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The Future (#110 of 5)

Live Wire: An Interview with The Comedy of Errors Star Hamish Linklater

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Live Wire: An Interview with <em>The Comedy of Errors</em> Star Hamish Linklater
Live Wire: An Interview with <em>The Comedy of Errors</em> Star Hamish Linklater

What kind of Hamish Linklater fan you are likely depends on what kind of entertainment you take in the most. If you’re a TV buff, odds are you know him from The New Adventures of Old Christine, or maybe Gideon’s Crossing. If you mainly watch films, you’ve surely seen his standout work in a range of projects, from Miranda July’s The Future and the old cult flick Groove to Greta Gerwig’s vehicle Lola Versus and this year’s 42. Theater junkies know Linklater from his extensive work on stage, which dates all the way back to his childhood, when his mother, Kristin Linklater, a vocal technique teacher and current chair of the Acting Division at Columbia University, made him aware of the Bard almost immediately. Throughout his theater career, the 36-year-old has starred with the likes of the late Jill Clayburgh in Off Broadway productions, made his Broadway debut in 2011’s Seminar with Alan Rickman and Jerry O’Connell, and made repeated returns to the Public’s Shakespeare in the Park, appearing in 2009’s Twelfth Night and 2010’s The Merchant of Venice. This season, the actor returns to the outdoor venue in The Comedy of Errors, which reunites him with director Daniel Sullivan and his frequent co-star Jesse Tyler Ferguson.

Oscar 2012 Nomination Predictions: Original Screenplay

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Oscar 2012 Nomination Predictions: Original Screenplay
Oscar 2012 Nomination Predictions: Original Screenplay

Historically a haven for the quirk, verve, and humor that can’t quite crack the tougher races, the Original Screenplay category will openly welcome a movie like Bridesmaids, which may have a fiery fanbase and a sure shot at Supporting Actress, but isn’t about to compete in Best Picture, no matter how hard the mainstream dreamers squint their eyes and pray. The script nom might strike some as a snub-amending bone-throw to a buzz-building comedy, but Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo actually deserve to be in contention for their dialogue-driven hit (unlike The Hangover, another R-rated giggler with Best Pic whispers, to which Bridesmaids is belittlingly compared). Still, pink-clad comediennes with volatile bowels are bound to be outclassed by Midnight in Paris, the Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice victor that’s all set to squeeze another gold man onto Woody Allen’s crowded mantle.

Seattle International Film Festival 2011: The First Grader, Beginners, & The Future

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Seattle International Film Festival 2011: <em>The First Grader</em>, <em>Beginners</em>, & <em>The Future</em>
Seattle International Film Festival 2011: <em>The First Grader</em>, <em>Beginners</em>, & <em>The Future</em>

[Editor’s Note: This article is cross-posted at Parallax View.]

Opening night—rarely a strong point of SIFF—arrived with one of the least memorable films of recent memory—even more frustrating since it had already opened theatrically in New York to tepid reviews. The First Grader, the dramatized odyssey of an 84-year-old man who takes up the Kenyan’s government’s promise of universal education to learn to read, otherwise hits all the right notes for a Seattle event, and does so with thudding predictability. It’s an uplifting story of triumph over adversity in a third world setting, a true story with resonance in recent history and current events, and a feature built on waves of swelling music and seas of the adorable faces of children to trigger the audience’s nervous systems like a Pavlovian response. What could have been a resonant exploration of the tensions left over decades after the Mau-Mau rebellion and the lingering feelings of betrayal from both sides of the Kenyan people simply checks off the issues before setting up stock conflicts and easy-to-identify villains on the way to triumph. I understand the SIFF was seriously pursuing a far more substantial feature that, by fault of their own, fell through at the eleventh hour and I applaud their efforts on that count. But that doesn’t make The First Grader any less unimpressive.

San Francisco International Film Festival 2011: World on a Wire, A Useful Life, The Future, Hahaha, & More

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San Francisco International Film Festival 2011: <em>World on a Wire</em>, <em>A Useful Life</em>, <em>The Future</em>, <em>Hahaha</em>, & More
San Francisco International Film Festival 2011: <em>World on a Wire</em>, <em>A Useful Life</em>, <em>The Future</em>, <em>Hahaha</em>, & More

Having recently wrapped its 54th incarnation, the San Francisco International Film Festival remains a vital nexus of premiering discoveries, acclaimed holdovers from other festivals, remastered classics, and sundry movie-lovers’ events. The last category proved particularly varied and tantalizing this year, with the palatial Castro Theater supplying the stage for such cinephile happenings as diligent preservationist Serge Bromberg’s lecture on the 3D aspects of earliest silents, a rather polarizing State of Cinema address by indie stalwart Christine Vachon, and a baroque sound-vs.-image concert that melded live Tindersticks performances with clips from the works of Claire Denis.

Though things kicked off on a forebodingly precious note with Beginners, Mike Mills’s opening-night salvo of concentrated quirk (adorably uncloseted patriarchs! Ironic pixies! Acerbic dogs!), screenings of marathon wonders like Raúl Ruiz’s droll labyrinth Mysteries of Lisbon, Andrei Ujica’s sardonic documentary The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu, and Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s sprawling sci-fi dystopia World on a Wire promptly made it clear that watching movies at SFIFF is anything but a featherweight affair.