Category Archives: Film

A Merry-Achi Christmas at SF Symphony

This was a night like no other. The expectation and experience were so much apart. I came to see folklore band and experience a full philharmonic range of skills performed by Mariachi band. Absolutely wonderful to have culture and music expand beyond borders. Nutcracker at its best

and American film music with an intense passion we saw in the film dancing by Al Pacino in “Scent of the Women” in 1992 for which he received and an Oscar.

There is a time when words cannot do the justing of what must be said, for that reason I share with you the music.

Please visit the Sf Symphony

website to plan your next experience


There is really nothing that fully describes how amazing movie night with the SF Symphony is except being there in person. It’s an awesome feeling to see an epic great film for the first time in the theatre with Dolby sound blasting and eating tasty popcorn, but it is an out of the world experience when accompanied by seasoned musicians and vocalists. This night was no exception! We got to Davies Symphony Hall a bit early on Halloween eve (Oct 30) to take in the day of the dead décor and gear up for Jordon Peele’s award-winning masterpiece thriller, “Get Out”. It was a packed house as expected and with a mixed audience that included hardcore fans (young and old) and newbies.

“Get Out” follows Chris Washington a young African-American man, played by the charismatic actor Daniel Kaluuya, who uncovers a very disturbing secret when he visits the family of his white girlfriend played by Allison Williams. Washington becomes ensnared in a sinister plot by Williams and her family that progresses as the weekend continues and climaxes into an original ending that won Jordan Peele an Oscar for original screenplay. The SF symphony brought every nuisance, every little scare to life perfectly as the original films composer Michael Abels was on deck guiding the music and taking us on a rollercoaster ride of emotions, thrills and non-stop laughs.

What was also a treat, was watching The DC6 singers, who were the original singers from the film, perform all the songs live. They were so good you almost forgot they were singing each song live. We got lost in the vocals, the music and of course the film, which is one of those horror cult classics that you can enjoy over and over. As the movie ended, fans cheered, giving Abel and the symphony a long-standing ovation and a wonderful ending to a great night and Halloween kickoff.

For more info on the SF Symphony go to:


The SF symphony’s fall film series continued on Friday, Nov 1 as part of their day of the dead celebration and featured the smash-hit animated film “Coco”. The film, which won academy awards for best animated feature and the best original song tells the tale of young music, loving boy who journeys to the land of the dead and reunites with his great-great-grandfather. Day of the dead has always been a colourful holiday tradition where people dress up in skeleton style make-up to honour and celebrate the memories of their past relatives.

Davies Symphony Hall was at the capacity crowd with little Miguel lookalikes running around and filling the seats in anticipation of the classic film. Conductor Emil DeCou was perfectly suited to guide SF’s Symphony through an amazing score of music composed beautifully by Michael Giacchino. Germaine Franco, Adrian Molina, Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez wrote all the songs and “Remember Me”, took the honours at the 90th Academy Awards for best original song. The audience sang along to each song and it felt like we were all united as one in celebrating the lives of our families that have past on.

It was a joyous night and an epic and beautiful animated tale brought to life perfectly by San Francisco’s finest orchestra. I can’t remember a time when leaving a concert or film where I felt this uplifted feeling walking out and where I could clearly sense that my past Grandmother was still with me. I’m sure many in attendance felt the same as a sea of smiles and good vibes poured out of the hall and surely with the memories of loved ones past in heart and mind.

For more info on the SF Symphony go to:


The SF symphony’s fall film series continued on Friday, Nov 1 as part of their day of the dead celebration and featured the smash-hit animated film “Coco”. The film, which won academy awards for best animated feature and the best original song tells the tale of young music, loving boy who journeys to the land of the dead and reunites with his great-great-grandfather. Day of the dead has always been a colourful holiday tradition where people dress up in skeleton style make-up to honour and celebrate the memories of their past relatives.

Davies Symphony Hall was at the capacity crowd with little Miguel lookalikes running around and filling the seats in anticipation of the classic film. Conductor Emil DeCou was perfectly suited to guide SF’s Symphony through an amazing score of music composed beautifully by Michael Giacchino. Germaine Franco, Adrian Molina, Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez wrote all the songs and “Remember Me”, took the honours at the 90th Academy Awards for best original song. The audience sang along to each song and it felt like we were all united as one in celebrating the lives of our families that have past on.

It was a joyous night and an epic and beautiful animated tale brought to life perfectly by San Francisco’s finest orchestra. I can’t remember a time when leaving a concert or film where I felt this uplifted feeling walking out and where I could clearly sense that my past Grandmother was still with me. I’m sure many in attendance felt the same as a sea of smiles and good vibes poured out of the hall and surely with the memories of loved ones past in heart and mind.

For more info on the SF Symphony go to:


The San Francisco Symphony’s acclaimed Film Series continues in the 2019–20 season with the Orchestra performing the live accompaniment to six iconic films projected on a large screen above the stage. On October 30, the SFS presents one performance of Jordan Peele’s Academy Award®-winning 2017 horror film Get Out, conducted by the film’s composer Michael Abels and featuring the DC6 singers from the film, followed by performances of Disney and Pixar’s Academy Award®-winning film Coco on November 1–2 with Emil DeCou conducting the SFS in Michael Giacchino’s delightful score. On November 29–30, the SFS presents performances of Ivan Reitman’s original Ghostbusters, featuring the fully restored film score by Elmer Bernstein, conducted by his son, Peter M. Bernstein. Film programming continues during the holidays with performances of Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Lifeon December 3 and 6, featuring Dimitri Tiomkin’s timeless score conducted by Justin FreerDecember 17–18 concerts present another holiday favorite—Universal Pictures’ Christmas-themed romantic comedy Love Actually with a score by Craig Armstrong, conducted by Thiago Tiberio. On July 2 and 5Constantine Kitsopoulos conducts the SFS in Ron Howard’s Academy Award®-winning drama Apollo 13 as part of the Summer with the Symphony series.

About the Films

Jordan Peele’s directorial debut Get Out won an Academy Award®- for Best Original Screenplay, which Peele also wrote. The 2017 satirical horror film tells the story of a young African-American man who visits his white girlfriend’s family estate, where he becomes ensnared in a more sinister, real reason for the invitation. As the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he could have never imagined. The film’s composer Michael Abels conducts SFS in one performance of Get Out on October 30, featuring the DC6 singers—the original singers from the film.

Coco is Disney and Pixar’s 2017 Academy Award®-winning animated smash hit based on an original idea by Lee Unkrich, who co-directed the film with Adrian Molina. Inspired by the holiday Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), the film stars a music-loving boy who makes a dazzling journey to the Land of the Dead, where he seeks the help of his ancestors to return him to his family in the land of the living and reverse their ban on music. Composed by Michael Giacchino, the film’s score was nominated for a 2019 Grammy® Award in the category of Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media. Emil DeCou leads the SFS in performances on November 1–2.

Boasting an unforgettable theme song that topped Billboard’s Hot 100, Sony Pictures’ original Ghostbusters film from 1984 is an infectiously fun comedy classic directed by Ivan Reitman and written by Dan Aykroyd, who also stars as one member of the eccentric band of paranormal investigators that wages a spectacular battle against the supernatural in New York City. The SFS performs Elmer Bernstein’s dramatic score live to picture in concerts on November 29–30, conducted by the composer’s son, Peter M. Bernstein.

It’s a Wonderful Life is Frank Capra’s 1946 beloved holiday classic starring screen legend James Stewart as a man in despair who receives a heartwarming intervention from his guardian angel, Clarence. The San Francisco Symphony performs Dimitri Tiomkin’s score live to picture in two performances on December 3 and 6 with Justin Freer conducting.   

Universal Pictures’ Love Actually is a 2003 romantic comedy written and directed by Richard Curtis, with a score composed by Craig Armstrong. The film, set in contemporary London in the weeks leading up to Christmas, tells ten separate yet interweaving stories of love around Christmas time. The SFS presents this Holiday favorite in concerts on December 11–12 with Erik Ochsner conducting.  

Ron Howard’s Academy Award®-winning 1995 drama Apollo 13 features an epic, gripping score by acclaimed film composer James Horner that recounts the harrowing true story of the aborted Apollo 13 lunar mission and NASA’s effort to return the jeopardized astronauts to Earth safely. Constantine Kitsopoulos conducts the SFS in performances on July 2 and 5 as part of the Orchestra’s annual Summer with the Symphony series.



Wednesday, October 30, 2019 at 7:30 pm

Michael Abels conductor

DC6 Singers original singers from the film

San Francisco Symphony

Michael ABELS Get Out

Jordan PEELE 

Tickets: $35–125


Friday, November 1, 2019 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, November 2, 2019 at 7:30 pm

Emil DeCou conductor

San Francisco Symphony

Michael GIACCHINO Coco


Tickets: $115–225


Friday, November 29, 2019 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, November 30, 2019 at 7:30 pm

Peter M. Bernstein conductor

San Francisco Symphony

Elmer BERNSTEIN Ghostbusters


Tickets: $50–160

For more info on SF Symphony go to:

Voting Has Opened for E! People’s Choice Awards

Ariana Grande, ABC News

Voting has opened today for E! People’s Choice Awards covering a WHOPPING 43 categories across film, television, music and pop culture.

With music, Lil Nas X, Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, Lizzo, and the Jonas Brothers have multiple nominations.

Contenders for Album of the Year: include Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next,” Khalid’s “Free Spirit,” Billie Eilish’s “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?,” Lizzo’s “Cuz I Love You,” Jonas Brothers’ “Happiness Begins,” Ed Sheeran’s “No. 6 Collaborations Project,” Juice Wrld’s “Death Race for Love,” and Taylor Swift’s “Lover.”

2019 E! People’s Choice Awards airs Monday 11th November at 1pm with E! Live from the Red Carpet kicking off at 11am.

Voting can be done here, with the #PCAs hashtag on Twitter, or using Xfinity X1, and each person can vote up to 25 times per method.



One can only expect an intergalactic night of music and film when you pair up San Francisco’s beloved orchestra with one of Hollywood’s biggest Sci-Fi classics. What better place to showcase a science fiction epic that on the big digital screen at the magnificent Davie’s Symphony Hall and accompanied by the electrifying sounds of our beloved SF Symphony. This was the scene on Saturday night March 2, as we flowed into the halls. It was hard not to notice that the packed crowd was mixed with young and old fans and everyone seemed to look around frantically as though they were trying to spot a few space friendly friends that might be amongst us or at least a glimpse of hardcore fans dressed in space-age gear. As the film title appeared on the big screen and the anticipation grew, the Symphony organizers teased us with a short film of the signature melody being played by a trumpeter. As the colors shined on the walls of the Hall miming every note fans erupted in joyful laugher.

For thousands of years people of all ages have wondered what’s behind the stars, are we alone in this vast Universe and what might happen if we have a Close Encounter. Well that was the premise for Spielberg’s 1977 masterpiece where an ordinary electrical lineman from Indiana Roy Neary, played by the gifted Richard Dreyfus, has a close encounter with an unidentified flying object that disrupts his family life and ultimately changes his life forever. At the time of its release and since, Close Encounters has been widely touted as one of the most treasured and influential Science Fiction films of all time with a groundbreaking score written by the highly acclaimed John Williams.

The SF symphony always has a way of just pulling you into the music and in this case the film, unlike any other orchestra. The night was truly epic in every aspect! Conductor Joshua Gersen, who made his debut with the SF Symphony back in the Fall of 2013 and has been invited back many times, took the deck with confidence and prestige. His presence could be felt through every choreographed and robotic movement leading the orchestra and crowd on an exhilarating journey into the cosmos and beyond. With only one intermission break in between, the capacity audience was on the edge of their seats throughout and whether this was a new experience for fans or not, it was truly an unforgettable one.

Ah and how can one not hum along to the earworm signature melody of John William’s iconic five- tone motif, that scientists in the film used to communicate with the visiting spacecraft and has become one of the most recognized melodies in cinema history. Williams originally wrote over 300 examples of the motif for the film, before Spielberg finally chose one. As the final minutes of Close Encounters rolled on we finally meet the aliens driving the spacecraft and their crew and the audience oohed in satisfaction. Roy Neary’s life was about to change as Aliens picked him to join them on their ship. Neary is ushered onto the spacecraft by what looked

like minion aliens haha and as they boarded, we could all feel his heartbeat with excitement and joy.

We can only wonder what galaxies or planets he would visit and encounter and if he would ever come back to share his journeys. Gersen and the Symphony played the final epic moments like seasoned veterans and not a soul in the audience got up until they were completely done and the credits stopped rolling. We were on our feet as the place erupted with cheers and applause to commemorate and show gratitude to everyone that made this night possible.

All I can say is this was definitely one of the best combinations of films and music that I’ve seen and the SF Symphony just seems to get better and better.

For more info on SF Symphony visit:

Andy Favreau – transitions leading to “Champions” (March 8th Series Premiere)

Andy Favreau – transitions from memorable arcs on “The Mick,” “Animal Kingdom,” and “Aquarius” into Mindy Kaling’s anticipated NBC mid-season comedy, “Champions” (March 8th Series Premiere)

No need to wonder why he could do this.

My interview with Andy was not only authentic, kind and sincere but filled with gratitude for where he is now in his life and his career.
I asked him how he keeps his mind body and soul in life-ready shape and here is what he said about his body: “I try to work out on a regular basis. I split my workouts between boxing for cardio and going to the gym to lift weights. Boxing keeps it fun and that’s really what you need to motivate in order to keep going. Otherwise, the routine can become pretty boring.
Eating healthy is always the biggest challenge. I love deserts. And I always crave them at the worst times like right before bed. I don’t cut them out completely but everything in moderation is a good rule of thumb. I also try to cook myself a healthy breakfast every morning to start the day off right…Egg whites, avocado, Ezekiel toast are the usual.
Eating healthy becomes harder on set because there is so much at your disposal so you gotta learn to just ignore the giant chocolate cake at the end of the catering line and just pretend it’s not there!”
When it comes to his mind, it is now focused on techniques for remembering lines and Andy takes training in that discipline.
No wonder he can be releasing so many works so close together. Andy truly is uprising star by example.
Next, he stars in the NBC comedy series, “Champions,” starring opposite Anders Holm (“Workaholics”). Intended for a March 8th launch, the show is produced by Mindy Kaling who will appear in a recurring arc. Favreau also just starred opposite Jason Biggs in Freeform’s original Holiday telefilm, “Angry Angel,” which will be followed by a coveted guest star role on “Will & Grace” airing March 1st.

FSHN Sits Down with Noah Buschel, Director of “Glass Chin”

Q&A with Noah Buschel, Director of “The Glass Chin”

Q: To me Glass Chin was so realized and deliberated by you that the film never falters or loses touch whether it be tonally, story wise, characters, the cinematography, etc. It really all works so seamlessly, is this because you go into shooting knowing exactly what you want and execute that, or are you the type to come across new things here and there while shooting, whether it be problems or things you didn’t plan on happening that surprise you and you just learn to make them work?

A: I pretty much know exactly what I want, yeah. I storyboard every shot. Like, I do a full on big comic book painting of every shot. So there’s the script, and then drawing the whole movie in detail, you pretty much know exactly what you want. And then if you’re working with a good D.P. and lighting and a good location scout and art department… Glass Chin was the storyboards exactly. And some of the stuff we shot on a set we built, which is my favorite way to shoot a scene. I don’t really like location shooting. The authenticity of real locations isn’t that interesting to me. I’d rather the movie feel a little bit like a set, a little bit of a heightened reality. With a set, it’s easier to create the right atmosphere, control the energy, keep it at a certain level. That container.

Q: What was the founding idea and passion that led you to further your interest and write Glass Chin? Was there something specific that made you eager to tell this story?

A: It was a while ago. I know I was in a relationship that was beginning to deteriorate. And she was in the adjoining room when I wrote it. I vaguely recall feeling like a boxer, cornered– so the main character came out as a boxer. And I also felt like a person who was getting framed, made to appear guilty, scapegoated. So the boxer in the script gets framed. I was doing some framing of my own too. It works both ways. So I watched a lot of movies about people getting framed. Movies like Raw Deal, Marked Man, Hell on Frisco Bay, and Stolen Identity. In these movies, you have young medical graduates wrongly confined to prison. Things like that. Innocent people accused of horrible wrongdoings. And so, yeah, none of us get by without being accused of something awful at some point. And a lot of the times we feel like it came out of a misunderstanding. That’s not me, you think. That’s not what happened. That wasn’t my intention. I’ve been misunderstood. I’ve been framed. Something has been taken out of context and is being used against me. I’m being put down unfairly. Sometimes we are even framed for good stuff. And that can be equally uncomfortable. Someone might say how great you are, or how something you did was so great. And of course, you know it wasn’t so great. You know that you’re not so great. And you know that you’re not so terrible either. But often we are being framed as great or terrible. And we have to find a way out of those frames. That’s sorta what the movie is about maybe.

Q: You not only direct your films, you write them as well. It must feel very accomplishing to release something that you’ve conceived and seen through, from your starting idea to the finished product. Can you go further about your writing process, how long it took you to complete Glass Chin compared to your other films, and the importance and meaning that writing your own screenplay holds for you?

A: I probably wrote Glass Chin in a couple weeks, then revised here and there up until the shoot. Honestly, I don’t remember exactly, I wrote it a while ago. But as far as conceiving and seeing through, to me that’s the only way a movie made at a low budget is going to have any worth. If it’s really independent. And not compromised. And that includes casting and editing and the music and the crew hired and everything. Movies are a collaboration. But they’re not a collaboration with random people. To me an independent movie means an independent vision. The movie should feel and sound and look and smell and taste different than anyone else’s. Because we all have one of a kind fingerprints. I never understand how so many movies feel like each other. What’s the point? And how do they do that anyways? How did they get their movie to feel like so many of the other movies that are playing at the festivals? I never understood how to do that, but never wanted to either. And it’s not an ego-ish notion– having it be one independent individual vision. To me, to express one’s own singular voice is not a selfish activity at all. To me, it’s the opposite of selfish. It encourages everyone to be themselves. To me, what is selfish is watering ourselves down in order to fit in.

Q: The actors in the film all gave outstanding performances, providing us with believable characters by truly committing and embodying the roles you handed them. Stoll is outstanding here, proving he can lead a film exceedingly well, Marin’s performance added that touch of realism and perspective from somebody who truly knows your main character, and the scene stealing Crudup indisputably shines here, pulling off this restrained and polished, but eerie and unnerving performance. When writing a film do you already have in mind the actors you want playing each part? What was your influence or objective when constructing the exceptionally interesting character of J.J. Cook? Also, I must know whose idea it was to have Cook give Bud that hauntingly creepy smile? That was brilliant!

A: They’re all really good actors. That’s pretty much all there is to that. I didn’t hardly direct anyone at all. I just tried to make it calm, so that they could do their thing. As far as having actors in mind, I do remember drawing the character of Roberto as Yul Vazquez, consciously or not. It’s clearly Yul in the storyboards. I always used to think of Jeffrey Wright at some point, whatever script I was writing. I even wrote a play with Elvis in it and thought of Jeffrey Wright for Elvis. When I wrote Glass Chin, Wright would have been the right age for the lead, Bud. But by the time I made it, not so much. And at one point I was thinking Michael Keaton as J.J., and he liked the script, I don’t remember for sure what happened with that. But I can’t imagine anyone besides Corey and Billy in those parts now. They own the parts. I wrote sketches and they colored them in.
That was Billy’s creepy smile all the way, I had nothing to do with that. I didn’t know he could smile like a demonic cheshire cat. Working with him, I understood what directors meant about an actor being like a Ferrari. In terms of, he’s going so fast, and you just make the subtlest movement on the wheel and he responds perfectly. I don’t know if that’s fucked up, to compare an actor to a sports car, but I didn’t invent this metaphor.
The objective in writing J.J. was… I was trying to express the part of Bud that is vain and deceptive and always trying to play everyone. The part of Bud that is a narcissist. I enjoy movies where you have the main character, and then all the other characters are different aspects of the main character’s mind. So Marin and Billy and Yul and everyone, their characters are all reflections of the different parts of Bud. You can see the movie on that level, like it’s just Bud’s dream, Bud’s mind. Even the dog, Silly, that’s an aspect of Bud. The puppy part of Bud that eats too much and needs to be on a leash, needs more training. For J.J., I pretty much just wrote all the things I associate with sociopaths. Things like Scientology, heroin chic art, a hipster sheen, a love of snow leopards and passion for all things glamorous and elusive and predatorial. It’s pretty cold stuff.

Q: This is your third feature collaborating with cinematographer Ryan Samul, you two obviously make for a successful and effective vision. How does Samul’s perspective and skills help bring your films to life?

A: I just like seeing through his eyes. There are the fundamental craftsman elements, which he’s consistently getting better and better at. Like, his lighting, his communication, his speed, the guys he brings with him(Dan Gartner, for instance.) And Ryan’s good with letting actors be and he’s a really hard worker and has some O.C.D. like I do. So that’s nice, ya know, because if you don’t have any O.C. D., it’s probably not a good idea to work with me. But I think mostly I just like the way he sees things. He’s a little bit dry and sarcastic, and naturally his shots are never maudlin or sentimental. I never have to worry about him making shit corny. But if you look closely, you see there’s a lot of tenderness in his vision. It’s been my experience that often sarcastic jokers have a lot of heart. And Ryan certainly is like that. And what he shoots is like that. There’s nothing mawkish about it. But it has a softness, and even a delicateness. Basically there’s a lot going on. Lotta contrast and paradox and intelligence to his work.

Q: Do you enjoy re-watching your films, or, are you the type of artist who can’t look back on their work because it only leads to nitpicking and what ifs?

A: Yeah, no, I don’t watch them. The first two I made, Bringing Rain and Neal Cassady, I didn’t quite know what I was doing yet. Although the actors in those movie are all so great, and I think even though I didn’t know the craft yet, there’s some real spirit to those first two. Especially Bringing Rain. I like early films of directors, they’re usually the most honest, in a way. Before the style is learned. Actors are like that too, their early work. And then the last few… I came across The Missing Person on cable once and just thought it was super strange, turned it off after five minutes. I go to a nearby bar when my movies screen at festivals and I have to do the Q and A. I’ve become a real connoisseur of Bloody Marys. Some people say that’s a brunch drink, but I find it to be very nutritious late at night also. You can tell just by looking at a Bloody Mary if it’s made with care or not. If you can see the alcohol, that’s not a good sign. It’s gotta be thick and full of floating horse radish pulp.

Q: What piece of advice or helpful insight do you wish somebody had told you while you were working toward your goal, that you could now share with aspiring film writers and directors?

A: Don’t wait for anyone or anything. Don’t wait for agents. Don’t wait for producers. Don’t wait for money. Don’t wait for the weather. Don’t save your love for a rainy day. Don’t wait for a movie star. Just shoot it. Then you’ll find out if you really need to make the movie, or if it’s just some idea you have. Just make it. Don’t talk about it. Get a camera and make it. Don’t wait for permission from anyone. Don’t wait for a union to sign off. Just make your stuff, say whatever you have to say. And if you don’t have anything to say, then don’t make a movie. Because there are too many movies already. And everything is recorded already.

Q: To say that I’m extremely anxious and exhilarated to see what comes next from you is an understatement, what can you share with us about these upcoming projects?

A: That is very nice to hear right about now, thank you. I made this movie, The Phenom, in Atlanta. And it’s this sports therapy movie, with Johnny Simmons and Ethan Hawke and Paul Giamatti. And it’s the best thing I’ve made, I feel, but at this point the powers that be are trying to force me to recut the movie. For about twelve weeks now the movie has been on hold while I’m told what cuts and edits I need to make, and which songs they don’t like, and, ya know, stuff like that. Even though it’s tight 87 minute movie and I’m using every shot we shot, and there’s no alternative movie on cutting room floor. So, at this point, I’m really not sure what will happen with The Phenom. It’s a strange feeling. You kill yourself for two years to make a movie, you execute the storyboards and script exactly, a lot of the actors in the movie love it and say it’s some of their best work, but I haven’t even gotten to sound mix it or color correct it. Maybe I will get to do that yet. I dunno. Could go either way. I have to remind myself that even if I don’t get to finish it, and there’s no evidence of what we made, it was still a real beautiful time. I mean, we had a great time making it in Atlanta. So… It is what it is. Even if it isn’t.

I had one more script I wanted to make, called The Man In The Woods. It’s a scary movie set at a boarding school in 1963 in Pennsylvania during a blizzard. And it’s the only script I ever wrote that I think might be totally solid. But, that said, I always knew I didn’t want to make movies for too long. For me, it’s not a realistic lifestyle. The constant resistance, it’s not so fun anymore. I’ve been very fortunate when it comes to the talent I’ve worked with, I love the casts and crews I’ve had a chance to work with. And the casting director, Lois J. Drabkin. And this sound mixer, Javier Bennassar, who I’ve worked with a bunch, I’ve learned a lot from him. But I have to remind myself that 99 percent of my life is actually spent on the phone with producers and managers and agents and now lawyers too. And aside from working with Susan A. Stover, who produced Glass Chin, I don’t much enjoy that aspect of the filmmaking, the business phone calls. It takes a toll. So… probably my last movie will be this thing I shot with my friend, Liza Weil. We did it on the blackmagic pocket cinema camera. It was me, the actor, one sound man, one cameraman, and that’s it. It was real clean.

Written by Jake Garza

Review: “Glass Chin” is a Knockout

Redemption is such a thing in which so many people are searching for in their problematic and unsettled lives. Here we find our main character, Bud (Corey Stoll), a former boxing champion searching through his past and future to make ends meet, survive, and adapt to his unsteady situation. Led by great performances across the board, Noah Buschel’s latest feature Glass Chin, which he penned and directed, is a deliberated real life human drama that insights us with the despondent and painful feeling of a struggling has been, impacted with crime overtones which helps round out and flavor the film into the effectively realized crime drama that it is.


The film opens with a classic boxing movie running scene, with our main character Bud Gordon suited in sweats and a sweatshirt running through the night lights of the city, setting the noirish and melancholy tone for the rest of the film. Bud Gordon is convincingly characterized by Corey Stoll (Midnight in Paris, Ant-Man), who proves that he has the chops to lead a film, and do it recognizably well. We’re dropped right into the lives of Bud and his quick witted and philosophical girlfriend Ellen (Marin Ireland), who are living in a shabby beat down apartment pondering what could be, and what’s already been done. Buschel’s film is most successful and at its most believable when showing us the personal and intimate moments and interactions between Bud and Ellen, feeling as if we are in the room with these two struggling lovers. Buschel’s ability to capture these tender and connective moments indefinitely builds for a more realistic and touching experience for the audience.

Bud is an erstwhile gloried boxer, who took a jab that brings him to the floor, physically and emotionally. Not only is he feeling the flop as a boxer, but as a restaurateur as well. His soon desperation brings him directly in the line of the astutely sharp, smooth talking, but danger inflicting J.J. Cook, an artsy restauranteur and crime mogul who will do anything to have the power of owning people. He promises Bud the reprisal of his failed restaurant, giving a now gullible and vulnerable Bud a glimpse of hope to redeem himself in some form or another. J.J. Cook is played brilliantly by the great Billy Crudup, giving us such a restrained and polished but also eerie, obsessive, and pitiless miscreant of a character, reminding us how talented and skillful he truly is. Bud is soon tagging naively alongside a friend of J.J.’s who is uniquely styled, peculiar, and who also seems to take care of the dirty work for Cook. Without spoiling, Bud is helping train an up and coming boxer who has high expectations to meet, and is being applauded as the next champion. But with J.J. involved, things are up in the air, certainly still under his control. Will Bud’s redemption come with ease, or slip farther away from his grasp?


We’re not given much backstory or development detail in these characters, besides mentions of Bud’s previous glory, but that doesn’t take away from the sentiment we feel for our main character and what he’s going through. The theme of redemption is very common, but it’s a topic that doesn’t grow tired because it’s invariably relatable, with Buschel playing this card smartly and to his characters benefit instead of tediously and obnoxiously. I loved Buschel’s use of long takes, close ups (particularly a scene in which Crudup and Stoll sit across from each other at the restaurant and have an acting match of their own, which steers to Crudup leaving us with a creepy and menacing smirk), and mainly his shots simplicity and elegance, which really help a humane story and film like this from becoming overshadowed or pushed to side in favor of style or flashiness.

The performances here are executed well, played committedly and engrossingly by the actors involved. Corey Stoll, who gave an Oscar nominee worthy performance in Midnight in Paris, is on a roll, proving once again he is immensely adept at what he does. Billy Crudup embodies his character he’s given and runs with it in an evocative, arresting, scene stealing performance. Just as prominent is, Yul Vazquez, who does notably terrific work here, as a flamboyant and flashy working pal of J.J. Cook’s. Marin Ireland plays Buds girlfriend, and her much enjoyed performance is very vital and valuable to the film because it adds that touch of realism and perception from a person who truly knows our main character.

This is a poignant, absorbing, and adroitly crafted film that effortlessly connects and envelops us in its story and characters as well as yielding justice and opulence to the genre of crime annexed with drama. I don’t suggest overlooking this in the coming film season, Buschel has constructed a knockout.