A Return to Chinatown

A film that deserves its legendary status, few praises can be poured on Roman Polanksi’s Chinatown (1974) that haven’t been said before. Thanks to some upcoming screenings arranged by our friends at the Coral Gables Art Cinema, I got the chance to sit down and watch Chinatown again, and I can say with confidence that I enjoyed it just as much as I did the first time, if not more. Chinatown is a superb example of the best of a genre, and a story that should be fully enjoyed on the big screen by fans of noir mysteries.

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The Little Stranger: A Spiritless Haunting

Roderick Ayers escapes a hellish flame fueled by archaic books

When reports surfaced saying that the production company Focus Features was cancelling screenings of The Little Stranger, it would have been safe to bet that the haunted-house horror was dead on arrival. This, combined with its avoidance of the film festival circuit, made for a flaming red flag. But this, if anything, was an overreaction, especially when its only competition in the box-office is the pungent Happytime Murders.  Based on a 2009 gothic novel of the same name,The Little Stranger is a slow-contorting, lackluster end to a summer booming with breakneck blockbusters.

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From the Director: Welcome to the Fall Semester!

It’s looking like an exciting fall for film in our FIU classrooms, around campus, and in Miami’s burgeoning film scene.

Last spring, our first ever Panther Film Festival brought our student body together, creating thirteen short films, twelve of which were up for awards selected by faculty, staff, and an audience vote. Over 100 students, alumni, judges, and faculty members were in attendance, and we are making this year’s Panther Film Festival bigger and better. Stay tuned for information on our free film workshops as well as the event itself!

We know our students are looking forward to the fantastic courses you’re enrolled in, from Professor Michael Gillespie’s new Film Noir course to Phillip Church’s ever popular Intro to Acting/Directing for TV/Film, and many others.

We’ll keep you posted about film happenings on campus and around town. Cult cinema, restored classics, and new international movies are playing at local art houses, such as the Coral Gables Art Cinema and Miami Beach Cinemateque.  Knowing that many of you are still coming down off this month’s Popcorn Frights film festival, we’re also looking forward to events sponsored by the Miami Jewish Film Festival and the Miami Film Festival’s GEMS four day mini-festival at the Tower Theater.

The new president of the Film Initiative: Underground, Jose Ramirez, has a line-up of film screenings as well as expectations from the club this year in an article you can read here.

Finally, we just want to give a shout out to our alumni and community partners. As always, feel free to email our director, Dr. Andy Strycharski, at strychar@fiu.edu to say Hi or let us know what’s going on with you. We love to hear from you all!

A Message from the Film Club President

Welcome back, Panthers! We, the Film Initiative: Underground, are excited to begin this new year and continue to grow on the success that last year’s student filmmaking community saw.

For those who’re interested in learning more about us and what we do, the Film Initiative is FIU’s premier film club and the hub for FIU’s student filmmakers. The Film Initiative coordinates film centered-activities for both movie lovers and filmmakers alike.

This year we’re back with a fresh new line-up of films. As always, our screenings are free and open to all FIU students, with free snacks and post-film discussions. They will be held Thursdays on the MMC campus (Room and Time TBA), but we are always looking to make our screenings more dynamic and exciting! This year we will introduce a new aspect to our weekly meetings that may have you go home with a new Blu-Ray copy of the movie presented that night. So tighten up those Joker impressions and get those Halloween costumes ready! This semester, you can expect the following films at our screenings:

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2001: A Space Odyssey Journies Back to the Big Screen

On April 3, 1968, the enduring classic 2001: A Space Odyssey was released and now, fifty years later, film enthusiasts will have an extraordinary opportunity to see the picture in all of its brilliance.

Nolan inspects the reprinted reel of 2001.

Almost a year ago, filmmaker Christopher Nolan (Memento, Inception, Interstellar) released his war drama Dunkirk in 70mm around the country to critical acclaim and commercial success. It was around this time that he learned of a film reel of 2001 that had been made from the original camera negative but couldn’t be reprinted due to lack of funding. Nolan, empowered by the success of his 70mm screenings, went to Warner Bros. with his idea of making new prints of A Space Odyssey and releasing them, in the same way that Dunkirk was exhibited. This year at Cannes, Nolan debuted the new print of the film, which he makes clear is not a restoration — no digital work has been done — but rather a reprint  created through an entirely photochemical process from reels that Warner Bros. developed in the late 90s.

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Solo A Solid Entry Into Star Wars Canon

The Star Wars universe is immense. Following Disney’s acquisition of the property some years ago, there was a hard reboot on the expanded universe which saw much of what was once considered canon being rebranded as “Legends”. Since then, there have been several Disney-sanctioned pieces of media which repaint the history and future of the main Skywalker storyline. Ron Howard’s Solo, which was plagued by reshoots and bad word-of-mouth, is the newest installment in the Disney-era of Star Wars, shedding some light on the backstory of a certain scruffy-looking nerfherder.

Ron Howard was brought on board to direct Solo after Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were let go from the project.

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