The Big Playback

One of the most memorable events at the 2019 Asbury Park Music and Film Festival was on April 27 at the Paramount Theatre, hosted by The Bruce Springsteen Archives & Center for American Music at Monmouth University. Audience members had to put their phones in sealed pouches to keep secret never-before-seen concert footage found and assembled by Springsteen's archivist Thom Zimny from the ever-elusive vault.

Asbury Park Music & Film Festival: Bonus Features

The Asbury Park Music & Film Festival is unique in that it highlights the town's extensive musical history — the very fabric of its identity. The festival not only offers films and documentaries centered on music and its makers, but also a plethora of concert performances. 

Moving Through Life: Possible Faces

The filmmaker hones in on our youthful sense of disconnection from the world around us, the lasting metaphysical connections we have with one another and what happens when they wither away. The characters’ haunted memories of what they once shared hover over the mundanity of their daily lives within the film’s staid flow.

Theives by Day: Carwash

The easygoing ruggedness of the performances by Depas and Soetens engages, but it is Ameuille’s unreserved eccentricity that carries the film along. Carwash moves with a breezy fluidity as if lolling by Wilfrid’s favored lake.

Into the Fire: Wildlife

It speaks to Dano’s own experience as an actor that he so generously endows his performers with the time and space to chart their characters’ emotionally intense arcs. 

6 Movie Characters that are Constantly Re-Cast

With Hollywood’s endless array of remakes and reboots, different actors are often given the opportunity to the play same role. Any good actor will bring their own idiosyncrasies and unique breadth of talent, revealing something about a character that was not seen in previous portrayals. Here’s a look at multiple performers who have tackled the same part, and how they interpreted the character.

At Eternity’s Gate: A luminous abstraction celebrating the artistic process and Vincent van Gogh

Schnabel’s radical approach to the film’s visuals and storyline may alienate some viewers, but it’s hard to deny its transfixing power. Less concerned with providing a factual account of van Gogh’s life, At Eternity’s Gate is an alluring mood piece that thrusts spectators inside Vincent van Gogh’s unhinged and wildly creative mind. Schnabel’s unconventional sensorial approach is utterly sublime and he crafts a romantic cinematic experience worthy of van Gogh’s artistry.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs: The Coen Brothers’ uneven collage of bitter western tales

An absurdist mélange of biting tales that leaves a sour taste in your mouth, the Coen’s collection of westerns is a bit too scattershot. The mosaic arrangement of the shorts, varying in greatness and mediocrity, causes The Ballad of Buster Scruggs to miss the mark as a cohesive whole.

Alfonso Cuarón Turns Back the Clock to Make Roma

With virtuoso visual and sonic expression, Roma is a symphonic masterpiece that is sure to marvel for decades to come. Cuarón at once paints a loving tableau of his city, the era that shaped his adolescence, and the woman who raised him — proving once more that he is one of the greatest filmmakers of all time.

The New York Film Festival is known for its stellar programming of art-house features. The festival curates the top films from other festivals made by international auteurs, first-time directors, or heralded legends. NYFF is considered one of the most prestigious festivals in the country and its dazzling lineup this year verifies its exceptional reputation. 

Michael’s existentialist nightmare through the visual and sonic device of supporting characters that share the same face and voice, trapping Michael in a prosaic purgatory that submerges him further into the recesses of his despair. Rising out of this sea of ciphers is the anomalous Lisa, whom he nicknames Anamolisa— the sole character who has a different face and voice.

The Soundscapes of Alex Garland’s ‘Annihilation’ and ‘Ex Machina’

Within Ex Machina and Annhilation, Alex Garland constructs an incredible sonic landscape that reveals so much about his fascinating characters.  

A Portrait of an Artist: Identity and Authenticity in Inside Llewyn Davis

After losing his better half, Llewyn undergoes an identity crisis—desperately needing to find himself as both an artist and a man. The Coen brothers indicate this theme of selfhood with the frequent confusion of Llewyn’s name (Lou N. Davis, “Llewyn is the cat”, etc.). Nobody knows who Llewyn Davis is, least of all himself.

Ever since the Blair Witch made kids stand in the corner in the late 1990s, faux found footage has become a horror genre staple, displacing the slasher tropes of the 1970s and 1980s. 

As the chasm grows between those who can’t afford to visit the dentist and those who spend a year’s worth of Ivy League tuition on a handbag, it is pertinent to re-examine films about the wealth and greed.

Opposing the strong, silent, and macho type of Classic Hollywood manhood, these buddy films display a deep-seated love between men who understand, support, and take care of each other, speak the same language, and would die for one another.

Mansell creates a score that is just as haunting and unforgettable as Darren Aronofsky’s virtuosic visuals. At once haunting and beautiful, Mansell’s audacious score is a tour de force that perfectly encapsulates this melancholy and melodramatic tale.

Kids Like Jake: Movies About Transgender Youth

In a time when elaborate gender reveal parties are all the rage (I recently saw a particularly obnoxious one where a father-to-be had an actual alligator pop a watermelon unveiling the blue dye inside), these films expose the absurd significance we place on biological sex and gender and their social attachments.

5 Movie Children That Are the Stuff of Nightmares

A Pazuzu-possessed preteen whirls her bloodied head backwards as if on a swivel. A screechy blonde lets us know “They’re here.” A pair of hollow-eyed twins in matching robin’s egg blue dresses stand ominously in a hotel lobby. These are the iconic creepy children that have since become an enduring staple of the horror genre. The character of Charlie in Hereditary, an odd girl with a proclivity for chopping off pigeon heads, seems to fit right in with the chilling class of sinister kids from horror films. 

The fembot exposes the patriarchal limitations society imposes on women who are flesh and bone. They are literally objectified women who embody the perfect male fantasy: Sexy, submissive, and controlled. Teknolust departs from the standard dystopian portrait of the fembot in not only its frothy and kitschy style but in its strong female gaze. With a female director at the helm, the fembot is allowed to break free from her patriarchal limitations as a coerced sex worker and paragon of subservience.

Saoirse Ronan and Innocence Lost, From Atonement to On Chesil Beach

In 2008, 13-year-old Saoirse Ronan received her first Oscar nomination for Atonement, a British WWII melodrama based on an Ian McEwan novel about a fanciful girl named Briony Tallis who unwittingly unravels the lives of her sister Cecilia and Cecilia’s lover, Robbie, after accusing him of a crime he did not commit. Ten years later, Ronan stars in On Chesil Beach, based on McEwan’s novella set on the cusp of the sexual revolution in 1962. 

Tribeca Report: The Life of the Female Artist

In The Great Pretender, Mona (Maëlle Poesy-Guichard) insists that her autobiographical play is honest but her ex-boyfriend (Linas Phillips) says it’s “confessional.” “Is there a difference?” she asks. “Yeah, honesty is hard,” Nick replies, vocalizing a standout theme in the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival slate. This year, there are several portraits of female artists — comedians, singers, directors, and more — that explore the blurred lines between on- and offstage life, what it means to be a woman pursuing her craft, and how that craft can distort or expose the truth.

How Xavier Dolan Builds Worlds with Music

Xavier Dolan is one of cinema’s most electrifying young auteurs and his six feature movies are defined by their captivating use of soundtrack. He believes music is not only the soul of his work but of the cinematic medium: “Music was the only voice of cinema for a very long time before we had sound; it’s organically linked to cinema itself. So I see no reason to restrain myself, thinking how much music to put in the film.” 

Bombastic Old Hollywood epics such as The Ten Commandments, Ben-Hur, and King of Kings canonized Biblical characters as superheroic icons who could do no wrong. Garth Davidson’s Mary Magdalene follows in the footsteps of films that humanize religious figures as nuanced individuals on complex journeys of selfhood. Grounded more in the historical than the mythical, Mary Magdalene addresses the complications of divinity so that audiences may connect with scriptural characters as people rather than simplistic paragons of righteousness. Here are six more movies that explore the intersection of divinity and humanity.

Isolation in the Internet Age

Like Me and Ingrid Goes West join the lexicon of films such as Taxi Driver and Nightcrawler that examine society’s desire for notoriety and basis of self-worth on the views of others. Social media’s titanic presence in the modern zeitgeist has greatly exacerbated such impulses. 

Wages of Sin: Communion

In her captivating and unsettling portrait of lost youth, Zamecka follows her destitute subjects with a patient and intimate observational style, imbuing the narrative with a palpable tension and touching upon her film’s many emotional notes with a quiet grace.

Westerns, Redefined: How Two New Movies Provide Fresh Meaning to a Dated Genre — NYFF

“The Rider” and “Western” still manage to reinvigorate the genre. Both movies employ a unique docu-fiction style, both Chloe Zhao and Valeski Grisebach cast actors to play versions of themselves and constructed narratives loosely based on their lives — and neither movie relied on a traditional screenplay. These inventive techniques provide a sense of candid verisimilitude rarely seen in the scrupulously-constructed western genre.

Taking Flight: Lady Bird

With her latest, the semi-autobiographical Lady Bird, Gerwig emerges as a filmmaker with her own distinct voice. While her take on the coming-of- age film might hit familiar notes—prom night, idolizing the “popular girls,” losing one’s virginity, passing from high school to college—her authentic characterizations and poignant yet sharp-witted dialogue help the film transcend such well-worn tropes.

Disney Dreams in The Florida Project

Although The Florida Project plumbs the depths of life on the poverty line, an infectious vitality radiates through each frame. Moonee’s subjective comprehension of the world as an enchanting place structures the film’s visual language. Baker aestheticizes her wonder through a Disneyfied mise-en-scène of popping colors and kitschy cartoon-esque buildings shot on vibrant 35mm. 

Please reload

This site was designed with the
.com
website builder. Create your website today.
Start Now