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Upper East Side Theater - Sun, 11/22/2015 - 19:13
       Based on the novel by Colm Toibin, "Brooklyn" is a  exquisite and moving new drama. Director John Crowley and screenwriter Nick Hornby make magic together telling the story of Eilis Lacey, a young Irish immigrant who comes to New York in the early 1950's.        Saoirse Ronan stars as Eilis and it is the performance of a lifetime for this fine young actress. She is literally luminescent in every scene. Expressing a full range of emotions as she arrives in Brooklyn, Eilis is, at first shy and homesick but eventually finds her way. Her life takes a turn for the better when she meets Tony but it is not long after that, a tragedy forces her to return to Ireland. Returning home, her two worlds collide and difficult choices have to be made.        Emory Cohen plays Tony and his courtship of Eilis is so natural and sweet, it's a joy to watch. We find ourselves embracing these characters and become completely invested in their lives. All the supporting actors, including Julie Waters, Jim Broadbent, Jessica Pare, Domhnall Gleeson, and Brid Brennan are also terrific.         The cinematography, lighting and costumes envelop the audience in a simpler time.  It is rare to find this kind of old fashioned drama in today's movie climate. Go for the fine storytelling and the appreciation of Ms. Ronan's wonderful performance. 
Categories: Blogs


Upper East Side Theater - Tue, 11/17/2015 - 00:57
     Based on the best selling novel by Emma Donoghue, "Room" is an intense drama of fierce maternal love as well as sexual and psychological abuse.      Kidnapped at 17 and locked away in a shed where she is repeatedly raped for seven years, "Ma" gives birth to Jack, who's entire world exists inside "Room". When the film opens, we observe Ma and Jack's daily existence locked inside "Room". Jack is five years old and the inside of the shed is the only world he knows except for what he sees on a small TV set, that he believes is all made up.       The bond between mother and son is unbreakable and even "Old Nick" as Ma has decided to call her tormentor can't come between them. This is a remarkable drama with a screenplay by the author that mirrors her novel almost scene for scene. The camera work and set design of "Room" gives the viewer a 360 degree angle of the claustrophobic world they inhabit.       The story is narrated by Jack so most of what happens is from his point of view. When"Old Nick" pays his "visits" to Ma, she puts Jack inside a cabinet to shield him from what is about to happen. The camera stays on Jack as he tries to make sense of what might be happening on the other side of the cabinet door. The film is directed by Lenny Abrahamson with a very delicate touch.        This is an emotional powerhouse of a story. Brie Larson as "Ma" and Jacob Tremblay as "Jack" are both incredible. The chemistry between them is undeniable and young Master Tremblay is nothing short of astonishing. Joan Allen co-stars along with a brief cameo by William H. Macy as Jack's grandparents.           While the subject matter and plot sound horrific, the focus is really on the relationship between mother and son and there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel.
Categories: Blogs


Upper East Side Theater - Sat, 11/14/2015 - 21:58
            Co-writer and director Tom McCarthy's riveting new film is based on the true story of how a group of Boston Globe reporters exposed a massive scandal and cover up of child molestation by priests in the local archdiocese. It is the best investigative thriller since "All The President's Men".        The film stars an ensemble of quality actors. Liev Schreiber is Marty Baron, the new editor in chief who strongly "suggests" opening an investigation into the church. The team of specialized reporters known as "Spotlight" are played by Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, and Brian D'Arcy James. their boss is Walter "Robby " Robinson, played by Michael Keaton. While all are just terrific, it is Mr. Ruffalo and Mr. Keaton who really stand out. They inhabit their roles so completely, you forget you are watching actors. The film also stars John Slattery, Stanley Tucci, Billy Crudup and Jamey Sheridan as various real life characters important to the story. If there was an Oscar for best ensemble, this group would be a lock for the award.This is storytelling at its dramatic best. Mr. McCarthy and his co-writer, Josh Singer get all the details right and the script isn't afraid to tackle this delicate subject matter head on. Mr. McCarthy directs his ensemble with an even hand, giving each actor a chance to shine in various scenes. Howard Shore's music drives the action and keeps the story moving at a brisk pace.Thought provoking, revealing and extremely entertaining, "Spotlight" is easily one of the best films of the year.
Categories: Blogs


Upper East Side Theater - Tue, 11/10/2015 - 00:11
      Director Sam Mendes returns with star Daniel Craig for the 24th  James Bond film. This is Mr. Craig's fourth turn as Bond and rumor has it, it will be his last. Mr. Mendes previous partnership with Mr. Craig resulted in the biggest grossing Bond film ever, the terrific "Skyfall".        "Spectre" follows the Bond formula perfectly and the result is far from terrific.  Seeking to top their last effort, they instead cram in every element of what you have come to expect from James Bond and end up with an overstuffed turkey. Granted it's a tasty meal at times but the formula shows it's age and between the fine action sequences, boredom has set in.      The plots reveals a thread running through all four of Mr. Craig's films that seeks to bring closure to his tenure as Bond. Christoph Waltz plays Oberhauser, chewing the scenery as the over the top villain. In typical Bond fashion, he explains everything to the trapped hero facing certain death. His great reveal should come as no surprise to Bond fans. The film also stars Ralph Fiennes as M, Naomie Harris as Moneypenny, Ben Wishaw as Q, Andrew Scott as C, and Lea Seydoux as Madeline Swann, the requisite Bond "girl", who holds her own for most of the story but in the end, still needs to be rescued by our hero.          Of course there are some spectacular action sequences and beautiful scenery but something about it all seems too familiar. Maybe it's a comfort level we've come to expect from these films but you can telegraph every sequence before they happen. There really is no suspense anymore.         Mr. Craig wears a stiff upper lip along with his finely tailored clothes whether he is seducing Monica Bellucci, an assassin's widow, for information or getting tossed about like a rag doll by wrestler, David Bautista in a train sequence that pays homage to both "Goldfinger" and "From Russia With Love" at the same time. In fact, there are many moments that honor Bond history and that is one of the most enjoyable things about the film.         With or without Mr. Craig, James Bond will return and fans (including this one) will look forward to it with much anticipation. I can only hope the next one will be called "Phoenix" as it rises out of  Spectre's ashes.
Categories: Blogs

Thanksgiving is almost here: Order now!

Our 2015 Thanksgiving Menu is available online (download here)! We apologize, but we cannot accept orders or make changes to orders after 5pm on FRIDAY NOVEMBER 20TH.
Categories: Blogs


Upper East Side Theater - Fri, 10/30/2015 - 18:52
      Back in 2004, "60 Minutes" ran a story that ultimately forced Dan Rather to resign and got producer Mary Mapes fired. This is the newsroom drama of the story behind that story.       Cate Blanchett stars as Mary Mapes, the hard driving "60 Minutes" producer who "doesn't like bullies" and is a relentless journalist. Robert Redford co-stars as Dan Rather, long time anchor of "60 Minutes" and a iconic journalism figure in television news.  Mr. Redford looks nothing like the real Dan Rather but he does a good job capturing his vocal mannerisms and of course his acting is excellent. Ms. Blanchett looks very little like Mary Mapes as well but her acting is outstanding  and I wouldn't be surprised if there is another Oscar nomination in her future.        There is a terrific supporting cast as well. Topher Grace, Elisabeth Moss,  and Dennis Quaid are all part of Ms. Mapes investigative team. Bruce Greenwood is Andrew Heywood, the head of the CBS News division. Stacy Keach, John Benjamin Hickey, and Dermot Mulroney all play key roles in the drama.        The story is a compelling look at news and politics and a cautionary tale for any news reporter. Watching the story behind the story unfold and then have everything fall apart is fascinating. Does the film ever get to the actual "truth" is debatable but there is no question Ms. Mapes and Mr. Rather are portrayed as scapegoats by CBS management.
Categories: Blogs

Crimson Peak

Upper East Side Theater - Fri, 10/30/2015 - 18:52
         Writer/director Guillermo del Toro has crafted a beautiful ghost story that unfortunately is more style than substance.  What it lacks in scares, it makes up for in a gorgeous set piece of a haunted house.           When Thomas Sharpe (played by the dashing Tom Hiddleston) marries Edith Cushing ( a plucky Mia Wasikowska), he brings her home to to his crumbling mansion, nicknamed Crimson Peak because of the red clay under the grounds. He lives there with his sister (A very creepy Jessica Chastain). Part of the problem is that the second half of the film is just three characters, only one unfamiliar with the ghost that haunts the house. After one or two preliminary appearances, the ghost just isn't very scary. Ms. Chastain is actually the scariest thing in the film, her character revealing more and more of an evil side as the film progresses.           The first half of the film is all set up with one quick "scare" at the onset but it takes too long to get to the "haunted House" half of the film. Mr. Hiddleston is dashing but weak willed compared to his sister who has obvious plans for his new bride. Ms. Wasikowska is a luminescent heroine but how many times can we watch her wander the empty halls of the mansion? Charlie Hunnam also co-stars as a family friend of Edith's who harbors a secret love for her.             It's the mansion itself that is the star of the film. Mr. del Toro has a distinct visual style and pulls out all the stops with amazing art direction (and costumes for that matter). The ghosts of the film look creepy enough but there is a lack of suspense that dampens the scares.              Mr. del Toro will be had pressed to top his masterpiece, "Pan's Labyrinth" and for real scares, check out his earlier film "The Devil's Backbone".
Categories: Blogs

Bridge of Spies

Upper East Side Theater - Thu, 10/29/2015 - 12:57
     Once again director Steven Spielberg has crafted an impeccable film that holds it's own with the best of the cold war dramas.  With Tom Hanks as his "go to" leading man, the film is a suspenseful, thought provoking drama based on a true story.      The Jimmy Stewart of his generation, Mr. Hanks is perfectly cast as James Donovan, an insurance lawyer who is asked to defend Russian spy, Rudolph Abel (played by the wonderful Mark Rylance). It's clear it's a case he can't win but his morality and ethics still move him to do the best job possible. When U.S. pilot, Gary Powers is shot down over Russia and accused (rightly so) of spying, it is Donovan who is asked to negotiate the exchange of spies in East Berlin. But of course it comes with a twist that complicates matters .       Mr. Hanks has played these kind of roles before, the straight laced hero but it's fun to see his character annoyed by a head cold, downing scotches to feel better throughout the film. Mr. Rylance is brilliant as Abel and I hope to see him get a best supporting Oscar nomination.  Co-starring as Donovan's wife is Amy Ryan and Sebastian Koch as a shadowy East Berlin lawyer.       The screenplay is by Matt Charman and the Coen Brothers. It is cerebral yet accessible to a broad audience with more than one clever line. Mr. Spielberg's recreation of cold war Berlin and the Berlin wall is chillingly authentic (no pun intended) as is everything else in the film. It's a heartfelt tribute to Mr. Donovan, who's work for our government deserves the recognition.
Categories: Blogs