Author: Kurt Brokaw

Senior film critic Kurt Brokaw reviews New York’s six major film festivals plus individual features and shorts of merit. He’s taught courses in film noir, early lesbian fiction, and Jewish-themed cinema at The 92nd Street Y for 15 years.

Articles Written by Kurt Brokaw:

\J.K. Simmons on left, Miles Teller on right.

New York Film Festival 2014 – Critic’s Choice

Senior film critic Kurt Brokaw watches the entire New York Film Festival slate in order to choose the best and brightest entries each year. Whiplash (Damien Chazelle. 2014. USA. 106 min.) In his warm, definitive 1991 biography of drummer Buddy Rich, Traps, the Drum Wonder, author/singer (and fellow drummer) Mel Tormé quotes musicians from the volatile… Read more »

Linklater’s 12+ Year Gamble on “Boyhood” Pays Off

Boyhood. Richard Linklater. 2014. USA. 164 min. Editor’s Note: This review contains plot and character details. Boyhood is a cinematic magic trick that keeps you rubbing your eyes in disbelief. In two and a half hours you watch 12 dramatized years in the lives of a Texas family—a 6-year-old boy, his 9-year-old sister, their ever-striving… Read more »

Tribeca 2014: Critic’s Choice

Senior film critic Kurt Brokaw digs into critic’s choices on 89 features and 60 shorts at the Tribeca Film Festival, which runs from April 16-24, 2014. Chef (Jon Favreau. 2014. USA. 115 min.) You can tell title character/writer/producer/director Jon Favreau likes Dustin Hoffman because Hoffman’s the only actor in this movie who’s allowed to hold… Read more »

Cinematic Lessons From a Cold War Era

Red Hollywood (Thom Andersen, Noël Burch. 1995. USA. 119 min.) With Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea and deepening incursions into Ukraine, US relations with the Kremlin have taken on an ominous chill. Not that Congress is likely to fall into the anti-communist hysteria of the 1950s, when Senator Joseph McCarthy’s efforts succeeded in… Read more »

New Directors/New Films 2014 – Critic’s Choice

Senior film critic Kurt Brokaw is viewing the 42nd annual New Directors/New Films (all 27 features plus 11 shorts) and presents his critic’s choices below. Quod Erat Demonstrandum (Andrei Gruzsniczki. 2013. Romania. 107 min.) This lead review is dedicated to the living memory of Quod Erat Demonstrandum, possibly the worst title in the history of… Read more »

Rendez-Vous With French Cinema 2014

Senior film critic Kurt Brokaw is viewing all 24 features in the 2014 Rendez-vous With French Cinema lineup. The series screens March 6-10 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Young & Beautiful (François Ozon. 2013. France. 95 min.) Steven Soderberg’s The Girlfriend Experience and Steve McQueen’s Shame have both explored the dark side of… Read more »

New York Jewish Film Festival 2014 – Critic's Choices

How inspiring that The Film Society of Lincoln Center has partnered with The Jewish Museum for more than two decades in presenting world, US, and New York premieres of films from around the globe. And how encouraging to read Sheerly Avni’s report in The Jewish Daily Forward that more than 80 similar Jewish fests are… Read more »

Critic's Choice – 2013 Finale

Tim’s Vermeer (Teller. 2013. USA. 80 min.) As a premier magic act, Penn and Teller stand among the most accomplished performing illusionists. To be sure, their jazzy show-and-tell routines in which they perform jaw-dropping mysteries and then demonstrate step-by-step how they did it, have earned them the undying enmity of many working magicians. Penn Gillette… Read more »

New York Film Festival 2013 – Critic's Choice

Last year’s 50th New York Film Festival (NYFF) gave a 21-gun salute sendoff to its departing director, Richard Pena. It far exceeded the breadth, width, and depth of a half-century of festivals. This year’s extravaganza, headed by Kent Jones, Film Comment’s scholar/essayist and now screenwriter (Jimmy P: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian), goes even broader,… Read more »

Documenting a Man who Refused Interpretation

Salinger (Shane Salerno. 2013. USA. 120 min.) “Salinger and I got alone together, and I said, ‘Look, what do you want, you want some sales? These guys are supposed to know how to sell books, so screw it, let’s do it.’ So we did it.”–James Avati, who painted the original 25-cent paperback cover (right) of… Read more »