Gracious Grant—Immediately after snagging Second Place in the first annual Governor's Cup Film Challenge and Best Native Film at the recent Santa Fe Film Festival for his short film “Raven Tales,” filmmaker Chris Kientz announced sponsorship of a major film grant in the state of New Mexico. The Las Cruces-based filmmaker has teamed up with the Albuquerque-based nonprofit Media Rights Foundation to offer the grant, which will hopefully encourage our homegrown film industry. Details are still being worked out regarding the distribution of the grant. It will either go to the winner of next year's Governor's Cup or to a film selected by a jury from the Media Rights Foundation. Kientz has already donated $10,000 and was gifted with another $2,000 at the Santa Fe Film Festival. All private and corporate donations to the grant are tax deductible. In addition, $1 from all sales of the “Raven Tales” DVD will go into the grant. The DVD is available in Albuquerque at Andrews Pueblo Pottery and in Santa Fe at the American Museum of Natural History and the National Museum of the American Indian. You can also order it online at www.raventales.ca. For more info on the film grant (and other topics of artistic importance) check out the Media Rights Foundation at www.pbrainmedia.com/mrf.
Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera
Screechy, overstuffed Phantom dies of stage fright
Here's the problem: I think Phantom of the Opera is a crap musical. The songs are too literal, the music is smug and repetitive and the plot is frosted with far too much swooning romance. So the odds are pretty good I'm not going to enjoy the film version all that much. You, on the other hand, may love everything Andrew Lloyd Webber puts his rich little mitts on—from Jesus Christ Superstar to Cats to Aspects of Love. If that's the case, then you'll probably find plenty to enjoy in Joel Schumacher's garish, overstuffed film version.
Scorsese soars with stunning star-studded biopic
Director Martin Scorsese is one of the most celebrated American filmmakers. But even he has his ups and downs. Scorsese's last film, Gangs of New York, was an invigorating, epic look back at New York's brutal birth. It was also a wildly uneven picture with a sprawling story line and some questionable casting. (Cameron, honey, I'm sorry, but you just didn't belong in that one.) Nonetheless, the film did introduce Scorsese to his new favorite leading man, Leonardo DiCaprio. It was this introduction that led, no doubt, to Scorsese and DiCaprio's latest collaboration, the magnificent Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator.
Christmas Eve around the dial
Christmas Eve is typically a time to spend with friends and family. You drink some egg nog, sing some carols, play some Cranium, open some presents. Then again, maybe that's not your style. Maybe you're in prison. Maybe you're an orphan. Maybe you're just antisocial. Who am I to judge? Perhaps the best policy would be to lock your door and curl up in front of the warm, flickering glow of the television this holiday season.
The Week in Sloth
“A Chris Isaak Christmas” (KNME-5 9 p.m.) Left to his own devices, I imagine Chris Isaak would spend his Christmas in a dark, smoke-filled lounge off the Vegas strip hitting on some blonde blackjack dealer in a red sequined cocktail dress. Instead, he's performing on stage with Stevie Nicks, Brian McKnight and Michael Bublé.