Beginning today, and every Monday I'm not attending another festival (or NaFF, for that matter), I'll be recommending some basic cable titles to set your DVRs for this week. You could also do that less-than-trendy thing of actually watching them when they air, but does anyone really do that any more? I'll focus on one selection per day (or so) and highlight NaFF selections from the past as they appear along the way.
Tonight (Monday, June 18)
This witty animated short that played in NaFF 2009 and was nominated for an Oscar at the 2010 Academy Awards.
One of the few films in which every actor was nominated for an Academy Award (not including extras), Mike Nichols filmed version of the Edward Albee play is a showcase for Elizabeth Taylor's remarkable talent. Utterly unforgettable.
Tuesday, June 19
It's swords and sandals time, from a time when people like Stanley Kubrick made swords and sandals movies. Even if you're not a fan of this type of epic, you have to see this classic. Otherwise, you're never allowed to say, "I am Spartacus."
Wednesday, June 20
Vanessa Redgrave is radiant as Clarissa Dalloway, a London socialite whose perfectly planned party is disrupted by the return of a suitor from 33 years before. Based on the novel by Virginia Woolf. And we have a theme for the week.
Thursday, June 21
Academy Award-winner Chris Landreth won the award for Best Animated Short at the 2010 Nashville Film Festival for this wildly creative short about the demise of a marriage.
Friday, June 22
Director Dia Sokol attended the 2009 Nashville Film Festival with this competition entry about the philosophical effects a one-night stand has to two people and the people they love. If you don't recognize the guy in the green shirt in the picture above, maybe you'll recognize him in this photo?
That's right! He's freshman Mitch Kramer in Dazed & Confused. Also on Sundance that day is Werner Herzog's remarkable and disturbing Grizzly Man. It's at 4:15 Eastern, 3:15 Central.
Saturday, June 23
Rhoda's all sweet in her braids and pony tails and frilly dresses, ain't she? Except for the fact that she's a ruthless killer! What was meant to be shocking becomes an amusingly over-the-top melodrama (that was still nominated for four Academy Awards). Definitely DVR this one and then have friends over for cocktails later that night to get the best viewing experience out of this one. They way Mervyn LeRoy had to alter the ending of the play to meet Hays Code requirements is especially a hoot.
Sunday, June 24
Winner of a Special Jury Prize for Bravery in Storytelling at the 2009 Nashville Film Festival, Kimberly Reed's remarkable documentary about her attempts to reconnect with her estranged adopted brother shouldn't be explained - but it MUST be seen. And you've got your chance this Sunday. Do not miss it.
I love silent films and you should too. If The Artist is the only one you've seen (you've seen it, right?), then this Sunday is a great opportunity to catch one of the greats. If Turner Classic cooperates, I'll try to include one silent in each week's list. As Ebert said in his review for this film, "They (Chaplin, Keaton & Lloyd) were artists who depended on silence, and sound was powerless to add a thing. They live in their time, and we must be willing to visit it."
Tomorrow, we'll check out what's coming out on DVD and VOD.