“Grand Street” (2014): Dreamily Melancholy New York City Romance Vastly Deserves NYC Premiere

Amory (Tom Byam Shaw) is a failing screenwriter who rarely forgets the faces of his detractors--especially if the face in question is that of the strikingly beautiful, strikingly aloof Camilla (Charlotte Riley), a film exec. A year after she rejects his deeply personal script ("Just because it happened to you doesn't make it interesting," she …

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“The Game” Re-emerges 25 Years Later…in Panama

I had never heard of "The Game," a political drama made by two of Spike Lee's former business partners/friends, until I stumbled upon the negative review by the notoriously dry New York Times critic Vincent Canby, from April 1990. That month, the film, which wrapped in 1987, hit New York City's Criterion Center theater, having …

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“The Invisible Kid” (1988) and the Limits of “Dumb Fun”

Willfully dumb entertainment is the hardest thing to critique. It's almost as hard to critique, say, a well-done movie about a very serious or jarring historical event, but such movies are, at the very least, trying to move or compel audiences, and if they leave one cold, they have more or less failed. Movies that …

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Random Rarities Screened in New York City (Fall 2013-Present), Part 1

I've never understood people that think the world begins and ends in New York City, or revolves around it. Ironically, though, I am not sure I'll ever leave--not without a great amount of pain and fear, anyway. I've grown up here and lived here for most of my life (except for stretches of childhood and …

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The Little Movie That Couldn’t: An Oral History of Elliott Gould’s Never-Completed “A Glimpse of Tiger”

There are few in-depth Elliott Gould profiles that don't mention "A Glimpse of Tiger," the abandoned 1971 Warner Bros. dark comedy that Gould was slated to co-produce and star in. Fresh from the harrowing but ego-boosting tutelage of Ingmar Bergman, who'd selected Gould as his first American actor to star in his 1970 melodrama "The …

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The Mouse That Charmed: An Evening with Kim Darby

When I called the now-retired actress Kim Darby at her California home a few months ago--to discuss her more obscure 1960s and 1970s work--she apologized (needlessly) for having taken a few days to free up her schedule. Her sister was in town, she explained, and her house was a total mess. Dishes were piled up …

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Stupid: “Reckless” (1984)

 There's laconic, and then there's just stupid. There's posturing, and then there's just stupid. There's petulant, and then there's just stupid. There's fun stupid, campy stupid, what-the-hell-were-they-thinking stupid, offensive stupid, disgusting stupid. I've seen plenty of entertaining movies that can be described these ways, but never, until I saw James Foley's "Reckless," one that so relentlessly brought the …

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“Gleaming the Cube” (1989)

The late-80s Christian Slater vehicle "Gleaming the Cube" must have arisen out of the most breathless Hollywood pitch meeting in history. A California skateboarding punk teen (Slater) whose parents just don't understand him avenges his adopted Vietnamese brother's murder by some Vietnamese toughs that work for a shady arms dealer who's posing as a legit …

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“Friends, Lovers & Lunatics” (1989)

The previews on the VHS tape for the screwball Canadian farce "Friends, Lovers & Lunatics" (which can also be screened in its entirety on YouTube, under the alternate title "Crazy Horse") are far more amusing than anything in the movie itself. Not least because one of the previews is for "Friends, Lovers & Lunatics"! Now …

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“Touch and Go” (1986)

 A quick bit of trivia about this movie: during their poverty-stricken early days, Slash and Axl Rose of Guns n' Roses took jobs as extras in "Touch and Go's" hockey scenes, which were shot in Los Angeles in 1984 (according to Slash's autobiography). While available on DVD, I watched this movie on a VHS copy …

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