Blog Archives

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail


Thomas Sung, the subject of “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail.” Photo by Sean Lyness

October 01, 2016. “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail” is a gripping account of the, under reported, trial of the Abacus Federal Savings Bank, the only bank to have faced criminal charges in the wake of the 2008 financial crises. Even though much bigger banks participated in deliberate and massive mortgage fraud, no criminal indictments were every brought against them. They were bailed out by the tax payers because they were “too big to fail.” In other words, had they failed they would have wreaked havoc on the U.S. economy. So, they got a pass. Abacus, as the film’s title suggests, was small enough to pick on as the proxy for the much bigger banking corruption that was not, and apparently could not be, punished. Read the rest of this entry


The Dog

Bank robber John Wojtowicz

Bank robber John Wojtowicz

Al Pacino in "Dog Day Afternoon" (1975)

Al Pacino in “Dog Day Afternoon” (1975)

“The Dog” is one of the best documentaries I have seen in quite some time. The film covers everything you could possibly want to know about the famous (or should I say “infamous?”) “Dog Day Afternoon” bank robber, and hostage taker, John Wojtowicz, immortalized by Al Pacino in director Sidney Lumet’s brilliant, scorching, 1975 film “Dog Day Afternoon.” It is also a fascinating and highly entertaining documentary, to be enjoyed even if you have not seen “Dog Day Afternoon.”

However, if you love “Dog Day Afternoon” the way I do (and I’ve been a fan ever since seeing it at the age of 13 – my God, what were my parents thinking?) “The Dog” is a fascinating and compelling compendium of things we know, and many things we do not know, about the actual events that transpired before, during and long after that blistering hot afternoon of August 22, 1972, in Brooklyn, when two men held up a branch of the Chase Manhattan Bank.

Watching “The Dog,” it is very interesting to see how much of the story “Dog Day Afternoon” got right. I had the privilege of seeing Lumet speak on many occasions. He always said that the story telling emphasis in “Dog Day Afternoon” was on the fact that this event really happened. Read the rest of this entry

“Barry Lyndon” at Film Society of Lincoln Center – Digital Presentation – DCP

Ryan O’Neal and Marisa Berenson in Stanley Kubrick’s 1975 masterpiece “Barry Lyndon”

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


"Margaret" cast including Matthew Broderick and director Kenneth Lonergan (both in center) at Film Society of Lincoln Center, Walter Reade Theatre on February 25.

On Saturday, February 25 the Film Society of Lincoln Center presented a screening of writer/director Kenneth Lonergan’s little seen film “Margaret.”  The showing was part of its “Film Comment Selects” series.   The screening took place at the Film Society’s Walter Reade Theatre.  “Margaret” is easily one of the best films of 2011…and almost nobody has seen it.   The film was actually shot in 2005.  One of its rare appearances occurred this past December, when it had brief at run at Cinema Village.  Read the rest of this entry

Albert Brooks at Film Society of Lincoln Center

Albert Brooks, who appeared at the Film Society of Lincoln Center on January 8.

Albert Brooks, comedian, actor, writer and movie director appeared at the Film Society of Lincoln Center on Sunday, January 8 to discuss his career.  It was an evening of film clips, stories, anecdotes; an event that presented a varied and comprehensive look at Brooks’ work acting in the films of other directors, including Martin Scorsese, Sidney Lumet, Steven Soderbergh, James L. Brooks (no relation) and others. Brooks was interviewed by Scott Foundas, Associate Program Director for the Film Society.   The event took place at the Walter Reade Theatre. Read the rest of this entry