Archive for April 30th, 2018

A still from SMUGGLING HENDRIX. ©AMP Filmworks.

by Sam Juliano

The Greatest Television Series countdown will resume tomorrow after an eleven day break for the just-completed 2018 Tribeca Film Festival.  It will break for a second time in late May to pave the way for the second annual Allan Fish Online Film Festival which so far has recruited over a dozen writers.

Lucille and I managed to watch thirty-three films in the festival and all things considered it was quality-wise the best I’m ever attended.  Later in the week I will post a comprehensive “Best of” presentation as per normal practice.  Brief capsules of the day-to-day activity engineered in the 23rd Street Cineopolis and SVA Theater are as follows:

Tribeca Day #1

Lucille and I saw two films on the annual Tribeca Film Festival’s opening night, an Australian zombie horror film “Cargo” and a real life bank heist narrative featuring Ethan Hawk, “Stockholm.” Neither film was particularly memorable, but we”ll be back tonight hoping for better success.

Stockhom **
Cargo ** 1/2

Tribeca Day #2

Lucille and I saw two feature films at the Tribeca Film Festival last night. One was an excellent comedy-drama and the other a disturbing but well-made death row drama:

Jellyfish **** 1/2

Dead Women Walking *** 1/2

Tribeca Day #3

The haunting documentary “Island of the Hungry Ghosts” highlighted yesterday’s four film all-day session at the Cineopolis on 23rd Street on Day #3 of the Tribeca Film Festival as WONDERS IN THE DARK correspondent. The ratings of the four films are as follows (one doc, three narrative features)

Island of the Hungry Ghosts *****
Slut in a Good Way ****
Daughter of Mine **
Duck Butter ***


Day #4 Tribeca Film Festival

Saw FOUR (4) films yesterday, including the masterful doscumentary HOUSE TWO about the US marines brought up charges for the murder of Iraqi women and children and a moving doc on the great Disney songwriter Howard Ashman who died of AIDS in the early 90’s.

Howard ****
House Two **** 1/2
Little Woods ***
O.G. ***

Saw FOUR (4) films yesterday, including the masterful doscumentary HOUSE TWO about the US marines brought up charges for the murder of Iraqi women and children and a deeply moving doc on the great Disney songwriter Howard Ashman who died of AIDS in the early 90’s.

Day #5 Tribeca Film Festival

If anyone would have told me that one of the masterworks of this year’s festival would turn out to be a flesh eating zombie film, I would have advised them to seek professional help. Yet here we are. The brooding, melancholic, metaphorical art house French movie “The Night Eats the World” (La nuit a dévoré le monde) joins “House Two” as one of the two five star Tribeca films so far. The choral score is magnificent and the superb Norwegian actor Anders Danielson Lie delivers one of the best performances of the festival. “Roll Red Roll” and “All About Nina” were solid entries making Monday’s three film attendance quite memorable.

The Night Eats the World (France) *****
All About Nina *** 1/2
Roll Red Roll (documentary) ****

Day #6 Tribeca Film Festival

Broadway Bob Eagleson and I saw two films at the festival last night. I found “We the Animals” narratively disjointed and emotionally distancing, but give high marks to the film’s visual style in an almost experimental mode, with special kudos to visual effects supervisor Dorian West, son-in-law of friend and Fairview teaching colleague Diane Basile. The lesbian conversion therapy coming-of-age drama “The Miseducation of Cameron Post,” a huge Sundance hit, was an alternately harrowing and funny drama, fueled by impressive performances and perceptive writing in large measure.

We the Animals ***
The Miseducation of Cameron Post ****

Day #7 Tribeca Film Festival

The odds were long. All three films seen last night were documentaries and perhaps even more startling every one was of the absolute first-rank. One on the cultural phenomenon roller-skating, another on an iconic jazz record label, and the third on a musical marriage for the ages between a young Caucasian and a Harlem blues artist that redefined the term ‘chemistry.’ All three are among the best films this year at the festival!

United Skates **** 1/2
Blue Note Records ****
Adam and Satan **** 1/2

Day #8 Tribeca Film Festival

The documentary “The Gospel According to Andre” about flamboyant fashion expert Andre Talley is wholly irresistible and surely one of the highlights of the festival. Against all odds the French “The Elephant and the Butterfly” (Drole de Pere), which was produced by the Dardennes and Martin Scorsese, was slight and listless despite some pretty film making.

The Gospel According to Andre **** 1/2
The Elephant and the Butterfly (France) ***

Day #9 Tribeca Film Festival

An exceptional Friday at the 23rd Street Cineopolis yielded a narrative masterwork and one of the best docs of the festival. Faith and sexuality clash in a story of forbidden love (“Disobedience) between two women (Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams) in a London orthodox hamlet where some wrenching emotional scenes are played out when choice trumps long-held beliefs and tradition. A stirring lacrosse documentary about young students who respond to tutorial inspiration and an acute if disturbing Romanian immigration drama rounded out the impressive line-up:

Disobedience *****
Crossroads **** 1/2
Lemonade *** 1/2

Day #10 Tribeca Film Festival

We saw three films on the next-to-last-day of the Tribeca Film Festival with one of the three, “Jonathan” an impressive and riveting mind bender with a superb dual performance by Ansel Elgort the big winner. The Spanish narrative “Sunday’s Illness” and the romantic drama “Song of Back and Neck” rounded out the day’s schedule. TODAY (Sunday) we plan to see five including a few award winners on the final day of the fest.

Jonathan **** 1/2
Sunday’s Illness *** 1/2
Song of Back and Neck ***

Day #11 Tribeca Film Festival

The final day of the Tribeca Film Festival allowed us to watch five (5) features, bringing our final total to 33 for the eleven day Manhattan movie celebration. Our Sunday viewings with corresponding ratings. A comprehesive Best Of post is forthcoming at WONDERS IN THE DARK:

Smuggling Hendrix (Greek/Turkish/English) **** 1/2
To Dust ****
Diane ****
Mary Shelley **** 1/2 (seriously underrated)
Momentum Generation *** 1/2


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