David Bowie Retrospective at MAD in NYC


I recently took time to see the David Bowie: Artist exhibit at the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) while in New York City on Thursday. The retrospective features several videos spanning Bowie’s entire career, live shows, his acting prowess and a look at his artistic roots and influences. The museum also screened a documentary on the singer/producer and offered younger fans a chance to catch him in “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” Bowie’s first starring role.

While at the sixth-floor exhibit, there were fans of all ages paying homage to one of the 20th century’s most dynamic and diverse artistic talents. While the early 80s videos brought back some memories, it was good to see his videos from the 1990s which were rarely seen in the U.S. Still, when looking back at Bowie’s early work, his pioneering video effects that may seem primitive to the digital age producers of today actually brought to life the idea of adding visual artistry to the music video — a strategy quickly adapted by select producers in the US and UK and eventually led to the golden age of music videos.

Overall, the exhibit is both enjoyable and intriguing as it gives the viewer a real look into Bowie’s full history and background as an artist and showcases his talents in everything from cabaret to painting to mime to cool suits.

The David Bowie: Artist exhibit will be at the Museum or Arts and Design (2 Columbus Circle, NYC) through July 15th. Information on the event and admission can be found on the MAD website.



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David Bowie in The Man Who Fell to Earth

Went to a loft party this weekend where they played this in the background on mute. I couldn’t focus on the bands and just stared at this beauteous man instead.


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NYFF 08: Che, Cantet, Rourke And….David Bowie!

NYFFYear1small.jpgSo it’s that time again. It snuck up on me because I was unable to make it up to Toronto this year which is in and of itself, a minor tragedy. I love the Toronto International Film Festival and all its attendant studio pomp and circumstance. But that’s no matter. What’s passed is past. It’s New York Film Festival time and for pure film geek glee, it’s right up there. Sure, some films suck and the program is often lacking in real surprises, but honestly, that’s not what I really look for in the festival. Should it take more chances? I think so, yeah. For example, the omission of Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York has ruffled a few feathers this year and the the overall predictability of the selection from year to year has been bemoaned on the circuit for years. That said, it’s not an industry event. It’s for the public and none of these films have played in New York. All in all, it’s one of my favorite film events of the year and not just because I love the opening night party/after party.
I don’t always go to Cannes or Toronto and as a result, the NYFF often has 15-20 films I haven’t seen and this year, it’s got more than that. Not only that, but almost every film in the main selection has a full press conference following the press screening, something which only a handful of festivals provide. It has also provided me with one of the more surreal moments of my life in the form of John Ritter in 1996.

It was at the opening night party at Tavern on the Green. I had seen Sling Blade at the press screening and was completely blown away. At the party I approached John to tell him this (needless to say, as a child of the 70′s/80′s and a neophyte journalist, I was rather nervous to be approaching Jack Tripper). He couldn’t have been
nicer and more excited to hear my reaction to the film. He lit up and grabbed my hand, saying “Oh! We have to go and find Billy Bob so you can tell him that!” With that he dragged me hither and thither across the massive restaurant until we found Billy Bob Thornton. John planted me in front of him and said: “Go ahead! Tell him!” So I told him. Billy Bob was less effusive than John and nervous as hell (“scared shitless,” he may have put it) but no less gracious and excited by the good reactions he was getting.
Here’s something funny. On May 29th, I emailed someone I know at the Film Society of Lincoln Center (who put on the NYFF, of course) and wrote: “It occurred to me last night that Nagisa Oshima’s vastly underrated Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence is turning 25, this year and that it would be a brilliant film to show at the NYFF….! What a cast! David Bowie, Tom Conti, Takeshi Kitano, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Jack Thompson. Oshima’s still kicking around. Oshima retrospective, anyone?” The reply I received read: “oshima? we’re way ahead of you. it is the retrospective for the festival this fall…. (hopefully you won’t be disappointed!).” I just wanna say, I am psychic and I am very excited.
I swear to god, if David Bowie’s at this year’s opening night party, the butterflies I felt 12 years ago in approaching John Ritter will seem like mere larval jitters compared to the chance of saying word one to Bowie. I’ll behave, I promise, but inside I will be jelly. Why might he be there? Well, he’s one of the stars of Nagisa Oshima’s Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence of which I am extremely fond. You might even say besotted. I first saw it at the then UA Theaters in East Hampton when it was released in 1983. I was a 14 year-old Bowie fan, but even at 14, I knew it wasn’t going to be like an Elvis movie and that it was a serious work of cinema. And so it is.
Flash forward some 19 years and I programmed it at the Hamptons International Film Festival as part of the Films of Conflict and Resolution sidebar. The powers that be rogered me on screening slot (9pm on a Friday night) and it was raining, so the turnout at the Sag Harbor theater was, erm…less than robust, but at the end of the screening, there was not a dry eye in the house and each patron personally thanked me for programming this beautiful anti-war film that they hadn’t heard of. Thinking back, we were one year into the war in Afghanistan and four short months from invading Iraq. We need more anti-war films, it would seem.
Ok, enough about that. Tomorrow I will be seeing Laurent Cantet’s Palme d’Or winning film The Classand I can’t wait. His 2001 film Time Out also screened at the NYFF and it was a masterpiece. I’ll let you know! Among other films Adam and I will be covering here include Steven Soderbergh’s Che, Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler, Jerzy Skolimowski’s Four Nights With Anna, Kelly Reichardt’s Wendy and Lucy and Gerardo Naranjo’s I’m Gonna Explode (Voy a explotar), among many others.My father was many things, among them was the attorney for the government of Cuba from 1960 until his retirement in the mid 1990′s. During the time he and his law partner Leonard Boudin were in Cuba courting the new government’s business, my dad became fast friend with Ernesto Che Guevara. Of course I never knew Che. He was killed two years before my birth, but the friendship between he and my father, started over a poolside chess match in Havana and cemented over many a game in Cuba, Geneva and elsewhere, informed my life. So… Soderbergh, if you fuck this one up, so help me god…..
loved Aronofsky’s The Fountain and while I may be in the minority, I am not alone among respected writers. That said, the cynical and cutthroat media (of which I am part, on occasion) pretty much wrote his follow up off before seeing it, especially since it starred a “has been.” Now that the film won the Golden Lion in Venice and got picked up in Toronto, it seems as if he’s an indie darling, once again. Good for you, Darren.
As for the Skolimowski, I’ve only seen his Deep End, which is a brilliant piece of cinema. Four Nights With Anna is his first film since 1991 which might give one pauce except for the fact that it opened Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight and it received a solidly positive review from a critic I admire, Variety’s Derek Elley. With respect to Reichardt’s Wendy and Lisa, I need to confess something. I was at countless film festivals with her last film, Old Joy and I missed it every time. I know. I’m a jerk. Well, I hope to make up for it by catching this one. It stars Michelle Williams, an actress I’ve been a fan of for years and who never fails to delliver a fantastic performance, be it in great films (Brokeback Mountain) or, erm, not great ones (The Baxter). In the latter, I would have clawed my eyes out if it weren’t for the fact that Williams lit up the theater every time she was on screen. Do yourself a favor and read her profile in yesterday’s New York Times.
All right, that’s enough for now. There’s plenty of time for more from the NYFF!
Photos credits, Top to Bottom: My first NYFF press badge, 1996; Janus Films/Film Society of Lincoln Center; Wild Bunch / Film Society of Lincoln Center; Wild Bunch / Film Society of Lincoln Center; Oscilloscope / Film Society of Lincoln Center

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A metalhead, a rugby captain and an Audrey Hepburn wannabe… it can only be the all-new cast of Skins

UPDATED: 00:59 GMT, 6 January 2011

Every two years the cast of Skins changes to mark the students leaving sixth form.

And the new cast of the Channel 4 show has now been revealed, with a metalhead, a rugby captain and an Audrey Hepburn wannabe in the mix.

The eight new characters have been unveiled ahead of the fifth series’ premiere on January 27, and pose wearing a selection of preppy clothes for the new issue of FHM magazine.

The new cast: (Left to right) Sebastian D Souza, Will Merrick, Layla Lewis, Dakota Blue Richards, Alex Arnold, Jessica Sula, Freya Mavor and Sean TealeThe new cast: (Left to right) Sebastian D Souza, Will Merrick, Layla Lewis, Dakota Blue Richards, Alex Arnold, Jessica Sula, Freya Mavor and Sean Teale

But Sebastian D Souza, who will play Matty, admits he was concerned about telling his parents he had won a part in the show because of the programme’s raunchy nature.

He said: ‘I only told my mum I’d been cast, so she didn’t think I’d become a druggie in Bristol or something.

‘Matty is ambiguous within the group, which is why he doesn’t have a surname. He affects each of the characters without meaning to.’

Layla Lewis, who stars as Liv Malone, added: ‘I’m from Bristol and for the first series the casting director came to my school, but I chickened out of the auditions.

The full interview appears in this month's FHM magazine, out nowThe full interview appears in this month’s FHM magazine, out now


‘I’m pleased I eventually went for it. I based Liv on me at 16, because back then, I wanted to be cool, too.’

The eight starring roles are all very different, and the actors explained their characters’ different characteristics.

Dakota Blue Richards, who plays Frankie Fitzgerald, said: ‘Frankie starts as an outsider and has lots of conflicts with Mini.


‘She’s grown up in the care system and never had a family. She now lives with two adoptive gay dads. There’s also a sex scene that hints as Frankie’s dark past.’

Alex Arnold, who plays Rich Hardbeck, has the task of taking on the show’s metalhead, explaining: ‘Rich is  – as his name describes – really middle class.

‘He’s tried to escape by wrapping himself in the lyrics of Slayer. He’s a metalhead, so I wear a long wig in the show.’

Jessica Sula, who stars as Grace Violet, is the show’s resident female heartthrob, and said: ‘Grace by name, grace by nature.

‘She’s really fun to play. Her character is inspired by iconic people, like Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly.’

Sean Teale, who plays Nick Levan, also described his character, explaining: ‘Nick’s the rugby captain. Mini is his girlfriend. On my first day I was stood in tight purple boxers getting puked on. And I smashed up houses on my last day.’

The fifth series also features a cameo appearance from a very famous model-turned-actress.

Freya Mavor, who plays Mini McGuinness, said: ‘Mini is very determined and a bit of a b***h. Kelly Brook plays my fitness instructor. It makes sense, since she’s so hot. It was funny working with her; the crew had their jaws by their knees.’

The full feature appears in this month’s FHM Magazine, on sale now.
From: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1344502/A-metalhead-rugby-captain-Audrey-Hepburn-wannabe–new-cast-Skins.html

The Man Who Fell To Earth

David Bowie in The Man Who Fell To Earth

I stopped by the Landmark Lumiere last week to see The Man Who Fell To Earth.

The Man Who Fell To Earth starring David Bowie & Candy Clark; with Rip Torn & Buck Henry; directed by Nicolas Roeg; (1976)

Nicolas Roeg is a well known director despite a modest output. I saw his latest feature, Puffball (2007), at the 2008 Dead Channels.

Dead Channels was the festival former Indiefest programmer Bruce Fletcher tried for two year after he left Indiefest. I heard Bruce Fletcher was programming the Idaho Film Festival. Idaho? On the festival’s website, Executive Director Lyle Banks states “In 2009 Bruce Fletcher and I made the decision to move the Film Festival to March to offer the festival a greater ability to attract films that are otherwise unavailable during other times of the year…It is necessary to announce the suspension of the film festival until our executive and leadership teams are reconstituted. Our plan is to have a team in place and ready to produce the festival for March 2012, and possibly a smaller showing in Boise in 2011.” I notice Bruce’s name is not among the staff listing. I also recall he was programming the Vortex Room too.

How did I get on this subject? I remember…Nicolas Roeg. Looking at his credits, I see that I’m unfamiliar with his films (at least when he is the director). There is Puffball which I was less than enthusiastic about (although I can remember it clearly 3 years later) and The Man Who Fell To Earth which I’m familiar with because I’m a modest fan of David Bowie’s work. It makes me wonder how I’m familiar with Roeg’s name.

The Man Who Fell To Earth pretty much says it all. David Bowie plays the alien who has come to earth in search of water to ship back to his drought-stricken home world. He uses his planet’s superior technology to take out patents and create a powerful and successful tech company. His goal is to use the company to finance regular shipments of water and ultimately himself back to his planet. While on earth, he encounters various humans. There is Candy Clark as Mary Lou who becomes his girlfriend, Buck Adams as Farnsworth – his patent lawyer and eventually president of his tech firm and Rip Torn as Dr. Bryce, a bored and unethical college professor who comes to work for the firm. Bowie’s character goes by the name Thomas Newton (from England).

The film follows Netwon’s efforts and I noted a few things. First, television and alcohol are the ruin of Newton. Earth’s television signals emanate into outer space and presumably that is how Newton came to choose Earth. Newton likes to watch TV with a dozen sets going at once. Although initially abstinent, close interaction with Mary Lou leads Newton to indulge in sex and alcohol to a destructive degree. I also noticed that Newton seems to hold Japanese culture in highest esteem.

Eventually, Newton’s success and eccentricities (and perhaps Bryce’s perfidy) attract the attention of a quasi-governmental agency which holds Newton captive and performs experiments on him. By this time, the effects of the alcohol and TV as well as extended absence from his family and home, have rendered Newton dysfunctional.

The plot definitely seems secondary to Roeg’s innovative flare for visuals. A few scenes are inspirational. In one scene, Newton transforms from human to his natural state and Roeg frames the transformation with montage of water and human/bipedal forms in something closer to performance art than film. Towards the end of the film, in a scene I read was original censored out of the US release, Newton handles a large handgun before having sex with Mary Lou. The audience thinks he will shoot her but it turns out to be loaded with blanks and the scene moves to the surreal as darkness is punctuated by the flashes of the gun being discharged and their naked bodies writhing. Both scenes were enhanced with the musical soundtrack.

Speaking of naked bodies, I sometimes forget how provocative the 70s were. Rip Torn does the full monty despite having a middle-aged spread. In some well-simulated sex scenes, the audience discovers that Mr. Torn is circumcised. Far from gratuitous (although there were two comely actresses in the scenes), Torn’s sexcapades were actually important to the development of Bryce’s character.

At nearly 2 hours, 20 minutes, The Man Who Fell To Earth could have benefited from some edits. I scratched my head for certain characters. Bernie Casey shows up as a government agent, goes for a nude swim in his pool and then gets it on with his white wife. Farnsworth is gay for no particular reason and his death is comically absurd. The Man Who Fell To Earth has some personality and flavor which seemed de rigueur of films in the 70s and painfully absent from films today.

I can’t give a blanket recommendation of the film or say I fully enjoyed The Man Who Fell To Earth but I’m glad I saw it and there is a lot to appreciate in the film. Roeg’s skills as a director, the editing, the soundtrack and the performance of the main cast are all exemplary. Bowie’s appearance can be startling which anyone who has seen Ziggy Stardust knows. At other times, the plot and film seem to take on affectations. Also, some of the special effects probably looked cheesy 35 years ago much less today. On the whole, I’m glad I saw The Man Who Fell To Earthand hold it up as an example of a certain type of film which is, unfortunately, no longer made. I’m also eager to see some of Roeg’s other films.


David Bowie – The man who fell to earth (1976_capture)


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Carey Mulligan – the new Audrey Hepburn

UPDATED: 09:28 GMT, 30 October 2009

Here’s a hit movie that’s small in scale, but big in heart – the most charming British film of the year.

It has a female protagonist who’s flawed, pretentious and frequently misguided, but grows into a character as memorable as Holly Golightly in Breakfast At Tiffany’s.

Best of all, it introduces a sensational British actress who combines the gamine innocence of Audrey Hepburn with the warmth, intelligence and mischief of the young Judi Dench.

Learning curve: Carey Mulligan makes us care about the 'silly' schoolgirl JennyLearning curve: Carey Mulligan makes us care about the ‘silly’ schoolgirl Jenny

It isn’t only me whom she has impressed. Thanks to rave reviews from virtually every American critic, she is now the front-runner to win Best Actress at next year’s Oscars.

The chances are that you haven’t heard of Carey Mulligan, even though she had a small role in the Keira Knightley Pride And Prejudice, and a bigger one in the BBC’s serialisation of Bleak House, but she’s going to be gracing the big screen for decades to come.


The camera loves her, and her face has a miraculous transparency of emotion. A star is born – and, more importantly, a wonderful actress.

Based on a memoir by journalist Lynn Barber, this is the potentially sleazy but ultimately uplifting story of a 16-year-old schoolgirl who – bored with her staid, suburban parents’ ambitions for her to study hard and get into Oxford – allows herself to be seduced by a man more than twice her age.

Played by Peter Sarsgaard, David is a sophisticated smoothie with just a hint of Jewish exoticism, who offers an alluring world of classical concerts, art auctions and cabarets.

He’s glib enough to persuade her domineering but socially insecure father (Alfred Molina) and easily flattered mother (Cara Seymour) that he wants the best for their daughter.

Rosamund Pike, (Helen) and Dominic Cooper (Danny) also star in An EducationRosamund Pike, (Helen) and Dominic Cooper (Danny) also star in An Education

He offers to introduce her to his old tutor, C.S.Lewis, who might be able to help her get into Oxford. Even early on, we suspect that David is too good to be true.

But he’s good-looking, generous and offers Jenny more fun and excitement than her hesitant teenage boyfriend Graham (Matthew Beard, the promising young actor from And When Did You Last See Your Father?).

David and his chums (Dominic Cooper, amusingly shifty, and Rosamund Pike, hilariously vacuous, like a less fearsomely intellectual Holly Willoughby) show her an entertaining mixture of high life and low pleasures, such as a visit to the dog track and an introduction to property racketeer Peter Rachman.

Though Carey Mulligan is bound to attract most of the critical plaudits, Sarsgaard is terrific in the role of tempter. His smile is engaging, but reserved.

His eyes are friendly, but watchful. His easy self-assurance is just a little bit too manufactured, but what is it concealing. Shyness? Weakness? A guilty secret?

But he knows how to give a girl a good time – driving her around in his maroon sports car, buying her presents, taking her to Oxford and Paris . . . who could resist?

Certainly not Jenny, who disappoints her English teacher (Olivia Williams, delightfully prim and buttoned-up) and enrages her headmistress (Emma Thompson, who makes a splendidly blue-stocking, anti- semitic gorgon).

David seems like a short-cut to a life that Jenny previously had thought she could achieve only through higher education and a successful career.

Nick Hornby’s screenplay contains a handful of speech anachronisms and a couple of moments when the dialogue teeters on the edge of soap opera and caricature, but is a likely Oscar nominee for its quiet wit, and the way it offers every member of a superb cast their moment.

Sally Hawkins, so delightful in Mike Leigh’s Happy-Go-Lucky, has a late, moving cameo that confirms her as an actress of rare versatility; and Pike shows talents as a comic actress that have never been obvious before.

It’s a tribute to the writing that virtually every subsidiary character has so much vibrancy and texture that it’s easy to imagine an entire film being constructed around each of their lives.

Hornby’s books have all had humour and humanity, and he fleshes out Barber’s short memoir with a real feeling for Sixties glamour, adolescent longings and adult insecurities. From High Fidelity onwards, he’s been skilled at noting how people let their cultural tastes define them, both as they are and as they would like to be.

Jenny sees herself as a French, bohemian sophisticate in the Juliette Gréco mould, which makes her all the more delightful as she fails to be as worldly as she thinks she is.

The title, An Education, is deliberately ambiguous, referring both to academic training and the process by which life leads us towards maturity.

Although Carey Mulligan was 22 when she played the role, she doesn’t condescend to her 16-year- old character. It’s easy to empathise as she makes choices that don’t exactly go the way she planned.

Female director Lone Scherfig (who made the promising Italian For Beginners) handles the sexual side of the relationship with delicacy, never allowing it to become exploitative.

The story could easily have been treated more sensationally, over-seriously or melodramatically, but even as comedy it remains a moral, cautionary tale.

Hornby has softened Barber’s memoir to make us see David through Jenny’s eyes and understand how she makes some foolish choices. But he remains true to its bittersweet essence.

It depicts life as a cruel kind of farce, in which everyone makes mistakes, but most people somehow pick themselves up and make the best of a bad job.

Its stiff-upper-lip bravery, and refusal to wallow in self-pity or see its leading character as a victim, is peculiarly British – and refreshingly rare in modern cinema.

Some will dismiss this as a film about not very much. The only thing at stake is a silly, middle-class girl’s place at university, so why should we care?

The extraordinary thing is that we do. And though the film may appear small and slight, it takes on a deeper resonance because of its impeccably observed sense of period.

Jenny is not just a silly girl. She represents Britain emerging from the austerity of the post-war era and experiencing the dangerous allure of entrepreneurial capitalism and the Swinging Sixties. Her story is our story.


From: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/reviews/article-1223931/Carey-Mulligan–new-Audrey-Hepburn.html