Film Review: Folk Hero & Funny Guy

folk_hero_and_funny_guy_original_1With its bifurcated title, “Folk Hero & Funny Guy” —the new film from “It’s a Disaster” director Jeff Grace— makes a clear mission statement of comparing and contrasting a pair of individuals before the audience has seen a frame. Grace follows down-on-his-luck comedian Paul (Alex Karpovsky) as he joins childhood friend and famous musician Jason (Wyatt Russell) on a small club tour of the east coast. Shortly before Jason convinces Paul to join him on the road, a split screen shot shows the beginnings of each of their days. While Scott trudges through a work day as a temp, Black stays in bed —sleeping and otherwise— with a ladyfriend. Their vastly different routines prepare the viewer in a purely visual manner for the conflicts to come.

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Tribeca Film Festival Review: Bobbi Jene

Bobbi-Jene-main-still-Web1About an hour into “Bobbi Jene” —director Elvira Lind’s winner of the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival’s Best Documentary award, the audience is presented with the mission statement of its subject, dancer Bobbi Jene Smith. In an interview with a journalist, she explains that —in her craft—she seeks ‘a place where I have no strength to hide anything.’ Lind’s masterful film firmly situates Smith in this place regardless of whether she is on or off the dance floor.

After quickly detailing the 21 year-old Smith’s earlier relocation from New York City to Tel Aviv to perform with the Batsheva Dance Company, the film begins with the now 30 year-old dancer returning to the United States. From the first shots, Smith’s face conveys a quiet, simmering intelligence that —coupled with the raw physicality of her dancing— demands attention. We often see her dancing in a frenzied state, her long hair billowing as she swings her arms upward and downward. Her performances sometimes end with contemplative stares into the distance, and her intense control is such that the viewer is left wondering whether these moments are genuine or part of the choreography. Read more

A Look Back: Good Night, and Good Luck

good-night-and-good-luck-immagini-dal-film-3An American politician uses fear of a foreign entity in an attempt to wield authoritarian power. His enemies are branded as sympathizers at best and collaborators at worst. Among those enemies is the news media, who he attempts to delegitimize with accusations of bias. While this situation reasonably applies to 2017 and the 45th president of the United States, it diverges from current events when the efforts of a courageous television journalist and his intrepid news team ultimately help to discredit the politician and cause him to lose the public’s trust.

The year in question is actually 1953. The politician is Wisconsin Senator Joseph R. McCarthy. The journalist is Edward R. Murrow. And the film that recounts this fight for American ideals is George Clooney’s “Good Night, and Good Luck”. Read more