Category: Films

IFC Films Unlimited Review – PCMag

If you consider yourself an independent film buff, IFC Films Unlimited is the channel for you. This video streaming service is a destination for films that have been released in theaters and won awards. IFC Films Unlimited serves its content without ads and allows you to download movies for offline viewing on mobile platforms, too. Its main drawback is that it does not offer a dedicated app for nearly as many platforms as competitors.

What Can You Watch on IFC Films Unlimited?

IFC Films Unlimited is home to hundreds of independent films, some with blockbuster budgets, but most with smaller casts and bankrolls. Films in the library come from IFC’s three distribution labels: IFC Films, Sundance Selects, and IFC Midnight. What results is a broad and eclectic selection of films. You are free to browse the channel without subscribing, which is a nice touch.

IFC Unlimited does not have as massive a library as other services such as The Criterion Channel or Mubi, both of which curate their lineups. is similar to IFC Films Unlimited in that it includes titles from several film distribution companies.

Critically acclaimed dramatic films like Y Tu Mamá También are mixed in with family-friendly fare like First Position, a documentary about young dancers in New York City. You’ll find movies with major stars like The Other Woman, starring Natalie Portman. There are also a lot of movies featuring familiar faces who aren’t yet household names. 

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For the spooky Halloween season, the service currently features some of rather unsettling films, like 2014 Sundance darling The Babadook and 2010’s Human Centipede. There’s no shortage of thrillers to watch on IFC Films Unlimited, including Lindsay Lohan’s 2013 movie The Canyons. Dedicated horror streaming services, Shudder and Screambox, are additional options for fans of that genre, and Peacock has a huge collection of Universal’s Classic Monsters (think Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Wolf Man).

IFC Films Unlimited does not offer any original shows or exclusive TV series at this time, though most dedicated movie streaming services do not offer that type of content, either.

Pricing and Platforms

The ad-free IFC Films Unlimited costs $5.99 per month and does not offer a discounted annual plan. Hulu‘s and CBS All Access’ ad-supported plans cost the same as IFC Films Unlimited, but both also offer a more mainstream range of content-including orginal series, in the case of CBS—Star Trek: Discovery and Picard among them. Netflix’s Standard plan and HBO Max are pricier, at $12.99 and $14.99 per month, respectively.

You don’t need to pay for streaming entertainment; check out our roundup of the best free video streaming services for our top picks. Peacock is our Editors’ Choice winner for the category because of its mainstream library of TV shows and movies. Particularly if you are an independent film fan, however, IFC Films Unlimited is still an inexpensive way to watch hundreds of the best specialty films from the last two decades without ads.

IFC Films Unlimited is available as an Amazon Prime Video Channels. You can access Prime Video on the web, mobile platforms (Android and iOS), media streaming devices (Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, and Roku), game consoles (PlayStation, Xbox, and Wii), smart TVs, or via the dedicated Microsoft Store app. In terms of media streaming devices, you can download a dedicated app on Apple TV (US and Canada) and Roku (US). Other video streaming services offer dedicated apps for far more platforms.

IFC’s Web Interface

Signing up for IFC Unlimited was a bit tricky in that I had to first determine how I wanted to watch it. For this review, I subscribed through Amazon Prime Video. Since Amazon already had all of my information and payment details, all I had to do was click to start my seven-day free trial.

IFC Films Unlimited on Amazon Prime Video Channels has the same layout as Amazon Prime Video. It’s not particularly clean or minimalist like Netflix or HBO Max, but it does arrange movies according to genre, and has separate sections for Popular Movies and Recently Added Movies.

IFC Unlimited interface on Amazon Prime TV Channels

Searching for a movie specifically on IFC Films Unlimited using Amazon’s interface is a bit of a chore. You can type in whatever you want to search for, but you will get results from the entire Amazon site, including from other add-on channels. Once you find something to watch on IFC Films Unlimited, hover over a movie’s thumbnail to see a brief description, a helpful user rating, or add it to your watchlist. 

IFC’s Mobile Experience

To test the mobile experience, I downloaded the Amazon Prime Video app on my iPhone XS running iOS 13. The IFC Films Unlimited channel is prominently displayed on the app, so I didn’t have trouble finding it. 

The mobile interface looks just like the website, with its dark background and brightly colored thumbnails. In a future update, I would like to see a Continue Watching section, such as the one Netflix offers, solely for those films I haven’t finished yet. As it is, the films you haven’t completed are organized in a section that includes films you have already watched in their entirety.

IFC Unlimited movie description in Amazon Prime Video app

On a movie’s details page, you can see various facts about the film, related movies, credits, customer reviews, and even some fun facts about each independent film. Since it is part of Amazon Prime Video, you can download movies from its details page and watch them offline whenever you can’t connect to a Wi-Fi network.

Streaming movies from the app was quick and easy. Using my home Wi-Fi connection (450Mpbs download), I downloaded a one-hour-and-51-minute movie at the highest quality in about seven minutes. Remember to make sure you are using a Wi-Fi connection or have an unlimited data plan before you start streaming or downloading movies on a mobile device.

The Playback Experience With IFC

IFC Films Unlimited’s playback interface shines. For instance, when you pause the video, the IMDb-powered X-Ray overlay appears in the top left corner. It displays key info about all of the main stars of the film you’re watching as well as some fun trivia. Besides the usual playback controls, you also get 10-second rewind and fast-forward buttons. You can also select the playback resolution on this screen.

Many of these independent films were simply not shot in HD to begin with, but if they were, you can watch them at up to 1080p resolution. Apple TV+, Disney+, and Netflix all offer 4K on-demand content. Since you get IFC Films Unlimited through Prime Video, you can watch content from it on up to three devices simultaneously. That’s about average, but BritBox notably supports five concurrent streams per account.

IFC Unlimited playback quality

For reference, I tested the streaming performance over a Gigabit Ethernet connection on my PC and a Wi-Fi connection (450Mbps download) on my mobile test device. I watched a documentary called Finding Vivian Maier without any problems and resumed playback on my phone partway through the film without any disruptions.

Accessibility and Parental Controls

IFC Films Unlimited channel has the same accessibility features as the other movies offered by Amazon Prime. You can adjust the closed captioning settings (including the font size and color) directly from the video player, which is convenient. Audio Descriptions are not enabled for any of the movies I watched. This accessibility feature provides an audible narration of on-screen events that would otherwise not be discernible through dialog alone. Although it’s not specific to IFC Films Unlimited, you can search for Amazon’s Movies and TV Shows with Audio Descriptions.

IFC Films Unlimited work with Amazon Prime Video’s parental control options, so you can restrict what each profile can watch by rating as well as designate certain accounts as Kids profiles. Netflix, Disney+, and HBO Max have similar parental control capabilities.

IFC Films Unlimited and VPN

A VPN can help keep you safe online, but their ability to spoof your location can cause problems for some video streaming services with region-specific streaming content. Amazon Prime Video is one of those platforms that does not work well with a VPN, and since IFC Films Unlimited is a channel on Prime Video, you will likely run into trouble.

I tried streaming some content after connecting my device to a US-based Proton VPN server and received the following message: “Your device is connected to the Internet using a VPN or proxy service. Please disable it and try again.” While you could try to find a VPN that works with the video streaming services you use, there is no guarantee that everything will work together in the future. Many streaming platforms are closing loopholes that allow VPN users to connect. Some VPNs do offer dedicated streaming servers, but we recommend choosing a VPN based on its security and privacy features instead.

Indie Films for All

The IFC Films Unlimited offers a ton of great movies at a reasonable price and integrates with Amazon Prime Video’s accessibility and parental control features (should you choose to subscribe through that option). The main drawback of the service is that it isn’t an independent platform so you need to have a Roku, an Apple TV, or an Amazon Prime Video subscription just to watch its movies. We like that the service does not serve ads and enables you to download videos for offline viewing on mobile platforms.

Netflix remains our Editor’s Choice winner for on-demand video streaming with its robust library of originals and movies. Hulu is also a great option for its combination of immense on-demand library and live TV offerings. YouTube TV continues to impress with an intuitive interface and excellent range of channels.

IFC Films Unlimited Specs

Starting Price $5.99 per month
Concurrent Streams N/A
Live TV No
On-Demand Movies and TV Shows Yes
Original Programming No
Anime No
Ads No
Offline Downloads on Mobile Yes

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Student films filled with Dr. Seuss, COVID and Jest: What I saw at Film Fest – University of Dallas University News

Photo courtesy of Anna Wilgenbusch

On Friday, Oct. 23, University of Dallas students enjoyed one of the most beloved Charity Week traditions: Tower Film Fest.

All attendees were required to wear masks in adherence to COVID-19 policies, enforced by UD Student Foundation members hosting the event along with Charity Week coordinators Faith Starnes and Damien Walz.

Maintaining the Charity Week theme, the guidelines for the film submissions included a twist on any Dr. Seuss book, Carpenter Grove and adherence to the Groundhog Pledge, all within 5-10 minutes.

The first student film shown was submitted by junior Ale Taliente. Taliente’s film honored the Spring Rome class of 2020, whose semester abroad was unfortunately cut short in March during the coronavirus outbreak in Italy.

Videos of Taliente’s travels abroad in Rome with friends brought a wave of nostalgia to the audience of UD students. The brief but unforgettable semester of the 2020 Spromers was shown with Taliente and friends exploring familiar places like the campus vineyard, St. Peter’s Basilica and other cities seen on class and personal trips.

The film concluded with an allusion to Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, the Places You’ll Go.”

Residence Coordinator Sarah Baker, philosophy professor Dr. Matthew Walz and theology professor Fr. Thomas Esposito served as the panel of judges to vote on the film submissions.

The judges voted that the Spromer film was Best Documentary. 

Another student film presented on Friday evening was dedicated to the senior class.

“Wacky Wednesday,” inspired by Dr. Seuss’ book of the same name, was a project of seniors Lydianne Juguilon, John Flaherty and Maggie Fazio.

“We wanted to do something to include as many people in the senior class as possible,” Fazio said.

The senior class film featured about 50 seniors, including students currently taking an online semester in a Zoom conference call segment. In the film, Fr. Thomas Esposito attempts to teach a ridiculously attired Zoom class about the meaning of Dr. Seuss’ “Wacky Wednesday” but is eventually exasperated by the absurdity.

Besides a silly Zoom class, “Wacky Wednesday” also had cameos from three UD professors, each causing a cheer from students when they appeared on screen.

“It takes a lot to get teachers into a film. It takes commitment, desire and sheer will,” Flaherty said during an interview by the Masters of Ceremonies at Film Fest.

 In one scene inspired by a TikTok video, over two dozen seniors danced to “Stacy’s Mom” at a socially distanced concert in Carpenter Grove.

 “Wacky Wednesday” was named Best Comedy by the judges.

“I hope that it has been, and I hope that it is, a source of bonding for the community,” Fazio said about the senior film.

“I get that this is a strange semester. I think it’s really important to have things that are inclusive even though a lot of people aren’t physically able to [participate],” she continued.

Along with the judges’ vote, the audience was able to vote on the student films after viewing all three. Students could vote on their favorite film by paying one dollar for one vote, which contributed to the Charity Week fundraiser.

The senior class film won the popular vote after being named Best Comedy.

“The 500 Masks of Bartholomew Cubbins” was the second film presented on Friday evening. Directed by sophomore Phoebe Jones, the film was inspired by the little-known prose work of Dr. Seuss “The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins.”

Set in a future UD campus which has adapted to the  coronavirus pandemic, the film follows the experience of Bartholomew Cubbins as both he and the Office of Student Affairs fail to remove the seemingly endless number of masks from his face.

Of the three films, Jones’ submission adhered most strictly to the Groundhog Pledge, including enforcement of  COVID-19 policies in the Office of Sanitation and Allegiance (a parody of the Office of Student Affairs).

On Friday evening, the judges recognized “The 500 Masks of Bartholomew Cubbins” as Best Film.

Jones was ecstatic upon winning.

“My initial response involved squealing and jumping  up and down giddily with my friends,” she said.

Although this year’s film submissions looked a little different than those of years past, the three films shown attested to the creativity of UD’s amateur filmmakers. 

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The Six Short Films Of “CripTales” Tell Authentic Stories Of Disability – Forbes

There are still a few days left to enjoy a free streaming event presented by BBC America and the AMC Network, in partnership with the American Association of People with Disabilities. Through the month of October 2020, “CripTales,” a collection of short films from the United Kingdom, all of them written, directed, and acted by people with disabilities, is free to view on the networks’ websites.

Curated by British actor and writer Matt Frasier, the collection features six filmed monologues, each about 15 minutes long, highlighting different facets of disability life. In each film, one actor speaks directly to the audience. The sets are simple. But they are enhanced by costumes, props, and set designs that place each story in historical and tonal context, and at times highlight certain objects … like wheelchairs, canes, and prosthetics … that are important in disabled people’s lives.

These films succeed both as a collective artistic statement, and as an unusually in-depth experience in disability awareness. Anyone who wants to understand disability life and culture beyond crude stereotypes and happy, progressive platitudes needs to watch these films. They aren’t all “inspiring” or “educational” in the conventional sense. But they are all moving and authentic, which is arguably more important.

The six films of “CripTales” are:

  1. “Audition” — written and performed by Matt Frasier.
  2. “Thunderbox” — written by Genevieve Barr and performed by Ruth Madeley.
  3. “The Real Deal” — written by Tom Wentworth and performed by Liz Carr.
  4. “Hamish” — written by Jack Thorne and performed by Robert Softley.
  5. “Paper Knickers” — written and performed by Jackie Hagan.
  6. “The Shed” — written by Matilda Ibini and performed by Carly Houston.
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These can all be fairly described as “disability films.” They aren’t “mainstream” films where disabled characters “just happen” to appear. But, they aren’t preachy “issue” films either. While they all make sharp social observations and judgments, watching them is neither a chore nor an exercise in pity or guilt. “CripTales” is an emotionally complex, topically diverse film series that makes a strong statement for the disability experience and disabled artists’ unique ability to interpret it.

Emotionally complex

Films centered on disability and disabled characters are almost always emotional, but usually confined to a narrow range of responses, alternating between pity, sentimentality, and a vague sort of triumph. The six films of “CripTales” evoke a much broader range of emotions that are relatable to everyone, but especially familiar to disabled people, in particular:

  • Embarrassment and humiliation … especially from pointless, intrusive questions in high-stakes situations, such as job interviews and disability benefits assessments.
  • Intimacy and romance … from a young disabled woman in the ‘60s, a 34 year old man in the early ‘80s freed for the first time in his life by an electric wheelchair, a messy and complicated amputee, and a wheelchair-using author.
  • Sadness and horror … in a young disabled woman denied the chance to be a mother, a lonely woman afraid that the onset of disability will bury her even further out of sight and recognition, and an accomplished disabled woman with ample resources who is nevertheless terrorized by a caregiver.
  • Jealousy and moral complexity … as a disabled woman debates whether or not to report a neighbor who she suspects is faking a disability to get benefits, and whether or not her outrage is more personal than high-minded.
  • Pride … where each character in their own way explains their embrace of disability as a part of who they are, rejecting not only outright prejudice, but also the softer condescension and well-meaning oppressions they all encounter.

Topically diverse

These films are all “about disability.” But they aren’t all about one single thing certainly not just about disability. Each story introduces viewers to several distinct but related aspects of disability culture and experience, including:

  • Pervasive, debilitating discrimination and ableism that is seen as common-sense and even kind by non-disabled loved ones and caregivers.
  • The barriers and unexpected joys of disabled sexuality.
  • The indifference and cruelty of bureaucracy, especially to people with disabilities.
  • Moments in history viewed through the eyes of disabled people, such as the invention of the electric wheelchair, and the legalization of abortion in the United Kingdom.
  • The potent but sometimes confusing mix of anger and optimism that characterizes so many disabled people’s lives.

The format of six short films allows the 90 minute collection as a whole to cover a much wider range of disability topics than many more famous Oscar-winning and Oscar-contending feature films about disability.

A milestone and a statement

Perhaps above all, “CripTales” underscores the added authenticity and integrity of disabled characters when they are portrayed by disabled actors. And it’s not just a matter of equal opportunity and representation. These disabled actors are able to portray disabiled characters honestly in ways that non disabled actors simply can’t. Non-disabled actors are often praised for “accurate” portrayals of disabled characters, but what’s praised is mainly mimicry and a kind of stunt acting that calls attention to the actor and distracts from the person they are trying to bring to life. “CripTales” shows what is possible and better when the actor is able to focus on getting the person right rather than getting the disability right.

“CripTales also offers the artistic visions of not one but several diverse disabled writers, actors, and directors. Disability on film usually offers us only one version of disability, or one disabled person’s interpretation of it. Disability itself is incredibly diverse. So bringing together many disabled voices is both historically significant and artistically more satisfying.

“CripTales” further demonstrates that art created and executed by disabled artists doesn’t have to play one note. It’s hard to summarize the series in one message, because there is no single message or point of view in it. That is a strength. “CripTales” doesn’t trade in empty disability clichés, because it has too much to say to capture in a tidy slogan.

Finally, streaming the “CripTales” collection for free during National Disability Employment Awareness Month highlights the importance of ensuring that disabled people have real employment opportunities in the arts. This is both an explicit topic within the series, and a background priority of the whole project. The end result more than proves the artistic value of employment equity in the arts.

“CripTales” isn’t going to revolutionize how disability is handled in popular culture. But all of us … viewers, creators, and producers, disabled and not … can learn a lot from, “CripTales” about what’s possible and desirable in disability depictions and art.

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Tokyo festival opens with grueling boxing ‘Underdog’ film – Minneapolis Star Tribune

TOKYO — Masaharu Take’s films have always focused on painful stories about Japan’s “under-class,” people who are often overlooked in a nation stereotyped as monolithically well-to-do.

The heroes of his latest work, “Underdog,” couldn’t be more beaten down, stoically hardworking yet hopelessly under-class: They are boxers.

“Most of them will lose. Most of them will never become champions,” said Take, who is also directing the Netflix hit “The Naked Director.”

“I feel an adoration for those boxers, their strength, the courage that they have, that I don’t have, and that’s what I’ve been imagining and thinking about.”

Take, who loved Sylvester Stallone’s “Rocky” and was profoundly influenced by “Raging Bull,” directed by Martin Scorsese, scored success six years ago with “100 Yen Love,” which also had boxing as a motif. It starred a clumsy introverted woman who finds purpose and pride, as well as physical fitness, through boxing.

“When we thought about what was the most brutal sport we could put the character through, we came up with boxing,” he told The Associated Press recently.

Take (pronounced TUH-kay) returns to the boxing theme with a vengeance with “Underdog,” a grueling work telling not just one but three stories of boxers over nearly five hours.

Dancer Mirai Morimoto gives an all-out performance as the washed out formerly No. 1 ranked Akira, gaining muscle as well as fighter moves for the role. A comedian, played by Ryo Katsuji, gets serious for the first time in life when a TV producer’s idea of entertainment is to pit him against a real boxer. Takumi Kitamura portrays a reformed delinquent whose dream is to fight Akira.

“Underdog” premieres as the opener for the Tokyo International Film Festival, which starts Saturday and runs through Nov. 9.

The three protagonists’ gut-wrenching tales of struggle and emotional loss drive the plot, and the fights in the ring work like cathartic celebrations of Take’s filmmaking. The men are all born losers, despite their championship dreams. But the film shows defeat sometimes can be glorious.

The festival’s screenings will be socially distanced among other coronavirus measures, and a scaled-down red-carpet gala will stream online.

The festival also features the Cannes Jury Prize-winning director Koji Fukada screening several of his films, including his latest, “The Real Thing,” his first adaptation of a comic book, and an official selection at Cannes.

Fukada says independent Japanese filmmakers have a hard time, even those collecting accolades abroad. Japanese government support for films is minimal, he said, a fraction of the funding in South Korea or France. Theaters in Japan are controlled by major studios looking for blockbusters. In contrast, South Korea and France pool a portion of ticket sales to support independent filmmaking.

“Japan has no systemic way to support the film industry,” Fukada told reporters recently at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Tokyo.

Take agrees making films in Japan is so difficult he fears the best actors and crew will flee to working abroad. He found the environment for working for Netflix, in contrast, wonderful.

Take acknowledged “The Naked Director,” whose hero makes pornography films, has been slammed as misogynist but he defended the work as “a challenge” to raise questions.

“It’s a challenge to depict how women have been oppressed. We want to show more respect for the women,” said Take.

He stressed the main character had respect for the actresses, and the second season, which he is working on now, will show “how despicable and ignorant all the men were.”

“This is such a worthwhile, and very difficult, challenge. We may get criticized, but films should not avoid this challenge. And they can’t be made otherwise,” Take said.

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Elle Fanning, Emma Corrin Star in #GucciAbsoluteBeginners Films – WWD

LONDON — Gucci is releasing a series of short films in partnership with Dazed Media.

The series, titled “#GucciAbsoluteBeginners,” invites 10 friends of the brand and Dazed collaborators to direct a film each for the first time and to “celebrates the potency of pop culture and naïveté, the beauty in amateurism, and exposes the power and vulnerability of the creative impulse,” while incorporating the Gucci Jackie 1961 bag into the narrative.

The first set of five films available to watch beginning Wednesday have been created by Elle Fanning, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Jodie Turner-Smith, Benedetta Porcaroli and Emma Corrin, who plays the late Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales, in the upcoming season four of the Netflix hit show “The Crown.”

Film still image from Jodie Turner-Smith's short film for Gucci

A film still from Jodie Turner-Smith’s short film for Gucci.  Courtesy

The second batch of five films have been directed by Amandla Stenberg, Lily Gavin, Barry Keoghan, Yoshi and Arlo Parks and are slated to premiere on Nov. 6.

The campaign also aims to go viral on social media. Morgan Presley, the creator behind TikTok’s viral Gucci Model Challenge, will promote the series with her “#GucciAbsoluteBeginners guide to living a Gucci life” video, which follows a Gucci-fied day in her life, in her Gucci-inspired look, with audio that other TikTok creators can use to re-create their very own Gucci day.

“My film is about captivating the nature of Gucci,” said Fanning, who has been wearing Alessandro Michele’s gowns at major film festivals. “Even a dog can be hypnotized by its beauty. One night while drifting off to sleep, I thought of this western showdown between a dog and dog owner with a scoreboard keeping tallies of how Gucci always wins. Since I am an absolute beginner to directing, I wanted to make a statement with the tone. Yes, this is a fashion film, but why not tell a funny story while looking at sparkling garments?”

British model and actress Turner-Smith said, “Clothing and dressing are in many ways the sort of ‘backbone’ of the film. The entire idea of the film began with the Gucci Jackie 1961 bag — who is the woman who wears this bag, who is Jackie? What we wear is the costume we put on to show the world. And I just imagined this story based on this woman who uses costume as her escape. Who pours all of this love into what she wears, but not so that she can show it to the world. Jackie does it strictly for herself. She puts on a gown and walks down to the pool. She’s just that kind of woman.”

Film still image from Kelvin Harrison Jr.'s short film for Gucci.

Film still image from Kelvin Harrison Jr.’s short film for Gucci.  Courtesy

American actor Harrison Jr., who starred alongside Dakota Johnson Tracee and Ellis Ross in comedy-drama “The High Note” this year, said his film is essentially a story about “the seemingly ever-present fear of love.

“The concept initially came from someone I was seeing who told me that the risk of falling in love was greater than the reward. They had come to believe that after so many unsuccessful attempts at sustaining a long-lasting relationship it was unfair to expect anyone to take on their accompanying baggage. It was suggested I may be naive to believe that someone could not only handle the baggage of another but embrace it with authorship as if it were their own,” he added.

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A Classic Movie Lover’s Guide to Favorite Old Hollywood Films and Gifts – IndieWire

Products featured are independently selected by our editorial team and we may earn a commission from purchases made from our links.

The glamour of Old Hollywood is timeless, so it doesn’t need to be the holiday season to purchase one of these classic film-themed gifts. In addition to curating broadcast lineups of the greatest films of all time (from one of the largest film libraries in the world), Turner Classic Movies has also curated a wide variety of gifts for the classic film fan in your life — or yourself, if that’s you.

IndieWire has compiled a list of the best of these gifts, from film collections to retro accessories (dare you to watch anything from Clara Bow’s filmography and NOT want to buy a cloche hat) and of course plenty of books for classic movie lovers. Read on for our selections for the 2020 holiday season — and beyond.

Price: $14.89

IndieWire’s own Christian Blauvelt compiles a one-of-a-kind cinematic tour of the Big Apple in this book, which is part trove of behind-the-scenes stories, part practical guidebook (with maps!) for visiting the locations of some of your favorite films, including “The Godfather,” “The Seven Year Itch,” “King Kong,” “North by Northwest,” “On the Town,” “West Side Story,” “When Harry Met Sally,” and many more.

Price: $34.52

Kino Lorber has compiled three classic films starring Deanna Durbin, released on Blu-ray for the first time. In “100 Men and a Girl” (1937), which comes with new audio commentary by film historian Stephen Vagg, Durbin plays “an inventive and determined young woman who will stop at nothing to get what she wants. The daughter of an unemployed musician, Patricia Cardwell decides she will persuade conductor Leopold Stokowski to help her launch an orchestra that will employ her widowed father (Adolphe Menjou) and 99 other out-of-work musicians. Though faced with this seemingly impossible task, Patricia leads her unemployed orchestra to the home of the unsuspecting Stokowski and conducts them in Liszt’s ‘Second Hungarian Rhapsody’ from the top of his staircase. His reaction is priceless, as are the numerous musical numbers, including ‘It’s Raining Sunbeams’ and ‘A Heart That’s Free.’”

In “3 Smart Girls Grow Up” (1939), she plays Penny, a woman “has a knack for matchmaking and realizes that her own two sisters Joan (Nan Grey) and Kay (Helen Parrish) could use her help since one of them is in love with the other’s boyfriend. In attempting to manipulate the situation so that both sisters end up with the ideal fiancé, Penny only creates further problems until her father is forced to intervene on her behalf.”

And in “It Started With Eve” (1941), which comes with new audio commentary from film historian Sam Deighan, “an old millionaire (Charles Laughton), believed to be in his final days, wishes to meet the young lady that his son Johnny (Robert Cummings) is planning to wed. When the future bride-to-be is unavailable, the dutiful son finds a quick replacement in a random hat-check girl (Durbin). Surprisingly, she quickly steals his heart and when his father makes a remarkable recovery, Johnny must juggle the phony bride-to-be with the newly arrived true bride of his heart.”

Price: $25.17

This recently released definitive biography of the Hollywood legend draws on Grant’s own papers, extensive archival research, and interviews with family and friends to paint a portrait of the man formerly known as Archibald Leach who came to America in search of fame and fortune. But, as the official description notes, “he was always haunted by his past. His father was a feckless alcoholic, and his mother was committed to an asylum when Archie was 11 years old. He believed her to be dead until he was informed she was alive when he was 31 years old. Because of this experience Grant would have difficulty forming close attachments throughout his life. He married five times and had numerous affairs. Despite a remarkable degree of success, Grant remained deeply conflicted about his past, his present, his basic identity, and even the public that worshipped him in movies such as ‘Gunga Din,’ ‘Notorious,’ and ‘North by Northwest.’”

Price: $28.63

You’ll want to dive deeper into Grant’s filmography after reading that biography, so start with this Kino Lorber collection of three classic Grant comedies from the 1930s. “Ladies Should Listen” stars Grant in “a romantic comedy about a frolicking bachelor’s complicated escapade in Paris. A meddling switchboard operator (Frances Drake) falls in love with Julian de Lussac (Grant), a tenant in her building who has a deceiving girlfriend. Armed with the truth, she decides to win over Julian’s love and affections by formulating a plan to interfere and expose her conniving scheme.”

In “Wedding Present,” which comes with new audio commentary from film historian Kat Ellinger, “Chicago newspaper reporters Charlie Mason (Grant) and Rusty Fleming (Joan Bennett) never let a good story get in the way of a prank. Things change, however, when their editor (George Bancroft) quits and Charlie takes over for him. Returning from a month’s vacation, Rusty discovers fun-loving Charlie has become an unbearable tyrant. Disgusted by his behavior, Rusty leaves for New York where her hasty engagement to a stuffy author (Conrad Nagel) brings Charlie to his senses as he pulls out the stops to change her mind.”

And finally, in “Big Brown Eyes,” which comes with new audio commentary by film critic Nick Pinkerton, Eve Fallon (Joan Bennett) loses her job thanks to bickering banter with police detective Danny Barr (Grant), causing the brassy blonde manicurist to become a New York crime reporter instead. “When a shootout between a pack of thieves ends with a racketeer (Walter Pidgeon) getting away with murder, Danny and Eve join forces chasing down clues to bust the gang of crooks and see that justice is served.”

Price: $18.95 at the TCM Store, $25.99 on Amazon

The Essentials series, first conceived in 2001, is a way for Turner Classic Movies to help classic movie lovers expand their cinematic knowledge by discovering or revisiting landmark films that have left a lasting impact on audiences around the world. Film Historian Arnold compiled a first curriculum of 52 must-see movies from the silent era through the early 1980s in “The Essentials: 52 Must-See Movies and Why They Matter,” which readers could enjoy by viewing one film a week for a year-long celebration or by curating their own classic film festival. (You can buy that edition on Amazon for $16.99 right now.)

The book contains notes about why each film is essential, commentary from TCM’s Robert Osborne, and Essentials guest hosts including Sally Field, Drew Barrymore, Alec Baldwin, Rose McGowan, Carrie Fisher, Molly Haskell, Peter Bogdanovich, Sydney Pollack, and Rob Reiner. This second version, which was just released on October 20, contains 52 more films that extend through the late 1980s and commentary from some of those same figures, plus people like Ava DuVernay, Brad Bird, and William Friedkin.

Some of the films in Vol. 2 include “Top Hat,” “The Women,” “Brief Encounter,” “Rashomon,” “Vertigo,” “The Apartment,” “The Producers,” “The Sting,” “Network,” “Field of Dreams,” and more.

You can also get a bundle that includes both books and a bonus TCM mug from the TCM Store for $45.95.

Price: $114.75

Letting your love of classic movies seep into your wardrobe? Then you’ll want to check out the TCM apparel, which includes menswear like fedoras, pocket squares, and bow ties. This classic Bailey fedora “was inspired by characters who prefer to handle their business in a clandestine manner. The snap brim design makes it easy to keep a low profile, although with a hat this good looking, would you really want to? The Lanth is crafted from polished wool felt and trimmed in a suede felt band, adding texture and contrast.”

Price: $49.95

If you’re looking for a more feminine outfit, there’s also plenty of art deco-inspired jewelry and a wide selection of flapper-esque cloche hats. This one is a dusty rose color complete with felt flower accent on the side, which “recalls the glamorous ladies of pre-code Hollywood. Wear it as a stylish tribute to one of the most dynamic eras in movie history.”

Price: $95.95

Curated by the TCM staff, the TCM Holiday Spirit collection features two best-selling books and a set of stemless wine glasses that are perfect for holiday entertaining. The books include “Christmas in the Movies: 30 Classics to Celebrate the Season,” a list of the best and most beloved holiday films of all time spanning eight decades (also available for $10.99 from Amazon), and “Movie Night Menus: Dinner and Drink Recipes Inspired by the Films We Love,” a collection of classic movies from the 1930s through the ’80s paired with crowd-pleasing food and drink options, like “Casablanca” and some French 75s and a Moroccan-themed dinner (available for $17.59 from Amazon). (Other films and menus include “The Thin Man,” “The Philadelphia Story,” “Sunset Boulevard,” “Some Like It Hot,” “American Graffiti,” “Moonstruck,” and more.) Finally, when you’re ready to imbibe, the set of four stemless wine glasses are each etched with a classic personality: Bombshell, Gangster, Ingenue, and Swashbuckler.

Price: $20.95 at the TCM Store, $25.49 on Amazon

This one-of-a-kind Hollywood history from the creator of Instagram’s @ThisWasHollywood account reveals “the forgotten past of the film world in a dazzling visual package modeled on the classic fan magazines of yesteryear. From former screen legends who have faded into obscurity to new revelations about the biggest movie stars, Valderrama unearths the most fascinating little-known tales from the birth of Hollywood through its Golden Age. Drawing on new interviews, archival research, and an exhaustive library of photographs, ‘This Was Hollywood’ is a compelling and visually stunning catalogue of the lost history of the movies.” It hits shelves on November 17.

Price: $12.95 at the TCM Store, $16.95 at Amazon

This is a simple gift with a simple description: It’s literally just a book filled with portraits, taken between 1920 and 1960, of attractive movie stars posing with their dogs, plus photographs of actual famous dogs. There’s something for everyone here, including Humphrey Bogart, Buster Keaton, Elvis Presley, Tony Curtis, Sophia Lauren, Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, Ava Gardner, Shirley Maclaine, Frank Sinatra, Grace Kelly, and Audrey Hepburn. The famous dogs include Lassie, Asta, Rin Tin Tin, and Toto.

Price: $18.39

Author De Forest looks at 50 of the most inspiring female roles in film, from the 1920s through the present day, including iconic characters played by Bette Davis, Mae West, Barbara Stanwyck, Josephine Baker, Greta Garbo, Audrey Hepburn, Natalie Wood, Barbra Streisand, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Joan Crawford, Vivien Leigh, Elizabeth Taylor, Dorothy Dandridge, Katharine Hepburn, Pam Grier, Jane Fonda, Gal Gadot, Emma Watson, Zhang Ziyi, Uma Thurman, Jennifer Lawrence, and many more. Engaging profiles live alongside more than 100 photographs of these revolutionary women who “buck the narrow confines of their expected gender role,” and in some cases, looks at the female directors and writers who also helped bring the characters to life.

Price: $79.99, plus tax and shipping

Wine clubs are abundant, but this TCM-themed subscription costs just $79.99 in its introductory offer, through which you’ll get 15 wines from around the world. Each bottle is delivered to your door and paired with a classic film seen on TCM, plus each case has exclusive movie-themed wines. The 2020 holiday season includes Jimmy Stewart Cabernet Sauvignon, Eartha Kitt Red Blend, and James Dean Pinot Noir. (Future exclusives will include the just-for-club members The Blues Brothers Red Blend and Elvis Presley Cabernet Sauvignon.) Visit the TCM Wine Club site to sign up, and also get access to exclusive wine club merch like TCM wine charms and stemless wine glasses.

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GINGER SNAPS BACK, Emily Perkins, Katharine Isabelle, 2004, (c) Lions Gate/courtesy Everett Collecti

‘Ginger Snaps’ TV Series Based on Cult Horror Films in the Works From ‘Killing Eve’ Producer – Variety

A TV series based on the cult horror films “Ginger Snaps” is in the works from the producers behind AMC’s hit series “Killing Eve.”

The trilogy of “Ginger Snaps” movies, released in the early 2000s, follows a pair of teenage sisters obsessed with death and the occult. The darkly comedic horror films starred Emily Perkins and Katharine Isabelle as Brigitte and Ginger Fitzgerald, the latter of whom gets bitten by a vicious creature and turns into a werewolf. Brigitte must fend off this new, violent version of her sister and stop her from wreaking havoc on their town.

The films failed to be major successes at the box office, but have gone on to garner a cult status and win indie acclaim.

Sid Gentle Films, a production company behind “Killing Eve,” is working with Copperheart Entertainment, producers on the original “Ginger Snaps” films, on the TV adaptation. John Fawcett, who directed the original film and co-created the BBC series “Orphan Black,” will serve as executive producer alongside Sid Gentle’s Sally Woodward Gentle and Lee Morris. Clark Peterson and Copperheart Entertainment’s Steve Hoban will also executive produce, and Endeavor Content will oversee worldwide sales. Anna-Maria Ssemuyaba will write the “Ginger Snaps” series if it’s ordered.

The original “Ginger Snaps” debuted in 2000 at the Munich Fantasy Filmfest and later played at the Toronto International Film Festival, winning a special jury citation. A sequel called “Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed” and a prequel titled “Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning” both filmed back to back and were released in 2004.

Deadline first reported the news.

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The ‘Purge’ Films Reveal the Ugly Truth About America – The New York Times

I loathe the idea of a topical movie. The process of filmmaking doesn’t even really allow for it. A tight turnaround from idea to distribution is two years. If you started writing a screenplay when the N.F.L. made the rule requiring players to stand for the national anthem, you would be wrapping up the edit right around the time Minneapolis began to burn. To be on time, you have to think years ahead, or else have an intuitive understanding of the history and form of a society.

“The Purge” is always on time. The franchise, created by James DeMonaco, operates around a simple but provocative premise: After years of rising crime and societal breakdown, a quasi-fascist government is swept into power promising to restore peace by instituting an annual bloodletting — one night when all crime is legal. Each entry finds a different group of Americans just before the purge is set to begin. It’s a tidy narrative conceit promising violence and a ticking clock. That it has been a wildly successful series even though it dumps its main characters — generally played by semi-recognizable TV actors — with each iteration is shocking enough. What’s more impressive is that it manages to do it in the tradition of the best B movies: They are cheap and willing to wallow in the muck, and consequently less likely to lie about the violence that underpins American law and order.

Although they’re rarely mentioned in the same breath, it’s notable that the franchise came from Blumhouse, the same company behind “Get Out.” It has put together a string of projects whose animating principle is asking “Who will survive in America?” These movies commit to portraying our society in a way that finely calibrated awards-season films rarely do. Oscar bait’s great sin is not artistic pretension; it’s a lack of curiosity. We have developed a tradition of quality for our big “message” films — well shot, well acted, well made, redemptive and toothless. The better fare is praised for humanizing its characters, as though the realization that the working class also falls in love, faces disappointment and makes meaning were some sort of mind-bending epiphany. In these movies, a few good men can always outrun a history of violence. Realism reigns over the art form, yet it keeps returning to the same story: “Things might be bad, but they’re getting better all the time.” In the real world you might ask: “For whom have things been getting better?”

Far from comforting fantasies, the “Purge” movies are shrieking depictions of the shape of political life. They concern themselves with the fact of the power men have over women, white people over Black people, the rich over the poor. Even under a regime of legalized crime, violence runs in the same riverbeds as it does now. “Purgers” often wear garish masks in the movies, but they can’t resist tearing them off and exposing that they are exactly who you thought they were.

Just as in John Carpenter’s films, to which this franchise is deeply indebted, the politics can be blunt. In one film, a man threatens a woman he knows because earlier, before the purge began, she rejected him; in the fourth installment, the inhabitants of public housing must fight a racist militia full of war-on-terror mercenaries bent on wiping out welfare recipients. This movie, a prequel to all the rest, reveals that the purge began as a concerted effort to eradicate the poor. Carpenter beat them to it in a few ways, but questions about who really runs things have not become any less pertinent since the 1980s.

With B movies it is in the eye of the beholder whether something is ham-handed or merely concise. In the first “Purge,” over the span of a few minutes, a Black man seeks refuge in a white family’s suburban palace, and the father of the family living there tries to shoot him, only to be ambushed by his teenage daughter’s boyfriend — who has arrived to dispense with the disapproving father. Patriarchal possessiveness, economically segregated housing and white supremacy all come together in an exchange of gunfire. “Things like this are not supposed to happen in our neighborhood,” the father asserts. “Well, they are happening,” his wife replies.

The dialogue does not reach the heights of August Wilson, but the action admits to fears that are often too unseemly to acknowledge. In 2013, the film asked you to imagine the owners of suburban mansions toting long guns while screaming at a Black person to get off their property. Seven years later, the McCloskeys, a St. Louis couple famous for doing just that, spoke at the Republican National Convention. Indulging in the grotesque is what has given these films their prescience.

However gloomy they may sound, the films do offer a way forward. Unlike with our rosier movies, hope does not reside in a preternaturally gifted member of an oppressed class. Each film ultimately argues that the only way out is through collective action. Families, neighborhoods, revolutionary cells — all must band together if they expect to do so much as survive one night. This is perhaps the franchise’s most sustained belief. In the era of superheroes’ teaming up with the C.I.A. to defeat terroristic supervillains, “The Purge” depicts ordinary people willing to protect and support one another in the face of a political system abandoning them to a cruel fate. If there’s any lesson for the political artist to be found in these films, it is this: It’s better to be clumsy in the pursuit of an ugly truth than eloquent in telling a flattering lie.

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CJ Entertainment, Library Pictures pact on local-language films – Screen International

Satan's Slaves Rapi Films

South Korea’s leading film studio CJ Entertainment and LA-based local-language content financier Library Pictures International (LPI) have entered into a multi-year, multi-picture slate co-financing deal covering local-language film productions in Indonesia, Vietnam and Turkey.

Coming on the heels of CJ Entertainment’s multiple Oscar wins with Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite, the deal will see LPI fund up to 50% of the budget of CJ Entertainment-led local-language productions in each of these three markets where CJ has been investing with an interest in the territories’ rapid growth.

The Korean company has been involved in films such as Joko Anwar’s hit horror film Satan’s Slaves in Indonesia; some of the highest-grossing local films in Vietnam including Sweet 20, a remake of the Korean film Miss Granny; and top-grossing films such as Aile Arasinda and Koğuştaki Mucize in Turkey.

“CJ Entertainment has been a powerful supporter of creative voices, not only in Korea but in several markets around the world, using their resources and expertise to promote locally-relevant stories and talent,” said David Taghioff, who heads LPI. “CJ Entertainment has a well-developed and highly-ambitious film business that compliments Library’s mission to amplify the work of talented creators around the world.”

Jerry Ko, CJ Entertainment’s head of international film business, said: “Library Pictures International has an unequivocal understanding of how to model local-language productions and deliver hits. We’re happy to partner with a like-minded company that continues to evolve, create and champion storytelling at the highest level.”

CAA Media Finance, Evolution Media Capital, and O’Melveny & Myers advised on the deal which was negotiated with Yeonu Choi and Justin Kim for CJ Entertainment. 

Backed by Legendary Pictures, LPI is currently co-financing and producing with Legendary Global two seasons of a Hindi-language YA dark comedy drama series from Vikramaditya Motwane.

It is also an executive producer on Shyam Madiraju’s Hindi-language coming-of-age film Harami, which just made its world premiere at the Busan International Film Festival in New Currents competition on Saturday, October 24.

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CNN Films Boards ‘Dreamland: The Rise And Fall Of Black Wall Street’ From LeBron James’ SpringHill – Deadline

CNN Films has come aboard Dreamland: The Rise and Fall of Black Wall Street, the documentary about the 1921 Tulsa race riot from LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s SpringHill Entertainment. The project, announced earlier this summer, is now in production, the companies said Monday, with Salima Koroma directing and producing. The film is expected to be completed early next year, which will mark the horrific event’s 100th anniversary.

James, Carter, Jamal Henderson and Philip Byron are executive producing for SpringHill alongside Amy Entelis and Courtney Sexton of CNN Films. With the deal, CNN will be the linear TV distributor for the feature doc in North America; HBO Max has acquired streaming rights.

The project, first revealed in June amid the nationwide protests for racial justice over the death of George Floyd, explores the history of Black Wall Street and the violent events of May and June 1921 in Tulsa, when mobs of white residents, spurred by an accusation of inappropriate behavior by a Black man against a white woman in an elevator, attacked and ultimately destroyed the 35-block Greenwood District — at that time a thriving community of African American bankers, lawyers and business owners that comprised the wealthiest Black community in the U.S. Hundreds were killed.

The production is a mix of archival media, contemporary interviews and first-hand accounts from letters and diary entries of the time, and will include footage of the search for physical evidence of the mass graves.

Dreamland is one of several projects centered on the Tulsa riot that include Dream Hampton and Cineflix Productions’ Black Wall Street miniseries and the docuseries Terror in Tulsa: The Rise and Fall of Black Wall Street from Stanley Nelson, Russell Westbrook and Blackfin.

Variety had this news first today.

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