Recent Posts in movies
July 15, 2014
Proudly low budget and just as proudly absurd, this comedy directed by J. Anderson Mitchell and Jeremy Kipp Walker tells what happened when General Trius (Nils d'Aulaire), whose planet was on course for a catastrophic collision with a comet, came to Earth looking for a new home for his people.The story of Future Folk, the duo of General Trius and the Mighty Kevin from a distant planet called Hondo, was documented in a film last year. This year, Trius and Kevin are currently heading across the North American portion of Planet Earth to screen the film and play live. The tour, sponsored by our friends at DOSTUFF, pulls into NYC on July 23 at Knitting Factory. The NYC screening and show -- like all the dates on the tour -- is free with RSVP. Admission based on capacity, first come, first served.
His mission was to kill earthlings and take over the planet, but when he heard music, something unknown on Hondo, he became an earthling-lover, as well as a banjo player. Kevin (Jay Klaitz), sent from Hondo to take over the general's mission, is equally captivated by music, and he and the general, performing in their spacesuits, win over the New York club scene and save both planets. - [New York Times]
All Future Folk dates are listed, along with the trailer for the film, below...
July 7, 2014
by Bill Pearis
Lincoln Center's Sound + Vision film series is back for its second year, happening July 31 - August 6. The weeklong series kicks off on July 31 with a screening of shoegaze documentary Beautiful Noise that was funded by a Kickstarter campaign (trailer below). The series ends on August 6 with a screening of Pulp: a Film about Life, Death & Supermarkets. That screening features a Q&A with director Florian Habicht and a live performance by Dragons of Zynth. In between, there's a screening of Talking Heads' Stop Making Sense on 8/1 with a Q&A with David Byrne ;, as well as documentaries on Rodrigo y Gabriela, Brasslands, Japanese didgeridoo player GOMA (shot in 3-D), and more. Tickets for Sound + Vision go on sale Thursday (7/10) and the full schedule is below with more info about the films here.
The night after the Pulp documentary screens at Lincoln Center, it will be shown as part of Rooftop Films at Industry City in Sunset Park (8/7). Habicht will be there for a pre-screening Q&A as will Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker which is probably worth the price of admission on its own. Tickets are on sale now.
Conceived by Cocker and directed by Habicht, Pulp: a Film about Life, Death & Supermarkets chronicles the iconic Britpop band's "final" hometown show at Sheffield's Motorpoint Arena in December 2012. (They played the Coachella cruise after.) It's as much about Sheffield as it is Pulp, interviewing fans and locals on the leadup to the concert. You don't have to be familiar with Pulp's music to enjoy this one, but it certainly helps like in scenes where a group of septuagenarians sing Pulp's 1997 single "Help the Aged." It's a terrifically entertaining film and its trailer is below.
July 2, 2014
Rooftop Films is in the midst of their 2014 season and Thursday's screening (7/3) happens at Industry City in Sunset Park. They're screeening Adam Newport-Berra's Thanksgiving, with a pre-movie performance by Reggie Watts who just played Town Hall. You can stick around for the afterparty sponsored by New Amsterdam Spirits. Doors are at 8 PM, Reggie's on at 8:30 PM and the movie's at 9 PM, rain or shine. Tickets are still available. As for the movie, here's the synopsis:
Alex & Amy are the perfect Brooklyn couple. They have a cat, a Thanksgiving table of bohemian friends, and a glowing future together. Yet the sudden holiday appearance of Amy's mysterious brother Will quickly disrupts their idyllic lifestyle and calls into question what we're truly "thankful" for.After that, the next Rooftop Films screening is Saturday (7/5) at The Old American Can Factory in Gowanus. That night they're showing Russian/American documentary The Notorious Mr Bout with a live performance by Russian/American songwriter and Dirty Projectors collaborator Olga Bell. Tickets are available for that screening too. Trailer below...
Summerscreen isn't the only free outdoor movie/music option in Williamsburg. Nitehawk Outdoors returns for a second year, but has moved locations. It will now happen at 50 Kent on three consecutive Sundays (7/20, 7/27, 8/3). Like last year, the movies are conceptually paired with a likeminded band: July 20 is O Brother Where Art Thou? with live music from The Birdhive Boys; on July 27 its Bond flick From Russia with Love with live music from Morricone Youth; and on August 3 they're showing Three Amigos preceded by a live mariachi band.
Bands start at 7 PM with the movies at sunset. Beer, wine, refreshments & food available for purchase. (You can bring chairs/blankets but outside food and drink is a no no.) Screenings are free, but you can get VIP seating for $12.
June 27, 2014
So, are you planning on heading out to the movies this weekend? Well, if you are like the majority of people out there who will be, then it's to see a bunch of giant Autobots and Decepticons who turn into cars and trucks and blow up shit all over the place. Yes, as you may have heard, Michael Bay's next playful orgy of destruction, Transformers:Age of Extinction, opens tomorrow. I've seen it and while at times fun, it's mindless stupidity can be somewhat tiring after two-and-a-half plus hours (the longest Transformers yet). Imagine the head blowing up scene in David Cronenberg's Scanners with less blood and lots more loud explosions over and over and over.....
While these big action/explosion/comic book/toy films are the box office bonanzas these days, there is still room for smaller films, indie films, more personal films. Just look at what's out now: David Michod (director of one of my favorite films of the last few years Animal Kingdom) gritty, intense and bleak revenge/avenge film The Rover; Jenny Slate proves there is life after saying "fuck" on network TV with the much-talked about indie now film Obvious Child.
There's also Polish filmmaker Pawel Polikowski's stunning and intense IDA; Roman Polanski's latest sexual/psychological drama,the novella-to-Broadway-to-film, Venus in Fur; and comedian/actor/writer Mike Myers' entertaining directorial debut about one of the most legendary characters ever to work in the film and the music industry, Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon.
Great films all but one in particular that is well worth your time and of particular interest to readers here is Begin Again, the new film from director John Carney.
When I first saw Once, Carney's previous film, it was about five months before it was released. I knew Carney from having played in The Frames (with Glen Hansard) but had no idea what to expect having not seen his any of his earlier films. Like most people, I came away entranced. The kind of good film you want to tell everyone you know to see. Happily I can say the same thing about this new film.
As mentioned briefly, the film is about a down on his luck, once-successful maybe now washed up music producer, Dan, played by Mark Ruffalo. Having had success in the '90s with a number of hip hop bands, he has now been fired by his partner (Mos Def credited of course as Yasiin Bey) in an indie label startup. Drinking his sorrows away one night in a club (shot in Arlene's Grocery, fyi) he happens to hear an unknown British singer songwriter Gretta (the always wonderful Keira Knightly, doing her best Norah Jones, Carole King, Feist), coaxed by her friend up to the stage, timid and unsteady to sing a bare acoustic sweet ballad about heartbreak. Heartbreak she knows firsthand, having been dumped, on the brink of stardom, by boyfriend Dave (played by Maroon 5 singer /TV's The Voice star Adam Levine). The film then traces the backstory of how each ended up in there that night forging a connection. Then, over a conversation about the idea of selling out and which artist has never sold out (their answer: Randy Newman), Gretta agrees to let Dan produce a record for her. One that will be recorded at various spots all over NYC, outdoors and on the go, capturing the sounds of the city within the songs.
still from 'Begin Again'
Much of the film is beautifully shot on the Lower East Side / East Village (yes there is still some music and life going on there, take that Brooklyn) and other parts including a super montage set piece where Dan and Gretta walk around the city at night listening to different songs on her IPod. Other scenes which I don't want to give away show the deft directorial touches that only someone who is deeply involved with music could make. The music, which may not have anything as starmaking a song a Once's "Falling Slowly," is still very good -- most of it was written by onetime New Radicals frontman Gregg Alexander (remember "You Get What You Give?").
The acting is uniformly great. Mark Ruffalo is an always able actor and sometimes stupendous if you have seen the recent HBO film The Normal Heart. Keira Knightly shows surprisingly lovely tone in her singing. Adam Levine, in his first big acting role, does a fine job with his character and while not a fan of Maroon 5, the man has a sensational god-given voice that most singers would kill for.
Notable mention as well goes to James Corden, who plays Gretta's Brit busking friend. He's a very engaging and funny actor, and also great singer who will be showing far more of his singing talents later this summer in David Frankel's One Chance (the very charming story of Paul Potts, an amateur opera singer, who unlikely went on to win Britain's Got Talent).
"Can A Song Save Your Life" was Begin Again's working title and probably best sums it up. Two struggling people who find each other and, through music, their own redemption. Does that sound familiar to a film called Once? Certainly it is in much the same vein. You could say it was a more-polished version of Once. Like the previous film, the two characters don't fall into any contrived "Hollywood" relationship. It is filled with yearning and doubt and What Ifs that actually mirror real life. Even with this, it's the kind of film that can easily lend itself to a description such as "cliché." I've seen some others gripe about how, like some criticized Once, music is used to cheat a flimsy story. Ignore that, drop the pretensions, and give in and it's sweet charm will have you. If as I suspect, like myself, that most of you reading this consider music to be a large part of your life I think you will enjoy Begin Again as much as I did.
Once is in Limited Release currently, playing in NYC at the Angelika and Union Square 13. Trailer for Begin Again, plus a few stills as well as shots from the its press conference yesterday at the Crosby St. Hotel, below...
June 25, 2014
Marketa Irglova at MNFW 2011 (more by Autumn Andel)
The Swell Season's Marketa Irglova is working on her second solo album, entitled Muna, and she's just announced a one-off NYC show at Le Poisson Rouge on October 10. She'll be joined by a band and playing songs from the upcoming release, as well as stuff from her last solo album, Anar, and some promised "old favorites" (one would imagine that would indicate some stuff from Once). Tickets for the show go on sale Friday.
In semi-related news, more folks than not first heard Marketa from the 2006 film Once which costarred Glen Hansard of The Swell Season. That film's writer/director, John Carney, has a new film out this summer that also mixes music and romance. Begin Again stars Mark Ruffalo as a washed up music biz exec and Keira Knightly as a singer/songwriter he discovers. The films also features CeeLo Green (who plays with Lionel Richie tonight at Jones Beach), Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) and Maroon 5's Adam Levine. The film opens around the country on Friday (6/27) and you can watch the trailer below.
June 18, 2014
THE PAST IS A GROTESQUE ANIMAL is a personal, accessible portrait of an artist - of Montreal frontman Kevin Barnes - whose pursuit to make transcendent music at all costs drives him to value art over human relationships. As he struggles with all of those around him, family and bandmates alike, he's forced to reconsider the future of the band, begging the question - is this really worth it?Jason Miller's of Montreal documentary, The Past is a Grotesque Animal, is a very up-close, very personal look at the band and main man Kevin Barnes in particular. The film opens around the country this week at limited engagements. Screening dates are listed below. We're premiering an exclusive clip from the film which you can watch, along with the film's trailer, below.
NYC can see The Past is a Grotesque Animal at the IFC Center on Friday (6/20) and Saturday (6/21) at 9:45 PM and 11:45 PM. The Friday early show is sold out but you can still get tickets to the three other screenings. If you'd like to go for free, we've got a few pairs of tickets to give away to the non-sold-out screenings. Each winner will also get a vinyl copy of Of Montreal's latest LP, Lousy with Sylvainbriar. Details below.
Of Montreal, the band, will be on a tour this fall which doesn't hit NYC. List of screening dates, that exclusive clip, trailer, and contest details, below...
June 17, 2014
by Klaus Kinski
New York Comic Con, a geyser of nerddom people either love with unbridled passion or hate with unbridled passion, will descend its acne ridden buttocks upon the Jacob Javits Center on Manhattan's West Side from October 9 - 12. Discerning nerds and dorks of all stripes will thrill to panel discussions, vendors, signings, cosplay, and more without fear of atomic wedgies or being stuffed in lockers or God help us, a dreaded swirley. And unlike the San Diego Comic Con, which happens next month, the NYC one is actually managable to some extent.
The 2014 Comic Con will be a little different this year as it will be supplemented with a ton of programming leading up to and running concurrent with the event. This splinter programming is called New York Super Week which will happen October 3 - 12.
New York Super Week - a first of its kind pop culture festival. With different pop culture themed experiences happening in every corner of the City - including concerts, comedy shows, gaming events, lectures, podcasts, storytelling, food tastings and more - New York Super Week brings the entire universe of popular culture to every corner of all five boroughs of New York City.New York Super Week is the brainchild of pop culture event specialist ReedPOP:
ReedPOP has partnered with a number of venues, bars, restaurants and retailers throughout the city, including, but not limited to: Hammerstein Ballroom, 92nd Street Y, Rock Bar, The Bell House, Galapagos Art Space and Barcade. New York Super Week will be the ultimate celebration for fans of pop culture. Kicking-off with StarTalk Live! hosted by Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson at the Hammerstein Ballroom, New York Super Week events will demonstrate the breadth of international, national and local pop culture, ranging from live recordings of Ask Me Another and Slate's Hang Up & Listen podcast, to The Big Quiz Thing, Running Late with Scott Rogowsky featuring the co-creators of Dr. Katz, Story Collider, and eSports competitions.I am particularly intrigued by SLIMED! Presents a Nickelodeon Nostalgia Nite and Running Late with Scott Rogowsky featuring the co-creators of Dr. Katz. Right now ticket info and full program scheduling is TBA, but I do know you can get the New York Super Week Card to priority seating to all New York Super Week events taking place at such locales as 92Y Kaufmann Concert Hall, Barnes & Noble, and Galapagos Art Space as well as drink specials at venues and bars such as Rock Bar, Barcade, The Bell House, Union Hall, Videology, Duke's, Big Daddy's and The Way Station. Kaboom!
Full list of events thus far announced are below. ...
June 16, 2014
Ice Cube @ Bonnaroo 2014 (via @zornphoto)
The story of NWA is being turned into a big budget Hollywood biopic titled, like their 1988 debut, Straight Outa Compton. Behind the camera will be F. Gary Gray who directed Friday and Set It Off, not to mention videos for Ice Cube, Tupac, Outkast and more. As for the cast, Ice Cube will be played by the rapper's real-life 24-year old son, O'Shea Jackson Jr, and The Hollywood Reporter has the scoop on the casting of Dr. Dre and Eazy E. Classically-trained Marcus Callender has nabbed the role of Dre; Eazy-E will be played by newcomer Jason Mitchell who landed the role after an a screen test that reportedly brought E's widow, Tomica Woods-Wright (a producer on the film, along with Ice Cube) to tears.
Meanwhile, Ice Cube (who can currently be seen in the #1 movie in America, 22 Jump Street) is doing the summer festival circuit, having just played last weekend's Bonarroo where he performed NWA's "Straight Outta Compton," as part of a medley of '80s rap classics, as well as paying tribute to the late Nate Dogg. Live video from Bonnaroo is below...
June 12, 2014
by Klaus Kinski
The New York City comedy landscape is peppered with tons of great recurring comedy shows. One of the heaviest hitters in the land of recurring comedy shows has got to be Whiplash. Hosted by Klaus Kinski All Time Gold Pass Favorite Leo Allen, Whiplash takes place every Monday night at 11 PM at the UCB Theater in Chelsea. Each week, Whiplash treats attendees to solid line-ups consisting of the biggest names and most promising rising stars in comedy. Big fish like Aziz Ansari (who's playing a way bigger than UCB Theater venue called Madison Square Garden), Jim Gaffigan, Zach Galifianakis, Louis CK, Chris Rock and more have graced the Whiplash stage on several occasions.
Back on September 9, 2013, Whiplash endeavored to bring the Whiplash experience to the masses by doing a live concert documentary. Welp, that sucker, titled A Night at Whiplash, is finally "in the can" as they say in Hollywood and to celebrate the fine Whiplash folks are throwing an epic release party on Friday (6/13) at The Bell House. As one would expect from a Whiplash related event, the line-up for the evening is STACKED. Attendees will thrill to host Leo Allen as he welcomes guests Jon Benjamin, Jon Glaser, Michael Che, Aparna Nancherla, Jared Logan, and a dance thingy by Monica Bill Barnes and Anna Bass. "Will there be special guests?" you ask? Well, doy, yeah, probably. Use your head kid. Anyhow, a smattering of tickets are on sale and you gotta believe me this show is going to go so far above and beyond the price of admission you won't be able to stop tweeting about it for the rest of your life.
Check out a trailer for A Night at Whiplash below...