01/05/17 1:27pm

Quick quiz: Do you like Benedict Cumberbatch? Do you have a soft spot for historical biopics? Wondering how all this political madness is going to produce some good art? Well, if you answered yes to any of those questions there’s something to look forward to in January. Here are 10 books, movies, shows and performances to keep an eye on this month.

10. I’ve been taking a break from television lately, which has created so much more space for reading in my life. I’m about halfway through a review copy of Paul Auster’s new novel,  4 3 2 1, which comes out on Jan. 31, and it is breathtakingly good. If you’re not an Auster fan don’t worry. This 860-page tome is quite different from the compact, M.C. Escheresque world of The New York Trilogy. It’s a sprawling, open-hearted tale of four distinct lives lived by one protagonist, the erstwhile Archie Ferguson. 4 3 2 1 feels like it was written for exactly this moment in time in a way that is a little spooky, and best of all, this is a world that is swimming in books, influencing Archie, and Auster, and inspiring a running list in your head of your next title, even as you tackle this larger than average, in every way, novel. (more…)

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11/30/16 2:28pm

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In no particular order, here are all the things that Mike Mills’ third directorial feature, 20th Century Women, will make you do: nonchalantly dab your eyes with a tissue, develop a deep affinity for life in Santa Barbara in 1979, and fall in love with every inch of Annette Bening’s glorious face. Yes, Mills’ follow-up to 2011’s Beginners is that good.

Led by a brilliant cast of Bening, Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, and newcomer Lucas Jade Zumann, 20th Century Women tells the story of 50-something-year-old Dorothea (Bening) trying to decipher how to best help her teenage son (Zumann) grow into a good, just, young man in a time when everything is somewhat in flux: there’s an energy crisis, Jimmy Carter is desperately trying to unite a society that’s fumbling in the space between one era and the next, and local teenagers entertain themselves by playing choking games. Terrified that she alone cannot give her son everything he needs–and feeling more distant from him with every new record he spins in his room, and every minute in which he becomes a slightly older version of himself–Dorothea enlists the help of a few lost souls that rent rooms in her enormous, constantly in-repair home in sunny Santa Barbara. (more…)

01/21/16 11:08am

It was bound to happen sooner or later, despite the backyard barbecue-appropriate weather we saw on Christmas Day. There’s a big snowstorm headed our way this weekend. Lay in the provisions and get ready to curl up on the couch with a movie, a steaming hot bowl of something, and your warmest pair of socks. Here are three wintery films and recipes that go hand in hand. These are also perfect for those frigid evenings when there’s no way you’re getting on the subway to meet a friend for drinks, even if the bar has a fireplace.

Will you need a sled to get around this weekend? Best to plan on staying on the couch. Photo: Focus Features

Will you need a sled to get around this weekend? Best to plan on staying on the couch. Photo: Focus Features

Film: Anna Karenina, directed by Joe Wright, starring Keira Knightley, Jude Law and Aaron Taylor-Johnson
Where to find it: Netflix, Amazon ($3)
Recipe: Thai Chicken Chowder from Girl Meets Paleo
I happened upon this pairing completely by accident and for whatever reason, it was the most soul-satisfying combination! I had just started Whole30 for the month of January and decided to try my hand at a soup. It was the first truly cold day of winter, and I was craving something unimaginably hearty with bold flavor. Boy, did this chowder do it. The combination of chicken and sweet potatoes seemed to fill the bottomless pit that is my appetite, and the flourishes of coconut, lime and cilantro gave the meal the zing I was after. (more…)

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07/02/15 10:49am
Ride the Wonder Wheel, eat a hot dog and catch a movie, all at Coney Island. Photo: NYEDC

Ride the Wonder Wheel, eat a hot dog and catch a movie, all at Coney Island. Photo: NYEDC

One of the best parts of a summer spent in Brooklyn is the opportunity to while away a hot weeknight watching a classic movie on a big screen under the stars. Whether it’s an ‘80s comedy or a French art film, projected against the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline or within the summer camp-like atmosphere at McCarren Park, there’s something about lying on a blanket in the grass and watching a movie on a balmy night that will make you completely forget where you are. It’s the ultimate escape without actually going anywhere, for the price of a crappy bottle of wine, some snacks and maybe subway fare. And, for yet another year, it’s an option that’s available to you nearly every night of the week for all of July and August.

Now, back by popular demand (seriously, people actually emailed, which was awesome), our complete calendar of free outdoor movies in Brooklyn is here. Flip through and take note of the flicks you’re dying to see, and you can import them to your own GCal one-by-one or en masse. Line up a few friends and send some invites, and you’re already well on your way to a perfect summer evening.

Here’s a quick roundup of the different places you can catch an outdoor show sometime between now and this fall. Remember that all movies start at sundown, but you should plan to arrive earlier if you want good seats.

(more…)

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02/03/14 2:00pm
Fri February 7, 2014
A last-ditch effort to win back an ex-girlfriend finds Stan (Michael Stahl-David, Cloverfield) spending a wild weekend in Austin in the new film, Love & Air Sex, which debuts this week in NYC. Photo: Tribeca Film

A last-ditch effort to win back an ex-girlfriend finds Stan (right), played by Michael Stahl-David of Cloverfield, spending a wild weekend in Austin in the new indie film, Love & Air Sex, which opens this week in NYC. Photo: Tribeca Film

After debuting big at SXSW a year ago, Bryan Poyser’s new film Love & Air Sex opens at Cinema Village and on demand this Friday. This indie flick isn’t exactly the feel-good movie you might have in mind for a Valentine’s date, but it is a raucous, rom-com about relationships that’s set in Austin, Tex. and follows four friends (two ex-couples) over the one weekend they all spend together since splitting up, which just so happens to coincide with the Air Sex World Championship (an actual thing), taking place in the city at the same time. Air Sex, if you’re unfamiliar with the Japanese karaoke-cum-performance art spectacle, involves the solo, (clothed) reenactment of something you might discover amongst the pages of the Kamasutra set to a song of your choosing that takes the concept of Air Guitar to an entirely other level. The trailer looks hilarious for this Tribeca Film production, so leave the kids at home and get ready for a good laugh.

12/20/13 2:30pm
Mon December 30, 2013
You can object to Leonardo DiCaprio's business practices, but not his acting in "The Wolf of Wall Street," out Dec. 25. Photo: Paramount Pictures/Red Granite Pictures

You can object to Leonardo DiCaprio’s business practices, but not his acting in “The Wolf of Wall Street,” out Dec. 25. Photo: Paramount Pictures/Red Granite Pictures

Between holiday box offices and award season hopefuls, great movies are getting churned out in theaters on a weekly basis right now. This week, we’re recommending you go see The Wolf of Wall Street–and not just because Leonardo DiCaprio break dances in its film trailer. Out on Christmas Day, this movies is a hedonistic look at the stock market in the nineties, when the type of no-holds-barred behavior in the financial sector that led to the banking crisis of the early aughts was already at an extreme. The Wolf  marks the fifth collaboration between DiCaprio and director Martin Scorsese in the last decade, and their creative partnership just keeps getting better.  DiCaprio’s Jordan Belfort is like the more debauched version of his Jay Gatsby character from Baz Luhrmann’s  The Great Gatsby earlier this year, a stockbroker who works the system to his advantage, and the financial detriment of his clients (illegally of course). Jonah Hill (Dicaprio’s sidekick in the film), turns out a performance that’s being toted as the best of his career. In a way, you already know how this one ends: not necessarily for the characters, but for the country–economic crisis, billion dollar bailouts etc. etc. As such expect it to infuriate and entertain you in equal measures.

12/13/13 12:20pm
Mon December 23, 2013
"American Hustle," released in New York theater's today, is the one film you have to see this holiday season. Photo: Columbia Pictures

“American Hustle,” released in New York theaters today, is the one film you have to see this holiday season. Photo: Columbia Pictures

If you see only one film this holiday season, it should be American Hustle. Director David O. Russell (The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook) has once again created a film with a spectacular ensemble cast and a script that is indicative of what American cinema is capable of: It’s a witty, character-driven retelling of the Abscam Scandal of the late ’70s, an FBI sting operation that relied on the help of two New York con artists to arrest a string of politicians involved in back-door dealings with the rebuilding of Atlantic City. Russell spoke at a screening for the NY Film Critics Series I attended, saying of the film: “This script came out instinctively. Everything I did came from instinct with these films that I feel started with The Fighter. It suddenly became clear to me that certain kinds of characters, the only way I can describe them is in their world. There’s something about them and their stories that is beyond category.”–JG

12/09/13 4:00pm
Sat December 14, 2013 - Sun December 15, 2013
Jami Attenberg, author of "The Middlesteins," will be at Word on Saturday and Sunday with other local authors to sign books and wrap gifts at the bookstore's BK Holiday Open House. Photo: Kate Christensen/jamiattenberg.com

Jami Attenberg, author of “The Middlesteins,” will be at Word this weekend with other local authors to sign books and wrap gifts at the bookstore’s BK Holiday Open House. Photo: Kate Christensen/jamiattenberg.com

It’s the holiday season, and though we all love the idea of mingling with friends and family, drinking eggnog and exchanging presents, that sense of merriment doesn’t always extend to the shopping part that goes with it. This weekend Word is easing the process by inviting you to its annual BK Holiday Open House. Don’t eat breakfast ’cause they’re going to have delicious doughnuts and hot chocolate to pair with the holiday movies they’ll be screening. Plus authors like Jami AttenbergDave RomanJeff Salane and more will be in the house to make recommendations, help wrap gifts, sign books and be festive.

08/13/13 7:51am
Tue August 20, 2013

caddyshackAhoy, polloi! On Tuesday night, as the sun sets behind the Statue of Liberty, fans of Caddyshack will get to see the 1980 classic as they never have before: projected on a giant outdoor screen on Valentino Pier in Red Hook. This is the second-to-last screening of the summer for Red Hook Flicks, which is secretly my favorite venue in the borough for outdoor movies, and where can I even begin with this selection? If you can appreciate some good juvenile slapstick, you’ve probably been injecting quotes from Judge Smails and Carl the groundskeeper into your conversations for years. If you can’t, well, you might want to loosen up for a night because Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Rodney Dangerfield and the rest of the cast absolutely kill it in this one. Also, Red Hook Lobster Pound is sponsoring the evening, so you’ve got that going for you, which is nice. Expect some delicious grub, and how ’bout a Fresca to wash it down? –KH

07/21/13 12:42pm
Thu July 25, 2013

Nicholas Kallincos’ short film Re-Collection won Best Original Design at last year’s Animation Block Party.

If sitting through Pacific Rim at the neighborhood multiplex sounds as enticing as a $7 bucket of artificially-flavored popcorn, here’s a film festival for anyone whose attention span is in short supply. The 10th annual Animation Block Party kicks off this Thursday, July 25, at Music Hall of Williamsburg, with an opening-night concert featuring Adam Green and Binki Shapiro, as well as exclusive animation from Nickelodeon, Pixar and Cartoon Network. On Friday, July 26, head to the lawn at Greenpoint High School for Engineering and Automotive Technology (50 Bedford Ave.), where a $13 ticket gets you access to more than a dozen animated short films from independent, professional and student filmmakers. With film run-times at 10 minutes or less, moviegoers needn’t doze off mid-film or monitor RunPee (yes, there’s an app for that) for bathroom break-worthy scenes. This year’s films feature cosmonauts and wormholes, circuses and freak shows, as well as a unicorn with an umbrella for a horn. And if the films don’t entertain, then the after-party at Bar Matchless might make up for it.