Spotlight on Sunshine Cinema: Review of Captain Fantastic and Don’t Think Twice

If you know that you like independent films or are open-minded about changing your routine, I highly recommend that you see a flick at Sunshine Cinema, my favorite movie theater in Manhattan. Owned by Landmark Theatres, the largest chain dedicated to independent films, it is located in the East Village on East Houston and Forsyth Street. In addition to showing movies, it hosts special events that you can attend with a ticket purchase. Celebrities and other public figures often make appearances. A few weeks ago, Governor Cuomo attended a Q&A with the director of Newtown, a new documentary about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012. Recently, I have seen two standout movies – Captain Fantastic and Don’t Think Twice – which are still playing.

Sunshine

The star of Captain Fantastic is Viggo Mortensen, who plays Ben Cash, a father to six children. He denounces societal norms and chooses an alternative lifestyle for his offspring, living isolated in the wilderness where he controls their activities and education, with an extreme emphasis on physical strength and anti-materialism. When the Cash family is forced to re-enter society, the film raises societal issues, including how to raise children: How will I inspire my children to enjoy learning? Will instilling religion teach them moral values? How honest should I be with my kids? The film was serious, but it was also very funny. Without giving too much away, some of the moments that made me laugh out loud involved the kids singing religious prayers to a police officer and the eldest son professing his love for a girl to her mother outside a trailer truck.

Rotten Tomatoes gives Don’t Think Twice a 99 percent rating, so I had no doubt that it would be wildly entertaining. The movie is about an improv group in Manhattan and features several established actors, including Keegan-Michael Key, Gillian Jacobs, Mike Birbiglia, Kate Micucci, Chris Gethard and Tami Sagher. I was most familiar with Jacobs and Micucci, who play love interests on my favorite television shows. Jacobs was Adam’s ex-girlfriend on Girls and Micucci was Raj’s girlfriend on The Big Bang Theory. I was also excited to see that Lena Dunham and Ben Stiller make cameo appearances. The comedians in Don’t Think Twice are close friends, but they are also competitive, as most of them vie for a spot on WEEKEND LIVE, the movie’s equivalent of Saturday Night Live. The story is about the group figuring out what makes them happy and defining who they are as they reach their mid-thirties. The highlights were the many revealing improv skits in which they used acting as an outlet for processing their feelings.

Either Don’t Think Twice or Captain Fantastic are great options for a movie night. You should see them, or another indie film, at the Sunshine Cinema while you can. Unfortunately, according to online research, the theater is in danger of being sold to developers and may face destruction in order to make room for new projects. On the bright side, I also read that its parent company is opening a modern venue featuring “film and luxury” and an open bar in Lincoln Center in the spring of 2017.

Love for Marketing and Dogs Breeds Pet Fashion Company

Owning a dog is more fun than ever, now that there are more options to pamper your favorite furry friend. Pet owners will spend over $60 billion on care, services and toys by the end of 2015. This figure is up 25 percent from five years ago. Wagdrobe, which was conceptualized a year ago, is a fashion company fulfilling an unmet need in this space. The company curates apparel and accessories customized for your pet.

Other Dog

Image courtesy of Wagdrobe

Two Millennials who worked in advertising technology on a small marketing team bonded over love for their own dogs and style. They collaborated using their marketing prowess to create Wagdrobe. You can go to Wagdrobe.com, select the outfit category and package, provide details about your pet, and your “wagdrobe” will arrive in within two weeks. The most popular boxes right now are the “Hipster Hound” and “Warm and Trendy” ($25-50).

Hipster Hound

Image courtesy of Wagdrobe

“Our pet stylists keep track of everything they send to each customer in our system to ensure that she or he won’t receive the same outfit or accessories twice, even when reordering the same style,” says Erica Feld, Wagdrobe co-founder. Inspiration for the outfits includes everyday fashion on the streets of Manhattan and top designers like Tom Ford, Ralph Lauren and Marc Jacobs.

You can also send Wagdrobe as a gift, either by choosing a box or purchasing a gift certificate for the service.

Too Much Love for Pixar’s New Movie, Inside Out

If you were a child or parent in the 90s, you remember Pixar’s debut animated feature film Toy Story and its heroes Woody and Buzz Lightyear. Since the hit came out in 1995, the motion picture studio has continued to release blockbuster movies that appeal to children and adults. Grownups revel in uncovering the moral of the story and educate their little ones. Kids are drawn to the characters and visual effects. In theaters now, Inside Out evaluates emotions and their impact on development through the story of a girl who is forced to move when her father explores a new venture. Riley has trouble adjusting to her new home.

Inside Out is delightfully creative and complex, as it constructs a world in which minds are controlled by characters representing emotions. This movie is a must-see for everyone, especially those who have or love children or are interested in psychology. I was so moved that I cried beneath my 3D glasses within the first five minutes. After reading a few reviews, I learned that others had the same reaction.

I also learned that director Pete Docter explored this topic in an effort to understand how his daughter’s emotions changed drastically when she turned 11, the same age as Riley. His personal experience attempting to figure out his own daughter makes the events relatable and heartwarming.

 Coffee

The characters that manipulate Riley’s headquarters are Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Disgust (Mindy Kaling), Anger (Lewis Black) and Fear (Bill Hader). Joy is the dominant emotion and directs the others as they work the control board. Riley’s mind develops “islands” that are dedicated to aspects of her life that she values most. This includes family, friendship, honesty, hockey and being a goofball. Core memories are depicted as glass balls that hold significant memories that are tied to emotion. Old memories that aren’t revisited are sucked out by the “memory control” team. In the story, we meet Bing Bong (Richard Kind), Riley’s imaginary friend. We enter Riley’s imagination land with life-size French fries, her dream factory that resembles the set of a movie filming and the subterranean subconscious, where Riley’s darkest fears are housed.

Inside Out is entertaining because it’s imaginative, but what separates it from similar movies is its insight into Riley’s journey through the lens of a parent. It’s tough to watch without empathizing with Riley as she experiences a full range of emotions, including ones tied to the main characters, jealousy when her pal meets a new friend, embarrassment when she cries in front of her class and the love she feels for her parents (Diane Lane and Kyle MacLachlan).

Docter draws many smart conclusions about development, namely, that it’s okay to let go of certain memories as you grow, new situations can force introspection and that sadness serves a critical role because it makes you appreciate joy and can result in positive outcomes, like receiving support from loved ones and motivating you to improve yourself. If you haven’t already, see Inside Out, and prepare to form new long-term memories that make you think.

The 2015 Too Much Valentine’s Gift List

If you have a special girl in your life and you want to make sure she knows it, then this is your holiday! If your girl likes to wine, dine and look good, check out these suggestions for a V-day that will be “too much” fun:

VDAY

Photo creds: Jacques Torres; Nordstrom; DryBar; Murray’s; Charlotte Olympia

Jacques Torres “I Love U” Puzzle ($11)

  • Let’s start with a basic one. Chocolate. An essential food group constructed into a puzzle that tells her how you feel. It’s from the world-renowned chocolatier, so it tastes as good as its presentation. This could live in a museum or, better, in your mouth.

Hi Beautiful – That’s All Wine Glass, Nordstrom ($18)

  • This one is classy, simple and useful. Keep the compliments coming.

Blowouts from DryBar ($40 and up)

  • DryBar is a “too-much” girl’s happy place. You can spend as little as $40 for a useful gift certificate or go well into the hundreds, if you’re a big spender channeling Christian Grey.

Murray’s Heart-Shaped Cheese ($16)

  • Shipped over from France (where else would heart-shaped cheese come from?), this Coeur de Bray tastes just like brie.

Charlotte Olympia Hug Me Clutch ($440)

  • For a splurge, check out this arm candy. It’s a clutch that looks just like the classic Valentine’s Day conversation hearts. It even happens to be more than half off (although still pricey) at TheOutnet.com. While this is an investment piece and not for everyone, it’s perfect for a girl’s night out and channeling “Clueless.” Looks like we’re gonna have to make a cameo at the Val party!

Extremely Cool Right Now: #IceBucketChallenge for ALS, A Very Serious Condition

Pour a bucket of ice water over your head. Videotape it, share it on social media and nominate friends to do the same. It’s that easy to raise awareness of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

You can’t help but notice it on your social media news feeds. Matt Lauer accepted the challenge on “The Today Show.” Martha Stewart did it. Politicians are doing it. Here’s the video of me doing it: #IceBucketChallenge

untitled

It all started when Peter Frates decided to bring attention to this condition via social media. He posted his video, nominated others, who nominated others and that’s how the message spread.

Frates, 29, is the former Captain of Boston College’s baseball team and was diagnosed with ALS at just 27-years-old. ALS is a progressive disease which paralyzes the muscles and impacts a person’s ability to walk, talk and breathe. An individual only lives approximately 1,000 days after being diagnosed.

The ALS Association, the largest non-profit organization for the cause, saw a fourfold increase in contributions for July 29 to August 6 this year, as compared to last year. The association has seen a tenfold increase for the past three days as of August 7th.

Stephanie Dufner, the Manager of Communications at ALS Association, says “We’re excited about the amount of visibility this movement is generating for ALS awareness and for those with the condition.”

Join the cause! Show some love for those with ALS, and let’s keep the momentum going! Hashtag #IceBucketChallenge, #StrikeOutALS and #TeamFrateTrain with your video.

Visit PeteFrates.com and ALSA.org to learn more about the condition and how you can help.

At Fetch Club, Our Dogs Are As Loved and As Social As We Are

Dogs

Photos of dogs above are courtesy of Fetch Club

In our 20s and 30s, we’re busy building our careers and enjoying active social lives. We might also want to own and love an adorable, cuddly dog.

But when we have so much going on, how can we make sure our dogs get the attention they deserve? Fetch Club, located in downtown Manhattan, pampers our dogs when we don’t have the time.

The doggy daycare service began in 2009. Millennial Janna Lee, a dog-owner of three, worked briefly as an analyst before founding the business, her true passion.

“I wanted to create somewhere I would feel comfortable taking my own dogs,” says Lee. “Fetch Club is unique in that we engage with the dogs throughout the day making sure to pay special attention to each individual dog’s needs.”

The staff knows the dogs on a first-name basis and spends each day walking them and playing together. Unless an owner requests it, the dogs are never alone. They are placed into different rooms based on their size and can even sleep over if necessary.

The club’s store is stocked with yummy treats such as bacon-flavored Harry Barker Dog Biscuits and Dogma Amazing Apple Rings, which have no additives or artificial flavors.

What’s a club without a party? FC hosts special events where pets and owners can mingle. Most recently, they held an ice cream social where both people and their dogs could enjoy their own frozen desserts.