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Film News & Reviews

Brooklyn Film Festival Turns 21 As It Prepares for the Next Decade of Excellence

ZEALnyc, March 28, 2018 The proliferation of film festivals has grown substantially over the years, with many being created to promote niche viewing or a specialized focus. The Brooklyn Film Festival, now celebrating its twenty-first year, has just closed its submission process after having ...

Review: Vive FIAF’s First-Ever French Animation Festival

By Mercedes Vizcaino, Contributing Writer, February 6, 2018 The who’s who of the French animation world graced the red carpet at the French Institute Alliance Française’s (FIAF) Florence Gould Hall this past weekend. FIAF hosted the first-ever French Animation Festival: Animation First in the ...

Review: ‘Tomorrow Ever After’ Reflects on Human Behavior and Hope

By Mercedes Vizcaino, Contributing Writer, December 21, 2017 Independent filmmaker Ela Thier defies the traditional sci-fi genre movie elements with her most recent feature Tomorrow Ever After. No spaceships, special effects or glossy action sequences in this movie. And, we are here for Thier’s ...

Grand Rapids Symphony Brings More Than Great Music to Carnegie

By Mark McLaren, Editor in Chief, April 17, 2018 The Grand Rapids Symphony arrives in New York this week for its first Carnegie Hall appearance in thirteen years with 85 players, a 135-member chorus, the world-renowned pianist Nelson Freire and its dynamic conductor Marcelo Lehninger. But according to ...

Review: Martha Graham Dance Company Continues Its Legacy and Ensures ...

By Bethany Hopta, Contributing Writer, April 17, 2018 The Martha Graham Dance Company, the oldest dance company in America, continued its 92nd season with performances of their Scared/Profane program at New York City Center this past weekend. On Saturday evening Janet Eilber, the artistic director of ...

Review: Basil Twist's Aquatic 'Symphonie Fantastique' Is Visually and Sonically ...

By Sheila Kogan, Contributing Writer, April 17, 2018 Twenty years ago, third-generation puppeteer, Basil Twist, decided to create a totally abstract work based on the music of Symphonie Fantastique by Hector Berlioz. This year, HERE, the Off-Broadway theater, has revived the work as part of their 25th ...

Review: The Drama of Mozart's Music (and Life) Fills Geffen ...

By Joanne Sydney Lessner, Contributing Writer, April 16, 2018 The New York Philharmonic’s April 14 screening of Milos Forman’s Oscar-winning movie Amadeus, with the musical score performed live, was bittersweet; Forman died the day before, at eighty-six. Conductor Richard Kaufman dedicated the presentation to Forman, and ...

Jazz Notes: On April 20, Jazz Foundation of America Returns to ...

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, April 16, 2018 Every year, New York’s nonprofit the Jazz Foundation of America—whose motto is “Saving jazz and blues…one musician at a time”—helps to be a key factor for helping musicians who have faced natural disasters and ...

Review: An Expurgated ‘Carousel’ Nonetheless Thrills

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, April 16, 2018 Each year, when I cover Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel in my musical-theater history course at the Boston Conservatory, we have a lengthy discussion about what I call “The Elephant in the Room.” Carousel barker Billy Bigelow hits his ...

Art Break: Freud at the Center for Book Arts, Mixed ...

By A. E. Colas, Contributing Writer, April 16, 2018 Humans and their place within the community, landscape, and the planet in general, is a topic of fascination to artists throughout the centuries. Art Break is looking at several shows opening this week that examine and discuss how ...

From Rio With Love — Grand Rapids Symphony Returns To Carnegie ...

By Joanne Sydney Lessner, Contributing Writer, April 12, 2018 The Grand Rapids Symphony takes the stage at Carnegie Hall on Friday, April 20 for the second time in the orchestra’s 88-year history. Having celebrated its 75th anniversary there in 2005, the orchestra returns with the 140-member Grand Rapids ...

Ecstatic Music Festival Features Diverse Programming and Collaborative Performances

By Leonard Bopp, Contributing Writer, April 12, 2018 Kaufman Music Center’s Ecstatic Music Festival, now in its eighth year, presents collaborative performances from a broad, diverse range of musical groups. As Kaufman Music Center Executive Director Lydia Kontos notes, “since Kaufman Music Center launched the pioneering ...

Review: 'Children of a Lesser God' Continues To Provoke Discussion ...

By Diana Mott, Contributing Writer, April 12, 2018 The much anticipated revival of Children of a Lesser God is a testament to the timelessness of a story about the human struggle to connect and to communicate. Mark Medoff’s Tony, Drama Desk and Olivier Award-winning play made ...

Director Victoria Negri and Actress Catherine Curtin Discuss the Highs and Lows of New Film ‘Gold Star’

By Mercedes Vizcaino, Contributing Writer, November 10, 2017 Independent film, Gold Star, grapples with the themes of caregiving, acceptance and self-discovery. The film, released commercially today by first–time director Victoria Negri, is abuzz within the film festival circuit. It’s been ...

Review: ‘Hello Again’ Revisits the Sins of the Stage Version

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, November 8, 2017 If you were to ask theater fans which musical they were most hoping to see turned into a film, it’s doubtful you would find anyone point to Hello Again, Michael John LaChiusa’s 1994 Off-Broadway succès d’estime. In fact, you’d ...

Review: Uplifting Theme Overshadows Post-Combat Realities in ‘Almost Sunrise’

By Mercedes Vizcaino, Contributing Writer, July 14, 2017 Almost Sunrise, the documentary film from award-winning filmmaking team, Michael Collins (director) and Marty Syjuco (producer) challenges and explores the misconceptions war and the inevitable and consuming effects Post Traumatic Stress ...

Review: Brooklyn Film Festival’s 20th Anniversary Offers a ‘Fresh Perspective’

By Mercedes Vizcaino, Contributing Writer, June 14, 2017 The Brooklyn Film Festival recently celebrated its 20th anniversary and this year’s film roster was brimming with edgy and thought-provoking subject matter. With over 122 features and shorts from 32 countries, the talented filmmakers ...

Ivy Film Festival Presents a Microcosm of Life and Our Everyday Struggles

By Mercedes Vizcaino, Contributing Writer, May 17, 2017 Founded in 2001 by two undergraduate students (David Peck and Justin Slosky) from Brown University, the Ivy Film Festival has become one of the most well-known international platforms for students to showcase their films. The School of Visual ...

Screening of Ivy Film Festival’s Student Films for Free at SVA

ZEALnyc, May 9, 2017 Ivy Film Festival brings its 2017 Official Selection of student films from around the world to New York with a screening at the School of Visual Arts’ (SVA) Beatrice Theatre on Friday, May 12 at 7:00 p.m., followed by a reception. This event will be ticketed, but free and ...

Review: ‘Citizen Jane: Battle for the City’ Provides Perspective on NYC’s Urban Development

By Annika Andersson, Contributing Writer, April 21, 2017 If you’ve ever admired lower Manhattan’s picturesque brownstones (and who hasn’t), you might want to send a grateful thought to activist Jane Jacobs that they are still here. Matt Tyrnauer’s new documentary Citizen Jane: ...

Brooklyn Film Festival Prepares for Its 20th Anniversary

ZEALnyc, April 7, 2017 Milestone anniversaries are meant to be celebrated, especially in the arts, where financial stability and maintaining the status quo can often be tenuous at best. So as the Brooklyn Film Festival (BFF) announces its plans for its upcoming twentieth year in existence, we wish ...

Calling all filmmakers — there’s a new Festival coming to town!

ZEALnyc, January 6, 2017 The popularity of independent films has increased dramatically over the past decade, and the trend doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. There are approximately 3,000 active film festivals throughout the world, and there have been close to 10,000 festivals that ...

Review: ‘Dr. Feelgood: Dealer or Healer?’ — a closer look at the prescription drug epidemic

By Annika Andersson, Contributing Writer, December 28, 2016 Dr. Feelgood: Dealer or Healer? is the thought-provoking documentary about Dr. William Hurwitz, who was convicted of over 50 counts of narcotics distribution for too generously prescribing painkillers to his patients, which ended up ...

NYC Offers a Multitude of Movie Theaters for Your Holiday Viewing Pleasure

By Annika Andersson, Contributing Writer, December 20, 2016 It’s now the holiday season, and what do we look forward to as much as getting presents and engaging in holiday cheer?  Going to the movies!  That’s right, Tinseltown strategically plans all their film’s release dates, ...

DOC NYC Film Festival Continues This Week

By Annika Andersson, Contributing Writer, November 14, 2016 More than 250 films are being shown in lower Manhattan as part of DOC NYC, America’s largest documentary festival. The festival only lasts one week (until November 17), but the journey of the films continues. These three documentaries ...

DOC NYC — A Documentary Film Festival November 10-17

By Annika Andersson, Contributing Writer, November 7, 2016 As the temperatures drop, along with the leaves and daylight hours, the time has come to go indoors. America’s largest documentary festival DOC NYC kicks off with over 250 films and more than 300 filmmakers and special guests appearing in ...

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the movie theater…

ZEALnyc, November 1, 2016 The 2016 NYC Horror Film Festival will take place from November 10-13 at the newly-named Cinepolis Chelsea (formerly Bow Tie Cinemas), located at 260 West 23rd Street, NYC. There will be 15 different programs over the course of the four-day festival, comprising both ...

Review: The Margaret Mead Film Festival Brings the Camera Lens to Global Issues

By Annika Andersson, Contributing Writer, October 26, 2016 When the 2016 Margaret Mead Film Festival celebrated it’s 40th Anniversary October 13-16, the festivities included a first-of-it’s-kind virtual reality documentary lounge and a closing night Cuban salsa party. The main draw ...

Just in time for Halloween—a new horror film festival featuring classics as well as premieres

ZEALnyc, October 20, 2016 This Halloween season from October 21-27, 2016, a terrifying new horror film festival comes to New York City—FEARnyc. It will be New York’s biggest horror film festival, and will be presented at Cinema Village (22 East 12th Street), and will feature screenings of ...

Review: The 13th – a sobering history lesson on the state of the Union

By Annika Andersson, Contributing Writer, October 7, 2016 Director Ava DuVernay’s latest documentary is a time travel through African-American history from the Civil War up until today. The 13th amendment abolished involuntary servitude in the United States, except as a punishment for crime. ...

‘Hands of Stone’ Showcases Two-Fisted Performances

Thelma Adams, Film Editor, August 23, 2016 Edgar Ramirez. Robert DeNiro.  To watch the mega-masculine actors spar in the boxing biopic Hands of Stone — the story of Panamanian fighter Roberto Duran and his aging American trainer Ray Arcel — is to revel in two nimble performers striking ...

‘Florence Foster Jenkins’ Sings Again – and Again and Again

Thelma Adams, Film Editor, August 11, 2016 A ghastly moment concludes Florence Foster Jenkins.  The titular arts patron with the rancid voice — Jenkins booked herself into Carnegie Hall before her death from complications of syphilis in 1944– played with brio by Meryl Streep, says ...

Movie Review: ‘Weiner’

Thelma Adams, Film Editor, May 6, 2016 Weiner raises the train-wreck documentary to new heights. Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg’s all-access view of the downward spiral of Anthony Weiner’s 2013 mayoral campaign couldn’t be more relevant or entertaining at this moment as the ...

Kevin Costner’s Comeback ‘Criminal’ Takes Us Hostage

Thelma Adams, Film Editor, April 15, 2016 Orange is the new black for one-time A-lister Kevin Costner in Ariel Vroman’s crazy sci-fi espionage actioner Criminal. Costner plays the gnarly Jericho Stewart. He’s a violent, hard-biting death-row denizen – Hannibal hold the cannibal – ...

WTF? Tina Fey’s Afghanistan Adventure ‘Whiskey Tango Foxtrot’

Thelma Adams, Film Editor, March 2, 2016 Let us pause to praise Tina Fey, the Sally Field of her generation, or perhaps the Mary Tyler Moore. She is adorable and whip-smart and a bit insecure, which makes her all the more relatable. But, like George Clooney as he wandered the desert in search of a ...

All Hail Breaks out with George Clooney, Channing Tatum and the Coens in ‘Hail, Caesar!”

Thelma Adams, Film Editor, February 5, 2015 There is a nearly interstitial blissful moment in the Coen Brothers’ chaotically joyous “Hail, Caesar!” when the singing cowboy star Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich) stands outside of a Hollywood mansion for a studio-arranged date. As ...

Brooklyn and Themes of Love, Home, and Femininity – Film Review

Jaylan Salah, Contributing Writer, November 25, 2015 Home is where the heart lies. Does this saying have any truth to it? “You’re homesick, that’s all. Everybody gets it. But it passes. In some it passes more quickly than in others. There’s nothing harder than it. And the rule is to have ...

NYFF Review: Love is a Many Splendored, Splintered Thing for Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in ‘Carol’

Thelma Adams, Film Editor, September 29, 2015 Carol is a sinfully rich romance in which most – but not all – the action occurs on the gorgeous faces (or refracts in the subtle glances) of leads Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. The notion that true love is a physical, emotional and spiritual bond ...

Brit Marling gets her gun and gives Sam Worthington hell in ‘The Keeping Room’

Thelma Adams, Film Editor, September 25, 2015 Since I am committed to raising the profile of female-driven narratives, here’s a shout-out for the peculiarly subdued, fantastically acted action film that is Daniel Barber’s Civil War drama The Keeping Room with a script by Julia ...

Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro get ‘Sicario’ in Mexico

Thanks Don Winslow. (Said with the cadence of ‘Thanks Obama.’) You ruined the drug-war action drama Sicario for me. Winslow’s fantastic, methodically researched novel The Cartel is an unsentimental education in six hundred pages. James Ellroy nailed it when he called the novel ...

Rooftop Films: See Underground Movies Outdoors

Jeremy Moran, Contributing Writer, July 29, 2015 Ahh, summer; the season to spend as much time outside before the air freezes up and the leaves turn brown. You can head to the beach, bike out in the sun, or simply sit outside getting lost in a book and drinking a coke. What you may not know is that ...

Review: “The Tribe” Will Leave You Speechless

Jeremy Moran, Contributing Writer, July 28, 2015 The Tribe is a challenging, difficult experience that will haunt you for days. Told entirely through Ukrainian Sign Language, the film contains no subtitles, no music, and no voice-over. In other words, it will not tell you how to think. If you want ...

Alicia Vikander and Kit Harington Embody a Glorious “Testament of Youth”

Alicia Vikander has been on the verge of breaking out big (Oscar-nominated A Royal Affair, the summer’s sleeper hit Ex Machina, second fiddle to Keira Knightley in Anna Karenina) since I met her three years ago at the Hamptons International Film Festival as one of ten stars to watch. Now, ...

Time is Running out for George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland’

Tomorrowland, named after Disneyland’s future-themed neighborhood, is Spy Kids in space. Which turns out not be a bad thing although it may come as a surprise to those who have watched George Clooney do the endless P.R. rounds, hefting his epic charm as if it were Thor’s hammer. On ...

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 ...

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