Sunday, June 23, 2024

Nightcap 6/23/24: The death of two heroes, final thoughts on Tribeca (with best and worst lists), Thoughts on overlapping festivals

Go watch this film now

I mourn the passing of Willie Mays.

He, along with Muhammad Ali, was one of my first childhood sports heroes.

I have no idea why he was, but I think it was the joy he seemed to have playing baseball. Where ever he went he seemed to bring happiness so I guess I gravitated towards him. 

When I went to my first baseball game in 1973 I only wanted to know if he would be playing. He was and it was a great thing.

I will miss him, but not entirely because when I think of him I will always smile at the thought of one man having fun.


Negative waves- Donald Sutherland has passed.

A supreme actor, he never seemed to give a bad performance. 

I have notes for a longer piece but he made me laugh, he made me cry and he scared the living shit out of me.

Before I move on I just want to say look over his list of films and TV roles and search out the ones you never saw especially if its because you never heard of them. Do this because some of his greatest work is in films like WOLF AT THE DOOR or DR BETHUNE which barely register anywhere.

Trust me- do it and realize what an injustice it is that he never got an Oscar


Random final thoughts on Tribeca:

Coverage is now going to run into July. I've been promised a few more pieces, and I want to grab a few more bits from Liz and Austin who are still posting so you can see their wonderful work. 

Thank you to Lynne and Solomon and Bob and James and everyone else on the ground at Tribeca. After all these years you are all good friends and you are the reason to go in every morning.

Thank you to Timmy Williams of the Whitest Boys You Know for just talking to a fellow film fan on a movie line. I had a blast talking to you about George Romero's Knightriders and other movies.

Thank you to Bill Lustig who is one of the best people I have ever talked movies with  thanks to his endless ability to cut through the BS-especially about the entire mediocre Midnight section. 

Thank you to Matt for making me laugh several times.

Thank you Ariela for coming along here and there and making me laugh.

Thank you to Wendy for the endless conversation before and into the early days of the fest before we both stopped talking because we both were watching.

In fairness this might be the least memorable Tribeca I've been to. It's not bad, just devoid of big names and big films, since everything was geared toward DeNiro Con. (And just don't ask about that).  It also seemed that some of the best films weren't getting the coverage they deserved so the excitement was kept to a minimum. It's hard to get excited when you're the only one or one of a few talking up great films people haven't seen.

The issues of the fest over being not as memorable as others, this year did have a high percentage of great films, most of which I talked about endlessly to anyone who would listen.

Here are my lists of the best and worst films of the festival


HONGFU HOTEL- the arrival of Tian Xu is announced with this deeply moving short ghost film. It's not scary just deeply affecting.

LIZA- a great portrait of a great performer explaining why she became so great. No one seemed to have caught this in the press corps and I'm stunned.

SABBATH QUEEN- a deeply moving film charting the path of one man looking to find god and how be found a lot of like minded people along the way

MADE IN ENGLAND THE FILMS OF POWELL AND PRESSBURGER has Martin Scorsese talking on his favorite filmmakers and you fall in love with them all over again

SHALLOW TALE OF A WRITER WHO DECIDED TO WRITE ABOUT A SERIAL KILLER- a great film with a bad title about a writer and a retired serial killer who is his fan. This is just great fun.

OUTSTANDING A COMEDY REVOLUTION- the story of LGBT+ comedy told by the people who lived it. It is a moving human story about the power of comedy to heal and find a home (it's on Netflix now)

FOLLOWING HARRY- celebration of Harry Belafonte a man who changed the world by changing everyone he came in contact with.

ELIZABETH TAYLOR THE LOST TAPES- raw and real and unexpectedly wonderful film made up of recordings when she was shooting the breeze with friends and having an adult beverage or two.

NEA- a crazy ass tale of a cabbie working for the cartel. Cinematic Magic- give these guys lots of money to make many feature films

TIM BURTON DOCUSERIES- I saw this twice at the festival- I never do that. Its how Tim made magic and most unexpectedly made those he worked with so much better.

WITCHES is a great look at witches, women and the movies

JAZZY- a wonderful coming of age film that is more real then pretty much every documentary you've ever seen- and it's a work of fiction.

RUTHLESS BLADE- glorious martial arts film is pure WOW. It rewrites the rules of action in the best sort of way.

CHECKPOINT ZOO- magnificent look at the efforts to save the animals under fire at a zoo in Ukraine. It will move you


THINKING GAME any film that blindly says anything, especially AI, is great and will never be used for evil is useless

SOLDIERS OF SONG- an important subject, the performers keeping up morale in Ukraine, cut together as a bad music video propaganda film.

DEVIL'S BATH is a form over content folk horror film that doesn't add up to much

SOME RAIN MUST FALL- The wrong sort of art house film where expressions never change and we are forever outside the action- extremely dull and boring

STATE OF SILENCE- a look at the danger of being a reporter in Mexico doesn't do the reporters who are dying any justice because we never know anything about them except their names.

THE A FRAME- Science Fiction so bad I was asked to kill a friend to make the pain stop

And now time to stop writing and just move on.  It's been six or so weeks of nothing but Tribeca films and talk and it's time to stop and take a break and rest for next year....

Besides more fests are on the way and I am already behind on the next three.


No matter what side you are on you need to see Al Jazeera's documentary on the US's role in the current Israeli Palestinian conflict called THE NIGHT WON'T END. It is going to give you much to consider.


One final question

Why is that one local festival seems to intentionally program itself every year so as to overlap a similar local festival forcing film fans to choose one over the other? (Then again they are programming their own festival in multiple not easily accessible locations with single screenings for each film so you not only have to choose which festival but which films from their festival you are going to completely miss)

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