On the Town With Aubrey Reuben
Where All the Stars Shine Brightly!
September 20, 2014
09-15-14 (L-R) Co-Creator Kendrell Bowman. producer Sheryl Lee
Ralph. Co-Creator/ and star Anthony Wayne at the opening night party
for "Mighty Real: A Fabulous Sylvester Musical" at The Grand Hall at
the Theatre of St Clement's. 423 West 46th St. Sunday night.
Dear Readers, let me explain the four week gap in my column. On August 18, I had Emergency surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital, and I spent four weeks recovering at home. On Sunday, I took my first photograph. On Monday I reviewed a film at the press screenings of The New York Film Festival, and on Tuesday I reviewed a Broadway show. Unfortunately, I am not allowed to sit in a theatre or film seat for an extended period of time. I am forced to stand during most of the performance or film.
Recovery is a slow process. Still, I am happy to be photographing actors I admire, attending a live dramatic performance, and being transported around the world on film. To do this every day, makes me realize how lucky I am.
On Broadway, A revival of Love Letters, by A. R. Gurney, at the Brooks Atkinson, is a play, where two actors (Mia Farrow and Brian Dennehy), sit at a table and read letters written to each other from childhood until middle age. They are both from wealthy Protestant families. The girl is flighty and unstable, and has many problems. The boy is more grounded. The playwright is a fine playwright, very intelligent, and what he writes is always interesting, and occasionally witty. However, even with two fine actors, and both are very good, under the direction of Gregory Mosher, it is difficult to look at and listen to two actors for ninety minutes, who read from a script on a bare stage, without looking at one another. It is not dramatic. It is not theatrical. It is boring, and some of the letters from childhood are infantile. It is not a show for Broadway, and I doubt it will encourage people to write letters again in this age of computers..
Off-Broadway, the opening night party for Mighty Real: A Fabulous Slyvester Musical took place in the Grand Hall at the Theatre at St. Clement's. Sheryl Lee Ralph produced the musical and Anthony Wayne andKendrell Bowman co-created the show, with Wayne as the star. Among the guests were Lillias White, Brenda Braxton, Melba Moore and Stephen Schwartz. It was a lovely party.
Dame Angela Lansbury was honored at the American Theatre Wing 2014 Gala at the Plaza. Among the many guests to honor the great actress, were William Ivey Long, James Earl Jones, Jim Dale, Kate Burton, Dan Rather, Edward Herrmann, James Monroe Iglehart, Jason Danieley and Marin Mazzie, and many, many more too numerous to mention. It was a wonderful event.
Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil joined five cast members of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical at Serendipity 3, 225 East 60th St, for the unveiling of the Beautiful sundae. I tasted it and it was delicious.
The press screenings for the 52nd New York Film Festival September 26-October 12, 2014 have begun. Misunderstood/Incompresa, by Asia Argento, Italy/France, 2014, is an overlong, repetitious story about a nine-year-old girl, who feels unloved. Her neurotic film actor father and her irresponsible concert pianist mother constantly battle and finally separate, leaving the poor child to travel back and forth between the two homes. It is an example of a dysfunctional modern Italian family. The film is a series of disjointed scenes, many of them quite unbelievable. There is not one likable character in the entire film. We see the mother's apartment being trashed, and then the father's apartment being trashed. The scenes in the girl's school are a travesty, and her cruel, sadistic teacher would not have been tolerated in any school, in any country. I wonder about the future of this nine-year old actress, who has to smoke cigarettes and vomit in a toilet, smoke marijuana and drink beer with homeless hippies, and steal other people's mail. I could go on, but what is the point. I, obviously, misunderstood this sick film.
'71, by Yann Demange, UK, 2014, is grim, depressing look at the conflict in Belfast, Northern Ireland in the 1980s. The hatred between the Catholics and Protestants is revealed in almost documentary fashion. The story is about an English soldier (Jack O'Donnell) trapped in the Catholic section, trying to escape alive from his pursuers. It is an absorbing tale, well acted, and an indictment of the futility of violence to resolve disputes. It is a very powerful film.
Goodbye to Language/Adieu au
langage, by Jean-Luc
Godard, France, 2014, is the
esteemed filmmaker's 43rd film,
in 3D. The film stars his dog,
who he claims is very wise. It
also has a couple, who appear
mainly undressed. They exchange
dialogue, which is
unintelligible to any normal
person. The filmmaker drops
lines from every single
philosopher he can remember,
which adds nothing to the film.
He concentrates on the
difference between reality and
metaphor. There are also scenes
from old black and white films
on a television screen, and
footage of Adolf
Hitler. Scenes are repeated
ad nauseum. I assume it is a
self indulgent joke.
Two Shots Fired/Dos Disparos, by Martin
Rejtman, Argentina, 2014, has a
young man finding a gun in a shed at his
home. He aims it at his head and grazes
it. He aims at his stomach, where it
remains throughout the film. He survives
his unexplained, attempted suicide. We
follow him through the first part of the
film, where his only activity appears to
be playing ancient, renaissance and
baroque music with his the flute in an
amateur flute quartet. There are many
scenes of them playing. The second part
of the film has his lawyer mother taking
a vacation at the beach with his flute
teacher. However, to split the driving,
they invite a weird divorcee to join
them. Every character in this
interminable film is unpleasant and
every action is unbelievable.
Hill of Freedom/Jayuui Eondeok,
Sang-soo, South Korea, 2014, is
about a young Japanese man, who returns
to South Korea to find a woman, that he
loved a few years before. He realizes
that he now wants to marry her. The
director shifts the action from the
present to the past, which requires
careful attention to understand what is
happening. It is a pleasant, low-key
film with attractive characters.
Beloved Sisters/Die geliebten
Schwestern, by Dominik
2014, is a sumptuous film capturing the
atmosphere of the eighteenth century,
when the German poet Friedrich
a romantic affair with two sisters. He
marries one and sleeps with the other.
Although the sisters have a close bond,
it eventually leads to unhappiness and
anger among the three of them. It is a
wonderful film, exquisitely photographed
and the acting is first-rate. It is one
of the best films in the festival up to
The Wonders/Le meravglie, by Alice
Italy/Switzerland/Germany, 2014, is an
unusual film about a family with four
daughters, who are primarily beekeepers
in the Italian countryside. When the
oldest girl (Alexandra
Lungu) signs up for a television
without telling her parents, problems
ensue. The competition is called Country
Wonders, in which the different
farmers describe what they produce
naturally. In the case of the
beekeepers, one receives an education in
the difficult process of producing
honey. The film is remarkable, and
possibly unique, with an ending, that
seems to reflect magic realism.
La Sapienza, by Eugene
Green, France/Italy, 2014, is a
gorgeous film. The photography of Rome,
Turin and Stresa is magnificent. It is
almost a travelogue. The story about an
unhappy French architect and his wife,
doing research on a baroque architect in
Italy, is intelligent and beautifully
presented. At Stresa, they meet a young
brother, who has graduated and wants to
continue to become an architect, and his
sister, who is incapacitated with a
nervous disorder. What the two young
people teach the older couple is
inspiring. It is one of the most
wonderful films of the festival.
Heaven Knows What, by Josh and Benny
Safdie, USA, 2014, is film about
heroin addicts in New York. For
ninety-four horrendous minutes, we watch
a young girl (Arielle
Holmes) begging for money on the
streets, attempting to commit suicide to
please her repulsive heroin addicted
Landry-Jones), hooking up with
various other drug addicts in abandoned
apartments and parks, stealing other
people's mail from a mailman's pouch and
objects from pharmacy stores, and, in
general, leading a worthless and aimless
life. The cast is full of non-actors,
whose claim to fame is that they cannot
utter a single sentence without fifthy
and vulgar words, and their voices are
irritating. I do not know who would
enjoy watching this depressing film,
except perhaps sado-masochists.
I was invited to a special screening of Pride,
Warchus, UK, 2014, at the Ziegfeld
Theater, which stars Bill
a film, that takes place in 1984-85 in
London and South Wales, based on a true
story, about a Gay and Lesbian group,
who raised money to support the striking
miners during the Margaret Thatcher era.
Through many trials and tribulations,
the film closes on an inspirational note
when everyone bonds during The Gay Pride
parade in 1985. It is a well acted,
beautifully photographed, sentimental
09-16-14 James Earl Jones and honoree Dame Angela Lansbury at the American
Theatre Wing 2014 Gala at the Plaza Hotel. Fifth Ave and Central Park South.
Monday night. 09-15-14