American Hustle — Inspired by the F.B.I.’s ABSCAM sting operation of the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Captain Phillips — Thriller based on the 2010 book, A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs and Dangerous Days at Sea, the true story of the 2009 Maersk Alabama hijacking.
Dallas Buyers Club — Biographical drama set in the early days of AIDS treatment when AZT was still in experimental trials and AIDS patient Ron Woodruff was fighting the FDA to use unapproved yet effective drugs in treating the epidemic.
Probably one of the more disappointing experiences a cinephile can have is readily realizing that a movie that’s supposed to be taking place in a specific locale was in fact shot somewhere else (think Jackie Chan’s Rumble in the Bronx — I didn’t know there were mountains by the Grand Concourse.) It’s even more egregious when the entire plot centers around somewhere specific like Long Island.
Before Hollywood became ground zero for the movie industry, Queens was among one of the country’s major film production centers. So it’s no surprise that Long Island would provide locations ready to shoot at whether it was legendary silent film icon D.W. Griffith setting up shop in Valley Stream to shoot 1911’s The Stuff Heroes Are Made Of or Paul Robeson swimming ashore to Jones Beach from a steamship as the title character in 1933’s The Emperor Jones.
Recent film shoots have taken place in Old Brookville (The Wolf of Wall Street) and Old Westbury (the forthcoming Hard Sell), while Oheka Castle, the Hamptons and the recently-minted Grumman Studios in Bethpage have been the site of increased location shooting.
Sexy and Steely Dan are generally two words that tend to be mutually exclusive of each other. That is unless you’re chatting with soul man Mayer Hawthorne, whose latest album Where Does This Door Go, finds him incorporating that as part of his mission statement third full-length album. It is part of a vibe he manages to incorporate through these 14 songs that found him going from doing all knob twisting in the studio to working with a cadre of producers. Being as Hawthorne usually plays most of the instruments on his recordings, it was a strategy he wound up being well pleased by.
“It definitely took a lot of pressure off of me, made my job a lot easier and allowed me to take a step back from the production and really allowed me to focus on the songwriting,” he shared from a tour stop in Portland, Ore. “When you’re producing everything yourself, which I did on the first two records, sometimes you’re just so wrapped up in getting the greatest snare sound in the world that you forget about the song, which is of course the most important thing. Working with guys like Pharrell Williams, Jack Splash, Greg Wells and all these other legendary dudes definitely allows me to focus on the songs.”
Boozing it up as a musician is one of those rites of passage that creative types are supposed to partake in and for Jason Isbell, it’s one of those duties he was more than willing to execute throughout a career dating back to his time in y’alternative southern rockers The Drive-By Truckers. That is until future wife Amanda Shires took him up on one of his many offers to go to rehab. It’s a choice he embraced back in January 2012 and it has already yielded musical fruit in the form of the dozen songs that make up last year’s Southeastern. The Alabama native’s fourth solo album has struck quite a chord thanks to Isbell’s rich, character-driven mini-sagas embraced by predominantly acoustic arrangements. It’s deservedly wound up on numerous Best of 2013 lists and many are saying this may be his best solo outing to date. And while the idea of making music without knocking a few back might have been cause for concern, Isbell was pleased with how abstaining from alcohol affected his first post-rehab recording.
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