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New York City On Film: Hurricane Sandy VS. Woody Allen's Manhattan

New York City On Film: Hurricane Sandy VS. Woody Allen's Manhattan

"Chapter One: He adored New York City."

As images and reports rolled in from Hurricane Sandy's destructive tour through the Big Apple I thought of my East Coast friends and family affected by the storm, and of Manhattan, Woody Allen's great cinematic ode to the city — his city: Tough, romantic, and everything in between.

All those terrifying images of flooded streets and New York at an unimaginable standstill reminded me of happier times, by way of the magical moments the movies have seared into my consciousness over the years. This photo for example, taken Monday near the 59th Street Bridge as Sandy approached New York, depicted surging waters looming near where Allen and Diane Keaton shot Manhattan's iconic bridge scene — one of the most beautiful, dreamy moments of New York there is.

The New York that was beaten up, wind-whipped, and deluged over the past few days is a scary, unrecognizable New York. But the spirit of New York (and New Jersey, not to mention other affected cities and states along the East Coast) endures as folks begin rebuilding. I go back to the New York — romanticized, yes, but alive and bustling the way that NYC should be and will be again — of Manhattan's opening scene, which flashes through the city as Allen's voice-over and George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" bring it to life.

Even if only brief respites from the reality of what folks have to deal with out there, the movies can remind us of what makes life worth living; feel free to add your own indelible NYC movies and moments below. Meanwhile, NYC Movieliners Brian Brooks, Frank DiGiacomo, and Alison Willmore are powering through the insanity, as you'll see in the coming days. Send good vibes and warm thoughts their way.

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On SXSW Surprise Starlet, Its Racy Hardcore Scenes, and Newcomer Dree Hemingway

Dree Hemingway (Getty Images)

SXSW 2012 marked the starring screen debut of model-turned-actress Dree Hemingway – daughter of Mariel, great-granddaughter of Ernest, and at 24, a veteran of the fashion world -- as an airy Los Angeleno named Jane who befriends a cranky senior citizen (85-year-old newcomer Besedka Johnson) in Sean Baker’s Starlet, a surprisingly sweet tale comprised of a series of moving, naturalistic episodes … and one infamous hardcore sex scene. But as much as Starlet is a fantastically observed introduction to Hemingway, who possesses Evan Rachel Wood’s preternatural poise and Daryl Hannah’s leggy looks, sitting down with her in Austin – and indulging in a post-interview round of karaoke together -- offered greater insights into one of the more talked-about but hard-to-talk-about films of the fest.
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