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The Deal of the Art

The Deal of the Art

BY STEVE ERICKSON | Director Nathaniel Kahn’s documentary “The Price of Everything” focuses tightly on the art world, but in depicting a world where everything is commodified and painters who aren’t hardcore careerists watch others make money from their work without benefiting themselves, it says a great deal about the state of American culture in 2018. […]

When Celebrity Became All

When Celebrity Became All

BY GARY M. KRAMER | Matt Tyrnauer’s lively, entertaining documentary “Studio 54” takes viewers behind the velvet ropes and into the “experience” that was the famed New York City nightclub. Using hundreds of amazing photographs, as well as film clips, news footage, and interviews, Tyrnauer gets Ian Schrager — who co-owned the club with the late […]

A Leg Up for Indie Film at NYFF

A Leg Up for Indie Film at NYFF

BY STEVE ERICKSON | The fall festival circuit — which includes Telluride, Venice, Toronto, and our own city’s film festivals — has become the beginning of the film industry’s Oscar campaign. The past five years’ Best Picture Oscars have all gone to films that were genuinely independent or produced by “indie” divisions of studios. “The Shape […]

Salem Possessed

Salem Possessed

BY STEVE ERICKSON | Take an op-ed about social media’s negative impact on teenage girls and the rest of us, adapt it into a narrative film somewhere between Harmony Korine’s “Spring Breakers” and Oliver Stone’s “Natural Born Killers,” and you have Sam Levinson’s “Assassinat­ion Nation.” You’ve also got the worst new film I’ve seen in 2018. […]

The Age of Discovery

The Age of Discovery

BY GARY M. KRAMER | Justin Torres’ messy, heartbreaking novel “We the Animals” has been adapted for the screen by director Jeremiah Zagar, who co-wrote the script with gay playwright Dan Kitrosser. The result is a messy, heartbreaking, and compelling film full of hard-edged realism and moments of magical realism. The story concerns three brothers, Jonah […]

The Wrong Lessons

The Wrong Lessons

BY GARY M. KRAMER | The gaining of self-knowledge is at the heart of “The Miseducation of Cameron Post,” bisexual filmmaker Desiree Akhavan’s (“Appropriate Behavior”) bittersweet adaptation of Emily M. Danforth’s novel about a teen forging her independence and finding her identity in the face of repression. The film opens with a pastor (Steven Hauck) warning […]

Walking Away From It All

Walking Away From It All

BY STEVE ERICKSON | Director Lauren Greenfield’s film “Generation Wealth” is the third version of her dystopian take on contemporary American culture sharing that name, following a collection of photos printed in a monograph and shown in New York at the International Center of Photography last year. But the medium of film allows us to hear […]

Nico, Nuanced This Time

Nico, Nuanced This Time

BY STEVE ERICKSON | A 1995 documentary about German-born singer Nico, whose real name was Christa Päffgen, is titled “Nico Icon.” Italian director Susanna Nicchiarelli’s narrative film “Nico, 1988” pulls her off that pedestal and turns her back into a human being. Nico’s 15-year period of heroin addiction and status as a beautiful woman who acted in […]

A Proper Portrait of Alexander McQueen

A Proper Portrait of Alexander McQueen

BY DAVID NOH | The 1990s and early aughts were a golden age of fashion, largely for the presence of two genius designers, John Galliano and (Lee) Alexander McQueen, who would have been great in any age. Galliano’s brilliance lay in his glorification of romance — and sex — filtered through the prism of couture’s history […]

Dystopia Spiked With Wit

Dystopia Spiked With Wit

BY STEVE ERICKSON | Politics and silliness are supposed to be enemies. In fact, the way the alt-right rose by its hiding its true hatefulness beneath a veneer of irony and politically incorrect humor has soured some people on the whole idea of comedy. Boots Riley’s “Sorry To Bother You” reminds us that satire can bring […]

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