Not Fade Away

Netflix Roulette Experiment

Last night, I let Netflix Roulette pick what movies I was going to watch. The program virtually digs through all the streaming options on the site notorious for not having quality streaming options and comes up with a link that only the bold should click on. It’s not really all that crazy. We let people suggest movies all the time. Friends, critics we consistently agree and disagree with, memes. I thought, “how bad could it really be?” The answer isn’t 0 stars, but it’s pretty close. Admittedly, that little red “Spin” button held a mystical kind of power to it when I committed to letting it decide my cinematic destiny. Probably because there’s something different about opening up a massive library and throwing a digital dart into the wind. Netflix Roulette is like a box of chocolates, and to be honest, I wasn’t exactly sure what my goal was beyond exploring Netflix in a different way (and maybe seeing it for what it really is). Half-baked as it all was, I pressed the red button and dove beyond the movie veil of ignorance. Here’s what I saw.

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davidchase

By the time The Sopranos ended its six season run on HBO, it was not only one of the most popular shows on TV, it was also viewed as a cultural touchstone that changed our perception of what TV shows could be and that helped usher in the golden age of high quality television drama we’re living in today. Given the show’s mainstream success and critical accolades, you would think that its creator David Chase’s post-series jump to directing features for the big screen would have been a big deal, and possibly would have involved material just as innovative and genre-blending as what came to be known as his signature work on The Sopranos. But what came next didn’t prove to be mainstream or genre-bending at all. In fact, there are probably a lot of people out there who still don’t even know that Chase has made a movie.

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James Gandolfini Sopranos

The world lost a robust acting presence on Wednesday. It was obvious looking at James Gandolfini that the big guy was powerful, but his work was often so fragile and nuanced that he had no trouble crawling into our veins. No one did vulnerable tough guys quite as well as he did, leaving his footprint on television and film screens alike. With that in mind, we put the entirety of his career to our panel of writers, asking simply: what is James Gandolfini’s best performance? Their answers (and a place for your own) can be found below.

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Not Fade Away

Editor’s note: David Chase’s feature debut hits theaters this week, so please feel free to rock out with this New York Film Festival review, originally published on October 7, 2012. Into a quiet moment between lovers, toward the end of his new film David Chase injects Plato. Introspective college student Grace Dietz (Bella Heathcote) turns to her aspiring musician boyfriend and quotes: “When the mode of the music changes, the walls of the city shake.” The line could read as an epigraph, the inspiration and core theme of the work. Yet, paradoxically, Not Fade Away rocks the boat significantly less than the 1960’s themselves, or even other movies that look back on this tumultuous period in the life of the nation. Rather, it plays like a form of American “heritage cinema,” to borrow a term from the Brits, fantasizing about a time gone by while carefully avoiding any of its real tensions. At core, Not Fade Away is a simple coming-of-age story. Douglas (John Magaro) is a skinny white kid in suburban New Jersey who, more than anything else, wants to play music. He’s a drummer with an excellent singing voice, and soon he finds himself in a band. They play covers of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones at local parties and dances but dream bigger. As he gets older, the band goes through the typical trials and tribulations: fights over love, fights over integrity, the loss of members, and on and on. And, of course, he is simultaneously […]

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Django Unchained

This last month of 2012 is packed with movies to suck up our time when we need it the most. You got Tom Cruise stretching his acting muscles as an action hero, Russell Crowe singing in the shower, Matt Damon getting all teary eyed nostalgic over old America, and more. Plenty of variety before the apocalypse ruins our chance of ever seeing what Joseph Gordon-Levitt‘s Batman would be like. If this is our final month of filmgoing, then so be it. With Quentin Tarantino, Peter Jackson, Judd Apatow, Kathryn Bigelow, Christopher McQuarie, and Gus Van Sant all jollying up our holiday season, we couldn’t ask for a better last hurrah for movies if those apocalypse rumors are proven correct. Before we all die horrible and painful deaths, make sure to see these films:

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This year’s New York Film Festival ended on Sunday night with the world premiere of Robert Zemeckis‘s Flight, a big Hollywood movie that many saw as too mainstream a selection for the event. But it’s apparently decent enough to currently have a very high rating on Rotten Tomatoes — our own Jack Giroux gave it a “B” in his review from the fest — so it’s not like they closed things out with Alex Cross. Other big movies that some didn’t see as fitting were opening night film Life of Pi (review)and the “secretly” screened debut of Steven Spielberg‘s Lincoln (review). However, for the most part the 2012 programming was the typical New York cinephile’s dream smorgasbord of highbrow indies and foreign films. And these seemed to mainly meet the approval of our two primary critics covering them, Daniel Walber and Caitlin Hughes (both of whom are new additions to the FSR team and did an excellent job). And all together, our 22 reviews of NYFF features averaged mainly in the range of “B” to “B+” grades. And the only thing to get less than a “C” was Brian De Palma‘s Passion, to which Caitlin gave a “D.” We weren’t only interested in new works, either. Caitlin had some fun with the anniversary screening of The Princess Bride, while Daniel had requested that one of his picks of the fest be an older film: “If I can say the new (Dolce and Gabbana funded) restoration of Satyricon that made its […]

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Not Fade Away Trailer

The Sopranos creator David Chase has been working on his Not Fade Away ever since the gangster show’s finale. That’s a bit ironic, considering The Sopranos’ ending wasn’t afraid to piss off a few million viewers, while his directorial feature debut, Not Fade Away, appears to be about as safe as coming-of-age tales come. Chase may not try to reinvent the wheel this time around, but based on this trailer, maybe he doesn’t need to. Check out the first trailer for Not Fade Away after the jump.

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Silver Linings Playbook

While most of Austin, Texas is currently busy gearing up for Fantastic Fest (including our own Fantastic Fest Death Squad), we’d be remiss to not mention that another one of ATX’s homegrown film festivals, the concisely-named Austin Film Festival, has just released their lineup. And it’s a real beauty! The festival, kicking off in just under a month, will open with David Chase’s Not Fade Away and will also include screenings of such buzzed-about titles as Flight, Silver Linings Playbook, The Sessions, Quartet, and The Sapphires. The festival has yet to announce their Closing Night Film, but with such an already-strong lineup, it should be a doozy. After the break, take a look at the current feature-length lineup for the 2012 Austin Film Festival and Conference, including listings for their comedy and documentary sections.

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published: 10.30.2014
B-
published: 10.29.2014
D+
published: 10.27.2014
C-
published: 10.24.2014
C-


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