‘That Summer’ Review: Long-Lost ‘Grey Gardens’ Prequel Dignifies the Beales With Nostalgic Affection

Lee Radziwill emerges as a third player in the tale of Little Edie and Big Edie, who are restored to their former grace and beauty through her memory.

“Accidents are very important,” the artist Peter Beard says, perusing a book of his photographs and collages during the opening shots of “That Summer.” He’s referring to a double-exposed Polaroid of Andy Warhol, but the same applies to “That Summer,” not to mention its mammoth predecessor, “Grey Gardens.” Fans of the now-iconic 1975 documentary by Albert and David Maysles will recall the Beales, otherwise known as Big Edie and Little Edie, the outsized mother-daughter duo with ties to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. “Grey Gardens” does not bother with the precise nature of that relationship, nor does it make clear how the Maysles gained access to the Beales in the first place, despite having a friendly rapport with their subjects.

It should not be surprising, then, to learn that the idea to film the Beales of Grey Gardens came from none other than Lee Radziwill, niece to Big Edie and kid sister to Jackie O. Three years younger than Jackie, Radziwill is no less stunning or stylish. Even in crackling sepia-toned archival footage, her smile radiates and her relaxed Montauk look is effortlessly chic. Most fascinating to witness is how natural she is with both Edies, lovingly coaxing songs and anecdotes out of the bombastic duo. As she sits next to Big Edie in the sunshine, looking on affectionately and praising her singing, the resemblance is suddenly apparent. Simply hearing Radziwill say “Aunt Edie” changes the way we see the older woman; her warbling soprano sounds less plaintive as a memory to someone else.

After opening with Beard’s voiceover, the film later reveals the Montauk studio where the now-80-year-old artist still makes intricate collages, crouched on his knees. The same ink-stained thumb and strewn bits of paper appear in the 1972 footage, as well as the creative spirit and joie de vivre that Radziwill describes in her own voiceover. Beard is the person who drags Warhol out to Montauk, a funny and rare occurrence for those who knew him. The few choice shots of Warhol on the beach are a delight: Camera around his neck, a shock of white hair billowing under a beige bucket hat.

Lee Radziwill photographed by Jonas Mekas

Lee Radziwill photographed by Jonas Mekas

Jonas Mekas/IFC Films

The renovation of Grey Gardens, the Beales’ derelict country manor, is the summer’s unifying activity and the topic of much discussion around the house. The nieces led the charge equally, but Radziwill is the one seen negotiating with the contractors and keeping the town appeased. When two inspectors from the Board of Health stop by, Big Edie insists they admire her portrait. They’ve both seen it before, they say, the last time they were here. Little Edie whispers matter-of-factly to her mother: “They both lost weight. The Board of Health people, they both lost weight.”

Which brings us to the major selling point of “That Summer”: The witty zingers that made the world first fall in love with the Beales in “Grey Gardens.” While Big Edie was famous for her serenades, Little Edie always had the best one-liners. “The thing I’m always looking for. Either my pants or my make-up. Nobody wears pants nowadays,” she quips. Here she is teasing Beard about his picky eating: “You might be more charming if you put on 3 ounces.” Or speaking to spirits: “I made visual contact today. I pierced the veil.” Touring the overgrown grounds, Little Edie sinks into an armchair that has become one with the natural surroundings. “Nobody ever sat in it ever. Except me. So I call it ‘the disappointed chair.'”

Emerging as an engaging third character in the Beale saga, Radziwill has her own gags up her sleeve. “This Bouvier vanity reminds me of my father,” she jokes to Big Edie. The film, completed with footage once considered lost, was originally intended to be a look at a disappearing community in Montauk, one of many noble artistic pursuits that never reached completion. On her search for the real Montauk, Radziwill meets a former neighbor of her father’s, John “Black Jack” Bouvier III, who can hardly look her in the eye when he says Jack brought a different lady to Montauk every weekend.

If the deliciously grainy archival footage were the only thing “That Summer” had to offer, it would be enough. But by including Beard and Radziwill’s introspective voiceovers, Swedish director Göran Hugo Olsson (“The Black Power Mixtape”) creates a nostalgic meditation that touches on both cultural and historical memory. Not only does the film breathe new life into an American family surrounded by tragic mythos, but it sheds light on a cinematic treasure that forever changed documentary filmmaking. A treasure we would not have without Radziwill, who is more acutely aware than most of memory’s import As she says in the movie —”Without memory, there is no life.”

Grade: A-

“That Summer” is currently playing theaters. 

‘The House That Jack Built’: Watch Clips From the Lars von Trier Serial Killer Film That Outraged Cannes

Matt Dillon, Uma Thurman, and Riley Keough deliver chilling performances in this first look at von Trier’s most controversial film yet.

When Danish enfant terrible Lars von Trier premiered “The House That Jack Built” at Cannes last week, it was no surprise that the brutal serial killer film inspired walkouts by the dozens. Clocking in at two and a half hours, The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw declared it “an ordeal of gruesomeness and tiresomeness, quite as exasperating as I feared, but leading to what I have to admit is a spectacular horror finale,” while Variety’s Ramin Setoodeh called it “one of the most unpleasant movie-going experiences of my life.” With such illustrious fanfare, von Trier fans are foaming at the mouth to catch a glimpse of the provocateur’s most controversial film yet.

Von Trier’s production company, Zentropa, has released five images and three clips from the film, including nail-biting scenes between Matt Dillon and Uma Thurman, Riley Keough, and Jeremy Davies. Dillon is making a career comeback as Jack, a serial killer known as Mr. Sophistication. Set during 1970s, the film charts five murders that shaped his illustrious career, told from his point of view.

The official synopsis elaborates: “He views each murder as an artwork in itself, even though his dysfunction gives him problems in the outside world. Despite the fact that the final and inevitable police intervention is drawing ever near (which both provokes and puts pressure on Jack) he is – contrary to all logic – set on taking greater and greater chances. The goal is the ultimate artwork: A collection of all his killings manifested in a House that he builds. Along the way we experience Jack’s descriptions of his personal condition, problems and thoughts through a recurring conversation with the unknown Verge – a grotesque mixture of sophistry mixed with an almost childlike self-pity and in-depth explanations of, for Jack, dangerous and difficult manoeuvres.”

Check out the clips and images below.

Here are the recently released images:

Matt Dillon The House That Jack Built

The House That Jack Built

Matt Dillon The House That Jack Built

Uma Thurman The House That Jack Built

Uma Thurman in “The House That Jack Built”

IFC Films

‘Sorry to Bother You’ Red Band Trailer: Lakeith Stanfield and Tessa Thompson Sizzle in Summer’s Freshest Comedy

Boots Riley’s Sundance hit gets an explosive new trailer, including a look at Armie Hammer’s cocaine-addled Silicon Valley bro.

Sorry to Bother You” has released an electrifying new Red Band trailer, and it’s easy to see why the comedy is one of the most hotly anticipated movies of the summer. Written and directed by hip hop artist/producer Boots Riley, the movie stars Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, and Armie Hammer. Stanfield plays a telemarketer who quickly ascends the corporate ladder once he adopts a “white voice,” and things only get weirder from there. The new trailer teases some of the movie’s more inventive tricks, offering an eye-popping introduction to Riley’s wholly original cinematic voice.

Per the official synopsis: “In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, telemarketer Cassius Green discovers a magical key to professional success, propelling him into a macabre universe.” In his B+ review out of Sundance, IndieWire’s Eric Kohn wrote: “[‘Sorry to Bother You’] foregrounds a series of ludicrous developments based around the challenges facing African Americans in a white-dominated consumer society, and leaves you with the impression that even the most ridiculous moments contain some tidbits of truth.”

Steven Yeun, Jermaine Fowler, Omari Hardwick, Terry Crews, Patton Oswalt, David Cross, and Danny Glover round out the ensemble cast. Annapurna will release “Sorry to Bother You” in theaters on July 6. Check out the Red Band trailer below.

‘Whitney’ Trailer: Bobby Brown & Cissy Houston Answer Tough Questions About the Legend

“Marley” director Kevin Macdonald’s Whitney Houston documentary premieres at a Cannes Midnight Screening.

The face, the smile, the voice: Whitney Houston was an American treasure who ended in American tragedy. A new documentary by Kevin Macdonald promises to ask hard questions of those who knew her best, although with her parents as executive producers it’s unclear how balanced “Whitney” will be. Access has its advantages, however, and the film description teases never-before-seen archival footage, exclusive demo recordings, and rare performances from the iconic diva.

A new trailer includes sit-down interviews with Houston’s controversial ex-husband Bobby Brown, soul singer mother Cissy Houston, as well as many other friends and family. The subject of Houston’s former best friend and rumored lover Robyn Crawford does come up, although Crawford does not appear to be involved in the film. An earlier film, “Whitney. Can I Be Me,” released in 2017, strongly suggested Crawford and Houston were in love.

With the family’s blessing, “Whitney” may not delve too deeply into Houston’s sexuality, but that doesn’t mean it’s playing it safe. One choice clip shows Houston throwing shade at another pop star of her time. “Paula Abdul ain’t shit. That girl is singing off key on the record,” she says, reclining in a white bath robe.

Roadside Attractions will release “Whitney” in theaters on July 6. Check out the trailer below.

Terry Crews Says Accepting His Own Toxic Masculinity Inspired His #MeToo Moment — Watch

“I was guilty. I was a card-carrying member of this toxic masculine world,” the “Deadpool 2” said in a lengthy interview on “Megyn Kelly Today.”

Ever since coming out about his own experience with sexual assault in October of last year, Terry Crews has become a vocal member of the #MeToo movement. Days after The New York Times published its initial bombshell expose on Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual assaults, the “Deadpool 2” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” actor tweeted about his own experience in Hollywood, saying he was groped by a male talent agent in 2016. (The William Morris Agency denies the allegations). As the first man to join #MeToo, Crews has since become a vocal feminist ally and critic of toxic masculinity. In a candid interview on “Megyn Kelly Today,” he recounted the moment that inspired him to join the movement.

“I could not move. I remember just shaking. When I say PTSD, it’s one of those things where everything just comes flooding back… I just started tweeting,” he said. “There’s no question. Could I have knocked him out? Everybody’s like, ‘just knock him out’ or whatever. But let me tell you something: This is America. I can’t do that as who I am. Because first of all, who is gonna believe me?”

It was his wife who warned him early on in his career that people were going to provoke him, and he had to learn to not react. “There are so many young black men in jail simply for reacting to things that were done to them,” he said. “You are never seen as a victim until you’re dead.”

The whole incident allowed him to re-asses of the masculine posturing he learned growing up as a black man, and realizing certain toxic behaviors had nothing to do with being a man or being black. “I was guilty. I was a card-carrying member of this toxic masculine world,” he said.

Watch the entire interview with Crews below.

‘Disobedience’: Jews and Lesbians on the Sex Scene That Will Literally Snatch Your Wig — Watch

The love scene between Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams had everyone talking. IndieWire’s Rude Jude asked audiences about the romance, the wigs, and that infamous spit exchange.

When “Disobedience” first premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last September, the tender, forbidden romance between an Orthodox Jewish woman and her childhood girlfriend became upstaged by a short but memorable move during their one lengthy and passionate sex scene: The spitting. The six-minute-long scene was more respectful than the those in 2013’s controversial Palme d’Or winner “Blue is the Warmest Color,” but the sight of Rachel Weisz spitting into Rachel McAdams’ mouth caused as much of a stir. Equal parts emotional and animal, the women hardly remove their clothes in the scene, and the camera stays close on their faces throughout the pivotal consummation. The lesbian sex scene is a touchy subject in queer cinema; so often it is distorted by what Laura Mulvey termed “the male gaze.” “Disobedience” is a rare example of a man directing lesbian sex respectfully and authentically.

Based on the novel by Naomi Alderman and directed by Sebastián Lelio, “Disobedience” follows Esty (McAdams), a married woman from an ultra-Orthodox community who is in love with Ronit (Weisz), the rabbi’s daughter who left religious life as a teenager but returns after her father’s death. Dovid (Alessandro Nivola) welcomes Ronit into his home warmly, but soon must confront his wife’s predilections.

“It was probably one of the most intense films I’ve seen in my life,” said Liebe, a formerly Orthodox woman who saw the film at an early screening at the JCC in Manhattan. “The last film that came out framed the Jewish community in a really negative way—’One Of Us.’ People who don’t know a lot about Judaism saw that film and walked out thinking negatively towards the community, whereas this is real, and nobody’s a bad guy. That idea of choice is something that people grapple with every day,” she said.

Another woman named Dani was struck by an earlier sex scene between Dovid and Esty, which feels obligatory and dispassionate. “That was quite painful to watch, ’cause again, that could have been me,” she said. “What I really like about it is that it’s actually exploring two identities: It’s exploring the ex-Orthodox identity and the queer identity. What I think Rachel Weisz does so well is embody both of those identities together.”

Davy, who was raised in a conservative Jewish family, explained: “I have a lot of friends who are off the derach (off the path) because they’re queer. It’s definitely hard for them. But I think it’s so important to see themselves represented in media, as it is for everyone.” While most women felt the film honored Jewish community and tradition, Liebe did have one note. “My one critique is it’s not that easy to take off a wig… They usually have some sort of grip.” As for the spitting, Davy was open-minded: “It’s not a habit of mine, but to each their own. If that’s how they want to express themselves, that’s fine.”

Check out our interviews with audience members about “Disobedience” below.

Aziz Ansari Performs First Public Stand Up Set After Sexual Misconduct Allegations

The “Master of None” creator tested out new material over the weekend at famed New York venue The Comedy Cellar, a favorite haunt of Louis C.K.

Aziz Ansari made his first stage appearance since being accused of sexual misconduct in January. According Brooklyn Vegan, the comedian performed multiple sets at The Comedy Cellar, a New York club favored by Louis C.K., who was accused of sexual misconduct in November of 2017. While Ansari’s appearance was not advertised, he reportedly performed multiple surprise drop-in sets from Wednesday to Sunday of last week. Topics covered included Starbucks, racism, millennials, as well as some crowd work. The comedian and “Master of None” creator has been keeping a low profile since the allegations initially broke.

On January 13, the website Babe.net published a firsthand account from an anonymous 23-year-old woman who said Ansari behaved inappropriately while on a September 2017 date with her. “I believe that I was taken advantage of by Aziz,” she said. “I was not listened to and ignored. It was by far the worst experience with a man I’ve ever had,” she added. “It took a really long time for me to validate this as sexual assault.”

Three days later, Ansari released a statement denying the allegations. “We went out to dinner, and afterwards we ended up engaging in sexual activity, which by all indications was completely consensual,” he wrote. “I continue to support the movement that is happening in our culture. It is necessary and long overdue.”

Multiple attendees wrote on social media about seeing Ansari perform. “I saw Aziz Anzari at the Comedy Cellar last night and if I told people this a year ago they’d be like ‘cool’ but now they’re like ‘oh,'” wrote one audience member. Another was more enthusiastic: “Finally got into the famous Comedy Cellar tonight in NYC! Tracy Morgan AND Aziz Ansari showed up unannounced to practice material!!! So happy.”

The comedian and DJ Cipha Sounds hosted a Sunday brunch event, and voiced support for Ansari, tweeting a photo and referring to him as “My Aziz.” Other performers on the Mother’s Day show included Gary Vider, Matthew Broussard, Emmy Blotnick, Chris Gethard, and Sean Patton. Tracy Morgan also performed at least once.