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The Turning Point (1977)

"This film is like Beaches long lost relative." -Mark

"I've said it before and I'll say it again, this film's 2 Best Actress nods should've gone to 3 Women" - Yavor

"I really loved Tom Skerritt in this. I think he deserved a nomination for Supporting Actor." -Tyler

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Entries in NYFF (118)

Thursday
Jul282016

New York Film Festival Selects Mike Mills' 20th Century Women for Centerpiece Film

Sound the alarms: there's a fresh new reason to celebrate Annette Bening. Following in the footsteps of last year's selection of Steve Jobs, the New York Film Festival has chosen Mike Mills' 20th Century Women as its 2016 Centerpiece, which stars The Bening as a single mother raising her son in 1979 Santa Barbara, co-habiting with a Bowie-cut Greta Gerwig, nomadic carpenter Billy Crudup, and frequent house guest Elle Fanning. We've been anxiously awaiting Mills' follow up to the intimate, structurally adventurous tone poem that is Beginners for a few years now, and NYFF's programming pick (and description of the film as a vibrantly alive time capsule, plus taste-maker A24's acquisition) signals a strong indication that it's been worth the wait. Imagining The Bening caught at the crux of cultural, decade-splitting identities, and strapped into denim overalls to boot, would be enough reason to anticipate the film, but the thought of another story stripped from the personal headlines of Mills' own life and translated into pure cinema has us downright salivating. I can smell the burnt sage from here.

Thursday
Jul212016

Ava DuVernay Documentary to Open New York Film Festival 

The Fall Film Festivals (Venice, Toronto, Telluride, New York and London) are almost upon us. Or at least the announcements of their programmes are. TIFF announces next Tuesday, Venice at the end of of July. New York announced its opening night selection this week, Ava DuVernay’s The 13th, a documentary about the high incarceration rate, particularly of African Americans, in the United States.

The title refers to the constitutional amendment abolishing slavery:

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.”

The film mixes archival footage - from the civil rights movement, Ku Klux Klan to the Black Lives Matter movement - with modern day commentary to present the ramifications of the amendment and the history of racial inequality in the US. It’s an apt choice for all that’s unfolding in 2016. The 13th will be released in cinemas and on Netflix on October 7th.

Lupita Nyongo'o and Madina Nalwanga in Queen of Katwe

Meanwhile lists are also being made for what other movies will appear on the festival circuit. London will open with Amma Asante’s A United Kingdom, and Mira Nair’s Queen of Katwe will have its European premiere there, meaning it will debut somewhere on this side of the Atlantic first. Let’s speculate what else could play at New York, based on precedent that is arbitrary and will probably mean nothing in the end. But it’s fun to speculate:

• Damien Chazelle’s La La Land - this film, with the beloved trailer, will open Venice. Another Emma Stone film, Birdman, opened Venice and closed New York, it could happen again.

• Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk - because Life of Pi opened NYFF in 2012.

• Martin Scorsese's Silence - remember when Hugo started its Oscar campaign with a surprise screening in New York in 2011?

• Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals - the rumour is that it will play in competition at Venice. Come to New York soon after, Tom. We'd like to see Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal together in a movie, too.

• Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester By the Sea - there’s always a Sundance movie that makes it to NYFF, Whiplash and Brooklyn being the last two examples.

• Robert Zemeckis’ Allied - his last two films, The Walk and Flight, both played at NYFF before opening nationwide.

That's just a few titles, we will know much more in the next few weeks. Are you planning to attend any of the fall film festivals?

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

Sunday
Oct112015

Don Cheadle x 4 in "Miles Ahead" 

Nathaniel reporting on the closing night film of the New York Film Festival

Don Cheadle has been an esteemed actor for a full twenty years now. His big reputation began with his breakout turn in The Devil with the Blue Dress (1995) and kept building. Somewhere along the way, despite a Best Actor nomination for Hotel Rwanda (2004) the leading man career didn't materialize (apart from his 4 time Emmy nominated gig on Showtime's House of Lies). The sturdy ensemble player attempts to right that wrong by producing, writing, directing and starring (whew) in a Miles Davis biopic.

Cue the trumpets!

And here we are. Miles Ahead was given the honor of closing this year's New York Film Festival. Sony Pictures Classics will release the film.

It's tough to argue that Cheadle hasn't earned a spotlight as bright as this. [More...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Oct102015

NYFF: My Golden Days

Manuel reporting from the New York Film Festival with an improbable prequel among this year’s selection.

No one does brooding romantic despair like the French. Arnaud Desplechin’s My Golden Days, a pseudo-prequel to his 1996 My Sex Life… or How I Got Into an Argument so revels in it that you could just as easily title it “The Sorrows of Young Esther.” And while yes, that title would be aping a German novel, Desplechin’s Esther (Lou Roy-Lecollinet) merits being name-checked alongside the most famous romantically bereaved character in all of literary history, and not only because Goethe’s novel, like Desplechin’s film, depends on the epistolary form.

Esther, who falls for Paul Dédalus (Quentin Dolmaire playing the younger version of Mathieu Amalric’s character from Desplechin’s earlier film), spends most of the time daring the camera to turn away from her sorrows, her tears, her despair, all of which she channels into the letter she sends Paul while he’s off at university in Paris. She cannot bear being away from him. Cannot bear her life without him.

Can you blame her? Dolmaire is beautiful!

Click to read more ...

Friday
Oct092015

NYFF: Paul Thomas Anderson and "Junun"

Here's Jason reporting from the New York Film Festival on Paul Thomas Anderson's music documentary Junun which plays Sunday Oct 11th. Subscribers to MUBI can watch it streaming online. The album (of the same name) arrives on November 13th

A moment of actual honest-to-blog transcendence arrives early, surprisingly early, in Junun, Paul Thomas Anderson's documentary which drops us in the middle of a recording session involving Radiohead guitarist and film composer Jonny Greenwood and a troupe of supremely talented Indian musicians. Anderson situationally immerses us from the first frame, plunking us down at the center of a session and spinning to and fro lazy-susan-like to stare at our collaborators. But it's a wee bit further in, once we've gathered our bearings as to what we're in for (okay, nobody's gonna hold our hands, gotcha) and he lets the music practically carry us out the window and up to a quite literal bird's eye view, that I felt the first twinge of that transcendence I mentioned, and before I knew what was quite happening tears were rolling on down my face.

Listen, Jonny Greenwood's got my number. We've all got our musical deities, those folks who can twist a knob or lay their pinky finger delicately on a single string, and with it break the emotional dam damming us daily up. There aren't many folks I'd follow blindly into war, but my cult-like devotion to every member of Radiohead is unshakable, my personal firmament. I lay this admission out here because I don't know how emotionally stirring a document like Junun will be to someone who's not being moved by the music because that, alongside Anderson's shaky digital footage of men blowing horns and night-time scooter rides through the streets, is that. There are moments of individual levity sprinkled about, between numbers, but Junun's grip, while tight and skyward bound, is probably only big enough to carry off a few. I recommend being a chosen one but what do I know? I'm blind and dumb with emotion here.

Photo © Shin Katan

Previously at NYFF

Friday
Oct092015

NYFF: The Oscar Contender "Son of Saul"

Manuel here reporting from the New York Film Festival on Hungary's Oscar submission, a powerful debut film...

The Holocaust film is, as historical subgenres go, perhaps the most well-worn. From John Ford and George Stevens’ documentary footage of the camps liberation all the way through Spielberg’s Schindler’s List and Benigni’s Life is Beautiful, cinema has been irrevocably tied to our cultural remembrance of that most barbaric killing machine. Cinema’s ability to record, to bear witness, has no doubt played a central role in this artistic canon. Of course, at the heart of the cinematic project of the Holocaust lie conflicting and controversial ethical questions. From Theodor Adorno’s “There is no poetry after Auschwitz” dictum to storied arguments about the validity and usefulness of recreating the images of Western civilization’s most gruesome chapter, directors, victims, and historians have asked plenty of hard to answer questions.

Does the depiction not merely replicate the dehumanization on which that enterprise depended? Is there a way to narrativize this barbaric act without simplifying history? Can cinema’s images ever do anything more than ring hollow when compared with the immensity of human life lost?

If all of this sounds heady as an intro to a review of László Nemes’s debut film Son of Saul, you should’ve heard leading man (and poet) Géza Röhrig and his director talk at length about these very issues while quoting Primo Levi at the press conference a few days ago...

Click to read more ...