Thursday, December 04, 2008

What, When, Where this Weekend - Frost/Nixon, Nobel Son, Cadillac Records, The Black Balloon, Punisher: War Zone

What, When, Where is a weekly guide to select screenings, discussions and events in the NYC-area of interest to screenwriters.

- Young Friends of Film are screening Robert Altman's Short Cuts tonight, with two stars (Matthew Modine and Annie Ross) in attendance. It's a wonderful movie starring my man Tom Waits (and no less than 30,000 other big-name actors) - if you haven't seen it, here's a great chance. The screening is followed by a party with an open bar and h'ors d'oeurves, so check it out and mingle with other film fans. Details are available here.

- Fellini's classic Amarcord is playing for a limited run at Film Forum. Like Short Cuts, this is one of those required-viewing movies - if you can't catch it on the big screen, please at least add it to your Netflix queue.

Opening this week...

FROST/NIXON, written by Peter Morgan, dir. by Ron Howard

Premise: A dramatic retelling of the post-Watergate television interviews between British talk-show host David Frost and former president Richard Nixon.

Playing at: Lincoln Square

Lots of great buzz around this one, and the trailers bring about warm, fuzzy memories of Altman's Secret Honor, which is by no means a bad thing. (When did this turn into an Altman-love day?) This is likely to get a nod for best adapted screenplay.

And speaking of that screenplay? You can read it for free over here.

NOBEL SON, written by Randall Miller and Jody Savin, dir. by Randall Miller

Premise: Barkley Michaelson is in a deep life rut. He's struggling to finish his PhD thesis when his father, the learned Eli Michaelson, wins the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Barkley and his mother, Sarah, a renowned forensic psychiatrist, now have the ill-fortune of living with a man-eating monster whose philandering ways have gotten less and less discrete. As if Barkley's world is not bad enough, on the eve of his father receiving the Nobel, Barkley is kidnapped and the requested ransom is the $2,000,000 in Nobel prize money. Needless to say, Eli refuses to pay it and so starts a venomous tale of familial dysfunction, lust, betrayal and ultimately revenge. In the words of Michel De Montaigne, the 16th century philosopher: "There is more barbarity in eating a man alive than in eating him dead."

Playing at: Loews Village VII, AMC Empire 25

THE BLACK BALLOON, written by Elissa Down and Jimmy Jack, dir. by Elissa Down

Premise: All Thomas wants is a normal adolescence but his autistic brother, Charlie, thwarts his every opportunity. Will Thomas, with the help of his girlfriend, Jackie, accept his brother?

Playing at: AMC Empire 25, Village East Cinemas

CADILLAC RECORDS, written and directed by Darnell Martin

Premise: Chronicles the rise of Chess Records and its recording artists.

Playing at: AMC Empire 25, Union Square Stadium 14, Loews West 34th, Lincoln Square

The music geek in me is going to win out here: this tells the story of Chess Records' golden age, when they were the musical stables for Etta James, Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Little Walter...

The cast is great, too. I'm in.

PUNISHER: WAR ZONE, written by Nick Santora and Art Marcum, dir. by Lexi Alexander

Premise: After hunting down and killing hundreds of violent criminals, Frank Castle, aka The Punisher, faces his most deadly foe yet: Jigsaw.

Playing at: All over.

This review from Cinemablend has one of the most brutal blurbs I've ever seen:
"It’s as if someone saw Batman Forever and then thought: “Hey I wonder what this movie would look like if it were rated-R,” and then designed their sets accordingly."

What are you doing/seeing this weekend?