Today’s New Release: THE BASEMENT

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“You gotta shoot me. Can’t you stand it when someone tells you the truth? Huh? Go on, pull the trigger, do it now! Kill me and show the world what a “big boy” you are, then that door will open ALL BY ITSELF!!” ~GABRIEL (Shaun Lawton) calling his captor Tarek’s bluff.

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Today’s New Release: THE BASEMENT

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Click to stream!

        Receiving the prestigious *Award of Merit at the 2010 Accolade Film Festival, this suspense thriller from Germany stars Numan Acar from Jon Stewart’s critically acclaimed new theatrical release, ROSEWATER. This feature also stars Shaun Lawton (CLOUD ATLAS; AEON FLUX; ANONYMOUS), Alessija Lause (HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS) and Jeff Burrell (Lars von Trier’s NYMPHOMANIAC VOL. 1) in a story about two strangers -an off-duty cop and a man on the run- who absolutely MUST work together to get out of the factory basement they’ve seemed to lock themselves into. When Tarek gets back his hostage girlfriend from the deadly trafficker Faruk, he knows they both must hit the road before a swarm of middle-eastern henchmen are hot on their trail. To protect his gal, Tarek puts the newly rescued Jasmin in the trunk to avoid detection, and off they dart. As they speed through the city, Tarek’s shaky vehicle grabs the attention of Gabriel, an officer who happened to be taking a long-earned nap in his car. Well, a second pursuit becomes inevitable, where it results in an on-foot chase where both cop and suspect end up chasing each other into a basement that locks behind them! So that makes two guys locked in a basement, one gal locked in a trunk, and the cop’s partners wondering where he went! Man, talk about “wrong place, wrong time!”

This is simply great suspense! There are confusing moments at first, like Faruk’s dialogue in the beginning. A false establishment was made by yours truly in the beginning, where I was thinking that Jasmin was Tarek’s sister instead… which made the make-out scene REALLY creepy, but that wasn’t the case. This indie film has a camera style reminiscent to the TAKEN movie franchise, and an extended intro credit scene that looked fantastic, however, I think it would have been better suited towards the film’s end, once all the pictured characters were better established. THE BASEMENT is truly a worthy Friday film for BIGSTAR, so have a gander!

Directed by Robert Franke

Starring: Numan Acar, Shaun Lawton, Alessija Lause, Jeff Burrell,  Sila Sahin, Kida Khodr Ramadan

Tagline: The Truth Lies In The Basement

(Alternate) Tagline: Trapped In… Torn Apart…

Today’s New Release: THE GRAY MAN

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“Dear Mrs. Karlson: We had a bargain. You promised that I could take your boy Timmy to the pictures. Why didn’t you keep your promise? I should’ve known that you were like the rest of them. I hoped against it, but you’re a woman; a useless, good-for-nothing c***! You don’t know how to raise your child! God help him when he finds out what a b**** of a mother he has.” ~ALBERT FISH, SR. (Patrick Bauchau), in a scathing letter to his neighbor, Mrs. Karlson (Heather Surdukan), after she refuses in allowing her young son to spend time alone with Albert. Oh, trust me, it’s the right (expletive) call!

grayman

Today’s New Release: THE GRAY MAN

Click to stream!

Click to stream!

       This $1,300,000-budgeted Golden Zenith Nominee* from the 2007 Montréal World Film Festival stars Patrick Bauchau (Professor Lodz from HBO’s CARNIVALE), Vyto Ruginis (Kolcheck from NCIS: LOS ANGELES) and Silas Weir Mitchell (Monroe from NBC’s GRIMM) in the biographical tale of real life 20th century cannibalistic serial killer Albert Fish. A period piece that starts off playing like a made-for-t.v. movie yet picks up fair pace, there is a high creep factor for THE GRAY MAN (better known here in the states as WISTERIA: THE STORY OF ALBERT FISH), where the old adage is applied; less is MOREfar more, actually. This is not SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, nor should it even be compared, because this is based off of real events. However, for “cinematic analogy” purposes (it’s become my thing, I know), the best way to perhaps describe the style/setup would be if the L.A. CONFIDENTIAL gang went after Pennywise the Clown. It’s just plain creepy to watch any film about child murder, child abduction, child molestation or even cannibalism towards children, but to see this all unfold in a true story that actually took place during a time period where DNA, forensics, and the internet were as far out as a Fritz Lang film! To witness how Albert Fish preyed on young children is harrowing and macabre. What’s even more eerie is how he got away with it for so long; eerie but NOT unbelievable, especially considering the absence of today’s 21st century technology. The horrific actions depicted are 89% “implied,” as opposed to “shown,” which I believe makes the story even more disturbing! The acting here is subtly nuanced, especially from Bauchau. Jack Conley as Detective Will King does a fine job, though some of his scenes have him facially mugging as if he was Buster Poindexter about to sing “Hot Hot Hot.”

"Me mind on FY-YA, me soul on FY-YA...

“Me mind on FY-YA, me soul on FY-YA…

... feelin' HOT-HOT-HOT!"

… feelin’ HOT-HOT-HOT!”

Another compelling performance comes from Jillian Armenante as Delia Budd, the melodramatic, attention-seeking, mother-in-grief of the young Grace Budd, whom Albert abducts. Delia Budd becomes enamored with the spotlight of the press to the point that, comparatively, she’s the 1930′s equivalent of a Kate Gosselin; the “woe-is-me” mother who just won’t go away. In all honesty, this is an engaging, high-grade television movie. The period’s police protocol is represented as aloof and inefficient, especially in an age where information was easily misconstrued at the slightest glitch. A good example of this is when Detective King listens on the radio as they announce possible suspect Frank Howard (Fish’s pseudonym) as Frank Parker. Retracting journalistic misinformation took a little bit longer 80+ years ago. THE GRAY MAN TRULY shows us how fortunate we are nowadays to better deal with procedural snafus in law enforcement. Yes… in the age of Michael Brown, Treyvon Martin, the Boston Marathon Bombers… it could be worse. And for some in this film, it’s indeed a mouthful- Owwwww! Pun intended, pun achieved!

Directed by Scott L. Flynn

Starring: Patrick Bauchau, Jack Conley, Vyto Ruginis, John Aylward, Silas Weir Mitchell, Jillian Armenante, Lisa Carnahan, Bill Flynn, Brett Bower

Tagline: Inside The Dark Mind Of A Serial Killer.

(Alternate) Tagline: A Real Life Hannibal Lecter.

Today’s New Release: NEW BROOKLYN

New Brooklyn

New Brooklyn

Today’s New Release: NEW BROOKLYN

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Click to stream!

      An official selection at both the 2009 Cinequest Film Festival (San Jose, CA) and the 2009 Festivalito VIII (Canary Islands), as well as Winner of Best Narrative Feature at the 2010 Digital International Film Festival (Vina del Mar, Chile), this drama proves quite a feat, especially since it marks lead actor Blanca Lewin’s first feature in English. In a film about both the determination and reevaluation of one’s aspirations, as well as the painful crossroads that are long-distance relationships, Lewin’s Marta is a most intriguing and vulnerable creature that will break the viewer’s heart repeatedly; “It’s okay, I’m used to being less important.” Lewin holds her own easily here, but it doesn’t hurt to have such a great cast, like Frank Harts (SALT, JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT, FX’s THE AMERICANS) as her roommate’s shady brother Eddie, and Matt Cavenaugh (LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT). To listen to Lewin, you’d never think in a million years she hadn’t acted in an English speaking movie prior, but here she delivers with the engaging style of a seasoned pro.

Viewers will enjoy this movie for it’s homages to the cinematography of Brooklyn itself, not to mention the struggles of societal circumstance for each character as they maneuver through their own day-to-day drudgery. Whether it’s Marta’s uncertainty of her newfound place or purpose there after moving all the way from South America, or Angela’s well practiced denial of her brother’s misgivings, NEW BROOKLYN truly isn’t that different from the ‘old’ Brooklyn: you just stick around long enough, you’ll be surprised in all the ways you toughen up, and then grow in a new and bold direction.

Directed by Christopher Cannucciari

Starring: Blanca Lewin, Pablo Cerda, Matt Cavenaugh, Frank Harts, Shelley Thomas, Frank Nasso

Tagline: Change is inevitable

Video Fashion Collection Season 3

Not watching the Victoria’s Secret Fashion show tonight? Watch one of ours!

‘Video Fashion Collection Season 3′ is a great compilation of runway shows, fashion interviews, and more. This high fashion series will take you all over the world, so get ready to be transported from one fashion week to another.

From Paris to New York, there is not a dull moment in this tasteful collection.

With over 35 years of fashion coverage, Videofashion’s video vault is your unparalled source for timeless style. Enjoy!

The Upper East’s Dark Side

Jane had it all: a high profile job, a fashionable brownstone on the Upper East Side, and a hip artist husband.

Jane realizes that she must risk it all to find out who she really is and leave behind the life she’s always known.

PBS Documentary on NYC Graffiti During the 1970s & 80s

Some call it tagging, some call it writing, still others call it bombing–it’s all graffiti. Whether it’s art or not is another matter, but it’s undeniably illegal. Tony Silver and Henry Chalfant’s historic PBS documentary Style Wars tracks the rise and fall of subway graffiti in New York in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

At the peak of its popularity, graffiti was as much a part of B-boy culture as rapping, scratching, and breaking. Thefilmmakers present a sympathetic, but well-rounded portrait of their subject through extensive interviews with taggers–notably Seen, Kase, and Dondi–art collectors, transit authorities, and even Mayor Ed Koch, who would eventually put the hammer down. Along the way, they documented the burgeoning breakdance scene, with a focus on the world-famous Rock Steady Crew. The soundtrack features selections from Grandmaster Flash, the Treacherous Three, and other tagger-approved icons of old-school hip-hop.

Surfing Monks? Why Not.

Ocean Monk chronicles the soul-searching of a group of monks living in New York City.

Students of the late Indian teacher, Sri Chinmoy, who lived in Queens for over 40 years, this band of friends discovers the beauty and power of the nearby surfing beaches and incorporate their love for the ocean into their search for enlightenment.

Includes appearances by Kelly Slater, Jack Johnson and Titus Kinimaka.

Matilda’s Big Broadway Opening

Straight from London, ‘Matilda’ has exceeded its high expections on Broadway since its opening on April 11. We all know and love the original 90s film about a young girl with magical powers who tries to escape her evil parents and headmistress.

The musical version of ‘Matilda’ joined the million-dollar club last week, earning $1,129,419 at the Broadway box office. ‘Matida’ has out-shined ‘Cinderella’ and ‘Annie’ which also recently opened as family musicals on Broadway.

‘Matilda’ is likely to be in the running for top musical at the Tony Awards this Spring.

 

‘God Save My Shoes’: A Documentary About Women & Their Relationship With Shoes!

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OK ladies (and men)… You know exactly where this is going…

‘God Save My Shoes’ is a documentary about the relationship between women and shoes.  Set on a quest to decipher-from a psychological, sociological, historical, cultural, and erotic perspective-the fiery emotions that shoes exert on most women (and on quite some men), ‘God Save my Shoes’ went from New York to Los Angeles, Paris to Milan, Toronto and Florence to interview extreme shoe collectors, from everyday women to celebrities, fashion historian, and all those that play a role in the ubiquitous shoe phenomenon!

Directed by Julie Benasra and starring Manolo Blahnik, Meghan Cleary, and Stacy Ferguson.

 

April 1961: Bob Dylan Plays His First Paying Performance in NYC

In April 1961, Bob Dylan played his first paying performance at Folk City, an early folk music venue in Greenwich Village, New York, and a launching pad for folk legends such as Judy Collins, Joan Baez, Phil Ochs, and others. Since that opening debut, Dylan’s lyrical genius has ingrained itself into the fabric of rock and folk music history.

In honor of his debut, check out these three original documentaries featuring the legends and myths surrounding the early life, career, world tours, and never before released home movie footage of Bob Dylan himself.