In early September, immediately after my return from Austin and the first day of my senior year, my friends and I obtained tickets to the New York City premiere of Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master in glorious 70mm at the Ziegfeld Theatre. We waited outside of the theatre for our most anticipated film of the year (and, in my mind, one of the best films of 2012). Amy Adams and Harvey Weinstein introduced the film (ironically, Paul Thomas Anderson could not be there, as he was doing a surprise screening of The Master in Austin at the Alamo Drafthouse), and after the screening, many of us were left speechless. I've written about my love for The Master in my post on the best films of the year, but I was immediately eager to see the film again.
During my family's trip to New York, we also saw the revival of Evita on Broadway, a musical with which I was not very familiar. In October, I was lucky enough to see Him, a new play by Daisy Foote (another of Horton's children) with Will and Leslie Eckert. The play was a beautiful work, and Hallie Foote once again commanded the stage.
On Thursday, October 11th, Mike Cheslik and I went to a screening of Seven Psychopaths at the Cantor Film Center, followed by a Q&A with the film's writer and director, Martin McDonagh. McDonagh is one of my heroes, as his play The Pillowman easily ranks among my all-time favorite plays (after seeing an outstanding production of the play in 2007 at Austin's Hyde Park Theatre, I frequently used monologues from the show for auditions and later directed a scene from the play for my Sight and Sound: Studio final at NYU). McDonagh gave a great Q&A with the students, and the film - starring Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Colin Farrell and Woody Harrelson - is hilarious. McDonagh's first feature film, In Bruges (2008), was a masterpiece, and this is a wonderfully deranged follow-up. I can't wait to see his next film (or play - I had a fantastic time seeing his A Behanding in Spokane on Broadway in 2010).
By the way, congratulations are in order for Mr. DiCaprio, after winning the National Board of Review's Best Supporting Actor award last December for his extraordinary work in Django Unchained (as well as receiving a Golden Globe nomination for the performance). Sadly, the Academy once again did not nominate DiCaprio for his work. With brilliant and complex recent performances in Sam Mendes' Revolutionary Road (2008), Scorsese's Shutter Island (2010), Christopher Nolan's Inception (2010), Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar (2011) and now Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, DiCaprio is unquestionably the best actor of his generation, and I wish the Academy would recognize him.
Congratulations are in order for Mr. Scorsese, as well, for winning two Emmys this fall for Outstanding Nonfiction Special and Outstanding Directing for Nonfiction Programming, for the masterful George Harrison: Living in the Material World, and to Thelma Schoonmaker, for winning the Gucci award for women's achievement in filmmaking in August.
after which Buirski participated in a Q&A with the audience. It was such an honor to be a part of her work.
100 Best New York City Films earlier this year that's pretty exceptional (they were wise enough to include films like Margaret and James Gray's Two Lovers, a powerful film that features another great performance from Joaquin Phoenix). They missed quite a few New York classics, though. Where are Gangs of New York (2002), Raging Bull (1980), The Godfather Part II (1974), Prince of the City (1981), Bringing Out The Dead (1999), The Age of Innocence (1993), A Bronx Tale (1993) and New York, New York (1977)? But I can't complain when the list as a whole is so good.
the top ten lists from our finest living filmmakers, including Scorsese, Woody Allen, Francis Ford Coppola, Michael Mann (who just turned 70 last week) and Quentin Tarantino.
executive produce a film version of Roger Ebert's memoir, while Al Pacino has been cast as Joe Paterno in a film by Brian De Palma. Meanwhile, Scorsese has all kinds of amazing projects in the works.
I had a wonderful Fourth of July holiday, seeing the new Pixar film Brave with my friend Jess, and then spending time with friends at a rooftop cookout in Brooklyn. Later that evening, I had some homemade pulled pork with friends on a Manhattan rooftop and watched the official city fireworks. The summer was full of fun activities, including a great afternoon picnic in Prospect Park with friends.
The summer was a lot of fun in terms of film, too - three of my favorite filmmakers - Spike Lee, Woody Allen and Oliver Stone - all released terrific movies: Red Hook Summer, To Rome With Love and Savages.
a great interview with him.
my IndieGoGo campaign for the film (to which many of my friends and family so generously contributed). Soon after, actor Tom Corbisiero very kindly drove my cinematographer Ben Dewey and me upstate to scout the Beacon Theater in Beacon, New York, which served as an excellent location for the picture. In preparation for the shoot, I re-watched and took a lot of notes on Scorsese's The Aviator (2004) and Taxi Driver (1976), which both influenced Jake the Cinephile quite a bit (I'm more convinced than ever that The Aviator is one of Scorsese's greatest achievements - it is a masterpiece, flawless in every respect). Later, Ben and I had a pre-production night where we watched scenes from The Aviator, Taxi Driver and Bringing Out the Dead (1999) for reference, as we shot-listed for Jake the Cinephile. The coming weeks were full of meetings with my producers, Erica Rose and Harry Tarre, rehearsals with actress Bethany McHugh and script supervisor Nicole Cobb and a camera test in Queens with the Red Scarlet Camera and anamorphic adapters.
the Hollywood Supporting Actor Award for his performance in Silver Linings Playbook, and later won the Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. In Roger Ebert's review of Silver Linings Playbook, he writes that he's "been on an almost lifelong journey with Robert De Niro, and [feels] intimately familiar with him as an actor." "Here," Ebert writes, "his work unobtrusively charmed my socks off." Congratulations to cinema's finest actor and my hero on an outstanding year.
In-Person Tribute to Robert De Niro at the Aero Theatre in Los Angeles, screening Silver Linings Playbook (with De Niro in attendance), as well as Mean Streets (1973), Taxi Driver (1976), Cape Fear (1991) and Awakenings (1990). With more and more talk building around De Niro's ninth collaboration with Martin Scorsese, The Irishman, as well as De Niro getting his footprints in cement in Hollywood, thankfully people are recognizing the greatest film actor of all time for his consistently extraordinary work. And in one of the most moving interviews I've ever seen, De Niro gets particularly emotional when discussing his work in Silver Linings Playbook. It's very exciting to see my all-time favorite actor receive such recognition (if only I had been alive to see him win Best Actor for Raging Bull in 1981). And, thankfully, in a recent interview with the Hollywood Reporter, De Niro said he'd like to do "at least two [more films with Scorsese]" to "make it an even number - ten," adding that that's his "obsessive-compulsiveness." There is no actor I love and respect more than Robert De Niro.
here's an excellent video essay on why Press Play thinks the film should win, as well). Of course, to talk about the year in film as a competition seems inappropriate. All nine Best Picture nominees are extraordinary films, and having seen a large number of them more than once, I feel deeply tied to many of these pictures. When you look back on 2012, it will be the year of Silver Linings Playbook, Django Unchained, Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Amour, as well as other masterpieces that weren't nominated, such as The Master, Moonrise Kingdom and Flight. I spend a lot of time in cinemas, and I've come to understand many things from this year's great films. 2013 will have a tough time matching 2012 in terms of movie quality.
died this summer. Mr. Hill's story was first told in the outstanding nonfiction book Wiseguy by Nick Pileggi. Not only is Goodfellas my all-time favorite film, I've probably seen it more times than any other movie, so I have a certain love for Mr. Hill's life story and background. Here is a great interview with Mr. Hill. His death brings to mind one of the saddest scenes in Goodfellas, when Joe Pesci kisses his mother goodbye before he is about to get "made," and Hill (Ray Liotta) says in voiceover, "You know, we always called each other goodfellas. Like you said to somebody, you're gonna like this guy. He's all right. He's a good fella. He's one of us. You understand? We were goodfellas. Wiseguys."
also tragically passed away. I saw many of her films theatrically at a young age, including Michael (1996), Hanging Up (2000) and particularly You've Got Mail (1998), which I'll never forget seeing on Christmas Eve of 1998 with my mom and aunt. Oddly enough, 1990's My Blue Heaven (always a favorite of mine, starring Steve Martin and written by Ephron) was also loosely based on the life of Henry Hill, and Ephron's husband was Nick Pileggi, the brilliant author of Wiseguy and co-screenwriter of Goodfellas and Casino (1995).
The list of names goes on - Frank Pierson, screenwriter of Dog Day Afternoon and Cool Hand Luke; author Gore Vidal; the wonderful film critic Andrew Sarris; the incredible cinematographer Harry Savides, who shot Zodiac (2007), Milk (2008), Greenberg (2010), Elephant (2003) and American Gangster (2007); and NYU's own Time Keeper, who passed away in October.
On your way out of this post, check out this Gentleman Party sketch directed by Mike Cheslik! It briefly features my voice talent near the end, but more importantly, it's very funny.