TFF Review: ‘Dead Women Walking’

Dead Women Walking
Feature Narrative
Country: USA
Director: Hagar Ben-Asher
Writer: Hagar Ben-Asher
Starring: Ashton Sanders, June Carryl, Colleen Camp, Lynn Collins, Dot Marie Jones, Dale Dickey

Nine vignettes depict the stages leading to execution for women on death row in this emotional account of the human toll of the death penalty—on both the inmates and those they encounter in their final hours.

Dead Women Walking is an all our emotional gut-punch. It forces you to confront the reality of humanity rather than the crime. From 14 days to mere minutes prior execution time, the vignettes capture moments of healing, despair, acceptance, and the regrets of these very different women. There is no doubt that this film is one hell of an ensemble piece. Each breathtaking and nuanced performance will touch your soul in an extraordinary way. Adding to the brilliant writing is the specific choice of song for each character. Dead Women Walking‘s structure walks the perfect line between pragmatic and poetic. You will be moved, no matter what your political views are,  no matter if you are the victim of a crime, or you think you have no interest in the subject matter. Dead Women Walking will take your preconceived notions of female death row inmates and destroy them.

Review: ‘Keep The Change’ is a laugh out loud funny and charming as hell.

Set in New York, the story centers on the struggles of David as he comes to terms with his own high-functioning autism, when he unexpectedly falls for a quirky and outgoing woman whose lust for life both irks and fascinates him. Keep the Change is based on an award-winning short film developed by Rachel Israel and Brandon Polansky that was inspired by Polansky’s experiences at Adaptations, a community for adults on the autism spectrum.

Keep The Change premiered last year at The Tribeca Film Festival to rave reviews and won awards for best U.S. narrative feature and best new narrative director along with a special mention for the Nora Ephron Prize.

This film is a sidesplitting winner. Outside of the documentary genre, we’re not often let into the world of adults on the autism spectrum. Keep The Change follows the beginnings of a relationship between two very different individuals who are ultimately seeking to be accepted and cherished for who they are. The issues of self-love, sexuality, class, are addressed in endearing and tongue-in-cheek ways. Newcomers and leads Brandon Polansky and Samantha Elisofon have an insane chemistry. The two appear to be polar opposites making their banter all the more entertaining. Any time you pit a glum and cynical individual against an outgoing and seemingly innocent one, interesting things are bound to happen. The dialogue is biting, witty, and oftentimes offensive, keeping the viewer on their toes and thoroughly amused. Writer/director Rachel Israel has given us a true gem. This unique romcom will undoubtedly charm the pants off of you and teach you some much-needed tolerance.

Kino Lorber will open the film in New York on March 16th at the Quad Cinema, in Los Angeles on April 20th at Laemmle Town Center and Laemmle Royal Theatre followed by a national rollout.

Keep The Change stars newcomers Brandon Polansky and Samantha Elisofon. Written and directed by Rachel Israelthe film also stars veteran actress Jessica Walter (“Arrested Development”), Tibor Feldman and non-professional actors with Autism, Nicky Gottlieb and Will Deaver. 

Review: ‘The Boy Downstairs’ feels close to home.

The Boy Downstairs stars Zosia Mamet (“Girls”) as Diana, a twenty-something writer who moves back to New York City after a two-year stint in London. Upon finding the perfect apartment in Brooklyn, she realizes her downstairs neighbor is actually her ex-boyfriend Ben (Matthew Shear, Mistress America) whose heart she broke when she left town. After an awkward reunion, Diana proclaims her intentions for a genuine friendship. But as old wounds are opened, both Diana and Ben are forced to confront the true nature of their feelings.

 

Mamet gives a deliciously sardonic lean to the role that is funny and honest. The manic ways of Shoshanna Shapiro are nowhere in site. This should put Mamet on some serious casting lists. First-time writer-director Sophie Brooks shows us how a person can have a hold on your soul years after parting ways. The script is really smart and refreshing. It doesn’t glamorize the requisite navigation through adult relationships, those messy, real-life moments are the little things that stick with us in the end. Reality is much more awkward and The Boy Downstairs does not shy away from confrontation or feelings. It allows the audience to reflect on their own past emotional conflicts and in this film’s particular case, flashback sequences are the backbone of the plot. Strong performances from Matthew Shear and Dierdre O’Connell make The Boy Downstairs what it is. The chemistry is astounding. Being a grownup is complicated enough, so once you introduce the complexities of love and friendship, all hell will break loose, even if it’s a quiet thing. You can see The Boy Downstairs in theaters today.

 

 

Review: ‘PERMISSION’ allows an audience to ask ‘what if?’ for themselves.

***Official Selection of the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival***

Anna (Rebecca Hall) and Will (Dan Stevens), were each other’s first every-things: first kiss, first love, first and only relationship. Now, 10 years in, at Anna’s 30th birthday party, as Will is about to propose, the couple’s best friend makes a drunken toast, suggesting that they should sleep around before their inevitable marriage. The joke lands like a lead balloon, but the thought lingers until Anna proposes that they try opening their relationship – as a sexual experiment. Together, they venture out of the purely monogamous boundaries of their relationship and, along the way, evolve.

Permission is one of the most honest portrayals of how awkward true intimacy is. When you are so comfortable with someone to the point of predictability, does that have the potential to become a death sentence for a relationship? Life’s ‘what ifs” are some of the most tempting ideas a person can entertain. The chemistry between the entire cast is palpable. You will find yourself falling in love with Hall and Stevens and definitely crushing on Arnaud, Gershon, Craig, Spector, and Sudeikis. This true ensemble of actors along with writer/director Brian Crano has given us a gift. What may appear on the surface as small moments in the script are incredibly impactful due to some really brilliant acting and writing. Permission has an authenticity that sneaks up on you. It’s those moments that define the story and make it so relatable. The music is perfectly paired with each scene, almost becoming its own fly on the wall secondary cast member. Overall, the film is a refreshing look at adult relationships. It’s fun and engrossing and different. It dares to challenge the typical rom-com genre and that’s why you should seek it out.

Permission is in theaters today! Check out the trailer below.

Starring Rebecca Hall (Christine, Professor Marston and the Wonder Women), Dan Stevens (Beauty and the Beast, Downton Abbey)Gina Gershon (Empire), Francois Arnaud (Midnight Texas), David Joseph Craig (The Gift), Morgan Spector (Chuck, Boardwalk Empire), and Jason Sudeikis

Written and Directed By Brian Crano (A Bag of Hammers, Dog Food)

Produced by Rebecca Hall, Margot Hand, Girl Tharan, Joshua Thurston

Review: ‘Literally, Right Before Aaron’ takes the cake.

 LITERALLY, RIGHT BEFORE AARON

There is always that one questionable guest at a wedding. You might think to yourself, “How the Hell did they get invited and who do they know?” In the case of the new rom-com, LITERALLY, RIGHT BEFORE AARON, turns out the Bride invited him.

 

Carrot is the main ingredient of a carrot cake and consists of large amounts of sugar like sugar beets. It was used during the medieval age as sweet ingredient in sweet cake. The carrot cake is a sweet gourmet cake prepared through the mixture of grated carrot and butter. The process of cooking results to soft carrot and the cake has dense and soft texture. The carrots themselves improve and add to the appearance, texture, and flavor of the cake. You can find more info here about the Durian Cake Collection.

You could add ingredients to your carrot cake to make it more personal, depending on your taste buds. You could sprinkle it with raisins, nuts, coconut or pineapple. The serving of carrot cake may be either plain, with glazed or topped with white icing. It can also be served topped with cream cheese icing and chopped walnuts.

There are spongy to heavy, crumbly-moist to sticky-wet, light to dark and spongy to heavy. Some are leavened or unleavened, square or oblong, round shape, fairy cakes, dusting with icing sugar and more.

The cake is called Whisky and is a most loved traditional cake. It is made with Scotch whisky and feels crumbly and light on the palate. It has candied peesl and light fruits such as sultanas, cherries, currents and raisins. This cake is loved by those who are not fond of moist and very rich textured cakes.

Another Christmas cake is the apple crème Christmas cake. It particularly consists of rich mix of finely sliced apples. It is usually mixed with raisins and other fruit. It also has cream cheese, heavy whipping cream, and eggs.

Christmas cake in certain occasion is even added with coins as touch pieces for good luck. The coins may be 3d piece, silver, or six pences wrapped in grease proof paper packages.

Synopsis: Still reeling from his breakup, Adam (Justin Long) is devastated when he learns that his ex (Cobie Smulders) is engaged. What’s worse is he’s invited to the wedding. When Adam returns home for the festivities, he must confront his unresolved feelings and an uncertain future in hopes of convincing himself and everyone else that he is truly happy for her. There he discovers the comedy in romance, the tragedy of letting go and the hard truth about growing up.

Justin Long has always been on my radar as far back as I can remember. His comic timing and boyish charm are pretty hard to compete with onscreen. This is no less true in his role as Adam. On screen for the entirety of the film, Long’s emotional journey is written both within the quippy dialogue and all over his face. Funny, heartbreaking, endearing, and relatable, there isn’t an audience member out there that won’t find something earnest to latch onto. While familiar sounding in plot, I never found the script cliche’ thanks to writer/director Ryan Eggold. Showcasing solid performances from Cobie Smulders, Kristen Schaal, John Cho, and Ryan Hansen, Literally, Right Before Aaron marries our own insecurities with the emotional roller-coaster that is love. For Eggold, it’s merely the beginning of a long career at the helm of a film. For Long, it’s further proof he’s being underestimated in the industry.
You can catch the film in theaters and on VOD this Friday.

In Theaters and On Demand September 29, 2017

Starring: Justin Long, Cobie Smulders, Ryan Hansen, John Cho, Kristen Schaal, Dana Delany, Peter Gallagher, Lea Thompson, and Luis Guzmán

Written, Edited and Directed by: Ryan Eggold

Tribeca Film Festival 2017 review: ‘MANIFESTO’ is life giving art.

Originally a stage experience in which 13 vignettes play simultaneously, Manifesto the film is another vehicle for Cate Blanchett to be Cate Blanchett being awesome. Performing words from the likes of Karl Marx, Freidrich Engel, and Jim Jarmusch, the film begs the question, ‘What is art?’ from every angle possible. Blanchett is a masterclass, playing each of the 13 characters completely differently and with precision, humor, and honesty worthy of a nomination for each. This film is most definitely not for everyone. It is highly stylistic and gorgeously shot. While it is up to the audience to decide whether there is an actual plot line, it’s more about the interpretation of the words and the specific decisions director Julian Rosefeldt and Blanchett have made as a team. The transitions from “scene” to scene are just as striking as the bold costume and makeup choices. One cannot help but be fully engrossed in every word and chosen movement, by both the camera and our leading lady. Defying gender, class, or form, Manifesto will challenge your mind and capture your imagination.


CAST & CREDITS
  • Director:
    Julian Rosefeldt
  • Screenwriter:
    Julian Rosefeldt
  • Director of Photography:
    Christoph Krauss
  • Makeup:
    Morag Ross
  • Costume Designer:
    Bina Daigeler
  • Editor:
    Bobby Good
  • Sound:
    David Hilgers, Fabian Schmidt, Markus Stemler, Tschangis Chahrokh
  • Production Designer:
    Erwin Prib
  • Executive Producer:
    Wassili Zygouris, Marcos Kantis, Martin Lehwald
  • Producer:
    Julian Rosefeldt
  • Hair Stylist Designer:
    Massimo Gattabrusi
  • Post Production Supervisor:
    Jan Schöningh
  • Cast Member:
    Cate Blanchett

Tribeca Film Festival Review 2017: ‘NOVEMBER’ is a striking folklore fantasy.

Immerse yourself in 19th century Estonian folklore – feel the mud and cold, the fear and joy of the peasants living side-by-side with cows, werewolves and kratts, the farmers’ helpers, created out of old tools, hay, and animal bones, and brought to life by the devil himself. Director Rainer Sarnet elevates his film above mere period drama, sprinkling the fable of peasant girl Liina’s doomed romance with Hans with generous amounts of humor, and enriching its earthy fairytale milieu with beautiful black and white cinematography. Sarnet’s attention to detail, in particular in capturing the farmers’ dynamic and expressive faces, humanizes and adds a warm depth to the environment as Liina and Hans ponder the great mysteries of life, love, and the existence of the soul, looking for meaning and explanations anywhere they can.

 

November is everything a non-cinephile might think of when it the phrase “foreign film” is haphazardly thrown about. That is exactly what makes this film so intriguing. With its stunning black and white cinematography and its unapologetic folklore elements, the story delves into the question of living a life with or without a soul. The wonderfully weird characters and themes, including death, witchcraft,  and the devil himself, all make November one completely engrossing cinematic experience. Oscilloscope Laboratories acquired North American rights to Sarnet‘s film ahead of its world premiere in the international narrative category. Below you can find the trailer, and while it does not yet contain English subtitles, you quickly grasp the tone of the film. We will, of course, keep you updated on release dates for this unique selection.

FILM INFO
CAST & CREDITS
  • Director:
    Rainer Sarnet
  • Screenwriter:
    Rainer Sarnet
  • Cinematographer:
    Mart Taniel
  • Editor:
    Jaroslaw Kaminski
  • Composer:
    Jacaszek
  • Producer:
    Katrin Kissa
  • Co-Producer:
    Ellen Havenith, Lukasz Dzieciol
  • Cast:
    Rea Lest, Jörgen Liik, Arvo Kukumägi, Katariina Unt, Taavi Eelmaa, Dieter Laser

Tribeca Film Festival 2017 review: ‘The Divine Order’ is gloriously relevant.

SYNOPSIS: Switzerland, 1971: Nora is a young housewife and mother who lives with her husband, their two sons and her father-in-law in a little village. Here, in the Swiss countryside, little or nothing is felt of the huge social upheavals that the movement of May 1968 has caused. Nora’s life, too, has been unaffected; she is a retiring, quiet person, well liked by everyone – until she begins to campaign publicly and pugnaciously for women’s right to vote, an issue that will be put before the male voters on February 7th, 1971.

Impeccably acted and stunningly shot, The Divine Order is a film very much relevant in today’s political climate. In the continued fight against the patriarchy, we must first educate ourselves on how far we’ve come. This film demonstrates the power of women as a collective entity fueled by passion in pursuit of equality. With fully fleshed out female characters that are nuanced and honest, writer/director Petra Volpe has given us a true cinematic gift.

Tribeca Film Festival 2017

Won
Audience Award
Narrative
Petra Biondina Volpe
Won
Jury Award
Best Actress in an International Narrative Feature
Marie Leuenberger

“For a performance that is patient, intelligent and graceful, that captured the liberation of a … More

Won
Nora Ephron Prize
Petra Biondina Volpe

“For its intrepid and compassionate storytelling, beautiful cinematography (DP-ed by a woman), … More

Nominated
Jury Award
Best International Narrative Feature
Petra Biondina Volpe

Official Sites:

Country:

Switzerland

Language:

German | English | Italian | Swiss German

Release Date:

27 October 2017 (USA)

Tribeca TV: 5 new series premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival

 

Photo Illustration by Jaime Fallon

The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu, MGM) – New Series World Premiere

Executive Producer: Bruce Miller.

Based on Margaret Atwood’s acclaimed novel, The Handmaid’s Tale is the story of Gilead, a modern-day totalitarian society facing environmental disasters and a plunging birthrate, ruled by a fundamentalist regime that treats women as property. As one of the few fertile women, Offred is forced into sexual servitude in a desperate attempt to repopulate the world. In a society where one wrong word could end her life, Offred has one goal: survive and find the daughter taken from her.

After the episode: A conversation with executive producers Bruce Miller, Warren Littlefield, and cast membersElisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahovski, Samira Wiley, Alexis Bledel, Madeline Brewer, Ann Dowd, O.T. Fagbenle, and Max Minghella. Moderated by writer for The New York Times Magazine, Jenna Wortham.

Screening time: Friday, April 21, 6:00 PM, BMCC


The Sinner (USA/Universal Cable Productions) – New Series World Premiere

Executive Producers: Derek Simonds, Jessica Biel, Michelle Purple, Charlie Gogolak.

A young mother is overcome by an inexplicable fit of rage and commits a startling act of violence. The event launches an inverted and utterly surprising crime thriller whose driving force is not the “who” or the “what,”—but the “why.” Soon the investigator finds himself obsessed with uncovering the woman’s buried motive. From Universal Cable Productions, The Sinner is a riveting psychological thriller, with a pilot stylishly directed by acclaimed filmmaker Antonio Campos (Afterschool, Christine).

After the episode: A conversation with executive producer and director of the pilot Antonio Campos, executive producer Derek Simonds, executive producer and cast member Jessica Biel, and cast members Christopher Abbottand Bill Pullman.

Screening time: Tuesday, April 25, 6:15 PM, SVA-1


Genius (National Geographic) – New Series World Premiere

Executive Producers: Ken Biller, Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Gigi Pritzker, Sam Sokolow.

Genius charts how Albert Einstein (Geoffrey Rush), an imaginative, rebellious patent clerk who struggled to land an academic post in his early years, went on to become the greatest scientific mind of the 20th century. The show explores his rise as he juggles his volatile, passionate and complex personal relationships. Based on Walter Isaacson’s acclaimed biography.

After the episode: A conversation with director and executive producer Ron Howard, executive producers Brian Grazer and Gigi Pritzker, showrunner Ken Biller, and cast members Geoffrey Rush, Johnny Flynn, Emily Watson,and Samantha Colley.

Screening time: Thursday, April 20, 6:00 PM, BMCC


The Eyeslicer – New Series Premiere

Executive Producers: Dan Schoenbrun, Vanessa McDonnell.

The Eyeslicer is a new variety TV show that brings the next generation of alternative American filmmakers together under one strange roof. The hour-long show will slice, dice, and then mince your eyeballs into delicious ceviche. Each episode is a handcrafted mixtape, blending boundary-pushing short form work into a weird, wild, uninterrupted whole.The Eyeslicer premieres at Tribeca with the episode “Facial Reconstruction”, featuring work from acclaimed indie filmmakers Lauren Wolkstein, Erin Vassilopoulos, Shaka King, Danny Madden, and Leah Shore.

After the episode: A conversation with co-creators Dan Schoenbrun and Vanessa McDonnell, and filmmakersLauren Wolkstein, Erin Vassilopoulos, Shaka King, Danny Madden, and Leah Shore.

Screening time: Friday, April 28, 9:00 PM, SVA-2


There’s… Johnny! (Seeso) – New Series World Premiere

Executive Producers: Paul Reiser, David Steven Simon, David Gordon Green, Jeff Sotzing, Brian Volk-Weiss, Craig Knizek, Cisco Henson, Michael Pelmont, Matt Ochacher, Evan Shapiro, Kelsey Balance.

It’s 1972, and everyone goes to bed together… with Johnny Carson, TV’s biggest star. 19 year old Nebraskan Andy Klavin stumbles his way into a gig as a gofer at Carson’s  “The Tonight Show” and into a world that will change his life. There’s… Johnny! takes a fictional comedic trip back in time, to go behind the man in front of the curtain, and look at the lives and loves of the people who make all of America laugh.

After the episode: A conversation with creator Paul Reiser, executive producers David Steven Simon and David Gordon Green, and cast members Tony Danza, Ian Nelson, and Jane Levy.

Screening time: Thursday April 27, 6:15 PM, SVA-2