Notes From The Field. The latest one-woman show from Tony & Pulitizer Prize nominee Anne Deavere Smith takes dead aim at how school to prison pipeline affects underprivileged minority youth. Drawing from 250 interviews with students, parents, teachers, protestors, inmates, politicians, lawyers and adminstrators (including Rep John Lewis, activist Bree Newsome and NAACP Legal Defense Fund President Sherrilyn Ifill), Smith inhabits the thoughts and insights of 18 different characters to show a failed justice system, unchecked police brutality, and lack of resources within our school system has led to the loss of at least one generation of American youth to mass incarceration. Smith is joined by jazz bassist Marcus Shelby, video footage and photographs to hammer all of the points home. It runs a narrative that’s parallel to the Netflix documentary, ‘The 13th’, but with Smith effectively inhabiting the lives of those directly affected, it makes this presentation just as evocative and powerful. Given the tone and backdrop of recent events, the timing of this special is perfect. Notes From The Field premieres Saturday at 8pm Eastern on HBO. You can also go to www.hbo.com for more information.
Mute. Writer-director Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code, Warcraft) described his latest film as ‘Blade Runner meets Casablanca’ and it’s pretty accurate. Set 40 years into the future, it stars Alexander Skarsgard as Leo, a mute bartender with a violent past, who finds himself going through the dark underbelly of Berlin to find for his missing girlfriend, Naadirah (Seyneb Saleh). His past comes to help and haunt his search, with his only two recurring clues about her disappearance comes in the form of American surgeons Cactus Bill (Paul Rudd) and Duck Teddington (Justin Theroux). He must confront the notion that Naadirah, the love of his life and salvation, might not be who she says she is. Jones, who was first inspired by Berlin from his visits to see his father, David Bowie in the late 70s, has put together a brilliant mix of Sci Fi and film noir with a pace and style that matches the best each genre has to offer. Skarsagard, after putting in a strong turn in the HBO series Big Little Lies, is fantastic as the haunted Leo. Without working with any dialogue, he must employ facial and emotive cues to convey Leo’s desperation, anger and rage as he seeks to find the truth, and it does it brilliantly. Rudd and Theroux also put in great performances as best bud surgeons who may or may not hold the key to this dark puzzle. A deep evocative work. Mute premieres February 23rd on Netflix. You can also go to www.netflix.com for more information.
A Concert For George. On November 29, 2002, exactly one year after his death, family, friends and collaborators of George Harrison threw an all star charity concert at Royal Albert Hall to honor the late Beatle. Released in 2005, the subsquent live album and DVD of the show’s highlights was met with critical and commercial acclaim, selling over 8 million copies worldwide. To coincide with the 75th year of Harrison’s birth, A Concert For George is being reissued in multiple formats, including CD, DVD, vinyl and Blu-ray. It will include the complete presentation with performances by former Beatle band mates Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, long time friend Eric Clapton, Jeff Lynne, Ravi Shankar, fellow Traveling Wilbury Tom Petty, Monty Python, Billy Preston, Gary Brooker, Jim Capaldi, Harrison’s son Dhani among many others. Loaded with amazing songs and insights, it’s a fitting celebration and coda to one of rock’s most beloved musicians. A Concert For George will be available this Friday through Amazon, Itunes, as well as through www.ConcertforGeorge.com.
New York City. See It Big! Best Cinematography, in Black & White and Color. The latest in the Museum of The Moving Image’s acclaimed series looks at how movies shifted from Black & White to color and Oscars chose how to honor the shift. From 1939 to 1966, The Academy awarded cinematographers in both formats and this retrospective highlights the years were both winters were equally deserving, presenting some of the greatest images Hollywood has ever produced. Gone With The Wind (which won the first Color Cinematography Oscar), Wuthering Heights, Rebecca, The Thief Of Bagdad, An American In Paris, and The Quiet Man will be just some of the exceptional films that will screened through the two and a half week run. Whether you like rich, vibrant colors or shadowy monochrome, fans of either medium will be highly rewarded. See It Big! Best Cinematography, in Black & White And Color will be at The Museum Of The Moving Image February 24th through March 11th. You can also go to www.movingimage.us for tickets, complete film guide and more information.
New York City. The Philip K. Dick Film Festival. Now in its 6th year, the festival is named after the iconic writer whose works formed the basis of such films as Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, A Scanner Darkly and the hit Amazon TV series The Man In The High Castle. It focuses on short and full length features that explores the metaphysical in all of its strange, eerie and, at times, beautiful manifestations. This year’s highlights include Black Wake starring Tom Sizemore, Chuck Zito and Vincent Pastore; Ayla featuring Dee Wallace (E.T., Cujo); The Wanderers – The Quest Of The Demon Hunter with Armand Assante; and Methane Momma, Alain Rimbert’s short film based on the album, The Last Transmission by Melvin Van Peebles and The Heliocentrics. In addition, Sizemore and Assante are just some of the actors, directors and writers scheduled to attend to discuss their work. Whether you are exploring Sci-fi for the first time or a super hardcore fan, this two day festival is for you. The Philip K. Dick Film Festival will be at Village East Cinema February 23rd through the 25th. You can also go to www.thephilipkdickfilmfestival.com for tickets, a complete program guide and more information.
New York City. Tania Bruguera: Untitled (Havana 2000). Artist and activist Tania Brugera first presented this installation for the 7th Havana Biennial in 2000. She presented the work at the Cabana Fortress, a military bunker that was used to jail prisoners of conscience during the Cuban Revolution. Using milled sugarcane, video footage of Fidel Castro and live performance, the work – which showed the contradictions of life in the wake of the Castro-led revolution – was shut down by the Cuban government after only being up for a few hours. The Museum Of Modern Art has acquired the piece and is now presenting it to American audiences for the first time. It marks a turning point in Bruguera’s career, as she shifts from working with her own body into what she calls ‘behavior art’, which she describes as ‘not representing the political, but provoking the political’. Challenging, provocative and thought provoking, it presents life in Cuba in all of its complex and conflicting terms. A deeply moving piece. Tania Bruguera: Untitled (Havana 2000) will be at MoMa through March 11th. You can also go to www.moma.org for more information.
New York City. King In New York. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr was often associated with civil rights campaigns in the South, but he also had extensive ties to The Big Apple. This new exhibit at the Museum Of The City Of New York spotlights King’s forays in the the Empire State and it includes memorable sermons in some of the city’s greatest churches, speeches at the United Nations, discussions on race relations with the Mayor and much more. As the nation marks the 50th Anniversary of King’s assassination, this exhibit is a reminder of how he left his mark on New York City and the world. King In New York will be at the Museum Of The City Of New York through June 24th. You can also go to www.mcny.org for tickets and additional information.
Los Angeles: Jasper Johns: Something Resembling Truth. Considered one of America’s greatest living artists, Jasper Johns re-imagining of flags, numbers, targets, maps and other familiar objects have been taking the art world by storm for six decades. The Broad in Southern California is presenting Something Resembling Truth, a landmark exhibition featuring more than 120 paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings. Using the full range of Johns’ materials, motifs, and techniques, it traces the full creative arc of one of an art world titan. A must see exhibit for any fan of the arts. Jasper Johns: Something Resembling Truth will be at The Broad through May 13th. You can also go to www.thebroad.org for more information.