Film notes: Stars donate items for auction for Pittsburgh Film Office

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A signed poster from "The Dark Knight Rises," along with items from Tom Cruise, Matt Damon, John Krasinski, Steve Carell and Channing Tatum, will be among items offered during a silent auction at this year's Pittsburgh Film Office Oscar party.

Tickets are on sale for the 13th annual event Feb. 24 at Heinz Field. Highmark Inc. is back as presenting sponsor of "Lights! Glamour! Action!"

Highmark president and CEO William Winkenwerder Jr. and his wife, Pride Winkenwerder, are honorary co-chairs of the event that serves as the film office's primary fundraiser.

Package prices: $75 for admission to the party at 7:30 p.m. (must purchase minimum of six tickets); $125 for gala ticket, also with admission at 7:30 p.m.; $250 for VIP ticket granting entry at 6 p.m., VIP champagne reception and valet parking; and $500 for patron ticket, which adds a pre-party tonight at J. Verno Studios to the rest of the frills.

Dress is black tie optional. To reserve tickets for the event, go to www.pghfilm.org or call ShowClix at 1-888-71-TICKETS.

'Blood Brother' at Sundance

It doesn't get much better than this -- unless the praise is followed by a deal to get the movie into theaters around the world and money to a place that absolutely needs it.

"Blood Brother," the real-life story of Rocky Braat made by fellow Pittsburghers, has been getting glowing reviews at this week's Sundance Film Festival.

Drifting through India, Mr. Braat landed at an orphanage for children with HIV and AIDS. There, he found a calling, a sense of purpose and a chance to make a difference, and his old friends from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, director Steve Hoover and producer Danny Yourd, charted his new life on film.

Dennis Harvey of Variety wrote: "Documentaries don't come any bigger-hearted than 'Blood Brother,' a highly worked yet non-manipulative first feature for Steve Hoover that requires no string-pulling to achieve its inspirational impact."

Almost from the get-go, he continued, the story is engaging and joyful with such good word of mouth that it could land a theatrical distributor (usually the gold standard for film festival entries).

The Hollywood Reporter's Justin Lowe weighed in, too, from Park City, Utah: "Addressing the heartrending issue of children living with HIV and AIDS is enormously complex, but 'Blood Brother' accomplishes the challenge with sufficient grace and empathy to give hope to anyone concerned with this global affliction ... .

"Hoover's film plays out in so many rich, unexpected and resonant ways that the shift in worldview that both he and Rocky experience while helping to care for these kids is clearly evidenced."

Mr. Braat gave up a promising career as a graphic designer and photographer to help at an orphanage an hour south of Chennai.

After repeated invites, Mr. Hoover decided to go to India and make a documentary about Mr. Braat, inspired in part by two years' worth of blog postings and evocative, emotional photographs, the filmmakers explained in September at the Downtown offices of Animal Media Group, where they work.

The movie always was designed to support Mr. Braat, and that doesn't seem to have changed.

Adele to sing at Oscars

Adele will perform the Oscar-nominated theme song from the latest James Bond movie, the show's producers announced this week.

"Skyfall," written by Adele and Paul Epworth, is a best original song nominee. It's the first Bond theme to debut in Billboard's Top 10 and the first to be nominated for an Oscar since "For Your Eyes Only" in 1981.

This will be the first time she has performed "Skyfall" live and her first U.S. television performance (she was at the Golden Globes) since the Grammys in 2012.

In brief

• On Feb. 13, Cinemark will stage a "Die Hard" movie marathon in its XD auditoriums nationwide, including Robinson.

For $25, patrons can see, starting at 12:15 p.m., "Die Hard," "Die Hard 2," "Die Hard With a Vengeance," "Live Free or Die Hard" and, at 10 p.m., "A Good Day to Die Hard," the newest movie with Bruce Willis. Marathon customers also will receive concession discounts.

Tickets are now on sale at participating theaters and www.cinemark.com.

• It wasn't included in his biography for "Not Fade Away" but John Magaro is a Point Park University graduate. He has the lead in David Chase's feature-film directing debut as a would-be musician from New Jersey in the 1960s. James Gandolfini plays his father.

• The oddly spelled "jOBS," chronicling how Steve Jobs rose from college dropout to creative genius, will be released nationwide April 19, 2013 (it also will close Sundance). It stars Ashton Kutcher, Dermot Mulroney, Josh Gad, Lukas Haas, J.K. Simmons and Matthew Modine.

• The 2013 TCM Classic Film Festival, April 25-28 in Hollywood, will honor two-time Academy Award-winning actress Jane Fonda with a celebration of her film career. She will have her hand and footprints enshrined in concrete in front of TCL Chinese Theatre and also help to introduce a showing of "On Golden Pond."

• The Washington Mall Cinemas apparently have closed. No further information was available this week but an online note thanked customers for their patronage.

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Movie editor Barbara Vancheri: bvancheri@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1632. Read her blog: www.post-gazette.com/madaboutmovies


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