• Arts & Entertainment

    Visions of Cuba Seen Through Interviews

    “Patria O Muerte: Cuba, Fatherland or Death” is the debut film from actor turned documentarian Olatz Lopez Garmendia. The documentary is an overtly political film but does not make heavy-handed statements regarding policy or ideology. Rather, it makes poignant statements by sharing intimate interviews with Cuban citizens. Garmendia has traveled to Cuba for the past 20 years, and her thorough understanding of the country is evident this film. “Patria O Muerte: Cuba, Fatherland or Death” is not a superficial travel log containing classic cars and cigar making. Rather, Garmendia is successful in giving Western audiences an intimate look into daily life in contemporary Cuba. The movie relies primarily on archival footage…

  • Arts & Entertainment

    “Dr. Strange”: A Superhero Movie for Everyone

    While “Doctor Strange” is a tightly paced special effects spectacle with many refreshing elements and exciting and inventive visual effects –it’s real achievement is that it is enjoyable for both those familiar with the Marvel universe as well as those who have yet to see a comic book movie. Doctor Strange’s origin differs from most of the other characters in the Marvel universe. Instead of a science fiction explanation, like gamma rays or a technologically advanced suit, his powers are of a mystical nature. This unique aesthetic separates the character from other Marvel superheroes. The story begins with Dr. Stephen Strange, portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch, a brilliant, but arrogant neurosurgeon.…

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Cinema Culture and Katana Swords on Display in Astoria

    On Nov. 5, the Astoria-based Museum of the Moving Image hosted An Afternoon with Tatsuya Nakadai, in honor of the 50th anniversary of “The Sword of Doom.” The event included a screening of the seminal film followed by a discussion with the film’s 83-year-old star, Tatsuya Nakadai. Nakadai has starred in classic films including “Yojimbo” and “Ran,” and has worked with some of Japan’s greatest directors. The visit marked Nakadai’s fourth appearance to the Museum of the Moving Image and the aging star was still spry and engaging. Nakadai recalled vivid details from the film’s production from over fifty years ago including the epic final sword battle, which took four…

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Is “The Birth of a Nation” a Sundance darling or a wide release flop?

    “The Birth of a Nation” is a period biopic about the story of Nat Turner. Like many historical melodramas, the filmmakers were liberal in their use of artistic freedom with the narrative. This is not a failure of the film but rather the filmmaker’s choice to value theme and allegory over historical accuracy. Turner, a slave in the Antebellum South, is not only able to read but is also a preacher. While this may not sound strange today, in the pre-Civil War South it was rarely witnessed. When slave owners take Turner across the country to preach to other slaves, he discovers his voice is the only sign of hope…

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Whit’s End: Eat Fresh, Eat Local, Eat Pizza

    Since Superstorm Sandy in 2012 the food scene in Rockaway, Queens has experienced a renaissance. Say what you will about hipsters and gentrification, it usually doesn’t have a negative effect on the level of cuisine produced by eateries in the affected neighborhoods. One of these post-Sandy additions to Rockaway is Whit’s End, a restaurant and pizzeria located at 97-14 Rockaway Beach Blvd – and it is a welcome addition. The menu changes daily and features local fresh products such as blue fish and little neck clams. Picky eaters should beware because substitutions are strictly forbidden. Even though Whit’s End is primarily a pizzeria, a major specialty is the smoked blue…