Buy These DVDs Now

Hello Lonesome” is Adam Reid’s charming triptych dramedy revolving around the theme of loneliness and human connection.  Plot #1 involves the voice over actor Harry Chase playing a voice over actor named Harry Chase, who works and lives alone in his comfortable rural Connecticut domicile. Coping poorly with an estrangement from his adult daughter (never seen), Harry passes the time in between his studio gigs playing with his big boy toys  which include a gun collection and a trampoline.  His only friend is the UPS guy (a terrific Kamel Boutros), who drops off supplies for Harry and humors him by hanging out longer than he should.  Plot #2 involves compulsive online gambler Gordon (Nate Smith) who falls in love with pretty Debby (Sabrina Lloyd).  Gordon ends up moving into Debby’s large but sparse Manhattan apartment which she shares with a pair of large dogs.  A bit of unexpected news ends up potentially undermining their future. Plot #3 plays up the age difference between widow, Eleonore (Lynn Cohen) and her much younger single neighbor (James Urbaniak) whom she reaches out to after her driver’s license is revoked.  What starts out as an occasional chauffeuring here and there, ends up going off into Harold & Maude territory.  Everyone in “Hello Lonesome” is terrific and pitch perfect.  The most fun is the audio commentary which stuffs too many of the cast members together with Reid’s wife feeding the cast throughout.  Nary a coherent thought is completed but you’ll still laugh and wish you had attended the recent DVD release party hosted by Filmwax.  Buy a copy now!

My Perestroika” was one of the big documentary surprises last year.  Along with a handful of other non-fiction features (including Werner Herzog’s “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” and “Buck”) that actually had impact at the box office as well as a hit on POV.  Following 5 adults who all experienced growing up in the Soviet Union and then the subsequent transition of Glasnost and Perestroika, the movie is both funny and sad but always fascinating.  The DVD is packed with an hour’s worth of deleted scenes.  Anyone who watches the movie will be grateful for the bonus time with the movie’s subjects whom will all grow on them like married couple Borya and Lyuba who are trying to raise their son, Mark, amidst the chaos of the Russian culture.  Successful entrepreneur, Andrei, has profited very well while Rusian, a local musician, struggles to make ends meet.  And single mother, Olga, a former high school beauty, now punches the clock at a pool table rental company.  Yet, a real spark emanates from all of filmmaker Robin Hessman’s subjects.   The DVD is available for purchase using this link.

RICHARD’S WEDDING premieres Friday, June 1

“Richard’s Wedding” will begin its NY theatrical engagement at the reRun Theater in DUMBO this Friday, June 1st.  Many cast and crew members will be present for Q&A’s after both screenings which will take place at 7:30 & 10:15.  The comedy, directed by Onur Tukel, is being distributed by Matt Grady’s Factory 25.  Several members from the cast, including Onur, Jennifer Prediger and Dustin Defas, will be guests on Filmwax Radio tomorrow evening for a special live broadcast.

show times
FRI 6/1 – 7:30pm, 10:15pm
SAT 6/2 – 3pm
MON 6/4 – 7:30pm, 10:15pm
TUE 6/5 – 10:15pm
WED 6/6 – 10:15pm
THU 6/7 – 7:30pm

RICHARD’S WEDDING NY Premiere at reRun Theater

Word just in that Onur Tukel’s comedy, “Richard’s Wedding”, which was picked up by Matt Grady’s Factory 25, will be premiering at reRun Gatropub Theater on Friday, June 1.  The comedy about a ragtag group of friends getting together for a wedding in Central Park, shot at the end of last summer and stars Lawrence Michael Levine (“Gaby on the Roof in july”, “Green”), Jennifer Prediger (“Uncle Kent & the upcoming “Red Flag”), Dustin Defas (“Bad Fever”), Josephine Decker (“Autoerotic”, “Uncle Kent”), Randy Gambill (“Eastbound and Down”), Oona Mekas (“The Future”), myself &, of course, Onur Tukel.  Many from the cast & crew are expected to appear on opening night.  I hope to have a special episode of Filmwax Radio airing just prior.   More on that to come.

INTERVIEW with Jessica Yu

Adam Schartoff: How making “Last Call at The Oasis” from an editing standpoint?  Not just cutting it, but as a filmmaker and storyteller?

Yu: With this film, I wanted the big picture. I really wanted to understand how interconnected water is with issues like quality vs. quantity, and what did climate change and regulation has done. I wanted all of that.  And knowing that was the scope of it I realized I needed to tell as much of that through stories, or else people would be overwhelmed with data. And so, that was the organizing principle in a lot of ways, the stories. It’s roughly divided into the issues of quantity, quality, and then there’s the last section:  I actually like to think of it as more the psychology behind our inertia. You know, what does it take to move forward to the next step. So that was roughly how it was laid out. But as we started, we see that in these things there is a lot of overlap, in these larger headings- like terms of quality: if you pollute your water past a certain point, you have taken that water out your supply.

Schartoff:  What I’ve taken from this is that there’s really only one body of water, in a sense.

Yu: Right, its one big lake.

Schartoff: And you know, you can pollute to an extent, but whatever pollutants you put in the water are going to find their way into your body.

Yu: The other thing that is shocking is how long those pollutants remain in the water.  Chromium can remain in the water for 400 years, which is essentially forever.

Schartoff:  It’s all very overwhelming.  An expert in your film says, “we’re screwed.”  How do we counter that mind frame?  Should people take away from the film that Is that a lot of small steps that everybody takes?  Or is it about the larger picture, like the legislative steps made by government?  Or is it a combination of the two?

Yu:  I think its all of the above. That’s a really good question, because I feel like either we tend to just completely deny or dismiss that there is a problem, right? So we don’t do anything. The other thing we do is that we get overwhelmed by how big it is- so we don’t do anything![laughs] So that’s what keeps the inertia where it is. So I think where we were getting at in the film is that everything helps, mainly because most of us aren’t doing anything. So the potential for progress is huge, but that progress could be on the personal level. I mean, it always sounds banal like: take shorter showers and something about your lawn, but you look at those efforts multiplied by many people over their lifetimes- that’s pretty huge. And of course, on the macro-level the idea that we should have better regulation. We should have water policies. We should have better technologies, we should price water appropriately- these are all things that can make a huge difference and that’s the idea. There is no silver bullet, there is silver buckshot. I like that idea, that there are many little things that add up to the impact. Read more

Rooftop’s 16th Season

Last Friday, May 18th, Rooftop Films began its 16th season with it’s annual eclectic shorts slate, This Is What We Mean by Short Films.  Continuing all summer long they will screen a total of 23 feature films and 183 shorts.  Every evening begins with a musical performance; last Friday’s band was terrific, a band called Crinkles.  I’ve become a fan.  Among the highlights of the shorts were Henry Joost’s A Brief History of John Baldessari, Michael Galinsky, Joanna Arnow & Suki Hawley’s “First Month”, Grant Orchard’s “Morning Stroll” and Dana O’Keefe’s “Aaron Burr, Part 2”.

Along with their usual existing outstanding venues spanning the roofs, parks, and piers of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, Rooftop Films is introducing an additional two new venues this year: Metrotech & Dekalb Market in Downtown Brooklyn.

Here is the complete roster of films coming up this summer.

Friday, May 11
This Is What We Mean By Short Films Opening Night
At Rooftop, we have always envisioned our Opening Night show as a rebellion against stale cinematic forms and status quo stories. This year, revolution is in the air, and our programming crests the top of the upheaval.
Venue: Open Road Rooftop (Lower East Side), 350 Grand Street, New York, NY 10002

Saturday, May 12
Think of Me (Bryan Wizemann)
“Trembling with vulnerability, Lauren Ambrose is positively devastating” (The New York Observer) as a young single mother doing her best not to fall apart.
Venue: Open Road Rooftop (Lower East Side), 350 Grand Street, New York, NY 10002

Thursday, May 17
On Your Own (Short Films)
In this dynamic program of comedy, animation, drama and documentary, people on the mad margins of society express a creative vision of the world that is alluring and bizarre.
Venue: Dekalb Market (Downtown Brooklyn), 138 Willoughby St. at Flatbush Ave. Read more

BAMcinemaFest Announces 4th Season — Lots of Goodies!

The creme of the crop, or so that’s the term one hears bandied about when referring to BAMcinemFest’s annual program.  Just announced, the 4th season, of what is quickly becoming a major NYC film event.  If you don’t get to festivals like SxSW, Sundance or Cannes, don’t worry,  BAM brings a selection right to your neighborhood (or a short subway ride away).  Among the highlights last year were Septien, Catechism Cataclysm, Terri, If A Tree Falls, Where Soldiers Come From, and many others.

This year’s  lineup looks hardly disappoints and  Filmwax Radio is proud to be inviting a number of this season’s filmmakers to the show.  Stay tuned for air dates.

OPENING NIGHT: “Sleepwalk With Me” (Mike Birbiglia) NY Premiere Narrative
Opening the festival on June 20 is the New York premiere of “Sleepwalk With Me”, Mike Birbiglia’s adaptation of his hit off-Broadway one-man show. Co-written and produced by Ira Glass, who has featured Birbiglia on This American Life, this hilarious and poignant autobiographical exploration stars Birbiglia as a bartender at a Park Slope comedy club who moves in with his long-term girlfriend (Lauren Ambrose). On top of his struggles with his relationship and his stand-up career, Birbiglia also battles an extreme form of sleepwalking where he acts out his dreams—even going so far as to throw himself out of a second story window in Walla Walla, Washington. This bittersweet ciné-memoir is both earnest and surreal. Winner of an audience award at Sundance and a selection at SXSW, “Sleepwalk With Me” also stars cult legend Carol Kane and character actor James Rebhorn (“Meet the Parents”, “Independence Day”) as Birbiglia‟s mother and father; a typically snarky Alex Karpovsky (“Tiny Furniture”); and comics Kristen Schaal (“Flight of the Conchords”), David Wain (“Wet Hot American Summer”), Marc Maron (“Late Night with Conan O’Brien”, “WTF with Marc Maron”), Wyatt Cenac (“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”), and others. “Sleepwalk With Me” is an IFC Films release and opens August 24.  An IFC Films release.

CLOSING NIGHT: “Rock ‘n’ Roll Exposed: The Photography of Bob Gruen” (Don Letts) NY Premiere Documentary
The definitive portrait of a legendary photographer, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Exposed: The Photography of Bob Gruen”, directed by the equally legendary punk documentarian Don Letts (“The Punk Rock Movie”, “The Clash: Westway to the World”, “Strummerville”), is the festival’s closing night film presented in a free screening for its New York premiere on July 1. Most famous for the iconic black-and-white photo of a casual John Lennon in shades wearing a “New York City” t-shirt—Gruen was John and Yoko’s personal photo documentarian—the New York photographer redefined the still image in rock, with what Alice Cooper has described as “the ultimate backstage pass…This guy must have stories that nobody has!” Featuring hundreds of celebrated shots of the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Chuck Berry, David Bowie, Elton John, Queen, Iggy Pop, The Clash, the Sex Pistols, Blondie, and more alongside dozens of interviews with Debbie Harry, Yoko Ono, Julian Lennon, Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper, Billy Joe Armstrong, punk historian Legs McNeil, and, of course, Gruen himself, Rock ‘n’ Roll Exposed is the true history of rock ‘n’ roll from the 60s to the present. Read more

Buy These DVDs Now

In Lynne Ramsay’s “We Need to Talk About Kevin“, Tilda Swinton plays Eva, a shell-shocked woman absent of the maternal gene.  For that deficiency she is punished —imprisoned really— in a relationship with her psychopathic son, Kevin.  The two end up in a bizarre symbiotic relationship which eludes her emotionally deficient husband Franklin (John C. Reilly).  Franklin lives in a state of denial, both Kevin’s loving son performance while also explaining away his antisocial behavior as childishness (toddler Kevin: Rock Duerr; pre-pubescent Kevin: Jesper Newell) or hormonal (teenage Kevin: Ezra Miller).  His warmth toward his Dad is part of a larger act all staged to torture his mother.

The film skips around in time from Eva’s single days as a journalist through the present day, the latter period which takes place following a tragedy which leaves her as the town pariah.  Tilda Swinton looks likes she is caught in the headlights when she isn’t looking hungry for her son’s approval.  Their relationship is that of nemeses and any connectivity they share is the within that context. Read more