Tribeca Film Festival 2014: Something Must Break

Something-Must-Break_web_3The bleak Swedish film Something Must Break portrays the troubled and destructive life of Sebastian. Like most young people, Sebastian (Saga Becker) is undergoing an identity crisis. Unlike most young people, Sebastian identifies as the opposite sex. He’s cultivated his androgynous looks to resemble his idyll form: Ellie. But his suicidal discontent with life leads him down a destructive path.

Apr
30
2014
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Tribeca Film Festival 2014: Life Partners

680x478The 2014 Tribeca Film Festival theme of friends staying close as they head into their 30s (first seen in About Alex) continues in Life Partners (which also happens to feature actors best known for their TV work). Sasha (Leighton Meester) and Paige (Gillian Jacobs) are the best of friends. They get along so well that no romantic relationship has been able to match it. But when Paige begins dating Tim (Adam Brody) things quickly change for them.

Apr
30
2014
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Tribeca Film Festival 2014: Palo Alto

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For her debut feature film, Gia Coppola (granddaughter of that Coppola) tackles the collection of short stories by James Franco, Palo Alto. Choosing to dwell on what life is like—and feels like—for a teenager, the film draws from several of the stories and interlinks them more cohesively in the film. Just as in the book, the film relies on an impressionistic mood to express this not-quite coming of age story.

Apr
26
2014
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Tribeca Film Festival 2014: About Alex

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For Jesse Zwick’s first feature film, he gathered together an ensemble of sitcom actors to tell a hilarious and heartfelt story about friendship (and social media). In About Alex, six somewhat estranged college friends (and a plus one) gather together for a weekend to “celebrate” the attempted suicide of their friend. Over the weekend, secrets and unrequited passions rear their ugly heads but push these great friends back together.

Apr
26
2014
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Does Bronx Bombers Hit A Home Run On The Broadway Stage?

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Bronx Bombers is the latest from the producers of Broadway’s Lombardi. The story of the New York Yankees, sports’ greatest dynasty, is a massive one. From Ruth to Jeter and everywhere in between, telling the history of the once-Highlanders-now-Yankees is no simple task. The smartest way to distill the franchise’s 100+ year history is to do exactly what Eric Simonson did and build a narrative around the questions of what it is that makes being a New York Yankee so special, what it is to work towards a common goal and what it means to be a champion.

Feb
22
2014
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Watch the First Trailer for Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy"

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Tonight, Jimmy Kimmel and Chris Pratt introduced the first full-length trailer for Marvel's upcoming space adventure Guardians of the Galaxy, and while it doesn't do much for the plot, it at least introduces the average audience (who've likely never heard of these misfits) to the protagonists of this year's second Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. Coming from Director James Gunn and considering the source material, there's a strong comedic streak running through Guardians of the Galaxy, and the trailer shows that off well with it's use of Blue Swede's "Hooked on a Feeling". To check out the full trailer, just read on.

Guardians of the Galaxy hits theaters on August 1, 2014 and stars Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper (as a talking raccoon), Vin Diesel (as a walking tree), Zoe Saldana, Lee Pace, Karen Gillan, Benicio Del Toro, Djimon Hounsou, Glenn Close, Michael Rooker, and Dave Bautista.

Feb
19
2014
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Make 'Em Laugh: Doug Stanhope's "Beer Hall Putsch"

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Beer Hall Putsch brings the comedy of Doug Stanhope to your home DVD collection. His affected name for this recording is derived from Hitler’s attempts to incite a governmental revolt in beer halls (in his pre-Fuhrer days). However, the only uprising Stanhope is liable to incite is over the use of marathon runs to raise money for charities.

Jan
29
2014
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Severely Indie Spotlight: "The Louise Log" - An Absurdist Webseries

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In the age of crowdfunding (Kickstarter, Indiegogo, etc.), projects can either live or die based on the heat generated by an audience. I’ve backed a few projects in my day, most notably the American Psycho musical, produced by Jesse Singer and Act4. For my $100 “donation” I received an autographed poster, t-shirt, flash drive and more. An exciting and nerve-wracking experience, I’ve been paying attention to crowdfunding more and more as time has gone on.

The Louise Log, created by Anne Flournoy, is a tremendous success story in that the webseries, now commencing its third season, netted around $22,000 in funding to proceed.

Jan
28
2014
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Make 'Em Laugh: Kathleen Madigan's "Madigan Again"

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Madigan Again opens up with Kathleen Madigan palling around with Lewis Black, who also introduces her set on stage; the pairing was clearly deliberate. Black is the more famous comedian, and his presence serves to acclimate those familiar with his work to the sensibilities of Madigan. The comparison is apt (they’re both dry and cynical, though perhaps that’s simply a condition of modern comedy) but not perfect (Madigan does not scream and wave her hands throughout her set). Instead, she seems to view the world around her with something closer to bemusement than contempt.

Jan
27
2014
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Make 'Em Laugh: Jim Breuer's "And Laughter for All"

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It is incredibly difficult for a comedian to produce a clean, family-friendly show that is still funny, especially if their career and audience up until now have been built on raunchy comedy. Jim Breur opens his new comedy special And Laughter for All with a backstage conversation between Breur and his various alter-egos and impersonations. He lays down the law for them and explains that his new show is about “laughter for all,” comedy that can be enjoyed by fans of his old stand-up and his run on Saturday Night Live as well as families. Having sat through And Laughter for All, I am happy to say he almost entirely succeeds in his goal with only one major misstep and delivers an enjoyable night of comedy, “clean” or otherwise.

Jan
17
2014
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In January, Criterion Sits on a Throne of Blood, Goes Mad, Mad, Mad, Lives La Vie de Boheme and More

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It's time to ring in the new year with some classic and contemporary cinema lovingly preserved by the folks over at The Criterion Collection. As The Criterion Collection continues their mission of cataloging culturally important films from across the ages, they also make it possible to get some of the best world cinema has to offer on Blu-ray and DVD. In January, The Criterion Collection releases new Blu-ray and DVD combo editions of: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, the classic comedy by Stanley Kramer; Jules Dassin's classic caper Rififi; Michael Mann's first feature-length (non-TV-movie) neonoir film Thief; celebrated British director Terence Davies's masterpiece The Long Day Closes; Aki Kaurismaki's 1992 comedy La Vie de Boheme; and finally some more Akira Kurosawa (who likely has more films in the Criterion Collection than any other director) as he takes on Macbeth in Throne of Blood. Additionally, Criterion is releasing a set celebrating the later films of Indian director Satyajit Ray.

For details on all of these releases, read on.

Jan
02
2014
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Make 'Em Laugh: Bill Cosby's "Far From Finished"

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Bill Cosby is one of the comedy greats. His name is mentioned along with the likes of Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Bill Hicks, and the rest, and deservedly so. The man has forgotten more about comedy than you or I will likely ever know. His latest stand-up special, Bill Cosby…Far From Finished, also happens to be his first in 30 years and one thing is clear: he’s still got it, for the most part. It might not be as uproarious, sharp, on-point as he used to be, but then again, it’s a very different comedy special than what he did in the past, at least in tone. Maybe it has something to do with how he remains sitting the entire time (a decision that itself works as the special’s opening joke) instead of moving about here and there, or maybe it’s the change in pace of his delivery as he’s gotten older, but whatever the case, the rate-of-fire for Cosby’s punchlines have not only slowed but they’ve changed in their attitude.

Dec
31
2013
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"Showgirls! The Musical!" Is Erect. Why Aren't You Erect?

showgirlsIf you hang around Theater 80 on St. Marks after seeing Bayside! The Musical! (a parody of Saved by the Bell) then you can catch the scandalously funny late-night parody Showgirls! The Musical! April Kidwell spends the evening channeling Elizabeth Berkeley, transforming from Saved’s Jessie Spano into Showgirls!’s Nomi Malone. Showgirls! is one of the best worst films ever, and this East Village production fully embraces every aspect of the film that has made it so iconic.

Dec
26
2013
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NYCC 2013: Black Sails Roundtable Interview #4

2013-04-18-black_sailsRoundtable Interview with Black Sails Stars Zach McGowan and Mark Ryan

Q: They were talking about doing the training. I remember the Spartacus guys and the Da Vinci's Code were on a strict diet. Is it the same for you guys?

Nov
18
2013
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NYCC 2013: Black Sails Roundtable Interview #3

2013-04-18-black_sailsRoundtable Interview with Black Sails Stars Luke Arnold and Jessica Parker Kennedy

Q: Are you from West Australia?

Nov
18
2013
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NYCC 2013: Black Sails Roundtable Interview #2

2013-04-18-black_sailsRoundtable Interview with Black Sails Stars Toby Stephens and Hannah New

Toby Stephens: I play Captain Flint who is the captain of the Walrus. When we join in, historically he has been the most successful pirate on the island. He's brought in the most money, but he's hit a foul patch and his crew is becoming discontented and beginning to doubt his captaincy. There's a guy on the crew who is trying to get him kicked out because these crews are democracies. They'd all be pressed, the crews and pirate ships have all been pressed to naval ships or onto merchant ships. They were taken away from their families, they were treated appallingly, they were paid very little, it was a very hard life, so when they became pirates, they imposed this real democratic system which was terribly inefficient because every time there was a decision to be made, they all kind of had to go by show of hands. The only time the captain had absolute power was in battle. So anyway, there's this sense at the beginning of this that Flint is this terrifying figure, but he's on the back foot, he's in trouble, they're going to vote him off, and he has to survive.

Nov
18
2013
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NYCC 2013: Black Sails Roundtable Interview #1

2013-04-18-black_sailsRoundtable Interview with Black Sails Creator Jonathan E. Steinberg

Q: Is it safe to say that Treasure Island was one of your favorite books growing up?

Nov
18
2013
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NYCC 2013: Outlander Roundtable Interview

outlander-moorwenRoundtable Interview with Outlander Novel Author Diana Gabaldon and Executive Producer Ronald D. Moore 

Diana Gabaldon: It would be nice to have a female character to play off of these guys, since it was essentially Scots vs. English during the Jacobi rising, let's make her an English woman. We'll have lots of conflict. So she walked into a cottage full of Scotsmen, one of them stood up and said, “My name's Dougal McKenzie, and who might you be?” And without my stopping to think, I just typed, “My name's Claire Elizabeth Beacham, and who the hell are you?” I said, “You don't sound at all like an 18th century person.” So I found with her for several pages, trying to beat her into shape and make her talk like an 18th century woman. She wasn't having any of it. She just kept making smart-ass modern remarks and she also started telling the story herself, so it's all her fault that there is time travel.

Nov
18
2013
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NYCC 2013: Da Vinci's Demons Roundtable Interview #2

tom-riley-as-leonardo-da-vinci-3Roundtable Interview with Da Vinci’s Demons Creator David S. Goyer and Stars Tom Riley and Laura Haddock

Q: You had mentioned this show, and I was excited from the get-go, and I loved the details, I love the historical, you know, the details. I don't know how much time you've spent on the research.

Nov
17
2013
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NYCC 2013: Da Vinci's Demons Roundtable Interview #1

tom-riley-as-leonardo-da-vinci-3Roundtable Interview with Da Vinci’s Demons Stars Blake Ritson, Gregg Chillin and Carolina Guerra

Q: So the second season seems to be very mystical, very fantasy, I’d say a lot more than last year.

Nov
17
2013
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