"Girls" star Adam Driver, who got roles in all sorts of compelling-looking, upcoming films, joined the cast of Nichols’ next film, The Wrap reports. “Midnight Special” is billed as a sci-fi story about a father and son who go on the run after the father learns that his son has special powers. Michael Shannon, Kirsten Dunst and Joel Edgerton will also star.
Riverdale 10 Cinema and Cafe at 2600 Cantrell Road in the Riverdale Shopping Center, which had been the only movie theater between McCain Mall in NLR and U.A. Breckenridge 12 on Rodney Parham, has announced they will close. A first-run, ten-screen theater that opened as part of the Carmike chain in 1995, the independently owned movie house had tried various strategies to make ends meet over the years, including selling a menu of inexpensive fried food items like French fries and catfish, but it was apparently not enough. The theater was also, until recent years, the home of various Little Rock Film Festival projects, including the 48 Hour Film Series, the LR Film Festival, and the Little Rock Horror Picture Show.
The following is the text of a notice that was taped to the doors of the theater today.
To All Our Patrons:
Since our opening in 1995 as Carmike Riverdale 10 and then upon the national bankruptcy of the Carmike Theaters chain and our conversion to Riverdale 10 Cinema and Cafe, we have happily endeavored to keep open and vibrant a locally owned, first run movie theater in the Central/Downtown Little Rock, Heights, Hillcrest neighborhoods of our town.
We have been proud of our involvement in the movie community for the last 18 years, with events like the Little Rock Film Festival, education film showing, birthdays, and special event showing, but sadly the time has come to, in theater parlance, "Exit Stage Right."
Our hope is that you enjoyed your time with us, through all our incarnations, and that you will continue to make effort to support your local small businesses in whatever community you find yourself.
If you have questions, comments or concerns, please use the email addresses listed below, and we will make all efforts to get back with you as soon as possible.
For anyone with advanced purchase tickets and who would like a refund, please feel free to email us or call the number listed below to make arrangements. WE WILL HONOR ALL TICKETS PURCHASED IN ADVANCE, so if you have such, please contact us.
If you have interest in owning a First Run movie location, please contact us at the number below.
Again, we thank you for your attendance, interest, suggestions and support over the years, and as they say "the show must go on"... just not here!
Ownership, Riverdale 10 Cinemas and Cafe
email: Riverdale10Theater@gmail.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeff Nichols and Matthew McConaughey on the set of 'Mud'
Jeff Nichols, casting director Francine Maisler and the cast of the Arkansas-shot "Mud" are the winners of the 2014 Independent Spirit Robert Altman Award. The Independent Spirit Awards have awarded one director, casting director and ensemble cast every year since 2008. The directors, casting directors and casts of "I'm Not There" (2008), "Synecdoche, New York" (2009), "A Serious Man" (2010), "Please Give" (2011) and "Margin Call" (2012) are past winners in the category.
The Altman Award is the only prize announced in advance of the ceremony, which will be held March 1 and broadcast on IFC.
Nichols is also nominated for Best Director. See the full list of nominees here.
The poster and trailer (trailer seen above, poster below) have been released for the film version of Mara Leveritt's book "Devil's Knot." The film, starring Oscar winners Colin Firth and Reese Witherspoon and directed by Atom Egoyan, debuted at the Toronto Film Festival back in September. Reviews so far have been hit and miss, though the film hasn't seen wide release yet. Even so, it's probably a must-see for anyone who cares about the case.
We were saddened to learn of the death of Arkansas born stuntman, writer and director Hal Needham on Oct. 25. I interviewed Hal in 2011, prior to his appearance at the Little Rock Film Festival, and found him to be one of the most humble, amazing, down-to-earth geniuses I've ever met — a brilliant innovator who lived a truly great American life.
The Little Rock Film Festival, which gave Needham a lifetime achievement award in 2011 during his trip to Arkansas, plans to pay homage to the great man via the Argenta Film Series and a free showing of Needham's most famous directing effort, 1977's "Smokey and the Bandit." You can watch ol' 'Bandit' run at 7 p.m. Nov. 21, at the Argenta Community Theater, 405 Main Street in NLR. Admission is free, but seating is limited, so you'll have to RSVP at this link.
Will there be a few cans of Coors smuggled into that screening? All signs point to: Put that hammer down and give it hell, Snowman.
Movie trailers can be an artform in and of themselves, so we love the effort by Arkansas actress Ashlie Atkinson and her fiance Leon Chase, called "The Pill Girls." Atkinson produced the fictional trailer — for an alleged 1970's chixsplotation flick about five drug-crazed, sexed up women terrorizing NYC — while Chase directed. It was made for the International Movie Trailer Festival.
Born dirt poor in Arkansas, Needham parlayed a career as a tree-trimmer into a life as one of the world's greatest stuntmen, doing work on a host of TV and film projects, including "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," "Little Big Man," the original "Star Trek," "Have Gun, Will Travel," and dozens of others. A gig jumping a car onto a floating barge in 1973's "White Lightning," led to a lifelong friendship with Burt Reynolds. Needham went on to direct Reynolds in several fast-car comedies, including "Smokey and the Bandit,""Cannonball Run" (which was based on Needham's real-life experience in a cross-country, no-speed-limit race, driving a souped-up ambulance) and "Hooper." He also served as a stunt coordinator on several other Reynolds efforts, including "The Longest Yard" and "The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing." FUN FACT: Needham lived in Burt Reynolds' pool house through a good bit of the 1970s, which was probably a pretty gatdamn fun decade to live in Burt Reynolds' pool house.
In addition to his stunt and directing work, Needham was also an innovator, developing the high-fall airbag that allowed stuntmen to make higher and more spectacular leaps, and inventing a downward-firing cannon that could flip a moving car. Both are still used extensively in stunt work today. Needham was presented an Honorary Oscar in 2012 for his achievements in making stunts safer and more thrilling, with the award being introduced in a touching tribute by superfan Quentin Tarantino. He was one of only two stuntmen to ever receive an Oscar.
Though Needham was one of the world's best in his field, he was surprisingly humble. That carried over into his professional life as well. When I asked him in 2011 if he believed there should be an Academy Award category for stuntwork or stunt coordinating, he gave it a vehement thumbs down, saying: "I've never been for it... My belief is, when a person goes in and pays his money to see a movie, and he sees his hero up there doing something spectacular, you don't want him to stop and think: "I wonder if that's the star, or if it's a stuntman?" You want them to enjoy the movie. I think stuntmen should take their check and go on their way."
The Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival wrapped up last weekend. And the winners? Drum roll please...
The Spa City Best Documentary Feature went to “American Promise,” directed by Michele Stephenson and Joe Brewster. Shot over 13 years, the film chronicles the story of Stephenson and Brewster's own son and his best friend, as they navigate their way through Dalton, a prestigious prep school (the two boys are black, Dalton is predominantly white). The Spa City Audience Award was a tie between Linda Bloodworth Thomason's “Bridegroom," the moving story of a same-sex couple struck by tragedy and "Getting Back to Abnormal," a fascinating and character-rich look at politics and race in post-Katrina New Orleans from Peter Stekler, Peter Odabashian, Andy Kolker, and Louis Alvarez.
Other winners — Spa City Best Documentary Short: Kerry Kolbe's “The German Who Came to Tea”; Special Jury Mention: Katrine W. Kjaer's “Mercy Mercy: A Portrait of True Adoption”; Spa City Lifetime Career Achievement: Peter Coyote; Spa City Moxie Award: Bill McAdams, Jr.'s “Jose Canseco: The Truth Hurts”;The Clyde Scott Award for Best Sports Feature (Tie): Mike Looney's “The Big Shootout: Life and Times of 1969” and Lukas Korver's “The Medicine Game"; 103.7 The Buzz Audience Favorite: Matthew Wolfe's “The Identity Theft of Mitch Mustain”; Hope Award for Impact on Humanitarianism: “Bridegroom.”
Jason Baldwin of the West Memphis 3 will appear with Pam Hobbs, mother of murder victim Stevie Branch, at UALR on Wednesday night for a free screening of "West of Memphis," the 2012 documentary outlining the WM3 case and the worldwide groundswell of support that eventually set Baldwin, Damien Echols and Jessie Misskelley free in August 2011
The screening will begin at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 23 in Room 214C of UALR's Donaghey Student Center Building. Admission is free. Baldwin and Hobbs will answer questions from the audience. The event is hosted by UALR's School of Mass Communication.
The world premiere of a new documentary about Jose Canseco and an appearance by the former Major League Baseball slugger highlight today's lineup at the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival. "Jose Canseco: The Truth Hurts" screens at 6:30 p.m. tonight at the Arlington following the festival's awards presentation. There's plenty of great stuff beforehand, too:
1:15 p.m.: "This Ain't No Mouse Music" is a profile of Chris Strachwitz, the founder of legendary roots music label Arhoolie. Strachwitz will be at the screening.
4:40 p.m.: "Fight for Chicago" is the latest project from Little Rock's Brent and Craig Renaud. It's a dispatch from gangland Chicago the brothers did recently for Al Jazeera America. Two of the film's subjects, Derek "Shotgun" Brown and Rev. Robin Hood, will attend along with Craig.
8:30 p.m.: The legendary Sonny Burgess and the Pacers will play a free after party.
12:30 p.m.: Here's your last chance to see "The Big Shootout." Check out Beau Wilcox's review here.
For those of us reared in Razorback Country from the 1970s onward, there's a pervading belief from prior generations that we newbies just don't "get" the magnitude of what happened on December 6, 1969.
I'm as guilty as anyone of dismissing the (in)famous Arkansas-Texas game of that date as being just one of many heartbreakers for this perennially downtrodden fan base. After all, Texas has beaten Arkansas at a 72.7 percent clip over decades of alleged rivalry. It's not like getting beaten by the burnt orange was novel prior to that, or after it, right?
What Mike Looney's expertly crafted documentary, "The Big Shootout," attempts to do is somewhat paradoxical. On one hand, he wants to show late-comers like myself just how agonizing a loss this was for an Arkansas program then on the rise. Conversely, by shedding light on the bond that has been forged between members of both teams in recent years, Looney is also putting us all on notice that this was a special affair that should be worthy of far fonder reflection given the societal tumult in which it was played.
Consider this: Instead of Hog fans fretting about gagging away a 14-point lead and lamenting the 3rd-and-7 decision to pass (more on that in a bit), shouldn't we perhaps remember that this was the game "Dixie" stopped playing in the stands? Or that President Nixon, perched in the western bleachers like any other freezing fan that day, could see a chilling Vietnam protest in the knoll on the opposite side? Or that this was, for all intents and purposes, the last real clash of all-white titans in collegiate sport? There was an undercurrent of American history in this game that cannot be undersold.
The Little Rock Film Festival opened submissions today for the 8th annual installment, set for May 13-18, 2014. The big change for next year will be that films will be screened at the Festival's new home, The Arcade Theater in the River Market, a 310-seat cinema with state-of-the-art sound and projection. And all within walking distance of this reporter's office. I may well be unemployed due to excessive absences by this time next year.
More than 25,000 people attended the festival in years past, with workshops, over 100 screenings — including a very strong "Made in Arkansas" category — and parties galore. Awards include the $10,000 Oxford American Award for Best Film.
Former Major League Baseball star/steroid user/whistleblower/punchline Jose Canseco will be in attendance at the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival for the world premiere of "Jose Canseco: The Truth Hurts" on Oct. 19, the last day of the festival. Director Bill McAdams, Jr. will be there, too.
Here's the promo for the film the HSDFF sent out:
No figure in recent sports history is as divisive as Jose Canseco. Millions of baseball fans remember him as a powerhouse slugger with the speed and agility to earn one of the sport’s rare statistics: 40/40 – 40 home runs and 40 stolen bases in a single season. But millions more remember him as the whistleblower whose admission to steroid ‘juicing’ exposed a scandal that overshadowed his own remarkable 16-year major league career, and led to congressional hearings that cast a pall over America’s greatest pastime.
Now, Jose Canseco finally speaks out to address some of the most controversial questions surrounding his life and career. What emerges is a nuanced portrait of a man driven by grief and a promise made - that he would be more than just a great baseball player, he would be the best. It was a promise he ultimately fulfilled, but it cost him a great deal more than he ever anticipated. Only time will tell whether history remembers Jose Canseco as a legend, a whistleblower or a scapegoat, but this candid documentary will leave you convinced of one inescapable fact: the truth hurts.
The festival runs from Oct. 11-20 at the Arlington Hotel in Hot Springs. To purchase tickets or passes, go here.
"Devil's Knot," the feature film about the West Memphis Three case starring Oscar winners Colin Firth and Reese Witherspoon, saw its debut at the Toronto Film Festival earlier this week, and reviews have been decidedly mixed, trending toward a critical miss. The film is based on investigative reporter Mara Leveritt's book of the same name, and directed by Atom Egoyan.
With only five reviews in, the film currently has a 20% "fresh" rating on RottenTomatoes.com. While praising some of the performances, many early reviewers question why the film needed to be made in the first place given the four feature-length documentaries about the case. Others say that the film's plot — which only follows the action up through the convictions of Jessie Misskelley, Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin — misses the point of biggest drama and emotion: the 18 year fight to set the three men free.
Indiewire's Kevin Jagernauth: "'Devil's Knot' lacks potency or a compelling narrative reason why anyone remotely familiar with the case needs to be watching it..."
Variety's Scott Foundas: "Egoyan and screenwriters Scott Derrickson and Paul Harris Boardman seem stymied by the sheer breadth of the material, trying to tell a story in less than two hours that took the first “Paradise Lost” movie two-and-a-half hours to wrap itself around. As our guide, they give us Firth, awkwardly cast as Ronald Lax, the Memphis private investigator who offered his services pro bono to Echols’ defense team. Though Lax is a real person who made significant contributions to the WM3 case, here he feels like one of those invented composite characters routinely forged by screenwriters to carve a path through some dense narrative thicket, while Firth himself never fully convinces as a Southern gentleman, spending much of the movie looking as though he might melt from the heat."
The Hollywood Reporter's John Lefore: "Far from being overkill, the well conceived drama, enlisting A-listers Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth in key roles, will bring this infuriating tale of injustice to many mainstream moviegoers for the first time; it has every hope of a strong commercial reception and the attraction of even more attention to a horrifying crime whose perpetrator or perpetrators remain free."
MTV: "The worst thing you can say of 'Devil's Knot' is that it is a West Memphis Three story remade in a Hollywood style for audiences with no interest in documentaries. But what’s disconcerting is the probability that, even if you are unfamiliar with and have no particular interest in the documentaries already made on this subject, you are nevertheless likely to be familiar with the basic facts of the case, embedded as they so comfortably are within the popular imagination."
"Searching for Sugar Man" screens Sept. 19 at Argenta Community Theater.
Nice! The Little Rock Film Festival's Argenta Film Series returns this month with "Searching for Sugar Man," the highly acclaimed documentary about the cult folk-pop artist known Rodriguez.
A native of Detroit, Sixto Rodriguez released two albums in the early '70s — "Cold Fact" and "Coming from Reality" — both of which sank like a stone on release (at least stateside), both of which are excellent. But somehow, he became enormously popular in South Africa. Like, bigger than Dylan or Neil Young big. His records were re-released in that country and sold hundreds of thousands of copies. But in that pre-internet era, rumors of the singer's on-stage suicide were widely accepted. Some enterprising fans began trying to unearth clues about the mysterious figure.
I haven't seen the film yet, but I really dig the records. Reviews of the documentary have been pretty much uniformly positive. The late Roger Ebert gave it four stars, calling the ending "miraculous and inspiring." As with last season, the Argenta Film Series will be free thanks to the William F. Laman Library. "Searching for Sugar Man" screens Sept. 19 at 7 p.m. at Argenta Community Theater. RSVP here.
Juanita's, the venerable Tex-Mex restaurant and music venue, is leaving the South Main Street location it's called home since 1986 for the River Market and the former home of Bill St., 614 President Clinton Ave.