Media for Lunch: Anna Akana’s Loose Ends

Anna Akana in When it's OK to be a Bitch
Anna Akana in When it’s OK to be a Bitch

Anna Akana after two years of making vlogs on her YouTube channel, brought to the big screen her short film Loose Ends—a project made special not only by its debut, but the all-female cast and crew that made it possible. So Akana jumped right in to film making while simultaneously acting in Marvel’s Ant-Man and Michael Showalter’s new film My Name is Doris, venturing into the world of stand-up comedy, and launching her own clothing line, Ghosts and Stars. Oh, and still while making inspiring, killer YouTube videos that celebrate women for being themselves.

Shot in found-footage style, Loose Ends follows documentary film maker Alex Wong (played by Akana) whose project is to film Yale valedictorian Amy Holt’s pursuit of a position in the CIA. But the more Wong becomes entrenched in the story, the more Holt’s genius begins turning to insanity. Through the six short films  she’s created, Akana has become known for breaking boundaries around taboo topics like mental illness and suicide with her multidimensional and dark characters. Akana is certainly one to watch.


Media for Lunch: Tribeca Film Festival Recommended Shorts


Direct from Tribeca Film Festival, which will start April 15. Sharon Badal, the head of this year’s Shorts Program, each week presents a short that she feels deserves a bigger audience. So, to that bigger-audience end, here is “Just Saying” directed by Dave Tynan.



Media For Lunch: 40th Anniversary of Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Five Must See Classic Sketeches


The famed comedy troupe will be on-hand at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Monty Python and the Holy Grail and the international premiere of the doc, Monty Python – Meaning of Live.

 Forget Camelot. It’s a silly place. New York City and the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival, are where you need to be to share in the festivities surrounding the 40th anniversary screening of Monty Python and the Holy Grail at the Beacon Theater on Friday, April 24.

Monty Python members John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin will take part in the celebration, and related events will include the international premiere of the doc, Monty Python –The Meaning of Live.

In fact, New Yorkers will be among the first to see Roger Graef and James Rogan’s feature-length documentary that offers unprecedented access into the personalities, relationships and history that made the Pythons into a global phenomenon. The film allows the comedic geniuses themselves to reveal the impetus of some of their most well-known pieces and provide an in-depth history of Python’s stage work as they prepare for their final live show at The O2 in London.

In addition to these two sure-to-be memorable screenings, comedy fans and movie lovers will be treated to special showings of other groundbreaking Python films, Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life.  Build up to TFF 2015’s Python extravaganza by viewing these 5 classic Monty Python sketches (but you won’t find any dead parrots here):

The Lumberjack Song

Michael Palin performs this classic number as a lumberjack with a surprising fetish (which we won’t reveal). The real kicker is the group of rugged Canadian Mounties who must repeat the verses, only to grow more and more reluctant as the song goes on.

The Ministry of Silly Walks

Physical comedy extraordinaire John Cleese shows off his skills in this sketch about a civil servant who works in the Ministry of Silly Walks, desperate for a grant to develop a peculiar gait. Wait for the secretary that must carry in a tray of tea while silly walking. Spoiler: everyone leaves thirsty.

The Semaphore Version of Wuthering Heights

You’ll never think of Cathy and her beloved Heathcliff the same way after watching these two tormented lovers wave flags frantically back and forth at each other to express their feelings. Keep watching as the troupe tackles more unconventional adaptations with Julius Caesar On An Aldis Lamp and Gun Fight At O.K Coral In Morse Code.

Self-Defense Against Fruit

When you walk outside your door, we bet you don’t ever ponder the devastating consequences of running into an attacker armed with a piece of fruit. This sketch features an intense instructor (played by John Cheese) who finds the prospect of a pineapple more terrifying than a handgun. His students remain skeptical.

Hell’s Grannies

Eric Idle plays a news anchor who narrates the dastardly deeds of a group of elderly women who threaten the neighborhood. You can’t help but laugh as these geriatric terrors tip over phone booths, write obscene graffiti (‘Make Tea Not War’) and cause mayhem at the 2PM matinees.

Media for Lunch: “The Semi-Obligatory Lyrical Interlude (A Case Study)” By Jason Bailey

the-naked-gun-570x320Another fantastic movie video montage by New York film editor and writer Jason Bailey. This time Bailey explores those romantic interludes where the director stops the action to show a couple falling in love as they spend meaningful hours alone together, frolicking, walking on the beach or some other pretty place in nature—as a hit song plays in the foreground. The most egregious example being Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) with its jarring “Lyrical Interlude” set to “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head (B.J. Thomas). On Flavorwire, Bailey quotes Roger Ebert’s definition of the Semi-Obligatory Lyrical Interlude” as “[a] Scene in which soft focus and slow motion are used while a would-be hit song is performed on the soundtrack and the lovers run through a pastoral setting.” Beyond the perfectly sappy music of  the Carpenter’s hit song “Close to You,” what’s most satisfying with Bailey’s essay is his inclusion of The Naked Gun (1988). Twenty-seven years later this lyrical interlude spoof is still laugh-out-loud funny. Enjoy!

Aladdin (Ron Clements, John Musker, 1992)
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (Jay Roach, 1997)
Beauty and the Beast (Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise, 1991)
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (George Roy Hill, 1969)
Chasing Amy (Kevin Smith, 1997)
Crazy/Beautiful (John Stockwell, 2001)
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003)
The Karate Kid (John G. Avildsen, 1984)
The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988)
Nothing in Common (Garry Marshall, 1986)
Play Misty for Me (Clint Eastwood, 1971)
Pretty Woman (Garry Marshall, 1990)
Say Anything (Cameron Crowe, 1989)
Take the Money and Run (Woody Allen, 1969)
Yes Man (Peyton Reed, 2008)

Media for Lunch: 2015 Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts

AnimatedShorts2015In recent years the Oscar nominated shorts have become more popular, thanks to some very kind movie theaters throughout the country and  online streaming they’re readily available to a broader audience. Here are this year’s Academy Award nominated short films in the category of animation. A few are available on iTunes now with the others  available on VOD, February 17, 2014.

2015 Academy Award Nominated Best Animated Short

The Bigger Picture

The Dam Keeper 


Watch it on Itunes

Me and My Moulton 

A Single Life

Watch it on iTunes

Media For Lunch: Richard Linklater & Ellar Coltrane of Boyhood

IFC Films – Q&A with Richard Linklater & Ellar Coltrane in conversation with Ira Glass.

Written and directed by Richard Linklater, Boyhood – now nominated for 6 Academy Awards –  has appeared on more “best of 2014” lists than any other film released last year.  The award-winning film continues to win best picture awards from numerous film critic circles – including New York, Los Angeles, DC, Boston, Chicago, Austin, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto and more.  Filmed over short periods from 2002 to 2013 with the same cast – Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette, Lorelei Linklater and Ellar Coltrane – Boyhood is the story of growing up as seen through the eyes of a child named Mason (Coltrane). Boyhood is now available in theaters, on Digital HD, Cable VOD, Blu-Ray Combo Pack and DVD. 

Media For Lunch: Little Robert Altman

Robert Altman

Modern Football was just one of the many industrial/educational shorts cranked out during the ’50s and ’60s, and it was one of the avenues that Altman cut his teeth on in the early days along with stints on a variety of TV shows including Alfred Hitchcock Present and Bonanza. So, will you see the trademark, overlapping dialogue and ensemble cast of players here? Not really. But it’s worth watching to witness a future great starting to exercise his moviemaking muscles. You can also glimpse Altman himself, who cameos as a sports reporter, at the 2:37 mark.
– Myrna E. Duarte

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