Entries tagged with: movies
by Bill Pearis
When I moved to New York in the '90s, among all the obvious cool things associated with the city, I was amazed with cable access... and, uh, Moviefone. The idea you could just call this number and get showtimes ("and even tickets" the ads used to say) via a very enthusiastic announcer (Moviefone founder Russ Leatherman, who left the company last year.) fascinated me. (They were more innocent times and I was easily impressed.) At one point Moviefone was even so popular it became a plot point in a memorable episode of Seinfeld. It was a part of most NYers' lives.
I can't remember the last time I actually called 777-FILM (probably right before I got a cellphone), but the service has remained... but not for much longer. The New York Times reports that over the weekend, callers to the number were greeted with an announcement saying the number "will no longer be in service in the near future." Moviefone, which is owned by AOL, will live on, however, via the web and mobile app.
Video from the Seinfeld episode below...
Inside Llewyn Davis, press conference & still
Tonight marks the start of the 51st annual NY Film Festival at Lincoln Center. As with every year, the collection of films and events presented are varied and eclectic and surprisingly this time includes a number of comedies, something rare for this festival. Rockstar Games will have a presence in honor of the new Grand Theft Auto game. There are plenty of avant garde films, documentaries and restored classic revivals. There's Jim Jarmusch's vampire romance Only Lovers Left Alive, and Spike Jonze's Her (with its Arcade Fire soundtrack). This year includes an always welcome retrospective of some of Jean-Luc Godard's works including the surreal, funny and one of my favorites of his, Alphaville. Also Weekend and the still unjustly maligned Hail Mary. Most of the films this year as with every year are already sold out but you can almost always find someone selling a ticket outside before or take your chances on the waiting line. Get there early if you really want to see a certain film.
We are covering the festival this year and I've already seen a number of the films. Below is a short handy guide to what I have seen so far and loved with others not so much. We will be back once the festival is over with reviews of the rest of the films. So take some time out from your busy concert going and go catch one of these films. Also, here is your obvious spoiler alert if you are one who chooses to not know anything about a film before seeing it.
Let's start off with tonight's gala opening Captain Phillips, the new film from director Paul Greengrass who directed the second and third Bourne films among others. He was at the festival years ago with his first, and I think best film, Bloody Sunday. In this film he once again looks to tell a real life story, this one being the 2009 hijacking of the MV Maersk Alabama ship off the coast of Somalia and starring Tom Hanks playing the by the books, stoic and heroic Captain Richard Phillips. The film is based on Phillips novel about the hijacking. It is this year's Zero Dark Thirty although I didn't enjoy it as much as that one. It is a very good film and gripping at times but at 2 hours and 13 minutes it drags a bit in places. Hanks is, as always, masterful but really comes alive in the last half hour. The performance to watch here though is by a first time actor named Barkhad Abdi, who plays Muse the "captain" of the Somali pirates. Both terrifying and revealing.
Next up and probably of most interest here to BV readers is the new film from the Coen Brothers, Inside Llewyn Davis, making its U.S. premiere at the fest. While it is a fictional story, it takes its heart from the autobiography of Dave Van Ronk, "The Mayor of Macdougal Street", a must read for anyone interested in music. The movie is set in one week in the winter of 1961 following the life of LLewyn Davis, an earnest singer trying to navigate the folk scene and his own misfortunes in NYC and beyond, before the likes of Bob Dylan would show up soon after and explode it into something else entirely. I walked out of this yesterday liking but not loving it. It has all the trademarks the brothers are known for. Music wise, they are again working with T Bone Burnett as they did in O Brother Where Art Thou of which this film shares a lot of similarities, and like that film has some really amazing songs and music filled set pieces. It should make Sunday's tribute show at Town Hall a real treat. It is beautifully shot all in NYC. It is filled with quirky and wonderful supporting characters including Coen mainstay John Goodman playing an acerbic jazz musician junkie. F Murray Abraham, a Chicago club owner that bears a striking resemblance to the notorious Albert Grossman, Adam Driver from Girls as a cowboy hat wearing singer named Al Cody who is a dead ringer for Ramblin' Jack Elliot. Justin Timberlake and Carey Mulligan as folk duo Jean and Jim. Oscar Issac, who plays the lead character, is a fine upcoming actor who also played in a Florida based ska/punk band called The Blinking Underdogs. His performance as with all the performances in the film are just great to watch. My not loving the film came from what I thought was a thin story but truth be told, as I have thought about the film hours after, it has grown on me immensely. Needless to say I can't wait to see it again.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is pleased to unveil its plans for a third location in New York: Alamo Drafthouse City Point. The seven-screen theater will be located at City Point, a new 1.8 million square foot mixed-use project that is being developed by Acadia Realty Trust and Washington Square Partners.The City Point location will be in downtown Brooklyn at Fulton Street Mall, and will open after planned Upper West Side and Yonkers locations (both of which are said to be due in 2013). For more on the Drafthouse's famous no talking/texting policy, check out the video below.
"I am extremely excited about the major development in downtown Brooklyn and proud to be a part of it," said Alamo Drafthouse Founder and CEO Tim League. "Although more than two years on the horizon, I can tell you that the City Point Brooklyn Alamo will be our best theater yet."
The venue will feature seven screens of new releases, repertory programming and the Alamo's unique signature programming in both 35mm and digital formats. Like all Alamo Drafthouse theaters, Alamo Drafthouse City Point will provide food and drink service to your seat and will uphold its famously strict no-talking policy. The new theater is currently scheduled to open in 2015.
RZA is The Man with The Iron Fists
Quentin Tarantino presents The Man With the Iron Fists, an action-adventure inspired by kung-fu classics as interpreted by his longtime collaborators RZA and Eli Roth. Making his debut as a big-screen director and leading man, RZA -- alongside a stellar international cast led by Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu -- tells the epic story of warriors, assassins and a lone outsider hero in nineteenth-century China who must unite to destroy the clan traitor who would destroy them all.RZA's movie The Man with the Iron Fists opens on November 2 and features a soundtrack with contributions from The Black Keys, Kanye West, Raekwon, RZA, Wu-Tang Clan, Flatbush Zombies (who just played Afro-Punk), Freddie Gibbs, Ghostface Killah, Kool G Rap, and many, many more. Stream the new RZA track "Blowin' In The Wind" at soundcloud, and dig on the eye-popping "red band" trailer for the film, the movie poster and soundtrack tracklisting below.
Bobby Liebling of Pentagram at LPR (more by Greg Cristman)
The life and times of Bobby Liebling is examined in Last Days Here, the documentary about the legendary Pentagram frontman. It's a great film and recommended even if you have no interest in metal. After a theatrical run earlier this year, the doc is out now on DVD and you can test the waters by streaming the film in its entirety for free HERE.
As mentioned before, Pentagram will play NYC at The Power of The Riff East, which goes down on September 1st and 2nd at Warsaw. Tickets are available for both Saturday (when Pentagram plays) and Sunday (when sunn o))) plays).
Popular Williamsburg outtdoor film (and music) series Summerscreen is back for another season in McCarren Park, put on by the good folks at The L Magazine. Bands haven't been announced yet, but the films have. Here's the schedule: