If you think an important movie opens every other day in NYC, you are right, It is fall and the Harvey Weinstein template is in full boom. The Bank street resident reinvent how Oscars were perused. After 1999 when Shakespeare in Love won 7 Oscars, Harvey had decided to hold its release until the last quarter. His Oscar game plan: blowing up Golden Globes into seemingly serious awards. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has a total of 93 voting members (http://www.hfpa.org/members/) followed by the Spirit and SAG (with thousand of eligibel voters) It workedl for Harvey and now everyone else copied it So yes it is “raining quality films”
First let me alert you to two very significant and different Festivals in November. DOC NYC, America’s largest documentary festival, has a full line-up for its 6th edition, running November 12-19 at the IFC Center in Greenwich Village and Chelsea’s SVA Theatre and Bow Tie Chelsea Cinemas. 2015 festival includes 104 feature-length documentaries and has expanded to showcase over 200 films and events overall. Included are 27 world premieres, 15 U.S. premieres, 200 doc makers and special guests expected in person including Hillary Clinton (!) for Once and For All, directed by Michael Epstein and Dyllan McGee, about the 1995 Beijing Women’s Conference where First Lady Clinton gave a historic address on women’s rights.. A few highlights you should book now include Amy Berg’s Janis Joplin portrait, Janis: Little Girl Blue, Academy Award-winner Barbara Kopple’s Miss Sharon Jones!
19 sections that include Galas and Special Events; competition sections Viewfinders (for distinctive directorial visions), Metropolis (for New York City stories); national and global takes in American Perspectives and International Perspectives. The thematic sections are Centerstage (on performers),Fight the Power(on activism),Jock Docs (on sports), and Sonic Cinema (on music). New this year are Doc Eat Doc (on food), Modern Family (on diverse relations), The Wild Life (on animals) and Behind the Scenes (on films and filmmaking). DOC NYC U, focusing on student projects. Remaining sections are Docs Redux, reviving classics; Shorts, representing the upsurge of short-form documentary; Oscar docs contenders Short List (15 of the year’s award contenders;) and DOC NYC PRO, focusing on panels and masterclasses. Must click : http://www.docnyc.net/ for additons and surprises. Kudos to former programing chief of NEWFEST and Sundance programing associate DOC NYC chief of programing Basil Tomakis and E.D. Tom Powers for searching high and low for that doc that they want us to see.
MIX NYC 28 November 10-15 MIX NYC describes itself as “ A community of artists and organizers joined together to explore, share, and create queer experimental media through an ever-changing constellation of means. We make art for ourselves and our community, not for markets or museums” Ah yes! .Unlike any film festival in the world, MIXNYC happens inside a magic dome of faux time travel combining, a radical faery encampment, a Queerstock, an environmental spectacle, visual art and live performance and food (!) . It is essentially rooted in a very diverse MIX of experimental cinema formats whose content include shorts, documentaries, narrative features that cross all boundaries of priority . You became a part of an interactive seduction that stimulates the eye, the brain and all your erogenous zones. Nothing and no one is taboo be it porn or spicy vegan chili. Every night ends with a party with music and performance. Among the people who have natured and stimulated MIX is the current MoMA head of their film programing Rajendra Roy Check out their website mix.org for the program Inot availabels we go to press) . trust me, this will be not like any other Film Festival . Check my blog and their website : and their Kickstarter has a wonderful video https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mix28/mix-nyc-2015-28th-ny-queer-experimental-film-festi
LET’S GO TO THE MOVIES
STEVE JOBS director Danny Boyle
Bridge of Spies director Steven Spielberg
Both of these films revolve around one character that in many ways represents both what is held as the true values of the United States and how they may be changing
In Steve Jobs, writer Aaron Sorkin choses to focus on the relationships Jobs had with the people surrounding him. It is personal. Michael Fassbender again shows his ability to inhabit a character. You forget how Jobs actually looked or talked in life. Sorkin like Alex Gibney in his documentary Steve Jobs the Man and the Machine SXSW post sneak screening of Steve Jobs Man in the Machine Q&A with director Alex Gibney which I recommend seeing first to prepare you, focus is that Jobs never invented anything, yet has become an international symbol of successful capitalism as personified in one person. Boyle has shaped his film like a perfectly designed Apple product hermetic and gorgeous. If it was an object you could hold in your hands, you would be sweating with desire, Boyle like Gibney presents Jobs as someone who is either high functioning autistic personality incapable of empathy or a sociopath, brilliant and driven to achieve in any way possible, What matters is not family (you will be shocked at his behavior towards his first wife and child) or friendship. He’s surrounds himself with genius that lack his charisma and an ego that needs to be the best. He hand picks flawed genius and proceeds to encourage and brain pick their ideas which they willingly give him. He walks away when they are no longer useful. . He put his hand prints all over the perfectly packaged product as if he in fact had created them. His uncanny ability to seduce through design and function and brilliant marketing the selling to the public a product whose acquisition makes them feel cool, hip and sexy. In many cases the product be it computer or handheld does change their lives. It become as essential as a bed or food on the table. Jobs surrounded himself with nerds now well known in the public eye and yet none of them have what Jobs had. Kate Winslet, unrecognizable in character stands out as the ever suffering but keep-Steve- together-and-on-schedule assistant. A performance so convincing of the power Jobs had over people .
But is he a hero? Do we want to teach our children that success is the only thing that matters. That using people and tossing them aside when they no longer matter to you or you don’t need them is the American way.
We know from Walter Isaac’s definitive biography, Steve Jobs that Jobs could be ruthless, brilliant and most important charismatic. But seeing it on the screen is devastating. Sorkin I believe is asking have we given up our sense of teamwork and humanity to be successful and iconic? Jobs it appears did both.
Steven Spielberg in the Bridge of Spies tells a cold war story based in history. A time about a standoff between the U.S and those dirty communists the Russians. Spielberg is a master storyteller. He also is a filmmaker with a conscience. Unusual combination for someone so successful in current Hollywood, The story line is: we capture a Russian spy brilliantly played by Mark Rylance and the Russians’ capture Gary Powers our jet propelled spy pilot. The governments are not talking to each other in this cold world. In the United States officially we don’t have spies. But both sides did capture a spy. No official channel is open to figure out how to exchange them. Bring in a hard-drinking, successful lawyer from one of those big New York City Law Firms, Tom Hanks is assigned by his law firm to do pro bono defense of the Russian spy. Hank’s wife wants him to have no part of it for good reason.When his face is front page as defending a Communist spy, people recognize him and make sure he knows of their disapproval. He doesn’t want to do it but he has to because his law firm assigns him. He’s a good lawyer. He meets with the Russian spy and realizes the spy feels he has done no wrong most likely in the same way the Gary Powers feels he is serving his country. Just like now in a Fox media saturated America there is little support for the nuances necessary in power politics. Hanks, one of his best performances, exemplifies how this professional lawyer does this job. He manages to find a way to justify the behavior of a both spies. he alone negotiates “unofficially” with the the Russians for the exchange of prisoners. Everything about Bridge of Spies is Hollywood craftsmanship at its highest creating a 50’s cold war landscape. But I think there is another agenda here besides telling a damn good spy story. I believe Spielberg is asking a very critical question at this particular moment about what is a good citizen. What is a good American. After seeing the film I walked out of the theater thinking of Lynn Stewart, Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange , It is a critical question . See it . You may have other answers .
(cc) jim fouratt firstname.lastname@example.org