AFI Film Festival Highlight: “La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet”

LadanseFamed documentarian, Fredrick Weisman returned to Paris to shoot the documentary feature, “La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet”. “La Danse” is one of the documentaries highlighting the 2009 AFI Film Festival.

In the film, Weisman allows us to voyeur into the world of the ballet behind the scenes. We see rehearsals in the studios and on stage, the costume making department, and the administrative offices of the artistic director. He allows the audience us to sit in on meetings with the artistic director as she meets with budgeting committee, her choreographers and her teachers. We get an even more personal view as the artistic director has a heart-to-heart or one-on-one with one of her dancers, who at over 25,  is fearful of not being able to perform the demanded jumps and plies that a performance often requires. The director assures the dancer that she would not have to participate in every dance and that reassurance seems to be just what is needed.  The realities of putting on a costly production are looked at as well, as life as a dancer is shown as well. There is a company meeting where retirement packages for a dancer in the Paris Opera Ballet is discussed and reminded that a dancer’s life ends at 40.

Lovers of all dance genres will love this look at dancing. Shot in France with English subtitles, there are beautiful aerial looks at Paris. Final performances at the end, bring the film full circle.

Running Time: 2hr 38 min Production Company: Zipporah Films, Inc./Ideale Audience
Producer: Frederick Wiseman, Pierre-Olivier Bardet
Cinematographer: John Davey
Editor: Frederick Wiseman
Sound: Frederick Wiseman

In theaters, Wednesday, November 4th

Check out the trailer for the film below:

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Love Happens starring Jennifer Aniston in Theaters on Friday

Jennifer Aniston has a new movie out in theaters this weekend. She a florist who falls into a relationship with a prominent self-help author on the brink of national stardom and world wide success. Aaron Eckhart is her co-star. For a review of the film, visit: Love Review.

Love Happens
Stars:Jennifer Aniston, Aaron Eckhart, Dan Fogler, John Carroll Lynch, Martin Sheen, Judy Greer
Director: Brandon Camp
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Rating: PG-13 for some language including sexual references.
Running time: 1 hour, 48 minutes
Opens Friday nationwide

Here’s a look at the trailer for the film:

Weather Girl Movie Review: Nothing But Blue Skies For Weather Girl

Weather GirlCast: Sylvia Miller (Tricia O’Kelley), Byron ( Patrick J. Adams), Walt (Ryan Devlin), Sherry ( Kaitlin Olson),  Dale Waters ( Mark Harmon), Emily ( Alex Kapp Horner), Jane ( Marin Hinkle), Charles ( Jon Cryer), J.D. (Jane Lynch)  Enrico Colantoni (George) Blair Underwood (Uncredited) Director: Blayne Weaver Producer: Steak House

93 MIN Rated: R

Cliff Notes Summary: Frustrated weather girl for a Seattle morning talk show, commits career suicide by having an emotional on-air outburst during which she confronts her co-anchor boyfriend, accusing him of having an affair with their other co-anchor on the show. Her plan backfires and all in an instant, she’s without of a job, without a boyfriend, without a clear path to her future and without a place to live. As she finds herself, having to start all over again, she finds inspiration, happiness and love in the last place she ever thought she would find it.

There’s been so much talk lately about the older woman/younger man romance dubbed “cougar relationship” in the media. There are reality shows, numerous television series in the works and even daytime television is telling the story as  All My Children’s Erica Kane is set to have a romance with a younger man this summer.  In the mist of all the often, unflattering talk and negative connotation that surrounds this kind of  love story, Weather Girl, a movie about the unexpected relationship between older Sylvia and younger Byron,  is a breath of fresh air. This is not a “cougar” story and thank heavens for that.

The movie starts out  just as you’d expect though. Sylvia, a “sassy” weather girl, who after an on-air meltdown in which she confronts her anchor boyfriend, Dale, about his affair with their on-air co-anchor,  finds herself humiliated,  homeless and unemployed.

With no where else to go, she turns up on the door step of her younger brother, Wade. He quickly gives her a life lesson in how the real world works.  As she realizes that she may never have a career again in broadcast journalism, Wade tells her to look for something to pay the bills. “I have a degree too. We don’t always get to do what we want to do”, he says.    “Grow up”!  Sylvia goes through many struggles;  job hunting, learning to live with a roommate, embarrassing talks with her friends who have it all (money,marriages,  real estate, careers, children, etc)  and aren’t shy about letting Sylvia know that she, herself  is the main reason for the predicament she is in.

The movie, thankfully finds it’s spark, once Sylvia steps into the world of Wade. She meets the wonderful Byron, Wade’s best friend and next door neighbor.  Byron becomes her no-strings-attached rebound guy who she sees in secret. As they agree to not fall in love, Bryon falls head over heels. His observation of her is fantastic as he brings her coffee. “You look like a vanilla latte type”, he tells her and he also dubs her as a “work in progress”  after she returns defeated from a series of humiliating job interviews.  Sylvia, determined to get her old live back, overlooks the obvious signs of Bryon’s love and contemplates returning to Dale and to life in front of the cameras. All of this makes Weather Girl a wonderful ride to the predictable yet satisfying “happily ever after” ending.

The relationship between the three leads has a smart, funny, “Friends-like” vibe as Wade and Bryon are Chandler and Joey to Sylvia’s Monica. The romance of Sylvia and Byron is refreshing. Bryon gets the courage to ask her out by saying, “I’m a pretty good rebound guy” and “you’re kind of sexy in a foreign film kind of way with the angles and the attitude”.

The only slight disappointment of the movie is that it didn’t give us a little more insight into Bryon. What did his apartment look like? Would his family have even liked Sylvia? Could he cook? Did he like The Seahawks or The Sonics, etc? It would have been nice to find out.

The strong supporting cast of familiar faces, both on the small screen and in the movies, makes the film worth seeing as well, especially scene stealer Jon Cryer as the blind date from hell with a fast track.

In theaters July 10th.