The Upper West Side Needs More Art Film Screens

When the Lincoln Plaza Theater closed in January of 2018, it was like a body blow to the Upper West Side, an area that historically housed a huge community of arts lovers who were educated, sophisticated and open to a wide variety of cinema experiences.

It wasn’t as if there weren’t alternatives. Film at Lincoln Center is one of the best curated art houses in the country. AMC has two large multiplexes that, in addition to playing the latest Hollywood movies, also squeeze in the occasional Focus, Searchlight, A24 or Neon film. But, with the passing of the Lincoln Plaza Theater, a stalwart community institution was gone.

In the time since that closure, there have been some good and some bad developments. On the bad side, The Landmark on 57th Street also closed. While it was never going to fulfill the UWS neighborhood’s needs due to its incredibly inconvenient location, Landmark did attempt to play some of the smaller art films that couldn’t find a home elsewhere. I’ve heard that someone is taking over that theater, but I’m guessing it will end up mainly playing commercial Hollywood films. Continue reading “The Upper West Side Needs More Art Film Screens”

A Tale of Two (New York) Comedies

Last week, I made a rare trip south of 14th Street to see a double feature of “Where’s Poppa” and “Little Murders” at Film Forum. The minute I spotted this particular program on the Film Forum schedule, I marked it on my calendar in spite of the fact that I own both films on DVD and have seen them countless times.  I’ve always considered both films as personal favorites, and among the funniest films I’d ever seen. I wanted to experience them again with a real audience.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with them, “Where’s Poppa” and “Little Murders” were released a year apart in 1970 and 71. They both take place in the New York of that time, which was at perhaps the city’s least flattering moment. Crime was high. White people were moving to the suburbs in droves, leaving behind a city where the rich folks lived in the fortresses of doorman buildings, and the rest of the city was considered unsafe for anyone. Such are the makings of comedy. Johnny Carson made a nightly habit of joking about just how dangerous it was in “fun city.” Continue reading “A Tale of Two (New York) Comedies”