Outdoor Summer Movies in NYC

Watching a movie outdoors on a big screen in the summertime is definitely on my summer-of-fun checklist multiple times. Kicking back on a blanket, ready access to picnic style food and drink(s), and taking in a classic movie with a skyline background under the open sky just screams summertime relaxation at its finest.

Here’s an outdoor movie schedule, which showcases all the venues in NYC, for 2013.

I highly recommend checking out the Brooklyn Bridge Park Movies With a View. You just can’t beat the views of the river, bridges and skyline.

Chain of Discovery: From Film to Story to Website to Graphic Novels

While flipping channels a few weeks back, I happened to stumble upon the film anthology Tokyo! — specifically the segment “Interior Design,” directed by Michel Gondry. Great short film. While the credits were rolling I noticed that it was adapted from Cecil and Jordan in New York by Gabrielle Bell. I quickly jotted that down and later googled it, and I’m glad I did, because it introduced me to the great work of Bell, a comic artist. So I recommend checking out all of it, the film, the website (currently featuring a “comicumentary” about ComicCon), the graphic novels.

Worth Checking Out: Bandslam

“Everything I Own” – Vanessa Hudgens, from the movie Bandslam. Yes, I liked the movie very much. Don’t let the movie poster, or thoughts of High School Musical, scare you away. Got curious about this film after reading this. Glad I checked it out.

Filmmaker Bong Joon-Ho at BAM After “Mother” Screening

Got a chance to see Bong Joon-Ho discuss his new film Mother at BAM (on Feb. 26, 2010). He was interviewed by Salon’s Stephanie Zacharek. It was a thrill to hear him talk about his films. He’s quickly become one of my favorite filmmakers. Not sure when Mother is being released in the US, but it should be out soon, and it is definitely worth checking out. And if you haven’t seen The Host or Memories of Murder, you absolutely must move them up to the top of your queue. Especially Memories of Murder. One of the best films I have ever seen.

I Loved Paul Blart: Mall Cop

I really had to work to see this film. The first two times I went to the theater, showing up a little late (so typical of me), and long lines (so typical, in general) prevented me from seeing the film. But the third time was the charm. Now I don’t want to oversell it, it’s a funny, light-hearted film, and if you like Kevin James, and I really do (ever since that scene in Hitch where he tells Will Smith that the one thing he isn’t worried about is the dancing), then you’ll have a good time. There were lots of kids in the theater, and I particularly enjoyed hearing what really made them laugh. KEY HIGHLIGHT: awesome, awesome music. Not just “I Can’t Hold Back” by Survivor, but also “Take It On The Run” by REO Speedwagon. Sure, a jam from Peter Cetera would have been nice, but we can’t have it all.

Must-See — The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

My friend Patrick told me about this documentary over drinks one night. I knew I had to see it right away. Though it is so much more than this, the basic description of the film is that it’s about the quest to break and hold the world record for the highest score on Donkey Kong. Now, if that basic description turns you off, because you could care less about video games, especially ones from the early 80s, just disregard that initial impulse. This is an incredible film, a riveting story — and not just because of the suspense. After my conversation with Patrick, I was tempted to just go online and get the story from a wikipedia entry about the documentary — I’m really glad I didn’t do that. And I would link to Roger Ebert’s review, but he gives away a detail about what happened after the documentary came out. I think it’s best to just watch it without knowing too much. Get it in your Netflix queue, and move it up to the top slot. The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters is an absolute must-see.

Movie Recommendation: Starting Out in the Evening

I cannot recommend this movie enough. It just came out on DVD, so get it in the Netflix queue, top slot, asap. I was really moved, annoyed, scared, inspired and more while watching this film, about an older writer ten years in on a novel that is not yet complete, and may never be complete. The performances are amazing (just watch Frank Langella’s expression when Lauren Ambrose orders a beer on tap at dinner), the story is amazing, the screenplay is amazing. It is a film that truly explores the novel as an artistic body of work, in a wondrous and though-provoking and inspiring way. Great film to start after everyone else has gone to bed, you’ve got the whole quiet house to yourself, and a full bottle of wine/scotch to keep filling up your glass (Note: save some for just after you watch the very last scene).

Read Roger Ebert’s review.