no trick and, thanks to powerful performances and a seamless narrative, it packs an emotional wallop that is both unexpected and hard to shake.

courtesy of Cohen Media Group

There's a scene in Cédric Klapisch's warm, exuberant comedy Chinese Puzzle that perfectly captures both the beauty and complications of a life well lived. A discussion between two men (one living, one a hallucination) proposes that a piece of embroidery is an apt metaphor for the human condition: on one side is a lovely picture of a moment captured in time. But turned over, one sees all of the knotty entanglements.

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