Saturday, December 19, 2009

Avatar: This One Goes to 11

You have heard all the hype: here is Falcon and Dove’s spoiler-free preview/review of AVATAR. Simply put, it is the best film of the 21st Century. It is performance driven, although the world of Pandora is magnificent, reminds Falcon of Roger Dean artwork from all those YES albums over the decades. The world is rainforest, indigenous (including the diverse cast, including Zoe Saldana, Michelle Rodriguez, and Tsalagi actor, Wes Studi, who played Geronimo in a film of the same name back in the 1990’s), gorgeous. There is so much beauty in this film, you may weep just from its images, but there is so much more that may moisten your eyes in this film, especially if you look at the edges, and pay attention to some of the subtle symbols in every frame.

We didn’t catch a single technical error, which is impressive. We usually see some piece of film with the image spliced backwards, some continuity problem, some special effect that just didn’t work, or some boom in a shot. Not here. Not anywhere on the first view, and we saw it in 3-D IMAX.

The acting is strong, and in a special effects laden film, that may surprise some. The secret is in the three layers that bring authentic action to the forefront: visual effects with motion capture and rotoscoping, along with performance capture technology. If you haven’t heard of third option, that is because James Cameron pushed the special effects teams to the limit, and created a new way of getting the effects in front of the director in real time while capturing the performance of the actors. It is nothing short of incredible, and will change filmmaking. For those of you who missed the beginning of the STAR WARS dynasty, this is your moment-a new dawn has emerged. Celebrate.

You won’t want to miss anything, so get your munchies before the film starts.

There is a lot we could say about the film’s content, but it would give too much away. It is a film nearly everyone can enjoy, although very young children (under 4) may not like the length. There is action, drama, lots of tense moments, and some very thoughtful ones.
‘Nuff said. Simply put, see this film. Everyone else will.

Falcon and Dove

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Golden Globe Nominations Announced!!!

Hello World Family!
Falcon here with an analysis of the Golden Globe nominations. What a broad based list of superb contenders! Small films, independents, and strong Hollywood films all make an appearance. This may be the most balanced, fully-stocked with goodies award season in years. The Best Picture Nominations are: The Hurt Locker, Precious, Inglorious Bastards, Avatar, and Up in the Air. WOW!!! Can’t we just give them all the Best Pic and be done with it?! They are all excellent films, all for different reasons.

The Best Actress category is no easier, with Precious actress along side Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side, and Helen Mirren for The Last Station. The category is rounded out with young actresses Emily Blunt, who was delightful as The Young Victoria and Carey Mulligan in An Education. Three of these five we viewed in Savannah at the film fest and this will be another tough category for competition. I agree that getting the nomination is quite the honor.

Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart was a bit of a surprise, and I am happy to see him there. Colin Firth did an amazing job in A Single Man; Morgan Freeman is my favorite for this category because he plays Nelson Mandela and the film has Rugby-Invictus. The ever-present George Clooney for Up in the Air and Tobey Maguire surprises in the powerful and emotional, Brothers. Every one of these actors is so strong it is going to be tough to narrow down a winner. Can we have a tie?

The most difficult category for the judges? I think best animated feature, which has five of the most visually enchanting and extraordinary productions side by side in film history. Yes, it’s that good: The stop-motion masterpiece Coraline is not only a great tale, but the excruciatingly difficult details and work that shot approximately 4 seconds per week for years deserves a category award all its own. Fantastic Mr. Fox is another impressive work, along side with Up, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and Disney’s new tale, The Princess and the Frog. How do you choose?! How can you choose?! The biggest winners are audiences this year who get to see all of them!

The most interesting nominations? Well, we can start with Robert Downey, Jr. for Best Performance by an Actor in a Comedy or Musical for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes. Does this guy have a broad spectrum or what?! He may be one of the most brilliant actors of a generation, and he has a lot of fun while he’s doing it. Matt Damon gets a double dip for noms both in The Informant and Invictus.

More great surprises: Kathryn Bigelow for Best Director, The Hurt Locker. This is an intense, never lets up film that must be seen. I suppose Quentin Tarrantino is dancing in the street after his Best Director nom for Inglorious Bastards.

Woody Harrelson got his Best Actor in a Supporting Role nomination for The Messenger as well he should-along side other nominated thespians Christopher Plummer (The Last Station) and Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones). My mouth is watering already. Yum!

Mo’Nique has a Best Supporting Actress nomination for her brutal portrayal of the worse mommy ever in Precious and she deserves every bit of it.

Other expected nominations of note include Nine (8 ½ gone just a little further with a strong ensemble cast of all my favorites), some attention for It’s Complicated and some music nominations for scores-Where the Wild Things Are and Avatar.

On the television side of things, it all looks good with nominations for productions of Georgia O’Keefe, Dexter, The Mentalist, Mad Men (go Charles Shaughnessy), Wallander: One Step Behind (a nom for Kenneth Brannagh), 30-Rock…all the good stuff. Yes, House and The Closer are in contention again. Love these shows and television movies!

For a complete list of nominees, please go to the Golden Globe website. The awards will air on January 17.

Falcon and Dove

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tiger Woods: Ordinary Man

Hey World Family,
You knew Falcon and Dove were going to have to comment eventually on this issue. We would like to take a thoughtful approach, acknowledging that one day Sam and Axel will be older and able to read about these exploits, and hopefully, there will be some reading material that tries to encapsulate the larger meaning for them and the sport Tiger plays. It is them we have in mind as we pen these comments.

Elin, so sorry that he did this; I know (believe me, Falcon knows) this is hurting you in a way you never felt before, but you are strong, and I know that you are thinking your way through this to make the best decisions for yourself and your children. Do what you have to do; welcome your true support system and give yourself time…lots of time, to evaluate where you want to go eventually; but for now, get yourself to a safe place where you can think and your children can thrive with loved ones around you all. That is the most important thing you can do for you own mental and spiritual health.

Second, make your financial plans carefully. Leave no stone unturned. Get assistance from those with the expertise to assist you. Do not listen to the toxic talk out there. What is true or isn’t true in the gory details is not important, ultimately. You know the broad strokes, follow through from there.

To the Golf World: Wow; this is one of the big ones, isn’t it? Yikes. Football, basketball…they have had their troublesome players, but this one in golf? Unthinkable, eh? Until now…

Not really. Golf has always had its debaucheries. There are some guys on the tour right now that have their challenges, but after all, they are just guys…this was a god.

That seems to have been the problem; a lot of glossed over and overlooked for the mantle of false perfection (why do all these egomaniacs seek ‘perfection’?) and the hope was that the cracks would never show, much less a complete collapse of the false face. Oh well, stuff happens. Someone probably should have thought of Tiger as just another guy like so many and figured that sooner or later his ‘time was gonna come’. Maybe some friendly, sober advice on why and how this might collapse and how it might impact the game and how endorsements and sponsorships are handled in the future would have been nice.

Think this won’t impact future endorsements? Guess again. The party is over, my friends. Over and done. The day of the billion dollar athlete has closed. It has evaporated. If anyone out there thinks that any company will ever put their reputation on the line again banking on the integrity of a single man’s image with respect to alignment with their firm, you are mistaken. Those days are done. Endorsements will now be more modest, more sensible, and more in line with reality. People are human, make mistakes, and can be brought down by controversy that many may not see coming. No company is ever going to bank roll a game to the tune that was done with Tiger again. Not ever.
Don’t worry guys (and we say guys because female athletes never see the endorsement contracts that men do), there will still be plenty out there to be made. If Tiger returns as a strong golf contender, he will get endorsements, but maybe not from the same companies he did previously. We don’t think too many will just cut him off (like Accenture), but agreements will probably be allowed to expire. Tiger should start planning for a future where he will actually have to play to get paid, not just get millions for showing up… like an ordinary golfer on the PGA Tour.

To Tiger: We think it goes without saying that you probably were not ready to get married when you did. You may not be marriage material at all. It is clear your father prepared you to be a prophecy fulfilled, he just didn’t prepare you to be an emotionally mature, spiritually evolved man. He didn’t realize that denying you a proper childhood and feeding into the larger egocentric desires would create a son who was incapable of getting past the oral fixation level of desiring immediate satisfaction from where ever it would come from, regardless of the limitations, moral obligations, or feelings of others. You are not alone; there are so many just like you, so the money and fame are not the only components. Plenty of regular guys are just as screwed up as you are. Take comfort in the fact that you are nothing new under the sun in that respect, and that although your talent for hitting a little ball into a hole is admirable, and your foundation work is striking, we think of you like any other ordinary man-flawed, capable of great strides, and horrific failings. That should comfort you.

Your ego should surrender for the greater course of wisdom. Translation: you should get some help. You need to stop seeing people as simply there for your pleasure or objectification, and begin to see them as allies in your healing. Don’t worry about your golf game right now, it will be fine if your head is fine. Worry about your soul.

Start today working on your ability to forgive those circumstances that exposed you. You need to begin to shift your paradigm to a place that acknowledges the humanity in all-and that no one deserves to be objectified and marginalized the way you did the women you engaged with-not even the willing ones deserve the exploitation. As you evolve, if you allow yourself, you will see why this is so.

Welcome to adulthood, Mr. Woods-spiritual adulthood, which includes karma…and if you allow it, reconciliation and forgiveness. Maybe not enough to save a marriage, but enough to save a career. If you express yourself honestly, and compassionately for yourself and those you used, you may find a feeling of release and renewal for you on the next horizon. This moment is a trial, but it is also a gift. Use this opportunity wisely.

Falcon and Dove

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Copenhagen Vigil Today at 5pm Schenley Plaza, Pittsburgh

Hello World Family,
Falcon here with an event for those of you in the Pittsburgh area. Today at 5, there will be an important vigil concerning the issues being discussed in Copenhagen, and what you can do right now to help our leaders, locally and nationally, make the best decisions when it comes to the environment and jobs.

I know it's cold, but the tent is there, and the hearts are warm. Pittsburgh is often called the City of Champions. I think that applies to more than sports teams; it is about the spirit to perservere during challenges and come out on top by supporting your community, your neighbors, your city and your planet. It is critical that we respond like the champions we are today.

College students, I know it is finals week. Come out bundled up and listen to some voices just like you: young, determined, creative, and focused on making a difference. Be inspired by those just like you, listen to some music and then get back to work. You can afford some time to rally for the environment and jobs that you will one day hold.

See you at 5pm. Cold hands, but warm hearts await.
Falcon and Dove will both be there!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

SUNDANCE 2010 Unveiled!

Hey World Family,
We hope you are having a great holiday season! Both Falcon and Dove are fine and enjoying some holiday goodies. Although some really fantastic films did not get in this year, Sundance looks to be explorative with their new way of showcasing films, and broad choices of subject matter to interesting country funding collaborations on various projects.

Here's the list, courtesy of Variety

SUNDANCE 2010 Unveiled


"Blue Valentine" - Directed by Derek Cianfrance, written by Cianfrance, Cami Delavigne and Joey Curtis, a portrait of an American marriage that charts the evolution of a relationship over time. With Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams, Mike Vogel, John Doman.

"Douchebag" - Directed by Drake Doremus, written by Lindsay Stidham, Doremus, Jonathan Schwartz and Andrew Dickler, in which a man about to be married takes his younger brother on a wild goose chase to find the latter's fifth-grade girlfriend. Features Dickler, Ben York Jones, Marguerite Moreau, Nicole Vicius, Amy Ferguson, Wendi McClendon-Covey.

"The Dry Land" - Directed and written by Ryan Piers Williams, in which a returning U.S. soldier tries to reconcile his experiences overseas with his life in Texas. With America Ferrera, Wilmer Valderrama, Ethan Suplee, June Diane Raphael, Melissa Leo.

"Happythankyoumoreplease" - Directed and written by Josh Radnor, about six New Yorkers negotiating love, friendship and gratitude when they're too old to be precocious and not yet fully adults. Stars Malin Akerman, Radnor, Kate Mara, Zoe Kazan, Tony Hale, Pablo Schreiber, Michael Algieri.

"Hesher" - Directed by Spencer Susser, written by Susser and David Michod from a story by Brian Charles Frank, in which a mysterious, anarchical trickster enters the lives of a family dealing with a painful loss. Toplines Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Natalie Portman, Devin Brochu, Piper Laurie, John Carroll Lynch.

"Holy Rollers" - Directed by Kevin Tyler Asch, written by Antonio Macia, concerning a young Hasidic man in the throes of money, power and opportunity who becomes an international Ecstasy smuggler. With Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Bartha, Danny A. Abeckaser, Ari Graynor, Jason Fuchs.

"Howl" - Directed and written by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, a "nonfiction drama" about how Allen Ginsberg created the eponymous poem and the subsequent landmark obscenity trial. Stars James Franco, David Strathairn, Jon Hamm, Mary-Louise Parker, Jeff Daniels.

"The Imperialists Are Still Alive!" - Directed and written by Zeina Durra, about how a French Manhattanite continues her work as an artist in the wake of the sudden abduction of her childhood sweetheart and a blooming love affair. Toplines Elodie Bouchez, Jose Maria de Tavira, Karim Saleh Karolina Muller, Marianna Kulukundis, Rita Ackerman.

"Lovers of Hate" - Directed and written by Bryan Poyser, about how the reunion of estranged brothers is undermined when the woman they both love chooses one over the other. With Chris Doubek, Heather Kafka, Alex Karpovsky, Zach Green.

"Night Catches Us" - Directed and written by Tanya Hamilton, which focuses on the eventful return of a young man to the race-torn Philadelphia neighborhood where he grew up during the Black Power movement. Features Anthony Mackie, Kerry Washington, Jamie Hector, Wendell Pierce, Jamara Griffin.

"Obselidia" - Directed and written by Diane Bell, about the amorous awakening of a lonely librarian with a beguiling cinema projectionist in Death Valley. Toplines Gaynor Howe, Michael Piccirilli, Frank Hoyt Taylor.

"Skateland" - Directed by Anthony Burns, and written by Burns, Brandon Freeman and Heath Freeman, in which dramatic events in early '80s small-town Texas force a 19-year-old skating rink manager to see his life in a new light. With Shiloh Fernandez, A.J. Buckley, Ashley Greene, Brett Cullen, Ellen Hollman, Heath Freeman.

"Sympathy for Delicious" - Directed by Mark Ruffalo and written by Christopher Thornton, which centers on a newly paralyzed DJ who gets more than he bargained for when he seeks out the world of faith healing. Stars Orlando Bloom, Ruffalo, Juliette Lewis, Laura Linney, John Carroll Lynch.

"3 Backyards" - Directed and written by Eric Mendelsohn, in which a quiet suburban town becomes intense emotional terrain for three residents on one strange day. Toplines Embeth Davidtz, Edie Falco, Elias Koteas, Rachel Resheff, Kathryn Erbe, Danai Gurira.

"Welcome to the Rileys" - Directed by Jake Scott, written by Ken Hixon, about a damaged man who seeks salvation by caring for a wayward young woman during a business trip to New Orleans. Stars James Gandolfini, Kristen Stewart, Melissa Leo.
"Winter's Bone" - Directed by Debra Granik and written by Granik and Anne Rosellini, which focuses on the dangerous efforts of an Ozard Mountain girl to track down her drug-dealer father while keeping her family intact. With Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Lauren Sweetser, Kevin Breznahan, Isaiah Stone.


"Bhutto" - Directed by Duane Baughman and Johnny O'Hara, written by O'Hara, a look at the life of the assassinated former Pakistani prime minister.
"Casino Jack and the United States of Money" - Directed by Alex Gibney, an investigation into the world of imprisoned super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his cronies.

"Family Affair" - Directed by Chico Colvard, which examines resilience, survival and the capacity to accomodate a parent's past crimes on the road to satisfying the longing for family.

"Freedom Riders" - Directed by Stanley Nelson, about civil rights activists who challenged segregation in the South in 1961.

"Gas Land" - Directed by Josh Fox, which looks at toxic streams, dying livestock, flammable sinks and people with weakened health in the vicinity of natural gas drilling.

"I'm Pat ------- Tillman" - Directed by Amir Bar-Lev, which focuses on the efforts of the family of the pro football star to take on the U.S. government after he was killed by "friendly fire" in Afghanistan in 2004.

"Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child" - Directed by Tamra Davis, a portrait of the celebrated '80s artist.

"Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work" - Directed by Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg, a forthright glimpse into the life and comedic process of the veteran comedian.
"Lucky" - Directed by Jeffrey Blitz, which examines what happens when ordinary people hit the lottery jackpot.

"My Perestroika" - Directed by Robin Hessman, an analysis of the transition of the U.S.S.R. as seen through the lives of five Muscovites who came of age at the time of communism's collapse.

"The Oath" - Directed by Laura Poitras, lensed in Yemen, about two men whose fateful encounter in 1996 led them to Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden, 9/11, Guantanamo and the U.S. Supreme Court.

"Restrepo" - Directed by Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington, for which the two filmmakers accompanied the Second Platoon in a crucial valley to reveal the soldiers' intense labor, fights and camaraderie as they take on the Taliban.

"A Small Act" - Directed by Jennifer Arnold, which spotlights how a young Kenyan, whose life was dramatically changed when a Swedish stranger sponsored his education, later reciprocates by founding his own scholarship program.

"Smash His Camera" - Directed by Leon Gast, which uses the story of notorious paparazzo Ron Galella to examine issues such as the right to privacy, freedom of the press and celebrity worship.

"12th and Delaware" - Directed by Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing, a look at how the abortion battle continues in unexpected ways on an unassuming corner in the U.S.
"Waiting for Superman" - Directed by Davis Guggenheim, which uses multiple interlocking stories to analyze the crisis in U.S. public education.


"All That I Love" (Poland) - Directed and written by Jacek Borcuch, about four small-town teenagers who form a punk rock band in 1981 during the growth of the Solidarity movement. With Mateusz Kosciukiewicz, Jakub Gierszal, Mateusz Banasiuk, Olga Frycz, Igor Obloza. North American premiere.

"Animal Kingdom" (Australia) - Directed and written by David Michod, which centers upon a 17-year-old boy who, in the wake of his mother's death, is thrust precariously between a criminal family and a detectives who hopes to save him. Stars Guy Pearce, Ben Mendelsohn, Joel Edgerton, Luke Ford, Jacki Weaver, James Frecheville. World premiere.

"Boy" (New Zealand) - Directed and written by Taika Waititi, a study of how two young brothers reconciles fantasy with reality when their father returns home after many years. Features Waititi, James Rolleston, Te Aho Eketone. World premiere.

"Four Lions" (U.K.) - Directed by Chris Morris, written by Morris, Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain, a comedy about some self-styled British jihadis. With Chris Wilson, Kevin Eldon. World premiere.

"Grown Up Movie Star" (Canada) - Directed and written by Adriana Maggs, which spins on a teenage girl left to care for her rural father when her mother runs away. Features Shawn Doyle, Tatiana Maslany, Jonny Harris, Mark O'Brien, Andy Jones, Julia Kennedy. U.S. premiere.

"The Man Next Door" (Argentina), written and directed by Mariano Cohn and Gaston Duprat, about two neighbors who clash over a wall separating their properties. With Rafael Spregelburd, Daniel Araoz, Eugenia Alonso, Ines Budassi, Lorenza Acuna. International premiere.

"Me Too" (Spain) - Directed by Alvaro Pastor and Antonio Naharro, about the unconventional relationship between a 34-year-old college-educated man with Down syndrome and his free-spirited co-worker. With Pablo Pineda, Lola Duenas, Antonio Naharro, Isabel Garcia Lorca, Pedro Alvarez Ossorio. International premiere.
"Nuummioq" (Greenland) - Directed by Otto Rosing and Torben Bech, written by Bech, a contemporary story of how a young man pieces together aspects of his past and gets on with his life while journeying through Greenland's imposing landscapes. Stars Lars Rosing, Angunnguaq Larsen, Julie Berthelsen, Morten Rose, Makka Kleist, Mariu Olsen. World premiere.

"Peepli Live" (India) - Directed and written by Anusha Rizvi, a satire about the media frenzy created when an impoverished farmer announces that he'll commit suicide so his family can receive government compensation. Toplines Riz Ahmed, Arsher Ali, Nigel Lindsay, Kayvan Novak.

"Son of Babylon" (Iraq) - Directed and written by Mohamed Al Daradji, the tale of a young Kurdish boy and his grandmother as they travel through Iraq searching for the remains of their father/son in the wake of Saddam Hussein's fall from power. With Yasser Talib, Shazda Hussein, Bashir Al-Majid. International premiere.
"Southern District" (Bolivia) - Directed and written by Juan Carlos Valdivia, a look at social change that envelopes an upper-class family in La Paz, Bolivia. Toplines Ninon del Castillo, Pascual Loayza, Nicolas Fernandez, Juan Pablo Koria, Mariana Vargas. North American premiere.

"The Temptation of St. Tony" (Estonia) - Directed and written by Veiko Ounpuu, which centers upon a mid-level manager with an aversion to being "good" who confronts life mysteries as he loses his grasp on his once-quiet life. Features Taavi Eelmaa, Rain Tolk, Tiina Tauraite, Katarina Lauk, Raivo E. Tamm. World premiere.
"Undertow" (Colombia-France-Germany-Peru) - Directed and written by Javier Fuentes-Leon, an offbeat ghost story in which a married fisherman on the Peruvian seaside tries to reconcile his devotion to his male lover within the town's rigid traditions. Stars Cristian Mercado, Manolo Cardona, Tatiana Astengo. North American premiere.

"Vegetarian" (South Korea) - Directed and written by Lim Woo-seong, about a housewife whose strange dreams and resulting meat aversion cause trouble with her husband and attract the interest of her artist brother-in-law. Toplines Chea Min-seo, Kim Hyun-sung, Kim Yeo-jin, Kim Young-jae. International premiere.


"Enemies of the People" (Cambodia-U.K.) - Directed by Rob Lemkin and Thet Sambath, which recounts the shocking revelations that ensue when a young journalist whose family was killed by the Khmer Rouge befriends the perpetrators of the Killing Fields genocide. World premiere.

"A Film Unfinished" (Germany-Israel) - Directed by Yael Hersonski, in which film found in Nazi archives reveals the means used to stage Warsaw ghetto life. World premiere.

"Fix Me" (France-Palestinian Territories-Switzerland) - Directed by Raed Andoni, in which Andoni seeks different forms of help for a relentless headache in his hometown of Ramallah. International premiere.

"His and Hers" (Ireland) - Directed by Ken Wardrop, in which 70 Irish women offer insights into the relationships between women and men. World premiere.
"Kick in Iran" (Germany) - Directed by Fatima Geza Abdollahyan, about the struggles of the first female Taekwondo fighter from Iran to qualify for the Olympic Games. World premiere.

"Last Train Home" (Canada) - Directed by Fan Lixin, which focuses on the ordeals of a Chinese migrant worker who, along with many others, tries to reunite with a distant family. U.S. premiere.

"The Red Chapel" (Denmark) - Directed by Mads Bruegger, about a journalist without scruples, a self-proclaimed spastic and a comedian travel to North Korea under the guise of a cultural exchange visit to challenge the totalitarian regime. U.S. premiere.

"Russian Lessons" (Georgia-Germany-Norway) - Directed by Olga Konskaya and Andrei Nekrasov, which looks into ethnic cleansing in Georgia revealed by an investigation of Russian actions during the 2008 war. World premiere.

"Secrets of the Tribe" (Brazil) - Directed by Jose Padiha, which examines the scandal and infighting within the academic anthropology community regarding the representation and exploitation of indigenous Indian in the Amazon Basin. World premiere.

"Sins of My Father" (Argentina-Colombia) - Directed by Nicolas Entel, which delves into the life and times of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar through the eyes of his son, who fled Colombia to lead his own life. North American premiere.
"Space Tourists" (Switzerland) - Directed by Christian Frei, a humorous look at billionaires who pay large sums to travel into outer space for fun. North American premiere.

"Waste Land" (U.K.) - Directed by Lucy Walker, which reveals how lives are transformed when international artist Vik Muniz collaborates with garbage picker in the world's largest landfill in Rio de Janeiro. World premiere.