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Cinema Gotham
Complete Archives
 Mean Streets, Dammit! (8/16/04)
Mean Streets We've been waiting for this moment for some time: The release of the Martin Scorsese boxed set, containing New York classics Goodfellas, After Hours, and Who's That Knocking At My Door as well as Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. But nothing is more highly anticipated at Cinema Gotham headquarters than the special edition of Mean Streets, the little indie where Scorsese first showed the world what he's truly capable of. Mean Streets is integral to Scorsese's development as a filmmaker as well as to the education of a generation of movie makers and watchers. Oh yeah, and it also introduced the world to a couple of actors named Robert De Niro an Harvey Keitel. Read Cinema Gotham's review here.

Read the Mean Streets review
Read more Cinema Gotham DVD reviews

 Cop Land and other recent DVDs (6/1/04)
Cop Land We've reviewed a few notable Gotham DVDs lately. First off, James Mangold's Cop Land finally gets a director's cut release, reversing the compromised theatrical version and giving audiences a new chance to appreciate the work of one of film history's strongest ensemble casts. Plus, the inexpensive disc has one of the best commentary tracks around. Next, Ang Lee's The Wedding Banquet is a wonderfully rewarding indie classic that melds a culture clash storyline with queer cinema to create something subtle and emotionally complex. It's funny, touching and utterly real all at the same time. And finally, the art-scene oddity Downtown 81 was made over two decades ago but was only completed in the last few. This excellent film features a charming performance from the late artist Jean Michel Basquiat as well as tons of other downtown luminaries. (The DVD has actually been out for a while but, fittingly, we only got ahold of it recently.)

Read the Cop Land review
Read the The Wedding Banquet review
Read the Downtown 81 review
Read more Cinema Gotham DVD reviews

 "It's a New World": Jim Sheridan's In America (4/21/04)
the Jim Sheridan interviewWe've been a little out of the loop lately but we couldn't pass up the opportunity to talk to director Jim Sheridan about his fantastic film In America. One of the most personal visions ever created by a filmmaker, In America paints a portrait of Sheridan's family struggling to survive in their adopted home: New York. Featuring outstanding performances and a delicate mixture of realism and magic, In America creates a unique and provocative atmosphere.

Read Cinema Gotham's interview with Jim Sheridan

And to celebrate Cinema Gotham's
two year anniversary, look back at some
of the other fine filmmakers we've interviewed:
John Sayles (6/6/02)
Abel Ferrara (8/19/02)
Jim Jarmusch (11/22/02)
Spike Lee (1/16/03)
Larry Cohen (8/17/03)

 Cinema Gotham Top 10 DVDs of 2003 (12/29/03)
Cinema Gotham Top 10 DVDs of 2003Another year goes by, another chance to look back. This year instead of the usual general top 10 we decided to do a Cinema Gotham top 10, which turned out to be tougher than we thought (We tried to find a local connection in The Two Towers but just couldn't do it.) Limiting the list to films that were covered here or that were about New York stories caused some tossing and turning and hemming and hawing. But ultimately you could do worse than the ten discs we came up with. From shorts to documentaries, classics and recent releases (plus Spike Lee's second number one finish in three years) it's been a wildly diverse year.

Read Cinema Gotham's Top 10 DVDs of 2003
The Official DVDTalk Top 20 DVDs of 2003
Top 10 DVDs of 2002 | 2001 | 2000

 Road House Like You've Never Seen It Before (12/5/03)
Road House: The PlaySpending any time in New York City this Christmas? Forget the Rockettes, the tree and Macy's. Cinema Gotham's Gil Jawetz has only one suggestion for you: Go see Timothy Haskell's "brawlsical" stage version of the Patrick Swayze crap-classic Road House. You heard me, Road House has become the kind of legitimate theater that both Willie Shakespeare and Homer Simpson can enjoy. And what's more, this version stars Taimak from another classic 80's film: The Last Dragon, except this time substituting a blonde mullet wig for Jheri curls. So bring the whole family!

Read Cinema Gotham's article on Road House: The Stage Play

 Family Bonds: Jim Sheridan's In America (12/4/03)
In AmericaEven Scrooge eventually figured out that the end-of-the-year holidays are a time for family and warmth. Flying in the face of all the jaded cynicism of the world, director Jim Sheridan (In The Name of the Father, My Left Foot) has created a film that believes in magic and compassion. Cinema Gotham's latest contributor, Keith Uhlich, has taken a look at the film, which draws on Sheridan's own experiences as an immigrant who came to New York from Ireland two decades ago.

Read the essay...

 Cinema Gotham Goes To The New York Film Festival (12/3/03)
New York Film FestivalVan Sant. Eastwood. Morris. von Trier. Iñárritu. An intense batch of filmmakers by any standard, but taken all together either a cineaste’s dream or nightmare. Cinema Gotham’s Jason Janis braved the elements (and the paparazzi) to check out Dogville, Mystic River, Elephant, The Fog of War and 21 Grams at the New York Film Festival and provide us with his unique insight into the films, the filmmakers and the free pastries.

Read Cinema Gotham's article on The New York Film Festival

 DVD Represents Brooklyn (11/9/03)
Straight Out of Brooklyn A couple of notable 90's indies from Brooklyn have hit DVD recently. Both discs are the definition of bare-bones but are worth a look regardless.

Matty Rich's Straight Out of Brooklyn chronicles life in a Red hook projects for a poor black family and the desperation that leads to anger, abuse and crime. Savatore Stabile's Gravesend takes a group of short-tempered friends on a wild and violent night that ends in disaster.

Read the Straight Out of Brooklyn review
Read the Gravesend review
Read more Cinema Gotham DVD reviews

 The Return of The Brother From Another Planet
 The John Sayles Interview

Cinema Gotham Over a year ago we told you that a new DVD of John Sayles' The Brother From Another Planet was "on the horizon." Well, the horizon was further off than we thought, but finally the release is here. We took a look at the new DVD and also thought we'd bring back the interview we did with Sayles' about the film at the time.


 Second Strike: Larry Cohen's Q: The Winged Serpent Returns to New York (8/17/03)
Q: The Winged Serpent Larry Cohen has made a career of developing the creepiest, weirdest B-movie monsters and characters. One of his most memorable films, Q: The Winged Serpent is seeing a new DVD release along with some of his other films, with a beautiful new print and a great director's commentary. To celebrate the release, Cohen is hosting a screening of the film at the Pioneer Theater this month. Cinema Gotham's Gil Jawetz took the opportunity to interview the director about the film, his career and some of his favorite classic monster flicks.


 Aftermath: Another Look at Gangs of New York (7/16/03)

of New YorkWhat would New York City be without differing opinions? When Martin Scorsese's long-awaited Gangs of New York finally hit theaters this past December, the reaction was a volatile mix of praise and criticism. The debate raged between critics and filmgoers who either thought it was a dark, bold vision or a mangled mess. Cinema Gotham's Gil Jawetz praised the film's atmosphere and historical sweep while holding minor reservations about the story and cast. With the film now out on DVD, Cinema Gotham's Jason Janis takes a different approach, looking a little deeper into the flaws that keep the film from greatness and lamenting the masterpiece that could have been.


 The Watchers: Cinema Gotham Catches Highly Contagious Cinemania (5/14/03)
CinemaniaThis week Cinema Gotham is happy to introduce a new addition to our little family: Our new contributor Jason Janis. Jason took in the Tribeca Film Festival and will be sharing some of his thoughts on the films he saw there. First up is Stephen Kijak and Angela Christlieb's Cinemania, a documentary about a group of movie-obsessed New Yorkers who literally do nothing but catch flicks. The film opens at Cinema Village this coming Friday. The filmmakers and all their subjects will be at the 7pm screening Friday, so make sure to be there. Cinema Gotham spoke with Kijak and one of the "cinemaniacs" about the film and the religion of movie-going.


 Coast to Coast: Nick Broomfield Discusses Biggie and Tupac (4/27/03)
Biggie and TupacA film that was originally called "LA Story" may seem a strange subject for Cinema Gotham but documentary filmmaker Nick Broomfield takes his investigation into the murders of rap stars Tupac Shakur and Notorious BIG beyond the city of angels and examines the state of modern urban centers from Brooklyn to Baltimore. The resulting film, the incredible Biggie and Tupac, delves deep into a world of police corruption, criminal record executives and gang violence to try and solve the crimes. Broomfield will be appearing at the Union Square Virgin Megastore for a Q&A about the issues raised in the film on Tuesday 29th, the day of the DVD's release. Cinema Gotham had the chance to talk with the filmmaker about some of those issues and his experience making the film.


 Rudy: The Rudy Giuliani Story (3/25/03)
The Rudy Giuliani StoryRudy Giuliani was crowned Time's Person of the Year after his response to September 11th and has been a big hit across the country, whether campaigning for local candidates or selling his book. But was his reign always roses and cuddles or were his eight years as mayor of New York City more complex than that? Cinema Gotham takes a look at the USA Network's new TV movie, Rudy.


 Love in Our Time: Bollywood Comes to Broadway (3/05/03)
Love at Times SquareIndian film icon Dev Anand has been making movies since the mid-40's. He's never been one to rest on his laurels, however, and with his latest film Love at Times Square he's brought the Bollywood musical experience to America. Cinema Gotham talked with Anand about his career and his experience making a true Indo-American film.


 Man on the Street: The Story of a Block (2/10/03)
7th StreetActor Josh Pais has appeared in films as diverse as Scream 3, A Beautiful Mind and, yes, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but perhaps his most rewarding role to date has been as a documentarian stitching together the story of his neighborhood on Manhattan's Lower East Side in 7th Street, an affecting, emotional look at one block and its residents. Cinema Gotham talked with Pais about his memories and his film.


 Finest Hour: The Spike Lee Interview (1/16/03)
Spike LeeFew filmmakers have tried to capture the volatile mixture that is New York's diverse population as often as Spike Lee. From She's Gotta Have It and Do the Right Thing to Jungle Fever and Clockers, Lee has captured the ludicrous, contradictory proposition of having eight million people living together in one place. His latest film, 25th Hour, places the city's citizens in the post-9/11 version of New York, adding a very real sense of loss and longing. Cinema Gotham recently had a chance to discuss the film and the city with Lee, as well as tell him something about his beloved Brooklyn that he didn't know.


 Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York Brings Back The City’s Dark Years (12/12/02)
Gangs of New YorkMartin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York has been a controversial topic for the last few years as the film was delayed time and again. But it’s finally about to hit the big screen, bringing with it the highest-budget vision yet from a man often called America's greatest living director. Does it work? Cinema Gotham will be taking a look at the film and the story behind it from a few angles, starting with a full review and a spoiler-free guide to the history behind the film.


 "A Sad and Beautiful World"
 The Jim Jarmusch Interview

Down by Law
For the last couple decades, Jim Jarmusch has led American independent filmmakers with his quirky, original visions of slackers and outsiders. Films like Stranger Than Paradise, Dead Man and Ghost Dog play almost like poems; subtle, lyrical fables about unique characters. With the Criterion Collection's recent release of his 1986 classic Down by Law in a lavish 2-disc set, Cinema Gotham took the opportunity to chat with Jarmusch about his experiences as a filmmaker and as a New Yorker. (Photo by Volker Renner)


 Paddling Upstream: Keep the River on Your Right (11/5/02)

Cinema GothamNew York films can come in many shapes and sizes. David and Laurie Gwen Shapiro's Keep the River on Your Right travels to Peru and New Guinea but at heart it's about a gay New York Jew in his late Seventies. Half a century of world travel has left Tobias Schneebaum with enough memories to fill several memoirs but the Shapiros are most interested in what happened to him in Peru in 1955, the year he became a cannibal. Cinema Gotham sat down with the Shapiros to discuss the film and their unique subject.


 Back to School: The Education of Sonny Carson (10/25/02)

Cinema GothamSome films, no matter how worthwhile, just get lost in the shuffle of time. Luckily Michael Campus' The Education of Sonny Carson is being released to DVD by VCI Entertainment this month following years of shout-outs from rappers like Lauryn Hill. Education is an important and provocative film about race in New York. Carson was going to help introduce the DVD to the market himself but in late September he suffered a serious heart attack that currently has him in a coma. This week Cinema Gotham reviews the DVD and talks with the film's director Michael Campus (who also directed The Mack) about the film, the gangs it depicts, and Sonny Carson.


 End of the Line: Stefan Nadelman's Terminal Bar (10/13/02)

Cinema GothamNo one film can encapsulate all of New York, so filmmakers are left to tell the story through the tiny details. Stefan Nadelman's extraordinary Terminal Bar centers on one long-shuttered Manhattan watering hole and ten years worth of photographs. Taking his father's portraits as his starting point Stefan has crafted a unique, eye-popping visual experience unlikely to be equalled by any other film this year. Cinema Gotham caught up with Nadelman to learn more about this fascinating film.


 Shorts Weekend: Two Short Film Fests Hit New York (9/16/02)

Cinema GothamNew York film lovers have an exciting opportunity to check out short films from across the world this weekend at two exciting venues: The Manhattan Short Film Festival, an evening of free outdoor screenings in Union Square park and the Coney Island Short Film Festival which runs all weekend at the world-famous Coney Island sideshow. Cinema Gotham chatted with organizers from both festivals.


 One Year Later: The Faces of September 11th (9/9/02)

Cinema GothamA year has passed since the sudden, senseless attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. While the grieving may be far from over, the time passed does mark a passage of sorts. This week Cinema Gotham reflects on some of the thoughts and emotions that the anniversary brings up as well as some of the documentaries that try to get beneath the surface of this American tragedy.


 Entering the Panic Room (9/1/02)

Cinema Gotham David Fincher's films (Fight Club, Seven) always feature exciting, innovative opening credit sequences, but when the lights went down and his 2002 film Panic Room began, a collective gasp could be heard in theaters throughout New York City. With the Superbit DVD streeting soon, Cinema Gotham spoke with the special effects and design wizards responsible for this extraordinary piece of filmmaking.


 Hairspray: John Waters Brings His Baltimore Freakshow to Broadway (8/27/02)

Cinema GothamBroadway has often taken inspiration from Hollywood and vice versa. If you'd have made a list of stage-ready filmmakers, however, it seems unlikely that shock auteur John Waters would have been near the top. Somehow his 1988 film Hairspray has become the brand-new hottest ticket in town. Cinema Gotham got a chance to check Hairspray out recently and found it to be extremely funny, colorful and completely entertaining.


 "If It's Going Good, You Keep Your Mouth Shut"
 The Abel Ferrara Interview

Cinema Gotham In the pantheon of true New York filmmakers (Scorsese, Jarmusch, Allen) none has cut closer to the heart of darkness in the city more consistently than Abel Ferrara. Films like Bad Lieutenant, King of New York, Ms. 45, and The Funeral have each blended disparate themes (violence, salvation, revenge, love) in unique and powerful ways. His latest, 'R Xmas, follows those films with a new vision of New York's drug dealing subculture as a loving family. Cinema Gotham hung out with Ferrara to get the scoop on what's happening with the film and what Ferrara has been up to.


 Kino's 25th Birthday: Metropolis and More (7/29/02)

Cinema Gotham With both the much-heralded restoration of Fritz Lang's Metropolis and an upcoming retrospective at Lincoln Center, Manhattan-based distribution company Kino International is really celebrating their 25th Anniversary in style. But what can you expect from a company that spends their time putting films by Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Wong Kar-Wai, Alfred Hitchcock, and Frederico Fellini onto movie screens and into DVD players around the country? Cinema Gotham takes a look back at Kino's first quarter century.


 Sitting in Limbo: New Films by Abel Ferrara and Tom DiCillo (7/18/02)

Cinema Gotham It's no secret that tons of films go undistributed each year. But who would expect films from the directors of Bad Lieutenant and Living in Oblivion to vanish without a trace? This week Cinema Gotham takes a look at the latest from two noted New York filmmakers: Abel Ferrara's 'R-Xmas, which features a fierce, moving performance by The Sopranos' Drea de Matteo (left), and Tom DiCillo's Double Whammy, which stars Denis Leary, Elizabeth Hurley and Steve Buscemi. With both films hidden from the public eye for now, getting the word out to film fans is critical.


 The Alloy Orchestra Brings Harold Lloyd's Speedy Back to Brooklyn (7/8/02)

lloydalloy.jpg The Alloy Orchestra is one of the most sought-after film accompanist groups in the country for their innovative, exciting silent film scores. They'll be bringing their unique style to Brooklyn along with a pristine new print of Harold Lloyd's 1928 classic Speedy which, according to Alloy's Ken Winokur, contains "the most astounding footage of New York." The rarely seen film was shot all through the city in the mid-1920's and offers a unique view of New York during an exciting, important time. Cinema Gotham chatted with Winokur about classic films, music, and bringing Speedy back home.


 Crash Course in The Golden Age of Cinema (6/28/02)

Cinema Gotham Zhenya Kiperman isn't satisfied with just defining the Golden Age of Cinema as those years when the Hollywood studios controlled all filmmaking. Cinema Gotham recently visited his second Golden Age Film Fest, where he's mixing modern and classic New York films with Q-and-A's with some of the best filmmakers around. This week's final show is a rare screening of Double Whammy starring Denis Leary and Steve Buscemi.


 The Return of The Brother From Another Planet
 The John Sayles Interview

Cinema Gotham With theaters across the country celebrating the films of John Sayles this summer, Cinema Gotham took a look back at his 1984 classic, The Brother From Another Planet. With a special edition DVD on the horizon, Cinema Gotham chatted with the filmmaker about New York, Harlem, and this most unique film.


 Life is a Festival: The Tribeca and Brooklyn International Film Festivals (5/27/02)

Cinema Gotham This week Cinema Gotham is seeing double, with two columns for the price of one (well, free). First, CG hit the Brooklyn International Film Festival and found that artistic excellence grows in Brooklyn. Next, CG visited Robert De Niro's much-heralded Tribeca Film Festival. In both cases the emphasis is on films you may not have heard of, but that you should seek out.


 HBO's Telling Nicholas: An Honest Look at the Devastation of 9/11 (5/9/02)

Cinema Gotham This week Cinema Gotham took in the premiere for HBO's documentary Telling Nicholas, the brutally honest look at one boy's experience after losing his mother on September 11th. With all the 9/11 tributes and specials airing these days this is the one to watch.


 Some Tromatic Evening (4/24/02)

Cinema Gotham This week we're introducing Cinema Gotham, a new column by DVDTalk reviewer Gil Jawetz that covers the wide world of New York movie making and watching. The premiere column finds Gil attending his first Troma party, hanging with Toxie, and trying to get a grasp on what it is that makes Lloyd Kaufman so cool.


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