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Black Tie International:
On The Town With Aubrey Reuben - September 24, 2016


Aubrey Reuben

On the Town With Aubrey Reuben
Where All the Stars Shine Brightly!
September 24, 2016


On Broadway, I revisited the revival of Fiddler on the Roof, book by Joseph Stein, music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, at the Broadway Theatre. It features the original cast, directed by Bartlett Sher. It is a wonderful production. The acting, singing and dancing is superb, and Danny Burstein steals the show as Tevye. It is one of the finest musicals on Broadway. Do not miss it before it closes on December 31!


Off-Broadway, How To Be An American,  by T. Cat Ford, at the York Theatre, is a political cabaret about George Washington Plunkett (a wonderful Tim Jerome) of Tammany Hall, a corrupt politician, who dispensed jobs to his cronies. With songs from the early twentieth century, the four member cast, directed by Bill Castellino, give us a 70-minute election rally with the audience as would-be voters. It is an entertaining show.


Origin's 2016 1st Irish Festival Mid-Festival party was held at the Irish Consulate, 345 Park Avenue. Many of the artists attended, and wine, beer and light food was served. It was a lovely, festive occasion. New York's Annual Festival of Irish Theater continues until October 2. Origin's Artistic Director George C. Heslin is to be congratulated for his splendid achievement.


Newtown, by Kim A. Snyder, USA, 2016, is a well made documentary about the aftermath of the deadliest killing of 20 6- and 7-year-old first graders, plus six adults, at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, on a December morning, 2012, by a deranged 20-year-old young man, who killed his mother, before embarking on his deadly rampage with an assault rifle, which ended when he committed suicide. A number of families of the innocent victims are interviewed, and show photographs and videos of their children. We see how they were affected for the four years following after this senseless crime. Viewers of this tragic film will be equally affected.


Film Forum presented Sand Storm, by Elite Zexer, Israel, 2016, a fascinating film about a mother and daughter who rebel against their traditional roles in Bedouin society. The husband has just taken a second young wife and the daughter has fallen in love with a young man from another tribe. We are given an inside look at life in a traditional Bedouin village in the desert, and how women are totally dominated by the men. The photography is excellent, and the acting is superb. It is a magnificent film.


Moonlight, by Barry Jenkins, USA, 2016, is a long, overlong film in three parts. A 10-year-old boy is living with a single mother, who is a vicious drug addict, in a dilapidated housing project in Miami. In the second part, he is in high school, where he smokes marijuana and is kissed by a friend, who touches his penis, and makes him discover his sexual orientation. In the third part, he is a grownup man, and is a drug dealer. The film is grim, with brutal scenes, where he is bullied in elementary and high school, and he is violently attacked in one repulsive scene.

 The story is rather unbelievable. As a child, a kind couple (the man is a drug dealer) give him shelter, and in the final part, his mother, in rehab, tells him how much she loves him after ruining his early life. The film ends with a sentimental reunion with his first and only lover, who is now a chef. There is not a trace of humor or happiness in this film. One comes away with a depressed feeling about the life young blacks experience in Miami.


Film Forum presented Christine, by Antonio Campos, USA, 2016, based on true events. A reporter (a brilliant performance by Rebecca Hall) at a Sarasota television studio is frustrated in her professional and home life, and commits a tragic act on live television in 1974. It is a serious, intelligent film with a realistic view of how local TV news functions. The entire cast is marvelous, especially Tracy Letts as Hall's tough boss. It is one of the finest films of the season.

I, Daniel Blake
, by Ken Loach, UK, 2016, is a realistic film. It is so real that the actors seem to have walked off the screen. It shows the inhumanity of bureaucracy, which, in this case, deals with the welfare system. A carpenter (Dave Johns) is a lonely widower with a heart condition in Newcastle. He cannot work. His problems with bureaucrats are driving him almost insane. He meets a single mother (Hayley Squires), who moved from London with two young children, who also is unemployed and needs money to survive. They becomes friends, and the scenes of him helping her and her children are the warmest part of the story. The film is honest about the problems of the people, who have to deal with a brutal, uncaring system. It is an important film, with wonderful acting by all the cast, especially the two leading actors.


The Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Gou-Qiang, by Kevin Macdonald, USA, 2016, is a lovely documentary about a Chinese artist, who use gunpowder to create his brilliant art. The film is fascinating and educational. We learn so much about the modern history of China following the brutal cultural revolution, and we see modern China with the country hosting the Olympic Games and the APEC conference. The fireworks display that Cai Guo-Qiang created on these occasions are spectacular. His desire to create a ladder to the sky for his grandmother is the main part of this documentary, and after three failed attempts in other countries, he manages to complete his glorious achievement in his home town. The photography is marvelous, and the colors are luminous. You will not forget the effect gunpowder can contribute to a majestic Art.


The Mid-Manhattan Library, 455 Fifth Avenue presented The Children's Hour, by William Wyler, USA,1962, based on a play by Lillian Hellman, starring Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine, about a lie told by a12-year old girl. She claims that they are engaged in an unnatural relationship. The result is that their lives are destroyed. Although the acting is powerful, the film is slow moving and the plot is far-fetched.







Gerard Mc Keon and Joyce Brooks.  Photo by:  Rose Billings/

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