A Wolf at the Door – O Lobo atras da Porta – Mill Valley Film Festival – Day Four

A Wolf at the Door (O Lobo atras da Porta) played at the Lark Theater in Larkspur. It was Day Four of my coverage of the Mill Valley Film Festival. The date – October 5th.

Directed and written by Fernando Coimbra, this is his first feature film, and it has been garnering accolades. The film has taken awards at Guadalajara, Havana, Miami, Rio de Janeiro, and San Sebastian.

Per the IMDB

A journey to the dark cutting edge of desires, lies and wickedness of a love triangle, from the moment a child is mysteriously kidnapped.at the school

The film opens with a mother facing her worst nightmare. Her six-year-old daughter has already been picked up at the school. The teacher released the child after taking a phone call from a woman who said she was the mother and would need to take the girl out of school earlier than usual.

Interviewed by the police, the mother denied making the call. What’s more, she said she had no idea who this Silvia is. The school teacher is interviewed, and her story stood up. A woman called, said she would pick up the girl Clarinha for the mother. What’s more, the child seemed to know the woman .

The father and husband are called in. He denies any knowledge of any Silvia which was true. Under pressured grilling by the police, the husband, Bernardo, said he was having an affair with a woman named Rosa.

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Diplomatie – Mill Valley Film Festival – October 4th

General Von Choltitz: You die only once
Consul Raoul Nordling: But you remain dead for a long time.

Diplomatie aka Diplomacy (in English) screened at the CineArts Sequoia 1 Theater on Throckmorton Avenue in Mill Valley. This was Day Three of the Mill Valley Film Festival.


The film begins on a particular August night in 1944.

THe Germans had occupied Paris for some time, but the French Resistance, as well as the Allied Forces, now a mere two hours outside of Paris and were advancing quickly, had weakened them. The German garrison had possibly 2000 remaining soldiers, and the headquarters staff, housed in the Hotel Meurice, numbered no more than 20 men.

Orders, from the German High Command, meaning Hitler himself, had arrived a while back, They were stark, and blunt and horrific. Since the Allies had bombed Berlin, Hamburg, and Mannheim into rubble, Hitler’s dream, of making Berlin as beautiful as Paris was no longer possible. Hence, if Paris could not be defended by the German Wehrmacht, then it had to be razed, blown up as it were. Leveled. As part of a last gasp effort, and as act of pure malice.

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Muir Woods – Mill Valley – October 4th

On Saturday, October 4th, I had an 8:00 PM film to attend at the Mill Valley Film Festival. Unlike the first two nights, when I attended films in San Rafael, I would actually see this film at the CineArts at Sequoia 1 Theater on Throckmorton Avenue, in Mill Valley.

So.with lots of time available, I decided to take in the sights of Muir Woods. While the way to Mill Valley from San Anselmo is fairly straightforward – East and South east on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard to US 101 South and exit a few minutes and 2 1/2 miles later at Exit 446 otherwise known as the E. Blithedale Avenue, Mill Valley, exit. This could be called an easy drive.

But getting to Muir Woods was vastly more complex.I can still recall the streets – Nelson Avenue, Lagoma, Sequoia and ultimately the intersection of Panorama Drive. and Muir Woods Road,

Do you like hairpin turns, or like blind hair pin turns and many people on bikes dealing with the tough going when they face an uphill section of the narrow roads – which makes the way in or out even more worrisome. The way in or out of Muir Woods is like a vast roller coaster, only you must drive the car. And it is not running on tracks.

My rented compact car – a Hyundai Elantra was perfect for the trip. Low to the ground, and able to hug the curves – it was fun. It was also nerve-wracking – especially for a guy living in Sarasota, FL where the major points of elevation on the mostly straight roads are the speed bumps and an occasional highway overpass.

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The Judge – Mill Valley Film Festival – October 3rd, 2014

When you talk about actors, any meaningful discussion must include two of Hollywood’s finest. Robert Downey Jr and Robert Duvall.

abf5d57bdff0d4971d2ea92e09f6ac64For Downey, this film, The Judge, is a return to earth. Because unlike the vastly successful Iron Man franchise, as well as The Avengers where Downey’s Tony Stark jetted around in the skies, bringing criminals or arch villains to justice, here, in The Judge, Downey Jr, plays a fast talking, fast living, big city lawyer named Hank Palmer. He lives with a Ferrari in his driveway, and a beautiful trophy wife, and a string of rich defendants that are walking free due to Palmer’s courtroom skills rather than the fact of their innocence.

Palmer loses no time in telling us that if we are average citizens, we can’t afford him. Hence the Ferrari and other trappings of a successful defense attorney.

Duvall, now in his eighties, plays the righteous and conservative Judge Joseph Palmer, living in a small Indiana town. In his many years of presiding from the bench, Joseph has been the one person who could be counted on to pursue the truth. He’s well-respected, and well liked, almost a pillar of what’s good in life. The elder Palmer is everything that his lawyer son is not.


Not surprisingly, the Palmer’s, father and son are estranged. In fact Hank has not been anywhere near his hometown in many years. But the death of Hank’s mother has brought him back to the family home in the fictional town of  Carlinville, Indiana.

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The Way to Point Reyes is Another Long and Winding Road

Long ago, the Beatles sang about a Long and Winding Road.

The long and winding road that leads to your door
Will never disappear
I’ve seen that road before it always leads me here
Leads me to your door.

Well, today I traveled one such long and winding road. I left San Anselmo and began heading in a northwesterly direction. I was on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, After many winds and curves in the road, as well as ups and downs, I turned onto Bear Valley Road. I was in the Point Reyes National Seashore, and my destination was the Point Reyes Lighthouse,


and at least one of the nearby beaches.

They say getting there is half the fun. Yes, this truly a memorable road, Especially when you had been driving in bright sunlight and then a few turns later, you’re suddenly plunged in to a much darker place due to the canopy provided by the redwoods and other trees. If you are wearing sunglasses, it will take a few seconds for your eyes to adjust.

From the Visitors Center on Bear Valley Road, I was told that it was a 45 minute drive (only 17 miles) to the Lighthouse parking lot. Then about a 15 minute walk to the viewing platform high above the lighthouse.

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Laggies – Opening Night at the Mill Valley Film Festival


You can’t keep putting off something you want for some imaginary future. You just got to suck it up and go with your gut.

Words to live by? Maybe not for everyone, but you’ll hear these words spoken by Keira Knightley as Megan in the new film from Lynn Shelton (Your Sister’s Sister ) called Laggies. I caught this film on Opening Night of the Mill Valley Film Festival at the Rafael 1 in San Rafael, CA.

Shelton had previously screened this film at Sundance and more recently at film festivals in San Diego and Aspen before tonight.

The cast is headed up by Keira Knightley who has been working regularly and steadily. This is the 3rd film I’ve seen her in THIS year (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and Begin Again being the first two. This is the third, and The Imitation Game, which will screen here at the MVFF, in a few days will be the 4th.

Also on board are Chloë Grace Moretz who played in Martin Scorsese’s Hugo back in 2011, and is in your local theaters these days with Denzel Washington in The Equalizer.

Sam Rockwell and Jeff Garlin (from Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm) are the main guys in the film, and they’ve been give billing AFTER Keira and Chloë

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Day One aka On the Ground in San Francisco & Marin County for the Mill Valley Film Festival

Excuse the lengthy title – but I don’t have an editor breathing fire on me.

After my super long day on Wednesday which included a no-sleep Tuesday night – I wasn’t burning the candle on both ends, or living the fast life. It was just that having to wake up for a 6:00 AM flight, which meant leaving home at 4:30 AM sort of left me with a feeling of I can’t miss this flight, So no sleep.

But, I am fully rested having turned out the lights even before 9:00 PM last night.

After a coffee and blueberry muffin, I departed San Anselmo and headed to downtown SF to pick up my Press ID. So I buckled in, and got on the roller coaster also known as US Highway 101. It’s a hilly and curving road, and not having driven on this road southbound ever before, it was a bit daunting.

This is northbound - but I can't drive and take pictures at the same time so this a borrowed image

This is northbound – but I can’t drive and take pictures at the same time so this a borrowed image

Soon I had crossed the Golden Gate Bridge and I flowed straight in to Lombard Street, which if I remember correctly, it was on this road that Steve McQueen’s Mustang had snuck in behind the Dodge Charger that had been tailing him and the high-speed chase began. That was the film Bullitt.

Anway, Lombard to Van Ness, Van Ness to The Embarcadero and with a few more turns, ultimately I found the office of Larsen & Associates, a PR firm where I picked up my Press ID.


Since Ritch St is just a stone’s throw from AT&T Park, which means it is virtually right near the Bay Bridge, that’s where my GPS system sent me. Of course this meant crossing the Bay twice – once heading out of SF toward Oakland/Berkeley, then via I-580 heading west toward San Rafael. It was a better road, and if not a shorter trip, it was at least faster.

This jaunt meant I drove right past San Quentin Prison. I didn’t stop or wave, just kept going right on by.

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