Landline dir. Gillian Robespierre

A well-crafted, perfectly-cast, subtle, and engaging portrait of a New York family going through some growing pains, Landline was a delight to watch. Robespierre and her team get the pertinent details of mid-nineties New York just right, but not to the point where the details of the place overtake the details of the plot: the…

Weiner and the Politics of Politics

In the new documentary Weiner, former congressman Anthony Weiner is filmed making various campaign stops during his 2013 bid for mayor of New York City. At one of the stops, he tries to talk about affordable public housing in the Bronx, but none of the reporters wants to talk about this. Instead, they harangue him with…

Rosemary’s Baby and the Feminine Mystique

Rosemary’s Baby,  released just after the publication of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique, is an accidental portrait of women’s changing roles in America in the 1960s–a portrait which is every bit as terrifying as the main plot of the film (which involves witches’ covens and children of the devil). Mrs. Rosemary Woodhouse (a stunning Mia…

Top Five dir. Chris Rock

There is a freshness, immediacy, and honesty to Top Five that makes it a very successful film, both critically and commercially. Chris Rock, as writer/director/producer, takes a classic story about artistic redemption and adds generous doses of insight, humor, and plain good timing. I can’t remember the last time I was belly-ache laughing in a…

Annie and the American Dream

While I enjoyed the marvelous and much-beloved John Huston film adaptation of Annie (1982) and thoroughly enjoy all the songs, I am no Annie purist. I have enjoyed various “faithful” and “reworked” TV and stage versions of the stories, all with the central themes of love, family, and redemption. Let us also not forget that…

Advanced Style: From Blog to Big Screen

I have read Mr. Cohen’s blog since it was first started; it captures a slice of that New York in which I grew up, that slice which included women d’un certain age who frequented galleries and parks and avant-garde dance openings at Dance Theater Workshop, and with whom I often had interesting and long conversations,…