Movie Review — JACKIE: The Power of Cheap Music

Movie Review — JACKIE:  The Power of Cheap Music

Working within several time frames, Pablo Larrain’s new film, Jackie, starring Nathalie Portman in the title role, recounts the way Jacqueline Kennedy dealt with the terrible days right after the assassination of President Kennedy, and also how in retrospect she came to think about her role and that historical moment. The film adopts a low key, talking-head rhetoric about the woman, her trials and tribulations, and the ordeal the United States went through. But it ends with the (inordinately) triumphant strains of the final song from the Broadway musical Camelot, as Richard Burton sings, “Don’t let it be forgot/That once there was a spot/For one brief shining moment/ That was known as Camelot.” What are we to make of this ecstatic explosion of kitsch as the culmination of an essentially quiet film about one of the most wrenching episodes in modern American history?

Read More

Three Trembling Cities, A Web Series

Three Trembling Cities, A Web Series

​Three Trembling Cities, written and directed by Arthur Vincie, is an innovative web series about immigrants in New York. Wait, don’t run for the exit. It’s not an earnest and/or sentimental diatribe about America as a country of immigrants; or a timely warning against the repulsive policies of Donald Trump, although this is a good time for America to consider its immigrant heritage. ​But the word “immigrant” has become heavy, fraught with anxiety, anger, and melancholy, and Three Trembling Cities is anything but that.

Read More

Movie Review: A Cat’s Tale

Movie Review: A Cat’s Tale

A Cat’s Tale is an independent film. Very independent. It defies all the current norms of studio production. Recently debuted at the Chelsea International Film Festival in New York, it is the recipient of both Best Director and Best Ensemble Cast awards from the Best Actors Film Festival in San Francisco. And no wonder. For this story of a pair of middle-aged fraternal twins, Rob and Carla (Marty Grabstein and Lisa Barnes), Director Rick Mowatt has crafted a fluid cinematic style to create individual and shared spaces for the embattled siblings. Read on…

Read More

EQUITY is an Economic Fable for Our Times – Movie Review

EQUITY is an Economic Fable for Our Times – Movie Review

Equity, directed by Meera Menon and written by Amy Fox, starring Anna Gunn, is an economic fable for our times, with the punch and cultural insight of The Big Short, without the faux celebrity razzle dazzle of The Wolf of Wall Street, and with much greater freshness than either. It’s a movie by and about women in the upper echelons of investment banking and the drinking, sex, and wheels and deals this entails that propels independent production with a female perspective to new heights of achievement.

Read More

BROOKLYN: Or “The Girl” as Universal Solvent (New York Film Festival Review)

BROOKLYN:  Or “The Girl” as Universal Solvent   (New York Film Festival Review)

What’s not to like about Brooklyn? It’s a small, but polished, intentionally artful looking indie; moderate budget but not low enough to preclude multi-national locations—County Wexford Ireland; New York; and Montreal–and quiet, well-turned performances by Saoirse Ronan, Julie Walters, and Jim Broadbent. And it gives you an opportunity to learn about Irish culture and what America was like after World War II, which is when it is set. Well OK, maybe you don’t learn that much because if there was any reference to the war I don’t remember it, and there certainly was no attention paid to the equivocal shot in the arm that the destruction of European economies gave to the American GNP.

Read More

THE JENNIFER-PENNY CHRONICLES: MAKING HISSS – Chapter Eight

THE JENNIFER-PENNY CHRONICLES: MAKING HISSS – Chapter Eight

THE REMOVED OBSERVER GETS THE LAST WORD is the final chapter in an eight part exploration of the failure of the American-East Indian co-production of >Hisss (2010), filmmaker Jennifer Lynch’s greatly anticipated third feature film. Despite Lynch’s previous cinematic successes, Hisss, a tale about the Indian snake goddess Nagin, turned into an artistic and box office disaster that derailed its talented director. The making of Hisss and the aftermath for Lynch are the subject of Despite the Gods, an intimate documentary by Penny Vozniak, whose feminist perspective offers rare insight about the troubled production and its outcome.

Read More

THE JENNIFER-PENNY CHRONICLES: MAKING HISSS – Chapter Seven

THE JENNIFER-PENNY CHRONICLES: MAKING HISSS – Chapter Seven

IT ENDS BADLY is the seventh chapter in an eight part exploration of the failure of the American-East Indian co-production of >Hisss (2010), filmmaker Jennifer Lynch’s greatly anticipated third feature film. Despite Lynch’s previous cinematic successes, Hisss, a tale about the Indian snake goddess Nagin, turned into an artistic and box office disaster that derailed its talented director. The making of Hisss and the aftermath for Lynch are the subject of Despite the Gods, an intimate documentary by Penny Vozniak, whose feminist perspective offers rare insight about the troubled production and its outcome.

Read More

THE JENNIFER-PENNY CHRONICLES: MAKING HISSS – Chapter Six

THE JENNIFER-PENNY CHRONICLES: MAKING HISSS – Chapter Six

THE SILENT WATCHER is the sixth chapter in an eight part exploration of the failure of the American-East Indian co-production of >Hisss (2010), filmmaker Jennifer Lynch’s greatly anticipated third feature film. Despite Lynch’s previous cinematic successes, Hisss, a tale about the Indian snake goddess Nagin, turned into an artistic and box office disaster that derailed its talented director. The making of Hisss and the aftermath for Lynch are the subject of Despite the Gods, an intimate documentary by Penny Vozniak, whose feminist perspective offers rare insight about the troubled production and its outcome.

Read More

THE JENNIFER-PENNY CHRONICLES: MAKING HISSS – Chapter Five

THE JENNIFER-PENNY CHRONICLES: MAKING HISSS – Chapter Five

A SILENT WATCHER is the fifth chapter in an eight part exploration of the failure of the American-East Indian co-production of >Hisss (2010), filmmaker Jennifer Lynch’s greatly anticipated third feature film. Despite Lynch’s previous cinematic successes, Hisss, a tale about the Indian snake goddess Nagin, turned into an artistic and box office disaster that derailed its talented director. The making of Hisss and the aftermath for Lynch are the subject of Despite the Gods, an intimate documentary by Penny Vozniak, whose feminist perspective offers rare insight about the troubled production and its outcome.

Read More

HOUSE OF CARDS: Will Frank Underwood be the Next Captain Kirk?

HOUSE OF CARDS: Will Frank Underwood be the Next Captain Kirk?

I’m aware that this blog might make it seem that I’m out to get Beau Willimon, and for that appearance I apologize in advance. I’m not. My only reason for taking apart House of Cards, Season 3, in such detail is that it has been hyped as a prestige television production and I think that the reality is otherwise. It is a missed opportunity that requires attention from that part of entertainment journalism that seriously delves into what is really going on in the American media, which is such an important part of our culture. That said…….

Read More

I’m Mad as Hell at Kevin Spacey and (Maybe) I’m Not Going to Take it Any More

I’m Mad as Hell at Kevin Spacey and (Maybe) I’m Not Going to Take it Any More

After watching the second episode of Season 3 of Beau Willimon’s House of Cards, a horrible thought occurred to me. I began to wonder if Willimon was doing to me, that is to say to the audience, what Frank Underwood, played perhaps too well by Kevin Spacey, was doing to his colleagues in Willimon’s fictional Washington, D. C.: hitting me/us with dishonest, manipulative plots, for his own self-promotion. And Spacey, that talented, idealistic actor was LETTING HIS TALENT BE CO-OPTED IN THIS WAY? I’d been having suspicions about this series since Season 2. But Season 3 is starting off in way that more than justifies them, and not only because the first two eps have left me actually feeling queasy.

Read More

Provocation To Thought: MAD MEN Are Sad Men

Provocation To Thought: MAD MEN Are Sad Men

During my recent marathon re-watch of Matthew Weiner’s smartly conceived and beutifully realized Mad Men, I became increasingly aware that the AMC/Lionsgate television series is very clever in the way it portrays a society of disconnection, a society in which manipulation and thinking only of yourself is mandatory for success and which leaves everyone, in a million different ways, craving the loyalty and empathy that is missing. Read on…

Read More

THE JENNIFER-PENNY CHRONICLES: MAKING HISSS – Chapter Four

THE JENNIFER-PENNY CHRONICLES: MAKING HISSS – Chapter Four

WHAT PENNY VOZNIAK SAW is the fourth chapter in an eight part exploration of the failure of the American-East Indian co-production of >Hisss (2010), filmmaker Jennifer Lynch’s greatly anticipated third feature film. Despite Lynch’s previous cinematic successes, Hisss, a tale about the Indian snake goddess Nagin, turned into an artistic and box office disaster that derailed its talented director. The making of Hisss and the aftermath for Lynch are the subject of Despite the Gods, an intimate documentary by Penny Vozniak, whose feminist perspective offers rare insight about the troubled production and its outcome.

Read More

THE JENNIFER-PENNY CHRONICLES: MAKING HISSS – Chapter Three

THE JENNIFER-PENNY CHRONICLES: MAKING HISSS – Chapter Three

HOW PENNY VOZNIAK GOT INTO IT is the third chapter in an eight part exploration of the failure of the American-East Indian co-production of Hisss (2010), filmmaker Jennifer Lynch’s greatly anticipated third feature film. Despite Lynch’s previous cinematic successes, Hisss, a tale about the Indian snake goddess Nagin, turned into an artistic and box office disaster that derailed its talented director. The making of Hiss and the aftermath for Lynch are the subject of Despite the Gods, an intimate documentary by Penny Vozniak, whose feminist perspective offers rare insight about the troubled production and its outcome.

Read More

THE JENNIFER-PENNY CHRONICLES: MAKING HISSS – Chapter Two

THE JENNIFER-PENNY CHRONICLES: MAKING HISSS – Chapter Two

WHAT JENNIFER LYNCH SAW is the second chapter in an eight part exploration of the failure of the American-East Indian co-production of >Hisss (2010), filmmaker Jennifer Lynch’s greatly anticipated third feature film. Despite Lynch’s previous cinematic successes, Hisss, a tale about the Indian snake goddess Nagin, turned into an artistic and box office disaster that derailed its talented director. The making of Hisss and the aftermath for Lynch are the subject of Despite the Gods, an intimate documentary by Penny Vozniak, whose feminist perspective offers rare insight about the troubled production and its outcome.

Read More

Movie Review: TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT

Movie Review: TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT

Speaking of Two Days, One Night, the new film by the brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardennes that was part of the Main Slate offerings at this year’s New York Film Festival, “purity” is the word that comes to mind. The legendary brothers have produced a film in the tradition of Post World War II Italian neo-realism, the French New Wave of the 1950′s and 1960′s, and the Danish Dogme 95 movement—started, of course, in 1995–the more recent inheritors of the burning desire to push narrative film as far as possible away from the glamorization, fetishism and manipulations of Hollywood.

Read More

THE JENNIFER-PENNY CHRONICLES: MAKING HISSS – Chapter One

THE JENNIFER-PENNY CHRONICLES: MAKING HISSS – Chapter One

HOW MANY OBSERVERS DOES IT TAKE TO SEE AN EVENT? is the first installment of an eight part exploration of the failure of the American-East Indian co-production of >Hisss (2010), filmmaker Jennifer Lynch’s greatly anticipated third feature film. Despite Lynch’s previous cinematic successes, Hisss, a tale about the Indian snake goddess Nagin, turned into an artistic and box office disaster that derailed its talented director. The making of Hisss and the aftermath for Lynch are the subject of Despite the Gods, an intimate documentary by Penny Vozniak, whose feminist perspective offers rare insight about the troubled production and its outcome.

Read More