Tag Archives: film

Sarasota 09: Voight and Young

Voight-Youngtouch600.jpgLong time friends Jon Voight and Burt Young share a moment during the often moving tribute to the late, great director Hal Ashby (Coming Home, Harold and Maude) at the 2009 Sarasota Film Festival. Voight and Young co-starred in Ashby’s 1982 film Lookin’ to Get Out, the director’s cut of which was recently discovered in the UCLA Film Archives and world premiered in Sarasota the night before the tribute. Ashby’s daughter Leigh MacManus was on hand to accept the SFF’s Master of Cinema award on her father’s behalf and gave a stirring thank you speech wherein she spoke of never knowing her father and how much the closing moments of Lookin’ to Get Out meant to her. I won’t spoil the film for you (director’s cut out soon on Warner Home Video!), but suffice to say, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house and both MacManus and Voight were brought to tears during the evening.

Theatrical Review: Trouble The Water

The following review originally ran as part of our coverage of this year’s New Directors/New Films festival on April 28th, 2008.
Trouble the Water
Directors: Tia Lessin, Carl Deal
Executive Producers: Danny Glover, Joslyn Barnes, Todd Olson, David Alcaro
Producers: Tia Lessin, Carl Deal
Cinematography: PJ Raval, Nadia Hallgren, Kimberly Roberts
Editor: T. Woody Richman (additional editing by Mary Lampson)
Music: Davidge/Del Naja, Black Kold Madina
U.S., 2007, 94 minutes
Trouble the Water is simply the best Katrina documentary I’ve seen to date. No disrespect to Spike Lee (When The Levees Broke) or the other noble works that have come out since the disaster (Axe in the Attic and Katrina Diary to name just two) but this movie hits every note just right. Lessin and Deal went down to New Orleans just five days after Katrina hit with no clear idea of what they were going to find. To their good fortune -and ours– they happened to meet Kimberly Roberts and her husband, Scott, a recently homeless couple at the Superdome. Prior to Katrina, the two had been living a very difficult existence in the impoverished Ninth Ward by selling drugs, something they touch upon in a one of the film’s more moving moments. The disaster, as tragic as it was, ended up affording them the opportunity to learn more about themselves than they would have otherwise; one lesson being that they were living miserable lives and were grateful to make a change.
Adding to that life-changing revelation is the fact that Kimberly, who had gotten hold of a video camera not long before the hurricane hit, ended up filming portions of her experience. Those clips, are both horrific and funny and much of it ended up incorporated into Trouble the Water. Hearing Kimberly’s remarks over her often manic camera work is another of the film’s amazing aspects. Her anxiety is palpable as the water rises inch by inch, engulfing their home. Though her regional dialect is at times hard to understand, the spiritual change she goes through over the ensuing days and weeks is very clear. As she and Scott confront the enormity of their situation, rather than lie down and give up, they rise above their circumstances.
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I’m Hosting Speakeasy CInema Tonight, June 16th

I am hosting this month’s edition of Speakeasy Cinema and y’all should come and join us! While I am forbidden from revealing the name of the film, from the hints below and if you know me, you might, just might, be able to guess.
So here’s the info:
Monday, June 16, 2008
Time: 7:00pm – 10:00pm
Location: 279 Church Street, New York City – 3 blocks below Canal St- across from the Tribeca Grand
SPEAKEASY CINEMA provides an opportunity for the film community to watch movies and talk about them a la the Algonquin Roundtable. No one will know which film it is until the lights dim.
Be forewarned: I have chosen a film that fulfills one of the very important roles that Speakeasy Cinema can play: This classic is also a drinking game, and we’ll be bringing extra alcohol so anyone who gets one can take a shot anytime the rules of the game demand it.
After the screening we chat about the film, movies in general and there’s more drinking. NB: At this intimate event industry talk is verboten, but your libations are welcome (read: BYOB or wine and we will have the corkscrew).
You should bring: beer, whisky, and red wine.
And if you leave standing, you never arrived.
These are some pretty serious hints, but don’t wrack your brains too hard. It’s a nice, fun and brilliant surprise!
Admission is $5

ND/NF 08: Three Films Reviewed

I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t make it to more of the New Director’s/New Films series which ended its 37th season on April 6th and all three of the films I saw were all worthy of distribution. They include Trouble The Water, a Katrina documentary co-directed by Tia Lessin and Carl Deal; XXY, Argentine director Lucía Puenzo’s narrative film about a couple’s struggle raising their hermaphrodite teenager; and Slingshot Hip Hop, a documentary about the Palestinian rap music scene in Israel, directed by newcomer Jackie Reem Salloum.
Trouble the Water
Directors: Tia Lessin, Carl Deal
Executive Producers: Danny Glover, Joslyn Barnes, Todd Olson, David Alcaro
Producers: Tia Lessin, Carl Deal
Cinematography: PJ Raval, Nadia Hallgren, Kimberly Roberts
Editor: T. Woody Richman (additional editing by Mary Lampson)
Music: Davidge/Del Naja, Black Kold Madina
U.S., 2007, 94 minutes
Trouble the Water is simply the best Katrina documentary I’ve seen to date. No disrespect to Spike Lee (When The Levees Broke) or the other noble works that have come out since the disaster (Axe in the Attic and Katrina Diary to name just two) but this movie hits every note just right. Lessin and Deal went down to New Orleans just five days after Katrina hit with no clear idea of what they were going to find. To their good fortune -and ours– they happened to meet Kimberly Roberts and her husband, Scott, a recently homeless couple at the Superdome. Prior to Katrina, the two had been living a very difficult existence in the impoverished Ninth Ward by selling drugs, something they touch upon in a one of the film’s more moving moments. The disaster, as tragic as it was, ended up affording them the opportunity to learn more about themselves than they would have otherwise; one lesson being that they were living miserable lives and were grateful to make a change.
Adding to that life-changing revelation is the fact that Kimberly, who had gotten hold of a video camera not long before the hurricane hit, ended up filming portions of her experience. Those clips, are both horrific and funny and much of it ended up incorporated into Trouble the Water. Hearing Kimberly’s remarks over her often manic camera work is another of the film’s amazing aspects. Her anxiety is palpable as the water rises inch by inch, engulfing their home. Though her regional dialect is at times hard to understand, the spiritual change she goes through over the ensuing days and weeks is very clear. As she and Scott confront the enormity of their situation, rather than lie down and give up, they rise above their circumstances.
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Continue reading ND/NF 08: Three Films Reviewed

Keep On Ranting: More On Jesse James or “Where The Hell Is Brad Pitt?”

Just to let you all know, I am going to be hammering on this issue at least until this particular film vanishes from theaters and probably after that, too. Why? Because I think it’s that important, that’s why. This weekend, while it’s raining and blustery in the Northeast, why not bundle into the car or subway and head to the local theater and check out what is for my money, so far, the best picture of the year. Yup, you guessed it. It’s Andrew Dominik’s brilliant The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. What about the rest of the country? Well, click here, enter your zip code and find the film!
Personally, I am astonished that this soon-to-be classic film is no longer in playing in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood or Santa Monica. In fact, if you live in the area, the closes theater is probably AMC Theaters Burbank Town Center 8 or Laemmle’s One Colorado Cinema in Pasadena. Fucking Burbank!!?? Pasadena!? People who live on the West Side in LA have enough trouble getting into their cars on weekdays, so the odds of them driving to the Valley on a weekend are astronomical.
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Continue reading Keep On Ranting: More On Jesse James or “Where The Hell Is Brad Pitt?”