AUTHOR | Sam Weisberg


REVIEW: “Union Bridge,” directed by newcomer filmmaker Brian Levin

The film didn't meet its full potential but remember this name
Scott Friend, Emma Duncan and Alex Breaux
Directed by Brian Levin

Elegiac and elusive from start to finish, Brian Levin's directorial debut "Union Bridge" certainly scores points for drumming up a foreboding atmosphere. Cinematographer Sebastian Slayter vividly captures the film's frosty, autumnal Western Maryland setting, with long, wide, repeating shots of lush hillsides, barren trees, rusty factories and shimmering moons. Each establishing shot sequence tells ... more >


Documentary “Off Country” Lets Survivors and Opponents of Nuclear Testing Do the Talking

Documentary film as digital archive

Taylor Dunne and Eric Stewart’s forthcoming documentary “Off country” examines the devastating, still-lingering effects of atomic bomb testing on the communities around the White Sands missile range in New Mexico, the Nevada Test Site and the Rocky Flats Plant in Colorado, where plutonium triggers were manufactured until its 1992 shutdown (the latter facility was studied in the galling 1982 ... more >


Brad’s Status is an audience-pleaser

"The world hated me, and the feeling was mutual"
Ben Stiller, Austin Abrams and Jenna Fischer
Directed by Mike White

"Brad's Status" is one of the better films I've seen in a long time. Mike White has crafted a movie, and a hero, that is sad, funny, smart, maddening and 100% human. Ben Stiller has been criticized for overexposure, usually when he appears in four junky slapstick comedies in one season, but I think audiences will want more of him after the one-two punch of "Brad's Status" and the (almost nearly ... more >


TRIBECA, brief chat with Mark Grieco of “A River Below”

A Sandarba Films Productions

The footage is muddy, but we see it clearly enough: a pink dolphin—one of many endangered species populating the Brazilian Amazon—is harpooned to death by a group of fishermen, to be used as bait for the pirapitinga, a breed of scavenger catfish. This is just the beginning of Mark Grieco’s wrenching documentary “The River Below,” currently showing at Tribeca. Filmed over two difficult years, it ... more >


“CARE,” a poignant tribute to the workers of home-based care

A growing number of elderly prefer to while away the days at home
Directed by Deirdre Fishel
Produced by Tony Heriza

A man stricken with Parkinson's disease tries to shift from a chair to his wheelchair; even with his wife and stay-in caretaker assisting, he falls, his eyes filled with terror. A man with emphysema, who can only use one his lungs, wheezes, in a high-pitched croak, that he desperately needs one of his many anxiety meds. A ninety-two year-old woman with dementia—whose Costa Rican caretaker found ... more >


INTERVIEW | Talking with Derrick Borte of “London Town”

He tells us about guerilla filmmaking and the art of The Clash
Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Daniel Huttlestone
Directed by Derrick Borte

Joe Strummer was a mensch. That's one thing the makers of "London Town," which opened Friday in New York and Los Angeles, want you to know about the late frontman of The Clash. Set in 1979 in working-class London, the film, directed by Derrick Borte ("The Joneses") and written by Matt Brown, Sonya Gildea and Kirsten Sheridan ("In America"), is a coming-of-age story laced with the political ... more >

At TFF2015, two films about disease, afflicting the filmmakers themselves

Both films were screened at this year's Tribeca Festival

Both PRESCRIPTION THUGS AND TRANSFATTY LIVES are about crippling diseases—one voluntary, one not—and both are intensely personal, given how these afflictions affect both directors themselves. TRANSFATTY LIVES, the slightly better of the two films, played on Wednesday, while PRESCRIPTION THUGS was shown on Thursday and will play again Saturday at 6:30 PM at Chelsea's Bow Tie Cinemas. Chris ... more >