Currently Browsing: February 2014

BOTTLED UP

Movie magic on a mini budget: Single mom living in a quiet community on the Hudson River has all her routines disturbed by the arrival of an environmentalist doing research on Hydraulic Fracking. Just like in Frozen River, Melissa Leo gives another phenomenal performance as “Fay,” with great back up from Josh Hamilton (as “Becket”), as […]

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HAIR BRAINED

Opens today in NYC. Review coming soon.

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SHAADI KE

Opens today in NYC. Review coming soon.

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TWO LIVES

Opens today in NYC. Review coming soon.

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Whitehead Q&A

Thanks to Liliane Mavridara from WIFV-DC for an invitation to attend a private screening of Karen Whitehead’s new film Her Aim is True at the Norwood Club on West 14th Street. Her Aim is True is a fascinating doc about the career of photographer Jini Dellaccio. Dellaccio–who fell in love with jazz as a kid & spent many years […]

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THE NEW BLACK

Terrific new documentary unravels the full range of African American responses to the 2012 campaign for Marriage Equality in Maryland. Focus is on the local activists who were personally campaigning Pro & Con. Altho funding by White Catholic & Mormon churches was critical in getting the issue on the ballot in the first place, they […]

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ELAINE STRITCH: SHOOT ME

Opens today in NYC. Review coming soon.

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POMPEII 3D

Guilty pleasure–to be seen on a big screen & best in 3D–rips of big chunks of Gladiator & adds a love triangle with lovely Cassia (Emily Browning) pursued by an evil Roman (Kiefer Sutherland) while shared “meaningful glances” with a slave called “Milo the Celt” (Kit Harington). All the while, of course, Mount Vesuvius is […]

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ABOUT LAST NIGHT (2014)

This Valentine’s Day release is a vat of Sweet & Sour Pork directed by Steve Pink & written by Leslye Headland. Set now in the upwardly mobile LA-based African-American Singles Scene, there is a sweet couple at the center–played by Joy Bryant & Michael Ealy–with both members incredibly gorgeous & thoroughly romantic in a mushy/gushy way. […]

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ENDLESS LOVE (2014)

A sheltered teen from a troubled family falls headlong into her first summer romance. This new adaptation of Scott Spencer’s source novel–directed by Shana Feste–makes radical changes to the one Franco Zeffirelli directed in ’81 & that is all to the good. The new “Jade Butterfield” (Gabriella Wilde) is older & more accomplished than the […]

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JIMMY P.

A Romanian Ethnologist (Mathieu Amalric) is called to a hospital in Topeka, Kansas (home of the world-famous Menninger Clinic) to treat a troubled Native American WWII Vet (Benicio Del Toro). Jimmy P is based on a real case study by George Devereux that was published in English in 1951 (Reality and Dream: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian) & […]

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Athena Film Festival (2014)

Spent all of last weekend at the 4th annual Athena Film Festival at Barnard College (accompanied by Rich on Fri & Sat but not on Sun). Wow! New Films I Saw at the 2014 Athena Film Festival: Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs Farah Goes Bang Geraldine Ferraro: […]

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ALICE WALKER

Seen at the 4th annual Athena Film Festival at Barnard College. Pratibha Parmar’s well-assembled BioDoc Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth was made for the PBS series “American Masters,” ensuring Parmar terrific access to all the essential people in Walker’s world-historic life. Best-known as the author of the controversial Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Color Purple, Walker grew up in […]

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AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY

Seen at the 4th annual Athena Film Festival at Barnard College. In 2005, filmmaker Grace Lee released a terrific doc called The Grace Lee Project. Lee’s goal in this “project” was to seek out women named “Grace Lee” all around the USA (a huge number, especially in the Korean-American community) to see for herself if all Grace […]

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FARAH GOES BANG

Seen at the 4th annual Athena Film Festival at Barnard College. 3 LA gal pals drive to Ohio in late October of 2004 to help John Kerry’s Presidential Campaign with a final “big push” in a Must-Win state. Roopa (Deol) is the organizer, KJ (Erickson) is the anti-war activist, & Farah (Boosheri) is the American-born […]

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GERALDINE FERRARO

Seen at the 4th annual Athena Film Festival at Barnard College. In Geraldine Ferraro: Paving the Way, a daughter–Donna Zaccaro–pays loving tribute to a Mom who just happens to be a world-historical figure. Geraldine Ferraro (“Geri”) was the first woman ever nominated for Vice President of the USA. Ground-breaking! Crowds cheered! But then she got crushed… Growing […]

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TALL AS THE BAOBAB TREE

Seen at the 4th annual Athena Film Festival at Barnard College. Tall as the Baobab Tree is a superb story directed by Jeremy Teicher (& co-written by Alexi Pappas) about a teenage girl in Senegal coming face-to-face with her first moral dilemma. When a financial crisis hits, her father decides to keep “Coumba” (Dior Kâ) in […]

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7 BOXES

NYC Shout-Out: 7 Boxes opens today (2/7/14) at the Cinema Village. Kudos to directing team Juan Carlos Maneglia & Tana Schembori from Paraguay. Their amazingly propulsive new feature takes Hollywood crime tropes & spins them into home-grown gold! “Victor” (Celso Franco) is a teenager who works as a delivery boy in the Asunción market. Thru […]

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DEMI-SOEUR

NYC Shout-Out: Demi-Soeur opens today (2/7/14) at the Village East Cinema. Sweet French confection wriiten & directed by Josiane Balasko. “Paul Bérard” (Michel Blanc) is a middle aged pharmacist who keeps tight control of his life, but all his routines are thrown into disarray by the sudden arrival of Nénette (Balasko)… the daughter he never […]

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MARS AT SUNRISE

Thought-provoking look at Israelis & Palestinians captures the emotions of Occupation rather than repeating tired old arguments. Ali Suliman is superb as “Khaled,” a painter & art teacher who is arrested & interrogated by “Eyal” (Guy Elhanan). To her credit, writer/director Jessica Habie is more interested in the interior truth of these two existential roles: the […]

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THE PRETTY ONE

One twin is a sophisticated city babe, the other is a mouse who takes care of their widowed Dad in the burbs. When “the pretty one” dies in a car crash, the mouse decides to switch lives. OK premise, but abysmal execution by writer/director Jenée LaMarque. Zoe Kazan fails to convince & everyone else just acts […]

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AFTERNOON OF A FAUN

Full Title = Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq Gorgeously-produced BioDoc about famous ballet dancer Tanaquil Le Clercq aka “Tanny” (muse to both George Balanchine & Jerome Robbins) who was suddenly paralyzed by polio at age 27 at the peak of her artistic powers. Yet despite her dire prognosis, Tanny lived 4 more decades of […]

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GIDEON’S ARMY

UPDATE: Gideon’s Army will be awarded the 2014 Ridenhour Documentary Film Prize on April 30th at The National Press Club in Washington, DC. Kudos to filmmaker Dawn Porter & her cast & crew!  Terrific doc follows 2 young African-American attorneys (Brandy Alexander & Travis Williams) who have taken on the difficult role of Public Defender. With […]

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