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​​​​​​​Richard Wesley is a playwright, screenwriter, and professor of Dramatic Writing at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, and has been involved with the Newark Black Film Festival for well over three decades. A Newark native, he’s currently the Chairperson of the festival’s Selection Committee. The NBFF is currently in full swing, with a screening of Cadillac Records tomorrow, and the biennial Paul Robeson Awards for young filmmakers taking place on Wednesday, August 8. This season’s program also features the films Selma, I Called Him Morgan, The Art of the Journey, Coco, and Hidden Figures. We recently spoke with Wesley about the history and mission of the Newark Black Film Festival, the role it plays in the lives of young filmmakers, and a chance encounter with Sidney Poitier that launched him into the film industry.... READ ON

Over the last half century, the concept of blockbuster spectacle has flipped on its head. In the 1960s, big budget spectacle meant Steve McQueen jumping over a barbed wire fence on a motorcycle without the aid of a stunt double, or Julie Andrews screaming her lungs out on a Swiss mountainside. Science fiction was relegated to Saturday morning screenings of b-movies, which parents would use to relieve themselves of their tykes while they went shopping. George Lucas  changed all that a decade later, and now sci-fi and fantasy dominates the multiplex, while the only movies featuring practical stunts are those low budget straight to VOD action movies designed to showcase the athleticism of former MMA fighters.... READ ON

Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman isn’t a remake of Ted V. Mikels’ infamous 1966 grindhouse staple. Rather it’s based on true events (“Dis joint is based on some fo’ real, fo’ real shit,” reads the title card, because Lee is apparently a 12-year-old boy), the story of how rookie cop Ron Stallworth (played here in a star-making turn from John David Washington, son of Denzel) became a member of the Ku Klux Klan in 1978, despite being an African-American.... READ ON

Most of the world learned of Linda Chorney in 2012 when her name was listed as one of the Grammy nominees for Best Americana Album. Her film, When I Sing, not only follows her rise from obscurity to the Grammy Awards, it goes much further.  It’s a love story between a die hard Red Sox fan and a Yankees fan; a spotlight on how indie artists survive on the road; and a deeply, revealing portrait of how the media and the music industry turned what could have been a wonderful Cinderella story into a very hurtful experience.... READ ON








I recall hearing an anecdote concerning a society of pranksters in 1970s London who would take trips en masse to the cinema, only to walk out when or if the title of the movie in question was spoken by a character. That lot would get their money’s worth with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, as it’s not until the closing minutes that a returning original cast member (in a blink and you’ll miss it cameo) informs us that we’re now living in a “Jurassic World.” It’s the sort of cringeworthy moment that would normally cause me to groan, but I was so broken down by the laziness and ineptitude of this fifth installment in the franchise that I couldn’t even muster a sigh by that late point.... READ ON

One of the great under-rated horror movies of recent years is Jackson Stewart’s Beyond the Gates. Two of the stars of Stewart’s movie, Graham Skipper and Chase Williamson, reunite for Sequence Break, written and directed by Skipper and starring Williamson in the lead role. Both films make for a dove-tailing double bill of horror movies that employ the genre, and the current obsession with all things 1980s, to explore the dangers of nostalgia and seeking sanctuary in the comforts of your childhood.... READ ON

In a decade that began with the death of John Lennon and followed forward to the end of the Cold War, the 1980s were perhaps the most storied decade of the 20th century with the possible exception of the ‘60s…possibly... On Friday, June 22nd in Newark at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center roughly 1,500 people turned up not just to watch one of the ‘80s best and most beloved films Say Anything but to also have a chance to ask a question and get a picture with its star, John Cusack.... READ ON

How often do you go out to see a movie and the audience not only sits through the entire set of end-credits but also enthusiastically stands, cheers, and applauds?... READ ON

Winners of the 2018 New Jersey International Film Festival Competition Announced!... READ ON

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- Point Pleasant Beach native and military veteran JD Wilson’s film Shellfish will be screened at the Rutgers University-based New Jersey International Film Festival on Saturday, June 9th at 5:00pm.  The screening takes place on the Rutgers' New Brunswick campus in Voorhees Hall.  It is the feature film of the group, following screenings of several short films: The Magic of Reading by Claudia Moysset (4 minutes); Conflict by Barbara Holstein (5 minutes); Mr. Jim by Jack Foley (13 minutes); and Bullies by Daniel Bydlowski (28 minutes).  Shellfish is 40 minutes in length.  Many of the directors, including JD Wilson, will take part in a Q&A session during the evening.... READ ON


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