Don't Worry Darling (c) Warner Bros Pictures
"New York is my Personal Property and I'm gonna split it with you." I review mostly movies and New York theater shows. I am also an awards prognosticator. And a playwright.
Friday, September 30, 2022
Film Reviews: The Only Thing Scary in “Don’t Worry Darling” and “Goodnight Mommy” Is the Missing Comma, but It Inspires Lena Dunham’s “Catherine Called Birdy”
Film: Don’t Worry Darling
Thursday, September 22, 2022
Film Reviews: How Women Artists Are Treated Is the Subject of Both “Blonde” and “The African Desperate”
Blonde (c) Netflix
In Cinemas (Paris Theater in NYC)
To stream on Netflix on Friday, September 30
Unlike the celebrities and Instagram influencers of today, actress Marilyn Monroe had almost no control over her own image since it was mostly controlled by the movie studio and the paparazzi/gossip columns of the time. Unfortunately, Monroe is still being exploited, this time in “Blonde” in which director Andrew Dominik’s idea for the film, loosely based on the novel by Joyce Carol Oates, is to use the many iconic images of her life and delve into the story leading up to or the aftermath of each photo being taken. I haven’t read the book, but some of the most shocking moments on screen are Oates’ creation, including a rather nasty encounter with John F. Kennedy that probably gives the movie its NC-17 rating. A lot of Monroe’s behavior may stem from her obsession with who her biological father is, since she gets a lot of conflicting stories from her mentally unstable mother (Julianne Nicholson).
Friday, September 16, 2022
Film Review: “The Woman King” Finally Provides Viola Davis With a Leading Role Worthy of Her Talents
The Woman King (c) Sony Pictures
Film Review: The Woman King
Premise: In the mid-1800s, at the height of the slave trade in Africa, the West African kingdom of Dahomey, now ruled by new King Ghezo (John Boyega), must decide if Dahomey should still be part of the problem as the custom is to give their war prisoners to the Europeans or Americans traders in exchange for wealth and partnership. Dahomey is the target of bigger, neighboring tribes, but their battle troops are fortified by the Agojie, an all-female warrior unit headed by General Nanisca (Viola Davis). Enter Nawi (Thuso Mbedu), a young woman of the village who wants to join the Agojie after her adopted parents realize she’s too strong-headed to ever get married. She is taken under the wing of Izogie (Lashana Lynch), but Nanisca also thinks Nawi may be too independent-minded and impulsive to be a successful warrior. Shante (Jayme Lawson), a young Brazilian man who has come to Africa to fulfill his promise to his mother to see her former homeland before she was sold as a slave, arrives in Dahomey and is instantly smitten with Nawi. Clouding all this is an imminent attack from the Oyo tribe lead by Oba Ade (Jimmy Odukoya), withwhom Nanisca had a violent encounter in the past.
Tuesday, September 13, 2022
Oscars Outlook 2022: September 2022
The Fabelsman (c) Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment
Yes, it’s super premature to even talk about the Oscars, but with last night's Emmy Awards now behind us – congrats to Sheryl Lee Ralph from "Abbott Elementary" for singing her speech and Jennifer Coolidge for "The White Lotus" for dancing her speech – it’s now a clear runway to the movie awards season. And with a lot of the movies already premiered at the usual film festivals (like Toronto, Venice, Sundance, Cannes) and the only unknowns are the late breaking films that will not make it into theaters until December. But, based on past results of the talent involved, here are my ridiculously early thoughts on Oscars.
Thursday, September 8, 2022
Film Re-View: Late Summer Doldrums? Re-watch “Amateur” (Hal Hartley), “Chungking Express” (Wong Kar-Wai) and "Maurice" (James Ivory) With Me
Chungking Express (c) Criterion / Maurice (c) Cohen Media Group / Amateur (c) Possible Films
As summer ends (on Labor Day in Hollywood terms – it doesn’t officially end until September 22), the films in theaters are rather bleak, so I decided to look back on three films by master filmmakers, who made me love the art of cinemas, at various points in their careers. I’ve seen these films many times since their premieres but not much in the past ten years. Each has returned either on streaming or physical media. My fear? One or more of these influential films haven’t aged well. Let’s see.
Thursday, September 1, 2022
Film Review: François Ozon’s Latest, “Peter von Kant,” is a Shaky Remake of the Fassbinder Classic “The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant.”
Peter Von Kant (c) Carole Bethuel
Film Review: Peter von Kant
In Cinemas tomorrow
Premise: It’s 1972 in Paris and a film director named Peter (Denis Ménochet, looking very similar to Rainer Werner Fassbinder, who wrote the original play and directed the subsequent film in the 1970s) is writing a new film with help from Karl (Stéfan Crépon), his…umm, servant? Partner? Slave? Peter is visited by his ex-lover and muse Sidonie (Isabelle Adjani), who introduces him to her young new friend, Amir (Khalil Gharbia). Peter is immediately smitten by the beautiful lad about twenty years his junior and promises to make him a star. It doesn’t take long for this relationship’s power dynamics to switch after Amir makes his film debut and starts getting a taste of fame, which makes the neurotic and insecure Peter a mess. He lashes out to his circle, including his mother (Hanna Schygulla) and his teen daughter Gabrielle (Aminthe Audiard), who arrive for Peter’s birthday. The big question is will Amir show up.
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