The Meyerowitz Stories (New & Selected). The latest film from writer-director Noah Baumbach is another dark, but humorous look at a fragile family dynamic. It’s a serious of short stories based around brothers Matthew (Ben Stiller), a successful business manager; Danny (Adam Sandler), a single dad raising his daughter Eliza (Grace Van Patten); and sister Jean (Elizabeth Marvel), a quiet wallflower who is basically ignored by everyone. At the center of it all is their demanding, tempermental father Harold (Dustin Hoffman), a famous sculptor in the midst of a career slump. When Matthew comes back to New York to help Danny send Eliza off to college, he’s quickly reminded of the enormous shadow their father has on the family – along with a number of unresolved issues affecting them all. While Baumbach has explored the complexlities within families with previous work, he has taken it to a new level here. He’s one of the few writer-directors that mines all of the nuances that makes it feel more like a documentary than a feature film. It also helps that he has an exceptional cast led by Hoffman, Stiller, Sandler (who shows once again that given the right material has strong acting chops), and Marvel. There’s also scene stealing supporting roles by Emma Thompson as Harold’s trippy current wife and Candice Bergen as Harold’s sharp as a knife ex. With great writing and a rock solid cast, Baumbach has put together another work that stands alongside his best. The Meyerowtiz Stories (New & Selected) opens in select theaters and on Netflix this Friday. You can also go to www.netflix.com for more information.
78/52. In 1960, Alfred Hitchcock released Psycho, the film that featured a three minute scene that shook filmgoers to their core. Named after the number of camera set ups and edits that were needed, this new documentary from Alexander O. Philippe details in frame by frame detail how Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’ laid the blueprint for the slasher film for decades to come and re-defined how violence is portrayed on screen. Philippe also recruits some of Hollywood’s best directors, writers, critics and composers – Peter Boganovich, Eli Roth, Guillermo del Toro, Danny Elfman, Bret Easton Ellis, and Janet Leigh’s daughter Jamie Lee Curtis, among others – to help pull back the curtain on one of the biggest turning points in cinema history. It’s a must see doc for anyone who loves the medium.. 78/52 opens this weekend. You can also go to www.ifcfilms.com for more information.
Marshall. Before he was the lead counsel in the landmark case that desegregated schools and became the first Black Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall was a brash young attorney for the NAACP. This new film from Reginald Hudlin stars Chadwick Bosman (‘42’, Get On Up’) as the colorful, take no prisoners Marshall, who must tackle the case of Joseph Spell (Sterling K. Brown), a black chauffeur on trial for the sexual assault and attempted murder of his white employer, Eleanor Strubing (Kate Hudson). Assisting him in the case is Sam Friedman (Josh Gad), a young, white Jewish lawyer, who despite having no previous criminal law experience, must make all of the arguments for the defense . Together, they must battle racial and cultural differences to insure that justice is served. Hudlin, working off a script by Michael & Jacob Koskoff, presents Marshall as the real life hero that he was, fearlessly representing those he truly believes are innocent. He also doesn’t shy away from the fact that racism – along with anti Semitism – was alive and well in the North just as much as it was in the South. Boseman adds to his rising star status with another dynamic performance in the title role, brimming with confidence, attitude and swagger. Gad also puts in a formidable turn as Friedman, who gets a crash course in criminal law – and racial politics – with this case. Playing Strubing, Hudson adds considerable depth to a character that could have easily been slated as one dimensional. Sterling K. Brown also brings surprising twists and turns as Spell, adding more layers of complexity – and complicity – to the character. Part history lesson, part courtroom drama, Hudlin has put together a moving portraits of one of America’s greatest public servants. Marshall opens nationwide this Friday.
Live At The Hollywood Bowl by Jeff Beck. In June 2016, Jeff Beck performed at The Hollywood Bowl to celebrate 50 years as one of rock’s premier guitarists. This new CD/DVD set presents that historic night in full and covers every facet of his career. There’s songs from his days with the Yardbirds (‘For Your Love’, ‘Train Kept A-Rollin’, ‘Over Under Sideways Down’, various incarnations of The Jeff Beck Group (‘Beck’s Bolero’, ‘Morning Dew’, ‘Shapes Of Things’), solo material (‘Freeway Jam’, ‘Blue Wind’, ‘You Got It Coming’, and choice covers (‘Let Me Love You Baby’, ‘Rough Boy’, ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’, ‘A Day In The Life’). Beck’s also joined by a number of special guests including Buddy Guy, Steven Tyler, Billy Gibbons, Beth Hart, Terry Hall, Rosie Bones and an on-stage reunion with his fusion foil Jan Hammer. Rounding out the show is a special performance of ‘Purple Rain’, done as a tribute to Prince, who had passed away a few months prior to the performance. Though the stage is loaded with star power, Beck is front and center, wielding his 6-string wizardry throughout. When you can stand toe to toe with the likes of a Buddy Guy or Billy Gibbons, you are truly in rare air. A must have live set. Live At The Hollywood Bowl is available now through Amazon, iTunes and all major music retailers. You can also go to http://www.jeffbeck.com/ for more information.
In///Parallel by Dhani Harrison. It’s one thing to be the child of a famous musician. It’s another when your father was a member of the most influential band of all time. Which is why Dhani Harrison, son of the late George Harrison, while pursuing a career in music, stayed largely low key, scoring films and TV shows or with band projects such as Fistful Of Mercy and Thenewno2. For his long awaited solo album, Harrison crafts a sweeping near hour long suite that is part meditative, part cinematic, part orchestral, but all, unapologetically Harrison. Throughout all of these sonic soundscapes, there’s hints of his lineage and of The Beatles, and later Electric Light Orchestra, that play into the tracks. But Harrison, working with collaborators Mereki and Camila Grey, skillfully incorporate their own styles and personalities into the mix without it coming off as derative. Playing like a soundtrack of the psyche, Harrison has put together and album that both honors and builds upon one of rock’s great legacies. In///Parallel by Dhani Harrison is available now through Amazon, iTunes and all major music retailers.
New York City. Good Fences Makes Good Neighbors. Taking its name from a Robert Frost poem, the latest work from internationally acclaimed artist Ai Weiwei is a multi-site, multi-media exhibition that examines the global migration crisis. Weiwei has placed several fenced enclosures throughout the city – including installations at Central Park, Flushing Meadow Park and Washington Square Park to call attention to the refugee crisis and to remind us that a measured, compassionate response is needed to solve the problem. Weiwei, who experienced a life of displacement and exile in China and life as an immigrant in New York, channeled those experiences into the work, which looks to draw people together, rather than apart and serve as a bridge to our cultural differences. It’s a profound and moving exhibition that invites a deeper conversation into the refugee and immigration crisis. Good Fences Makes Good Neighbors will be up at various locations in New York City through February 2018. You can also go to www.publicartfund.org for a list of all locations and more information.
New York City. Bill Murray, Jan Vogler & Friends at Carnegie Hall. Bill Murray can basically do whatever project he wants, because, well, he’s Bill Murray. But it is a bit of a surprise to see Murray team up with cellist Jan Vogler to find the musical connection between Henry Mancini, Leonard Bernstein, Gershwin and Van Morrison, alongside with the wordsmith mastery of Ernest Hemingway and Mark Twain. This show is an extension of a friendship that started a few years ago on a trans-Atlantic flight and led to the album New Worlds which was released at the end of the summer. This promises to be an evening that’s going to be as fun as it will be informative, beautifully bridge the worlds of music, literature and comedy. Bill Murray, Jan Vogler & Friends will be at Carnegie Hall on Monday, October 16th. You can go to www.carnegiehall.org for tickets and more information.
New York City: uptown: nasty women/bad hombres. During the recent crisis in Puerto Rico, The President used the word ‘nasty’ was applied to San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz in the same context as it was to describe Hillary Clinton during the 2016 Presidential election. Many took that application as a sign of ongoing hostilies between the current Adminstration and women, and, in a broader context against those of Latin and Spanish decent. This current exhibit at El Museo del Barrio gathers artists, photographers, sculptures, painters, writers and directors to explore the ongoing legacies of sexism, racism, homophobia, media, health care and environmental issues have impacted on the Spanish speaking communities nationwide – and how they use their art to combat their issues. It’s truly takes dead aim at these stereotypes and misconceptions and makes pain into protest and art. A powerful and empowering work. uptown: nasty women/bad hombres will be at El Museo del Barrio through November 5th. You can also go to http://www.elmuseo.org/ for tickets and more information.
Los Angeles. The Festival Of Disruption. David Lynch is back again to curate this two day, multi-media festival to promote awareness about the positive aspects of meditation. It will feature musical performances by TV On The Radio, Reggie Watts, The Kills, Bon Iver, among others; panel discussions featuring Lynch and various cast members from Twin Peaks, exhibits by William Eggleston, The Polaroid Originals and screenings of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, Los Angeles Plays Itself and Don’t Look At Me and much more. Proceeds from the festival will go to The David Lynch Foundation, which promotes meditation as a means to help soldiers deal with PSTD, at risk inner city school children; and women/young girls were victims of violence. Whether you like music, film, or comedy, this festival offers all of it, while promoting a great cause. The Festival Of Disruption will take place October 14th and 15th at The Theatre at Ace Hotel. You can go to http://www.festivalofdisruption.com/ for tickets, a complete rundown of events and more information.