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Black Tie International:
On The Town With Aubrey Reuben -August 2, 2014


Aubrey Reuben

On the Town With Aubrey Reuben
Where All the Stars Shine Brightly!
August 2, 2014


07-13-14 (L-R) Bill Heck. Danny Burstein. Linda Edmond "Cabaret" at the 16th Annual Broadway Barks in Shubert Alley/Booth Theatre. 222 West 45th St. Saturday afternoon. 07-12-14.  Photo by:  Aubrey Reuben

07-13-14 (L-R) Bill Heck. Danny Burstein. Linda Edmond "Cabaret" at the 16th Annual Broadway Barks in Shubert Alley/Booth Theatre. 222 West 45th St. Saturday afternoon. 07-12-14


Off-Broadway, Between Riverside and Crazy, by Stephen Adly Guirgis, is a grim, depressing play about a retired black policeman, in a dispute with New York City, who is about to be evicted from his apartment on Riverside Drive. Living with him is his son, released from jail, and his son's girlfriend, a former prostitute, and a guest, another young man, released from jail. The four talk in a vulgar manner, which is unpleasant for an audience to listen to for two hours. There are three other characters, one of which is a Brazilian church lady, who comes to get money from the policeman for a phony orphanage. She is an ex-prostitute, who seduces him, causing him to suffer a heart attack. This description of some of the scenes of this unbelievable play should cause audiences to be aware of what they might see and hear if they attend.

Strictly Dishonorable, by Preston Sturges, is an amusing comedy by a playwright, who became famous in Hollywood for his screwball comedies. The play is a delight, about a young lady (Keilly McQuail) who for the first time visits a speakeasy in 1929 in New York City, gets drunk and leaves her obnoxious  fiance for another customer, an Italian opera singer (Michael Labbadia). They spend a chaste night together in his apartment, and the following morning, they find that they were meant for each other. It is a thoroughly entertaining show, directed by Laura Braza for a wonderfully talented Attic Theater Company. The opening night party took place at South's, 273 Church St, where I was able to congratulate the excellent cast and director.

Sex With Strangers, by Laura Eason, is a play about an older teacher (Anna Gunn) on vacation to write a novel at a bed and breakfast in rural Michigan. A younger, feckless writer (Billy Magnussen), who had scored a success with his book with the play's title, arrives to stay in the same place. As they are alone, he seduces her. The second act, takes place in her apartment in Chicago, where she learns that her new lover is untrustworthy. It is a slight play, well acted, under David Schwimmer's direction.

Mala Hierba, by Tanya Saracho, is a poorly written play, with a cast of four actresses, about an unhappy Mexican-American woman married to a wealthy man, a spoilt stepdaughter, a know-it-all servant, and a lesbian, the former girlfriend of the wife. What takes place in this dull ninety minute play is uninteresting and unbelievable.

Film Society at Lincoln Center is presenting press screenings for James Brown: The Hardest Working Man in Show Business August 29-September 1. Little Caesar, by Larry Cohen, USA, 1973, is blaxploitation film about a young black boy, who when released from jail years later, becomes a gang leader (Fred Williamson) in his territory in Harlem. The film is filled with violence, crooked politicians, sleazy lawyers, mobsters and blood galore. It's typical of its genre; however, the soundtrack features music and singing by James Brown.

Ski Party, by Alan Rafkin, USA, 1965, is a typical teenage film featuring Frankie Avalon and Dwayne Hickman. There is a charming innocence to this kind of film, where the the sexiest scenes are when the teenage girls dance in bikinis. The plot is silly, but the musical selections are fun. One is a scene where James Brown performs one of his popular songs.

Soul Power, by Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, USA, 2008, is a documentary, about a three day music festival, that took place in Kinshasa, Zaire, a month before the Ali/Foreman boxing match. Various American artists appeared, includingJames Brown, who is the major focus of the film. The musical selections are the highlight of this poorly made documentary.

MoMA is also presenting Lady in the Dark: Crime Films from Columbia Pictures, 1932-1957 from July 11-August 4. Murder by Contract, by Irvine Lerner, USA, 1958, stars Vince Edwards, who to earn more money, becomes a hit man killing various men on assignment. When told to kill a woman, he is reluctant. When forced to do it, tragedy occurs. It is a cool film.






















































So Dark the Night, by Joseph H. Lewis, USA, 1946, stars Steven Geray as a famous detective on a holiday rest in the French countryside. He falls in love with an innkeeper's daughter, who has a jealous fiance. When both are found murdered, he investigates the crimes. The criminal is a surprise for the police and the audience. It is a very well made film.

My Name is Julia Ross
, by Joseph H. Lewis, USA, 1945, stars Nina Foch as an unemployed woman in London, who takes a position as secretary to a wealthy lady. She is drugged, and hidden away in a mansion in Cornwall. When she regains consciousness, she is informed that she is the wife of the wealthy lady's murderous son. It is a psychological thriller, well acted and holds one's attention to the end.

Walk a Crooked Mile, by Gordon Douglas, USA, 1948, features Louis Hayward as a Scotland Yard detective and Dennis O'Keefe as an FBI agent trying to find a communist spy in a nuclear physics laboratory in California. It plays like a documentary, emphasizing the friendship between England and the United States, American patriotism and the communist menace to freedom loving nations. The plot holds one's attention.

Drive a Crooked Road, by Richard Quine, USA, 1954, stars Mickey Rooney as a mechanic and race car driver, who becomes involved with two bank robbers. It is a typical crime story, with a lonely young Rooney seduced by a girlfriend of one of the criminals to help in the robbery. It leads to the usual tragic ending, but Rooney gives a fine performance.

Dead Reckoning, by John Cromwell, USA, 1947, features two of my favorite actors, Humphrey Bogart and Lizabeth Scott, but the film has such a complicated plot, that the viewer does not have the slightest idea what is happening or why. The dialogue, however, is sharp and witty, and the two stars are a pleasure to watch.

The Sniper, by Edward Dmytryk, USA, 1962, is like a documentary about a psychologically disturbed man (Arthur Franz), who has a hatred of women, and begins to kill them with a long distance rifle. The acting is first rate, and Franz gives a believable performance as the killer.

Man in the Dark, by Lew Landers, USA,1953, was the first 3-D film at Columbia Pictures. For that reason, it is of historical interest. The story of a gangster losing his memory after a brain operation, and being pursued by other mobsters and insurance investigators for the money he stole and hid, is routine. But viewers have a thrill having a scalpel, a lit cigar, and a spider being thrust in their face.

Gilda, by Charles Vidor, USA, 1946, is probably the best film of this series. Rita Hayworth stars and she never looked lovelier. She marries a wealthy Casino owner, and finds that the only love of her life (Glenn Ford) is now working for him. Tension builds up throughout this terrific film to the rousing climax. Hayworth and Ford are a dynamic pair, and a pleasure to watch. 

MoMA is presenting An Auteurist History of Film to August 29. Annie Hall, by Woody Allen, USA, 1977, is one of the filmmaker's finest films, and it won two Oscars for him and one for his star Diane Keaton. The film is a devastating look at how relationships deteriorate over time. Woody Allen plays a neurotic Jewish comedian, obsessed with psychoanalysis, divorced from two wives, who falls in love with Keaton, an insecure Christian woman from a small town. It is a very funny film, but also a very serious, sad look at how two people who love each other will still leave each other and go their separate ways. 

Film Forum is presenting Web Junkie, by Shosh Shlam and Hilla Medalia, USA/Israel, 2014, August 6-19. It is a remarkable documentary about Chinese teenagers and their internet addiction. The Chinese have created rehabilitation camps to cure these children of their behavior. It focuses on one camp for boys, and it is sad and depressing to watch what these children are subjected to in order to be cured. The camps are virtually prisons, and even include solitary confinement. The relationship between the children and their frustrated families is soured by the new technology. It is a devastating film.

Mr. X: A Vision of Leos Carax, by Tessa Louise-Salome, France, 2014 is a documentary about the French filmmaker, who has made just five films since 1984. Extravagantly praised by many critics, he has also been derided by others. Having seen his first and his last films, I tend to agree with the latter. The documentary shows many clips and talking heads by critics and actresses praising him. He himself is reclusive, but definitely appears to be a little strange. See the film and judge for yourself.



07-27-14 Cast members Michael Labbadia and Keilly McQuail at the opening night party of "Strictly Dishonorable" at South's. 273 Church St. Sunday night 07-26-14.  Photo by:  Aubrey Reuben

07-27-14 Cast members Michael Labbadia and Keilly McQuail at the opening night party of "Strictly Dishonorable" at South's. 273 Church St. Sunday night 07-26-14





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