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"All three look a little insufferable. The stupid music and the "based on a true story"/"an unforgettable story" shots and the critics quotes instantly turn me off. But I'm in for most things Lonergan, even though the plot of Manchester By the Sea is clearly Baby Boom meets Good Will Hunting." - CharlieG

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Entries in NYC (80)

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...]

Click to read more ...

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...

 

Tuesday
Dec012015

Required Viewing: Julianne Moore Acts for Tips in Times Square

I was hoping to hear a little Boogie Nights! But this will more than do. Billy Eichner is a national treasure. Or at least a regional treasure. Does he go over well in the southwest?

P.S. Mark Harris made a funny about this video on twitter.

ALL Oscar campaigns are basically this brilliant @billyeichner segment w/ Julianne Moore acting for tips in Times Sq.

It's funny because it's truthy.

Monday
Oct122015

NYFF is a Wrap. All The Reviews

Whew. Though a bad cold and TIFF fatigue sidelined yours truly, Jason and Manuel were both insatiable cinephiles during the 53rd Annual New York Film Festival and reviewing machines. Huge thanks to them. We hope you enjoyed our coverage of this annual curated festival which collects key films from Cannes, TIFF, and Berlinale and throws in a few premieres as Fall Film Season begins in force in your local movie theaters.

Phyllis Nagy who wrote "Carol" and Cate Blanchett who played "Carol"

28 Films
The Assassin Hou Hsiao-Hsien does the Tang Dynasty (Nathaniel) 
Arabian Nights Vol 2: The Desolate Ones confused thoughts from TIFF (Nathaniel)
Bridge of Spies Spielberg's methodic Cold War thriller with Tom Hanks (Manuel)
Brooklyn melodramatic infatuation by way of Sundance (Nathaniel)
Carol Todd Haynes returns with an exquisite romance (Nathaniel)
Cemetery of Splendour somnambulist soldiers & their caretakers (Jason)
De Palma a filmed chat with the singular Brian de Palma (Jason)

Everything is Copy a documentary on the late great Nora Ephron (Manuel)
The Forbidden Room Guy Maddin is Guy Maddin is Guy Maddin is Guy Maddin (Jason)
In Jackson Heights Wiseman Does (upper) Manhattan (Manuel)
In the Shadow of Women wounded French masculinity (Manuel)
Ingrid Bergman - In Her Own Words just that (Manuel)
Journey to the Shore a ghost story and melodrama (Manuel) 
Junun PT Anderson makes a doc for Jason's Radiohead Fandom (Jason)
Les Cowboys from the writer of Rust & Bone, a riff on The Searchers? (Jason)
The Lobster the absurdist all star comedy (Jason)
Maggie's Plan romantic comedy every which accented Julianne Moore (Manuel)
Mia Madre Nanni Morretti gets personal (Manuel)
Microbe & Gasoline a Gondry oddity (Jason)

Emayatzy & Cheadle at the "Miles Ahead" premiereMiles Ahead Don Cheadle wearing all hats. and trumpet (Nathaniel)
My Golden Days romantic Desplechin (Manuel) 
No Home Movie the final film from the late great Chantal Akerman (Manuel)
The Short Film Programs multiple gems (Manuel)
Son of Saul Hungary's powerhouse (Manuel) 
Steve Jobs Aaron Sorkin's Electric 3-Act (Jason) 
The Treasure "This is very Romanian" (Manuel) 
The Walk Robert Zemeckis 3D fantasy (Nathaniel)
Where to Invade Next Michael Moore's optimism (Manuel) 

Next in Festival Land
There's just one more this year for TFE and its the least intense one thankfully. Nathaniel and team head to Los Angeles in November for the AFI festival and all the Oscar campaigning that comes with it. Thanks for going on these film-binge journeys with us wherever you are in the world.

Ciao

Saturday
Oct032015

NYFF: Voilà... "The Walk"

Nathaniel reporting from NYFF 53 though this movie is now in IMAX theaters and next week wide for all y'all. This piece was original published in a shorter version in my column @ Towleroad

The Walk  begins in mid air with a jaunty circus-like score from composer Alan Silvestri accompanying the clouds. Our birds-eye view is quickly revealed as just above Manhattan, perched on no less a tourist icon than the Statue of Liberty. That we’re looking at something purely presentational is abundantly clear as crinkly-eyed Joseph Gordon-Levitt makes his first appearance, smiling and speaking directly to the camera. And he speaks with a cartoon French accent to boot. (To be fair to JGL, many real French people sound like cartoon people when they speak English. This is meant as a compliment because who doesn’t love cartoons and/or French accents?). What’s more, at least to these only super-marginally trained ears (I watch a lot of French movies and I took French in high school –that’s the extent of it!) JGL’s actual French sounds impeccable in his subtitled scenes with French co-stars.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt's adorableness can be so distracting? Is that why filmmakers keep trying to make him look not so much like Joseph Gordon-Levitt? We already know he can sing / dance / act and in this film he juggles and wirewalks and speaks fluent French. Is there anything he can’t do? 

Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s adorableness can be so distracting! Let’s get back on topic...

Click to read more ...