Tag Archives: New York

Top 25 Documentaries of the Decade

29 Dec

 BillyMitchellKong

January 5th, 2009–

Happy New Year all! Cinematropolis is striving to catch up in the wake of the holidays. For my part, they were pretty great but jumping back on the blogging horse is proving to be a tricky task. I’ve got all those pesky ‘best of’ lists to whittle through, and then a big stack of new stuff to hurdle before launching into some site changes for the new year. Either way, I’ve tackled another list to the ground.

This past decade was an interesting one for the documentary film. More financially successful than ever before, documentaries (and the directors behind them) had at long last an audience hungry for their work and a culture ready to adapt and assimilate what it was they were selling. Whether it be the works of Michael Moore, lovable penguins, or a lone doofus consuming as much McDonald’s as he could shove in his pie hole, the genre was connecting with the general public in a way it never had previously. When Al Gore used it as a venue to preach the dangers of global warming, there was a new fire and purpose injected into the medium. Continue reading

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AMAD-Horror Edition: Of Unknown Origin

12 Oct

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cinemagrade b+Let’s jump right into Of Unknown Origin. Made in 1983 in Montreal (which was doubling for New York on the screen), the film stars Peter Weller, Buckaroo Banzai himself, as an architect who has just finished renovating a brownstone townhouse for his family and finds a strange, persistent intruder threatening both his home and his ordered existence. The original trailer makes it look like a supernatural thriller along the lines of Poltergeist, with Weller fighting off some sort of demon inhabiting his home and trying to kill his family. That is not at all what is happening in the film. There isn’t a single supernatural element in the movie, although there are plenty of unnatural ones.

 Bart Hughes is a fastidious, up-tight architect who takes serious pride in his beautiful Brownstone apartment building: and why not, since he did all the renovation work himself? The home is gorgeous and indeed something to be proud of. Bart also sank a good deal of money into fixing it, and so he feels pressured to fight for promotion at the architectural firm where he works. Couple this with his ordered, work-obsessed mentality and it results in Bart focused so intently on his projects and office-relations that he isn’t even enjoying the fruits of his labor at home.  Continue reading

DVD Showcase: The exceptional James Gray tells a tale of ‘Two Lovers’

30 Jun

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Two Lovers (R) 98 min.  Directed by: James Gray. Starring: Joaquin Pheonix, Gwyneth Paltrow, Vinessa Shaw, Isabella Rossellini, Elias Koteas Cinematography:  Joaquin Baca-Asay

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James Gray’s Two Lovers is potentially the best movie you didn’t see this year. Released last February for a brief stint in theaters and simultaneously on On-Demand, the film was mostly overshadowed by the stunts of its star, Joaquin Pheonix, who showed up on the Letterman Show looking like a stoned Amish rocker. It turns out though, that Gray’s film is far more worthy of the attention and discussion that inevitably was aimed at Phoenix and his ill-advised rap career (it’s all an elaborate film stunt, wait and see). Continue reading