Love, Marilyn

Lauren Loves the New Film “Love, Marilyn” at the HIFF.

Hamptons International Film Festival

Another film tries to solve the mystery that was Marilyn Monroe—and does it very well.

Just when you thought there was nothing more to learn about Marilyn Monroe comes Liz Garbus, revealing new documentary, “Love, Marilyn”. A treasure trove of recently found letters, poems diary entries, and other correspondence provides a new and intimate look at the film icon. Archival footage traces the beginning of the legend to her untimely death. Featuring a host of famous actors reading parts of this new-found resource just gives you another peek into someone whose story you thought you knew but really didn’t. I thought the film was very well done.

One Day After Peace

Lauren Ezersky Goes to the Hamptons International Film Festival

 

An amazing Israeli Film

Lauren Ezersky gives high marks to this Israeli film at the Hamptons International Film Festival

One of my favorite things to do all year is attend the Hamptons International Film Festival. I know before i go that I am going to see some extraordinary films. My first movie this season was no exception. “One Day After Peace” It is an Israeli film written and directed by brother and sister Erez and Miri Laufer.  It is the moving saga of one woman’s attempt to find the answers to why her son was killed by a sniper while serving in the Israeli Army. Amazingly, mother Robi Damelin hopes to start a dialogue with the shooter so she can come to terms with her loss and have closure. She looks to South Africa, her birth country, to learn how the horror of apartheid was dealt with over the years with the instigation of a program called Truth and Reconciliation. There is amazing footage of some of these actual committee hearings where perpetrators of these violent and murderous acts met the actual family members of those they killed. This amazing and moving story is one of forgiveness in some cases. You get to see the humanity in both the victims’ relatives and the men who actually killed them or gave the orders. I feel if everyone on the planet could see this maybe just maybe there would be less horror in the world. Don’t miss this one.

Hats Off to Jack!

Friends Salute Jack Lenore Larson on his 85th Birthday

When you get to be an octogenarian, I imagine you like to think you’ve made a contribution to the world. Well, there’s no question Jack Lenore Larson has. In more than one field. Jack has made a name for himself as a one of the world’s preeminent textile designers. His books are masterworks on the art and craft of textile design. But that’s not enough for him.

Jack has made it his mission to share his good fortune with the world in general, and the East End of Long Island in particular, though his spectacular public garden: Longhouse Reserve.

Jack used the occasion of this 85th birthday party to unveil two new art installations:three new pyramids in the Ginko Allee and Chinese Contemporary Warriors, 2005 by Yu Minjun. this is a fascinating display of 25 bronze lifesize sculptures.

an installation by Yue Minjun

25 bronze lifesize sculptures at Longhouse Gardens

Jack Lenore Larsen's 85th birthday celebration

Lauren Ezersky congratulates Jack Lenore Larsen at his 85th birthday celebration

“About Cherry” Lays Bare the Porn Industry

Movie about Porn

About Cherry is a titillating look at the San Francisco porn industry

 Lauren Ezersky Likes this Flick

Well, call me wacky, but I loved this crazy movie! In it, newcomer Ashley Hinshaw plays Angelina, a teen living in a broken home. Her mom, played by the fab Lilly Taylor, is an alcoholic and unable to take care of her and her sister. She lets her sleazy boyfriend talk her into taking some nude photos. Skipping town with her best friend (played by Dev Patel) she becomes a cocktail waitress in a strip club then meets a flush lawyer James Franco and starts to live large . Wanting to earn her own money she begins working in the porn industry with ex porn star turned producer Heather Graham. What I loved about this movie is that it’s not judgmental. The porn business is portrayed as just that— a business, .actually big business. There is a lot of money to be made. This flick reveals the everyday and realistically unsexy side. You feel like you are there watching how the movie is made. Opens in theaters Sept 21. VOD and digital platforms on August 9.

Trailers and Videos

Photo Gallery


Cast

Ashley Hinshaw
James Franco
Dev Patel
Lili Taylor
Jonny Weston
and Heather Graham

Crew

Director:
STEPHEN ELLIOTT
Producers:
Liz Destro
Jordan Kessler
Rick Dugdale
Elana Krausz
Executive Producer:
Bendrix Bailey
Writers:
Stephen Elliott
Lorelei Lee

Sotto Sopra Scores

 Worth a Visit in Amagansett

Sotto Sopra

Sotto Sopra offers fine dining in Amagansett.

The owners of Sotto Sopra (who also own Bobby Van’s) are bold and courageous. Brave and true. They have opened a classy restaurant in a spot where nothing ever lasts that long, even though it’s right on Montauk Highway in the heart of Amagansett. This new incarnation, Sotto Sopra, should change the fortunes of that location. There are a lot of reasons why it should succeed… from the welcoming light and airy space to the thoughtful menu, to the food itself.

We stopped in  for a late Saturday lunch recently and snagged a table in the pleasant and quiet back terrace. Of course, it’s the staff that presents the first, and lasting, impression of a restaurant, and here we were greeted by a cheery and attractive hostess who turned us over to our solicitous waiter. He didn’t miss a beat in delivering a basket of fresh bread and bowl of olive oil. We each ordered a glass of wine for the nifty wine list, Pinot Noir for Lauren and Riesling for me. We were given the choice of ordering from the brunch or lunch menu. We weren’t feeling very brunchy so we opted for lunch.

Portrait of Lauren with Pinor Noir

Lauren enjoys a glass of pinor noir at Sotto Sopra

The first (and only) disappointment of the afternoon occurred not long after we were seated. Lauren was bummed  to learn that the lobster roll was sold out.

No matter, we started with a crostini for Lauren and a arugula salad for me. I swear, I had never seen a bigger heap of arugula. With match sticks of fresh apple and a few delicious cherry tomatoes, with truffle dressing on the side, it was a great start.  Lauren enjoyed her steak sandwich with aoli. While I fell in love with my Linguine Mollusco: tender little neck clams in the shell or pasta with a lovely garlic sauce dotted with chiles. I emptied the breadbasket, sopping up the sauce after the clams were gone.

insalata fresca  with arugula, tomatoes, and apples.

The insalata fresca at Sotto Sopra is a magnificent heap of aruglua.

On to desert. We had a crazy layered crepe kinda thing and some knock-your-socks off chocolate mint gelato.

It turned out to be a wonderful, relaxing meal. We’ll be back.

Sotto Sopra

231 Main St.

Amagansett, NY 11930

(631) 267-3695

 

 

 

It Is No Dream

The Life of Theodor Herzl

This is no dream

Theodor Herzl as he appears in the documentary, "This Is No Dream: The Life of Theodor Herzl"

Lauren Ezersky reviews a striking new documentary

The new  movie “Ii Is No Dream: The Life of Theodore Herzl” is a fascinating tale. Being  a devout Jew (not. I am Jewish by heritage, not by religion.), I was so captivated by the story of this man. Herzl was the father of Zionism, but started out as an assimilated Jew who rarely went to synagogue or believed in the tenants of Judaism.  He never even had a bar mitzvah but instead had a conformation. The movie, narrated by Sir Ben Kingsley, follows Herzl’s early years from an unsuccessful playwright to a successful journalist. Herzl covered the Dreyfus affair—a notorious scandal in France in which a very decorated French army captain was falsely accused of spying for Germany. He witnessed mass rallies in Paris where people chanted “Death to the Jews!” It was this incident that spurred his desire to create a Jewish state where there would be  no anti Semitism and Jews could feel free to pray and be themselves.For all you history buffs this one is not to be missed! It also has some great old footage of Europe in the !800′s.

The film contains some great old photos and footage, which shows you the European cities as they used to look. He met with the top leaders of the day including some of the wealthiest Jews of that time—most of whom thought he was nuts. This may be the movie’s main lesson: persistence pays off.  For all you history buffs out there, this one is not to be missed.

It Is No Dream: The Life of Theodor Herzl
Directed by Richard Trank
Moriah Films
Quad Cinema

“True Wolf” is a Great Tale

A Wolf as You’ve Never Seen One

The new movie “True Wolf” by Rob Whitehair and Bruce Wade is a revelation. It’s the true story of a couple, Pat and Bruce, raising a baby wolf from cub ‘til death in Montana. The wolf, Koani, was hand raised—but never domesticated—and became an ambassador for the breed.

The couple was completely dedicated to raising the wolf and changed their lives to suit her needs. Wolves have been hunted almost to extinction in the U.S. and when the Wild Sentry organization tried to reintroduce them there was much opposition as, you will see. The film makers combine old footage with new to tell the story of the past and present attitude toward these awesome creatures.

Koani had a great life,  enjoying long, two-hour walks every day with Indie, her canine companion. In the end, the movie raises the question as to whether this dedicated couple did the right thing by raising her in captivity. Even though they loved her, they questioned their actions themselves.  See the movie and decide for yourself.

It opens in New York City on August 17 at Cinema Village.

“This Time”: A Poignant Music Documentary

This Time chronicles the struggles of singers

This Time chronicles the career of singers, including the Sweet Inspirations

This Time” follows singers’ struggles

This Time“, the new documentary from Victor Mignatti shows the bleak and sometimes tragic side of the music industry. The movie profiles five musical artists—four who were once on or near the top, and one who has been trying to make it for over a decade.

The group Sweet Inspirations (originally with Cissy Houston) sang backup with Elvis Presley for several years, as well as Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklyn, Dusty Springfield and even Jimi Hendrix. Unfortunately, very little recognition has come their way. One of the more poignant scenes shows them singing back up for Elvis impersonators in Las Vegas.

Then there’s Pat Hodges. She’s an awesome singer who wound up homeless in L.A.  Despite her travails and her life on the street, she keeps the faith, as do all of the singers in the film. Even though they have faced failure, they pick themselves up and keep on going. They have learned the hard way that talent doesn’t guarantee success.

The movie follows music producer Peitor Angell who tries to revive the careers of the Sweet Inspirations and Pat Hodges—with minimal success. In the meantime, cabaret singer Bobby Belfry tries to makes it in New York. and manages to land a gig at the fabulous Feinsteins at Loews Regency.

I would have liked to see more background info and interviews with some of the celebs they worked with or who knew them. The film was  a bit long and edited erratically, but it is an interesting story and a cautionary tale about how fickle fame can be.