CINEMA: Yankee Doodle Foxtrot

IRRESISTIBLE (directed by Jon Stewart, 101 minutes, USA, 2020) BY DAN TABOR FILM CRITIC Irresistible, written and directed by ex-Daily Show darling Jon Stewart, is a scathing political satire, but it’s one with a heart, that has Stewart commenting on a post Obama world and what’s next for the Democratic party.The films delivers a hilariously hard to swallow pill: a reminder that what really matters isn’t ideologies or agendas, it’s people. The film stars Steve Carell as Gary Zimmer, a democratic strategist/Hillary campaign survivor still reeling from 2016, who’s looking for a way into the hearts and minds of that […]

CINEMA: Casualties Of War

DA 5 Bloods (directed by Spike Lee, 154 minutes, USA, 2020) BY DAN TABOR FILM CRITIC Films often take years, even decades to come to fruition, so it’s rare when a filmmaker manages to make a movie that is perfectly timed to comment on a moment. Spike Lee has done just that with his latest, Da Five Bloods, which is also his most ambitious since Malcom X. Illuminating as it is entertaining, the film is supercharged by our current sociopolitical climate as it dissects Trump, race, family and war. I found it reminiscent of The Irishman in that it’s a […]

CINEMA: The Mad King

THE KING OF STATEN ISLAND (dir. by Judd Apatow, 136 minutes, USA, 2020) BY DAN TABOR FILM CRITIC In The King of Staten Island, now streaming on VOD, director Judd Apatow returns to the formula that worked so well with Trainwreck : creating a vehicle around a comedian’s perceived public persona. This time around he’s chosen SNL’s resident bad boy Pete Davidson, who’s been going through a bit of a rough patch recently. After a very public and messy relationship/separation from Ariana Grande, he then went on to bite the hand that feeds by publicly criticizing SNL during a sit-down […]

CINEMA: Twilight Zoning

THE VAST OF NIGHT (directed by Andrew Patterson, 89 minutes, USA, 2020) BY DAN TABOR FILM CRITIC The Vast Of Night, the ambitious Amazon Prime sci-fi thriller by first-time filmmaker Andrew Patterson, is setup like an episode of a fictional ’50s TV show called Paradox Theater, channeling Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone. The narrative is set in rural 1950s New Mexico, as it follows a night in the lives of Fay (Sierra McCormick), a comely 16-year-old switchboard operator, and her crush, teenage radio DJ Everett (Jake Horowitz). It’s the night of the big basketball game and Fay and Everett pick […]

CINEMA: Being Steve Buscemi

Photo by FANNY LATOUR-LAMBERT GQ: At 62, Buscemi has spent a lifetime playing lunatics and weirdos, outcasts and oddballs, his wiry frame a guitar string thrumming with rage or taut with the deep discomfort of simply existing in the world. The crown jewels of his visage are his heavy-lidded blue eyes, one of the most recognizable sets in the business, which can jut out maniacally or drown in subdued sorrow. When he pulls off his black baseball cap, I’m struck by how muted and relaxed his features are, as if they’ve all agreed to a nonaggression pact. Buscemi also carries […]

INCOMING: The Manson Family Revisited

? ROLLING STONE: A new six-part docuseries revisits the Manson Family murders for a definitive portrait of the infamous cult. Its trailer promises plenty of archival footage, plus haunting re-creations and interviews with the Family that have never been revealed until now. “He was a puppet master pulling everyone’s strings,” says a Family member in a voiceover. Another adds, “I was definitely under Charlie’s spell.” (June 14) MORE

CINEMA: What A Long, Funny Trip It’s Been

THE TRIP TO GREECE (Dir. by Michael Winterbottom, 103 minutes, USA, 2020] BY DAN TABOR FILM CRITIC The Trip to Greece hit streaming this week, and with it brings an end to the decade-long run of the British sitcom/film franchise,The Trip.The show is a bit like if Curb Your Enthusiasm was made for the Food Network. The Trip to Greecestars comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, who play fictionalized versions of themselves bickering and riffing their way across various countries while sampling local delicacies. The first trip had Coogan taking a restaurant tour assignment from The Observer to impress a […]

CINEMA: The Brothers Cray Cray

THE GENTLEMEN (Directed by Guy Ritchie, 113 minutes, USA, 2020) BY DAN TABOR FILM CRITIC It’s been a while since Guy Ritchie made a good gangster film. Hell, it’s been a while since Guy Ritchie made any kind of movie that was good. Well, I’m happy to report his latest is a much welcomed, long-overdue return to form. After turning in a string of terrible/forgettable clunkers, like that terrible King Arthur flick and what for my money was the worst of the Disney live-action remakes (Aladdin), Ritchie is going back to basics. The Gentlemen has Ritchie doing just what he […]

CINEMA: There Will Be Differences Of Opinion

  THE GUARDIAN: The title is a prophecy, a warning, or a vengeful supernatural pronouncement. Paul Thomas Anderson’s strange masterpiece, freely adapted by him from Upton Sinclair’s 1927 novel Oil!, is a tragic parable of man’s dependence on this commodity: formerly the lubricant of commercial triumph and technological innovation, and now the dwindling lifeblood of our material prosperity, the unacknowledged driving force of our military conflicts, and even the cause of a coming ecological catastrophe. That dark title threatens a calamity now visible on the horizon: destruction of the Earth itself. And it is all inscribed in the story of […]

REQUIEM: Threnody For The Victims Of Hiroshima

NEW YORK TIMES: Krzysztof Penderecki, a Polish composer and conductor whose modernist works jumped from the concert hall to popular culture, turning up in soundtracks for films like “The Exorcist” and “The Shining” and influencing a generation of edgy rock musicians, died on Sunday at his home in Krakow. He was 86. Mr. Penderecki was regarded as Poland’s pre-eminent composer for more than half a century, and in all those years he never seemed to sit still. Beginning in the 1960s with radical ideas that placed him firmly in the avant-garde. […] It was compositions from the wild first decade […]

CINEMA: In Werner Herzog We Trust

  NEW YORK TIMES: You’ve talked in the past about your desire for your documentaries to convey ecstatic truth3 — or deeper truth — rather than what you’ve called “the truth of accountants.” Does anything about the need for ecstatic truth feel different now, at a time when even factual truth feels destabilized? WERNER HERZOG: I’ll make it very simple. My witness is Michelangelo, who did the statue of the Pietà. When you look at Jesus taken down from the cross, it’s the tormented face of a 33-year-old man. You look at the face of his mother: His mother is […]