The Family Fang. Jason Bateman steps back into the director’s chair to helm this big screen adaptation of the Kevin Wilson best-seller. He co-stars with Nicole Kidman as Baxter and Anne Fang, children of famous performance artists Caleb and Camille Fang (Christopher Walken and Maryanne Plunkett). Growing up, they were incorporated their parents work, but as adults they have gone on different artistic paths: Anne is a successful actress with an Academy Award nomination under her belt. Baxter is a writer who has published a novel. Both hit major bumps in their career arcs that puts them back at the family home. When their parents go missing and a presumed dead, Baxter and Anne look to see if this is the case or if this is one of their parents’ elaborate hoaxes. As he did with his last feature, Bad Words, Bateman is found a nice groove with black comedy and it’s all out there on the screen. He’s clearly having fun with the material, which pokes fun at performance artists, art critics, Hollywood fickleness and the art world as a whole. Kidman (who also co-produced the film), delivers another outstanding performance as Anne while Walken and Plunkett are wonderfully weird as the off center Fangs. Before theaters get bombarded with superhero flicks and CGI driven action movies, make sure check out this offbeat, quirky film from an actor who is effortlessly transitioning into a great director. The Family Fang opens in New York on Friday and nationwide on May 6th.
Eva Hesse. Using latex, fiberglass and plastics, Eva Hesse became the figurehead of the Post-minimal art movement of the 1960s. Her brief, but brilliant career is the subject of this new documentary by Marcie Begleiter. Using archival footage, Hesse’s journals, letters to her close friend and mentor Sol LeWitt, and interviews with contemporaries and those she influenced, Begleiter brings Hesse’s short but colorful art to life. She also examines how some of the most tragic elements of her life – her parents divorce, her mother’s suicide, and Hesse’s own failed marriage – fueled some of her best work. Begleiter also presents Hesse as a model for women, as she was able to overcome and shine in a field that was dominated by men. This is a moving and powerful tribute to one of the most influential artists of the 20th Century (or any for that matter). Eva Hesse opens in New York on Friday and in Los Angeles on May 13th. You can also go to http://www.evahessedoc.com/ for more information.
Keanu. After the success of their Comedy Central series, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele – best known as Key & Peele – now look to conquer the big screen with this new feature film. Directed by Peter Atencio, Peele and Key play Rell & Clarence, two cousins who live in the city, but are much more suburban than street. When Rell’s kitten and muse Keanu is kidnapped, they have to come across as ruthless killers to gain access to a street gang that has the adorable kitty. But when their actions create a gang war, they must tap into their inner ‘hood to get themselves and Keanu out alive. It’s a hilarious send up of action movies, so-called urban dramas, and well, ‘hood movies, complete with a great fight sequences featuring film’s next great animal star, Keanu. With a sprawling supporting cast that includes Method Man, Nia Long, Will Forte, and Luis Guzman, Atenicio, Key & Peele have created a film that is destined to be a cult and comedy classic. Keanu opens nationwide this Friday. You can also go to http://www.keanumovie.com/ for more information.
Horses: Live At Electric Lady Studios by Patti Smith. To celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the release of Horses, Patti Smith performed her landmark debut album in full before a small audience at Electric Lady Studios (which was where the album was also recorded back in 1975). That session now serves as the official premiere release of the recently launched Electric Lady Records. 40 years might have passed, but Smith, accompanied as always by guitarist Lenny Kaye, drummer Jay Dee Daugherty, Tony Shanahan on bass & keys and keyboardist/bassist Jack Petruzzelli, have lost none of the fire and passion that made us fall in love with the album in the first place. To capture the fury the best, the album is available only on vinyl, which gives Smith fans born during the CD/MP3 age to fully experience what it was like to hear Patti Smith for the first time when the needle dropped. It’s a wonderful document recalling a watershed moment in rock history. Horses: Live At Electric Lady Studios by Patti Smith is out now. You can go to http://www.electricladystudios.com/ for more information.
A Cure For Loneliness by Peter Wolf. Whether with The J. Geils Band or as a solo artist, Peter Wolf has always been a huge supporter, fan and student of American Music. For his latest solo album, Wolf goes to the core of that music, digging into the country, bluegrass, rockabilly, blues and R&B mine, and come out with more pure gold. ‘It’s Raining’ is old school Rhythm & Blues that Wolf co-wrote with the late, great Don Covay while ‘Tragedy’ is a nice slab of late 50s/early 60s’ pop. Songs such as ‘Fun For Awhile’, ‘Wastin’ Time’ and ‘Peace Of Mind’ are laced with reflection – and regret. The centerpiece of the album is a remake of the J. Geils hit ‘Love Stinks’ that turns the pop-rock gem into a backyard bluegrass stomper. It kills. With great songs, and stripped down, no frills production, Peter Wolf has added another great work to an already extraordinary career. Has to be mentioned as one of the best of 2016. A Cure For Loneliness is available now through Amazon, Itunes and all major record retailers. You can also go to http://www.peterwolf.com/ for more information.
New York City. IndieCade East. The game industry has been tremendous leaps and bounds since coming into full bloom in the late 70s/early 80s. IndieCade East brings together the next generation of games, creators and fans to show off and test out before they blow up worldwide. There will plenty of panels, talks, workshops, and, of course, plenty of games to channel your inner gamesmanship. Come out and let your geek flag fly. IndieCade East will be at the Museum Of The Moving Image April 29th though May 1st. You can also go to www.indiecade.com for tickets, complete schedule of events and additional info.
Los Angeles: Will Farrell & Chad Smith’s Red Hot Benefit Comedy + Music Show & Quinceanera. This all-star benefit brings together the brothers from a different mother curating a night of music and comedy to benefit The Silverlake Conservatory And Cancer For College. Farrell has recruited Jim Gaffigan, Nick Offerman and Roy Wood, Jr to handle the laughs, while Smith brings aboard Devo and The Red Hot Chili Peppers to take care of the music. A great evening to rock out and laugh out loud for a great cause. The Will Farrell & Chad Smith Red Hot Benefit Comedy + Music Show & Quinceanera will take place at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on Friday. You can go towww.funnyordie.com/redhotbenefit for more tickets and more information.
Los Angeles: Jeff Bridges: Set Shots. In addition to being a top flight actor and musician, Jeff Bridges is also an accomplished photographer. Armed with his Widelux camera, Bridges has captured behind the scenes images of every film he’s worked on since the mid 1970s. Several of these shots are part of a current exhibit on display at the Pickford Center in Hollywood. You’ll see intimate, one of a kind shots from such films as The Fabulous Baker Boys, The Fisher King, Fearless, Tron: Legacy, R.I.P.D, and, of course, The Big Lebowski, among many others. Working with the wide angle format allows you to see the immense scope and work that goes into a big budget film, but he also manages to retain the intimacy, focus and joy that the actors, directors and crew have on the set. An excellent exhibit featuring one of cinema’s most beloved actors. Set Shots will be at The Pickford Center in Hollywood through January 2017. You can also go to http://www.jeffbridges.com/ orhttp://www.oscars.org/ for more information.