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28 Days Later

28 Days LaterIFC viewingWhy do we love zombies? They've always been around in one form or another, long before Night of the Living Dead made them cool, but they seem to be on an upswing these days. The Walking Dead, of course, is a big reason why; a show so popular it has spawned a spin-off. I was a big fan of the original comic book for quite awhile, but I had to stop reading because it became painful to see all the crap Rick, the protagonist, goes through. No joke. So what is it about the flesh-eating ... read more »

45 Years

45 Yearsseen @ Lincoln Plaza Cinemas, New YorkSeeing 45 Years was kind of a spur-of-the-moment decision. All the movies I had wanted to see at the time (Joy, The Hateful Eight, Concussion) had gotten mediocre reviews, and I was kind of itching to see something new after coming off a year of blogging about old movies. I had noticed that this flick had gotten incredible reviews - one compared it favorably with Mike Leigh's Another Year, which I liked a lot - and Vija was planning to see it as part of our m... read more »

Horror Express

Horror ExpressYouTube viewingSo Christopher Lee left this world for a better one earlier this year, and while I knew little about his life and career at the time, some of the things I've learned have been quite surprising - none more so, perhaps, than his recent sideline as a heavy metal singer!What I've always found to be the hilarious thing about classic metal, especially British metal, is the way they took the most preposterous, over-the-top, apocalyptic lyrics and performed them so sincerely. Bands l... read more »

Santo vs. las Mujeres Vampiro

Hollywood's Hispanic Heritage Blogathones un evento dedicado a celebrar los logros de los latinos en la industria del cine a lo largo de la historia, organizado porOnce Upon a Screen. Para obtener una lista de bloggers que participan, por favor visite los enlaces en cualquier sitio.Santo vs. las Mujeres Vampiro (AKA Samson vs. the Vampire Women)YouTube viewingLong before the Rock, Hulk Hogan, Jesse Ventura or Rowdy Roddy Piper, there was El Santo - a professional wrestling legend from Mexico who parlayed... read more »

The Given Word

The Given Word (O Pagador de Promessas)YouTube viewingLast month I wrote about the movie Black Orpheus, a popular and beloved movie known around the world. I think it's terrific. It's superbly filmed, with a fine cast featuring people of color in a remarkable reinterpretation of the Orpheus myth that showcases the beauty of Rio de Janeiro, and I would happily recommend it to anyone.But it never occurred to me how actual Brazilians regard it.You've seen me write about Le for quite awhile; for one so young... read more »

Cinematic World Tour: The Young Girls of Rochefort

The Young Girls of Rochefort seen @ Battery Park, New York NYGreetings from...Rochefort?!Where on earth is Rochefort, you ask? It's a seaside town on the west coast of France. See, I was flying to Paris to watch the Tour de France, but Freddy, my pilot, ran into some engine trouble, and we had to set down on an airfield about fifteen miles outside of Rochefort so he could take care of it. You don't wanna know how scared out of my mind I was!I shouldn't have been, though. Freddy's flown all over the worl... read more »

Cinematic World Tour: Black Orpheus

Black Orpheus YouTube viewing Greetings from Rio!I had gotten an invite from my pal Le to a party to celebrate her new book. So my pilot re-fueled the jet, loaded up the bar, and we flew down to her neck of the woods in Brazil! The party was great! I was really excited to meet Le in person for the first time. But then she told me that Carnaval was about to go down in Rio in a couple of days.* I said, well, hey, as long as I'm already down here - let's go! Incredible city, Rio. As bustling and full... read more »

Foreign Cinema: Brunch is the Key Scene

No, were not showing the Avengers, said the hostess as she hung up the phone. Having the name Foreign Cinema, its hard not to confuse it with a normal theater; this restaurant resides within a space that has the exterior with a marquee, and they play foreign and independent films in their outdoor courtyard (check out their website [] read more »

Pather Panchali

Pather Panchali(AKA Song of the Little Road)seen @ Film Forum5.8.15Pather Panchali was yet another film I saw for the first time during my video store days in the 90s, when all I knew about it was that it was an Important Movie. I remember liking it, but I never had the inclination to revisit it or any of the other films in the so-called Apu Trilogy - Aparajito and World of Apu. So I was pleased to see that Film Forum was gonna show all three films this month, although this is probably the only one I'll ... read more »

QWFF 2015 Day 5: One of those days

This was a crappy day. I had to wake up at seven in the morning on a Saturday just so I could go to Starbucks to write, because Starbucks on the weekend is always crazy packed with people and it's next to impossible to get a table. I missed breakfast (a tea and a pastry doesn't really cut it) so I went to a bagel shop right before heading back to the Secret Theater for a 12:30 show. It was one I had never been to before, and I neglected to check if their grilled chicken sandwich comes with mustard, which... read more »

QWFF 2015 Day 3: Sentimental journeys

My first night at P.S. 69 in Jackson Heights was a relatively short one. It was also Parent-Teacher Conference night, so the Queens World Film Festival activities didn't get under way until around 9:30, but it was worth the wait. All four movies I saw were good:- Dollar Night. The ancient projectionist of a movie theater on its last legs tries to bring back the patrons with a promotional event. Shamelessly saccharine and manipulative, with a way-over-the-top score specifically designed to tug at your hea... read more »

QWFF 2015 Day 1: Parental guidance

Five years may not seem like a big milestone, but for the Queens World Film Festival, it's a sign of rapid and remarkable growth. From its humble beginnings, it has drawn together the Queens film community at large and linked it up with filmmakers worldwide, giving independent films of every stripe an opportunity to shine.Credit, as always, must go to the dynamic duo who put it all together, Don Katha Cato. The amount of energy and passion they put into this festival, as well as the truckloads of genuin... read more »

New release roundup for January '15

Throughout 2015, I'll confine my posts about new releases to a once-a-month roundup. These will be shorter, and will read more like reviews for the most part than usual. - Big Eyes. Before the Japanese anime and manga craze made big-eyed art popular to a new generation, there were Walter and Margaret Keane. The latest from Tim Burton tells the bizarre true story of how Walter used Margaret's paintings of big-eyed waifs to make a name for himself and how she found the strength to break away from him and... read more »

The links will come out... TOMORROW

MAJOR BLOG-RELATED ANNOUNCEMENT THIS TUESDAY.This is big, folks, big enough to require a separate post, because it concerns the direction of the blog for 2015. I highly recommend you come back here for it tomorrow. Not kidding.December 17! That's when the launch party for the next issue of Newtown Literary comes out, the one including my short story, "Airplanes." That's later than I expected, but that's okay; I'm just glad it's gonna be out there at last. It's not like I expect to be discovered by a publ... read more »

Force Majeure

Force Majeureseen @ Kew Gardens Cinemas, Kew Gardens, Queens, NY11.13.14Pop quiz, hotshot!You're on vacation with your spouse and children at a ski resort. You're eating on a terrace when a big-ass avalanche comes tearing down the mountain headed straight for you and fixing to bury you alive. What do you do?What do you do?!Part of the appeal of superheroes, which are more popular than ever now, is the idea that anyone can become one, given the right circumstances. Pseudo-science aside, if we were bitten ... read more »

Kirikou and the Sorceress

The Fairy Tale Blogathon is an event devoted to films inspired by fairy tales, folk stories and various tall tales from around the world, hosted by Movies Silently. For a complete list of participating bloggers, visit the link at the site.Kirikou and the Sorceressseen online via YouTubeOnce upon a time... in a small but culturally-diverse village called Queens......there lived a young(ish) blogger named Antonello. He loved to write about all manner of things, from the books he read to the places he went ... read more »

Grand Illusion

The World War I in Classic Film Blogathon observes the centennial of the first World War through the films based on or inspired by it, hosted by Movies Silently and Silent-ology. For a complete list of participating blogs, visit the links at either site.Grand Illusionseen @ "Films on the Green Festival," Pier 1, Riverside Park, New York, NY7.18.14When I was in college, I took an art class whose specific name I don't remember, but I certainly recall the teacher. Julie was perhaps my favorite college instr... read more »

Planet of the links

The ongoing struggle over control of the Loew's Jersey Theater has taken a turn for the worst: last week, Jersey City mayor Steve Fulop decided on a promoter to run the theater, and taxpayers are gonna foot most of the bill for renovations, surprise surprise. In a statement, Friends of the Loews continues to maintain that if only Jersey City had lived up to its end of the bargain it made with FoL to fund renovations (for a smaller amount than what the taxpayers are getting shafted with), none of this wou... read more »

The Wind Rises

The Wind Risesseen @ Alamo Drafthouse Yonkers, Yonkers NY3.11.14Even if you don't live in Texas (I don't), chances are that if you follow film at all, at some point you've heard of the Alamo Drafthouse chain of theaters. Simply put, they are the model by which all modern movie theaters should be judged. A lot has changed in the way we watch movies these days - Netflix, online streaming, video on demand; these have all become viable and profitable options when it comes to watching movies. For those of us ... read more »

Howl's Moving Castle

Howl's Moving Castleseen @ Ample Hills, Brooklyn NY2.6.13One could hardly blame me for thinking, as a child, that all Japanese animation was about giant robots, wicked-cool looking tech stuff, and prepubescent-looking girls. As I've written about before, TV shows like Battle of the Planets and films like Akira cemented those impressions in my mind for a long time.I remember this one kid from high school who would draw nothing but giant robots and Pacific Rim-style mecha armor. Later, I had a close friend... read more »

Philomena

Philomenaseen @ City Cinemas Paris Theater, New York NY12.15.13As biopics go - and this year has had absolutely no shortage of them - Philomena wasn't bad. I wasn't gonna see it at first, but the unabashed charm of Judi Dench in the trailer, which I saw repeatedly this fall, eventually won me over. I'm glad to say that the trailer didn't reveal as much of the story as I thought it did, however, it did spoil most of the funny lines.I wanna talk about one aspect of the story which caught me by surprise, an... read more »

The Street Fighter (1974)

The Street Fighter (1974)seen @ Spectacle Theater, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY6.15.13Quentin Tarantino used to work in a video store, and so he's become representative of video store geeks everywhere, and that's understandable. Over the course of his career as a movie director, the stories he's written, for himself and others, have been deeply influenced by the old movies he saw over and over again, movies that are (or were) far off the beaten path.My seven-and-a-half-year tenure as a video store geek was... read more »

Godzilla (1956)

Godzilla: King of the Monstersseen on TV @ TCM6.6.13I would imagine the first time I had ever seen a Godzilla movie was on TV around Thanksgiving, back when local television would show old movies on special occasions. There was a Godzilla Saturday morning cartoon (but the less said about that, the better), not to mention a Godzilla comic book (though I don't recall reading it much), but it was the movies that made an impression on me. I never became a huge fan, but I always watched those movies whenever ... read more »

Stories We Tell

Stories We Tellseen @ Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, NY5.30.13Reality television and daytime talk shows have made paternity cases into something tawdry and sensationalist. For me, at least, it's especially embarrassing when it involves black people.In recent months in my neighborhood, ads have gone up for a service that provides DNA testing. There's an image of a baby with the legend, "Who's your daddy?" Yes, it isextremelyghetto.I've probably said it here before, but in case I haven't: too many pe... read more »

Better Mus' Come

Better Mus' Comeseen @ AMC Empire 25, New York, NY3.16.13So what, if anything, does Jamaica, Queens and JAMAICA Jamaica have in common? Not a whole lot, based on what I know of the latter. There is a visible Caribbean presence here; for example, in Queens and Brooklyn there are privately-owned commuter vans that supplement the city buses and are cheaper (though not by much), and many of them are run by Caribbeans. On the rare occasions I use one of them, I always hear reggae music playing in the van's CD... read more »

QWFF 2013 Day 2: The Jackson Five

The Queens World Film Festival is a six-day event which showcases films from around the world at venues within the New York City borough of Queens. Throughout this week, I'll write about select films from the show. For more information about the festival,visit the website.The worse part about getting this sore throat now of all times is that it's the first time I've gotten sick all winter. I thought I could get away scot free for the first time in I don't know how long, especially since this winter hasn'... read more »

Amour

Amourseen @ Film Forum, New York, NY1.4.13I've talked before about the last years of my father's life and of how fortunate it was that his mind didn't deteriorate at the same rate as his body. As I recall, it wasn't until the final weeks or so that his mind began to slip a little bit. The rest of the time, I could talk to him as easily as I can talk to you.Still, it wasn't always easy living with the knowledge that he would never walk again. He always loomed large in my memory - partly because he was wel... read more »

Pi-in-the-sky links

Not much to say this week except that I'm not sure I'll be able to see as many new movies this season as I'd like to, for the simple reason that there's soooooooo much to see! There's a second-run theater not too far from me that I suspect I may employ in the coming weeks in an effort to play catch-up. Plus, TCM's Star of the Month next month is Barbara Stanwyck, and you know I'm gonna write a few posts for that. At this rate, I may not have a Top 10 list ready until next February...Dorian serves up a tw... read more »

Carnival of Souls/Horror of Dracula

I'm back. I rode out Hurricane Sandy, but I also stayed offline until late Wednesday. Hope you and yours are safe and well. I've had another, unrelated project going on that has been taking up my time and has now been delayed, so posts may be kinda erratic for the next week or so. Carnival of Souls8.25.12Horror of Dracula8.26.12 I was originally gonna do these as separate posts, but because of the delay as a result of the hurricane, I've decided to do both of them in one so I can put this behind me.Ca... read more »

Psychomania

The Camp and Cult Blogathon is an event looking at movies on the fringe - obscure, overlooked, often unpolished films throughout history that still managed to attract audiences in spite of, or often because of, their lack of professionalism, hosted by She Blogged By Night. For a complete list of participating blogs, visit the host site. Psychomania (AKA The Death Wheelers)from John Sue's DVD collection9.16.12Participating in this blogathon made me realize I don't own any DVDs or VHS tapes of films that... read more »

Pandora's Box

Pandora's Boxseen online via YouTube7.29.12I have a comic book which re-interprets the Pandora myth: basically, the "real" Pandora was a prostitute who gets hired by a wealthy Greek landowner in a revenge scheme against his male ex-lover. At the landowner's urging, she marries the ex-lover but cheats on him with his brother (though she doesn't have sex with either of them), sowing dissension between the two and setting them at war with each other as a result. The box element comes in later, through one o... read more »

Persepolis

The Cinematic World Tour Blogathon is an event in which participants use the movies to take virtual trips around the world, using settings and moments in movies to inform their writing approach, hosted by All Good Things. This blogathon lasts from Memorial Day to Labor Day, so check back periodically at the host site for posts from participating blogs.Persepolisseen @ Films on the Green Festival @ Pier 1, Riverside Park, New York, NY7.14.11 Greetings from Tehran! An unusual vacation choice? Perhaps, ... read more »

Take This Waltz

Take This Waltzseen @ Kew Gardens Cinemas, Kew Gardens, Queens, NY7.10.12One thing I've never understood about every "cheating" movie I've ever seen - from The Scarlet Letter to Brief Encounter to Fatal Attraction to The Bridge of Madison County and more - is how someone, anyone, can think a sexual relationship with a married party would be worth pursuing. Morality aside, even if the married party is unhappy in their marriage, which is usually the case, is a little bit of hot sex on the side worth the co... read more »

Do You Like Hitchcock?

The Best Hitchcock Films Hitchcock Never Made Blogathon is exactly what it says on the tin. It is hosted by Tales of the Easily Distracted and Classic Becky's Brain Food. For a complete listing of participating blogs, click on the links to either website.Do You Like Hitchcock?seen online via Hulu7.9.12This past spring, I wrote about Alfred Hitchcock and talked about his early career in England, before he crossed over to America and became a superstar filmmaker. According to IMDB, among the many directors... read more »

Nights of Cabiria

Nights of Cabiriaseen on TV @ TCM6.18.12Years ago, I saw a Broadway musical, one of the very few Broadway musicals I've ever seen, called The Life. It was about the old Times Square, centered around a group of pimps and hos and hustlers making their way the only way they know how, hoping to one day escape "the life." It was an ensemble, but if any character was the main one, it was this ho named Queenie who has the most to lose and everything to gain in trying to leave the life behind with her lover - bu... read more »

Mothra

The Cinematic World Tour Blogathon is an event in which participants use the movies to take virtual trips around the world, using settings and moments in movies to inform their writing approach, hosted by All Good Things. This blogathon lasts from Memorial Day to Labor Day, so check back periodically at the host site for posts from participating blogs.Mothraseen @ Landmark Loews Jersey Theater, Jersey City, NJ6.8.12 Greetings from Tokyo! Amazing city - just amazing. My sister and her husband went here... read more »

Chico & Rita

Chico Ritaseen @ reRun Gastropub Theater @ reBar5.30.12American animation has never been better than it is now. Whether or not you believe that computer-generated animation has pushed hand-drawn animation out the door for good, the visual splendors they've provided have been phenomenal. Still, for all the advances in the medium we've seen over the past twenty years, one thing has remained the same: in Hollywood, animation still tends to be made for a primarily kiddie audience.Toys, cars, dairy tale char... read more »

The 39 Steps

For The Love of Film is an annual blogathon dedicated to raising awareness of film preservation, and to raising money for the cause of restoring old films lost to time, hosted by The Self-Styled Siren, Ferdy on Films, and This Island Rod. This year, the movie up for preservationisThe White Shadow(1923),AKA "White Shadows", in which a young Alfred Hitchcock worked as an assistant director.For more information about the film,click here.Proceeds will go to the National Film Preservation Foundation, who will... read more »

Marley (advance screening)

Bob Marley, poet and a prophetBack during my days as a summer camp counselor in Massachusetts, there was this guy named Nick. He was one of the counselors, and he was a good guy; very laid-back. Nick played guitar, and his bag was world music. I remember him teaching me about some Brazilian music that I really dug. Nick played guitar, and all summer long he tried to get the kids into reggae music. There were two songs in particular he loved playing most. "Pressure Drop" by Toots and the Maytals was one; ... read more »

QWFF Day 3: A gay-all time

The Queens World Film Festival is a four-day event which showcases films from around the world at venues within the New York City borough of Queens. Throughout this weekend, I'll write about select films from the show, as well as highlights from the presentation. For more information about the festival, visit the website.The Roosevelt Avenue/Broadway bus and subway hub in Jackson Heights is all renovated and modern now, but I can't help but see it the way I remember it, when it was a little less sleek. F... read more »

QWFF Day 2: What's up, doc?

The Queens World Film Festival is a four-day event which showcases films from around the world at venues within the New York City borough of Queens. Throughout this weekend, I'll write about select films from the show, as well as highlights from the presentation. For more information about the festival, visit the website.I've written about my earliest memories of Jackson Heights and the theaters I frequented, those that are long gone and those that remain. 37th Avenue is a busy commercial stretch that I ... read more »

Shut Up Little Man!

Shut Up Little Man!from John Sue's DVD collection2.25.12Covert surveillance - catching people with their pants down doing silly, embarrassing or incriminating things - is an idea that's both titillating and terrifying, depending on which side of the recording device you're on. As technology has improved over the years, it has become easier and easier to do just that, as millions of YouTube videos will attest to. Is it a morally defensible act, however?Living in post-9-11 New York, in which surveillance ... read more »

A Separation

A Separationseen @ Kew Gardens Cinemas, Kew Gardens, Queens, NY2.2.12My father maintained his faculties throughout the final years of his life, so I never got to know what it would be like to see him deteriorate mentally as well as physically. While I wouldn't necessarily call him an intellectual, he always kept his mind engaged and sharp for as long as I knew him, therefore I could never imagine him suffering the way the protagonist's father in A Separation does: afflicted with Alzheimer's disease, spen... read more »

We Need to Talk About Kevin

We Need to Talk About Kevinseen @ Lincoln Plaza Cinema, New York NY1.24.12 I recently saw a commercial from European television - I forget which country, but it's the kind of ad that would never, ever get shown in America. A father and son are in a supermarket shopping. The son is maybe about four or five years old. The son wants to buy candy or some other kind of sweet, but Dad says no, and the kid throws a five-alarm-fire tantrum like you wouldn't believe. He's yelling and screaming and kicking things ... read more »

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spyseen @ Kew Gardens Cinemas, Kew Gardens, Queens, NY12.27.11Don't ask me to explain Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. I can't - beyond, of course, the very basic premise of looking for the mole within England's MI6. I knew going into this movie that this wasn't gonna have any James Bond-type shenanigans, but I thought there'd at least be a healthy amount of action to it. Haven't we come to expect a little action in spy movies? I dunno. The worst part is that I was really looking forward ... read more »

The Artist

The Artistseen @ Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn NY12.10.11I've written a fair share this year about performance-capture filmmaking and advances in 3D technology. An increasing number of prominent directors are experimenting with these new techniques, many of them to great success, which has led to speculation that this is where the future of movies lies. I think it's absolutely possible, particularly when this mini-revolution is being led by so many creative giants who have welcomed these innovation... read more »

My Afternoons with Margueritte

My Afternoons with Margueritteseen @ North Shore Towers Twin Cinema, Floral Park NY11.10.11She's back.Actually, she's been back for less than a couple of weeks, but after three months traipsing around Spain and France, Andi finally came home on Halloween. And although I'm certainly glad to have her back, she insists she would've stayed in Europe much longer if she could. She loves it over there.As I'd talked about before, she went hiking on a cross-country trek called the Camino de Santiago, a spiritual ... read more »

Pierrot le Fou

C'est la Semaine de la Nouvelle Vague française! Toute la semaine, nous allons voir des films de cette période révolutionnaire et les plus influents dans l'histoire de certains de ses plus grands réalisateurs.Pierrot le Fouseen online via YouTube11.11.11Okay, remember earlier this year when I talked about whether or not so-called boring movies had any value? I said that it depended on one's level of receptiveness, and that if you didn't like a certain movie, you shouldn't let other critics opinions of it... read more »

The 400 Blows

C'est la Semaine de la Nouvelle Vague française! Toute la semaine, nous allons voir des films de cette période révolutionnaire et les plus influents dans l'histoire de certains de ses plus grands réalisateurs. The 400 Blows seen online via YouTube 11.9.11What do you do if your child keeps on acting up? I would imagine that's got to prey on the minds of every parent at some point - the worry/fear that their child may be a budding Bart Simpson only without the "cute" catchphrases and weird hair. While I... read more »

Cleo From 5 to 7

C'est la Semaine de la Nouvelle Vague française! Toute la semaine, nous allons voir des films de cette période révolutionnaire et les plus influents dans l'histoire de certains de ses plus grands réalisateurs. Cleo From 5 to 7 seen online via YouTube 11.8.11One reason why I like movies in general is that they provide an opportunity to see other places, both around the country and around the world. Cleo From 5 to 7 is practically a tourist's guide to Paris, even if it is the Paris of the 60s. Director... read more »




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