Don’t Blink – Robert Frank. Raw, candid and uncompromising, Robert Frank is one of the most influential artists of the last 50 years. He filmed The Beats and his book, The Americans, an unflinching reaction to American poverty and racism, is mandatory reading for any photographer. Frank’s film on The Rolling Stones was so visceral and intimate that Rock n Roll’s ultimate bad boys decided to shelve it for fear of a backlash. Now in his 90s, Frank is still creating and still pushing to elevate the art. Now for the first time, Frank’s long time film editor Laura Israel and producer Melinda Shopsin turn the cameras on Frank to craft the ultimate look at the man who forever changed photography. With unprecedented access to the artist and his archives (including clips from Pull My Daisy and the aforementioned Stones doc), Israel captures Frank very much like his work: frayed at the edges, bristling its energy and full of surprises. A fitting salute to an artistic giant. Don’t Blink – Robert Frank is in theaters now.
Cafe Society. The latest from Woody Allen stars Jesse Eisenberg as Bobby Dorfman, a young man who leaves New York to make his mark in 1930s Hollywood. He lands a job working for his uncle Phil, a powerful Hollywood agent and begins a relationship with Phil’s secretary Vonnie (Kristen Stewart). Things get complicated when it turns out that Vonnie is Phil’s mistress and he intends on leaving his wife to be with her. When Vonnie chooses to stay with Phil, a heartbroken Bobby retreats back to New York and gets a job in a nightclub run by his gangster brother Ben (Corey Stoll). Bobby seems to be getting his life back in order and starts a family with Veronica (Blake Lively), a beautiful socialite. But when Vonnie comes to New York to reconnect, Bobby must decide on what – and who – he truly wants in his life. Eisenberg channels a lot of Allen’s on-screen mannerisms to near perfection but adds almost a steely edge as Bobby. He weaves in and out from awestruck (and love struck) to a reserved, successful New York player effortlessly. Stewart all but steals the movie as love torn Vonnie. It’s one of her strongest performances to date. Legendary cinematographer Vittorio Storaro (Reds, Apocalypse Now) captures New York and L.A. in all of its Art Deco glory and Allen’s script is a crisp blend of comedy and drama. It’s a solid film for those seeking refuge from the action driven flicks. Cafe Society opens nationwide this weekend. You can also go to http://www.cafesocietymovie.com/ for more information.
Vice Principals. The latest from Danny McBride and Jody Hill (Eastbound & Down) is a look at the people who almost have a direct impact on the lives of young people: Vice Principals. McBride and Walton Goggins (Justified) star as Neil Gamby and Lee Russell, North Jackson High School administrators looking to get the bump up to Principal after their previous boss (Bill Murray – yes, THAT Bill Murray) steps down to care for his ailing wife. There’s only a few hurdles in the way: Each other and Dr. Belinda Brown (Kimberly Hebert Gregory) the award-winning principal who just got hired on an interim basis. They now much reluctantly join forces to stop her while at the same time undercut each other – all while trying to manage their lives outside of the school. Make no mistake about it – this show is crude, vulgar, profane, and unapologetically NOT PC. It’s also laugh out loud funny. There’s only going to be three 9 episode seasons (each covering the fall, winter and spring terms of a school year), so strap in and enjoy the ride. Vice Principals premieres Sunday night at 10:30 Eastern on HBO. You can also go to http://www.hbo.com/ for more info.
Loud Hailer by Jeff Beck. For his first album of original material in 5 years, Jeff Beck wanted to shake things up. Rather than deliver another set of guitar driven instrumentals, Beck put together a new band that included guitarist Carmen Vandenberg and vocalist Rosie Bones and co-wrote songs commenting on issues such as social media, reality TV, and oil dependency. The album’s closer, ‘Shrine’ is all but his manifesto. The decision to have a one lady vocalist/collaborator throughout the album (as opposed to one or two guest vocalists) pays off big time as Bones’ throaty, to the point vocals run perfectly alongside Beck’s six string heroics. As with recent efforts, the music runs the gamut from blues, rock, and electronica. 50 years into the game, Jeff Beck has put together an album that stands alongside some of his greatest work. One of the year’s best. Loud Hailer by Jeff Beck will be available on Friday through Amazon, iTunes, and all major music retailers.
Apache by Aaron Neville. After making a series of albums that honored the music that shaped him, Aaron Neville has decided to look inward – and onward – on his new LP. Produced by Eric Krasno of Soulive and featuring the Daptone horns, Neville’s new album has a crisp, funkier edge to it and has a steady blend of 70s era soul, gospel and, of course, New Orleans drenched funk. Neville, who wrote all of the material, touches upon themes ranging from new found love, regret, spirituality and his love for the Crescent City. Aaron Neville has been a musical force for 50 years, but with this album, he has made his most accomplished solo effort to date. Apache will available on Friday through Amazon, iTunes and through all major music retailers. You can also go to www.aaronneville.com for more information.
New York City: Cocksucker Blues. To coincide with the release of the new Robert Frank documentary, Film Forum will be doing a super rare screening of Cocksucker Blues, Frank’s extraordinary film covering The Rolling Stones’ 1972 North American tour. The band had commissioned Frank to film their return to the road, but his images of the wild lifestyle and unflinching look at life on the road was so to the core, that the band deemed it unsuitable for theatrical release. It’s only been shown in its entirety a handful of times, so this is a rare chance to see a lost classic. Tickets are moving fast, so don’t say you weren’t warned. Cocksucker Blues will be at Film Forum July 20th and 21st. You can also go to www.filmforum.org for tickets, run times and more information.
New York City: Movies Under The Stars. New York City has always been a great backdrop for films and to celebrate 50 years of the movie magic, The Mayor’s Office Of Media & Entertainment is teaming up with the Parks Dept to present a series of outdoor screenings. Some of the films being featured in the series include Men in Black, School of Rock, The Wiz, and I Am Legend – all of which were shot and take place in The Greatest City In The World. The best part is that all of the screenings are free. A great way to spend a summer night out in the city. Go to www.nyc.gov/film for a compete schedule, run times, sites and more information.