January 2015

Posted January 1, 2015. Additions made January 3, 8 and 18.


  • Vote for The Best of 2014
  • Coming Attractions--Winter 2014
  • The Cinema Lounge
  • Adam's Rib Examines The Interview Furor
  • We Need to Hear From You
  • Calendar of Events

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    Vote for the Best of 2014

    The Washington DC Film Society announces the 14th annual vote for the Best of 2014. This is your chance to tell us what you think are the best films, director and performers of 2014. It is not an Oscar opinion poll. All ballots will be entered in a drawing for great prizes.

    Make your choices for (1) Best Film, (2) Best Director, (3) Best Actor, (4) Best Actress, (5) Best Supporting Actor, (6) Best Supporting Actress, and (7) Best Foreign Language Film.
    More information is here and you can review the rules here. Watch your e-mail for voting instructions.

    Coming Attractions Winter 2014: Civil Rights Drama Selma Marches to the Top

    By Cheryl Dixon, DC Film Society Member

    A cozy group of diehard film fans gathered on November 19, 2014 at Landmark E Street Cinema to cast their votes, both informal (applause) and formal (ballot), on over 30 trailers of upcoming, mostly soon-to-be-released Winter movies. Film Society P.R. Co-director Larry Hart observed “It’s the holiday season, and no one knows it more than the movie studios. They save the best for last on the theory that awards go to those late year films.” What better way is there to get an early preview of these holiday blockbusters and “prestige films” than attending Film Society’s “Coming Attractions Trailer Night?” Director Ava DuVernay’s Selma trailer was selected as the best of the best from six categories.

    Our popular co-hosts Bill Henry and Tim Gordon led the always-spirited discussion on the trailers and gave the audience the full buzz on the effectiveness of the trailers themselves and a peek at the movies they represent. Bill and Tim, having explored the film festival offerings, and seen more movies than the Academy voters themselves, weighed the merits and made their predictions for the best movies of the year. The Imitation Game, Birdman, Still Alice, and Foxcatcher were just a few of the movies that will likely appear on their top 10 lists. Both agree it’s not been a terrible year for movies so far and there were some really good trailers representing them.

    The categories, the winners of each category, and general commentary follow. Whether by applause vote or official ballot, attendees are never shy about expressing their opinions. And they know that their vote counts. Audience feedback just might impact the course of future trailers and how they are used to more effectively market the films they represent. By now, many of the films associated with the trailers have been released, but remember that attendees at this event saw the trailers first! If you liked what you saw in the trailers, go see the movies! And if you missed the trailers, but like what you’re reading here, go see the movies!!

    Here’s a summary of the winning films in each of the six categories and further discussion:

    Playing the Numbers
    The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
    Horrible Bosses 2
    The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 WINNER!
    Taken 3
    Top Five

    Katniss and Peeta emerge victorious from The Hunger Games and rebellion follows. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 again brings incredible special effects and a great story in part one of the third installment of the trilogy. This trailer includes one of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s final appearances.

    Commentary: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies with its dramatic fire scenes, falling buildings, archers, massive armies (and killer trees) found an appreciative audience. Horrible Bosses 2 - Bill assures us - has its moments, the trailer features the hapless trio going into business for themselves and again joining Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Anniston. Chris Pine, Kevin Spacey, and Christoph Waltz are their foes. Liam Neeson goes for another round of fighting to protect his family. Martin surmises (predicts) in “Taken 4”that Liam Neeson will be kidnapped and there’s no one to rescue him. Writer/Director Chris Rock gathers Rosario Dawson together with a long list of comedians: Adam Sandler, Kevin Hart, Cedric the Entertainer, Tracy Morgan, Jerry Seinfeld, J.B. Smoove, Sherri Shepherd, and Leslie Jones. Too much fun? Tim thinks that this is the best movie Rock has done thus far.

    And Your Nominees for Best Actor
    The Imitation Game WINNER!
    Mr. Turner
    The Theory of Everything

    This category certainly captures Oscar-worthy performances. Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game portrays English mathematician Alan Turing, who helped break the Enigma Code during World War II.

    Commentary: There’s serious, nail-biting competition in this category. Watch a very serious Steve Carell in Foxcatcher, as the wrestler’s sponsor; Timothy Spall In Mr. Turner as the eccentric British painter, J.M.W. Turner; Gael Garcia Bernal in Rosewater as the journalist detained in Iran; and Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything as the British physicist Stephen Hawking. And what about Michael Keaton in Birdman? Enough said.

    The Journey of a Thousand Miles
    Exodus: Gods and Kings
    Heart of the Sea
    Into the Woods

    David Oyewolo, Carmen Ejogo, and Tom Wilkinson star as Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta Scott King, and President Lyndon B. Johnson in Selma. The trailer depicts the civil rights marches and violent police attacks on American citizens in 1965 as they attempted to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge enroute from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. History flashback: Martin Luther King, Jr. led organized, non-violent marches to expand on voter registration drives begun in 1963. The bloody confrontations eventually led to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Oprah Winfrey and Brad Pitt are amongst those producing this film in commemoration of 50 years since the passage of this landmark legislation. Oscar buzz for female Director Ava DuVernay. Tim’s impressed with Oyewolo’s performance. Another Oscar worthy performance?

    Commentary: Tough competition in this category. There were some great trailers. Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings has stunning special effects and an Oscar-worthy performance for Christian Bale as Moses in this story of Moses’ challenge to Egyptian Pharoah Ramses to free the Hebrew slaves, or endure the deadly plagues. There’s Heart of the Sea featuring “sexiest man alive” Chris Hemsworth on a whaling ship. There’s Into the Woods, a Broadway musical adaptation with ensemble performances by Johnny Depp, Meryl Streep, Chris Pine, Emily Blunt, and Anna Kendrick, with several fairytales combined into one narrative. There’s Unbroken with Angelina Jolie directing a biopic on Louis Zamperini, an Olympic athlete made a POW in Japan during World War II. Finally, there’s Wild with Reese Witherspoon undertaking the journey of 1,000 miles to heal herself. Bill and Tim agree, she’s going to be nominated for an Oscar. Tim predicts a possible faceoff between two female directors (Jolie v. DuVernay)….

    Over-Compensation Dept.: Big Men with Bigger Guns
    American Sniper WINNER!
    Jupiter Ascending
    A Most Violent Year

    Kudos to director Clint Eastwood if the movie, American Sniper, is a fraction as suspenseful as the trailer. Bradley Cooper packs on the pounds of muscle as he looks buff and ready as a Navy SEAL taking the shots in Iraq. This one had the audience on the edge of their seats.

    Commentary: Jupiter Ascending has fantastic special effects. Directors Andy and Lana Wachowski guide Mila Kunis, Eddie Redmayne, and Channing Tatum, in this sci-fi, action trailer. “Kingsman received huge applause, but not quite enough to win this category. A suave, James Bond-like Colin Firth introduces a young man to the British Secret Service, but first he must succeed at the most dangerous interview ever. Michael Caine and Samuel L. Jackson round out the cast. Watch for Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain in A Most Violent Year set in crime-ridden NYC, 1981.

    Thank Heaven for Little Girls
    Beyond the Lights
    Big Eyes
    Ex Machina
    Inherent Vice WINNER!

    Inherent Vice’s trailer looked a bit like a comedy as well as a drama. The ensemble cast featuring Joaquin Phoenix, Benicio Del Toro, Reese Witherspoon, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Jena Malone, and Michael Kenneth Williams looks really good. Bill says the movie is based on a Thomas Pynchon novel set in the 70s about a missing girl.

    Commentary: Apologies, we’ve shown this Annie trailer before. It features music, starting with an updated version of Broadway’s “Annie.” This time Quvenzhane Wallis and Jamie Foxx are cast, respectively as the endearing Annie and “Daddy Warbucks-like” character in modern-day Manhattan. It’s still a hard knock life. Beyond the Lights looks like a formula movie about the challenges and pressures of rising stardom for a singer. Definitely worth a look, though, to see Belle star, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, as the lead character. Director Tim Burton helms Big Eyes, a movie about an artist whose figures had extra large eyes, and who fights for credit for her work. You’ve seen these portraits before, and this is based on a true story. Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz appear in the trailer.

    Great Idea Dummies, What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
    Black Sea
    Dumb & Dumber To
    The Interview WINNER!
    Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
    Penguins of Madagascar

    In The Interview, James Franco and Seth Rogen play talk show hosts who schedule North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for an interview, but the CIA intervenes and recruits them to assassinate him in the process. “So silly, it’s funny,” exclaimed one attendee.

    Commentary: Director Kevin Macdonald’s trailer for Black Sea skillfully depicts the tension as a captain portrayed by Jude Law seeks a fortune in gold lost on a submarine. Sequels galore: Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels reprise their roles in Dumb & Dumber To, Ben Stiller, Robin Williams (in one of his final appearances), and all the familiar characters reappear for a third outing in Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (with the action set abroad this time at the British Museum), and just the penguins of Madagascar get the spotlight this time and got the biggest laughter of the night.


    Of course, the evening would be incomplete without the bonus trailers. We saw Tomorrowland, a miraculous place where you can change the world, featuring George Clooney and set for a May 2015 debut. Right around the same time comes the Marvel Comics Avengers: Age of Ultron and the gang’s all here to fight for justice and keep the peace. Finally, we also saw Inside Out, a Disney/Pixar animation film set for a June 2015 release. This trailer began with a montage of Disney/Pixar films including Toy Story and The Incredibles. The trailer asks where do our emotions live? It’s about the voices inside your head. These trailers weren’t included in the audience voting.

    And so, our very sated movie-going audience enjoyed a full evening of trailer film surprises and promotional giveaways and prizes just for showing up. Always nice to add a free DVD to one’s collection, and there were lots of t-shirts, books, movie posters and other assorted movie memorabilia to please any discerning movie fan. See you at our next trailer program, and at the movies!

    Thanks to all of the DC Film Society Directors, Coordinating Committee Members, and Volunteers for putting together this twice-annual educational program. And thanks to our uber hosts, Bill Henry and Tim Gordon for sharing their opinions and tolerating ours, Allied THA, Landmark Theatres, DC Shorts, Women in Film & Video, and Filmfest DC.

    The Cinema Lounge

    The Cinema Lounge meets January 12, 2015 to discuss the topic "Pick the Oscar Nominations: Who Should the Academy Select and Who Will They Actually Choose?:

    (NOTE: This is a week earlier than normal because the Oscar nominations will be announced on January 15.)

    The Cinema Lounge, a film discussion group, meets the third Monday of every month (unless otherwise noted) at 7:00pm at
    Barnes and Noble, 555 12th St., NW in Washington, DC (near the Metro Center Metro stop). The meeting area is on the second floor, special events area. You do not need to be a member of the Washington DC Film Society to attend. Cinema Lounge is moderated by Adam Spector, author of the DC Film Society's Adam's Rib column.

    Adam's Rib Examines The Interview Furor

    By Adam Spector, DC Film Society Member

    Christmas has come and gone. The Interview played in over 300 theaters, and was available on several Video on Demand platforms. There was no 9/11 type attack, as the Sony hackers threatened. In fact, there was no violence at all. The film is out, and anyone who wants to see it can do so. What does it all mean? Did freedom triumph? Get my take
    in a new Adam's Rib column.

    We Need to Hear From YOU

    We are always looking for film-related material for the Storyboard. Our enthusiastic and well-traveled members have written about their trips to the Cannes Film Festival, Karlovy Vary Film Festival, London Film Festival, Venice Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Austin Film Festival, Edinburgh Film Festival, the Berlin Film Festival, the Palm Springs Film Festival, the Reykjavik Film Festival, the Munich Film Festival, and the Locarno Film Festival. We also heard about what it's like being an extra in the movies. Have you gone to an interesting film festival? Have a favorite place to see movies that we aren't covering in the Calendar of Events? Seen a movie that blew you away? Read a film-related book? Gone to a film seminar? Interviewed a director? Taken notes at a Q&A? Read an article about something that didn't make our local news media? Send your contributions to Storyboard and share your stories with the membership. And we sincerely thank all our contributors for this issue of Storyboard.

    Calendar of Events


    American Film Institute Silver Theater
    On January 8 at 7:15pm is the concert/backstage documentary Elvis: That's the Way It Is (Denis Sanders, 1970) in celebration of Elvis Presley's 85th birthday.

    On January 19 is the documentary King: A Filmed Record--Montgomery to Memphis, (Sidney Lumet, 1970) on Martin Luther King's birthday.

    On January 15 at 7:15pm director Ruben Östlund will be present for Q&A after Force Majeure (2014), Sweden's Oscar selection. Other films by Ruben Östlund will be shown in February.

    Freer Gallery of Art
    The Freer's 19th annual Iranian Film Festival begins in January and continues in February. On January 9 at 7:00pm and January 11 at 2:00pm is Manuscripts Don't Burn (Mohammad Rasoulof, 2013); on January 16 at 7:00pm and January 18 at 2:00pm is Fish and Cat (Shahram Mokri, 2013); on January 23 at 7:00pm and January 24 at 2:00pm is What's the Time in Your World? (Safi Yazdanian, 2014) and on January 30 at 7:00pm and February 1 a 2:00pm is Bending the Rules (Behnam Behzadi, 2013.

    National Gallery of Art
    While the East Building is being renovated, films are shown in the West Building and in other locations. Please check the locations for each show.

    The film series "Marco Bellocchio: Morality and Beauty" has two films remaining which have been rescheduled from December. On January 10 at 2:30pm is The Prince of Homburg (1997) and on January 10 at 4:30pm is The Butterfly's Dream (1994). Both are shown at the National Portrait Gallery.

    "Selections from Oberhausen" is a three-part program of films from the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen. On January 3 at 2:00pm is Program I including Time and the Wave (William Raban); Orizzonti Orizzonti (Anna Marziano); Sea of Vapors (Sylvia Schedelbauer); Utskor: Either/Or (Laida Lertxundi); Resistfilm (Pablo Marin); and The Dark, Krystle (Michael Robinson). On January 3 at 3:30pm is Program II including Two Museums (Heinz Emigholz); Broken Tongue (Monica Saviron); Just Like Us (Jesse McLean); Seven Times a Day We Bemoan Our Lot and at Night We Get Up to Avoid Our Dreams (Susann Maria Hempel); Construction of the Day (Wojciech Bakowski); and Listening to the Space in My Room (Robert Beavers). On January 10 at 3:00pm is "New Artists' Film and Video" including River Plate (Josef Dabernig); xx-xx-xx-gewobenes papier (Michel Klöfkorn); L’Amour sauvage (Lior Shamriz); La Estancia (Federico Adorno); and False Twins (Sandro Aguilar). All three programs are shown in the West Building.

    Special events in January include Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq (Nancy Buirski, 2014), about a prima ballerina on January 4 and January 11 at 4:00pm in the West Building; a restoration of Robert Flaherty's Samoan film Moana (1926) with sound on January 14 at 7:00pm at the National Archives; and "Peter Hutton: Landscape and Time" on January 25 at 4:00pm with the filmmaker in person with four new works, shown in the West Building.

    "Discovering Georgian Cinema" (January 12-March 26) surveys a century of filmmaking from Georgia with films shown at the Goethe Institute, the American Film Institute, the Embassy of France and the Freer Gallery of Art. Films are 35mm from international archives. On January 12 at 6:30pm Peter Rollberg introduces Blue Mountains (Eldar Shengelaia, 1984); on January 13 at 6:30pm is The White Caravan (Eldar Shengelaia and Tamaz Meliava, 1963); on January 15 at 6:30pm is An Unusual Exhibition (Eldar Shengelaia, 1968); on January 26 at 6:30pm is Bakhmaro (Salome? Jashi, 2011) shown with Felicità (Salomé Alexi, 2009); on January 27 at 6:30pm is In Bloom (Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Gross, 2013) shown with the short film Waiting for Mum (Nana Ekvtimishvili, 2011); and on January 29 at 6:30pm is The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear (Tinatin Gurchiani, 2012). All are shown at the Goethe Institute. More in February and March.

    "Cruzamentos: Contemporary Brazilian Documentary" begins in January and continues in February. On January 23 at 7:00pm Christopher Stults introduces Iracema (Jorge Bodanzky and Orlando Senna, 1974); on January 25 at 4:30pm is Housemaids (Gabriel Mascaro, 2013) shown with Santiago (João Moreira Salles, 1992-2007); and on January 30 at 7:00pm is Like Water Through Stone (Marilia Rocha, 2009). All are shown at American University. More in February.

    Smithsonian American Art Museum
    On January 20 at 6:00pm is the short film Aves: Magnificent Frigate Bird, Great Flamingo (Nancy Graves, 1973), an experimental nature film about these two species in flight. Introduced by Christina Hunter, director of the Nancy Graves Foundation and shown to complement the exhibition "The Singing and the Silence."

    Washington Jewish Community Center
    On January 6 at 7:30pm is A Place in Heaven (Yossi Madmony, 2013), an epic drama spanning Israel's history through 40 years and three wars.

    On January 20 at 6:30pm is Joachim Prinz: I Shall Not Be Silent (Rachel Eskin Fisher and Rachel Nierenberg Pasternak, 2014), a documentary about an outspoken rabbi living under the Nazi regime who became an American civil rights activist. Q&A after the screening with Rabbi Deborah Prinz.

    Library of Congress
    "The 80s: The Decade the Musicals Forgot" is a series of 1980s musicals. On January 16 at 7:00pm is Streets of Fire (Walter Hill, 1984); on January 23 at 7:00pm is Xanadu (Robert Greenwald, 1980) and on January 30 at 7:00pm is Breakin'2 (Sam Firstenberg, 1984). See the website for ticket information.

    Goethe Institute
    The Goethe Institute is one of the venues for the Georgian film festival see above. There is also an exhibit of 1991 photographs from Tbilisi by Barbara Klemm.

    National Geographic Society
    The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour takes place at National Geographic January 26-31 at 7:00pm each day. Films are shown about mountain sports and cultures.

    French Embassy
    On January 13 at 7:00pm is Attila Marcel (Sylvain Chomet, 2013).

    The Japan Information and Culture Center
    On January 21 at 6:30pm is A Gentle Breeze in the Village (Nobuhiro Yamashita, 2007). An anime film The Place Promised in Our Early Days (Makoto Shinkai, 2004), winner of the Best Animated Film award at the 59th Mainichi Film Awards.

    Arlington Arts and Artisphere
    On January 24 at 12:30pm is the Rosebud Film and Video Festival, a day of locally made short and experimental film.

    National Archives
    On January 14 at 7:00pm is the restored Moana (Robert Flaherty, 1926), presented by the National Gallery of Art.

    On January 23 at noon is the North American premiere of To Tell the Truth: Working for Change (Cal Scaggs, 2013), Part I of a history of the documentary film in the U.S. and U.K., covering 1929-1941. On January 30 at noon is part two To Tell the Truth: The Strategy of Truth (David Van Taylor, 2013).

    On January 27 at 7:00pm is The Decade of Discovery (2014), followed by a panel discussion.

    National Museum of Natural History
    On January 18 at 2:00pm is the premiere screening of Language Matters, a documentary about languages that are no longer spoken. Filmmaker David Grubin will be present for discussion.

    The Avalon
    The "Programmer's Choice" film is Pelican Dreams (Judy Irving, 2013) on January 7 at 8:00pm.

    On January 14 at 8:00pm is this month's "Film in Focus" Led Zeppelin Played Here (2014) with director Jeff Krulik participating in a Q&A afterwards.

    For this month's "French Cinematheque" is a new HD restoration of Eric Rohmer's A Tale of Winter (1992) on January 21 at 8:00pm.

    The comedy Zero Motivation (Talya Lavie, 2014), shown on January 28 at 8:00pm is this month's "Reel Israel" film.

    Italian Cultural Institute
    On January 13 at 6:30pm is The Birds, the Bees and the Italians (Pietro Germi, 1966) starring Virna Lisi.

    Anacostia Community Museum
    On January 13 at 1:00pm is The Conspirator (Robert Redford, 2011) about those charged with conspiring to kill Abraham Lincoln. On January 31 at 2:00pm is the award-winning documentary American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs (2013) about the social activis and philosopher.

    Hill Center
    On January 16 at 7:30pm is A Path Appears: Episode 3--Violence and Solutions, based on the book by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

    Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (John Irvin, 1979), based on the book by John le Carré and starring Alec Guinness, will be shown in episodes, and also as a marathon. On January 8 at 7:30pm are Episodes 1 and 2. On January 15 at 7:30pm are Episodes 3 and 4, on January 22 at 7:30pm are Episodes 5 and 6 and on January 25 at 1:00pm is a marathon of all six episodes.

    On January 6 at 7:00pm is American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs (2013), a documentary about writer and social activist Grace Lee Boggs. A discussion follows with local activist Jenny Xie.

    Alden Theater
    On January 21 at 1:00pm is Jurassic Park (1993), part of the "Midday Thrillers."

    Reel Affirmations XTra
    On January 30 at 7:00pm is the documentary Out in the Night (Blair Dorosh-Walther, 2014) followed by a reception and Q&A with the director, producer and film subject.

    Busboys and Poets
    On January 25 at 5:00pm is A Path Appears, about young women forced into a life of prostitution. At the 14th and V location.

    Alliance Francais
    On January 15 at 7:00pm the documentary series about WWI Apocalypse continues with Episodes 3 and 4.

    DC Shorts
    See a selection of comedy shorts from last year's DC Shorts Film Festival combined with live performance. January 9 and January 10 at 7:30pm and 9:30pm. At the U.S. Navy Memorial's Burke Theater. See the website for list of films, comics and details.


    Discovering Georgian Cinema
    This retrospective of a century of Georgian filmmaking was organized by the Museum of Modern Art. Films will be shown January 12-March 26 at four locations: the AFI Silver Theater, the Goethe Institute, the Embassy of France, and the Freer Gallery of Art.


    Patton Oswalt In Conversation with Dan Kois
    On January 11 at 5:00pm author and actor Patton Oswalt talks about his memoir Silver Screen Fiend: Learning About Life from an Addiction to Film. At 6th and I.

    Frederick Speaker Series: Jane Fonda
    On January 16 at 7:30pm Jane Fonda will speak at the Weinberg Center in Frederick.

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    December 2014
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    September 2014
    August 2014
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    June 2014
    May 2014
    April 2014
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    February 2014
    January 2014

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  • January 17 at 10:00am mikff Frederick Film Festival and the Weinberg Center for the Arts Maryland International Kids FilmFest The Maryland International Kids FilmFest (MIKFF) welcomes you to our 5th annual festival held on January 17 at the beautiful Weinberg Center for the Arts in Frederick, Maryland. You will be amazed at the wide-ranging films for the young and the young at heart presented at this event. Nearly 50 films over the course of the day as well as animation workshops, and special feature in the early evening. The MIKFF is committed to providing quality, entertaining fim programming for young people. This festival is the only film festival in the region aimed entirely at the younger set. Programs will be organized by age to insure that presentations are age-appropriate. Do not miss this opportunity to see world-class children’s film in as gorgeous a setting as the Weinberg Center. www.mikff.com 2014-2015 SEASON, All Performances, Announcements, Special Event, Special Film Events