What to see, what to see: TCM Classic Film Fest starts today

The TCM Classic Film Festival is in full swing today and runs through Sunday in Hollywood. “There’s nothing like watching a movie on a screen with a big audience,” said head programmer Charlie Tabesh at yesterday’s press conference. This year’s theme is history and Tabesh added that he is particularly looking forward to the film “1776,” directed by Peter H. Hunt, who will be in attendance along with stars William Daniels and Ken Howard.

Last night, I stopped by the Formosa Café to mingle with fellow scribes. Several people shared my view that it’s tough to decide what to see and to strike a balance between longtime favorites and exciting new discoveries. I know, I know – what a good problem to have!

One thing’s for sure: I will attend the opening party and will see the newly restored film noir “Too Late for Tears” (1949, Byron Haskin), starring Lizabeth Scott, Arthur Kennedy and Dan Duryea.

For now, I will leave you with this shot from one of last year’s poolside screenings at the Hollywood Roosevelt. (Photo courtesy of TCM.) Life is good!

Poolside screenings at the Hollywood Roosevelt are a special treat.

Poolside screenings at the Hollywood Roosevelt are a special treat.

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Osborne shares highlights of this year’s TCM Film Festival

TCM host Robert Osborne speaks Wednesday at the TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood. Photo by John Nowak

“She’s so beautiful, you can’t believe she’s in her ’80s, and she’s so nice,” said TCM’s Robert Osborne about actress Ann Blyth, who co-starred with Joan Crawford in the classic domestic film noir “Mildred Pierce.”

Blyth will discuss the role when the movie screens at the TCM Film Festival, which starts Thursday at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood. Osborne told journalists at a roundtable on Wednesday that he was surprised that Blyth wasn’t typecast. “She was so effective as the mean daughter [Veda] that you hated. Why didn’t that affect her career? She played sweet ingénues after that.”

Club TCM at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood. Photo by John Nowak

Other festival highlights for Osborne include interviews with other guests and screenings of “Funny Girl,” “Razor’s Edge,” “Cluny Brown,” and “Desert Song.”

The schedule features a strong film-noir component. “The mood is so rich, it’s a prominent part of the festival,” said TCM’s head programmer Charlie Tabesh. “We noticed that it was immensely popular last year. The theme was style and it fit in very well so we wanted to keep it up this year. People like to see these films on the big screen.”

Inside Club TCM at the Roosevelt. Photo by Edward M. Pio Roda

TCM host Ben Mankiewicz also touched on the popularity of noir and guest programming by the Film Noir Foundation’s Eddie Muller. Mankiewicz said he wants to suggest a night dedicated to neo-noir director John Dahl (“Kill Me Again,” “Last Seduction” and “Red Rock West.”)

“Dahl clearly had a keen appreciation of ’40s and ’50s noir,” Mankiewicz said.

A vintage photo of Cary Grant and Grace Kelly at Club TCM. Photo by Edward M. Pio Roda

We at FNB would love to see a Dahl night. Until then, we can get our fill of these fantastic screenings. And there’s a plethora of photos and memorabilia on display at the Roosevelt. For example, today, before opening night, there’s a special presentation of a suit Humphrey Bogart wore in “The Big Sleep.”

So now it’s back to the Roosevelt! We will be updating on twitter for the rest of the fest.

All photos TM & (C) Turner Entertainment Networks, Inc.

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AFI FEST 2011 announces award winners, closes with ‘Tintin’

AFI FEST Director Jacqueline Lyanga presents the honors.

AFI FEST 2011 presented by Audi wrapped up Thursday with the awards brunch and closing-night gala screening of “The Adventures of Tintin” by Steven Spielberg.

AFI FEST Director Jacqueline Lyanga announced the award winners at a short ceremony in the Roosevelt Hotel’s Blossom Room, which was the venue for the first Academy Awards presentation on May 16, 1929.

There were encore showings at the Egyptian Theatre of some of the award-winning films. The festival bestows audience, jury and critics’ prizes. More than 150 filmmakers from around the world presented their work this year.

Breakthrough (award accompanied by a $5,000 cash prize): “With Every Heartbeat” by Alexandra-Therese Keining (Sweden)

New Auteurs: “Bullhead” by Michaël R. Roskam (Belgium)

World Cinema: A tie between “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” by David Gelb (US) and “Kinyarwanda” by Alrick Brown (US/Rwanda)

Young Americans: “Wuss” by Clay Liford (US)

There were encore showings Thursday at the Egyptian.

This year, AFI FEST debuted its New Auteurs Critics’ Prize selected by Justin Chang (Variety), Mike Goodridge (Screen International), Mark Olsen (Los Angeles Times) and Jean Oppenheimer (American Cinematographer).

Grand Jury prize: “The Loneliest Planet” by Julia Loktev (US/Germany)

Special Jury prize: “Attenberg” by Athina Rachel Tsangari (Greece)

Acting prize: Matthias Schoenaerts of “Bullhead” (Belgium)

A jury chooses the top live-action and animated short films. The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences recognizes each winner as a qualifier for the Academy Awards. To read the list and see more highlights from the fest, visit: http://afi-afifest.tumblr.com/post/12651668281.

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