Gothamist can appreciate a publicity stunt, and when it comes to the silly and bizarre, NYC doesn't disappoint. Really, who needs to hire birthday or bachelor party entertainment when you can just walk outside and catch a stormtrooper, cow, or scantily painted model? We wonder if anyone else saw those near-naked promoters, airbrushed with suits to resemble their favorite Reservoir Dog characters, running around Union Square yesterday. They were supposedly “spreading the PULP” in Lincoln convertibles to kick off the IFC’s Pulp Movies Month, featuring a pulp indie every night in June. Please, feel free to share your picture captions in the comments section.
As for new movies this weekend, there's quite an interesting selection:
The NYTimes sports an interesting timeline for Rock School, a documentary following students’ emotional and loud growth at the Paul Green School of Rock Music, as well as an interview with producer Paul Green who is quite tired of hearing, “hey, isn’t that a Jack Black flick?” According to Green, VH1 sent a crew in 2002 to document the school for a reality series that mysteriously never aired. The following year, his students informed him that Paramount, the corporate step-brother of VH1, started production on School of Rock, a film he calls "a racist, stereotypical Hollywood piece of sh**," specifically because of the Chinese kid who says "Oh, me no cool for rock & roll." When confronted, Paramount denied they ever heard of Green. "Come on," said Green. "They have interns; these interns do research - I own schoolofrock.com [from 2002]! They heard of me." Oh, tricky, tricky Viacom.
Meanwhile, Emile Hirsch probably still has his hoodie draped over his head in an attempt to pass as a Sith overlord, fearing his “poor little Dogtown movie is going to be crushed by 'Star Wars,'" as he told the NYTimes. Gothamist saw Lords of Dogtown a few weeks ago and doubt the film will suffer at the box office. Written by skating legend Stacy Peralta (his character *surprisingly* comes across as just the sweetest, nicest, most honest kid), the film offers excellent performances, specifically by Heath Ledger, who plays the money-hungry skating ringleader (or a drunk Val Kilmer), Victor Rasuk (Raising Victor Vargas) as the cocky, fame-seeking Tony Alva, and Rebecca Demornay, who did not age well at all. Fans of the documentary Dogtown and Z Boys might seem offput by a quasi-fictionalized account, but the film sufficiently juggles the half dozen characters and boasts terrific skating shots, several memorable moments, and a somewhat heartfelt ending.
Ron Howard’s Cinderella Man, based on legendary boxer Jim Braddock, who was forced into retirement after several losses in the ring during the Great Depression but soon found his way back into victory, has received rather good reviews from many critics. And Milwaukee, Minnesota is about con men taking advantage of a local fishing champion (who critics say is just like Rain Man's Dustin Hoffman).
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, based on Ann Brashares' best-selling novel, chronicles the friendship of four young women as they change through a summer and stay connected through one pair of pants. The actresses seem to be on a campaign to dispel rumors of it being a standard cliché chick flick concerning proms and shopping, and America Ferrera explains "you don't get to understand until you see the movie, which is sad, but it's not a story about pants at all. The pants kind of disappear and at the end, the narration, we say, 'with or without pants, this would have happened to us anyway.' It wasn't the pants.”
Fans of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata might be interested in the MOMA’s Masters of Animation program which celebrates the critically acclaimed filmmakers by featuring 13 of their feature length animations, including the dark and magical Little Norse Prince Valiant and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, as well as their latest film, Howl’s Moving Castle.
The Village Voice: Best of 2004 presents last year’s best blockbuster and indie favorites, from David O. Russell’s clever existential comedy I Heart Huckabees to the “neo-neorealism” of Vento di Terra, which chronicles a working-class family in Naples. BAM Rose Cinemas, 30 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn.
Witches in Exile, a SXSW documentary favorite about contemporary West African women victimized by primal fears and ancient superstitions, plays at 7:00 PM (and Sat. at 5:00 PM) @Two Boots Pioneer Theatre, 155 E 3rd at Ave A, $9.
DIG!, the rockumentary which was heralded by nearly every blogger last year, makes a comeback at the Anthology Film Archives. Following the 7-year bitter rivalry between the talented leaders of both The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols, Dig! Is a fascinating look at the quirks and passions of rock bands. 4:30 & 7:00 PM, 32 Second Ave., $8.
Fellini's atmospheric and melancholy La Strada
follows a complicated circus romance, in which an abusive strongman buys his young, dimwitted & childlike assistant (played by Fellini’s own wife, Giulietta Masina, of Nights of Cabiria) from her family. She remains faithful and supportive, that is, until she meets the circus' sweet clown.