Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Local films highlight Philly Film Fest

Saturday's all-Philly lineup includes MOVE doc, crack-in-the-'80s domestic drama, new David Morse and other titles

Local films highlight Philly Film Fest

Sharon Leal and Hill Harper in "1982."
Sharon Leal and Hill Harper in "1982."

Philadelphia Film Festival 22 can’t get any more Philly than it does Saturday, in the closing weekend program at the Prince Music Theater. Starting at noon and ending close to midnight, five features in the fest’s “Greater Filmadelphia” program screen back to back to back (to back to back), offering fiction and non-fiction takes on the city, its surrounding environs and the people who sprung from the area.  Here’s the lineup, in screening order:

TOWN HALL -- Sierra Pettengell and Jamila Wignot’s documentary closeup of Tea Party activists during the 2012 campaign focuses on Berks County salesman-turned-conservative crusader John Stahl and Katy Abram, a stay-at-home mom who becomes a policy analyst at Americans for Prosperity.  

LET THE FIRE BURNJason Osder’s formula-busting doc takes a new look at the devastating events of May 13, 1985, when the city dropped an incendiary device on the MOVE compound in West Philadelphia, resulting in the deaths of 11 people and the destruction of 61 homes. A new and innovative use of old archival footage, TV news and police video tells a chilling tale.

1982 -- Hill Harper  and Sharon Leal star in Tommy Oliver’s gritty indie about a couple’s struggles to stay together -- and keep their young daughter safe – in the midst of the crack epidemic that hit the city and its neighborhoods in the early ‘80s. Well-received at the Toronto Film Festival last month.  

McCANICK – Philly’s David Morse has the title role in this indigenous thriller, playing a veteran narcotics detective with his own substance abuse issues -- and with an obsession to hunt down a convict just released from jail (Cory Monteith, in his final film).  The great Ciaran Hinds is McCanick’s boss, a PPD captain.   

THE SUSPECT – Set in a small town in the South, but made by Philly filmmaker Stuart Connelly and cast and crew with strong local ties, this thriller about a bank robbery is actually a provocative drama about race relations, with Mekhi Phifer as a black man, a stranger,  brought in for questioning after an armed robbery rocks the community. Connelly is the author of Behind the Dream: The Making of the Speech That Transformed a Nation.

For more info: www.filmadelphia.org/festival

Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
About this blog

Steven Rea has been an Inquirer movie critic since 1992. He was born in London, raised in New York City, and has lived in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Iowa City, Iowa. His column, "On Movies," appears Sundays in Arts & Entertainment, his reviews appear in the Weekend section on Fridays, and his blog, On Movies Online, can be found here. He is a member of the National Society of Film Critics.

Steven Rea's previous blog posts can be found here. Read his most recent columns and reviews, here. He is the author of the book “Hollywood Rides a Bike,” and also curates the movie stars and bicycling photo blog, Rides A Bike.

Reach Steven at srea@phillynews.com.

Steven Rea Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
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