Review: ‘3RD STREET BLACKOUT’ shines through the dark.



3rd street blackout poster


Opening TODAY April 29th

Co-created by and co-starring
Negin Farsad 
(“The Muslims Are Coming!,” “Nerdcore Rising,” TED Fellow)
Jeremy Redleaf
(Streamy Award Winner “Odd Jobs,” “Sesame Street”)

Also starring
Ed Weeks (“The Mindy Project”),
Phyllis Somerville (“Little Children”),
Janeane Garofalo (“Wet Hot American Summer”)
John Hodgman (“Pitch Perfect 2,” “The Daily Show”)
Jordan Carlos (“The Nightly Show”)
Sasheer Zamata (“Saturday Night Live”)

If you’re in your thirties, you can easily remember a time in your youth when IMing was mind-blowing, chat rooms were presented as a thing of fun and danger, and MySpace was the coolest new awesomeness to ever exist. Nowadays, we live and breathe by texting, messaging, tweeting, instagramming, you name it, but most of it is online and very little exists as person to person interaction. The convenience and commonality of our technological advances has, in a lot of cases, destroyed the way we communicate as human beings. Swiping right (or perhaps left? I’m not sure, I’m married) is the new way to “date”. Now don’t get me wrong, I have four very close friends who are now married because of, but have we become too reliant on technology to really connect anymore? 3RD STREET BLACKOUT tackles that very question in the funniest way possible.
3rd street still negin farsad and jeremy redleaf
Mina, a neuroscientist and TED-talker, and Rudy, an app developer, live life like any typical NYC couple today.  Texting, skyping, Netflixing and chillling their way through a seemingly healthy relationship. What happens when Hurricane Sandy rolls in and knocks out all of the power and signal, forces Mina and Rudy to confront a new conflict in old fashioned ways. Emoticons are no longer an option. Rudy escapes to Brooklyn to cool off while Mina flails in her own Manhattan environment. The two are lost without  the other and it’s not  until they break “social norms” and actually talk to one another does the problem get attention.
3rd street janeane garofalo and negin
The script is ultra intelligent and incredibly timely. I was genuinely laughing out loud the entire 87 minute run. It felt more like a sit down with my closest friends, drinking and thinking, and less like a formulaic Hollywood rom-com. The dialogue is a super natural and sailor-mouthed delight. The cast is outstanding. Co-writers/Directors/Stars, Negin Farsad and Jeremy Redleaf are fanatstic. With and “every-man” (and woman)  feel in their presence and NY attitude, I was with them from go. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the comedy stylings of Katie Hartman. Hartman plays one of Rudy’s app developer cohorts and could not be funnier. I would watch an entire film about her character, any day. Overall, I was impressed by this charming indie, chock filled with great performances from hilarious cast. I look forward to seeing more from Farsad and Redleaf in the near future.

3RD STREET BLACKOUT opens today in  NYC!
About Negin Farsad
Though this is her first collaboration with Redleaf, Farsad previously produced, directed, and starred in the documentary hit, “The Muslims Are Coming!,”  which also featured Jon Stewart, Lewis Black, Janeane Garofalo and David Cross.  She also recently completed the feature, “Nerdcore Rising” starring “Weird” Al Yankovic and MC Frontalot.   In addition to being selected as a TED Fellow, she was named one of the “50 Funniest Women” by the Huffington Post, and her first book, a memoir/manifesto entitled “How to Make White People Laugh,” will be published this May, as 3RD STREET BLACKOUT expands nationally, by Grand Central Publishing, a division of Hachette. She has also written for and appeared on various shows on Comedy Central, BBC & IFC among others.
About Jeremy Redleaf
Redleaf is an Emmy Award winning actor/writer/director/producer who has created award-winning digital, transmedia, and experiential productions through his Brackets Creative shingle, including “Odd Jobs,” winner of “Best New Web Series” at the Streamy Awards, and “Best Writing” at the International Television Festival.  As a performer, he plays Gonnigan on “Sesame Street,” narrates numerous shows for MTV, and has appeared across television, films, and commercials.

Jeremy’s Review – Dena Seidel’s Fantastic Antarctic Edge: 70° South Is Yet Another in a Series of Wake-Up Calls About Climate Change

antarctic_posterWhile it still absolutely amazes me that anyone can refute or deny that climate change is happening and changing the complexion of our planet, it doesn’t hurt to have as much ammunition to use to back it all up. Director Dena Seidel‘s Antarctic Edge: 70° South is in depth look at one of many projects scientists are undertaking to measure the damage being done to Antarctica and thus to the Earth.

antarctic edge 1

The film follows a group of scientists on their yearly sojourn to the western peninsula of Antarctica to conduct a series of tests covering everything from the amount of ice melt to the amount of krill in the water to the Adelie penguin populations and whether they are flourishing or not. And what is stressed is that Antarctica basically sets the tone for the weather on Earth. Because of the currents that swirl around it and push water throughout the planet, its health is of ultimate importance. As the Antarctic ice/snow melt, not only does the surface area that reflects sun/heat back into the atmosphere get smaller, but the water temperature rises allowing for massive storms like Hurricane Sandy to form as well as cut the ocean’s ability to trap carbon, which is phytoplankton use for photosynthesis to grow who, in turn, serve as food for krill who are likewise eaten by whales and penguins. Whew. So needless to say, this complicated series of events taking place in Antarctica effect the entire planet.

antarctic edge 4

Where Seidel really excels is presenting this complex information in a way that is comsumable for an average, non-science savvy viewer. The scientists, from the ornithologists studying the penguins to those studying the amount of carbon in krill urine, to the crew on the ship carrying these folks, are all incredibly charismatic and relatable. Without this, the material being presented might better be suited for a TedTalk than a documentary. This is a film that teaches as it unfolds, which is key. There has been several other Antarctica-focused films that have come out in the last few years, chief among them are Werner Herzog‘s Encounters at the End of the World and Anthony Powell‘s Antarctica: A Year on the Ice (read my review here), but none of them tackle this particular aspect of the Antarctic story. This film fills a unique space in the lore of the least populated continent on the planet and that brings the challenges that not only the continent faces but the Earth does to the forefront. And while there are many lasting images and warnings in the film, perhaps the most moving is by Philippines Climate Commissioner Naderev Sano, whose testimony at the very outset of the film highlighting what Super Typhoon Haiyan did to his country (as well as many other climate-related events) and the need for action. While I can’t find the specific clip in the film, this one covers some of the same pleas he makes.

antarctic edge 5

At 72 minutes, this film won’t hit you over the head with the information it presents. While the message the film contains is somewhat dire, it still has tinges of hope. What needs to be done to reverse climate change rests on the shoulders of the humans inhabiting the planet. Hopefully this film will add to the voices yelling in favor of action. I really enjoyed this film and I hope many more do as well.

Antarctic Edge: 70° South opens today at Quad Cinema in New York City. Here is a list of other upcoming screenings.

Here’s the trailer: