AUTHOR | Sam Weisberg


Frances Ha

What exactly is a “three-hour brunch friend”?
Greta Gerwig
Directed by Noah Baumbach

Noah Baumbach’s “Frances Ha” is, like Lena Dunham’s hit HBO series “Girls,” fixated on the insular, entitled world of artsy, twenty-something Manhattanites, where twenty-seven year-old bachelors are still bankrolled, unapologetically, by their parents, and barely employed comedy writers and sculptors refuse to relocate to cheaper, less happening outer-borough apartments. Like Dunham, Baumbach ... more >

Caroline and Jackie

Film bubbles with nervous, dizzying energy
Bitsie Tulloch and Marguerite Moreau
Directed by Adam Christian Clark

Jackie (Bitsie Tulloch; pictured) is porcelain doll-fragile, her gaunt frame as rigid as her pulled-back hair. Her eyes, strewn with mascara, dance with hurt when something gets under her skin which is close to always. When her sister, Caroline (Marguerite Moreau), comes to visit her and her meek boyfriend Ryan (David Giuntoli), Caroline insists on taking them out to dinner, which turns out to be ... more >

Death and Guilt down in Tribeca

"What Richard did" and "Whitewash"

Those who prefer their accidental-murderer-with-a-guilty-conscience stories to be brooding and inconclusive will get a kick out of “Whitewash,” the more-or-less one-man dark comedy from Canada, starring Thomas Haden Church, and the small-scale Irish drama “What Richard Did,” both currently showing at the Tribeca Film Festival. Set in remote stretches of wintry Northern Quebec, Emanuel ... more >

Mistaken for Strangers

Rock doc on tap at Tribeca

Those expecting a traditional rock documentary on The National, mapping the heralded Brooklyn indie rock band’s trajectory from its shaky origins in 1999 to its gradual breakthrough as rock stars, will be sorely disappointed by “Mistaken for Strangers,” directed by National frontman Matt Berninger’s nine-years-younger brother, Tom Berninger. The film opened the Tribeca Film Festival on Wednesday ... more >

It’s a disaster

Couples angst and armageddon
Julia Stiles, David Cross and America Ferrara
Directed by Todd Berger

Eight self-absorbed thirty-something Los Angelenos gather at that yuppie-est of conventions: the Sunday couples brunch, held at the lavish home of the brittle, bickering married pair Emma (Erinn Hayes) and Pete (Blaise Miller). The guests are uptight medic Tracy (Julia Stiles), who’s on her third date with prudish schoolteacher Glen (David Cross); tattooed hedonist Buck (Kevin M. Brennan) and his ... more >

Don’t stop believin’: Everyman’s journey

The rags-to-riches story rock-hall-of-fame style

Ramona Diaz’s Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey is the story of Arnel Pineda, the Filipino singing prodigy who at age forty was plucked from total obscurity in his native Manila and recruited to join his all-time favorite band Journey. In quick-cut, high-gloss concert video fashion, Diaz takes us through Pineda’s gradual emergence from spastic, shaky newcomer to certified rock god all while ... more >

standup guys

Stand Up Guys

Not a winner. But a few small pleasures to be had
Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin
Directed by Fisher Stevens

You never want the word “cute” to be associated with Al Pacino or Christopher Walken to begin with, let alone an action-comedy starring both of them. You certainly don’t want the term “sappy” to apply. Unfortunately, Fisher Stevens’s "Stand Up Guys" is just that: cute and sappy, with too few smart-alecky laughs to spice up its bland soul. Pacino is a faded hitman just sprung from a twenty ... more >