Film Review

NewFest 2014: Rubber, Leather, Hookers, and Cupcakes

If you still have an affinity for books, there can be few more choice summer reads than Edmund White's 2005 autobiography, My Lives. Divided into nonlinear sections devoted to his relationships with his parents, his hustlers, and his female entanglements, there's also a chapter entitled "My Europe." Herein White notes how while in the Paris of the 1980s, he became aware that petite green beans are tastier than their larger cousins. He also recounts how the social theorist Michel Foucault, a pal of his, noted that while "'gay philosophy' and 'gay paintings' were meaningless notions...writing gay fiction was legitimate since it enabled us to imagine how gay men should live together." Read more »

Sex Tape or The World’s Longest iPad Commercial

Jake Kasdan is to directing comedy what Friedrich Nietzsche is to baking apple strudel. Not much.

As with his Bad Teacher (2011), which also stars Cameron Diaz and Jason Segal, Kasdan takes a promising concept and lays waste to it. The highly workable concept is a simple one: a sexually active couple, Jay (Segal) and Annie (Diaz), copulate like bunnies on ecstasy until they wed. Two precocious children later, the O in orgasms has moved on to the O on Cheerios boxes. He now is a music producer, I believe, and she blogs a column entitled "Who’s Yo Mommy?" Yes, copulation is no longer a spontaneous act for this duo. Instead, it has to be planned for ahead of time. Read more »

15th Annual LatinBeat: Cinema from the South Comes Calling

With the advent of this year’s LatinBeat (July 11-20), The Film Society of Lincoln continues on its quest to unearth the best and most challenging of Latin American cinema, including the product of Brazil, Costa Rica, Panama, Columbia, and Ecuador.  Read more »

Fritz Lang and Metropolis

Metropolis (entire movie, above), the 1927 silent film directed by Fritz Lang, is regarded as one of the most important and influential films of all time. The world’s first epic science fiction movie, it continues to serve as  inspiration for countless films, and forced humanity to look critically at it’s increasingly complex relationship to industrial and technological growth. In cinematic terms, evidence of its influence can be seen everywhere from to Soylent Green to Snowpiercer. Read more »

Tammy: Where’s Debbie Reynolds When You Need Her?

Every woman I know who is even slightly skinny-disabled adores Melissa McCarthy, and why not? She comes off as warm, joyful, and totally comfortable with her poundage in all of her print and TV interviews.  Off-screen she’s a role model and an inspiration. And on-screen, she has perfect comic timing, a puppy dog’s smile that emerges now and then from her gruffest characters, plus a huge dose of self-respect. Hollywood probably hasn’t had a box office star like her since Marie Dressler in the Thirties, one who has so upended what a star should be. McCarthy might just be the anti-Julia Roberts. Read more »

Snowpiercer: Come On, Baby, Do the Loco-Motion!

Virtuoso devisers of works of science fiction envision a reality that is both fantastical and palpable. They mold metaphoric manifestations of the coming times that are inevitable considering the current carryings-on of their fellow man. Read more »

By Grace Alone: Warhol Superstar ULTRA VIOLET, 1936-2014

Very few of Andy Warhol's anointed "superstars" managed a long shelf-life. They simply were too wild, too beautiful, and too damned. There were the poor little rich girl Edie Sedgwick, the transgender icon Candy Darling, and the husky, glacial, heroin-swamped charm of Nico. All gone, along with a cavalcade of others; too soon and in the 20th century. Ultra Violet survived into this one, and originally arrived as a somebody already in the anybody everybody world of The Factory. Read more »

Out in the Night: The So-Called "Attack of the Killer Lesbians"

In August of 2006, seven friends, New Jersey Afro-American lesbians all, decided to check out the West Village in Manhattan to escape the engrained homophobia of Newark. "That night we didn't have a destination. We came to the Village to have fun. Look at the girls. Be gay," one noted. Read more »

Interstellar Overdrive

Few are the low budget sci-fi films that inspire deep thinking, but writer/director James Ward Byrkit's metaphysical psychological sci-fi thriller Coherence is one of the exceptions. Certainly this reviewer was reminded of The Twilight Zones' ability to introduce a simple concept that would extrapolate when the human element was left to ponder and react to a dilemma. There are clever explanations, like Siberia's Tunguska Event of 1908, to try explain the reality of the situation, but, like life, there is always more than meets the eye. Read more »

The Rover: Auto-Erotica

Take an immensely talented director, a first-class cinematographer, a collection of decidedly gifted actors and film them. Tack on a musical soundtrack that bristles with originality and what do you have? In the case of The Rover, not much. Read more »

2nd Annual Israel Film Center Festival: Patrick Stewart, Cranes, and Surviving the Holocaust

Thanks to Manhattan’s favorite cultural philanthropist, Carole Zabar  -- you know her rugelach -- a second year of the Israel Film Center Festival will be unspooling at various venues around the city, but mainly at The Jewish Community Center on the Upper West Side from June 12th through June 19th. Read more »

Edge of Tomorrow: Bang! Bang! You’re Dead... Well, Not Exactly

Who wouldn't like to restart the day before and correct all their missteps? Not spilling that cup of coffee. Not wearing those mismatched socks. Not getting on your boss’s bad side. And how about buying a winning lottery ticket now that you know the numbers? Read more »

Der Samurai and Bad Hair: Tribeca Slashes the Tresses Off Homophobia

So how do you deal with folks who just want to punch every homosexual man, woman, and other "gender-disabled" creature on the nose? Hold up a mirror so they can view their own obtuseness -- or teach their victims to be victors? Read more »

Something Must Break: Hedwig Without Music

"It is an awful thing to be betrayed by your body, David Levithan asserts in his novel Every Day." And it's lonely, because you feel you can't talk about it. You feel it's something between you and the body. You feel it's a battle you will never win . . . and yet you fight it day after day, and it wears you down. Even if you try to ignore it, the energy it takes to ignore it will exhaust you."  Read more »

A Naked Face in The Crowded City

(Ed. note - CC writer Ian Alterman writes about two of his favorite film classics.)

The Naked City

Two years after making The Naked City, director Jules Dassin would find himself on the Hollywood Blacklist, and move to Europe, never to return to the U.S.  His first film made in Europe, Rififi (1955), would become his most influential, beloved and, arguably, greatest film.  And there are already signs of the naturalist style used in Rififi in The Naked City, though the former is a classic (maybe the classic) heist film, while the latter is a film noir police procedural, complete with narration (which ends the movie with the famous line: “There are eight million stories in the naked city.  This is one of them.”) Read more »

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