September 21, 2007

Too Many Movies To See, or Our Tentative (Insane) Viewing Plan For This Weekend

After a long week of work, Cinecultist needs to get our movie on. But we're a bit overwhelmed by the wealth of options at our fingertips. Here's our list of possibilities. Feel free to leave us pros or cons in the comments.

Fitzcarraldo (at the IFC Center) - Lately we've had Herzog on the brain and we've always been curious about Klaus Kinski's supposedly bonkers performance in this one.

The Jane Austen Book Club (new release) - We're hearing the siren call of the chick lit and the beloved Jane Austen, plus CC read this book so long ago the reasons why we didn't really love it are now fuzzy. Seeing the movie should fill those back in.

Great World of Sound (new release) - We've heard good things, plus a friend suggested going to see it together. Cinecultist is a sucker for movie outings.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (new release) - In the elevator this afternoon at the Day Job, one of those handy dandy trivia screens told us EW gave it an A and the NYT gave it a pretty strong endorsement too. Plus, we have a thing for Brad Pitt on the open range that's left over from seeing Legends of the Fall in the theaters at an impressionable age.

Plus, we have DVDs of Taste of Cherry and Cranes Are Flying at home from Netflix. Oh, and we're going to see Rilo Kiley at Webster Hall on Saturday night and we have to find time in there to eat, sleep and clean the bathroom. Yes, it's going to be a busy few days of rest.

Day Job

FCU with Bill Murray
OMG, this video nails "a day in the life of the Cinecultist" with precision accuracy. Fact checking is exciting, exciting work.

September 19, 2007

Rethinking the Plans for October 31st

Picture%201.pngCinecultist was sort of thinking we were going to bypass Halloween this year. Not the pumpkin flavored stuff or candy corn or admiring jack o' lanterns, just the dressing up. In the past, whenever CC is invited to a Halloween party we end up thinking of some terribly esoteric and cerebral costume which no one understands. One year we went as "art." Seriously. Dumb, right? Anyhow, it's really embarrassing to be that uncreative every year. However, now that we've seen the costume at right called "When Birds Attack" sold by Oriental Trading for $50, we might rethink. Feel free to forward invites to costume soirées to CC, we'll be coming as Melanie Daniels. [via Mighty Goods]

September 16, 2007

Tacos! Tacos! Tacos!

Don't these juices from a stand at the Red Hook Ballfields look utterly luscious? If you're based in the New York area but haven't been out to sample some pupupas, tacos, ceviche and tamales in Brooklyn make a plan for next weekend. Tasty goodness folks, and a perfect capper to a sweet summer.

In other Brooklyn news, Cinecultist says get thee to the new Williamsburg bar The Gutter asap for an evening of good beers and bowling. You can even do your best Jesus Quintanta impression. [Check out some pretty photos of the space from Gothamist.]

Posted by karen at 6:02 PM | food, New York events | Comments (0)

September 14, 2007

Viva La Eee Vee

The New York Times on our nabe in today's paper: Paths of Resistance in the East Village.

Posted by karen at 11:55 AM | East Village | Comments (0)

September 10, 2007

OMG In NY Review of Books: Priceless

Janet Malcolm continues to be one of Cinecultist's journalism heroes. She's 73 and she used OMG in the kicker from her NYRB article on Send: The Essential Guide to Email for Office and Home by David Shipley and Will Schwalbe. How utterly awesome is that? It just goes to show that at no matter what age, a really fine cultural critic has their finger on the pulse and the most common colloquialisms at their disposal.

"Interestingly, the models Shipley and Schwalbe choose to illustrate their section "How to Write a Perfect Email" were written by twelve-year-olds. The really young, evidently, don't need the help the rest of us do; like Blakean innocents, they are untouched by email's evil. Their harmless chatter ("OMG! I was playing yesterday, when this really CUTE boy rode up on his bike") is reminiscent of the notes we used to pass in class, which are, come to think of it, the precursors of email: hastily written, instantly delivered and replied to, and, if intercepted by the wrong person, mortifying. As the really young become merely young it will be interesting to see what happens. Will their childish babbling evolve into decent writing? Does writing a lot lead to writing well? Even (OMG!) on email?"

Lassoing In Some Box Office Buzz

310toyuma.jpgIt just goes to show that sometime the Cinecultist doesn't know what she's talking about. Case in point, last Thursday night CC and Josh attended a preview screening of 3:10 to Yuma at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens.* While we found the straightforward, genre faithful cowboy story from James Mangold to be quite entertaining, we predicted that it wouldn't do too well at the box office. Despite the Oscar win for Unforgiven a few years ago in '92 (jeez, that long ago? when did we get so old?), CC just didn't think audiences today would choose to see their action on horses and accessorized with ten gallon hats. Especially since Clive Owen was releasing a modern gangster flick this weekend as well, and it has the very self-explanatory title of Shoot 'Em Up.

However, Cinecultist was wrong about 3:10's potential for popularity and as Variety reports this morning it was the top grossing film of the weekend. Was it the good reviews that sent people to the theaters? Or maybe the star power of Russell Crowe, and to a lesser extent, Christian Bale? (Both of whom turn in really strong performances, by the way.) To CC's pop culture barometer, a Western doesn't feel "current" (or relevant) but maybe that's not actually what moviegoers wanted this weekend. A little throwback nostalgia at the cineplex can be more alluring than we thought.

It's a mystery frankly, and all the more reason why Cinecultist should stick to watching movies for their quality, not for their box office potential.

*It'd been a while since we'd taken the trek out to MI and from our day job in midtown it was only about 25 minutes on the subway. The museum is such a lovely screening space and they have such great programming, we always kick ourselves for not going more often. That is until it took CC an hour to get back to the Eee Vee after some post-movie drinks. Ugh.

September 5, 2007

Deliciously LoFi on a Wednesday Night

You can tell Gene Hackman's character is a real New Yawker because he eats a lot of pizza standing up or walking on the street.

Cinecultist was feeling the full brunt of our film history guilt because we'd never seen The French Connection. We know, we know, travesty. So CC bought a ticket online yesterday afternoon for a showing at the Film Forum tonight at 7:40 pm, so we'd have to go before the one week run of the new 35 mm print ends tomorrow. $11.75 already charged to the credit card is a great motivator. After work, we took the trusty 9 train downtown and grabbed a turkey burger at Grey Dog while we read this week's Entertainment Weekly. Mmmm Grey Dog and their delicious coffee. It was a gorgeous late summer evening and as we sauntered down Bedford with a to go chocolate chip cookie in our purse we were feeling good. The crowd at Film Forum was buzzing but not crazed and we got a seat near the front.

If you've never seen The French Connection, an understandable oversight that will be more easily remedied when it comes out soon on a new DVD, it's really simple and solid crime story. Gene Hackman and Roy Schneider play narcotics cops on the hunt for a big bust and discover a heroin deal going down between a local dude and a French supplier. The most striking thing about this movie was how deliciously lofi the whole thing is. The police use bully tactics and big boat patrol cars with black walkie talkie phones. We see the Pan Am building and watch Popeye Doyle grab a quick Orange Julius at the stand on the shuttle platform at Grand Central (Somebody bring that bad boy back, CC wants an orange juice during our cross town commute). There's a final shoot out and though the closing intertitles allude to the real life cases' unresolved conclusion, Cinecultist believes that Popeye gets his man. It's clear while you're watching The French Connection that more recent New York movies from Spider Man to The Bourne Ultimatum are deeply indebted to its suspenseful car chases. Some bits of the movie are dated like Popeye's blatant racism but Ol' Willie Friedkin has obviously made an Ur text in terms of cinema history.

On the walk home from Film Forum, CC had these thoughts and the beauty of Houston Street on a September night buzzing in our brain. On the iPod soundtrack was Vampire Weekend.* All was right and good in our world.

* If anyone has a hook up for tickets to their sold out show at the Williamsburg Music Hall on Saturday please email the Cinecultist. A rip off of '80s Paul Simon by Columbia grad students is exactly the kind of music we want to be listening to these days.

September 4, 2007

These Guys Make CC Laugh Out Loud

Last week Benten Films, a new DVD distribution company based in Brooklyn, put out their first title, Joe Swanberg's LOL. Cinecultist touted it as our DVD pick of the week on Gothamist and also conducted a little interview with Benten's founders and fellow NYC film critics Aaron Hillis and Andrew Grant.*

Hopefully our playful connections between Grant and Hillis's impressive critical abilities and their new endeavors in DVD production doesn't come across like a bitter hater. CC is honestly super impressed by anyone who finds time to keep their apartment clean and live their life in addition to seeing as many movies as these dudes do, let alone found a new company. Kudos! We're psyched to see the rest of their up coming releases and promise to no longer mention the "m word" in association with them.

* It's official: coming up to Cinecultist in a crowded indie film industry party and announcing "you should interview us for Gothamist" can actually get you an interview. CC is that easy to pitch (sometimes)! We're like the slutty cheerleader of NYC movie interviewers.

Posted by karen at 10:42 PM | Benten Films, DVD, mumblecore | Comments (0)

New Writing Gig and Mr. Bean

Cinecultist has a new reviewing outlet with the parenting website With two much younger siblings and an inherently light-hearted view on movies, we thought we'd be well suited to watch some kid-centric movies and tell their parents if they should shell out the admission price. Although we will say taking detailed notes on how many times there's nudity or swearing in a movie is an odd, slightly prurient sensation.

Our first feature for Kaboose was the Rowan Atkinson slapstick comedy sequel Mr. Bean's Holiday. While this kind of simplistic comedy isn't really CC's cup of tea, we couldn't help but be struck by how much the kids in the audience really seemed to enjoy the movie, so we gave it a surprisingly favorable review. As we know from experience, if you take a kid to the movies and he's laughing so hard he can barely stay in his seat, you're lack of amusement pales in comparison to his good time.