August 10, 2014
It was an interestingly diverse week at The Picture House, with two screenings that moved and captivated.
Wednesday, we showed “After,” a family story of tragedy and hope in which the characters share a heart-breaking secret. Director Pieter Gaspersz and writer/actress Sabrina Gennarino were on hand to talk about the film, offering their own insights and discussing what turned out to be a more than 10-year effort to bring Gennarino’s script to the screen.
Thursday, we showed “May in the Summer,” an engaging tale of parents, children and sisters in the face of slightly crazy family dynamics. The assured film by Cherien Dabis, who also plays the lead, offered an intriguing look at a Middle Eastern-American family in Jordan, dealing with the kind of interpersonal issues that are universal, even while touching on the specifics of this particular culture.
Next up: “Art and Craft,” a fascinating and unique bit of documentary making that explores the line between art and forgery, between creativity and copying. I guarantee you’ve never seen a movie about a protagonist as unique as this one. That’s Sept. 16 at 7:30 PM, with the film’s two directors and cinematographer on hand for a post-screening Q&A.
Just a reminder: Subscriptions are going fast for the inaugural session of the Picture House Film Club, kicking off Oct. 1. Reserve your seats now; only a couple dozen left.
See you at the movies.
July 10, 2014
We had a great night this week with Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood,” which played to an almost-full house. We had the pleasure of hearing producer John Sloss, who was able to give us great inside stories on the 12-year process that went into this remarkable film.
We have three more special preview screenings upcoming of films that I hope you’ll come see:
JULY 23: “The Maid’s Room,” an intriguing and unsettling tale of privilege and class set in the Hamptons. Writer-director Michael Walker (“Price Check” – find it and watch it!) will be on-hand for a post-screening Q&A for this provocative film.
AUGUST 6: “After,” an involving family drama about secrets and lies, based on a true story, starring Kathleen Quinlan and Pablo Schreiber. We’ll have the husband-wife writer-director team of Pieter Gaspersz and Sabrina Gennarino there for a post-screening chat.
AUGUST 7: “May in the Summer,” a charming romantic comedy set in Jordan (but it’s in English) from writer-director Cherien Dabis (“Amreeka”). After the film, TPH film programmer Clayton Bushong and I will take the stage for the first “Ask the Critic” session, where I’ll answer his (and your) questions about this movie and anything else you might be curious about.
Before the films, you can usually find me standing in the lobby or near the back of the theater – I’m there to talk to you about the movies we’ve shown or will show and anything else you want to chat about.
We’re having a great summer at The Picture House. Come join us.
See you soon.
I’m back after a terrific long weekend at the Nantucket Film Festival, where I met a number of filmmakers, renewed acquaintances with several others – and saw a long list of films that I hope to share with the Picture House audience in the coming months.
While I was in Nantucket, I was honored to present an award at the festival’s Screenwriters Tribute, its major event. As it happens, I gave the award for documentary storytelling to Steve James, director of “Hoop Dreams,” whose new film, “Life Itself,” will have a special preview presentation at the Picture House this week, Tuesday, July 1 at 7:30 PM.
The film chronicles the life, career and battles of the late film critic Roger Ebert. I’m pleased to welcome colleagues Eric Kohn, chief film critic and senior editor at Indiewire, and Joshua Rothkopf, film editor of Time Out New York, as my guests for the discussion following the film.
Then, on Wednesday, July 9, I’m pleased to present another Westchester premiere, a preview screening of Richard Linklater’s fascinating new film, “Boyhood.” Twelve years in the making, this film, from the director of “Slackers,” “Before Sunrise” and “Dazed and Confused,” follows the story of one boy from his earliest days in elementary school to his first days of college. A fictional story, it stars Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette, with a breakout performance by young Ellar Coltrane. My guest that evening for this remarkable 165-minute journey will be one of the film’s producers, John Sloss, a major figure in the independent world for more than 20 years.
And remember – tickets are now on sale for the Picture House Film Club, making its debut Oct. 1. I understand that more than half the seats are sold for our fall season – so get your subscription now so you won’t get shut out.
Great review by Marshall on Paul Haggis’ Third Person
We’re having a great summer @ the Picture House, beginning with our early June screening of “Third Person” with director Paul Haggis and continuing with this week’s showing of “Whitey” with director Joe Berlinger.
A master of the true-crime documentary, Berlinger has crafted a dramatic, compelling and densely layered look at the trial (and career) of a criminal whose activities held the city of Boston in bloody thrall for decades. As this unsettling film shows, mob boss Whitey Bulger had plenty of help – much of it, it seems, from the Boston office of the FBI and other law-enforcement agencies. Berlinger’s film touches on the years-old sense of loss and anger felt by the families of his victims, as well as capturing a sense of just how corrupt and entangled some federal officers were with Bulger and his henchmen.
There’s more to come:
We’re just confirmed a preview screening of the entertaining and moving documentary about the late film critic Roger Ebert, “Life Itself,” for Tuesday, July 1. I’ll be moderating the discussion afterward and am working on getting a special guest for that Q&A.
And, on Wednesday, July 9, I’m pleased to be able to present a Westchester premiere, a preview screening of Richard Linklater’s fascinating new film, “Boyhood.” Eleven years in the making, this film from the director of “Slackers,” “Before Sunrise” and “Dazed and Confused” follows the story of one boy from his earliest days in elementary school to his first days of college. A fictional story, it stars Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette, with a breakout performance by young Ellar Coltrane. My guest that evening for this remarkable 165-minute journey will be one of the film’s producers, John Sloss, a major figure in the independent world for more than 20 years.
You won’t want to miss these films and speakers. Get your tickets now.
It was my great pleasure to play host to writer-director Paul Haggis for a special screening of his new film, “Third Person,” at the Picture House June 5.
The film itself is a kind of cinematic Mobius strip, or a puzzle with a couple of missing pieces – sort of like life. Haggis, the only person to write the best-picture Oscar winner two years in a row (“Million Dollar Baby” and “Crash”), was a self-deprecating and thoughtful guest, who opened up about the tough choice the artist must sometimes make, between his art and the rest of his life, even when it means betraying people he loves. He also talked about the fact that, while he is hard to please when it comes to his own writing, he nonetheless can’t NOT write; it’s part of who he is and what defines and satisfies him as a person.
This was the first of what I hope will become a regular occurrence at The Picture House this summer and what will form the core of what The Picture House Film Club will be this fall: screenings of new films, with the artists themselves on hand to talk about how and why they do what they do. Add an audience, eager to ask questions of their own, and you’ve got a lively evening.
Next up: Oscar-nominated documentary maker Joe Berlinger (“Brother’s Keeper,” “Paradise Lost”) will screen his gripping and revealing new film, “Whitey: The United States of America vs. James J. Bulger” at 7PM Monday June 16, then sit down for a Q&A after the screening. We had a solid turnout for “Third Person” – get your tickets now for “Whitey” so you won’t be shut out.