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April 17, 2015

Tribeca Film Festival Review: Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon

by Curtis John

The staff of the National Lampoon (photo courtesy of Tribeca Film Institute)

Screenings:

Tues., April 21, 9:15pm – Regal Cinemas Battery Park

Fri., April 24, 8:45pm – Regal Cinemas Battery Park

Series: Spotlight

 

If you are of a certain generation, the subversive humor magazine National Lampoon holds a certain place in your nostalgic heart. Now whether that place is at the top or bottom of your heart is another matter, but love it or hate it, its power is undeniable. Featuring extremely rare and never-before-seen footage, Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon is the outrageous story of the famed magazine and its underground, dissident, and racy 1960s beginnings, to its rebirth as an unlikely Hollywood heavyweight and beyond. The humor empire the radicals behind the Lampoon built—with its parody of politics, religion, and everyday American life—was like no other, and their creators, writers, and artistic staff left their mark all over popular culture.

(more…)

posted by: Curtis John
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labels: Film,Review


Tribeca Film Festival Review: Good Kill

by Curtis John

Ethan Hawke and January Jones in Good Kill (photo courtesy of IFC Films)

Screenings:

Sun., April 19, 9:30pm – BMCC Performing Arts Center

Wed., April 22, 6:15pm – Regal Cinemas Battery Park

Thurs., April 23, 9:30pm – Regal Cinemas Battery Park

Series: Spotlight (US Premiere)

 

United States Air Force pilot Major Tommy Egan (Ethan Hawke), a veteran of numerous air combat tours in the Middle East, now conducts the war from the “safety” of a Nevada trailer as a drone pilot. Depressed and misunderstood by co-workers and his family at home, especially wife Molly (January Jones), he leads a life that others feel is now peaceful and free from danger. Yet Tommy sees his job as cowardly, regularly attacking Taliban sites from thousands of miles away. When an idealistic rookie co-pilot (Zoë Kravitz) joins his crew, and new orders force him to take the lives of inncocent people, Tommy’s reticence is heightened and he takes drastic measures to save his family and his soul from the coldness of war.

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posted by: Curtis John
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December 29, 2014

2015 Limité Film Guide: Staff Picks

John Boyega in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (photo courtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd. © 2014. All rights reserved.)

Breathe deep. Following lackluster box office numbers of late, 2015 is aiming to usher in a wealth of cinematic riches with an onslaught of proven tentpoles. Such films scheduled with 2015 release dates include Furious 7, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Pitch Perfect 2, Jurassic World, Ted 2, Spectre (“Bond 24”), <exhale> The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, and Mission: Impossible 5 <exhale>. But in case that’s not enough to quench your appetite, there’s Peanuts coming in November. That doesn’t hit your sweet spot? Fifty Shades of Grey bows in February.

Each of Limité’s Film writers presents 10 of her or his most-anticipated films of 2015. Check out their picks, then tell us what you’re looking forward to seeing in the new year.

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posted by: Limité Staff
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November 17, 2014

DOC NYC Review: The Last Impresario

by Curtis John

Michael White and Jack Nicholson (photo by Jean Pigozzi)

Screening: Nov. 20, 7:30pm

Venue: SVA Theatre (New York, NY)

Section: Centerstage (NYC Premiere)

Who is Michael White? Easy. He’s the most famous person you’ve never heard of.

From Oh! Calcutta! (1972) and The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) to Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), producer Michael White has helped bring enduring cultural touchstones to Broadway, London’s West End, and the silver screen for over 40 years. Thanks to a chance meeting in Cannes, filmmaker Gracie Otto corrects White’s obscure standing in this buoyant film profile.

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posted by: Curtis John
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November 12, 2014

DOC NYC Review: Enquiring Minds: The Untold Story of the Man Behind the National Enquirer

by Curtis John

Screening: Nov. 15, 7pm

Venue: SVA Theatre (New York, NY)

Section: Special Events (NYC Premiere)

You know the National Enquirer well enough; it’s that gossip tabloid your mother, grandmother, or auntie picked up at the supermarket checkout line. Controversial and shocking in content, the Enquirer’s history parallels its subject matter in the life of the tabloid’s legendary publisher, Generoso “Gene” Pope Jr. Purchasing the paper in 1952—allegedly with mafia financing—Pope demonstrated an uncanny knack for assessing what the public wanted, at first using sex and gore, and later celebrity gossip and the supernatural, to ramp up his circulation to unheard-of numbers.

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posted by: Curtis John
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labels: Film,Review


November 11, 2014

DOC NYC Review: Do I Sound Gay?

by Curtis John 

Filmmaker David Thorpe and fashion guru Tim Gunn

Screening: Nov. 13, 7pm

Venue: SVA Theatre (New York, NY)

Section: Gala – Opening Night (US Premiere) 

After a breakup with his boyfriend, journalist David Thorpe confronts his anxiety about “sounding gay,” resulting in a funny and touching journey of self-discovery. With instruction from acting coaches and linguists, and guidance from friends, family, total strangers, and celebrities like comedian Margaret Cho, actor George Takei, sex advice columnist Dan Savage, fashion guru Tim Gunn, and writer David Sedaris, Thorpe quickly learns that many people—both gay and straight—often wish for a different voice. What starts as a personal journey becomes a chance to unpack layers of cultural baggage concerning sexuality, identity, and self-esteem.

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posted by: Curtis John
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October 14, 2014

New York Film Festival Review: Birdman

by Curtis John

Michael Keaton and Edward Norton in Birdman

Series: Main Slate (Closing Night Film)

Whether it is once a year or once every five years, there is a film that shatters your perceptions of what reality is, should be—or both. Oftentimes, this film is science-fiction (The Matrix, 1999), a foreign film (Holy Motors, 2012), or just a complete genre bender (Donnie Darko, 2001).

Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) is all these and more—and less. Confused? Don’t be. Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s newest film defies an easy explanation, but has a plot that is easily accessible and entertaining, thanks to its meta accents that do not fall into pure parody.

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posted by: Curtis John
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October 3, 2014

New York Film Festival Review: Timbuktu

by Curtis John

Series: Main Slate

In northern Mali lies Timbuktu, known historically as a flourishing city of commercial trading and intellectual advancement. While those glorious days are long gone, the multicultural city still stands with many open and tolerant ethnicities that inhabit it. But a few years ago, it and a huge part of Northern Mali were taken hostage by foreign, gun-toting, religious fundamentalists who, through their jihad, chose to twist Muslim teachings with their own version of Sharia law. This is when Abderrahmane Sissako’s Timbuktu takes place. With multiple characters that reflect the variety of people in the city, the focus lies on Kidane (Ibrahim Ahmed), a laid-back cattle herder living in the Timbuktu dunes with his wife Satima and their daughter Toya, who is his entire world. Kidane believes that his family’s peaceful existence in the dunes will remain unaffected by the occupiers, as opposed to the lives of the townspeople, who are not allowed to play music, smoke cigarettes, play soccer, or even laugh too loudly. But a fatal encounter with the fisherman who murdered Kidane’s favorite cow changes the family’s destiny, and Kidane must now face the new laws of the fundamentalists.

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posted by: Curtis John
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labels: Film,Review


September 29, 2014

New York Film Festival Review: The Wonders (Le meraviglie)

by Curtis John

Monica Bellucci in THE WONDERS (photo courtesy of New York Film Festival)

Screenings: Oct. 3, 6pm (Alice Tully Hall); Oct. 4, 3:15pm (Howard Gilman Theater) — Both screenings feature a live Q&A with director Alice Rohrwacher

Series: Main Slate

The rigors that accompany life and work in rural communities, set against those of the modern city, can often be extremely questionable to outsiders. That harshness can be magnified while trying to raise a family—and punctuated by a family of all girls. This is the problem that Wolfgang faces while toiling to provide and preserve a “traditional” way of life for his wife and three daughters. Yet, The Wonders is not his story, but that of his 12-year-old daughter Gelsomina. Her special talent for the family business of beekeeping and making honey, as well as quietly keeping the entire family in line, is both Gelsomina’s job and burden.

(more…)

posted by: Curtis John
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labels: Film,Review


September 25, 2014

New York Film Festival Review: Goodbye to Language (Adieu au langage)

by Curtis John

Screenings: Sept. 27, 9pm (includes Q&A with actress Héloïse Godet); Oct. 1, 9pm

Venue: Walter Reade Theater

Series: Main Slate

A married woman. A single man. A meeting between the two that erupts in fits of arguments and lovemaking. These elements, interspersed with an angry former husband and a roaming dog, form the only type of story one can glean from Goodbye to Language (Adieu au langage), the new film from auteur Jean-Luc Godard.

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posted by: Curtis John
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