Tag Archives: Director

Recommended Viewing: Naz & Maalik

Naz and Maalik Movie Poster
Curtiss Cook Jr. and Kerwin Johnson Jr. Star in Naz & Maalik (All Images Courtesy of Wolfe Video)

One day in the life of a pair of Brooklyn teenagers moves beyond their typical routine to mark an emotional turning point in the lives of the two best friends in Naz & Maalik; an engaging new film from screenwriter/director Jay Dockendorf. The film’s dynamic script is based on a first-person account from one of Dockendorf’s former neighbors; a gay Muslim man who revealed his own experience as a teenager living in Brooklyn, at a time when the NYPD and FBI were spying on Muslims across the country. In Bed-Stuy (Bedford Stuyvesant, a heavily African American neighborhood of Brooklyn) in particular, COPs would infiltrate mosques with undercover agents, coerce civilians arrested for petty crimes into becoming informants and conduct door-to-door interviews with Muslim citizens in front of their homes. The overbearing presence of the police created a charged environment, and a similar atmosphere of consistent tension infiltrates this bittersweet coming-of-age story that is expertly directed and acted.

Naz and Maalik Screen Shot

Portrayed by Curtiss Cook Jr. (Maalik) and Kerwin Johnson Jr. (Naz), two young actors both making their feature film debut in these roles, Naz and Maalik spend their days together, earning cash by selling Lotto tickets, Saint cards, candy and scented oils on the streets of their neighborhood, as well as while riding the subway lines. Their faith is also made evident, as they make a stop at a local mosque during their day to pray with the faithful. Their bond of friendship is fast and tight, and, as we learn early on, their relationship has only just taken a romantic turn — something that Naz is way more comfortable with than Maalik. As devout Muslims, their love is forbidden, and it doesn’t help that Maalik’s bratty younger sister has already threatened to “out” the couple to their parents. As if being a teenager wasn’t hard enough.

And then there’s the matter of that FBI agents that starts following the boys’ every move…

Naz and Maalik In Park2

As their story unfolds naturally, Naz & Maalik takes on many hot-button issues — racial profiling, religion, sexuality — as the streets and subway trains of Brooklyn advance the backstory of just who these kids are without a need for superfluous narrative dialogue. In fact, to suggest that Brooklyn is also a main character in the film is not out of line.

Naz and Maalik Park

Naz & Maalik isn’t so much a film about easy resolution as it is about tackling life’s curve balls and trying to stay true to yourself and your beliefs while also embracing the uncertainty of new love. Naz and Maalik are extremely likable characters and their story is both straightforward and nuanced, and highly engaging overall. The film’s original score, also written by Dockendorf is also fantastic. I can’t say enough good things about this film.

Grade: A

After Debuting at NYC’s Cinema Village, Naz & Maalik is currently available via Wolfe on DVD and Video On Demand.

Naz and Maalik on Street

Movie Review: The Film Critic (El Critico )

FILM CRITIC Poster

A film critic whose intolerance for cliché-ridden, formulaic Hollywood romances has earned him a reputation as a merciless film curmudgeon experiences a kind of existential crisis when he falls hard for beautiful, mercurial woman in Writer/Director Hernán Gerschuny’s Argentinian comedy The Film Critic (El Critico). This fast paced, sharply written and well-acted film will entertain anyone who loves movies but also enjoys a hilarious, insider jab at the filmmaking industry.

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Must See Art: John Waters’ Beverly Hills John at Marianne Boesky Gallery

Fellini's 8/1/2 Ruler
All Photos By Gail (Click on Any Image to Enlarge for Detail)

While I can’t admit to being fan of every single John Waters‘ directed film (and I have seen most of them), I sure do appreciate his artistic aesthetic, and he seems like a cool person from what I hear. So, I was really excited to rush out to the Marianne Boesky Gallery in 15 degree weather to check out Waters‘ latest exhibit (and third at this gallery) which is called Beverly Hills John. This is an ambitious exhibit which showcases the director/artist’s work in a variety of mediums including photography, prints, collage, sculpture and film — all of which I found to be utterly delightful.

Continue reading Must See Art: John Waters’ Beverly Hills John at Marianne Boesky Gallery

Who Will Win an Oscar On March 2nd? Our Predictions Are In!

Best Picture Oscar Collage
Image Source

It’s no secret that I couldn’t care less about most awards shows – the Grammy’s being a prime example of a formerly held-sacred-by-me tradition that long ago became all about rewarding commercial success over acknowledging artistic merit. But being a huge movie fan, film awards like The Independent Spirit Awards, The Golden Globes and, coming up on March 2nd, The Oscars (whose list of nominees can be found at This Link) are the nights of ceremonial award giving that I shamelessly indulge in. Because to me, those awards are still more about the art than the box office returns.

Continue reading Who Will Win an Oscar On March 2nd? Our Predictions Are In!

Reccommended Viewing: Escape From Tomorrow

Escape From Tomorrow Poster

Do you like Disneyland? I sure do. I’ve been going to Disney parks since I was practically an egg, and I never, ever get tired of it. I was there two summers ago with my older sister and we had so much fucking fun, our heads almost exploded. Disneyland Rules! It is largely due to my obsession with Disneyland (or DisneyWorld, whatever) that I’m very excited to tell you about an independent film I just saw called Escape From Tomorrow which was filmed Guerrilla-style almost entirely on location at Disneyland and Disneyworld! Holy shit! How did that even happen?

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The Ultimate Video Search: Now Calling All YouTubers!

CASTING CALL

Photographers, Videographers, Directors of Photography and “Closet” Artists! Submit your original video for a chance to win $15,000 and national exposure

A Major Production Company is going viral and wants to showcase your original videos on our Premiere YouTube channel for maximum exposure. If you have “Never Before Seen Footage/Original Content” that you’re ready to show the world, we’d love to hear from you! Not only will we publicize your video, we will also select 3 winners. First place will be awarded $15,000, second $10,000, and third will receive $7,500 at the producer’s discretion.

Are you ready to have your artistic skills showcased on a Premiere YouTube Channel? This is an unprecedented opportunity to get your concepts on a nationwide platform in hopes of promoting your media and to get your content exposed!! Your submission must be original content, never posted anywhere online. All entries must be original, exclusively created and owned by entrant, and the entrant must have all rights necessary to post the video and submit the entry. All entries must be submitted by July 15, 2013.

Entries submitted MUST be one of the following categories:
– Special Effects, Visual Effects, After Effects
– Light Painting
– Video Art/3D
– Graphic Art Videos
– Gaming Videos
– High-end Animation
– Stop Motion
– Time Lapse
– Magic Tricks

For more information on how to submit your 3-5 minute “Never Before Seen Video” please visit The Ultimate Video Search or Email us directly at UltimateVideoSearch@gmail.com.

This Weekend Only: Martin Scorsese Tribute Show at Bold Hype Gallery!

DeNiro as Travis Bickle

You can see what seems like a thousand different interpretations of Robert De Niro as the character Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver — a film I really did not enjoy all that much — this weekend only at Scorsese: A Tribute Art Show at Bold Hype Gallery in Chelsea. Geoffrey and I waited in line for 45 minutes (another first!) to get into the opening reception last night, and inside the gallery it was more packed than a can of sardines, as you’ll see in the photo below:

Packed Bold Hype Gallery
Sardine City!

All of the art on display represents characters, scenes or themes from Director Martin Scorsese’s many iconic films, but mostly it’s about artists painting and drawing likenesses of characters in these films that were played by Robert DeNiro.

Robert DeNiro Character Heads
See What I mean?

Robert De Niro Triptych
This one is Nice.

DeNiro Gaga
DeNiro Gaga. Kind of Scary.

Bunny Bickle

I enjoyed Bethany Marchman’s interpretation of Travis Bickle / DeNiro as a rabbit.

Travis and Iris

Here, De Niro shares the wall with Jody Foster as their characters from Taxi Driver in two paintings that are, surprisingly, not by Shepard Fairey.

A few other non-De Niro characters managed to earn space on the walls.

Daniel Day Lewis Gangs of New York
Daniel Day Lewis in Gangs of New York

Sharon Stone in Casino
Sharon Stone in Casino

Goodfellas Cast Mt Rushmore Tribute
Goodfellas Cast Mt. Rushmore Tribute. Just a little De Niro in this one.

It was not that easy to photograph the show due to the crowds, but there are hundreds of paintings, sculptures and drawings on display, so if you’re a fan of Robert De Niro or the films of Martin Scorsese, this is a must see show!

The Martin Scorsese Tribute Exhibit will be up on Saturday April 20th and Sunday April 21st only, from 12 Noon to 5 PM each day! Bold Hype is located at 547 West 27th Street, 5th Floor, in the Chelsea Gallery District.