Phx Film Critics Society

Stan Robinson is a board member of the Phoenix Film Critics Society, the official press representation of movie critics for the State of Arizona!

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For more about Stan including biography, thoughts on movie making and more, visit StanRobinson.org
 
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Welcome to the "Screen Scene" Movie Newsletter!
Film Columnists 'Movie Grades!' 27 February 2015
National Movie News
Written by Film Columnists!   
Friday, 27 February 2015
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Stan Robinson, Randy Montgomery, Joseph J. Airdo,
'Movie Grades!' 27 February 2015

Last Updated ( Friday, 27 February 2015 )
 
Stan Robinson's Oscar Predictions!
National Movie News
Written by Stan Robinson   
Friday, 20 February 2015
Last Updated ( Friday, 20 February 2015 )
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Grades For Movies! ~ 13 February 2015
National Movie News
Written by Film Columnists!   
Friday, 13 February 2015
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Film Columnists
Stan Robinson, Randy Montgomery, Joseph J. Airdo, Herb Stratford's
'Movie Grades!' 13 February 2015
Last Updated ( Friday, 13 February 2015 )
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Movie Grades as of 6 February 2015!
National Movie News
Written by various Film Columnists!   
Friday, 06 February 2015
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Film Columnists
Stan Robinson, Randy Montgomery,
Joseph J. Airdo, Herb Stratford's
'Movie Grades!' 06 February 2015
Last Updated ( Friday, 06 February 2015 )
 
Movie Grades! 19 January 2015
National Movie News
Written by Stan Robinson   
Friday, 16 January 2015
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Film Columnists Stan Robinson, Randy Montgomery,
Joseph J. Airdo, Herb Stratford's
'Movie Grades!' 16 January 2015
Last Updated ( Friday, 16 January 2015 )
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'The Entertainer!' Film Columnists select 'Boyhood' as Best Movie of 2014!
National Movie News
Written by film Columnists!   
Tuesday, 06 January 2015
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'The Entertainer!', a monthly entertainment magazine in Phoenix AZ features film columnists Stan Robinson, Randy Montgomery, and Joseph J. Airdo's movie reviews, celebrity interviews, and the popular 'Report Card' grades for movies in release, select 'Boyhood' as best movie of 2014! Read all about our best movies of 2014...
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 06 January 2015 )
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Happy New Year!
National Movie News
Written by Stan Robinson   
Friday, 26 December 2014
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Last Updated ( Friday, 26 December 2014 )
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Movie Grades! 25 December 2014
National Movie News
Written by Stan Robinson   
Thursday, 25 December 2014
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Film Columnists
 
Stan Robinson, Randy Montgomery,
Joseph J. Airdo, Herb Stratford's
'Movie Grades!' 25 December 2014
 
Last Updated ( Monday, 29 December 2014 )
 
‘Antarctica: A Year on Ice’ ~ Movie Review
National Movie News
Written by Stan Robinson   
Thursday, 25 December 2014
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‘Antarctica: A Year on Ice’ presents a visually stunning chronicle of what it is like to live in Antarctica for a full year, including winters isolated from the rest of the world, and enduring months of darkness in the coldest place on Earth.
Last Updated ( Monday, 29 December 2014 )
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Happy Holidays!
National Movie News
Written by Stan Robinson   
Wednesday, 24 December 2014
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The Best of the Holiday Season to you all!

Funny Free Happy Holidays Greetings e-cards.

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Last Updated ( Friday, 26 December 2014 )
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Stan Robinson’s Commentary ~ ‘Freedom of Speech in the arts is still a reality in US…’
National Movie News
Written by Stan Robinson   
Tuesday, 23 December 2014
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As I look out of the window of my 12 floor downtown Phoenix, AZ apartment building on the city below and see the familiar AMC Theaters logo at the Arizona Center, I’m reminded of film school back in Chicago (my home town) and the freedom of expression through the arts.
 
I’m remembering those paramount ideals that one of my film schoolteachers made abundantly clear. Film can inform, entertain, enlighten, provoke, and certainly stimulate us to feel, experience, and motivate us in various ways. And that right for us is the very core of ‘Freedom of Speech’.
 
For the record, I would like to commend Dan Harkins and the Harkins Theaters chain for not ‘caving in’ as did the other exhibitors serving metro Phoenix moviegoers. I frequent the downtown AMC Theater to ‘play catch-up’ on those films I may have missed at press screenings and have to see to submit a review. Growing up in the 50s and 60s, I was actively involved in the peace movement, and the civil rights movements of the day. The time has come to ‘stand up and be counted’ once again when another country thinks that we can be intimidated into not seeing a film, and to commit a violent act of trying to destroy that business, its time to stand fast.
 
The theaters in the metro Phoenix, AZ area that dropped opening ‘The Interview’ include AMC Theaters, Carmike Cinemas, Cinemark, and Regal Entertainment. Together, those exhibitors control more than 19,200 screens across the United States and smaller chains in the United States and Canada’s Cineplex Entertainment also canceled bookings.
 
Although a convenient 10-minute walk to the AMC Arizona Center, I will no longer go there to ‘catch up’ on missed press screened movies for review. Instead, I will make the 40-minute journey to the Harkins Christown Mall to do my usual ‘catch up’. Yes, I see the greater majority of movies at press screenings. When I ‘play catch up’, I pay out of my own pocket to see those films. And since I have the choice to decide whom I want to give my hard earned retirement dollars to, I am choosing the Harkins Theaters.
 
As a Board of Directors member of the Phoenix Film Critics Society, I will be urging my press movie reviewing colleagues to follow my lead, and you as a movie goer, to stand up and be counted to support one of our most precious rights as U. S. citizens, Freedom of Speech. And, do that at a Harkins Theater near you when you go to see that next movie!
 
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Stan Robinson’s reviews reflect the insights of an insider. With over 25 years of film and television production experience, Stan uses his behind-the-scenes expertise to survey a film’s technical attributes and considers the challenges that had to be overcome in order to cinematically present a story. E-mail him at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .
 
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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 23 December 2014 )
 
Stan Robinson’s Commentary ~ Foreign Language Film Winner ‘Ida’
National Movie News
Written by Stan Robinson   
Monday, 15 December 2014

Commentaries on films are few and far between. Most comments I have are made in reviews or as part of a specific article or reference in the context that it is intended for use. This particular instance was prompted by a series of events that in hindsight as the saying goes, left the compelled feeling of ‘say it out loud’!

This time of the year movie reviewers world wide are going over our logs, notes, and list of movies we’ve screened for the past year to arrive at the usual lists we need in reference to voting for our ‘best of’ and a wide range of items needed to make official movie press statements.

As regular readers over the last 10 years who read my writings know that foreign language films are my favorite movies for viewing! These films provide a reflective view, no matter what point in time, of the differences in social mores from our own here in the United States. To see and hear, in the native language of that country provides such an insight that is truly remarkable for me. In fact, I’ve been a judge in the foreign film category for the annual Phoenix Film Festival awards for the past 10 years along with a host other foreign film related organizations and associations.

Three weeks ago as the process started for the nominating of movies for the 24 categories for the annual Phoenix Film Critics Society awards, my executive assistant Cynthia Tracy said ‘So, it starts again, one more time! [With a chuckle]’ Before we go any further, I officially state for the record, that the last five years that she has been on board, the success that I’ve attained would not be possible without her assistance. For my national print outlet which my column ‘Screen Scene’ appears in the Resident News ‘Newsletter’ with over 1 million subscribers in 48 states, Cynthia prepares a breakdown of the sometimes over 30 movies relative to genre, MPAA ratings, watches trailers, etc. which is a tremendous help to narrow my choices for the handful that are selected for the column. The same process takes place again each month for my Phoenix, AZ print outlet The Entertainer! Magazine, a monthly publication. So Cynthia, you’re the best, couldn’t do it without you!

When I arrived at the foreign film category for choices and glanced through the list of foreign films I screened throughout the year, it was the one category that held no doubt at all as to what that choice would be. It is the film ‘Ida’, written and directed by Pawel Pawlikowski. A film in the foreign film category hasn’t moved me quite sometime, on an emotional and cinematic level. As I thought it through, the best way would be to pass along the original coverage I provided for the film starting in May 2014 just before the release on 23 May 2014.

A very gracious ‘thank you’ to Rebecca Gordon, the public relations executive for Music Box Films in Chicago (my hometown by the way!) for making my chat with director Pawel Pawlikowski happen. You’re the best!

Following are the original items as they appeared for my choice for the best foreign film of 2014, ‘Ida’ written and directed by Pawel Pawlikowski.

Congratulations on winning the European Film Award for Best Picture of 2014!

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Reviewers’ Roundtable

The following reactions are from each of AZ Weekly Entertainment Magazine's film columnists: Stan Robinson, Randy Montgomery, Joseph J. Airdo, and Herb Stratford, in an effort to generate a well-rounded overview of this weekend's new movie releases. The original AZ Weekly Entertainment Magazine issue this item appeared: 21 May 2014 issue.

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‘Ida’

Agata Trzebuchowska plays a young novitiate nun in 1960s Poland who is on the verge of taking her vows when she discovers a dark family secret dating back to the years of the Nazi occupation. (PG-13 - 80 minutes)

Stan: With black & white static scene shots, tightly stitched characters, and a stark reminder of my own search for identity, this latest film from writer/director Pawel Pawlikowski, who’s last film ‘The Woman in the Fifth’ (2011) is a favorite, once again presents an intriguing theme: Often one has to go full circle to arrive at that all important point of finality to move forward. (Must See!)

Randy: It has been a while since there has been a really good film released. ‘Ida’ is easily one of the best films of 2014 so far and is a strong contender come awards season (if it is not forgotten). It is always nice to get releases of this caliber mid-year, but they are often disregarded in the fall. Director Pawlikowski has done an amazing job with a talented cast in a visually bleak film that packs an emotional punch. (Must See!)

Herb: Without a doubt one of the most gorgeous films of the year, with amazing black and white cinematography haunting this tale of loss, pain and mystery. The film expertly captures the miasma of early 1960’s Poland, the dark secrets buried there and the people left behind to deal with them. This is a mesmerizing work from start to finish. (Thumbs Up!)

 
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Soundbite Spotlight

The following quotes were pulled from interviews conducted by AZ Weekly Entertainment Magazine's film columnists: Stan Robinson, Randy Montgomery, Joseph J. Airdo, and Herb Stratford, with talent speaking on behalf of movies recently released in theaters. The original AZ Weekly Entertainment Magazine issue this item appeared: 21 May 2014 issue.

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Writer/Director Pawel Pawlikowski (‘Ida’)

By Stan Robinson

In a conversation with writer/director Pawel Pawlikowski, which by the way took place by telephone while he was in Poland on 13 May 2014 on a visit back to the city where the film was shot, was quite revealing in the fervor I heard in his voice as we chatted about bringing his story to the big screen. As a retired filmmaker, the excitement I heard in his voice, again awakened the feeling I often have when the opportunity to chat about production with filmmakers. And, as those of you regular readers are aware, they are not the usual ‘Q & A’ style most reviewers engage, rather an informal chat between filmmakers!

Pawel Pawlikowski ~ “It’s a story that has been in the back of my mind for years and the desire to make a film in Poland set in the 60s. Its my first film in Polish, I left Poland when I was 14 and I’ve gone back to live there now so the film is part of a big life’s journey, going full circle and not just to Poland but also to the 60s when I first became aware of the world so it’s a return in many ways. I am in my 50s now and a bit more reflective about things.

“We filmed for 39 days and I tried to shoot the film chronologically so that the theme would progress naturally but the weather wreaked havoc so we couldn’t shoot like we wanted. It wasn’t a very expensive film, the budget was around $1.7 million, and at the same time I didn’t have a lot of technology involved in shooting, and as you say, I didn’t move the camera and didn’t have cranes or cherry pickers for lights so what I saved in technology and equipment, I used for spreading it out in time so it was quite a generous shooting schedule. I shot one scene in the morning and one in the afternoon or night.

“Shooting in black and white, using a lot of ambient sound, and I was rewriting the script as we were shooting. I keep writing all the time, writing during rehearsing, writing during location scouting, and writing during filming which gave the film a flavor all its own.” – Pawel Pawlikowski

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The original AZ Weekly Entertainment Magazine issue this item appeared:

21 May 2014 issue.

Film Columnists Stan Robinson, Randy Montgomery, Joseph J. Airdo, and

Herb Stratford ‘Grades’ for movies currently in release as of 23 May 2014!

Last Updated ( Monday, 15 December 2014 )
 
'Movie Grades!' 12 December 2014
National Movie News
Written by Film Columnists!   
Friday, 12 December 2014
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Film Columnists
Stan Robinson, Randy Montgomery,
Joseph J. Airdo, Herb Stratford's
'Movie Grades' 12 December 2014
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Last Updated ( Friday, 12 December 2014 )
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