By Amy Anderson

By Darren ‘HarpDaddy’ Smith

There are very few delights better than scary films and popcorn on a dark, cold night; and the Anchorage International Film Festival has just the thing-- “SHORTS: Late Night Chills”. The program of seven shorts plays at the Alaska Experience Theater. One of the short films not to miss in ton…

Filmmakers from across the globe are braving the wintery wilds of Alaska to showcase, compete, and celebrate their work during the 19th Annual Anchorage International Film Festival beginning on Dec. 6.

HUSTLERS by Lorene Scafaria starring Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu, et al is everything one expects it to be, and I must say, I have never loved JLo so much! The film is about 10 minutes too long, but goddam, it's good. The film, based on a true story, is about a handful of strippers that …

Two local filmmakers recently set up an office in downtown Palmer, just off South Colony Way.

After three years of production, “Peaks and Valleys” an independent film made in the Mat-Su Valley, is set for a sneak peek screening on April 1 at the Glenn Massay Theater. Directed by Michael Burns and written by Michael B. Dillon, this gritty tale of survival follows the relationship of a…

The Oscars would not be complete without short films, these jewels that are often just as compelling, fun, and riveting as any feature, and represent stepping stones for actors and directors on their respective career paths. This year’s short films are absolutely worth watching. Some of the …

There are some years when choosing an Oscar favorite is like shopping for avocados in Alaska, it’s about choosing the less rotten one; luckily this year, the top two contenders are perfectly fresh, aesthetically delicious, and emotionally complex, they are Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma, and Yorgos L…

Staying Human is a documentary by the musician Michael Franti; it is directed by Franti, produced by Franti, stars Franti, it’s about Franti, with music by Franti… so for viewers who LOVE Franti and want a piece of him, come and get it! For the rest, well, that’s a different story. The docum…

The arctic holds the earth’s oldest and the deepest secrets. Genesis 2.0, the documentary by Swiss director Christian Frei takes viewers through a journey the leaves them with more questions than answers, and along the way presents poignant moments when one realizes that human being’s thirst…

Revolutions stir in Europe, sending a new cast of characters and unrest to the British shore. Season three (S3) of Masterpiece’s Victoria picks up in 1848 as Queen Victoria, played by Jenna Coleman, is about to deliver her six child and her rule faces new challenges that divides her country,…

ROMA, Alfonso Cuarón Orozco’s newest film is his best film yet; it’s pretty perfect, compelling, relevant, and brilliantly insightful into human nature and the complex, human-designed social and economic systems that play out in Mexico in 1970. ROMA is the kind of movie that comes just a few…

Tom Volf's MARIA by CALLAS is perhaps one of the most respectfully and delicately made films about Maria Callas, her sublime voice and her genius, to play on the big screen; and films there have been many. Volf exhibits a deep understanding of Callas and he defers completely to her, thus the…

Maybe the saddest and most shameful fact of the homelessness crisis in Anchorage — at least so far as it concerns the Alaska Native population — is that many are merely shipwrecked here because they can’t get a flight back home even though they’re in a city with probably more flights per cap…

Shiver me timbers! Opening night for the Anchorage International Film Festival (AIFF) scheduled for November 30th was rudely interrupted by the 7.0 earthquake that left everyone a little shaken and screening dates up in the air. It rattled buildings, took down roads, damaged buildings, sent …

Film festivals are a hit and miss and that’s what makes them great, their programming is not canned or dictated by focus groups and big money. Some films that run on the festival circuit can be small jewels that change viewers’ lives one frame at a time, other films on the circuit are one-of…

The nine-day Anchorage International Film Festival kicks off Friday and a vast majority of the films to be screened come from outside Alaska.

Humanity’s timeless and visceral expression of pain takes many forms, but through Flamenco, that pain brings voice, instrumentation, and movement into one of its finest and strongest forms. Flamenco is not only a style of guitar playing, or the stomping of the feet, or the vocalization of a …

The Girl in the Spider's Web is the latest in the film franchise based on Stieg Larsson’s Swedish crime novels, the “Millennium” Series. The book series includes: “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “The Girl Who Played with Fire”, “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest”, “The Girl in the Spi…

Bryan Singer directs Bohemian Rhapsody, a tribute to Queen, the amorphous band that formed in the early 1970s and emerged as one of the most prolific, influential, and hottest bands of all time; but Queen wouldn’t have reached its heights without its lead singer, Freddie Mercury.  Bohemian R…

Buoyed by the film tax credits of 2008, and fueled artistically by endless scenery and a wealth of creative people, an Alaska filmmaking renaissance seemed inevitable.

The rock climbing community is very tightly knit, especially around Yosemite National Park. The groups of climbers, dating back to the 50s that became obsessed with California’s monoliths gave birth to the sport and took face climbing into new realms including the purest and most dangerous k…

Luxury. It is a word that refers to extravagance and excess. It is also not something that many of us can expect in our lives as often as we would like. Cinemark Century 16 Theater is making steps to change that, and make opulence and art more accessible for everyone. As the location celebra…

 

Peppermint, directed by Pierre Morel and written by Chad St. John has got to be one of the worst movies out there. The movie stars Jenifer Garner as the protagonist, Riley North, whose husband plotted to steal from a drug lord, then he changed his mind but his message didn’t get through, the…

Time and dreams standstill on the shores of Sway Lake, where the legacy of the Sway family is perhaps coming to an end. The Song of Sway Lake is directed by Ari gold stars and stars Rory Culkin as Ollie Sway, who goes to the lake house after his father’s suicide, to look through their valuab…

On the 50th anniversary of Stanley Kubrick‘s science fiction masterpiece, 2001: A Space Odyssey, one wonders if we have spent the last 50 years in a self-fulfilling prophecy. The film remains one of the most tantalizing visual experiences on the big screen. It’s iconic and mesmerizing, but i…

Mouly Surya’s third film, Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts, is a truly poetic reflection of grief and resistance against the patriarchy. The film tells the story of Marlina, a woman living alone after losing those she loves. At the beginning of the film, Marlina seems to be in a state of nu…

The fourth annual Bow Wow Film Festival is coming to Anchorage on August 25th, complete with reels and real puppies! The festival benefits recue shelters across the nation and to date has raised over $175K for its canine friends. The Anchorage showing will benefit local dog rescue partners. …

Spike Lee’s new film, BlacKkKlansman, is a brilliant reflection of the deeply embedded racism in America’s DNA. BlacKkKlansman shows Lee in top form, working from Ron Stallworth’s memoir and building a narrative around it that pulls from history, current conditions, and infuses with optimism…

PALMER — Ethan Feaster is out of high school and so far, he’s pretty much lived up to what he said he would be doing at this point. He’s working on his third feature length film, “Submergence” with 22 local actors.

The docudrama American Animals is based on the true story of a rare books heist gone wrong at Transylvania University in Lexington Kentucky in 2004. The story itself is not only outrageous but also fascinating. American Animals, written and directed by Bart Layton retells the story of four s…

In The Siberian Candidate,Vlad, the extremely strong and powerful director, closes the gap between fact and fiction to deliver a riveting and unexpected plot the leaves the world on the edge of its seat. The Siberian Candidate is the apex of the director’s body of work that includes previous…

Leave No Trace, directed by Debra Granik is a quiet film that speaks volumes about so many things; mainly, family, love and the telltale signs of a broken system. The film was adapted by Granik and Anne Rosellini and from the novel “My Abandonment” by Peter Rock. The novel was based on a 200…

In director Claire Denis’ new film, Let the Sunshine In (Un beau soleil intérieur, original title) Isabelle (Juliette Binoche) is free falling in love, and in the process reveals the weaknesses of a strong woman.  It may sound a little cliché, but at the age of 72, the director has not only …

Ocean’s 8 was greeted with excitement at the box office, bringing in between $41-$45 million on opening weekend (depending on whether you count Thursday as the weekend or start counting on Friday). Ocean’s 8 is a spinoff of the franchise established with Ocean’s 11 in 2001 by Director Steven…

Considering the U.S. Supreme Court ruling this week that allows business owners to practice discrimination under a thin veil of religious freedom and free speech, the re-release of Philadelphia is timely and apropos. When Philadelphia, starting Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington, opened on the …

You Were Never Really Here starts with noises filling the darkness of the screen, a cacophony of sounds and voices that sets up the landscape for the entire movie, representing the society in which the main protagonist is drowning. During about the first five minutes, viewers see partial sho…

Imagine, Sweden, 1958, the World Cup… this was the World Cup match that changed Brazil forever. After the painful defeat of Brazil by Uruguay in their home turf in 1950, the country went into a collective depression and deeply rooted fear that went beyond the sport. In 1958 the team reached …

A Rose in Candle is a solidly-made and compelling documentary by Russ Reno and Beverly Churchill.  The documentary, at just under an hour tells the story of a prominent Jewish family and its life in Candle Alaska, in the Nome region, during the golds rush.  The story is about Rose Robinson w…

From the very first moment that Tully opens, it’s up close and personal. The camera is intimate, and reveals the story and the characters from voyeuristic angles and through personal details. Charlize Theron plays Marlo, a woman who is loving and on the edge of spiraling into the dark depths…

Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool is directed by Paul McGuigan who is known as a TV director of shows with some notable titles in the Sherlock, and Luke Cage franchises and others. Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool is based on a memoir by Peter Turner, an actor and protagonist in the book an…

The weekend of May 4-6, the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center (Museum) will be a buzz with festivities celebrating the people and culture of Mexico and the connections between Mexico and Alaska. The event will feature food, artist’s conversation with renowned artist Ana Teresa Fernández wh…

Films like Phantom Thread don’t come around too often. Paul Thomas Anderson wrote and directed this modern masterpiece, stitching together a story about a different kind of love, which also doesn’t come around too often, one that is inseparable from art, the creative process, and an all-cons…