Featured Films

Who is THE OUTRAGEOUS SOPHIE TUCKER?

Who is THE OUTRAGEOUS SOPHIE TUCKER?

Sophie Tucker. Who is Sophie Tucker? Prior to watching this documentary, appropriately titled “The Outrageous Sophie Tucker” directed by Academy award nominated documentary filmmaker William Gazecki and produced and written by Susan and Lloyd Ecker, I had never heard of Sophie Tucker. Sophie Tucker was ahead of her time. A jazz singer by trade; she wowed audiences from the 1920’s to the 1960’s. Her larger than life persona resonated on stage. She was the female mogul […]

Film Review: GOD LOVES THE FIGHTER

Film Review: GOD LOVES THE FIGHTER

‘God Loves the Fighter,’ was written and directed by Damian Marcano, and co-written by Alexa Bailey. A prizewinner at the Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival, UrbanWorld, and DC Film Fest, GOD LOVES THE FIGHTER is described as a gritty urban fable in the spirit of CITY OF GOD and THE HARDER THEY COME, told against a soundtrack of music by Q Major and Freetown Collective.  King Curtis (Lou Lyons) is a vagrant and poet on […]

Documentary “SEX AND BROADCASTING” Tells History of WFMU

Documentary “SEX AND BROADCASTING” Tells History of WFMU

sex and broadcasting

Despite pop culture relentlessly promoting the idea of individuality, there is little in our current culture that actually is independent and free. Even “indie” music and film aren’t what they used to be as major corporations commandeer what once was independent and use “indie” as a marketing buzzword. In that sense, the Jersey City radio station WFMU should not exist in the 21st century – it is a commercial-free, all-volunteer, 100% listener-supported radio station sitting on the edge of the largest media market in the United States.

THE BETTER ANGELS Explores The Childhood of Abraham Lincoln

THE BETTER ANGELS Explores The Childhood of Abraham Lincoln

the better angels 1

Many recent Hollywood blockbusters have taken well-known fictional characters and depicted their earliest adventures in prequels or origin films. With THE BETTER ANGELS, it appears that the origin film trend has now encompassed historical figures because the film portrays the childhood of Abraham Lincoln. THE BETTER ANGELS is the debut film from writer/director A.J. Edwards, a collaborator of Terrence Malick who worked in various roles on The New World, The Tree of Life, and To the Wonder (Malick also serves as a producer of THE BETTER ANGELS).

MANHATTAN ROMANCE Written & Directed by Tom O’Brien

MANHATTAN ROMANCE Written & Directed by Tom O’Brien

manhattan romance

Towards the end of MANHATTAN ROMANCE, Danny (Tom O’Brien, who also wrote, directed, and produced this movie) is presenting a documentary he created about New York relationships at a film festival. When an audience member asks Danny why his film lacks a resolution, Danny gives a semi-annoyed response about how life doesn’t have clean resolutions so there is no reason why films should have them either. There’s nothing wrong with that sentiment – plenty of great movies end unresolved – but when an actor/writer/producer/director expresses that shortly before the credits in his own film, it sounds like a preemptive defense of his lack of confidence in the ending of his own movie.

FUGLY! Starring John Leguizamo & Rosie Perez

FUGLY! Starring John Leguizamo & Rosie Perez

Fugly

The tagline for FUGLY! – co-written and starring John Leguizamo – declares it “An Anti-Romantic Comedy.” However, that’s like putting a sign on a duck that says “this is not a duck” and expecting people to think it’s another animal. FUGLY! might not be melodramatic, but it’s as much of a romantic comedy as Garden State, 500 Days of Summer, or any other movie involving a male protagonist pining over a girl whom he thinks is the cure-all to his imperfections despite she being imperfect herself.

“Pelican Dreams” The Entertaining DocuDrama

“Pelican Dreams” The Entertaining DocuDrama

pelican dreams

Nature documentaries don’t often warrant reviewing since their purpose is primarily to educate, not entertain. But many nature documentaries like Pelican Dreams often combine traditional nature photography with purposeful narratives that inject personality into the art form.

Compelling Drama “Diplomatie” (Diplomacy)

Compelling Drama “Diplomatie” (Diplomacy)

"Diplomatie" (Diplomacy)

In late August 1944, the Allies were advancing on German-occupied Paris. General von Choltitz (Niels Arestrup) the military governor of Paris (a position he held less than three weeks before the events of the film begin) is given orders to destroy Paris and abandon the city. He enlists a French engineer named Jacques Lanvin (Jean-Marc Roulot) to develop a plan to destroy Paris. Lanvin proposes blowing up the city’s many bridges to cause the Seine to flood, which would destroy the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, and the Opera. The remaining city monuments – including the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and Parliament – would be destroyed by explosives. Ironically, Choltitz points out to Lanvin that Paris is Hitler’s favorite city. “So why destroy it?” Lanvin asks. Choltitz responds, “Hitler wanted Berlin to be as beautiful as Paris, and bigger. Now, four years later, Berlin is in ruins, while Paris is as glorious as ever, see? It’s unbearable for him.”

Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy Stars in Indie Movie ST. VINCENT

Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy Stars in Indie Movie ST. VINCENT

indie movie St. Vincent

I will see just about any movie that stars Bill Murray not only because he’s one of my all-time favorite actors, but also because Murray has a tendency to pick great projects to star in. The new indie movie St. Vincent has received a lot of praise in the lead-up to its release based on Murray’s performance, and it’s all warranted. Though Murray has spent the last decade mostly starring in little-seen indie films and Wes Anderson movies, St. Vincent will remind general audiences just how great of an actor he is.