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Entries in NYC (82)

Saturday
Sep102016

Review: Sully is a pleasant surprise

by Eric Blume

Several years ago pairline pilot Chesley Sullenberger famously landed a plane on the Hudson River saving all lives onboard. Sully, Clint Eastwood's new film about the event and the man has a quiet assurance and uniquely gentle force that reap bountiful cumulative rewards.  It’s a powerful movie about big things like the value of work and personal responsibility.  It’s also a Great New York Movie that makes you feel the special spirit of the city.  

Sully’s narrative cuts back and back and forth between the hours before the landing and several days afterwards.  This temporal shifting helps to focus us on what the film is really about: how someone who performs a truly heroic act processes that afterwards...

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Monday
Sep052016

The Furniture: Comedy by Design in Come Blow Your Horn

1963 is our "Year of the Month" for September. So we'll be celebrating its films randomly throughout the month. Here's Daniel Walber...

Once upon a time, there were two production design categories at the Oscars. From 1945 through 1956, and again from 1959 through 1966, color films and black and white films competed separately. The Academy nominated ten films every year after 1950, creating a whole lot more room for variety.

This especially benefited comedy, a genre that has since fallen out of favor with Oscar. And while Come Blow Your Horn might not be the funniest of the 1960s, it is certainly one of the most deserving nominees of the era. Adapted by Norman Lear from a Neil Simon play, this Frank Sinatra vehicle stages most of its antics in one of cinema’s most luxurious apartments, the work of art directors Roland Anderson (Breakfast at Tiffany’s) and Hal Pereira (Vertigo) and set decorators Sam Comer (Rear Window) and James W. Payne (The Sting).

Sinatra plays Alan Baker, a salesman for his family’s plastic fruit business. His boss and father, Harry (Lee J. Cobb), is perpetually enraged by his son’s libertine Manhattan lifestyle. Harry and his wife Sophie, played by Yiddish theater legend Molly Picon, live a quiet life in Yonkers with their much younger son, Buddy (Tony Bill). But when Buddy runs away from home to live large with Alan, all hell breaks loose.

Alan's apartment in question is a spotless and opulent apotheosis of mid-century design. The open living room makes the place seem enormous...

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Monday
Aug082016

Review: Ira Sach's "Little Men"

This review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

Feeling fatigued by summer movie season's emphasis on loud and flashy but ultimately empty spectacles? You're in luck. Little Men, now playing in limited release, is the perfect antidote: quiet but insightful, memorable and substantive. It's not a spectacle by any means but you should still see it inside the movie theater because it's the kind of careful storytelling that benefits from being fully inside of it. Getting lost in a story is much easier to accomplish in the pages of a great novel or the dark of a movie theater than if you wait around to Netflix and chill. The movie comes to us from one of our best LGBT directors, Ira Sachs. The New York based writer/director made his feature debut 20 years ago with The Delta (1996) but recently he's been on quite a roll.

Little Men is not an adaptation of the Louisa May Alcott sequel to Little Women, but it does feel like a rich unexpected sequel to a more contemporary future classic. Ira Sach's last film was the moving gay seniors drama Love is Strange starring John Lithgow and Alfred Molina whose marriage at the beginning of the film sets off a surprising chain of events which leaves them homeless and at the mercy of friends and relatives. That beautiful movie ended, rather intuitively, with a wordless and narratively inconsequential scene in which we followed their young nephew on his skateboard down the streets of the city at magic hour. The image was rapturous and watery... or rather just rapturous; I was watching it through cascading tears was all. [More...]

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Tuesday
Jul052016

Links in the Shell

Apartment Therapy Nancy Meyers movie kitchens ranked (somehow The Intern only makes it to 5th. I just saw that and it was surprisingly warm and adorable... and yes still filled with real estate porn)
The New Yorker looks back at the Cassavates classic Faces (1968)
/Film Ghost in the Shell producers are finally responding to whitewashing casting controversies. They promise they've been 'very very careful' with the beloved material even though they cast a white actress (Scarlett Johansson) in the iconic Japanese role. We love Scarlett so so much but this type of thing continues to be a huge problem.

 

/Film There's going to be an actual Captain America statue in Brooklyn's Prospect Park
Cinematic Corner celebrates Margot Robbie (there will be a lot of that going around soon)
Variety Animation Awards for Europe soon -- their version of the Annies
Screen Crush Thor: Ragnarok officially began production in Australia yesterday
Awards Daily Why not give Roger Deakins the Oscar he has long deserved this year for Hail Caesar! 

Off Cinema
Theater Mania Lin-Manuel Miranda and JLo are collaborating on a song to benefit the victims of the recent Orlando shooting
EW American Horror Story Season 6 has a new logo (which looks like a devilish 6) a premiere date (9/14) and most of the cast from Hotel will be back though Lady Gaga is rumored to have a supporting role this time around which begs the question of who the lead will be? Let's hope it's Sarah Paulson. Why keep searching for new leads when your MVP is right there all the time.
AV Club CW seasons will now be available  just 8 days after their season finale on Netflix
Towleroad new behind the scenes photos from season 2 of Sense8
MNPP on the broken promise of Rick Yune's nude scene in Marco Polo Season 2
Comics Alliance the Harvey Award nominees for comics in 2016.  Valiant Entertainment thoroughly dominated the nominations. Here's one category you can investigate if you're interested

Two Controversial Pieces on Actresses
Variety's Owen Gleiberman is looking forward to Bridget Jones's baby, sort of, in the piece "Renée Zellweger: If She No Longer Looks Like Herself, Has She Become a Different Actress?." It's prompted lots of calls of sexism but it's an interesting article that wonders what we're supposed to do when actors who play characters we love who no longer look like the characters they created (not from aging... though people who are offended by the article keep saying that. Sorry people but Colin Firth still totally looks like D'Arcy. Just an older D'Arcy). I myself always wish actresses wouldn't mess with their faces (if they must, temporary measures are best since the effects wear off if they don't look right!). Their faces are their brand and actors are famous partially because they're so beautiful just as they are. Why mess with perfection? I don't think it's true -- and I keep reading it -- that if actresses don't mess with their faces they don't get work. From what I've seen actresses who mess with their faces in any noticeable permanent way actually STOP getting much work. It distracts audiences too much. Note how Kate Winslet, Annette Bening, Helen Mirren, Meryl Streep, and so on keep aging and keep working. 

Wesley Morris' piece for the New York Times "How I Learned to Tolerate Blake Lively" is ostensibly about her performance in The Shallows and Hollywood's ever rotating it girls. People are offended by this one too - partially due to the interchangeability notion of blonde actresses. But it's also interesting because it gets at something that I think anyone can relate to: the experience of loving an actor that Hollywood has moved on from. 'Wait, I wasn't done with _____! " that Wesley says this about Kate Hudson is bizarre but to each their own.

Sunday
Dec062015

LAFCA Winners (Plus: NYFCO Madness)

 With today's announcement of the Los Angeles Film Critics Associations winner the die is set for critics awards. People can argue until pigs fly about whether and how and to what extend critics awards affect Oscar voters but here is a fairly universal consensus among people in the know: these things only matter to the extent they convince voters to attend that particular screening or put that specific screener on top of their to-watch stack. And the two critics groups that voters hear most about and are thus most likely to be influenced by are the two most prestigious coastal giants, LAFCA and NYFCC (who already announced with Carol winning big).

Will Oscar voters take MAD MAX: FURY ROAD seriously or just think "action film"

LAFCA 2015 Winners
Film Spotlight (ru: Mad Max: Fury Road)
Director
George Miller, Mad Max Fury Road (ru: Todd Haynes, Carol)
Actress
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years (ru: Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn)
Actor
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs (ru: Geza Rohrig, Son of Saul)
Supporting Actress
- Alicia Vikander - Ex Machina (ru: Kristen Stewart, Clouds of Sils Maria)
Supporting Actor
- Michael Shannon, 99 Homes (ru: Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies) 

More and a very cool bit of trivia after the jump via Joe Reid...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec022015

NYFCC Winners

 The New York Film Critics Circle takes their sweet time each year debating their "bests" and shouldn't we all? Nevertheless it's agony for awards addicts like us, the excruciating wait times that commence between 9 AM EST and continue for hours. With lunch break. If you want to have a laugh at my expense I tried to predict the winners as part of the Gurus of Gold chart this week (update: This year they wrapped up by 1:00 PM though so all is well. The only thing i got right in my predictions was Carol for Film/Director)

A bit of Oscar adjacent history: In the past 20 years of their long long history (they're octogenarians now!) they've selected 4 films that went on to win Best Picture at the Oscars, 11 more that were nominated and 5 that were critical darlings and eventual Oscar players but were shut out of the big race (Leaving Las Vegas, Topsy-Turvy, Mulholland Drive, Far From Heaven, United 93). Which is a long way of saying they have refined if not quite populist taste but they're never too far afield of Oscar's wheelhouse. Do they influence the Oscars? It's tough to say. The Film Experience's position is, generally speaking, that no single critics group influence voters beyond pointing them at films... but the NYFCC and LAFCA are the ones the industry cares most about and are most likely to let in... at least to pique their interest in particular films and performances.

So here we go...

Best Film Carol
Best Director Todd Haynes, Carol

It's worth noting, as Sasha Stone did, that very few directors have ever won Best Director twice at the NYFF. The list includes Martin Scorsese and Kathryn Bigelow and now Haynes. Carol was the big winner of today's announcement taking home 4 prizes.

Best Actress Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
Best Actor Michael Keaton, Spotlight
Best Supporting Actress Kristen Stewart, Clouds of Sils Maria
Best Supporting Actor Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies

But not in acting. That said these are wonderful choices for the prizes, going out of their way to remember Kristen Stewart's amazingly naturalistic engaging work as Binoche's personal assistant in Sils Maria. That performance has already won her a Cesar Award in France but since she's not campaigning things will probably stop here. Saoirse Ronan and Mark Rylance will surely go the distance to a nomination in Best Actress and Supporting Actor and both could well compete for the win... though we'll have to see the whole field before we really get into that.

The strangest thing is to ignore the supporting campaign (a legitimate choice to make everyone supporting in such an ensemble film) for Keaton and give him the Best Actor prize. But he gives the best performance in a film filled with good work so hurrah!


Best Screenplay Carol, adapted by Phyllis Nagy from the Patricia Highsmith novel "The Price of Salt"
Best Cinematography Carol, Edward Lachman

A thousand times yes. The whole team on Carol was doing exquisite work. That's why we asked them all why they were such geniuses. NYFCC are Todd Haynes fans (as all truly outstanding people are) and they gave Far From Heaven 5 awards in 2002.

Best First Film Son of Saul d. László Nemes
Best Animated Film Inside Out (Pixar) d. Pete Docter & Ronnie del Carmen
Best Documentary In Jackson Heights d. Frederick Wiseman
Best Foreign Language Film Timbuktu (Mauritania) d. Abderrahmane Sissako
Special Award William Becker and Janus Films
Special Award Ennio Morricone, composer

Son of Saul looks fairly unstoppable for the Foreign Film Oscar this season so the race to watch is probably the nominations themselves. And whether Son of Saul can expand into other categories... which it wants to. As previously stated in the Documentary Finalist post it's odd that the Academy's documentary branch continues to pass on Frederick Wiseman's documentaries considering that they are routinely greeted with "masterpiece" level reviews; he's never been Oscar nominated.

That's it. On a scale of 1-10 how happy did today's announcement make you?

WE'LL LET CATE BLANCHETT HAVE THE FINAL WORD SINCE CAROL WAS THE BIG WINNER...