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:

Tribeca 2015: Critic’s Choice

The Wolfpack (Crystal Moselle. 2015. USA. 84 min.) Tribeca’s uptown neighbor, the Walter Reade Theater in Lincoln Center, recently displayed a poster in its lobby, promoting the Film Society’s many offerings. It was a photo of a woebegone 20-something in typical New York fashionista black, staring out and looking oh-so-forlorn. It wasn’t the girl that… Read more »

New Directors/New Films 2015 – Critic’s Choice

“The current Rendez-Vous with French Cinema boasts more than its share of offbeat new youth and crime films, but all of them stay within what you can safely term “accustomed” zones of screen violence, sexuality, and the usual blue language that seems to roughen every surface of contemporary culture. (Not to mention the spate of… Read more »

Rendez-Vous With French Cinema 2015 – Critic’s Choice

When the New York Film Festival replaced Richard Roud with Richard Pena as lead programmer in 1988, beginning Pena’s stewardship for a quarter century, French film selections began sharing significant space with far more far-flung global cinema. Pena’s gift to New Yorkers was the world, and while many cineastes were curious to see what was playing… Read more »

New York Jewish Film Festival, January 14th – 29th – Critic’s Choice

Felix and Meira (Maxine Giroux. 2014. Canada. 105 min) Last year’s Closing Night selection at NYJFF was Ida, this writer’s #1 foreign film of the entire year.  In that Polish masterpiece, an orphaned novitiate in a 1960s convent visits her retired aunt and discovers she’s not a Catholic girl but a Jewish girl.   Her identity… Read more »

DOC NYC 2014, November 13th – 20th – Critic’s Choice

“Too much ain’t enough” might be the cry-of-the-night heard throughout the recent 52nd New York Film Festival and this past spring’s Tribeca film fest now in its 12th year.  Not to be outdone in a town where nothing succeeds like excess, DOC NYC  has burst out of its five-screen IFC Center and twin-screen SVA theater… Read more »

\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 »