Saturday, April 25, 2015
My last morning in Tribeca was cold. Still, I had a mission to find, HB Studios where I'm attending a workshop next month. The 1.3 mile walk suited my step goal for the day. On a quiet side street of the West Village I found the studio, took pictures of stencils on the sidewalk and headed for the river. Walking south in Hudson River Park I was surrounded by joggers and walkers as I made my way back to Tribeca. A shower and coffee set me right for a walk through Roosevelt Park and The World Financial Center before I hit the theater. My last film of the week was Live From New York! a documentary about Saturday Night Live. The director and producers were present for the Q&A with a lot of stories. I liked that the opening night film of the festival was my last film of the festival. Walking through The Family Street Fair, I find a seat at the Tribeca Tavern for lunch before I hit the road. As I collect my car and luggage I feel so good about my week in this wonderful neighborhood. After 13 years, I would say that TFF's mission to invigorate the neighborhood and encourage growth and restoration is working. Happy to be a part of it, thanks for the great vacation!!
I was in college when Saturday Night Live came on the air. It was edgy, it was revolutionary, it was funny. It was a show my friends and I looked forward to every week. Over the last 40 years it has evolved and grown, but still strives for that edgy, late night laugh. The documentary Live From New York! opened Tribeca Film Festival and they scheduled extra screenings. This made it much easier for this average Joe to get a ticket and walk down memory lane with the wonderful late-night show. Making my way to the theater through the World Financial Center, I arrive an hour early for the film and am still 50 people back in line. Ahhh film festival. When the film began, I was treated to over an hour of clips, stories and history surrounding this iconic television show. The director and producers conducted an interesting Q&A with lots of stories and personal memories. I felt very satisfied by my last film at Tribeca Film Festival.
Friday, April 24, 2015
My late night with Liza had me moving slowly this morning, but I would not be averted from my plan to see Adult Beginners at the Angelika this morning. A quick subway ride to Houston Street and I was seated with a coffee for a light, pleasant film. With a plan for lunch, I took the subway to Rockefeller Center and worked my way west for a bite at Rosie O'Grady's. Fortified by sliders and fries I walked over to Broadway and 53rd Street to take one last look at the Late Show marquee outside the Ed Sullivan Theater. David Letterman's face rode a large banner on the side of the building and I just stood on the sidewalk thinking about how much pleasure this show has brought me over the years. Walking by the Hello Deli I spotted Rupert inside in an intense conversation with an employee. Cool star sighting for this Letterman Show fan. The day was cool and breezy so my next stop was Emmit O'Lunny's for a creamy onion soup that hit the spot. With time to kill, I realize that I have not visited the Tribeca Grand yet. Positioned at the end of the bar, with a Cosmo in front of me, I see an official looking paper on the bar next to me in front of the young man with his back to me. Noticing that he and the 3 people with him are dressed very fancy for the middle of the afternoon, I sneak a closer look at the paper and see the words "Marriage License". A look down the bar to the array of cocktails and a bouquet of roses I realize these kids just got married! Their conversation was happy and lively, I'll admit to a little eavesdropping. Next stop? SVA Theater for Tribeca Talks with Brad Bird and Janeanne Garafalo. I sat about 5th row center, had a very pleasant conversation with the young man next to me during our wait and enjoyed every second of the lively banter between Garafalo and Bird. There were stories, there were clips, there was joy. What a wonderful filmmaker! On my walk back to the subway I stopped at the Chealsea Hotel to read the plaques describing all the famous artists that have inhabited the famous building. The stories are all right there on the wall. Very cool. Exhausted, I return to Edward's for a salad, bowl of potato leek soup and a glass of wine. Back at the hotel, I put my feet up and feel pretty happy about my last night in Tribeca. What a day!
Going through the names of the Directors Series of Tribeca Talks, I was immediately drawn to the pairing of Brad Bird with Janeane Garofalo. Happily, the timing fit my schedule and I was in! Sitting in a center seat of the fifth row in the SVA Theater I passed the time before the talk chatting film and theater with a friendly young man sitting next to me. When Bird and Garofalo took the stage the fun began. There were clips, there were jokes, there were stories, there was banter. The two were very at ease until the Q&A began. Garofalo claimed stress at choosing from the many hands raised and she passed the responsibility to Bird near the end. From the Incredibles to Iron Giant to Ratatouille to Ghost Protocol to Tomorrowland, Bird discussed his projects and process. Such an interesting talk.
Thursday, April 23, 2015
Staying up late has not kept me from waking up early, so I took advantage of the early hour to visit 9/11 Memorial Park. It was open to the public and at this time of day, quiet and respectful. It was just what I was hoping for. One World Trade sits to the north and the museum to the east. I don't think I'll ever be able to go in the museum. Most of the construction is finished, so the fences and noise is minimal. Glad I visited the park early. Walking north, Square Diner was my choice for a hearty breakfast. My first film is at noon so the meal strategy is important. I started walking north on West Broadway looking fro Tribeca Park. When I got there I realized that I was almost to Canal. Since I was headed to East Houston and had plenty of time I decided to walk. Arriving at Landmark Sunshine in time to see Wild Tales, I was the only one in the theater. Private screening it is, what a crazy film! I had calculated my subway transfers just right so that I would be at the Regal in time to get a good seat for the film Anesthesia. A very interesting man sat next to me and our conversation made the half hour wait fly. The film was outstanding and Tim Blake Nelson gave a heartfelt Q&A. I met Liza back at the hotel and we went to Edward's for an early dinner. The restaurant was quiet and we shared a bottle of wine, a lovely meal and great conversation. Once seated in the theater for A Faster Horse we realize that the theater sells beer. I was amused by the rules surrounding the sale of the beverage, especially the lime green wristband I had to wear. Too funny. The film was great and we discussed it over a stop in to Atrio Wine Bar in the lobby of the Conrad Hotel. Walking back to my hotel through the 9/11 Memorial Park, we decide that a snack was in order so we go to Sazon for wings and a beverage. Very nice finish on the night. As Liza heads home to Brooklyn, I check my Fitbit. 10 miles walked today. What a great day!
I learned how to drive in a 1967 Ford Mustang. Such a cool car to drive! When I heard about A Faster Horse I was all in. This documentary chronicles the history of the Ford Mustang and the drama surrounding the launch of the 2015 model. Both stories are fascinating to me. This is a documentary well worth seeing.
The cast of Anesthesia is what drew me to the film. What I got was a well written, well acted, philosophical look at the meaning of life. Tim Blake Nelson,, Sam Waterson and Glenn Close give sincere performances in this poignant family story. There are triumphs, there are struggles and above all, there is love. Tim Blake Nelson conducted a heart-felt Q&A after the film.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Waking up to a warmer day I head for the Brooklyn Bridge to walk to DUMBO to visit Liza, Fiona and Mason. They are ready to roll when I get there and we head to the sandbox playground. The kids play in the sand and Fiona gets me to climb into spaces that are a bit too small for my adult size, but I can't turn down the requests of a 2 year old. We work our way back to the apartment through more playgrounds and enjoy the warmth of the morning sun. After lunch I make my way back across the bridge as the skies fill with ominous clouds. An afternoon subway ride takes me to Chelsea in time to meet Randi for dinner at East of Eighth. After tasty food, a nice bottle of wine and wonderful conversation we cross the street to the SVA Theater for a special screening of Misery Loves Comedy. When Kevin Pollak, Jim Norton and Lewis Black take the stage after the film, Randi looks at Black and says "hey, I've met that guy, he's hilarious!" As we leave the theater I run into Jim Norton and have a chance to gush a little about his work and comedy. The subway returns me to Tribeca and another wonderful day of vacation goes in the books.
For years I have been listening to Kevin Pollak's Chat Show Podcast. When he started talking about a documentary he was making called Misery Loves Comedy I figured it would be a while before I could see it. But when the film was accepted to Sundance this year, and Tribeca Productions bought the film, it landed in the spotlight seat at Tribeca Film Festival. Not only was I going to see the film, but they were adding a director's talk after the film. Take my money and give me a ticket!! In fact I'll take two and invite a friend. The film was a collection of comedians talking about their art, what's funny and what makes them funny. After the film, Kevin Pollak, Jim Norton and Lewis Black took the stage and spoke of comedy, the film, their careers and general joking around. Such a pleasure.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
In the interest of exploring as much of NYC as I can this week, I get up, grab a coffee from the cart across the street, shower and dress. A subway ride puts me in Washington Square Park, where I am approached twice for directions, watch a street crew perform ballet, get an offer to play chess from an elderly gentleman and get asked by a perky production assistant if I want to be on TV with Stacy London. Whew!! I declined the chess game and TV invitation in the interest of time and my fear of cameras. I was not going to appear on the air with the lovely Ms. London in a purple hoodie. With a smile on my face, I head over to the IFC Center for a screening of Clouds of Sils Maria. Wonderful, thought provoking film. A quick walk to MacDougal Street has me on a stool at the bar at The Olive Tree Cafe for lunch and lovely conversation. A slow walk back through SOHO gave me just enough time to change before meeting my friend Lucy for Dinner at Max on Duane Street. After a delicious meal we walked to the Regal Theater where we were seated for Grandma, a film we really enjoyed. We were also treated to a Q&A with the director, Paul Weitz, and both lead actresses, Lily Tomlin and Julia Garner. It was quite a thrill. After the film we stopped in the the bar at The Smyth Hotel to discuss the movie and finish our visit. As I walked back to the Cosmopolitan from the City Hall subway stop I was feeling pretty good about my first full day of vacation. Thanks NYC!
There's a comradery we feel booking a film titled Grandma. My friend Lucy, who joins me for the film, and I are both Grandmothers. Unlike our sweet little toddlers, in this film a 16 year old granddaughter comes to her grandmother looking for money for a very difficult life decision. Grandma doesn't have the money, so they set off to visit people who might. With each person we meet, we learn more about their lives and personalities. This is a film about relationships and it plays out in a warm, realistic way. The director, Paul Weitz had introduced the film, and when he came back for the Q&A, he announced that Lily Tomlin and Julia Garner were joining him. It was a thrill to see the leads and they spoke about the film at length. What a treat!
When an actress is asked to revisit the work that made her a star, as the older character in the story, she suffers a crisis of identity, age and artistry. Her assistant tries to help, but does she? The film Clouds of Sils Maria is an interesting study of this journey. The performances are riveting and confident. They show the heart and angst of the actress and those around her. There is enough ambiguity to make you think and prompt interesting interpretation. Well done.
Monday, April 20, 2015
Making my way into Manhattan on the West Side Highway I am struck by the sights of the Pier Parks, The Intrepid, glass buildings and The Freedom Tower. I arrive in Tribeca and drop my bags at The Cosmopolitan, deliver the car to a neighborhood parking garage and check in for my 13th year at Tribeca Film Festival. The night is cool and drizzly, so after checking in, I scoot across the street for soup and wine at Ecco! Once warmed, I take the walk to Battery Park City. Most of my films are screening at the Regal Theater. The renovations are complete, and the lobby of the Conrad Hotel adjoins the theater. It is very pretty. High ceilings, sculptures and fancy lighting give a classy yet warm atmosphere. I make my way up to the theater and arrive as they are seating the film Dirty Weekend. The film is intriguing and Neil LaBute gives an interesting Q&A. Walking back to the hotel, I watch a little Letterman while I unpack. Ready to tackle NYC, I go to sleep a happy girl.
My first film of Tribeca Film Festival 2015, Dirty Weekend, had an unusual plot. Two co-workers get waylaid in Albuquerque on a business trip. The events that transpire are best left a surprise for the best effect. Neil LaBute conducted an interesting Q&A about the film, his process and motivations. A great way to start the film festival.
Sunday, April 19, 2015
The charisma and talent in the cast of Danny Collins gives the film a texture and depth I really enjoyed. The themes of age, money, show-business and family are intertwined. The story of a successful pop star figuring out his life, his art and his family is very charming. I really enjoyed this film.
Saturday, April 18, 2015
Friday, April 17, 2015
Revisiting A Few Good Men after 20 years was such a pleasure. Adapted from a stage play, this movie is well written, well acted, well shot and well paced. It is really fun to see all of these actors doing some of their best work in their early days. If you rent the DVD, watch the extras. I thought that the making-of features were very interesting. This film holds up.
Saturday, April 11, 2015
When the economy bottoms out and two watch salesmen find themselves unemployed, they enter the job market. Learning about Google, they become the oldest interns. In The Internship we see competition, undermining and all-round nonsense. An OK watch on cable.
Friday, April 10, 2015
With a few tweaks A Most Violent Year could have been an Oscar contender. The performances were there, the story was there. It needed a little more style and nuance. The whole tone was a bit too hamfisted. I will never look at an oil truck the same way again....especially in NY. Solid film.
Wednesday, April 08, 2015
Twisted, disturbing and dark The Voices is a film I really liked.The combination of whimsey and horrific serial killings takes a little getting used to, but oh what a sordid tale. I really liked this black comedy thriller. Pretty darn dark...in a cute way. So many conflicting thoughts on this one. Well done.
Wednesday, April 01, 2015
In my day, The Beatles concert at Shea Stadium was the most I knew of the venue. In The Last Play At Shea the history of the stadium through sports, music and people is chronicled. Alongside the history of the stadium, Billy Joel's career is portrayed through songs and archive footage. The ending is especially poignant, Wonderful documentary.
I enjoy learning about music history in documentaries. Nas: Time Is Illmatic is an interesting story of the rapper Nas. The art is explained and the influences of his life experiences on that art are explored. I'm not a huge rap fan, but I find I always like the beats. This is a well made, interesting documentary.