06/03/15 4:48pm


Sure, at first, “innovation” sounds like one of those annoying tech-speak buzzwords like “disruptor” or “visionary” or, well, “buzzword,” none of which feel like they have any real bearing on the way people outside of the tech world really speak or think. And yet, when we think of the people who are featured at this year’s Northside Innovation Expo and Conference, the descriptor “innovation” loses its hollow buzziness and feels incredibly apt, because these people are some of the most exciting entrepreneurs, designers, and creators in the tech world today, all of whom are working to change the very fabric of the world we live in, whether by launching a new kind of social media platform (hello, Ello) or facilitating the expedient delivery of pizza to the masses (yo, Yo). Read on for a list of some of this year’s must-see innovators. (more…)

06/03/15 4:40pm

Now in its 6th year, Northside Film continues its tradition of showcasing independent filmmakers to new audiences. This year, though, marks the beginning of the inclusion of episodics (TV shows, web series) at Northside programming, as well as music videos, which serve to demonstrate the many different ways that filmmakers are exploring their craft. Here are some of the things we’re most excited about this year. (more…)

06/03/15 10:05am

blood of jesus

The Blood of Jesus (1941)
Directed by Spencer Williams
A key document in the evolution of the race film, this epochal sophomore feature by pioneering actor-turned-filmmaker Spencer Williams is just as equally an important piece of early independent filmmaking proficiency. Starring the director himself as a spiritually wayward Southerner who accidentally shoots his devoted wife Martha (Cathryn Caviness), the film takes as its subject nothing less than the transmutation of the spirit and the journey, even after death, of the soul from purgatory to eternal sanctity. Integrating a variety of forward-thinking visual effects—from superimpositions to sourced footage from obscure religious films—to animate the series of trials and temptations Martha undergoes as she approaches the afterlife, Williams pushes accepted aesthetic values even as he prompts provocative questions regarding not just mortality, but of the price of redemption and the rich, complex history of religion in black culture. Jordan Cronk (June 3, 6:45pm; June 6, 2:30pm at MoMA’s “A Road Three Hundred Years Long: Cinema and the Great Migration”)

05/27/15 7:02am

Richard Widmark and Jean Peters in Samuel Fuller’s PICKUP ON S

Pickup on South Street (1953)
Directed by Samuel Fuller
High and low crime go eye-to-eye in this dustup of swindles. Fresh out of jail and back to his grift, Richard Widmark’s magic-fingered, sneering hood, Skip McCoy, makes off with a lovely straphanger’s (Jean Peters) purse. Plus the purse’s cache of microfilm intended for the Soviets. From the beginning critics found the plot hard to believe, with the New York Times and Variety shaking their heads at its tale of Feds and Reds and something like love, one half of that love (Peters’s Candy) getting knocked out, beat up, shot at, and showered in beer. But pulp the way Fuller cooks it—snappy, violent, and mean—makes it own sense, right being Peters’s pleading, artless look, wrong a matter for us in the real world to fuss with. Pickup on South Street is fresh, pulpy, and savage, a still hot, hard-boiled classic. Jeremy Polacek (May 29-June 4 at Film Forum; showtimes daily)

05/20/15 10:39am

    the last metro

The Last Metro (1980)
Directed by François Truffaut
Truffaut’s timeless political, emotional, and technical virtuosity is on full display in The Last Metro, which dominated the 1981 César Awards, as he dissects German-occupied France’s submerged agony with tight pans and quick cuts that reveal a world dense with duplicitous and furtive activity. Theater owner and actress Marion Steiner—a superbly fluid Catherine Deneuve, segueing between native poise and incongruous distraction—is whipsawed by prudence and patriotism. She must hide her fugitive Jewish husband Lucas while not only staying open—Parisians took refuge in theaters, trundling home on the last subway before curfew—but also resisting abject capitulation to craven collaborationist censorship. This she accomplishes by staging a cryptically anti-Nazi play, Disappearance, that Lucas clandestinely directs to keep from going stir-crazy. Complicating Marion’s balancing act is saturnine leading man Bernard Granger (Gerard Depardieu, very intense), whom she finds recklessly militant—and disconcertingly attractive. French nationalism, pride, culture, and stamina triumph, as indeed they did, and duress, endearingly, excuses straying. A beautifully crafted film. Jonathan Stevenson (May 22-25, 11am at IFC Center’s Deneuve matinee series)

05/13/15 8:50am


After Hours (1985)
Directed by Martin Scorsese
All the anxiety of Koch-era New York is wrapped up in this surreal, screwball and terrifying film about a toothy nobody (Griffin Dunne) who gets stuck in SoHo, broke, hunted by an angry mob and surrounded by bad luck, suicide, lunatics and awful coincidences. Pitching Downtown as a psychic prison—an inescapable, ouroboric maze—this nightmare of eternal return propels through interweaving adventures in artists’ lofts, diners, dive bars, subway stations, punk clubs and the apartments of bartenders, waitresses and johns. It’s a last look at crazy old New York, before the early-morning streets got so crowded cabbies couldn’t even drive down them like maniacs anymore. Henry Stewart (May 15, 16, midnight at IFC Center’s “Staff Picks”)

05/06/15 9:00am


The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)
Directed by Nicolas Roeg
Only David Bowie could be said to be typecast in the role of an aloof alien conquering the world through cultural innovations. Roeg’s typically impressionistic structure frames the extra-terrestrial’s benign invasion as War of the Worlds as written by Marshall McLuhan, in which the creature enchants humans with gimmicky technology while ultimately succumbing to the homegrown pathogen of television. The cutting stabilizes only when Bowie turns to stare at screens, his purpose receding in favor of the mind-numbing thrall of mass entertainment The fractured editing of Don’t Look Now embodied the cruel persistence of memory, but here it reflects the equally horrific consequences of forgetting. Jake Cole (May 7, 7:30 at BAM)

05/06/15 8:00am
All Photos by Maggie Shannon

Since 2006, we’ve taken a yearly survey of the ever-crowded field of young bands in NYC, settling on an octet that our editors bossily deem “Bands You Need to Hear.” Some, like Vampire Weekend (Class of 2007!), have become world conquering heroes, while others broke big only in our hearts. But it’s never been intended as a prediction of superstar status so much as an earnest snapshot of the music that makes our city tick at any given time. This year’s inductees—swinging all the way from sugar-sweet alt-rock to wild, frightening noise—are, right this second, the 8 New York City bands you need to hear. — Lauren Beck & Jeff Klingman

04/29/15 7:17am


Mikey and Nicky (1976)
Directed by Elaine May
The camera presses in on the respectively Dionysian and repressed antics of John Cassavetes’s and Peter Falk’s small-time Philadelphia hoods like a sneering child placing a greasy nose on zoo glass to gawk at the tamed and emasculate dangerous creatures just on the other side. Scenes of petty belligerence, sexual rejection, and juvenile vulgarity paint an unsparing view of the inanity of male bonding. That’s nothing compared to May’s estimation of fundamentally masculine traits of self-reliance, which are rendered not as noble responsibility but blatant self-regard above all other considerations. New Hollywood was founded on macho seriousness and self-conscious artistry, and in pillorying the protagonists’ façade of strength, May excoriates her peers as much as her characters. Jake Cole (May 3-9 at MoMA; showtimes daily)

04/22/15 9:09am

Brigitte Fossey and Georges Poujouly in René Clément's FORBIDD

Forbidden Games (1952)
Directed by René Clément
Forbidden Games was doubtless touched by some great luck to cast then five-year old Brigitte Fossey for the role of Paulette. Charmed, beguiling, and grief-racked, Fossey’s Paulette belongs among the great child roles, kin to Jean-Pierre Léaud’s Antoine Doinel and Tatum O’Neal’s Addie Loggins. Paulette is inexplicably orphaned by German aircraft firing on hers and other families fleeing the front lines in early WWII, and then stumbles upon the Dollés, a comically dysfunctional farming family—their father brawls with a neighbor in a fresh grave; Michel, the youngest son, steals crosses to create a secret (and forbidden) cemetery for Paulette. But truly it is Clément that makes his own luck. Boldly weaving the cruel, humorous, and unfathomable into Forbidden Games’s fairytale-dabbled, traumatized daydream, Clément conjures innocence as few ever have: magical, morbid, and desperately half-aware. Jeremy Polacek (Apr 24-May 7 at Film Forum; showtimes daily)