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Thread: NEW YORK MOVIE JOURNAL (Sept.-Oct. 2019)

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    NEW YORK MOVIE JOURNAL (Sept.-Oct. 2019)

    NEW YORK MOVIE JOURNAL (Sept.-Oct. 2017)
    The title-director line is linked to the longer review where there is one.



    WHERE'S MY ROY COHN? (Matt Tyrnauer 2019). He is remembered as the chief counsel of Sen. Joseph McCarthy in the Army-McCarthy trials, depicted as growing out of Cohn's infatuation with G. David Schine, a wealthy young Jew like Cohn but unlike him, blond and handsome, and not particularly smart. Cohn was brilliant and devious. Later he became the killer defense attorney for New York gangsters and mafiosi, increasingly crooked in his own dealings and eventually disbarred. He died of AIDS but remained closeted to the end, and denied that he had AIDS. A spectacularly distasteful individual but relevant today because he was a formative influence on Donald J. Trump. A standard talking heads doc which relies a little too heavily on stills of Cohn's face, his dark-rimmed eyes and menacing, basilisk stare. Tyrnauer made docs on Valentino and Studio 54. At Film Forum Sept. 28, 2019 97 mins. Metascore 70%.



    NATIONAL THEATRE LIVE: FLEABAG (Vicky Jones 2019).
    The film is of a West End stage show using material from which Phoebe Waller-Bridge spun her two "Fleabag" series (six episodes each) available in the US on Amazon Prime with a supporting cast including Bill Paterson, Olivia Coleman, and other excellent actors. Phoebie's character is sex-obsessed young woman haunted by the death of her BFF Boo, with whom she started her now failing guinea pig-inspired café. Since the text of this show went into the series (which I've seen twice) nearly word-for-word it was a bit of a disappointment to watch, on an expensive ticket. nonetheless Waller-Bridge always charms and impresses and it's interesting to see the very different format - in which the character seemed sadder than she does spread over the two TV series. The solo stage version makes brilliant use of subtle expressions and pauses and off-stage sounds and voices. Riotous audience laughter in the film wasn't matched by much audible reaction at the 6 p.m. show at the movie theater. Maybe many others knew the lines too well from the TV series? Or is it just that "theatre live" feels a lot less "live" projected on a movie screen? Watched at IFC Center Sept. 28.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 10-12-2019 at 10:24 PM.

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    THE WILD GOOSE LAKE (Diao inan 20119). Not sure film noir/police chase works in Mainland China's environment, but Diao pulls out all the stops to make that kind of B picture into an art film this time, with terrific rain, tacky-chic neon, motorcycles, and boys in gaudy T shirts, with a neat score and keen sound design. Obviiously Lincoln Center programmer Dennis Lim has reasons to love this director and this film that comes from Competition at Cannes. I didn't feel quite enough glamor or gloom, but I did enjoy it and the pleasure of the largely young, Chinese audience. Very festive. My first NYFF 2019 public screening, 3rd NYFF film. At Alice Tully Hall Sept. 29, 2019. Metascore 74%.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-30-2019 at 11:36 PM.

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    JUDY (Rupert Gold 2019). Renée Zellweger's virtuoso star turn as Judy Garland. So-so, retro film depicts Garland's last gig in London separated from her kids, sometimes with Mickey Deans, the nightclub manager she briefly married. The screenplay shows her drunken embarrassment and collapse on stage and ends with a tear-jerker performance of "Over the Rainbow" but doesn't show the extent of the drug use and psychological problems, the craziness or the charisma. Seen to prepare for Oscar time, a downer, but Renée in good form, singing well, mimicking the stage business brilliantly. At AMC 19th St. (with uncomfortable new automated seats) Sept. 30, 2019. Metascore 65%.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 10-01-2019 at 04:45 PM.

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    THE MISEDUCATION OF BINDU (Prathana Mohan 2019). The trappings of a mildly raunchy high school comedy are applied to a Hindu Indian girl (the Bindu of the title) whose widowed mother has married a white American man (David Arquette) and moved to Indiana. Bill wants Bindu to assimilate by quitting homeschooling and going to a regular high school. The film focuses on the classic eventful day when Bindi becomes reconciled to this idea. In Hindi and English, this is a cute film of perhaps limited appeal but with a unique demographic. Produced by the Duplass brothers, it premieres at the Mill Valley, to be followed by the Heartland fest. Watched on a screener Oct. 1, 2019. Metascore 69%.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 10-24-2019 at 05:57 PM.

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    JOKER (Todd Phillips 2019). This one more Joker origin story starring Joaquin Phoenix in a great performance or a display of extreme overacting, depending on how you see it, depicts "Arnold Fleck" as a pathetic party clown with severe behavior disorders , including prolonged compulsive laughing fits, who lives with his invalid mother and is beaten up and attacked by bullies. His revenge begins when a colleague gives him a pistol. Gotham is seen as early Eighties New York when subway trains are covered with graffiti inside and out, but the city's rampant disorder isn't realistic. Phoenix's triumphant moments come when he turns to dances and graceful moves that show he's transformed. The actor lost a lot of weight for the role. Huge advance publicity but critical reaction has been very mixed. Watched at Regal Union Square Oct. 4, 2019, opening day. Metascore 58%.

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    LOWTIDE (Kevin McMullin 2019). In a first film channeling Stephen King, a group of local boys in a Jersey shore town are in constant trouble for burglarizing rich "Bennies," summer out-of-towners, then when an eccentric local dies they find a cache of real value. Like in the Chaucer tale or Treasure of the Sierra Madre, finding gold sows terrible discord. The young actors are fine, but the action is a bit meandering and inconclusive. It star Jaeden Martell excels as the smart peewee. Best just for the atmosphere and personal dynamics. Watched at Quad Cinema Sun., Oct. 6, 2019. Metascore 63%.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 10-06-2019 at 03:16 PM.

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    MEMORY: THE ORIGINS OF ALIEN ( Alexandre O. Philippe 2019)
    . Not an unusual documentary but good for exploring the synergy between Dan O'Bannon, writer; Ridley Scott, director; and H.R. Giger, artist, that made this sci-fi-horror movie something special. I could have done with less focus on the "chest busting scene." Watched at Cinema Village Oct. 10, 2019. Metascore 70%.

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    FIRST LOVE 初恋 (Hatsukoi) (Takeshi Miike 2019). Crazy violent funny Miike crime/coming of age mashup with Leo (Masataka Kubota), a mop-haired, eager young boxer, raised as an orphan, who learns he's dying of a brain tumor and it makes him feel invincible in protecting a defenseless young woman in trouble. They wind up in the middle of a yakuza turf war. Debuted in Directors Fortnight at Cannes. As Jessica Kiang says, "it's wired to explode, and it's a blast." Watched at Village East Oct. 12, 2019. Metascore 76%.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 10-12-2019 at 10:34 PM.

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    THE DEAD CENTER (Billy Senese 2019). I was intrigued by the presence e of ace indie director Shane Carruth's (Primer, Upstream Color), here playing a lead outside his own filmography here, he does so nicely. He's cast as a psychiatrist drawn into treating a man formerly a body-bagged suicide "John Doe" (Jeremy Childs) who violently revives and winds up catatonic in the hospital psych ward. This tricky patient, oscillating between pathetic and menacing, seems either a zombie or possessed by a malevolent spiri. Alternately motionless or causing deaths all around him, he superficially resembles the creepy guy in Kiyoshi Kurosawa's much cooler film Cure. Scary and momentarily disturbing without having an original plot, The Dead Center lacks the subtlety of the Japanese film, but it moves right along and is reputedly is a major step forward from Senese's first film. Watched at Cinema Village Oct. 14, 2019. Metascore: 63.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 10-14-2019 at 03:47 PM.

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    GREENER GRASS (Jocelyn DeBoer, Dawn Luebbe 2019). Surreal comedy focused on 95% super bland white suburban people who all wear pastels, adults wear braces, and everyone drives around in golf carts. Many odd, ludicrous details, and people-pleasing is highlighted early when a woman gives her baby to her friend in the opening scene after she admires it. But I agree with Kristen Yoonsoo Kim on <a href="https://letterboxd.com/kristenyoonsoo/film/greener-grass-2019/">Letterboxd</a> who wrote, "this ... offended me. feels like the idea of ​​a fun and wacky time for someone who has never seen a movie before but loves SNL skits?" Pace is often off and story is a weak element. But given the elaborate strangeness, cult status is likely. Watched on a screener prior to Oct. 18, 2019 release. Metascore 77%.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 10-24-2019 at 05:40 PM.

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    TELL ME WHO I AM (Ed Perkins 2019) "What if every memory that haunts you could be erased? What if something truly horrific had happened to you and the person who loves you most could wipe that from your mind? Would you want ... See full summary. Essentially it reads like a very high-toned Jerry Springer episode. Still. it is memorable and has a beautiful (thhough very distressing) shape. Watched at Quad Cinema Oct. 30. Metascore 68%.

    Last movie seen in New York this trip. More on this when recovered from wrist surgery and I can think.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 10-24-2019 at 05:53 PM.

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