CAAMFEST A beautiful butch moviemaker with a penchant for Peking opera divas. A dogged indie documentarian willing to stalk her prey, be it politically radical or the hard-partying dead. These are but a few of the unusual suspects caught in the viewfinders of CAAMFest 2014's Asian and Asian American female directors.Read more »
YEAR IN FILM It's tough to remember much of the '90s — what with the air horns and kindercore, flannel and Flavor Flav — but I seem to recall Spike Lee giving the orders that seemed to finally, fully come to pass in 2013: "Make black film."Read more »
It was the best of sequesters: oh, Tribeca, how to wrap up the many, many days spent hidden away in the dark, watching flickering images dart across a screen? I can only try, as I speed through the best of the rest — and the notable not-so-muchs.
Kids these days: Poets and the young girls that love them are at the very funny heart of indie comedy Adult World, which is sure to make a star of Emma Roberts. She’s the shrill, just-graduated, wannabe-verse-slinger Amy, who’s moonlighting in an adult video store alongside hollow-eyed cutie Alex (American Horror Story’s Evan Peters) and hoping scuzzball genius will rub off if she “interns” (read: cleans house) for her favorite poet, Rat Billings (writ world-weary and hilariously cynical by John Cusack). First-time feature director Scott Coffrey (also, weirdly, a graduate of the same Honolulu high school where I did my own Amy impression) lets a few rough edges (i.e., edits) show, but it’s all good when the filmmaker winds up Roberts, playing the cringe-worthy Tracy Flick for the chapbook set, and lets her go.
The only-in-Noo Yawk perks of the Tribeca Film Festival? The proximity of theaters like AMC Loews Village 7 to repositories of ramen deliciousity like Momofuku Noodle Bar, a scant two blocks away. You can keep the free ketchup-flavored popcorn distributed by sponsors in front of other theaters. I’ll take Momofuku’s house ramen, which overwhelms with porky goodness (a.k.a. pork belly, pork shoulder) and comes with a soft poached egg and gotta-have-it fish cake, cabbage, and nori.
"As if Bob doesn't have enough money with his American Express commercials ...," he drawled of festival founder Robert De Niro and its splashy sponsor. He went on to say that De Niro started Tribeca to bring people back to the neighborhood after 9/11, so it follows that this year's fest is dedicated to those suffering the after-effects of the Boston Marathon bombings.
After a brief monosyllabic appearance by the Bob himself — it's really not about him despite his presence on key red carpets; he quickly passed the spotlight to cofounder Jane Rosenthal — out came the grateful, guileless-looking Mistaken For Strangers director Tom Berninger, brother to the National vocalist Matt Berninger and the maker of the doc ostensibly about the band but a really about brotherly love, competition, and creation. Looking like a viking Zach Galifianakis and playing like a bumbling, hard-partying, apolitical Michael Moore in the film, Tom Berninger looked like he could not quite believe his incredible luck as he was joined on stage by the suited-up National, as well as his small crew, the latter thanked for editing down and "cleaning up this mess."
MUSIC When the going gets tougher in the music biz, scrappy little South Bay punk label Asian Man Records has kept on going, downsizing yet sticking to its guns. That means standing by bands that have a chance to jump ship to a bigger imprint — by wishing them well.Read more »
FILM Even Fukushima Daiichi-style nuclear meltdowns can't sever the blood ties that bind a brood of CAAMFest films that focus on family. Modernity nevertheless ushers in a set of unique struggles in these films, not exactly family-friendly fare, though most are fulsome with empathy for these clans under pressure and in the viewfinder.Read more »
YEAR IN FILM Cluck as you may, it was only a matter of time before the chicks started rewriting those chick flicks. Tina Fey, Kristen Wiig, and their peers represent the girls — how politically incorrect — in all their messy, sexy, oozy, frizzy-haired, fallible, flabby, and unflappable glory. And this year saw a major meeting in the ladies room, films out real soon, that poked fun at women's work, relationships, identities, and insecurities.Read more »
FILM How might filmmaker Nicholas Jarecki measure the success of Arbitrage, his debut feature about a hedge fund honcho's attempt to sell his way out of desperate circumstances? Perhaps a gauge can be found in the response the writer-director received at a recent East Hampton screening for a roomful of magnates such as John Paulson, figures who provided some of the initial inspiration for Arbitrage.
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