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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 


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Entries in NYC (75)


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.



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 ...


Something Link-ed This Way Comes

The Movies
• How does The Intern stack up to previous Nancy Meyers releases at the box office? It's a bit too early to tell but I totally didn't know and was a bit surprised to realize that they were nearly all bigger hits overseas than in the US [Box Office Mojo]
• Sasha Stone comes up with a new sneaky way to define leading roles as supporting. She's calling them "anchors" as in "anchors to the lead," not "the other lead." Hee. Of course she doesn't mean Anchor as Category Fraud but a rose by any other name... [Awards Daily]
• Singing the praises of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and their upcoming slate for cinema-voracious New Yorkers. And really, sing these praises at full volume. [MNPP]
• Not everyone loves the new Macbeth [Shadowplay
• "The people behind [Sicario] understand that what makes a great thriller is not the abundance of shootings, murders or jump scares and plot twists - it's the fear that something horrible can happen at any moment." [Cinematic Corner

Off Screen
• Oh god. File under totally depressing: If even Meryl Streep doesn't understand what feminism is, the earth is doomed. One of the most successful things conservative thinkers ever did is fooling progressives (and women of any political stripe) into thinking it was a bad word [Refinery 29]
• I mean... Keira Knightley is awesome but shouting marriage proposals at her while she's trying to make her Broadway debut last night. Not cool, drunk stalker! [Playbill]
• "Homophobia unites people of different Christian faiths" - Dan Savage, hero, on the Pope/Kim Davis mishegoss [MSNBC]
• I missed this report last week but The Tony Awards might be leaving their regular home - considering different theaters [NYT]
• "The last time I saw Madonna was on September 6th, 1989, during the live telecast of the MTV Video Music Awards. I was in my parents basement with my mother..."  Love these personal essays about stars when people can pull them off. Must Read. [The Hairpin]

Scream Queens
• Is Nick Jonas too into queerbaiting his fans? [Towleroad]
• Are any of you watching? It's such a mess, strains for laughs and (worst of all) revels in its misogyny (Murphy and his writers really need to stop putting words like "gash" into the girls mouths to demean other girls) to the point where you know it's not parody but just actual feeling disguised as parody. I'm only in it for Jamie Lee Curtis (fun but she's been better) and recent Emmy nominee Niecy Nash (making the very very very most of a small role - what a gift she is!). This quote from Towleroad's recap of the third episode made me LOL:

“Chainsaw” ...crammed in so many obvious red herrings, I think it qualifies as an aquarium.

Image of the Day
Michael Fassbender as MacBeth. I will never for the life of me understand what is taking so long with this movie (remember how long ago we saw the first images -- I swear it was 2013 -- or even why they're going to distribute it like a poor stepchild movie. (sigh).

click to embiggen

"Critics Choice" Ch-ch-changes
It's worth noting that the BFCA, of which I am a member -- yes, I'm still bragging about sitting with Jessica Chastain last year --  is making a major change. They're fusing their fairly new TV arm (which currently holds their ceremony in May each year) with their cinema body for one conjoined show starting in January that's 3 hours long. I don't understand what that will mean for current TV shows (two awards for their favorites in just a seven-month span?) but this will obviously make the Critics Choice Awards far more like their sworn enemy* the Golden Globes. Obviously to make this successful the BFCA will have to axe some of their odder categories from their ever-expanding roster but that was okay because things were getting seriously weird there in their attempts to cover everything but NOT officially categorize anything (resulting in weird 'it's an action movie but it's not... it's a comedy but it's not... it's a drama but... no, scratch that we don't say "drama" about anything --that's the default!') 

I have to admit that it seems odd to have two separate organizations do one event together. Just let us vote on both, and not have to be part of two organizations! Just change the name to Broadcast Critics Choice Awards, dropping the pesky film or tv separations. 

* I'm kidding though for all the heat the Golden Globe take from US journalists, it's perpetually hilarious that US journalists always want to be more like them. 


Three Quick Notes / Roles

Cara Seymour has taken over TFE for a day - Editor

Three film stills and the first thing that came to mind...

Adaptation (2002) as "Amelia Kavan"
I still cannot believe I was sitting there with the glorious Nick Cage being directed by Spike Jonze who is literally an Angel.

Hotel Rwanda (2004) as "Pat Archer"
I was blessed to work on this movie. I don't think I have words to describe it.  

American Psycho (2000) as "Christie"
This was filmed in the meat packing district when it still smelled of meat.
(more on this movie


Laura Benanti Predicting "Supergirl" in 2013

We're celebrating 1979 this month so let's talk about one of its most underused / overtalented showbiz babies: LAURA BENANTI.

She's a Tony Winner (Gypsy) with great pipes, Broadway's Queen of Twitter (giving her 71 thousand followers more joy with hilarity than you can fathom if you don't follow her), and this decade she's been making inroads to television stardom with recurring characters on several shows including "Nurse Jackie" and "Nashville" but she's still without a big leading role which she more than obviously deserves!

She'll next be seen as Supergirl's birthmother in the pilot of "Supergirl" (2015) - currently having pirating problems -- so add psychic to her many gifts. See, In 2013 she stripped down into Supergirl costume at a Skivvies* concert! See the video after the jump...

Click to read more ...


Weekend Suggestions - Got Any Plans? 

Some people plan weeks in advance but if you're a 'what shall we do this weekend?' last minute type like, my, uh, friend... who never has any firm plans until the last second even on holiday weekends... Here are some suggestions depending on where you live!

This weekend the Walter Reade has an Italian film program. You can see the Alain Deloin (mmmm) drama The Professor (1972) tonight and I personally don't plan to miss Sophia Loren's Oscar winning Two Women (1961) on Sunday (two showings) since that one is very difficult to find a good print DVD of and it's a rare chance to see it on the big screen. The Maysles Cinema in Harlem is showing Iris (2015), Albert Maysles' last film, all week long with a few Q&As scheduled. The Museum of the Moving image has a Masaki Kobayashi retrospective starting this weekend and you can see the Oscar nominated Kwaidan (1964) on Sunday. Make sure to time your visit so that you can see MoMI's great expansive Mad Men exhibit. I already want to go back to it.

If you're not in the cinema mood (gasp), see one of the Tony nominees. Several of them are super expensive / sold out but you can still get discount tickets for arguable Best Play frontrunner The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, and the gorgeous dance musical An American in Paris (reviewed). The cheapest discount tickets that are 100% worthwhile are Chita Rivera in The Visit (the music is gorgeous and it may well be your last chance to see this legend live - she's 82!) and the exuberant funny On the Town (reviewed) but I apologize in advance should you become greatly obsessed with Tony Yazbeck; It can't be helped really, you will. Great sources for discounts are Today's Tix and TDF

Tonight at 7:45 PM TFE favorite David Dastmalchian will be at the Gene Siskel Film Center to discuss his new film Animals, a tough but teary romantic drama about two small time grifters / addicts. So buy a ticket, won't you? I personally love it when actors create their own work to show Hollywood that they're more than just whatever they've been typecast as.

Always the perfect weather there, right? And they make use of it with several outdoor screenings. This weekend Almost Famous, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Rear Window, and Dazed and Confused at various locations.  

The Roxie theater has a double feature of The Talented Mr Ripley (1999) and The American Friend (1977) as part of their "copy & paste" series on remakes and reimaginings. That could be fun.  The Castro has a 85th birthday celebration for Harvey Milk with a screening and fireside chat of The Times of Harvey Milk (1984), the Oscar winning documentary that is one of the greatest documentaries I've personally ever seen. Selling fast apparently so if you're free tonight

There's a "Bollywood Fever" festival at the OXO Tower Wharf today through Monday with 15 different films, a few of which are sold out already.

I freely admit that if I were anywhere near London I wouldn't rest till I'd seen Imelda Staunton doing "Mama Rose" in Gypsy (extended through November!)

Movies available to rent or download from iTunes that are also in theaters OR skipped them altogether are the aforementioned Animals from friend of TFE Dastmalchian and a movie you might not have heard of called Ask Me Anything. I haven't seen it yet but full disclosure, I know people involved: a friend of mine produced it and it won Best Actress at the Nashville Film Festival last year (which I've attended as a jury member a couple of times)! Put it in your curiousity pile if you enjoy Britt Robertson. She's already headlined a few small pictures before her mainstream breakthrough-bid this year (Tomorrowland and The Longest Ride) and this one, about a girl between high school and college chronicling her life on an anonymous blog, is the most recent of them. It was even cited by Taste of Cinema as one of the ten most underappreciated indies of recent year.



Avengers... and Saint Laurent? Round Two

Don't judge but I went to see Age of Ultron again. I picked the earliest show of the day on a weekday in a neighborhood theater that is generally empty for early showings because I wanted to see it free of mass frenzy / noise and a seat far away from the screen - completely different than last time. But get this. I walk in to a jam-packed theater and I spy like one empty seat way back 'guess I'll sit there,' Only to be stopped by a woman who tells me that this is a field trip for the high school and ALL of these seats are taken.

A HIGH SCHOOL FIELD TRIP ... TO SEE A SUPERHERO MOVIE. Who do I call about where my NYC tax dollars are going? How is this educational unless this is a business school and the students are studying Marvel's world-domination tactics?  (The only movies I got to see on field trips in high school were French ones for French class.)

May 8-10 Weekend
01 Avengers: Age of Ultron $77 (cum. $312.5) Review & Marathon & Podcast
02 Hot Pursuit $13.3 NEW Review
03 Age of Adaline $5.6 (cum. $31.5)
04 Furious 7 $5.2 (cum. $338.4) Review
05 Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 $5.1 (cum. $58)
06 Ex-Machina $3.4 (cum. $15.7) Review
07 Home $3 (cum. $162.1) the rise and fall of Dreamworks
08 Woman in Gold $1.6 (cum. $26.9) 
09 Cinderella $1.5 (cum. $196.1) Review
10 Unfriended $1.4 (cum. $30.9) 

Five More New Releases
The D Train $.4 (1004 screens) Review
5 Flights Up $.2 (87 screens) 
Noble $.2 (175 screens)
Maggie $.1 (79 screens) Review
Saint Laurent $.03 (4 screens) Review

For what it's worth, despite a shitty seat and lots of noise and cel phone activity in the theater (argh) the movie was more enjoyable this time around after expectations had settled reasonably. Expectations are like that floating city, in this cumbersome analogy comin'atchawatch out!, in that the higher they rise the more billions of people die when they crash back down to earth unless Iron Man

... I lost the thread.

In fact, I was almost agog at how elegant Joss Whedon could make such a cumbersome thing. Which is to say that it's about as graceful as something this gangly and multi-limbed could hope to be on the day it's first learning to walk if you know what I mean. Should you ever see it again, clock how many disparate agendas the screenplay and direction is asked to address in virtually every scene and you suddenly won't be as bitchy about this "disappointment". The second time around the Scarlet Witch's arc is much stronger since the plot clutter dissipates but the Thor digression is still a f***ing mess and though the trip to Hawkeye's "safe house" is a much needed breather it's way too long, losing the action-packed momentum. And it doesn't help that the scene to rev you back up, the hijacking of "the cradle," is the weakest action setpiece.

Meanwhile in Limited Release
Saint Laurent, France's Oscar submission from last year, finally opened this weekend, too. It occurred to me the other day that in the rush of Oscar campaign madness last season (and two very fun trips to LA) I never shared the story about the time I went to that French party in Saint Laurent's honor.

Here I am speaking to Gaspard Ulliel, probably about his penis.

Well it does have a glorified star cameo in the movie!

He was actually quite chatty and for all my significant qualms about the movies length and its last half hour when we jump forward to Yves Saint Laurent as an old man (and lose Gaspard in the process), he's terrific in the movie and it's quite memorable (the movie I mean -- get your minds out of the gutter). I still remember certain brilliant sequences vividly. Anyway, I would have mentioned this much sooner but distributors like to strike when the iron is cool and it's just now hitting theaters. The highlight of this party was meeting Brenda Vaccaro and Jacqueline Bissett - they were freaking hilarious (which I was not expecting) and teasing each other about recently meeting Idris Elba (at a different event). My point is this: I'm now desperate to see them in a buddy comedy.

Sadly I lost my phone in LA and with it many notes about these tiny celebrity run-ins. *sniffle*

But let's get back to the present tense. I saw Age of Ultron and a few eppys of Grace and Frankie and otherwise I played with friends who were visiting from out of town.

What did you see this weekend?