When Martin Scorsese puts away his strutting cocks—his raging bulls, goodfellas and Wall Street wolves—the results can be astounding. This quieter, lesser-seen director is the one who gave us The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), the exquisite period piece The Age of Innocence (1993) and now Silence, a furiously alive and concentrated parable about faith under fire set in 17th-century Japan that ranks among the greatest achievements of spiritually minded cinema. That’s the level Scorsese has reached; don’t even think he’s not capable of it. Like much of Scorsese’s work, Silence is consumed with doubt, ego and sacrifice—this time, of black-robed Portuguese missionaries in a foreign land, one that ends up breaking them. But the refinement here is something else. Based on a 1966 novel by Shûsaku Endô, Silence is a project Scorsese obsessed over for close to 30 years, and you notice that: It looks and feels lean, with no wasted gestures, only inward agony. It’s his most mature movie, almost completely free of comic relief yet vibrating with passion and, provocatively, an apocalyptic sense of conviction burning to the ground. Two bearded Jesuits, idealistic Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield, wet-eyed and soulful) and his sturdy counterpart, Garupe (Adam Driver), make up an “army of two,” heading to a Japan shrouded in smoke and mystery. It’s partly the terrain of Scorsese’s beloved Akira Kurosawa—epics like Ran and Throne of Blood—and partly a natural paradise. (Cinematographer Rodrigo
The young writer-director Damien Chazelle has followed his Oscar-winning drama Whiplash with another entirely novel film steeped in the world of music. His soaring, romantic, extremely stylish and endlessly inventive La La Land is that rare beast: a grown-up movie musical that's not kitschy, a joke or a Bollywood film. Instead, it's a swooning, beautifully crafted ode to the likes of Jacques Demy's The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and Stanley Donen's Singin' in the Rain that plays out in the semi-dream world of Los Angeles and manages to condense the ups and downs of romantic love into a very Tinseltown toe-tapping fable. La La Land boasts stars to fall in love with: Ryan Gosling is Seb, a brooding pianist and jazz purist who dreams of running his own nightclub, while Emma Stone plays Mia, a more sunny studio-lot barista and aspiring actor who dreams of putting on her own plays. The film follows them from winter to fall and back to winter as they meet, argue, flirt, fall in love and face a growing conflict between their personal passions and romantic hopes. There are tender and imaginative moments to die for: Stone mouthing along to a cover version of “I Ran” at a pool party; the pair watching their legs discover the power of tap while sitting on a bench; the two of them flying into the stars and waltzing while visiting Griffith Observatory—a moment inspired by a trip to see Rebel Without a Cause. There are songs, there are dances (and Gosling and Stone prove easy naturals at bot
The first movie had Keanu Reeves’s stoic man of action taking on the Russian mobsters who killed his dog—a vengeance with a vicious edge. No, they haven’t come for his cat this time, but the taciturn ex-assassin is still prone to murderous rages. It turns out John’s unsanctioned rampage broke the laws that all hired killers follow, so he faces some hefty consequences. The ensuing disciplinary action shuttles our antihero from New York to Rome and back again, always one step ahead of his former colleagues who (unwisely) won’t let it go. John Wick: Chapter 2 opens with a movie projected on a wall, as John races past an outdoor screening of a silent slapstick comedy. It’s an unsubtle but appropriate image: None of this is meant to be taken too seriously. Just sit back and enjoy the stunts, the speed and the style. Reeves has more than a touch of Buster Keaton about him, staying stone-faced as he blasts, karate-kicks and throat-punches his way through literally hundreds of faceless underworld goons. And what a stupendously entertaining ride it is. Former stuntman Chad Stahelski is back in the director’s chair, and he knows his craft inside out: Every body blow lands hard, every gunshot roars like thunder. Neon-lit and gloomy, the film is lovely to look at (think Drive’s Nicolas Winding Refn without the pretension). The humor is charmingly self-deprecating—a series of adversarial grunt-offs between Reeves and fellow assassin Cassian (Common) is a highlight—and the testosterone-h
You couldn’t be blamed for low expectations if you wandered into Salvation Taco, the new stylized taqueria located in the budget Pod 39 Hotel. During prime loosen-your-tie-and-slip-off-your-pumps evening hours, the Murray Hill crowd can be as obnoxious as a roving band of SantaCon reindeer. And the place is in-your-face garish, like a party joint imported from Cancun spring break, with bright Christmas lights and a wall covered in fake fruit. But that first impression tells only half the story. With April Bloomfield running the kitchen and Ken Friedman in charge of everything else, this is far from your typical after-work sloshfest. The powerhouse team behind the Spotted Pig and the Breslin is playing against type—like Danny Meyer reinventing the burger shack or Tom Colicchio launching a sandwich chain—bringing their highbrow skills into a new mass-market arena. The venue—as colorful as a Mexican blanket, decked out in a rainbow of thrift-store junk—skews younger than any this team has opened previously, designed to fit the Pod’s youth-hostel vibe. The sprawling space, a happy-hour rec room, features two long votive-lit bars, plush couches for lounging and Ping-Pong tables in glass-enclosed nooks. It is first and foremost a place to imbibe, its Mexicanish finger food mostly designed for easy consumption while clutching an icy cerveza. Bloomfield could have phoned it in for this out-of-her-wheelhouse venture. But instead she’s raising the bar on dirt-cheap Mexican snacks: S
Francis Picabia was born in Paris to a French mother and an aristocratic Cuban father whose fortune afforded the artist a life of fast cars, fabulous parties and frequent amorous conquests. According to the catalog for MoMA’s fantastic retrospective, Picabia (1879–1953) was “singularly wealthy” among his avant-garde cohort, but more pertinent, perhaps, was the sense of entitlement that allowed him to upend convention—apparently, for the hell of it. A self-styled “funny guy,” Picabia was the great-granddaddy of bad-boy art, a restive genius and check-writing machine for later artists who cashed in on his accomplishments—though his work, like that of frequent co-conspirator Marcel Duchamp, wasn’t fully appreciated until the 1960s. Unlike Duchamp, Picabia remained a painter and, as such, was both gadfly and butterfly, confounding critics by mixing high and low culture while flitting between abstraction and representation. He embraced Impressionism, Cubism, Dadaism and photo-based realism and also oscillated between revolutionary and reactionary impulses in ways that complicate our understanding of his political inclinations. Though disgusted by the carnage of World War I, for example, he remained in Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II, living in Vichy France. MoMA wrangles Picabia’s fractious career with a chronological approach that brings order out of stylistic chaos. The show begins in the early 1900s with Picabia the late-blooming Impressionist, who, rather antithetic
Just when you thought it was safe to schedule a relaxing water-therapy cleanse, A Cure for Wellness comes along and ruins spas forever. Dank with greenish tiled interiors and an unshakable sense of dread, this lovably icky horror film mounts a sumptuous, immersive universe, the kind that big-budgeted Hollywood rarely seems imaginative enough to try. We’re in an alpine Swiss retreat, hidden behind an elaborate gate of metallic snakes and staffed by scowling attendants in white. It doesn’t seem like a place where health gets restored. For this marvelous feat of production design alone—one that would turn Italian horror maestro Dario Argento several shades of envy—the movie deserves a peek. Before we get there, though, there’s a deceptive launching-off point in Manhattan’s cutthroat business world, where rising young exec Lockhart (Dane DeHaan), a Patrick Bateman-style asshole in the making, squirms his way out of the blame for some corporate malfeasance. To get the target off his back, he’ll have to head to Europe to fetch the company’s twitchy CEO, lost to the spa’s waters, whose correspondence indicates a cracked mind. A quick visit in and out, right? Nope: After Lockhart suffers an immobilizing accident that binds him in a leg cast, the ominous Volmer Institute becomes his caretaker (an “enforced vacation,” Jason Isaacs’s chief doctor puts it, not winning any points for bedside manner). Leisurely and hypnotically, A Cure for Wellness spins out its series of unsettling sce
There is no place in New York that better welcomes commuters to the Big Apple than this gorgeous Beaux-Arts train station. For the past century, the 44 platforms–the most platforms of any train station in the world–have kept New Yorkers rolling in and out of the city on a constant basis with 750,000 commuters walking through it’s storied halls each day. If you have time before your departure on the MetroNorth, make a day of it with an old fashioned shoe shine from the celebrated cobblers at Leather Spa followed by lunch at Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant. The gorgeous eatery with its vaulted opulent ceiling, which opened the same year as the terminal in 1913, serves a brilliant Bloody Mary, and, as to be expected has quite the extensive selection of oysters from the New England, Mid-Atlantic and the Pacific West regions (typically between $2-$4 per raw oyster). Even if you don’t have time for a meal, give yourself a moment to admire the architecture of the 70-acre complex. While much of the building seems like a throwback, it was seen as a technological accomplishment and when it opened it was one of the world’s first all-electric buildings. The main concourse is the true show-stopper: Stand next to the iconic Grand Central Terminal Clock and look to the Cathedral-like ceiling to admire the constellations, which, according the original owners, the Vanderbilt family, were painted in reverse order as if to see the stars from a divine perspective.
A horror film with the power to put a rascally grin on the face of that great genre subverter John Carpenter (They Live), Get Out has more fun playing with half-buried racial tensions than with scaring us to death. To some, that will come as the slightest letdown: The movie is a touch too in love with its big idea—that meeting your white girlfriend’s parents might be hazardous to your health (even if, as we hear, they “would have voted for Obama a third time”). Chris, a serious young photographer (Daniel Kaluuya), clearly adores Rose (Girls’ Allison Williams). Still, their imminent trip out of the city to her family’s secluded mansion fills him with dread. That randomly darting deer they smash with their car on the way up doesn’t help Chris’s fraying nerves, and the way the animal stares him down during its last gasps feels like a warning. Get Out is sharp and cutting during its buildup—you’ll never want this section to end—and the addition of two awkwardly ingratiating adults (Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford) makes a comic meal out of white liberal privilege with every “cool” handshake and turn of phrase (“Hug me, my man!” Rose’s dad exclaims, drawing Chris in). Meanwhile, the movie brews a fine tension between the limits of parental largesse and Chris’s own independence, while a disquieting number of black servants look on like wide-eyed zombies. The writer-director of these vignettes is Jordan Peele, of the defunct but essential Comedy Central show Key & Peele. Wh
"We offer over 40 different craft beers on draught, over 40 bottles and beer infused dishes!"
This Murray Hill watering hole isn’t just another sports bar. Unlike most neighborhood joints, Taproom No. 307 offers more than the usual suspects on draught. Suds lovers can choose from a glimmering lineup of 40 craft-beer taps and a few casks behind the long oak bar, plus a selection of another 40 to 60 bottled beers that changes seasonally. On a recent visit, bartenders were pouring Lagunitas Brown Shugga’ ($9), Black Hog Delicata Squash Saison ($8) and Downeast Winter Blend Cider ($8). Rare beer enthusiasts will want to check out the Logsdon Peche ‘n Brett ($48 for a 32-ounce bottle) and Stone Old Guardian Barleywine OakSmoked 2013 ($25). All that drinking is bound to work up an appetite, so order up some of Taproom No. 307’s grub. Maybe some poutine ($14) or bay shrimp hush puppies ($11) and a kale-basil pesto flatbread ($14) will hit the spot.
The food-hall boom of 2014 keeps on keepin’ on, with trumped-up grub depots hawking plates from both street-circuit icons and chef-helmed havens (City Kitchen, Gansevoort Market). Joining the ranks is this whopping 12,000-square-foot perma-venture from UrbanSpace, the team behind seasonal streetside pop-ups like Mad. Sq. Eats and Broadway Bites. The 200-seat court plays host to market favorites—Bar Suzette crepes and Roberta’s wood-fired pizzas, including a Vanderbilt-exclusive pepperoncini pie—as well as newcomers like Ovenly, Toby’s Estate Coffee and a fried-chicken project from BrisketTown’s Daniel Delaney.