Category Archives: Feature Articles
From left to right, Diane Keaton, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall, Francis Ford Coppola, James Caan, Al Pacino and Talia Shire at the “Godfather Reunion” at Radio City Music Hall, as part of the Tribeca Film Festival, 2017
April 30, 2017. On Saturday, April 29, the Tribeca Film Festival presented an incredible historical event at Radio City Music Hall. “The Godfather” (1972) and “The Godfather: Part II” (1974) were screened, followed by a reunion Q & A with the films’ director Francis Ford Coppola, actors Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall, James Caan, Diane Keaton and Talia Shire (no relation, but I was thrilled to see my tickets next to hers at the “will call” window). The talk was moderated by movie director Taylor Hackford. The event began at 1:00 and went until about 9:30. Read the rest of this entry
November 8, 2015. DOC NYC, America’s largest documentary film festival, runs from November 12 – 19 at IFC Center (323 6th Avenue), Chelsea’s SVA Theatre (333 West 23rd Street) and Bow Tie Chelsea Cinemas (260 West 23rd Street). The 2015 edition of DOC NYC will include 104 feature length documentaries. More than 200 documentary filmmakers are expected, in person, to present their films. Special guests will include Hillary Rodham Clinton and Martin Scorsese.
On Friday, November 13 the documentary “The Anthropologist” will have its premiere screening at DOC NYC. The screening will take place at the SVA Theatre at 9:30 pm.
“The Anthropologist” is the latest documentary made by Ironbound Films, a unique company which has produced some fascinating documentaries. Ironbound Films boasts no less than three directors – Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller and Jeremy Newberger – all of whom work on the company’s movies. Previous Ironbound documentaries include the 2012 documentary “Evocateur: the Morton Downey, Jr. Movie” (available on Netflix) and “The Linguists” (2008). Read the rest of this entry
This year I was a participant in the 13th annual Coney Island Film Festival, which ran from September 20-22. While I always enjoy film festivals, I had an especially nice time at this small, intimate, warm, friendly, community oriented, independent minded and very cool festival, sponsored by Coney Island USA. The opening night events included a very enjoyable, live burlesque show. How many film festivals do that?
My documentary short, “Mad Santa,” was shown on Saturday, September 21 as part of a program of documentary shorts. After seeing some of the other entries in this program, I realized I was in the company of some very talented filmmakers. I was gratified to see my work get some (much hoped for) laughs in its first public screening and receive some nice compliments from audience members following the program.
As has always been my experience at film festivals, the documentaries are the best part, and Coney Island was no exception. Maybe it is just my bias, but, at film festivals, the documentaries seem to have the most consistently high level of quality. Read the rest of this entry
James Karen is one of those actors who, as soon as you see him, you think something along the lines of, “Oh yeah, I know that guy. He is in so many things.” On May 20, at Film Forum, the man himself made an appearance at an event honoring him with a screening of his 1985 horror movie/comedy “The Return of the Living Dead.”
Film Fourm Director of Repertory Programming, Bruce Goldstein, introduced Karen by mentioning that in addition to having been in the original Broadway cast of “A Street Car Named Desire” in 1947, Karen had performed in over 200 films and had done lots of television work. Karen is probably most recognizable from his numerous TV commercials for Pathmark supermarkets, made between 1969 and 1979.
A quick collection of film clips showed Karen in many diverse roles including his feature film debut in “Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster” (1965). Karen’s filmography also includes “The China Syndrome” (1979), “Wall Street” (1987), “Mulholland Drive” (2001) and “Poltergeist” (1982) among many others. Goldstein asked Karen why, with over 200 movies, had he picked “The Return of the Living Dead” for the evening’s screening? “Because it was the most fun I had making a movie,” Karen replied. Read the rest of this entry
This past weekend I saw two movies, which, at first glance had no relationship to each other. One was set in 1940’s Los Angeles and the other in a futuristic, zombie filled, post apocalyptic world. So why am I writing about them in the same article? Applying a close critical analysis, and a bit of imagination, the case can be made that both movies are about the dregs of society. Conversely, one film had something interesting to say about humanity and the other did not. Read the rest of this entry
Gary Joseph died this past Sunday (October 14, 2012). He was my very great friend with whom I saw probably 1,000 movies over the course of our friendship, which lasted 26 years. His death leaves a giant hole.
Many people have friends in their lives that they have known for 26 years, but I will bet few can remember the exact moment that they met these friends. I can. I met Gary, appropriately enough, in a movie theatre where we were both taking a film class. He sat two seats away from me, stuck out his hand and said, “I’m Gary Joseph.” I did not know it at the time, but a unique and important person had entered my life. When we met, Gary was 35-years-old with red hair and a red beard. When he died on Sunday he was 61 and what hair he had left had turned gray. Read the rest of this entry
Director Fritz Lang came to America, from Germany, in 1934. The story he liked to tell, which may be true or which he may have told because it made for a good story, is that Joseph Goebbels, the Third Reich’s Minister of Propaganda, met with him to talk about Lang making movies for the Third Reich. Lang said he accepted the offer but that, following the meeting, he caught the next train to Paris, eventually making his way to America.
“It’s what everyone asks us when we’re home for the holidays, ‘What do you do?’” director Chris Kenneally explained to me regarding his former job as a post production supervisor of feature films. Kenneally’s extensive knowledge of the post production process has brought him to his new position as documentary filmmaker with a documentary largely about (what else?) post production. “Side By Side” is a film that unveils at least some of the mystery behind the post production process (what happens after a movie has been shot), as well as the production process (the actual shooting of a movie) of feature filmmaking. Most important, Kenneally makes the production and post production processes, and the changes that they are now under going, interesting and accessible for those not involved in post production (most likely the majority who will see “Side By Side.”)
“We hoped that we could make something that’s not just educational but that’s entertaining. We want people to be engaged and enjoy themselves while they’re watching it,” Kenneally told me during a recent telephone conversation. Read the rest of this entry
Back by popular demand, following sold out screenings at its recent “Spaghetti Westerns” series, Film Forum presents director Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Western masterpiece “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (1966) in a restored DCP (Digital Cinema Package) version. TGTBTU will run from August 29 – September 4.
If you have not seen TGTBTU on the big screen all I can say is “go.” It is tremendous fun and one of my favorite movies. Plus, Film Forum’s screening is a rare opportunity to experience it under ideal circumstances. DCP means is that TGTBTU will be screened in high definition video, projected from a hard drive, as opposed to a traditional 35mm film print. Read the rest of this entry
On June 22, 25 and 27 at 12:15, the Film Society of Lincoln Center will present a digitally restored showing of Stanley Kubrick’s 1975 film “Barry Lyndon.” The presentation will be in DCP (Digital Cinema Package) which is becoming the industry standard for projection of new and classic films. DCP uses cutting-edge technology to scan 35mm film negatives into digital files and then plays them back, from a computer hard drive, at stunning 2K or 4K resolution. The result is sound and image that rivals or surpasses even the best quality 35mm prints.
I am often asked to name my favorite movie, a formidable question considering how many movies I have seen. I always come up with the same answer, “Barry Lyndon.” I first saw “Barry Lyndon” at the age of 13 when my parents took me to see it during its opening week at the Ziegfeld Theatre in Manhattan. The Ziegfeld, along with the Paris, and thankfully the Film Society’s Walter Reade Theatre, is one of the last of the city’s great single screen movie theatres. I had never seen a movie like “Barry Lyndon” before and I certainly had never seen a movie theatre like the Ziegfeld. If you have not seen a movie there, go. Read the rest of this entry