"Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys" - I'd never seen any of Perry's work, but could not pass up a Moving Image-provided opportunity to attend the New York premiere of his latest. We were relegated to the far right side of the big theater at AMC Lincoln Square, but other than not being able to see the cast members in attendance, it was fine. Warrington Hudlin interviewed Tyler Perry first, and then we watched the movie, a drama of families, race, and corporate intrigue. Good storytelling.
"Burn After Reading" - I'm not a huge Coen Brothers fan, but when IFP offered this, of course I went. The theater was packed, and I'm not sure everyone got in. I really liked the movie, a sort of tongue-in-cheek spy thriller with interconnecting characters and plotlines (and some violence). The presence of George Clooney and Tilda Swinton echoed "Michael Clayton," and Frances McDormand and Brad Pitt were priceless as dim gym trainers. Great acting all around. My new favorite Coen Brothers movie. (Quibble: John Malkovitch is supposed to be Princeton '73 which worked fine for him, but his classmates looked way too old.)
"Ghost Town" - I RSVP'd through the TV org. for me and 2 guests, and never got a confirmation, but AOL status said my e-mail was opened so I figured it was OK. But when the organizer came down the line, she told me it was not OK and that she'd informed me I was on the waiting list. I never got this e-mail (nope, not in the spam folder). We were pulled from the line to wait with others in the same boat. Some guys checking in another group said they'd see if they had room when they were done. So it looked promising, and indeed we all got in. In the future, I'll have to make sure to reconfirm.
The movie was cute, with ghosts (reminiscent of "Truly, Madly, Deeply") and romance and Ricky Gervais as an ornery dentist I could not buy as a love interest.
"Towelhead" - Even though this showing at Tribeca Cinemas was probably just for IFP, I wanted to get there early. However, the subway was delayed and I ran in at 6:20, only to find there was a reception first and the movie was not until 7:30. Ack! A few people were familiar from past screenings, but I really didn't know anyone, didn't feel like socializing, and don't drink. I just wanted to see the movie. So I settled in at a banquette along the window, reading magazines and solving Enigma until it got too dark to see. There were platters (veggies?) but I didn't want to get up and then lose my seat. There was no clock, so after a suitable interval I went to the ladies room (and found it was 7:15), asked the guy what theater we were in (the larger one), and went there, finding several people waiting (including the lady who always does crosswords), and many seats already saved. So I could have avoided social awkwardness and sat in the theater.
The movie was written and directed by Alan Ball, and had some of the creepy suburban vibe of his "American Beauty." This coming-of-age story of a 13-year-old Lebanese-American girl was highly disturbing at times (I wished they'd made her 15, which still would have been disturbing. The actress was actually 18 at the time), and occasionally funny. Very strong acting. Ball, the two young stars, and the actor who played the father did a Q&A afterward. The best part of these Q&A's is not so much the content, but the excitement of seeing people live in front of you who you just saw onscreen.