Monday, January 31, 2011

Sex and De Stad: True Love

Check out my Valentine's Day column on page 57 of Amsterdam Magazine!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Into Eternity

“Into Eternity,” Danish director Michael Madsen's peek inside Onkalo, a nuclear waste storage facility currently under construction in Finland, was one of the most radical and stunning docs to screen at this past November's IDFA because it doesn't play like a documentary at all. Watching the film is akin to having a totally immersive, video game-like experience, a journey best described as “Lord of the Rings” meets “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Time seems to stand still. That “Into Eternity” is indeed nonfiction—and would make for a great midnight scare flick—renders it all the more startling and disturbing.

To read the rest of my review visit Slant Magazine.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Imitation of Life: The Interminable Suicide of Gregory Church

"What are you writing there? Are you reviewing? You're a bit late!" Daniel Kitson teased a young man seated in the audience scribbling away at the January 16th matinee of “The Interminable Suicide of Gregory Church,” Kitson's one-man show that opened at St. Ann's Warehouse in DUMBO 10 days earlier as part of the Public Theater's Under the Radar Festival. (For the record, this mile-a-minute monologue that made audiences swoon at the 2009 Edinburgh Fringe Festival plays through the end of the month, having outrun the UTR festival. And also for the record, this critic has a good excuse for tardiness, having just arrived back in NYC from Europe.) "You review away," the bearded and bubbly, disarmingly charming standup comedian and actor continued. "But the critics have spoken. And it's a hit!"

To read my own review visit Slant Magazine.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Interview with “Your brother. Remember?” Director Zachary Oberzan

One of the great joys of being a critic is the childlike sense of wonder that comes with being the first to discover something new (that, and as the esteemed music critic Lester Bangs once put it, getting free shit). I first met Zachary Oberzan after seeing his one-man show “Rambo Solo,” developed with Nature Theater of Oklahoma, in early 2009. (Yes, for the record the tickets were comp since I was reviewing for Theater Online.) At the time I wrote, “I have seen the theater future and its name is Rambo – or more accurately, one fearless thespian named Zachary Oberzan who’s got the right combination of mesmerizing lunacy and sheer cojones to guide an audience through the entire plot of “First Blood” in his Manhattan studio apartment then transport the journey to the live stage of Soho Rep.”

As it turns out, my “big discovery” was already an accomplished, Obie award-winning actor who’d been developing his artistry for a decade. Nevertheless, it was exciting to watch as Oberzan subsequently transitioned from theater to a feature film. His “Flooding With Love For The Kid” – “First Blood” adapted and shot by Oberzan in that studio apartment by himself playing all the characters for 96 bucks, started as a DVD sold after “Rambo Solo” shows, had its theatrical premiere run at Anthology Film Archives last year, and is currently knocking about the festival circuit. Now the tireless Oberzan has created yet another film/theater hybrid, which is running January 5th through 16th at Dixon Place as part of The Public Theater’s Under The Radar Festival. “Your brother. Remember?” incorporates scenes from Jean-Claude Van Damme’s “Kickboxer,” the cult flick “Faces of Death,” footage of he and his brother Gator acting out those films twenty years ago, and he and Gator remaking those home movies today. So when the opportunity arose to chat with Oberzan about this latest tour de force, I certainly couldn’t let the chance to discover something new pass me by. With any luck maybe I’d even get a free DVD.

To read the interview visit Filmmaker magazine.

Sex and De Stad: Easy Money

Check out my latest column on page 57 of Amsterdam Magazine!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Abel Ferrara's “Napoli Napoli Napoli”

Abel Ferrara's “Napoli Napoli Napoli” is as rambling and all over the place as his previous foray into documentary filmmaking, “Chelsea on the Rocks.” This time his approach is the same: talking-head interviews haphazardly mixed with staged reenactments, with some archival images thrown in at random. But compared to a rebel director like Werner Herzog, who weds his similar restlessness to an amazingly diverse appetite, Ferrara seems just an addict-jumpy auteur with a frustratingly immature and narrow vision; sex and violence, drugs, and the arts are pretty much all he's interested in. Which is why after about 15 minutes into “Napoli Napoli Napoli,” you find yourself wondering why he doesn't just stick to fiction instead.

To read the rest of my review visit The House Next Door at Slant Magazine.