Sunday, August 28, 2016


The fall movie season kicks off with the 2016 Venice Film Festival and offers the first opportunity to see some of the buzzed about films soon to be released. This Italian fest is the oldest celebration of international cinema in the world with the 73rd edition beginning on August 31st and running through September 10th.

"La La Land", the latest from "Whiplash" director, Damien Chazelle, will make it's world premiere as the Opening Night film. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone star in this romantic musical set in Los Angeles about a jazz musician and an aspiring actress who meet and fall in love. But as they find success in their creative paths, it creates tension in their love affair. R&B singer, John Legend and J.K. Simmons, who won an Oscar for his amazing performance in "Whiplash", also star.

In addition to "La La Land", there are nineteen other films in competition for prizes and includes the latest work from some of cinema's most interesting and acclaimed film makers like Ana Lily Amirpour ("The Bad Batch"), Derek Cianfrance ("The Light Between Oceans"), Denis Villeneuve ("Arrival"), Tom Ford ("Nocturnal Animals"), Fran├žois Ozon ("Frantz"), Pablo Larrain ("Jackie"), Wim Wenders ("Les Beaux Jours D’Aranjuez"), and Terrence Malick ("Voyage of Time").

The Closing Night film selection is the remake of the 1960 western, "The Magnificent Seven". Denzel Washington heads a multi-cultural cast that features Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Lee Byung-hun, Matt Bomer and Peter Sarsgaard. With direction by Antoine Fuqua ("Training Day", "Southpaw"), it tells the story of a town held hostage by a ruthless businessman and the townspeople have to count on seven shady outlaws to help liberate them.

Films that will be screened out of competition include Mel Gibson's latest film as a director, "Hacksaw Ridge", a World War II drama starring Andrew Garfield. "The Bleeder", a film based on the true story of boxer, Chuck Wepner (Liev Schreiber) and his 1975 fight with the heavyweight champion, Muhammad Ali (played by Schreiber's "Ray Donovan" co-star, Pooch Hall). Elisabeth Moss, Jim Gaffigan and Naomi Watts also star. Paolo Sorrentino ("Youth") premieres his television mini-series, "The Young Pope" starring Jude Law and Diane Keaton (and will be shown on HBO in America). There will also be tributes to two recently deceased directors: Michael Cimino ("The Deer Hunter") and Abbas Kiarostami ("Taste of Cherry") and Lifetime Achievement Golden Lions will be presented to actor, Jean-Paul Belmondo and director, Jerzy Skolimowski.