Marc Levin

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HBO Documentary Screening Of 'Triangle: Remembering The Fire' at The Silver Center For Arts & Science at NYU

Marc Levin - Bruce Raynor and Marc Levin New York City, USA - HBO Documentary Screening Of 'Triangle: Remembering The Fire' at The Silver Center For Arts & Science at NYU Tuesday 15th March 2011

Mr. Untouchable Review


OK
It has to be the oddest situation of pointless one-upmanship imaginable. On the one side is Frank Lucas, glamorized urban criminal and self-proclaimed king of '70s Harlem heroin. His corporate, buttoned-down approach to people poisoning would eventually become the source of cinematic legend, polished and de-fanged by Ridley Scott and his soulless American Gangster. And on the other side is Leroy "Nicky" Barnes, king pimp of the same paradigm. To hear him tell it (in the insightful new documentary Mr. Untouchable), Lucas was an illiterate Carolina boy who embarrassed himself on the streets of New York. Instead, it was Barnes who created the mafia-subverting network of connections that would lead a city to swelter in a decade long grip of addiction.

Why anyone would want to win this contest remains a concept outside the actual narrative provided by filmmaker Marc Levin. With access to the actual figures fictionalized in Scott's crime drama, as well as an unusual amount of openness from said participants (most have done their time and are ready to rewrite history), we get the seedier side of the Me Decade in the Big Apple. Barnes describes his own pretend professionalism, taking credit for turning drug dealing into an "above board" case of supply and demand. His associates discuss their designer clothes, outlandish jewelry, and the lovely ladies that hung from their arms like erotic accessories. Thanks to some incredible archival footage, we witness the actual nude dope factories, bare-ass biz-natches cutting and bagging the killer powder.

Continue reading: Mr. Untouchable Review

Protocols of Zion Review


Good
Cabbies say the darnedest things. While many people have had a whole range of cabdriver conversations, most of us haven't had an eye-opener like the one filmmaker Marc Levin had with an Egyptian driver who told him that no Jews had died on 9/11. It's a "theory" which says that Israel warned all Jews working at the World Trade Center to stay home that day and is not only accepted as gospel in certain quarters but can also be traced to that ur-text of modern anti-Semitism, The Protocols of the Meetings of the Learned Elders of Zion. How Levin barnstorms from the 9/11 theory to the Protocols is far from neat or focused, but always enlightening and often surprisingly funny.

Although his resume boasts a healthy dose of gritty HBO non-fiction slices of low life, Levin doesn't disappear behind the camera - as is the standard for such work - he puts himself right in the thick of it. Levin listens in disbelief at Ground Zero as an activist repeats the 9/11 fallacy to him before launching into the standard-issue rant about how Jews control New York. Pointing out that Mayor Bloomberg's predecessor was Rudy Giuliani, the man doesn't miss a beat before saying, "You said it. Jew-liani." Later, Levin is chatting amiably with a white supremacist who proudly displays his warehouse of hate literature (Protocols of Zion on backorder) and determines that Rupert Murdoch must be Jewish. Evidence? He's a media mogul. Q.E.D.

Continue reading: Protocols of Zion Review

Protocols of Zion Review


Good
Cabbies say the darnedest things. While many people have had a whole range of cabdriver conversations, most of us haven't had an eye-opener like the one filmmaker Marc Levin had with an Egyptian driver who told him that no Jews had died on 9/11. It's a "theory" which says that Israel warned all Jews working at the World Trade Center to stay home that day and is not only accepted as gospel in certain quarters but can also be traced to that ur-text of modern anti-Semitism, The Protocols of the Meetings of the Learned Elders of Zion. How Levin barnstorms from the 9/11 theory to the Protocols is far from neat or focused, but always enlightening and often surprisingly funny.

Although his resume boasts a healthy dose of gritty HBO non-fiction slices of low life, Levin doesn't disappear behind the camera - as is the standard for such work - he puts himself right in the thick of it. Levin listens in disbelief at Ground Zero as an activist repeats the 9/11 fallacy to him before launching into the standard-issue rant about how Jews control New York. Pointing out that Mayor Bloomberg's predecessor was Rudy Giuliani, the man doesn't miss a beat before saying, "You said it. Jew-liani." Later, Levin is chatting amiably with a white supremacist who proudly displays his warehouse of hate literature (Protocols of Zion on backorder) and determines that Rupert Murdoch must be Jewish. Evidence? He's a media mogul. Q.E.D.

Continue reading: Protocols of Zion Review

Whiteboys Review


Terrible
Well, it turns out that a movie based on a one-joke premise (white guys in Iowa think they're gangsta rappers and, you know, front) can indeed fill 90 minutes with that one joke.

Too bad the joke is not funny. At all. Whiteboys (aka the street-friendly Whiteboyz) claims "It's all good!" but that's far from the truth. Actually, it's all insulting and moronic, as Hoch and co. try their hand at street talk and drug dealing with deliterious effects. Is this a comedy? I don't think so. Not on purpose, anyway. The film gets even worse with Hoch's frequent regressions into dream-sequence land, punctuated by real rapper cameos.

Continue reading: Whiteboys Review

Slam Review


OK
Enter the gritty world of urban street poetry that you never knew existed. Not that you may care too much after seeing Slam, which basically portrays said poetry as "rap lite." The story features a two-bit drug dealer (Williams) who gets arrested and has to wrestle with whether to cop a plea or fight the charges. Along the way, lots of poetry is to be had plus a romance with fellow poet Sohn. The problem of course is that he really is a two-bit drug dealer, not a victim of circumstance, so what the hell do we care? Williams the poet is interesting, but Williams the actor is lacking in focus, alternately lifeless and over-the-top hammy. Unless you're really into the poetry slam scene, you'll likely find yourself wishing for a tome of Whitman or Frost.

Brooklyn Babylon Review


Grim
From Mississippi Masala to Jungle Fever, interracial dating has always been an exciting topic that Hollywood has embraced and ended up using to produce... some really boring movies.

The overly familiar-sounding Brooklyn Babylon features (see if you can guess) a Rastafarian black man (Tariq Trotter) and a Jewish woman (Karen Goberman) who come together on the eve of nearly full-blown race riots, all brought on because of a fender bender between his friend and her brother. Oy vey, now that's original.

Continue reading: Brooklyn Babylon Review

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