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REVIEW: Golden Exits

By Eric Hillis, TheMovieWaffler.com

originally published: 02/26/2018

REVIEW: Golden Exits

With its middle class New York milieu and a jazz inflected score by Keegan DeWitt, Alex Ross Perry’s Golden Exits may draw simplistic comparisons with Woody Allen, but the filmmaker whose work it evokes most is Alan Rudolph. In Rudolph’s best films - Welcome to L.A.; Remember My NameTrouble in MindChoose Me - the intersecting lives of a group of people are thrown into turmoil by the arrival of an outsider.

In Perry’s film the outsider is Naomi (Emily Browning), a 25-year-old Australian who moves to Brooklyn for a few months to take up a position assisting archivist Nick (former Beastie Boy turned naturally gifted actor Adam Horowitz), who is cataloguing the life of his deceased father-in-law, the former publisher of a literary magazine.

The idea of her husband spending eight hours a day in a cramped basement with an attractive young woman doesn’t sit well with Nick’s wife Alyssa (Chloë Sevigny), still struggling to trust him following an earlier instance of infidelity. The goading of Alyssa’s  acid-tongued sister Gwendolyn (Mary-Louise Parker), who is reluctantly funding Nick’s project, doesn’t help her insecurities.

Stuck in a big city with no real friends, Naomi looks up Buddy (Jason Schwartzman), a local Brooklynite whom she once met on a childhood trip to New York. Happily married to the adorable Jess (Analeigh Tipton), Buddy is uncomfortable at the forthright attitude of Naomi, and tells the Aussie that he can’t spend time with her alone, but will do his best to introduce her to potential suitors.

REVIEW: Golden Exits

As penned and pictured by Perry and rendered by Browning, Naomi is a captivating character, a ticking time-bomb whose awareness of her appeal to the opposite sex is offset by an innocent naivety. When we first meet her, she’s sitting on a brownstone stoop warbling a rendition of Russ Ballard’s ‘New York Groove’, but her emotional poker face makes it unclear if we’re witnessing the beginning or end of her Big Apple arc.



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Through no fault of her own, Naomi’s trip to America is doomed from the outset by the insecurities of the tightly knit group of locals she encounters. A couple of weeks into her arrival and Nick is drunkenly arriving on her doorstep late at night, throwing caution to the wind and potentially out the window with his marriage. It’s as uncomfortable a scene as you could endure, our sympathy for the pathetic and misguided Nick tempered by the potential for male aggression. The ensuing glimpses of Nick and Naomi’s irreparably damaged working arrangement are difficult to witness, the spurned older man barely looking up from his work when his assistant asks for permission to go to lunch.

Seeing the potential for damage, and perhaps motivated by jealousy for a young woman who reminds her of herself at that age, Gwendolyn imposes an impossible deadline on Nick’s project in order to break up the pairing. Alyssa, unaware of how unattracted Naomi really is to her pathetic husband, becomes so riddled with paranoia it begins to negatively affect her career as a therapist.

Perhaps the most fascinating dynamic is that shared between Naomi and Buddy, the latter breaking his self-imposed rules of avoiding the former as he continually sneaks away from his wife to spend time with the Aussie, pushing ‘platonic’ as far as any definition of the word will allow. His motivations are debatable - is he hoping to succumb to Naomi’s obvious charms or using her to test the strength of his resolve and his relationship with Jess?

Perry doesn’t give us any easy answers to the questions raised by his characters’ complexity. Eschewing the traditional tropes of the ensemble drama, Perry allows his characters to run away from him, and he’s commendably uninterested in having them learn any trite life lessons. Naomi’s presence doesn’t damage their lives, rather it merely exposes the fragility they’ve kept hidden away until her arrival.

“People never make films about ordinary people who don’t really do anything,” Naomi moans to Nick in an early discussion on her cinematic tastes. Of course, plenty of filmmakers do exactly that, but few can make ennui as enthralling as Perry does here. The magnum opus of Perry’s still relatively burgeoning career, Golden Exits is a film about ordinary people who don’t really do anything, and watching their inaction is as beguiling as cinema gets.

4 ½  stars out of 5

 

 

Directed by: Alex Ross Perry

Starring:  Emily Browning, Jason Schwartzman, Chloë Sevigny, Adam Horowitz, Mary-Louise Parker, Analeigh Tipton, Lily Rabe, Kate Lyn Sheil





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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Live in Concert At NJPAC
(NEWARK, NJ) -- New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) presents Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Live in Concert. Don’t miss the fourth installment of Harry Potter in Concert when NJPAC hosts the full-length film Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, projected in high-definition on a giant screen, with Oscar-nominated composer Patrick Doyle’s masterful score performed live by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, October 27, 2018 at 2:00pm & 7:30pm. 
Hopewell Theater To Celebrate Halloween With Fright Fest Week of Horror Films
(HOPEWELL, NJ) -- For an entire week, Hopewell Theater will celebrate Halloween with, Fright Fest, a mini fest of classic Halloween horror films from October 25 - 31, 2018. The slate of films are icons of horror cinema, and will be displayed in all their gory glory on the big screen. 
Golden Door International Film Festival To Present A Screening of "The Pretender"
(JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- One of the most popular sports films in history is Rocky - a film that mirrors the real life experience of professional boxer Chuck Wepner from Bayonne. A new independent film called The Pretender takes viewers inside the life of Mike Kunda, a “Rocky” fanatic since the movie’s release nearly 40 years ago. The film explores Mike’s fascination with the Rocky Balboa character and how it continues to impact his life, and the lives of others, in interesting and unimaginable ways. The film screens as part of the Golden Door International Film Festival on Sunday, September 23rd at 12:00pm at the Landmark Lowe’s Jersey Theatre (54 Journal Square Plaza) in Jersey City, NJ.
"Therapy, Bro" To Screen At Golden Door Film Festival
(JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- Open Iris Entertainment’s Therapy, Bro will be screened at the Golden Door Film Festival on September 22, at 1:00 PM in The Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre. The short comedy film stars Wally Marzano-Lesnevich (Almost Paris), Francesco Nuzzi (Star Crossed Lovers), Heather Brittain O’Scanlon (House Broken), and Garry Pastore (HBO’s The Deuce) and was directed by John Hedlund (Three Minutes to Air).
2018 Westfield International Film Festival To Take Place September 20-23
(WESTFIELD, NJ) -- Anybody can go to a movie theater to watch a film, but the Westfield International Film Festival is bringing movies to the mansion with its sixth season at the James Ward Mansion in downtown Westfield from September 20 - 23, 2018!  The festival will span a four day weekend and will include Q&A sessions with actors and filmmakers, networking opportunities, and red carpet parties.


Michael Gallagher’s terrific comedy Funny Story Premiere’s at the Fall 2018 New Jersey Film Festival this Friday, September 14!
Michael Gallagher’s terrific feature Funny Story Premiere’s at the Fall 2018 New Jersey Film Festival this Friday, September 14!
The Luring: Fear & Neurosis In Vermont
“As a kid, I was always drawn to the darkness,” said filmmaker Christopher Wells.  “I’d think, ‘Why can’t monsters protect me? If I’m friends with the monsters then I don’t have anything to fear.’”
REVIEW: "Searching"
A few weeks ago the body of a 14-year-old schoolgirl was discovered around the corner from where I’m sitting writing this review. Within hours of the tragic discovery, two 13-year-old boys had been arrested. The police had their work simplified by a series of damning posts across social media which pointed to the guilt of the boys in question. Increasingly, when young people go missing or have their lives taken from them, police investigations are now focused more on trawling through the victim’s internet history in search of clues rather than the pavement pounding of old.
REVIEW: "The Children Act"
Earlier this year saw the release of On Chesil Beach, an adaptation of an Ian McEwan novel centered around a wealthy musician who can’t bring herself to have sex with her husband. Now we get The Children Act, an adaptation of an Ian McEwan novel centred around a wealthy musician who can’t bring herself to have sex with her husband. Both are scripted by the novelist himself, and both suggest McEwan should stick to the literary world.
New Jersey Film Festival Fall 2018 Preview
(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- The New Jersey Film Festival Fall 2018 runs from September 14 to October 26 on the Rutgers University Campus in New Brunswick, NJ. Showcasing new international films, American independent features, animation, experimental and short subjects, and cutting-edge documentaries, the New Jersey Film Festival Fall 2018 will feature over 30 film screenings.  The Festival runs on select Thursday, Friday and Sunday evenings. For the complete schedule visit www.NJFilmFest.com. Here is a look at the screenings for September.






Event calendar
Saturday, Sep 22, 2018


MUSIC

Asbury Park Porchfest @ Booskerdoo, Asbury Park - 12:00pm

Carl Chesna & Co. @ Hotel Tides, Asbury Park - 1:00pm

Echoes @ The Stone Pony, Asbury Park - 7:00pm

Cole Swindell @ Hard Rock Live Etess Arena at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City, Atlantic City - 8:00pm

GRUPO NICHE @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 8:00pm

The History of Motown @ Englewood Public Library, Englewood - 7:00pm

Drake Bell @ iPlay America, Freehold - 7:00pm

Classic Stones Live feat. The Glimmer Twins @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 8:00pm

Opera Theatre of Montclair Presents Hansel and Gretel @ Central Presbyterian Church, Montclair - 4:00pm


Oscar D’León with Tony Vega and Los Hermanos Moreno @ Prudential Hall @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 8:00pm

SunDog Band at Duffy's Tavern, Paterson NJ @ Duffy's Tavern, Paterson NJ, Paterson - 9:00pm

Celtic Thunder X @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 8:00pm

Young Person's Concert @ River Dell Middle School Auditorium, River Edge - 1:00pm


Tigerman record release show for “Descend Into Savagery” @ Debonair Music Hall, Teaneck - 8:00pm

Hubby Jenkins @ Lizzie Rose Music Room, Tuckerton - 7:30pm







THEATRE

Souvenir @ Surflight Theatre, Beach Haven - 8:00pm

East Lynne Theater Company presents SILENT SKY @ First Presbyterian Church (Cape May), Cape May - 8:00pm

The Shuck @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 3:00pm and 7:30pm

Incorruptible @ Ritz Theatre Company, Haddon Township - 8:00pm

West End Festival of the Arts- Theatre Brut Session 2 @ West End Arts Center, Long Branch - 2:00pm

Evita @ Broadway Theatre of Pitman, Pitman - 2:00pm and 8:00pm

Seuls en Scene French Theater Festival - "Claire, Anton et Eux" @ Class of 1970 Theatre, Whitman College, Princeton - 2:00pm and 8:00pm

HUMAN ERROR by Eric Pfeffinger @ West Windsor Arts Center, Princeton Junction - 8:00pm

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 8:00pm

Assisted Living: The Musical @ Jay & Linda Grunin Center For The Arts At Ocean County College, Toms River - 2:00pm

Brick City @ Premiere Stages at Kean University, Union - 3:00pm


DANCE

SWAN LAKE - THE ATLANTIC CITY BALLET @ The Strand Theater, Lakewood - 7:00pm

SOLE Defined @ Mainstage @ Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC), Rahway - 8:00pm


LITERATURE

Monthly Saturday Writing Retreats @ Tiferet Journal, Bernardsville - 9:00am

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