Tag Archives: nyc

American Psycho by Mary Herron (2000)

Adaptation of a controversial novel by Bret Easton Ellis. The careful and detailed descriptions allowed for an accurate depiction of Patrick Bateman’s obsessive attention to detail. Christian Bale is perfect in the role of an insane serial killer leading an immaculate life of a 1980’s yuppie.

Although made in 2000, the film breathes and feels the 1980’s – the times of Wall Street, walkman, golden watches and first cordless phones.

It is a horror film but on the verge of comedy. Thankfully certain scenes described in detail in the book were too hard core to be shown on the screen.

It’s a good film and Christian Bale  is the embodiment of pure evil.

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Tootsie by Sydney Pollack (1982)

Dustin Hoffman, Bill Murray, Jessica Lange, Geena Davis…

This was the next film that Hoffman did after his Oscar awarded “Kramer vs. Kramer”. The role is strikingly different from anything he did before. Comedy. When (still) attractive male actor turns into a tragically unattractive masculine woman actor. To get a job, transforms himself physically to discover an entire new world he was totally oblivious to before.

I watched this film for the first time in early 1980’s on a black&white micro-tv made in East Germany. Over 25 years later, with a surprise I recognised some of the scenes that I had carved in my memory as magnificent. And they did not lose any of the charm and magic. Interestingly, the film did not age and is still a great entertainment. And probably will be for at least the next 25 years. Cult classic.

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Midnight Cowboy by John Schlesinger (1969)

With young Jon Voigt and Dustin Hoffman, who, one more time, proves to be an an incredibly talented prolific actor. Hoffman puts on a voice and accent of a New York vagabond cheat of declining health who cons the freshly out of Texas newbie (Voigt) aspiring to make a living as a male escort.

The story is illustrated in a romantic way showing the glass ceiling and the glass walls of the big metropolis. The first day we watch Joe Buck smiling happily at the outside world, observing the busy streets, shop vitrines, beautiful women, dog walkers. Gradually he realises how many doors are closed for him, a dummy out of nowhere, with limited spelling capabilities and not enough confidence to actually succeed at the dreamed path of a hustler as he defines himself.

In an unlikely fashion, the pair becomes friends and they both abandon New York City after a few misadventures and a few brighter spots – such as the Warholesque party where they manage to eat, smoke, drink and where Joe finally finds a woman willing to pay for his company.

The film won Best Picture in 1970. Deservedly. Great cinema.

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Kramer vs. Kramer by Robert Benton (1979)

Another (next to Woody Allen’s Manhattan) 1979 gem. A film made in the times, when no element, no line of dialogue, no gesture would appear in the frame for no reason. Every single component has a meaning; certain scenes placed at various points in the plot cement the emotional aspect of the film – like the elevator scene, when Meryl Streep walks out on Dustin Hoffman (NB he got the Oscar for this role – quite deservedly) who is so stunned at the fact that he does not even attempt at holding the elevator to prevent her from doing this. Like the morning breakfast scenes illustrating the development in the relationship of father and son – especially the constrasted morning of the first breakfast without the mother and the last breakfast without the mother in their lives.

It is a painful and emotional tale of a breakup between two adults, which would be most probably less complex had there not be a child involved. Their son brings into the equation a whole different set of complications for their careers and emotional development.

Excellent film. Fantastic (as always) Dustin Hoffman…

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Manhattan by Woody Allen

The classic, considered by some one of the best films of the century.

At the BFI screening, the cinema was packed as during film festivals.

Black&White, with – as always – incredible dialogues and great actors.

Made in 1979, it bears the magic of 1970’s and yet the dialogues are brilliantly universal and could easily be imagined as uttered these days by contemporary snobbish New Yorkers.

Great cinema, accompanied by music by George Gershwin and fantastic shots of Manhattan.

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Gabi on the Roof in July by Lawrence Michael Levine

An urban tale of a 20-year old artist on a summer break in NYC before going back to college.Fantastic music, great colours and costumes. Plus an innovative way of story telling.

A warm cordial vision of flatsharing in NYC, of brotherly and sisterly love, of jealousy and the differences between being 20 or 20-something and being 30 or 30-something. Great music, a lot of humour and bitter-sweet situations that mix tears with laughter.

A lot of irony, sarcasm, surprising twists and turns, a lot of dialogue, a lot of talking. A great watch!

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Filed under Film Festivals, film reviews, Raindance 2011

Taxi Driver by Martin Scorsese

In my personal ‘Catching Up’ section. I actually watched this one for the first time (in full) this afternoon. Got very lucky to be able to see a (seemingly) remastered digital version.

Everybody knows it, there’s juvenile Jody Foster, handsome Robert de Niro, long-haired Harvey Keitel and young Cybill Shepherd.

Plus a universal message, quite disturbing as to how much happens by accident and how thin is the line between a hero and an assassin and how strong the power of the media is. Apart from the classic 1970’s fashion, there’s the music, consciously led cinematography shot from different angles, traditionally following the character’s point of view, the camera eye has a noticeable role to play. Great colour, lighting, the felt filthiness of New York streets and diners. A true masterpiece (but well everybody knew that already!).  Martin Scorsese’s cameo appearance not to be missed!

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