Review: Prince of Broadway

Prince of Broadway Poster

Directors: Sean Baker (Take Out)
Screenplay: Sean Baker, Darren Dean
Producer: Darren Dean
Starring: Prince Adu, Karren Karagulian, Aiden Noesi, Keyali Mayaga, Kat Sanchez
MPAA Rating: NR
Running time: 100 min.

Sean Baker first landed on my radar two years ago when I had the opportunity to speak to the director regarding his break out film Take Out (review). I was thrilled to find out that Baker was ready to release a second film, another New York story this time about a young hustler. Enter Prince of Broadway.

Prince of Broadway Movie StillLucky is just that: a street hustler. An illegal immigrant from Ghana, he cruises up and down Broadway, sweet talking the ladies and his boys into following him into the back of a nearby store (owned and managed by Lucky’s boss Levon) where they can purchase high quality knock-offs for a fraction of the price of the real thing. It’s a meagre living but Lucky makes enough to dress well, eat and put a roof over his head. He has a girl friend who encourages him to better himself by going to school and overall, he seems to be living a happy life. All of that changes the day Linda, a girl he had a fling with, shows up and thrusts an infant into his arms, explaining that he’s Lucky’s and that he should be a father and take care of the child for two weeks. Lucky doesn’t think the baby (nameless for most of the film) is his (“He’s white! I’m black!”) but unable to call the police and unwilling to abandon the child, he reluctantly tries to make it work.

This is, at its core, the story of Lucky but Prince of Broadway cuts in other lives. We see Linda as she deals with the abandonment of her child to a man who may not even be the father and we also get a glimpse at Levon, an Armenian immigrant whose marriage is falling apart. At the hands of a less talented filmmaker, one might wonder why we’d care about these people when we’re here to see Lucky’s story but Baker interweaves these stories seamlessly into his tale and in fact, they do matter quite a bit as they all play large roles in Lucky’s life and shaping his future.

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New York, I Love You Trailer

New York, I Love YouI knew that at some point we’d posted a trailer for the anthology film New York, I Love You what I didn’t realize was that that trailer was posted a year ago.

The film premiered at TIFF last year and Kurt foresaw the film would open early in 2009 but for some reason, reviews perhaps?, it was shelved and forgotten until today when a sexy discombobulated new trailer appeared. With acting and directing contributions from a long list of talented folk (Park Chan-Wook, The Hughes Brothers, Faith Akin, Mira Nair, Yvan Attal, Shunji Iwai, Wen Jiang, Joshua Marston, Andrei Zvyanginstev, Brett Ratner, Shia LeBeouf, Blake Lively, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Anton Yelchin, Orlando Bloom, Christina Ricci, Chris Cooper, Kevin Bacon, Robin Wright Penn, Maggie Q, Ethan Hawke, John Hurt, Scarlett Johansson, Natalie Portman and Olivia Thirlby) this is bound to have a little something for everyone.

The trailer is not exactly eye popping but it certainly looks nice and I have love for much of the talent involved so I’m game. I still haven’t seen Paris, je t’aime but I may have to check it out before being sucked into this one.

New York, I Love You is scheduled for limited release on October 16th.

Now, who’s working on a Vancouver, I Love You?

Trailer is tucked under the seat!

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Adam Trailer: Cute New Couple in Worn Out Story

Adam Movie StillWhy do so many indie romance stories have to feature one (or sometimes both) characters working through some sort of condition? I realize that there needs to be some sort of tension that helps move the story along but this is getting a bit old. That said, I can’t help but feel the need to see Max Mayer’s entry into the overcrowded cannon. Blame it on the casting.

Winner of the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize at Sundance, Adam is the story of an autistic guy who develops a relationship with his upstairs neighbour. I know, I know; it’s been done before but with Hugh Dancy and Rose Byrne in the leading roles, I can’t help but want to see it. It’s not that it looks bad it just feels like a rehash of hundreds of other movies but I’m hopeful that the performances alone will make up for what the story appears to lack in originality.

On a side note, if this is up your alley, I recommend checking out Dedication (with Billy Crudup and Mandy Moore).

Adam opens in limited release on July 29th.

Trailer is tucked under the seat!

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Durst’s The Education of Charlie Banks WILL Screen (Somewhere)

The Education of Charlie Banks Movie StillLast year I posted a great looking trailer for Fred Durst’s directorial debut The Education of Charlie Banks. Since that original post, Durst’s second film, the poorly received The Longshots, came and went from the multiplexes but his award winning Tribeca debut never materialized.

I thought the film had been indefinitely shelved until this morning when /Film posted the trailer along with some information on the film’s released. According to that post, the film will be opening on March 27th though there’s no indication on the official website (Anchor Bay doesn’t even have it listed) as to whether that’s a limited release though I would guess that may be the case.

I’m still interested in checking this out though I must admit that the long delay isn’t doing the film any favours. You’d think they’d try to bank on the Tribeca win but it’s a little late for that. If you’re curious, be sure to check out the trailer.

Trailer for Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden’s Sugar

Sugar Movie StillThe creative team of Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden, who provided the excellent Half Nelson a few years ago, were enough of a draw for me to see their new offering Sugar (our review), a film about a Dominican baseball player trying to break into the MLB.

With the help of a great performance from new comer Algenis Perez Soto, Boden and Fleck managed to create a sports film that I could really fall in love with, mostly because it’s much more about the characters than the game. I did have a few complaints, particularly the too clean feel of the last third of the story when everything else to that point, even the small occurrences and actions, seemed so difficult to achieve. Still, Sugar is engaging and beautifully shot, carrying the audience along on the fairy tale ride.

Sugar was picked up by Sony Pictures Classics who will open the film in limited release on April 3rd and if their previous limited releases are any indication, it will be screened wide enough that most will have an opportunity to check it out. It’s well worth a drive.

Trailer is tucked under the seat!

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Paltrow and Phoenix in Two Lovers Trailer

Two Lovers Movie StillSmart, taut, adult romantic dramas are few and far between. From the sounds of it, we’ve already had a good one in Elegy (our review) and if all goes well, we may have a second coming in the next few months.

James Gray and Joaquin Phoenix have teamed up a third time (the two previously worked together on The Yards and the wrongly dismissed We Own the Night) for Two Lovers, a drama about a bachelor torn between two women, the family friend his parents want him to marry (Vinessa Shaw) and his neighbor (Gwyneth Paltrow). Gray has, yet again, set his story in New York and we’re likely to see more of the great NY flavor that has surrounded his previous films. The trailer sets up the story nicely and seems to capture some of the difficulties of dealing with relationships when you have cultural/familial bonds to deal with as well.

I’m not completely sold mostly because I’m not convinced that Gray can pull off a straightforward romance, but I am interested. I found the relationship dynamic between Phoenix and Eva Mendes in We Own the Night was excellent and Paltrow has been very selective in her roles over the last few years, appearing in mostly (I’m not counting the favor she did for her brother appearing in the forgettable The Good Night) good films and re-watching Seven last night I was reminded of how good she can be when she’s “on”.

Sadly, the film is being “dumped” into the abyss of January. Two Lovers opens on January 9th.

Trailer is tucked under the seat!

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Chop Shop: A New American Indie Classic

Chop Shop Movie StillIt’s no surprise that Ramin Bahrani’s upcoming TIFF selection Goodbye Solo (not to be confused with the Korean TV show) is getting a lot of buzz.

A few years ago, Bahrani’s Man Push Cart made a big splash around film circuits. The story of a former Pakistani rock star who sells coffee from his push cart on the streets of Manhattan, the film was praised as some sort of second coming of American Indie Cinema though it seems those actual words were saved for Bahrani’s third feature Chop Shop.

Ebert referred to it as “an independent film that is miraculous” and Ioncinema has called Bahrani “hands down one of the more interesting voices in American Independent cinema” and for apparent good reason. I recently had the opportunity to see Chop Shop and was blown away.

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