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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 ...

New York Renaissance Faire

Life In Focus: It's Fairy-Nice at the New York Renaissance ...

By Juliana Crawford, Contributing Photographer, September 20, 2018   [caption id="attachment_60766" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Consulting a Book of Magic and Spells at the Faire; photo: Juliana Crawford.[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_60771" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] The Villagers of the Renaissance Faire; photo: Juliana Crawford.[/caption]   [...

PermaDeath

The First Video Game Opera, 'PermaDeath,' Receives Its World ...

By Doug Hall, Contributing Writer, September 19, 2018 At first glance, the title of Cerise Jacobs’s upcoming world’s first video game opera PermaDeath seems to imply another dark take or tale using the commercial success and wide-spread popularity of the multiplayer video game phenomenon. But ...

Judson Dance Theater

Roots of Modern Dance Are Traced through MoMA's Current Exhibit ...

By Sheila Kogan, Contributing Writer, September 18, 2018 The current exhibit at MoMA entitled Judson Dance Theater: The Work is Never Done is an homage to the dance artists who created work at the Judson Church in the 60s and 70s. The dancers and choreographers who created ...

The Power of Art

Art Break: The Power of Art Through the Ages at ...

By A. E. Colas, Contributing Writer, September 17, 2018 This week, Art Break is looking at a wide variety of art movements as well as their purpose and meaning. The oldest material on our list comes from The Frick’s exhibition of fifteenth century religious and devotional ...

There Will Be Blood

Review: Film Soundtracks Take Center Stage in NY Philharmonic's Art ...

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, September 14, 2018 If the New York Philharmonic were to program an evening of music by avant-garde Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki, I suspect it would be a tough sell. The audience would be limited, and probably dwindle in number as the night ...

Agnes

Review: 'Agnes' Brings Dramatic and Meteorological Tensions to 59E59 Theater

By Miles Harter, Contributing Writer, September 14, 2018 Agnes is a compelling play about family, friendship, and connections. Set in a three-bedroom New York City apartment, Agnes presents five millennials sheltering themselves from a major storm. The talented playwright, Catya McMullen, adeptly sets up the backstory for ...

Feast of San Gennaro

The Feast of San Gennaro Returns to NYC's Little Italy

ZEALnyc, September 13, 2018 For the 92nd time the Feast of San Gennaro, a faith-based celebration honoring the Patron Saint of Naples, Italy, takes place in the neighborhood of Manhattan affectionately known as "Little Italy" (Mulberry Street between Canal and Houston Streets; the festival stage is located ...

Collective Rage

Review: 'Collective Rage' — a Terrific Play in 5 Betties

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, September 13, 2018 How many Betties does it take to make a great play? Five, if the new play from the MCC Theater at the Lucille Lortel is any proof. Collective Rage: A Play in 5 Betties by Jen Silverman, directed by Mike ...

A Day @

A Day @: Williamsburg Provides Uncommon Eating, Shopping, and People Watching

By Anne Marie Kelly, Contributing Writer, September 12, 2018 Williamsburg is yet another one of Brooklyn's neighborhoods which has transformed over the last couple of decades. It morphed from a sad example of urban decay to a much sought-after home to the young and vibrant. It has ...

Scraps

Review: 'Scraps' Explores the Pain of Survival

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, September 11, 2018 It’s a story we’ve heard so often that we have to fight complacency: a young man is shot and killed by police, for doing nothing more than being black. Which is why a visit to the Flea ...

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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