The Contender

The current explosion of radical politics made me turn to a Marlon Brando biography I’ve had on my shelf for a few months.‘The Contender’ is a fascinating delve into the life of one of the centuries best actors and most exciting cultural figures.Even before he was famous for his stage performance in Streetcar Named desire’, …

Downtown 81

Nostalgia is rife right now for obvious reasons. Who wouldn’t want to retreat to a more peaceful time?But that said, I’m a New Yorker, and part of me quite enjoys the drama. My idea of escape is to return to the gritty eighties of downtown Manhattan where an artistic and musical explosion was happening after …

Noir Nights

I’m a long-time fan of film noir, but this lockdown has allowed me to start delving a bit deeper, both re-watching old classics like ‘The Postman Always Rings Twice’ and discovering new gems like ‘Detour.’What struck me very forcibly was how strangely Un-American the genre is in one respect – they are very fatalistic. We …

Homecoming King

Esteemed and jaded writer Daniel Mantovani (played by Oscar Martinez, who gives a pitch-perfect performance of a world-weary man who has the gift of a comedic eye for reality) decides to accept an invitation to fly back to his old hometown Salas in Argentina.Pretty quickly, he discovers this idea to have a downside.At first, he …

The Big Goodbye

Chinatown is considered to be one of the most seminal films of the Seventies. Starring Jack Nicolson and Faye Dunaway, with a cameo by the legendary film director John Huston, the film was produced by the notorious Robert Evans and directed by the infamous Roman Polanski. All of which makes it the perfect subject for …

A Hidden Life

Right at the death of the year, I’ve seen the best film of 2019. Terence Malick used to be everyone’s favorite director back when he worked away from Hollywood having directed two masterpieces in ‘Badlands’ and ‘Days of Heaven.” Suddenly after a 25 year absence he returned with the excellent Thin Red Line. Then things …

There’s No Place Like Home

For some reason, I’ve never seen E.T. Until this week, when I got a chance to see it on a big screen courtesy of Noah Bambauch who chose it as one of his favorite films This might seem like an odd choice for the director of Marriage Story, but E.T. is also, in part, a …

Old Fellas

At three and half hours Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman might be called epic but for the entirely personal and character driven storyline, which drills down onto the films main subjects, hitman Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa ( Al Pacino) and mob boss Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci.) The lives lived by men …

My Family and other Animals

Monos (Monkeys) is a kind of Colombian Lord of the Flies where members of a FARC style squadron find themselves Monos (Monkeys in English) takes as its subjects a ragtag squad of teenage soldiers trained by an unspecified FARC style liberation movement. They have been tasked with looking after a captured American civilian. It soon …

Le Rayon Vert

Eric Rohmer is a director associated with the French New Wave. Jean Luc Godard praised his take on French life in the seventies and eighties. On hearing this, you probably imagine artsy black and white films full of jump cuts and philosophical debate. Rohmer couldn’t be further from this. His luscious color films often concern …