August 23, 2013

NYFF 2013: Excitement, Disappointments, and My Must See List

To say that I was anxiously waiting for the lineup for this year's New York Film Festival would be an understatement. The start of the film festival season is always an exciting time for me; especially living in New York. Since, I'm too poor for Cannes, too far from SXSW, and can't travel to the Toronto Film Festival, NYFF is my only saving grace (until Tribeca next year.) Last year my schedule was so busy, that I was only able to catch a few films (one being the secret screening of Lincoln where I later shook the hand of Mr. Steven Spielberg.) This year my schedule is set and I'm happy to say that I will be able to see a handful of films from this year's selection. When the list was released I was both excited and a tad disappointed. I think most would agree that the selection this year is very impressive and any film-y would be in heaven (and trust me, I am.) However, there were a few films that I was really hoping would come our way (mostly from Toronto.) Most of the films showing at the NYFF were also shown at Cannes, which is pretty exciting. Sure, it was probably a bummer for the lucky people who went to Cannes and saw these films already, but for us this is a real treat.

I'll get my disappointments out of the way because it's very small and insignificant.  I have been moaning about not being able to attend the Toronto Film Festival. Every year around the time of the festival I am back in NY starting my classes. This year is no exception and it is killing me. The selection is so good and I really did have my heart set on a few films coming to NYFF.  The few films I was hoping to see overall were:

  • 12 Years A Slave- When it was mentioned that a few returning directors would be showing their films at NYFF I immediately thought of Steve McQueen. I was in attendance when Shame made its US film debut at NYFF 2 years ago, and was really hoping 12 Years a Slave would be there this year.
  • The Wolf of Wall Street- Some people still think this might be the secret screening (I doubt it, personally....) but I thought this would've been nice to see. Considering the subject matter, it would make for the film to make its grand debut at NYFF to generate some buzz.
  • American Hustle- I know, I know, it was a long shot. A girl can dream, can't she!?
  • Foxcatcher- This film is getting so much attention and I was crossing my fingers that it would pop up on the list. Again, it was a long shot, but I am pretty sure it will play at a festival sometime soon.
However, I am not all that bothered, because we have an excellent lineup with a record breaking 32 films!  After reading through all of them here are my list of must sees at the NYFF 2013:

Blue is the Warmest Colour
This one was a no brainer. Critical acclaim and won the Palm D'Or at Cannes. I was hearing incredible things about 'Blue' and how it made people feel afterwards. It just received a NC-17 rating so this will definitely be the hottest ticket at the festival.

Captain Phillips
Have you seen the trailer for Captain Phillips? It is very exhilarating and I predict there will be a stellar  performance from Mr. Hanks. This will definitely start the awards buzz, so I'm pretty excited.

There are actors who are just so good and talented that it kind of freaks you out a bit. Joaquin Phoenix is one of those actors for me. The amount of attention this film is getting based on the trailer alone is outstanding. I feel like this film in particular is really going to be the highlight of the festival.

Only Lovers Left Alive
I want to see this one badly. I love Tilda, I love Tom.  I feel that they will redeem this poor vampire genre, that has been so badly abused by young adult films, books, and TV shows. Tilda is the Queen of weird, and this definitely looks weird, cool, sexy, and strange. I mean, how can you pass up a film like that?

I didn't know a lot Nebraska before this was announced, but from what I've heard (and read) this is a must see when it comes to the actors' performances. I am a fan of Will Forte from SNL fame and I love when comedic actors' break out into other genres.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
When I was in middle school I had to read The Secret of Walter Mitty. My assignment afterwards was to write a story about an adventure Mitty would dream about (since he has such an active imagination.) I made Walter become a Clark Gable type movie star who was walking the red carpet of his own premiere. It was good. I got an A. I was always intrigued by the story and I like that they've updated the story to make it fresh and new. Again, this will be a big seller. 

Alan Partridge
While I was in London this summer I would see a lot of this character named Alan Patridge. Had no clue who Steve Coogan was playing, but apparently this character is pretty popular in the UK. So much so that it is now coming to the festival. It's an interesting choice and one I was surprised to see on the list. However, I love British comedies and I am missing London at the moment.

About Time
All Is Lost
Child of God
The Imigrant
Inside Llewyn Davis
The Invisable Woman
Like Father, Like Son
Stranger By the Lake
Le Week-End

August 22, 2013

Argo Fuck Yo Self Bruce! Affleck Is Announced As The New Batman

"Now calm down, and don't hate on me just yet..."
The internet just exploded about an hour ago as The Wrap was the first to announce that actor, activist, director, former tabloid fodder, and Oscar winner, Ben Affleck would be taking over the coveted role of Bruce Wayne in Zack Snyder's Man of Steel sequel (which will have Batman facing off with Henry Cavill's Superman.)  It was an unexpected choice and I can't say I'm disappointed. I was never THAT invested in who would play the role, and frankly I'm glad that we can put the inane casting rumors to bed. Whether he will be a good successor to Christian Bale is left to be unsaid. I do love a surprise when it comes to casting, and it will intrigue me to see how this all plays out. First, I want to know how they decided on Affleck and how they got him to take on the role. It is an interesting move career-wise, and it can either go really good or REALLY badly. In my personal opinion I found the casting to be a bit uninspired. I was hoping for a dark horse, underdog of an actor to play the part and shock everyone. However, it's not a downright awful choice (compared to the names they were dropping as potential candidates.)

Secondly, I really want to know how Affleck will portray Bruce Wayne. I wouldn't mind if Affleck's Batman was funny and brought some levity to the role. The reason I'm saying this is because when acting alongside Cavill who is so stony and serious in his demeanor, we need his counterpart to bring some sort of charm to balance it out. Can you imagine if Christian Bale's Batman was with Cavill's Superman? Sure it would be an interesting watch, but it would be so melancholy and serious in tone. I'm not saying that Affleck needs to be a RDJ/ Tony Stark type who pulls out little quips every 2 seconds, but I think it would be nice if the Batman was a little playful and just messed with Cavill as the straight man of the pair.

I really am not mad by this choice. I think it's a little boring and safe on paper. However, I am very interested in how this will go. And ladies, you have to admit, this is a pretty hot duo.

"I'll still be the hottest one in tights....."

August 11, 2013

Broadway Goes Star-Crossed: Bloom & Rashad Are Romeo and Juliet *Ticket Giveaway*

There is something magical that happens when Broadway takes on Shakespeare. From Jude Law's Hamlet to Alan Cumming's Macbeth, there is something so exciting when the Great White Way takes on the Bard's work. In a few months, NYC will be getting the same treatment with a new adaptation of arguably Shakespeare's greatest tragedy, Romeo and Juliet.

If you are a theatre nut like me (or passed basic 10th grade English) then you have read or recognize the tale of the two ill fated lovers who were torn apart by their feuding families. It is a familiar story and has been adapted so many times that it's hard to count (they even have a kid friendly version with garden gnomes.) And of course how can we forget Baz Luhrmann's colorful and borderline seizure inducing film adaptation Romeo + Juliet with a young, pre-Titanic Leonardo DiCaprio?

International film star Orlando Bloom will make his Broadway debut alongside two-time Tony Award® nominee Condola Rashad, as Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers in a new Broadway production of the timeless love story Romeo and Juliet, directed by five-time Tony Award® nominee David Deveaux. The play will open on Broadway on Thursday, September 19, 2013 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, following preview performances from Saturday, August 24, 2013.

One thing you must know is that this will not be your typical rendition of the classic tale. Not only will this be the first time in 36 years that the show will be on Broadway, but it will have a modern twist while still staying true to Shakepeare's original language. You've never seen the story told like this, and I personally can't wait!

Contest Ended

“Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night.” 

Good Luck!


ROMEO AND JULIET will play the Richard Rodgers Theatre (226 West 46th Street) beginning August 24th.  Tickets may be purchased at the theatre box office, at, or by calling 1-800-745-3000. 

A limited number of $20 tickets for each performance are available for college students. Tickets may be purchased in advance either at the Box Office with valid ID or online, exclusively through TIX4STUDENTS.COM. Limit of two tickets per order; price does not include facility fee.

August 8, 2013

Closing Night NYFF: Spike Jonez's "Her"

Following the announcement that Tom Hank's Captain Phillips will be opening this year's New York Film Festival, today we have learned that Joaquin Phoenix's "Her" will close this year as well. If you haven't seen the trailer yet then definitely go take a look. There is something so sweet and heart wrenching about it, and again shows the tour de force that is Pheonix. 

August 7, 2013

'The Counselor' Trailer #2: Trouble Is Afoot For The Counselor

A Second Glance: A Look At Daniel Radcliffe

I'm not going to lie, I did not know what I was buying a ticket for when I stood outside the Noel Coward Theatre at 9 AM. I knew that the play was by the great Martin McDonagh (In Bruges), was called The Cripple of Inishman, and that it starred child actor turned versitiale thespian Daniel Radcliffe. I felt it was only necessary to catch Radcliffe in a role that would not only test his range as an actor but also showcase the talent that some people may not have known he had.

Because the truth of the matter is many child actors have it rough. They really do. They play a certain role for years, people become emotionally invested, and once your voice changes and you become an adult you're still seen as your former character. It makes it tough to land decent (grownup) parts and that is the sad truth. If we're getting more specific it is probably very tough for Radcliffe in particular. At least the candy driven Disney machine can produce generic kid actors that can move on to other things later down the road ( Efron, Gomez, Hudgens, Cyrus.) But Radcliffe is a different case all together. He was and always will be attached to one of the biggest franchises in history. His face alone defined a part of our culture which will be remembered forever ( I know I'm getting heavy, stay with me...) And that doesn't happen often, especially for someone who was as young as Radcliffe was when he started.

And when it comes to a franchise like Harry Potter how can a young actor really flex his acting muscles when his only requirement is to just be Harry Potter? And that's what Radcliffe has to work with now. Convincing people that he is not the inexperienced little boy that was plucked from thousands to play a major book character. Which leads me into why I'm quite fond of him.

There is something extremely earnest about Radcliffe when he is performing. I saw this when I watched him sing, act, and dance like crazy in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and I saw it when he played the unfortunate Cripple Billy in The Cripple of Inishman. When he delivers a line, you believe. Every emotion he displays is genuine. And to make an audience member feel that sincerity is a special thing.

And though he is continuing to branch out to new and different projects (his upcoming films include Kill Your Darlings, Horns, Frankenstein w/ James McAvoy, and Tokyo Vice) he is still very humble and is open to try different types of characters. I feel like these are the kind of qualities that will get him far. A modest attitude with an appetite for new and exciting roles. I have seen him in 2 shows now so I am a bit bias when I say that I prefer to see him on stage than in films. However, I personally believe that Radcliffe is growing in front of our eyes and he is really going to have a flourishing career. Just wait and see!