33 posts categorized "New York Film Festival"

October 18, 2022

PERSONALITY CRISIS: ONE NIGHT ONLY — NYFF 2022

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal! Your kind generosity keeps the reviews coming!

Cole Smithey on Patreon

 

Screen Shot 2022-10-15 at 5.19.58 PMDavid Johansen's swan song (70th birthday) performance of tunes from his rich musical history serves as the centerpiece for this loving documentary.

Co-directed by Martin Scorsese and David Tedeschi, the film seamlessly draws from Johansen's two performances at the storied uptown Café Carlyle in January of 2020, before Covid pulled the plug on the World.

Johansen's tight-knit four piece "Boys in the Band Band" plays every note for keeps.

Taste baby, you've got taste.

Screen Shot 2022-11-30 at 4.07.16 PM

Johansen's flawless phrasing is worth the price of admission alone.

This bad cat is a singer's singer.

Screen Shot 2022-10-15 at 4.40.16 PM

Especially entertaining is Johansen's Gene Krupa-inspired drummer stealing scenes like a cat daddy on the prowl. Wild hair flying with plenty of school boy mugging. 

Between songs, Johansen tells hilarious tales out of school, about such pivotable life experiences as befriending director Milos Foreman at the Chelsea Hotel while angling for a role in Foreman's then upcoming film musical "Hair."

Screen Shot 2022-10-15 at 1.52.19 PM

Blondie's Debbie Harry soaks up the limelight from her place in the audience.

The overall effect is enthralling, if bittersweet.

Screen Shot 2022-10-15 at 1.51.26 PM

Classic and rare footage of The New York Dolls veer into clips of Johansen's solo career, that gave way to his lounge lizard alter ego Buster Poindexter — think "Hot Hot Hot," or better yet, "Frenchette."

"I been to France, so let's just dance."

You'd be hard pressed to find a musician with more personal integrity than David Johansen. 

Screen Shot 2022-12-22 at 7.45.13 PM
You can't help but feel some sorrow at the prospect of losing the last New York Doll standing.

Screen Shot 2022-12-22 at 7.48.47 PM

"Personality Crisis: One Night Only" is indeed, as Johansen put it at the New York Film Festival post screening Q&A, "a beautiful object."

Ovations are in order. 

Not Rated. 127 mins.

5 StarsBMOD COLE2

Cozy Cole

Cole Smithey on Patreon

September 22, 2017

THE FLORIDA PROJECT — NYFF 55

Florida-project

Although the editing could be tighter on Sean Baker’s dramatically infused [ethnographic] study of poverty in Kissimmee, “The Florida Project” remains a moving encapsulation of an escalating human crisis in America.

More neo-realistic than forcefully dramatic, the episodic narrative follows the daily travails of residents of the Magic Castle, a purple week-to-week three floor motel catering to people living on society’s margins.

Willem Dafoe underplays his role as Bobby, the motel’s seen-it-all manager with a heart of gold. Dafoe’s character anchors the film with a responsible adult who looks after the community he oversees with personal investment. 

Colesmithey.com

Four all-access wristbands to the nearby Walt Disney World looms as a distant fantasy in the nearby background where the ramshackle remains of a failed suburban housing development mocks the amusement park’s [unshared] financial success.

ColeSmithey.com

Four all-access Walt Disney World wristbands will run you $1,7000. Weekly rent at the Magic Castle is $38. Paradise is a toxic place. Here is a cultural dead zone that oddly mirrors the sterility of Disney World. The local culture is car shops and reduced price tourist item stores.  

After losing her stripper job, tough-as-nails Halley (Bria Vinaite) hawks cheap perfume in upscale hotel parking lots with her six-year-old daughter Moonie (Brooklynn Prince) in tow. Moonie is tough too. She runs free around the suburban area, stirring up troubles big and small with her similarly aged pals Jancey (Valeria Cotto) and Scooty (Christopher Rivera).

ColeSmithey.com

These little roustabouts give as good as they get when it comes to cursing out authority figures. The filmmakers let the realism fly during wryly funny outbursts of blue insults from the mouths of babes. This is how kids in these circumstances talk because it gives them a sense of control over their precarious realities.

The kids stop by a local diner every day to receive a free food handout from Halley’s downstairs neighbor, Ashley (Mela Murder). They effortlessly commit criminal acts with the potential to endanger the community.

Colesmithey.com

So it is that Baker and co-screenwriter Chris Bergoch peel back the layers of creeping social conditions that corner Halley into more desperate choices. “The Florida Project” is far from a perfect film, but it functions well on a visceral level via its fearless ensemble of child and adult actors. The ending is appropriately upbeat in the face of such repressive social conditions. There is something to be said for fantasy realities.  

Not Rated. 115 mins.

4 Stars

 

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal! Your generosity helps keep the reviews coming!

Cole Smithey on Patreon

September 20, 2017

MRS. HYDE — NYFF 55

ColeSmithey.comNot even Isabelle Huppert’s ever-reliable craftwork can elevate this overwrought and underachieving pro-education, sci-fi drama. The film’s unbalanced (linear) three-act story crumbles during a last gasp act that falls horribly flat.

Third act failure is one thing, but to have a narrative with such rich, if ghastly, possibilities reduced to a muted, half-hearted, satire just leaves a bad taste in your mouth. The black comedy needed to skew closer to the tone of  "An American Werewolf In London" rather than its current François Ozon knock-off qualities. 

Director/co-writer Serge Bozon's movie is presented as a "comedic thriller" but ends up neither funny nor sufficiently exciting. The screenwriting isn't up to par. 

Mrs-hyde-real

Huppert plays Mme Géquil, a newly hired French engineering school teacher constantly humiliated and challenged by a classroom full of misfits led by Malik, a crippled Arab student. Mme Géquil has a lovely home life with her caring husband whose teaching advice she doesn’t grasp. A shock of electricity alters Mme Géquil into a super-teacher, capable of setting objects, animals, and people on fire.  

Colesmithey.com

The mannered story never shifts gears after establishing a dramatically loaded line where we await Huppert’s transformation into the monster of the film’s implied title.

Although the film fails to pay off, Isabelle Huppert is fascinating as ever. Ignore the oh-so-precious subtext about education, and focus on every dramatic beat that Huppert plays as a master drummer of emotion, thought, and intent.

Mrshyde1

Not Rated. 95 mins.

2 Stars

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal! Your generosity helps keep the reviews coming!

Cole Smithey on Patreon

Featured Video

SMART NEW MEDIA® Custom Videos

COLE SMITHEY’S MOVIE WEEK

COLE SMITHEY’S CLASSIC CINEMA

Throwback Thursday


Podcast Series