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Film News & Reviews

The latest news in New York City film. From Hollywood blockbusters to independents, and from film festivals across the world, find previews, reviews and commentary here at ZEALnyc.

Hardy Boy Dives ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ to Fast and Furious Action

The original Mad Max, the 1979 nihilistic low-budget death derby starring a beautiful yet crazy Aussie unknown, Mel Gibson, was the movie that first turned me on to action. This was testosterone, baby, and I was an estrogen-pumping college student in Berkeley catching Manhattan and Meatballs and ...

Kristen Wiig Embraces Black Comedy ‘Welcome to Me’

In the burnt-toast black Sundance comedy, Welcome to Me, SNL alumna and Bridesmaids star Kristen Wiig goes dark and bipolar without losing her shield of likeability. It’s really a superpower to be marveled at, like the ability to carry on a long conversation without looking at one’s ...

Review: ‘Woman in Gold’ Glitters

Helen Mirren has become like Meryl Streep: nearly every time she has a leading role a little alarm goes off that signals “Oscar.” In this deeply emotional drama with a surprisingly light touch from Simon Curtis (My Week with Marilyn), Dame Helen plays Maria Altmann. Who? The Jewish ...

BSO at Tanglewood

Review: Boston Ballet's 'Fancy Free' Highlights an All-Bernstein Night at ...

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, August 21, 2018 In 1940, then 22-year-old Leonard Bernstein, the musical wunderkind now being celebrated for his inimitable significance in American classical music, as well as Broadway musical theatre, attended the inaugural season of the Berkshire Music Center. Throughout Bernstein's career, the Boston ...

Philadelphia museums

Art Break: Love (and Art) Abounds in Philadelphia, So Plan ...

By A. E. Colas, Contributing Writer, August 20, 2018 Sometimes at Art Break we feel the need to get out of town but not wander too far. We want to keep the conveniences of great food, interesting art, and cool people – you know, everything we have here, ...

Be More Chill

Review: Could ‘Be More Chill’ Be More Shrill?

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, August 17, 2018 The musical Be More Chill was already a bit of a sensation even before it recently opened Off-Broadway at the Pershing Square Signature Center. The show had its world premiere in Redbank, NJ in 2015 at the Two River Theater, ...

José James in concert

Life In Focus: José James in Concert at Lincoln Center ...

By Juliana Crawford, Contributing Photographer, August 15, 2018   [caption id="attachment_59953" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Kori Whithers (vocals) and José James (guitar, vocals); photo: Juliana Crawford.[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_59954" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Kori Whithers; photo: Juliana Crawford.[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_59959" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] ...

Mark Morris Dance Group

Review: Mark Morris Dance Group Excels in Various Chamber Music ...

By Sheila Kogan, Contributing Writer, August 15, 2018 The Mark Morris Dance Group, which has a long association with the Mostly Mozart Festival, presented a World Premiere for this year’s season at the Rose Theater of Lincoln Center. The company danced to the popular chamber music ...

Getting the Band Back Together

Review: The Amiable Schlock of 'Gettin' the Band Back Together'

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, August 14, 2018 Sometimes shows come to Broadway that automatically get the online theater wags sharpening their knives. Before a show has even played its first preview, the theaterati start taking bets on when it will close, and polishing off their “What ...

Moulin Rouge

Review: 'Moulin Rouge' Gets a Lavish Pre-Broadway Tryout in Boston

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, August 13, 2018 Before the 1980s, Boston was a major out-of-town stop for plays and musicals before they went to Broadway. The economics of such tryouts have changed drastically, as has the standard model for developing new plays and musicals, and Boston’...

Hudson Valley museums

Art Break: Just a Short Journey North, The Hudson Valley ...

By A. E. Colas, Contributing Writer, August 13, 2018 The Hudson Valley has a special place in the heart of Art Break. So many of our favorite artists spent their summers in the region with friends and family, working on projects, and enjoying the beautiful landscape, just ...

Newport Jazz Festival Showcases Women Artists and Emerging Talents

By Doug Hall, Contributing Writer, August 10, 2018 This year’s Newport Jazz Festival highlighted an incredibly diverse selection of women performers and women ensemble groups. The festival’s founder George Wein, in his newsletter “Notes from the Wein Machine” (March, 2018), was very direct in his statement ...

Beloved; photo: Kait Ebinger

Review: A Young Woman's Quest for Love and Passion in ...

By Megan Wrappe, Contributing Writer, August 9, 2018 Discovering how life works is what resonates the most in Lisa Langseth’s one-woman show Beloved, starring Ellinor DiLorenzo and directed by Kathy Curtiss. The play begins with the character Katarina rummaging around her grandmother’s cottage, putting things ...

Check into ‘The Second Best Marigold Hotel’ – Film Review

If there is such a thing as a warm-bath movie, The Second Best Marigold Hotel defines it. Even the title is intended to keep expectations low. Directed by John Madden, SBMH is entertainment that pairs perfectly with a meal of Chicken Tikka Masala and Lamb Korma, following in the safe footsteps of ...

Review: ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ is Bloody Good Fun

With all this snow, I need to laugh. I’ve been reading John Waters’ Role Models, which is screamingly funny when it’s not seriously scary discussing Charles Manson, or to quote Mr. Waters: “the ultimate hippie bogeyman.” And, keeping to the theme of things that are ...

‘Fifty Shades’ of Tame – Film Review

I recently watched the feminist fantasy Outlander on STARZ. The explicit nature of the sex surprised me. In one particular scene, the 18th century Scottish kilt-wearing brute Jamie spanks his time-travelling 20th century wife Claire with a stout belt on her bare bottom. Jamie Fraser has the nerve ...

‘Mommy’ Dearest Emotional Horror Movie of the Season – Film Review

Like the bastard child of John Cassavetes and Ingmar Bergman, prolific French Canadian film director Xavier Dolan has made an exhilarating, intimate family drama that digs deep and plays dirty. Mommy is a character study of a warm-blooded widowed single mother, Diane (Anne Dorval) and her virile ...

Review: Michael Mann Can’t Crack the Code in Chris Hemsworth Technothriller ‘Blackhat’

I love me some Michael Mann. You may, too: the manly men that enthrall him and the strong emotional bonds between partners and rivals; the intense close-ups; the balletic action and the driving anger; the saturated color and the exotic locales. Heat. TV’s Miami Vice and the ahead-of-its-time ...

Office Politics Gone Wild — Must-see Movie ‘Two Days, One Night’ with Marion Cotillard – Film Review

Naturalistic and probing, in Two Days, One Night, Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (The Kid with a Bike) tell an apparently simple, linear story with astonishing depth. Recovering from depression, wife and mother Sandra (Oscar winner Marion Cotillard) returns to work at a solar panel ...

Stephen Sondheim’s Musical ‘Into the Woods’ is as Bewitching as Meryl Streep – Film Review

Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore. Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods, as directed by Rob Marshall, from James Lapine’s screenplay, is movie musical bliss – better than Marshall’s Oscar-winning Chicago and so much better than his miscast, misbegotten Nine. From the prologue ...

Chris Rock Pushes ‘Top Five’ onto my Top Ten – Film Review

Some things just don’t compute. The bullying racist exposed in Scott Rudin’s vile Sony-leaks emails to chucklehead CEO Amy Pascal (pick up the phone!) doesn’t align with Rudin’s name as Producer on the credits of Chris Rock’s movie Top Five, a project written, directed ...

Benedict Cumberbatch Bristles with Brilliance in Authentic ‘The Imitation Game’ – Film Review

Taking its place among those handsome biopics the British do so well, The Imitation Game tells the fascinating (and ultimately tragic) story of mathematician Alan Turing. A day after the UK enters the Second World War, the Cambridge-educated Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) arrives at Bletchley Park, ...

Mr. Turner: Timothy Spall’s Must-see Portrait of the Landscape Artist as a Wheezy Lout – Film Review

Timothy Spall grunts, gurgles and sputters playing J. M. W. Turner — the English painter whose stunning landscapes helped define the Romantic era — in Mike Leigh’s magnificent Mr. Turner. His is the eccentric performance that seems to resonate with Oscar voters. The round-faced British ...

Miles Teller Clashes with J.K. Simmons in the Manhattan-set Jazz Drama ‘Whiplash’ – Film Review

Various

When ambitious young musician Andrew Neyman (Miles Teller) strives to be a Buddy Rich class drummer, he nearly dies trying in a charged battle of wills with his thorny professor Terence Fletcher (J. K. Simmons). The buzzy Sundance hit that won both the Audience and Grand Jury Prize vibrates with ...

Jennifer Lawrence Pouts and Protests Through ‘Mockingjay – Part 1’ – Film Review

“Now I’m condemned to a life of jumpsuits,” complains Tribute Escort Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) early on in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1. She might have been referring to the entire third part of what is now, unlike the book trilogy, a four-part saga in the ...

Michael Keaton Pecks at Fame in ‘Birdman’ – Film Review

Whether you remember Michael Keaton as the guy who threw away the Batman franchise before comic books were king, or the comic genius of Beetlejuice, the actor is the crazy spinning center of Alejandro G. Inarritu’s Birdman, which closed the 52nd Annual New York Film Festival and exited Venice ...

Interview: Hilary Swank stands tall, dives deep discussing ‘The Homesman’

   

I had a chance to have tea with two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank at the Hamptons International Film Festival in the lobby of the Maidstone Hotel. We discussed her scrubbed down, soulful role as Mary Bee Cuddy in Tommy Lee Jones’s The Homesman, one of my favorite movies of 2014. The Nebraska ...

Oscar Winners Hilary Swank and Tommy Lee Jones Amaze in ‘The Homesman:’ Film Review

With The Homesman, Director/Co-writer/Star/Texan Tommy Lee Jones confounds again, making brilliant American cinema on the back of the blockbuster dime he earned for Men in Black and The Fugitive, among many others. His taste is no-nonsense, astringent in its view of human nature, and unsentimental ...

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