September 30, 2014 § Leave a comment
“Whiplash” was screened to a sophisticated audience at Alice Tully Hall as part of the prestigious New York Film Festival this past Sunday night, and received a standing ovation. It has also been shown at Sundance and Cannes, 2014.
Terence Fletcher, played by actor, J.K. Simmons, is a jazz conductor, who makes the nuns who used to hit their students with measuring rulers when they misbehaved in Catholic schools during the 1950’s, seem like angels.
As a music instructor at Shaffer Conservatory of Music in Manhattan, the top music school in the country, Terence Fletcher is authoritarian, militaristic, demanding, unconventional, violent, sadomasochistic, and downright, abusive towards his musical orchestra and students who are preparing for competitions around the area. If the student was lagging behind, he would often get close up to a students face, and violently remark, “I will NOT have you screw up MY band!” If the student didn’t know if his instrument was out of tune, he was sent home. If a student wasn’t performing to Terence’s satisfaction, he would replace them with another eager musician. Terrence would also often remind his class of a jazz teacher who threw symbols at his students to demand the best out of them, and one of them went on to become a jazz legend.
Fear and dread were on the faces on many of the students, but one jazz drummer, Andrew Neyman (played by Miles Teller), was determined to see it through with the hopes of being the next jazz great. Putting aside things that most college aged men enjoy (parties, sports, and girls), he practices non-stop and keeps going even through every obstacle.
Will he make it through the cruelty, and bloody palms and knuckles?
One World Cinema
September 20, 2014 § Leave a comment
“To be 25 years in, and to still be so inspired using the gift God gave me, I feel like I am just beginning.” -Lenny Kravitz
Look for Lenny Kravitz live over the next few months in the UK/London for the itunes Festival, Russia, Scandinavia, and Eastern and Western Europe!!! Click on the link for the exact locations, dates and venues.
Like a fine wine, Lenny Kravitz continues to improve with age, and is just getting started! 25 years to the day, “Let Love Rule,” one of the greatest albums ever created, was released. Now, on his 10th studio album, “Strut” was made available yesterday, Sept 19, 2014, on itunes. To help kick off his promotional tour, Lenny appeared in his hometown, New York City (which is also a title track off of his new album “Strut”). A sold out audience packed the 92nd Street Y for a Questions and Answers with contributing editor for “Rolling Stone” magazine, Anthony DeCurtis, and the spiritual, hard working, rock legend, Mr. Lenny Kravitz!!!
Some highlights from the interview:
Q: “Where did you get the drive for ‘Strut?'”
A: “I just finished the world tour for “Black and White America,” and had to be at work on the “Hunger Games: Catching Fire” movie set at 5am. 5am is usually the time that I am going to bed, and I found myself having to wake up to go to work to be on the film set. There is a lot of waiting patiently and quietly on film sets, and the songs kept coming to me, 2 or 3 at a time. It is a gift, so I didn’t want to let it pass. I stayed awake for 2 weeks (without the use of any substances), only sleeping one hour a night, humming into my phone. I felt like I did back in high school when I used to make music back then. To be 25 years in, and to still be so inspired using the gift God gave me, I feel like I am just beginning.”
Q: Talk about the gist of the album.
A: “A lot of the songs are about relationships, desire, sex, lust, passion, the town I grew up in, misunderstood love, devotion and heartbreak.”
Q: What does NYC mean to you?
A: “NYC is magical. I wouldn’t be who I am if I didn’t grow up in NYC, Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn and 82nd Street and 5th/Madison in the Upper East Side. I was born at St. Johns Hospital. I am of a mix background, Russian Jewish, and Bahamian/African American.”
The radio in the 1970’s in NYC played everything you wanted to hear. I remember listening to music in my father’s VW bug (Sly and the Family Stone, Robert Plant, Curtis Mayfield). The look and the sound was very powerful, people were expressive and free. My parents tried to take me to every kind of music and cultural arts event that they could, giving me a vocabulary that I could use later on.”
Aside: Lenny Kravitz published his first coffee table book filled with photos from his career spanning over 25 years. The Rizzoli’s publication will be hitting the stores on 23rd September 2014.
Q: Talk about the coffee table book.
A: “I enjoy risks. I get into the moment, and feel free in that way. I understand the use of light, as I also enjoy photography myself. Actually, sometimes I can be a pain because I tell the photographer where the light should come from. It’s fun to collaborate.”
Q: Who do you admire?
A: “I just ran into Mick Jagger at at club in Paris, and I hope that my next 25 years can be like his career. He just played in Barcelona a month ago, and he said it was the best show he’s ever done. He’s still doing it! It is wonderful to still see people moving forward. I hope that the best is yet to come. The first 25 years have been a great education, and I still have a lot of growing to do in the next 25 years. My focus is on my spirituality, faith, and belief. My grandmother on my mother’s side always brought God into the picture. She said that all the up’s and down’s, it all came from God. Without God life would be empty. We live in a day and age where God is moving to the back burner. My focus is on God.”
Q: Anthony DeCurtis read a letter from a man dying from leukemia, who stated that he found solace from the album, “Mama Said,” especially the song, “Fields of Joy.”
A: “There is no amount of fame or money that can compare to this.
If that was the only person who listened to the album, than what a blessing.”
Q: What is your greatest accomplishment?
A: “My daughter, Zoe Kravitz. She keeps me grounded.
Each day of life is a gift from God. I am trying to enjoy every moment, and I try not to complain.”
God bless Lenny Kravitz!!!
One World Cinema
Winner of Cannes Film Festival 2014 for Best Director, as well as, a strong Oscar Contender, “Foxcatcher” Nov 14, 2014!
September 7, 2014 § Leave a comment
“Champions in sport, winners in life, and good citizens for America.”- John du Pont
Based on a true story, Foxcatcher, opens with black and white clips of equestrians with their hunting dogs, and quickly turns to Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum), wrestling with a dummy alone on a mat in a gym.
It’s March, 1987, and Mark is wearing a gold medal around his neck and talking to an auditorium full of young children about his wrestling career. “Both he and his brother Dave (Mark Ruffalo), have competed in some of the world’s toughest competitions. Dave, earned a silver medal and was the highest-placed American in the Tblisi Tournament in Soviet Georgia, and in 1984 both Mark and Dave won Olympic Gold. The following year Mark won the World Championships and faced all the Eastern bloc countries that boycotted the 1984 Olympics. In the World Finals, Mark built a 10-2 lead after one minute and won 10-5. Dave Schultz is the only 1984 Olympic Champion to win the 1983 World Championships and Mark is the only 1984 Olympic Champion to win the 1985 World Championships.
Sitting on the couch playing a handheld electronic Mattel video game, the phone rings. A very official sounding representative for John du Pont (Steve Carell), invites Mark to the du Pont estate in Pennsylvania to meet with the John du Pont, an eccentric, multi-millionaire, in person.
After going through a background check, Mark meets with John, who talks very slowly, and appears to exhibit signs of Asperger’s or schizophrenia. He asks Mark what he hopes to achieve in life. When Mark tells him that he wants to go to the World Championship and Seoul, Korea for the 1988 Olympics, John explains his belief that “our nation has failed to recognize you. I am a patriot and I want to see you soar. I think that without your brother, you can do anything you set your mind to.” He allows Mark and other wrestlers to live and train on his estate.
As the movie continues on, and the relationships become more complicated, an ominous feeling that something terrible is going to happen, lurks.
There is already Oscar buzz for Best Actor: Steve Carell, Best Supporting Actor: Channing Tatum, and Best Picture: for the Bennett Miller directed working class hero drama, Foxcatcher.
5 out of 5 stars.
In theaters November 14, 2014.
One World Cinema