[PRESS RELEASE] 2019 RUSSIAN FILM WEEK NEW YORK ANNOUNCED

A NEW FILM FESTIVAL
CELEBRATING INDEPENDENT AND COMMERCIAL FILMS THAT REPRESENT THE DYNAMIC LANDSCAPE OF RUSSIAN FILMMAKING TODAY

DECEMBER 6-13 IN MANHATTAN

Presented by The Cherry Orchard Festival Foundation and Rock Studio Films

18 Films * 22 screenings and Q&As * 10,258 prospective viewers
15 star guests, directors and actors

The 2019 Russian Film Week in New York (RFWNY) – a new film festival celebrating independent and commercial films that represents the dynamic landscape of Russian filmmaking today. The event, which will take place in New York City, December 6-13 at the SVA Theatre (333 W 23rd St), Peter Jay Sharp Theatre and Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theatre at Symphony Space (2537 Broadway) and the NYIT Auditorium on Broadway (1871 Broadway).

RFWNY was co-founded and successfully re-launched in 2018. This partnership aims to develop a multi-state, annual week-long showcase, in an effort to present independent, commercial, documentary and arthouse Russian films with subtitles to mainstream US audiences.

“At a time when some want to highlight differences among us, we want the 2019 Russian Film Week in New York to be a bridge to unite people across the oceans,” said founders and presenters Maria Shclover and Irina Shabshis of The Cherry Orchard Festival Foundation. “We truly feel that artistry is a powerful force and can be the catalyst to show our commonalities.”

Highlights of Russian Film Week in New York include:

ACID

Movie screening and discussion / Q&A with film director Alexander Gorchilin
Acid is a silent manifesto of the generation of twenty-year-olds in search for life’s meaning. The main characters have been abandoned in a world adorned with concepts such as family, friendship, love, and opportunities. They justify their reckless and infantile behavior by the lack of communication with their parents, since they grew up without fathers. Now, the time has come for them to face adulthood.

ANOTHER WOMAN

Movie screening and discussion / Q&A with director Anna Parmas and actress Anna Rytsareva.
Masha’s successful life has her completely consumed in her work until she discovers that her husband has been having an affair with his twenty-something fitness trainer. Her life begins to spin out of control, as she struggles to balance work, child-rearing and navigating the breakdown of her marriage. Desperate to keep her family together, Masha won’t stop at anything to get her husband back, including turning to supernatural forces. But her new life opens up new opportunities, and she wonders if this old barely flickering flame is really worth reigniting. This feature-length comedy debut by Anna Parmas is full of superb performances and witty punchlines.

THE BATTLE

As a street dancer, Anton is building a remarkable career: his team wins all the battles, he is a recognized choreographer, and all his future depends on dance. When Anton loses his hearing in a tragic accident, all his plans and all hopes are destroyed. Finding himself in an empty and strange world of silence, Anton gradually realizes that this is not the end. His passion for dance, the will to win and his love of life show him a new way to his cherished dream. And his greatest battle is yet to come.

HIGH ABOVE

A young girl spends her summer in a countryside resort under the strict supervision of her mother. A young guy with a secret past draws her attention. The girl does not foresee that her life will change forever after meeting him, and her feelings will send her high above the sky.

THE LENIN FACTOR

It’s been almost three years since the start of World War I, the bloodiest war in the history of humanity. Vladimir Lenin is an immigrant, living in Zurich. Having devoted his life to preparing the revolution, Lenin “missed” its beginning and is now searching for an opportunity to return to Russia and annex control of the situation.

THE SNOW QUEEN: MIRRORLANDS (Animated movie)

A powerful king nearly lost his family due to the Snow Queen’s evil deeds. He finds a way to withdraw all the magic from the world – they who master the magic powers get trapped in the Mirrorlands. The only one who can stop him and keep the fairytale in our world is Gerda – as her own superpower is not sorcery but her faith in kindness and friendship. The Snow Queen herself along with trolls and pirates will help Gerda in her new adventures.

VAN GOGHS

Movie screening and discussion / Q&A with Aleksey Serebryakov and Sergey Livnev conducted by the film’s director Sergey Livnev
Winner of four Russian National Film Academy Awards (Nika), Van Goghs sensitively explores the complicated relationship between Mark Ginzburg, an artist, and his oppressive father Viktor, a famous conductor Mark moved from Latvia to Israel just to escape his father’s shadow, but now circumstances have forced the two to live under the same roof again. Will they manage to see beyond their mutual dependency and rediscover the love they have for each other? An exceptionally moving film about families, and how they shape our expectations from – and perceptions of – life.

For the full list of films, please visit:

www.russianfilmweekusa.com/events/list/

In June of 2019, RFWNY started a new initiative to promote Russian movies: we presented free screenings of two Russian films (with subtitles) at New York’s Wolfe’s Pond Park in Staten Island, as part of the NY City Council’s Cultural Initiative, supported by New York City Councilman Joseph C. Borelli (district 51).
LISTINGS INFORMATION:
 
Russian Film Week in New York (RFWNY) takes place in New York City December 6-13, 2019 at the SVA Theatre (333 W 23rd St), Peter Jay Sharp Theatre and Leonard Nomoy Thalia Theatre at Symphony Space (2537 Broadway) and the NYIT Auditorium on Broadway (1871 Broadway).
For tickets and information, please visit: www.RussianFilmWeekUSA.com
*   *   *
About the presenters:
Cherry Orchard Festival (www.CherryOrchardFestival.org) is a leading independent international arts organization with a solid reputation for presenting musical performances, theatrical productions, multi-disciplinary performing and visual arts attractions by a stunning array of global artists to audiences in the US. Founded by Maria Shclover and Irina Shabshis in 2013, the festival is now embarking on its 7th season and has presented more than 55 unique world-class events, concerts and theatrical performances to over 90,000 audience members.
Rock Films Studio (http://www.rockfilm.ru) was founded in 1991 by film director Alexey Uchitel. Since then, the studio has produced 45 feature and documentary films which have received over 100 awards at international film festivals, and were distributed theatrically both in Russia and abroad. The films include The Major (Cannes Film Festival) and The Fool (Locarno) by Yury Bykov, More by Alexandra Strelyanaya (Karlovy Vary), and others. Besides film production, Rock Studio Films is involved in two additional festivals – Message To Man in Saint Petersburg and Russian Film Week in London.

Night Sweats (2019) Movie Review

NOTE: Screener copy provided for review.

Aloof New York City stages solid, but not provocative if one’s paying attention, indie thriller. Skater’s sexy night ends in roommate’s bizarre death. He finds cause of death while eluding corrupt antagonists. Two leads’ chemistry’s fine, but not fiery.

Expanded, spoiler-light review.

Night Sweats is told in lower-class parts of the Big Apple where the glamour of Manhattan is always distant. Yuri, a skateboarder who moves to NYC (Kyle DeSpiegler), is enjoying the company of Mary Kate (Mary Elaine Ramsey). Their session of coitus is interrupted by the vomiting death of Yuri’s friend (John Francomacaro). From there, Yuri uncovers the cause of friend’s death while avoiding a motorcycle man (Brett Azar) and the fury of a self-help company president (John Wesley Shipp). When the ending reveal happens, it’s not very shocking if one’s paying attention to a certain character’s reactions.

Overall, I enjoyed Night Sweats. The chemistry between Yuri and M.K. lacks spark, but I don’t fault the actors. With the exception of Shipp’s blustering, the plot and low-key atmosphere typical of indie films doesn’t allow over-emoting. I can’t immediately place which true events Night Sweats is based upon, but the disaster that would occur if the plot happened on a wide scale is creepy to think about.

Directed by Andrew Lyman-Clarke. Written by Clarke from a story by Seth Panman. Runtime: 99 minutes.

Visit the official Night Sweats website. View the trailer:

Cherry on Top: A Look at the Horror-Filled Adventures of Ernest P. Worrell

Ernest P. Worrell, the prolific pitch man shilling all sorts of products in the 1980s, is the result between John Cherry’s opportunism and Jim Varney’s rubber-faced charisma. Ernest became an advertising icon who moved into the star protagonist of seemingly a zillion movies. Being the idiot yokel gave struggling actor Varney a steady paycheck, fame, and fortune.

I have some nostalgia for Ernest’s antics — one of the first movies I saw on VHS was Ernest Goes to Jail. However, my now adult sense of humor can take idiotic attempts at hilarity in small doses. Let’s trace the creative evolution though a sample of horror-themed works. Continue reading “Cherry on Top: A Look at the Horror-Filled Adventures of Ernest P. Worrell”

NWA Press Conference Notes - 30 September 2019

National Wrestling Alliance held a press conference this morning at the Hard Rock Cafe in Atlanta. They are holding TV tapings at the GPB Studios tonight and tomorrow and announced their weekly show will be on Tuesdays, 6:05pm on YouTube and Facebook Live. Here are some notes of what happened. I paraphrased comments, so there may be errors. Continue reading “NWA Press Conference Notes – 30 September 2019”

ANNIVERSARY! Super Mario Super Show Debuts in 1989!

For me, Nintendo-mania reached a fever pitch by 1989. September 4, 1989 is the premiere of the Super Mario Bros. Super Show starring Lou Albano and Danny Wells and the power plumbing brothers. Kids were astounded(?) with the cheesy variety-show-quality live action comedy mixed with the cheesy animation based on elements of Super Mario 1 & 2 Monday through Thursday. On Fridays, we all giggled at Link’s attempts to woo Zelda in the Legend of Zelda cartoon which replaced the Super Mario cartoon that day. Communism would fall and all was good.

As a six-year-old kid without a sense of good taste in entertainment, I was in awe of special guests to Mario & Luigi’s home(?) like Magic Johnson, Roddy Piper, Ernie Hudson, Inspector Gadget, and Captain Lou Albano. Six years old is probably the maximum age where someone could tolerate live action segments with the craft of a Brady Bunch variety show. That said, six-year-old me liked seeing Mario every weekday finishing each show with a dance (Do the Mario!) so I was entertained. Seven-year-old wasn’t pleased at the totally radical Club Mario nonsense that took away Capt. Albano and Mr. Wells a year later.

The cartoon segments were fine back then. The Super Mario animated stuff would sometimes rip off a movie or genre like Indiana Jones or James Bond. I recall it was odd that the fire flower was used a lot, but super mushrooms never came into play. The Mario cartoons would get slightly more ambitious with the later Super Mario Bros. 3 cartoon, but limped along with the meme-tastic Super Mario World.

The Super Mario Super Show is up on YouTube and Netflix USA as I type this. Now swing your arms from side to side in Albano and Wells’ honor.

Hype Check: Bad Boys For Life Trailer

Finally, the tag team of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are back in Bad Boys for Life long after their box office drawing power dipped. The red band trailer for the third movie in the buddy cop action franchise glimpses at major set pieces and the chemistry between Smith and Lawrence. As presented, the duo’s friendship hasn’t missed a beat. There are two things that would keep me awake: Smith’s presence toning down Martin’s annoying habits and the cool outrun/synthwave/whatever-it-is visuals of Miami.

Not surprisingly, the For Life trailer shows its Michael Bay influence with explosions and the required our-heroes-are-cool attitude. Bay won’t be missed, but will audiences welcome back Will Smith and Martin Lawrence as major movie stars? Whether this spectacular trailer makes for a really spectacular movie remains to be seen. Bad Boys for Life, directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, is set to launch in January 17, 2020.

Nagging Note: Venom & Maximum Carnage

(Originally posted on RHM Twitter & Facebook pages! Follow today!)

I remember Spider-Symbiote-mania of the mid-90s. Venom movie lacks buzz so I have doubts for a Carnage sequel.

Cool interview w/creators of Maximum Carnage comics & games, but Venom has enduring appeal beyond that storyline.

Read Hollywood Reporter’s full interview with Danny Fingeroth, J.M. DeMatteis, Tom DeFalco, John Pickford, and many others: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/maximum-carnage-paved-way-tom-hardys-venom-1148899

[1993] was also the year Marvel Comics took advantage of that hunger for event storytelling and unleashed “Maximum Carnage,” a tale told weekly across all the Spider-Man titles that at the time was the biggest Spidey crossover event ever. It was the brainchild of editor Danny Fingeroth, who oversaw the growing roster of Spider-Man books the company published.

[…]Spider-Man teams with his mortal enemy Venom (a man and an alien symbiote bonded over their hatred of the wall-crawler) to fight Carnage — himself an alien symbiote who joined with serial killer Cletus Kasady. After escaping from a mental institution, Carnage assembles a team of supervillain acolytes, and they paint the town red, killing dozens of innocent people as Spider-Man and his own team of uneasy rivals track them down.

[…]

“Maximum Carnage” would expand beyond 14 comic book issues to include a popular video game (Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage), action figures and a theme park exhibition at Universal’s Islands of Adventure in Florida. It got so big that even Marvel Comics’ top talent to this day is fuzzy on how it blew up beyond their comics.

End excerpt.

Nagging Note: Into The Spider-Verse

(Originally posted on RHM Twitter & Facebook pages! Follow today!)

If Into The Spider-Verse’s Miles Morales is sole Spider-Man of his Universe, why is mentored by Peter Parker? Trailer’s confusingly out of order on that.

Also, still not liking the jerky, claymation-like animation. This is a theatrical movie-film-for-theaters. Look like a big deal!

Screenshot from the Into The Spider-Verse trailer.

The Last O.G. Season Finale Could've Been Better

Let’s sum up TBS’ sitcom The Last O.G.: Tracy Morgan can anchor a show with varied personalities but his character, Trey, is scattered. Tiffany Haddish is woefully underused and her character, Shay, underwritten. The tenth episode, the season one finale, doesn’t wipe the slate completely clean for Trey.

In the season finale named “Clemenza,” Trey decides he wants revenge on Wavy for snitching on him. Trey, inspired by the Godfather films, plots a murder with his fellow ex-cons at the halfway house. Referencing The Godfather in this episode and in the pilot would be a witty reference if I cared so little about Italian mob movies and shows. That goes awry when Big Country couldn’t cleanly hide the gun in the coffee shop bathroom where there’s a hidden camera (more on that later).

Before Trey does the deed, he visits Shay’s house one more time. Shay is distraught that her husband, Josh, hasn’t come home last night. With the help of social engineering access to Josh’s credit card info, Trey finds Josh in a bar shirtless almost going out his mind relapsing to his old heroin addiction. After Trey and Josh have a talk and Trey shows off his new Air Jordans (Josh lets that credit card purchase slide), Trey is off to confront Wavy. Continue reading “The Last O.G. Season Finale Could’ve Been Better”