The inaugural Napa Valley Film Festival opens Wednesday, Nov. 9, in the picturesque communities of Napa, Yountville, St. Helena and Calistoga. A must for cinephiles, foodies and wine lovers alike, the five-day "extended weekend" features a premier selection of independent films and hotly anticipated Oscar contenders, as well as conversations with some of the most exciting actors, directors, producers and writers working in movies today.
The casting of Fright Night, Craig Gillespie’s mostly faithful 3-D take on the 1985 cult favorite starring Chris Sarandon and the late Roddy McDowall, is so spot-on that it’s almost enough to justify the movie’s existence. Yet once again we find ourselves frustrated by the shortcomings of second-hand goods, in the too-familiar form of a remake that never needed to be made.
Summer is slowly winding down, giving Hollywood just a few more weeks to unload the last of its annual sequels, prequels and remakes before Oscar season begins in earnest. The bad news, for some: School will be back in session soon. The good news: August packs a promising lineup of big-screen spectacles, including:
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Aug. 5)
The primates: James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Andy Serkis
Terminator Salvation holds the rare distinction of being both a prequel and a sequel, set 34 years after James Cameron’s 1984 original, whose backstory it seeks to explain, and picking up more or less where Jonathan Mostow’s underappreciated Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines left off.
If you’re already scratching your head, don’t worry. Salvation, which chronicles man’s struggle to survive in a post-apocalyptic world governed by malicious super-computers, isn’t a movie to be understood so much as experienced.
If J.J. Abrams aimed to boldly go where no man has gone before with Star Trek, his long-anticipated franchise reboot that traces Capt. James T. Kirk’s roots back to his wildly undisciplined youth, give the man some credit. While there’s no denying that his contribution to the cult creation of the late Gene Roddenberry is cleverly executed, this latest Star Trek sometimes feels more like a winking homage than a new beginning.