Archive for the ‘Film and Theatre’ Category

Prayers for Natasha Richardson — Actress at Lenox Hill, Family at Bedside

After her accident on a beginners’ ski slope outside Montreal, actress Natasha Richardson is in
critical condition at Lenox Hill Hospital on the Upper East Side. She is surrounded by her famous family, including her husband, actor Liam Neeson, and mom actress Vanessa Redgrave.

Although rumors abound about her condition, some reports even saying she is “brain-dead” [we hope not], spokespeople will only confirm Richardson is in very critical condition, probably suffering from a traumatic brain injury. The actual extent of the injury, much less the prognosis, has not been confirmed yet.

Our prayers go out to Ms. Richardson and her family, as well as the doctors, nurses, and staff at Lenox Hill Hospital. Hopefully, a miracle will help everyone pull her through this sudden tragedy, which is proof again that every minute of life is precious.Natasha Richardson is in critical condition at Lenox Hill Hospital

Avoid the multiplex

If you’re sick of seeing the same old crap at the multiplex and lament the slow but sure demise of small theaters, you might try going to the IFC Center and checking out some of their special series. I used to go to these a few years ago when I had this glorious thing called “free time”, but with the slowdown in freelance work lately I now find myself with some extra time and wanting to take my mind off things. Perfect timing, as they are currently running a series of Cronenberg Classics. This series started on March 6-7 and each Friday and Saturday they run a special showing of a David Cronenberg film.

As anyone who knows me knows, I have an obsession with David Cronenberg films that borders on the unhealthy, so understandably I am quite excited about this. If you’re hanging out right now and want to go see a weird film that will leave you with a sort of… “huh?” feeling, they’ve got a midnight showing of his 1999 film Existenz tonight. The schedule for the next few weeks is as follows:

Mar 20-21: THE DEAD ZONE (1983)
Mar 27-28: VIDEODROME (1983)
Apr 3-4: NAKED LUNCH (1991)

As Videodrome is in my top 10 favorite films of all time, I will certainly be there for that one! I think it’s a great opportunity to see films in the theater that I’ve only seen on a wee TV screen.

IFC Center is located at 323 Sixth Avenue at West 3rd Street. You can check out the rest of IFC’s current schedule here.

Things to do this weekend – Kids Film Festival

Sita Sings the Blues - one of the entries this year

Sita Sings the Blues - one of the entries this year

As soon as I saw the posters pop up for this event, they caught my eye. This year (2008) in movies was horrendous. I saw maybe 4 movies at the theaters. Mainly because most of them didn’t capture my attention or intrigue.

The Children’s Film Festivals features movies for kids ages 7 and up. All of the films selected for this year’s festival give an age recommendation and will let you know if it can or cannot be enjoyed by adults.

Check out the screening schedule that start today, February 27th and go until March 15th. Enjoy the films.

Queens as seen in Hollywood and on the season finale of Entourage

McDowell's from "Coming to America"

Queens is where I grew up. It is the school of hard knocks if you grew up in the 90s—not because it was rough—but as a hip hop fashion statement in the form of a t-shirt.

My favorite pizza place was Gino’s on Grand Avenue right next to Queens Boulevard. It was actually the same intersection where McDowell’s is shown to be in the movie Coming to America.

In last night’s episode of Entourage which I consider to be one of the best season finale’s of a show ever, we saw some of the neighborhoods in Queens showcased in recent films.

The part where Vince and the guys live was a combination of Forest Hills a la Spider-Man and Kew Gardens as seen in Boiler Room.

The place where Johnny Drama opens up his new bar is exactly like a scene in Glengarry Glen Ross and also in the lesser known and sometimes forgotten George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez starring Out of Sight. And the scene in which they have a picnic looked very much like a scene from Goodfellas…though the latter took place in Brooklyn—Queens’ worst enemy.

But it was interesting to see how Queens always has certain elements of simplicity associated with it. Queens is never the place you see opulence go down or anything crazy happen. But Queens is also so picturesque and unique that an editor friend of mine tells me that when he was cutting a short film I directed at a major (not to be named) studio in Hollywood as a favor, someone walked by and immediately recognized her hometown of Queens on the television screen.

Though simple, Queens rules. That’s sort of the point.

Mr. Obama: Can We Make Broadway More Accessible for the Middle Class?

We learn that another celebrity-backed movie-morphed-into-musical is coming to town, courtesy of Dolly Parton. I’m sure ticket prices will be as splashy as the stage.
It’s a case of the chicken and the egg on Broadway these days. Are movies being recycled into splashy musicals to fill seats in the theaters, at unaffordable [to most people] prices, to pay for the high-priced movie and TV celebs and splashy sets? Or do we need the movies-made-into-splashy-musicals and celebs to fill seats, and thus have to charge exorbitant prices to pay for the splashy sets and high-price stars they have to use on Broadway in order to fill those seats.

Big money drives a Broadway production, and big money pays the bill for a night out at the theater. “Disney-fication” revived an ailing Broadway and cleaned up the Theater District, but ticket prices have gone through the roof, and I wonder what’s going to happen if tourism goes down in this crappy economy, especially from international visitors. In his effort to help the middle-class, can Mr. Obama help pass initiatives to subsidize the arts, as they do in Europe, to keep tickets reasonably priced? Or better yet, to help emerging producers, directors, composers, and writers without Disney-type bank accounts to put up original and stage fresh ideas, without such a hefty price-tag?

Seagull in the City

Photo from

I went to see Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull, starring Kristen Scott Thomas. A long-time fan of the play, I’d never seen it on the stage and was excited for this London-born (Royal Court Theatre) version to come to Broadway.

After dinner at good old Don Giovanni’s, we headed over to the theater a few blocks away. The scenery was perfect: minimal, yet set the mood. The first act set consisted of several trees dappled on the side of the stage and the side of a house.  As the actors took their places, you could almost feel the cold of a chilly, Russian evening (actually, it was pretty freezing in the theater, so you could feel it).  The costumes were stunning and perfect, making me envy these bored Russian aristocrats. Set, costumes, and characters came together to draw the audience into this production. (more…)

Spring in Autumn

Photo from

I went to see the musical Spring Awakening last night. My only knowledge of the show had consisted of some snippets on television commercials and a musical number played at the bar Splash on a Musical Monday. I had the impression that it either took place a while ago or among modern day Mennonites and that it involved a coming of age story. The show surprised me with rousing musical numbers, a touching story, and interesting characters played by very talented, very young actors.

The story centers around two young people discovering love in a strict and conservative society. The main characters stand out with their unique ability to see another kind of life.  Some of the show’s vibrant numbers include “The Bitch of Living” and “Totally Fucked”. This modern voice gave a sense that youthful optimism and angst have always existed.  From school girl crushes to wet dreams and masturbation, this production freshly portrays young people discovering their sexuality and illustrates some of the negative consequences of abstinence-only education. The plot follows the romances and tragedies of these young characters.


Brideshead Returns

Photo from

Having been a big fan of the 1981 mini series, I was excited to hear that Brideshead Revisited was coming to the big screen. Not able to persuade my husband to accompany me, I went to Chelsea Clearview Cinema with a friend (fittingly from England).

Visually stunning, the film travels from historic Oxford to the title country estate to Venice. Reminiscent of Atonement, the story similarly takes place among the English aristocracy around the onset of WWII and the clothes are fabulous. The plot revolves around a young painter’s involvement with a wealthy, Catholic family and the love triangle that develops as a result.


Monday Night at the Movies

Last night marked the end of Bryant Park’s 16th annual movie series with Superman closing season. My first Bryant Park movie experience, I had expected a crowd – but I hadn’t realized how big that crowd would be.

I arrived a little after 5 and already the park was packed. Luckily, a friend had gotten there earlier and reserved a not terrible spot. We munched on a modest picnic of fruit and cookies as our respective significant others joined us. Some female picnickers next to us required my husband’s help opening a wine bottle and rewarded us with free, much appreciated glasses of wine.

After watching some folks in Superman costumes and listening to a couple business sponsors, the show began. The crowd sang along to the 80’s HBO song which opened the movie (I have to admit it did make me a little nostalgic). I had never actually seen the whole film, but I enjoyed the ridiculous dialogue and the terrible effects. I understood why the film had acquired the cult following that it must have, judging by the enthusiastic audience. The sound died at a climactic part of the movie, right as Lois’s car was filling with dirt. The audience chimed in with their own sound effects and a rousing version of the Superman theme music. After some further technical problems, the film came back up to show Superman reversing time and saving the night.

Local filmmakers celebrate 20 years of cinematic innovation

Zeitgeist MugsLocal filmmakers Nancy Gerstman and Emily Russo of Zeitgeist Films sat down with Premiere Senior Editor and NYC Metblogs pal Jenni Miller to talk about their experiences in the film industry and the 20th anniversary of their company. I tagged along to photograph the two for the article and was interested to hear what they had to say about women in the film business and bringing great films that mix the political with the artistic to the public. From the article:

Zeitgeist Films, an independent film company known for delivering intelligent arthouse cinema to US audiences, is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a retrospective of its award-winning films at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The company’s co-Presidents, Nancy Gerstman and Emily Russo, sat down with Premiere in their Soho office to discuss entrepreneurship, creating a girl’s club within a male-dominated industry, and acquiring the documentary, Trouble the Water.

It’s an interesting article and outlook from two women who followed their passion for making great films (and kept the company local – their offices are in SoHo). You can also see the retrospective Zeitgeist: The Films of Our Time at the Museum of Modern Art, but hurry – the retrospective ends next Wednesday, July 23.

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.