All 27 NYFF Reviews
in one indexy place

13th, Jackie, Moonlight, Manchester by the Sea and more...

Oscar History

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20th Century Women is Amazing

"Thrilled to hear that the movie is a worthy follow-up to BEGINNERS!" -Eric

"This is my favorite Bening work since Being Julia. It's very idiosyncratic and un-cuddly." -Paul

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Entries in NYFF (146)


NYFF: The Lost City of Z

Here's Jason reporting from NYFF on the Closing Night film from James Gray.

Most of us aren't fortunate enough to have our lives live themselves in a perfect three-act structure. "Here I was born, and there I died," says the ghostly Madelaine in Vertigo, with an entire lifetime intuited by a comma - that's just second-act stuff, after all. Colonel Percival "Percy" Fawcett -- the real-world explorer whose explorations formed the basis first for David Grann's book The Lost City of Z and now the movie from The Immigrant director James Gray -- made three trips into the Amazonian jungle searching for his El Dorado, lending his life-story the perfect apparatus for yarn-spinning. A beginning, a wandering middle, and something approaching an end...

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A Brief Jog Right Past "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk." Get Me Outta Here!

a belated finale NYFF moment with your host, Nathaniel R

Before the world premiere of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk the great director Ang Lee appeared and asked the crowd at the NYFF screening to "keep an open mind." He was speaking about the new technology he used to shoot the 3D movie about a Texas soldier named Billy Lynn (played by talented newcomer Joe Alwyn) on leave from Iraq who is used as a patriotic prop at a football game's halftime show. The movie is shot in 4K (much higher clarity than usual) with a "revolutionary" 140 frames per second as opposed to the standard for decades upon decades now which is 24. As a cinephile without much technical savvy and who doesn't get too caught up in aspect ratios or film stocks or whatnot, I thought "no problem, Ang!"  I always attend movies with eyes wide open and the mind ready to join the party should the movie engage it.

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NYFF: "Things To Come" with Isabelle Huppert

Jason reporting from the NYFF on the new film from director Mia Hansen-Løve, currently scheduled to open in limited release on December 2nd

At about the midpoint of Things to Come Nathalie (Isabelle Huppert) says to a friend that she's "found freedom" but we know better. We've been watching freedom thrust upon her in disorienting spasms, as her husband's left her and her publishing house has tossed her old-fashioned intellectualism aside (one of them hurls out the word "classy" like it's going to burn her hands). And in truth Nathalie doesn't quite know what to make of it, this "found" freedom of hers. "Extraordinary," is what she calls it, and that approaches the thing, but not quite the way she's selling it at that moment...

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"Moonlight" in Three Acts

Since Barry Jenkins' new film Moonlight is told in triptych style, we've opted to bring you our NYFF review in the same way with three of us writing it! - Editor

"Little" by Murtada Elfadl
Moonlight is a patient movie that takes its time to give us a full portrait of what goes on in a young man’s mind. Long beautifully rendered scenes provide us pivotal snippets of days in a life. The economy of the scenes mixed with the patience in storytelling means that every gesture and word counts. Barry Jenkins takes Tarell McCraney’s unproduced play "In Moonlight Black Boys Boys Look Blue" and paints it on screen, using his actors’ faces and bodies to deliver singular poetic images.

The languid melancholic tone fits the inner monologue of the main character Chiron (who is called "Little" in this first of three segments),  who is struggling to understand himself...

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NYFF: Jackie, Natalie, Peter and Pablo

Murtada reporting from NYFF.

Thursday night marked the first New York public screening of Jackie. Pablo Larraín’s film about the former first lady in the few days after JFK’s assassination, took Venice and TIFF by storm and now it's NYFF’s turn...

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NYFF: How Bogart, Fellini, and Ginger Rogers inspired "20th Century Women"

As part of NYFF Directors’ Dialogue series, 20th Century Women’s Mike Mills was interviewed by artistic director, Kent Jones. Here are excerpts from the conversation as reported by Murtada.

Bening, Mills and Elle Faning at NYFF premiere

Dorothea is Humphrey Bogart
Mills based the main character in 20th Century Women - Dorothea played by Annette Bening - on his memories of his mother. She used to always tell him “In my next life I’ll be married to Bogart”, so while writing the movie Mills would ask himself what would Bogart say whenever he was stuck. To him Dorothea was like many of the characters Bogart played; underdogs who don't win, fail valiantly, make great jokes along the way and always help the weakest person in the room.

Ginger Rogers in Stage Door
Dorothea was also inspired by the character Ginger Rogers played in 1937’s Stage Door. She is as subversive, wisecracking and knows her way with a witty putdown as Rogers’ Jean Maitland.

Working with Bening
Mills believes Bening was the only actor who could play Dorothea. He talked about how she’s exactly the right age, looks beautifully natural which is rare in actresses of her age and calibre. She also reminded him of his mother because, while professional, she has no interest in pleasing anyone, even her director. She would listen to his stories but kept her process private, so he had to learn to give her space. He loved what she delivered because she continously surprised him. While she worked out the character’s psychology, Bening did not work out the beats of every scene, opting for freedom and intuition.

Casting is Key

Mills movies are personal and based on his memories, in addition to Bening, Christopher Plummer played a character based on his father in Beginners (2010). So to avoid being precious he hands full authorship of the character to the actors or as he put it “give them the keys to the car”.

Federico Fellini
Mills revealed that 20th Century Women owes a big debt is Fellini’s Amarcord (1973). They both have multiple narrators and are love letters from their authors’ to where they grew up.

20th Century Women was the Centerpiece selection at NYFF and will be released on Christmas Day by A24.


NYFF: Certain Women

Here's Jason reporting from the NYFF on Kelly Reichardt's latest.

Think of it as Pulp Fiction's second cousin, a wallflower who stands blushing at the side of the dance-floor - Kelly Reichardt's Certain Women does command swirling depths from its three interconnected stories; you've just got to take the time and have the patience to suss them out. But man, she dances if you do...

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