ARTICLES BY Benjamin Strong

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Oscars Host

Benjamin Strong


I wouldn’t call him irascible, Mr. Strong, as he has certainly thought long and hard about the young Oscar host last night and nominee for best actor, James Franco, but he does get downright sardonic about this jack of all…ummm…and about other things concerning the 2011 Academy Awards. Ouch… (but then maybe this is just Ben’s performance art; in any case, Strong plays bad cop to Killian’s good for our 2nd Oscar piece of the day).

The 2010 New York Film Festival

Benjamin Strong


Benjamin Strong takes in the offerings from the 48th annual New York Film Festival and finds there’s more to it than the story of the founder of the friend ogling phenom, facebook, in Social Networking––more than Aaron Sorkin’s limited involvement anyway (Sorkin admitted today that the hardest thing for him to do on a day to day basis is to "not do cocaine." What a weirdo…). Billionaire bios aside, many of the films try to straddle the headlines of the world economic downturn, but are still best here when running from middle to high brow. Strong unearths the diamonds amidst the coal (or maybe that order should be reversed, coal over diamonds, beautiful coal?…I dunno, but you’ll know what to see after his preview of a festival that has been "pretty tremendous across the board.")

Tastes Good Still? Oscars 2010

Benjamin Strong


We are so bitchy we’ll never get any star interviews…oh well. As Ben Strong elucidates: "The Oscars exist for the sole purpose of Hollywood’s identity maintenance." But the Academy didn’t need Avatar to win to prove anything to itself. ‘Cause The Hurt Locker "more closely resembles Hollywood’s image of itself than do blue people." Alas, it ended with historic precedents. And George Clooney had a hockey haircut, ha….and Ben Strong gives Fanzine’s annual second take opinion on the event. (What we are hoping for in the future? I’m not sure…but I wouldn’t mind seeing Rob Lowe take another stab at some song and dance, cracked out Disney style. -CM)

The 2009 New York Film Festival

Benjamin Strong


‘When the lineup was announced in August for the 47th New York Film Festival – which opens Friday September 25th at Lincoln Center – some cinephiles expressed concern that the choices were a little too safe, conservative, and predictable.’ Nevermind, there are formidable showings from oldies like Alain Resnais, youngins like Corneliu Porumboiu, and we look forward to the new oldies from Harmony Korine (can we put him there in the mid-oldies yet?) – review by clutch Fanzine fim contributor Benjamin Strong.

Oscar Lessons

Benjamin Strong


As the recession deepens ever more quickly, Hollywood in 2009 is already prepped for old school depression era glamor (as The New York Times has already pointed out), is claiming the musical is back, and spent a good bit of this past Sunday evening edifying all of us couch cretins about the ins and outs of its business.  Ladies and Gents, the 2009 Academy Awards as seen through the lens of Benjamin Strong.

2008 New York Film Festival

Benjamin Strong


Benjamin Strong takes us to this year’s New York Film Festival. While overall, perhaps not as strong as festivals past (a committee member was quoted saying the equivalent of the old: you go with the army you have, not the one you wish you had, or whatever it was Rumsfeld said about the Iraq war), but Strong does find some gems amidst the bunch. Read his preview before you purchase your tickets.

Interview with Director John Gianvito

Benjamin Strong


Benjamin Strong talks with director John Gianvito, whose recent documentary Profit motive and the whispering wind, takes us to the places of memory for some of this country’s defining heroes on the flip side of history. The movie recently screened at New York’s Tribeca Film Festical.

Yeah Right: A Brief History of Skateploitation Cinema

Benjamin Strong


As a long time fan of Gus Van Sant and a long time (and still active) skateboarder, Benjamin Strong sees the director’s latest film, Paranoid Park, as an opportunity to look back at the history of skateploitation films (both Hollywood and "indie") as well as the parallel history of "true" skater-produced film and video.

No Place For Old Men at the Oscars 2008

Benjamin Strong


While last year’s ceremonies may have reveled in the past, the 2008 Oscars were all about youth and beauty. The old men got flat out snubbed this year, especially in the supporting role category, Benjamin Strong argues.

The 2007 New York Film Festival: A Preview

Benjamin Strong


By nature, the New York Film Festival is always slanted towards American filmmakers, despite its first-class international selections. But as Benjamin Strong explains, the 45th annual edition includes uncommonly strong autumnal entries from Hollywood elders Brian De Palma and Sidney Lumet. Fanzine gives you a full report on the festival.