28 September 2016

The Age of Shadows

#TheAgeOfShadows: Fantastic! Just bl**dy fantastic! Epic, exciting spy-thriller, betrayal around every corner! Stunning noir cinematography!

27 September 2016

The Magnificent Seven

#TheMagnificentSeven: It’s not as good as the original, but it’s still a lot of fun to see Denzel do his bad-a** thing! Nice work by Fuqua.

26 September 2016

RIP Arnold Palmer

RIP #Arnold #Palmer. From as far back as I can remember I was always aware of #Arnie thanks to my father. Incredible impact. #ArniesArmy

25 September 2016

Vin Scully Retires

"I've needed you more much more than you've needed me." With all due respect, Mr. #Scully, I beg to differ! #ThankYouVin #VinScully #Dodgers

Jose Fernandez Dies

RIP #JoseFernandez. What a great, fun pitcher to watch. Gone way, way too soon. What an incredible future he had in store. Really sad...

24 September 2016

Kevin Garnett Retires

You Know You're Too Old When: Kevin #Garnett retires. Lucky to see him play live back in the day - jaw-dropping...& I wasn't even a fan! #KG

23 September 2016

Tanna

#Tanna: Astonishingly beautiful & deeply moving. Lovely perfs by entire cast of non-pros Deserves to be seen on as big a screen as possible!

21 September 2016

RIP Curtis Hanson

RIP #CurtisHanson: Aw man, this is really sad. One of my all-time favourite directors. Loved all his movies. Loved him talking about movies.

19 September 2016

London Road

#LondonRoad: Perhaps the most unusual serial killer movie I’ve seen in a long time. Commands your attention, even if it doesn't quite work.

18 September 2016

Steelers Beat Bengals

Here it is again: Thank G*d for #DeAngelo! Good, gutty win for #Steelers, for once they got the calls. PS. Hello #Xavier #Grimble! #HereWeGo 

17 September 2016

RIP Edward Albee

RIP Edward Albee. Like most others I knew him through "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" Quite the shot across my sheltered young bow.

16 September 2016

15 September 2016

Ramnaresh Sarwan Retires

You Know Youre Too Old When: #Ramnaresh #Sarwan retires For a batsman who was supposedly under the radar he scored a lot of runs #WestIndies

14 September 2016

Sania Mirza New Yorker Article

Yup, @marypilon is right, #Sania #Mirza is a trailblazer for #IND both on and off the court Nice article #SaniaMirza http://ow.ly/HUMM3046VRj

13 September 2016

Sing Street

#SingStreet: Another Carney special, a sweet lil’ proto-musical with enough 80s nostalgic cuteness to make Netflix jealous. Kids are great.

12 September 2016

DeAngelo Williams Plays Well in Steelers Win

#AB is awesome as ever, but I've said it once I've said it a 1000 times: Thank G*d for #DeAngelo! PS. #EliRogers! #Steelers #HereWeGo #MNF

Huge Fourth-And-One Call From Mike Tomlin

#Tomlin: #Steelers #CoachForLife!!!!!!

Sully

#Sully: No one deconstructs American male heroism like Clint (well, okay, Scorsese) & no one does (wounded) American male heroism like Hanks

11 September 2016

Wawrinka Backhand / Djokovic Rejection by Fans

#Stanimal 1HBH is a fearsome thing of beauty. #Djoker always gracious (defeat or victory) cant understand why hes not liked by fans #USOpen

Wawrinka Upsets Djokovic to Win US Open 2016

Apologies to #Serena/#Pliskova & #Rafa/#Pouille but #Djokovic losing the title to #Wawrinka is the biggest #USOpen upset! #Stanimal the Man!

Postcards From Gander: 9-11 15 Years Later

Re-posting my little 9-11 remembrance piece from five years ago...

If it’s one thing I have come to realize in my advancing years, it’s that time moves fast, very fast. And sadly, as it moves inexorably to the, well, I don’t want to get too morose here, but as it moves towards whatever it is that it moves to, it also starts to fade. Experiences that were so vivid and immediate tend to fade, and this fading accelerates the more that time advances.

It is, therefore, perhaps not that difficult to believe then that it has already been 10 years since that day when the world that we knew changed forever. It is also not that difficult to believe that the images, the, sounds, the everything from that day, once so overwhelming and inescapable, have also begun to fade, splintering into fragments scattered around your mind, coming into sharp focus when you least expect it, retreating when you try to grab at them.

What has not faded, however, are the emotions, all of them, from that day.

I fell asleep, like I normally did during my grad student days at USC, on the couch in Los Angeles. My clock radio came on, like it normally did, in the early morning. I was planning to doze in and out while listening to my radio, like I normally did, but something was different. From my half-awake state I could make out the sounds of sirens and chaos and a breathless reporter talking about something. For a split second I thought that this was a cruel update of that legendary Orson Welles “The War of the Worlds” radio broadcast, that’s how bewildering it all seemed at the time. Grudgingly, I managed to get off the couch and switch the TV on.

I was awake now.

It was impossible to comprehend what was being shown to me. It just did not seem possible that what was happening was happening. I just sat there, letting it all wash over me, too overwhelmed to react in any way.

Then it dawned on me that my father was supposed to fly into New York and head straight into work at the UN building that morning.

At this point it was still difficult to know exactly what was going on. We knew that the Towers had been attacked and there were other hijacked planes in the air. We had no idea if it the entire country was under attack. Nothing was certain, nothing made sense.

I tried calling my sister in Bayside, Queens. I couldn't get through. I tried calling my father's cellphone. I couldn't get through. I tried calling my mother's cellphone. I couldn't get through. I called my grandmother in Calcutta. I couldn’t get through. I called my other grandmother in Calcutta. I couldn’t get through. I called my aunt in Liverpool. This time I got through.

My aunt knew that my mother was on a plane flying from Delhi to Calcutta. She did not know much beyond that. She said she would call my grandmother in Calcutta.

I called my ex-girlfriend (who would soon after go back to being my girlfriend, my fiancee, and then my wife) at her place in downtown Los Angeles. I told her what was happening. I was happy she was safe, but those buildings downtown could be a target. Perhaps she would consider joining me?

At this point in time the only thing I knew was that my sister was somewhere in New York, my mother was somewhere between Delhi and Calcutta, and my father was...somewhere.

The doorbell rang. My heart leapt. It was my future wife. I didn't want to be alone. I felt better now that she was there.

Another phone call. This time it was my aunt. She had spoken to my grandmother. My mother was indeed on her way to Calcutta, but since she was on a plane, no one could get a hold of her. Apparently, she had seen my father off earlier. He was, apparently, en route to New York. Except we had no idea if he had landed, if he was in the UN building, or if he was in Europe still waiting for his connecting flight.

My friend Shubho called from Orange County. His father had been visiting the UN when it happened. Everyone within the UN had been safely evacuated, so if my father had indeed been there he would be safe.

I tried my sister again. Miraculously, even though we had been told that the phone lines were jammed, I got through! She was in Bayside. She wanted to go check on her friends in Manhattan. No! Before I could help it I was yelling at her, telling her that everything was falling to pieces, nothing was working, that the safest place for her to be was at home. There was a silence on the other end and I felt terrible. She was out there all by herself, no family, no friends, and no idea if she would have them again. For once, I tried not be an overbearing older brother and instruct her on what to do. This time, I tried to comfort her and reason with her. She should stay where she was and once we knew that everything was safe, she could then go out and try to see how her friends were doing. I would let her know as soon as we heard from our parents. It's funny, she said, the last time we were all together we went to have drinks at Windows on the World.

My friend Toad called me from Greenwich Village, Manhattan. He had walked back to his dorm room after classes had been cancelled at NYU. He was there with our friend Sud, who had been evacuated from 7 World Trade Center. I was stunned, Sud had been there, right in the middle of it all, and he had found his way back to a friend. The phone lines were unreliable and Toad had more calls to make, but he assured me that while they were both not terribly sound, they were, nonetheless, safe.

My future wife's sister called her from Northern Virginia. She had been at the Pentagon when it happened, but had managed to get to safety. She was shaken up but all right. She had been one of the lucky ones.

Slowly, through the mist of all this uncertainty and fear, connections were starting to be re-established. Some of our loved ones were safe, the uncertainty and fear were beginning, ever so slightly, to recede.

I called my aunt to tell her my sister was safe. The message was relayed to my grandmother.

A short while later my aunt called me to tell me that my mother had called her from my grandmother's in Calcutta. She had reached safely. She was happy to hear that my sister was safe. She had checked and my father had indeed made his connection in Europe. I told her that if he had landed and made his way to UN he would have been safe.

So we sat there, my future wife and I. Trying, if not to make sense of what was happening, but at the very least be of some small comfort to each other.

My mother kept calling my aunt who, in turn, kept calling me, but there weren't any more updates. I couldn't get through to the airlines, I couldn't get through to the UN, I couldn't even get through to my sister any more.

The uncertainty and fear were beginning to come back.

And then, just like that, the phone rang.

It was my father.

He was speaking softly. He was all right. He had borrowed a fellow passenger's cellphone and didn't have much time because everyone was trying to contact their families. He was still on the plane. They had landed in a place called Gander, which was in a place called Newfoundland, which was, as it turned out, in Canada. He didn't have much information beyond that. Most importantly, he was safe.

Those were the happiest phone calls I have ever had to make. My aunt was thrilled to hear the news. She called me back to tell me that my mother, my grandmother, my other grandmother were all just as thrilled. It took me multiple tries, but I managed to get through to my sister, who was also thrilled. As it turns out, my sister is also a strong, independent-minded woman, and once she had gotten her bearings she would make it out to Union Square via Flushing, Astoria, the bus, the 7-train, the subway, the streets, and find a temporary solace in the company of her friends and the larger grieving Lower Manhattan community that would gather there to take that first tentative step towards healing.

Everyone was still in shock, but for our family, selfishly, we were beginning to deal with what happened. The uncertainty and the fear did give way to melancholy and an awful sadness. But for us there was also gratitude. We were the lucky ones.

The phone became central to our lives for next few days. My father called us from Appleton, which was a few miles away from Gander. The passengers from about 45 diverted flights were being housed at a school gymnasium after having been kept on the landed planes at an abandoned military airfield for the first 24 hours. They were also being fed, clothed, bathed, serenaded, and taken care of by complete strangers. These strangers, the people of Appleton/Gander, did everything they could to buoy the spirits of these passengers, so they did not feel as alone. If the passengers needed anything, anything at all, they would give them the shirts off their back, literally (in my father's case it was socks, shorts, a couple of polo shirts, a moose-sighting trip, even a commemorative souvenir from the local golf course).

The airlines were, on the other hand, no help at all. But, as it often happens when you put groups of people together in difficult circumstances, they banded together to find solutions. Some of them managed to fly across to Detroit, hop into a rented car, and then drive through straight to New York. My mother (nervously, she would later admit), would fly back from visiting my grandmother once they started allowing international flights. I would fly back during Thanksgiving (sitting next to some nuns who were going to minister to the First Responders; I still have the rosaries they gave me, right there on my desk, I see them everyday). I would see my father and my mother and my sister and my future wife and her sister (and even Toad and Sud). We were together again.

Later that year, when we were all slowly getting back on our feet, with slowly being the operative word, I found a postcard that had been buried under a mountain of to-do items. It was from my father. He had sent it during his time at Appleton/Gander. It said he was having a wonderful time there (even during the worst of times he always managed to sound unfailingly reassuring), he was trying to figure out what to do next, but it was incredible how warm and welcoming the locals were, and how it continued to amaze him that it was in the worst of times that the best of humanity revealed itself. He was deeply touched by this kindness of people he had never met before and would probably never see again, and he would not forget it for as long as he lived.

I was stunned. My father was, like most fathers, a fairly stolid, unsentimental, solid oak tree of a man. For him to be so open about his feelings, to his son, was unexpected (he has softened considerably since then; time affects us all). A lot had happened on that day, and we were all still trying to work through what it meant, what it would mean, I guess we were still trying to work through everything. I realized that perhaps more than anything, I was grateful. I was grateful for being able to connect with my little family across 5 cities, 4 countries, 3 continents when it seemed like all connections were being torn apart. I was grateful that I was able to re-connect with the woman who would go on to become my wife and become part of my family and I of hers. I was grateful for being able to connect with my friends. But most of all, I was grateful for that community half a world away, that community that came together to take care of perfect strangers and become a family that provided shelter for my father.

We were the lucky ones.


10 September 2016

Kerber Beats Pliskova to Win US Open 2016

Great win for Fightin' #Angelique #Kerber, battling to the bitter end. Tough luck for fun, young #Pliskova, but her future's bright. #USOpen 

Yao Ming, Allen Iverson, and Shaquille O'Neal Hall of Fame

You Know You're #TooOld When: #Yao, #Iverson, & #Shaq are induced into #NBA #HOF. As if I needed further reminders of my long-faded youth!

09 September 2016

Celeb Sighting: Beck

3rd-Greatest Celeb Sighting, Ever!: #Beck...taking it *all* in at the Doug Aitken opening at #MOCA. Scouting for a music video director?!

Kicks

#Kicks: Like most young directors Tipping mistakes style for substance. Still, interesting debut with visual panache & cast, esp Siriboe.

08 September 2016

Cam Newton Gets No Calls

If #Brady or #Brees had gotten hit as many times as #Cam did they'd have thrown a 100 flags! #DoubleStandard #Panthers #Broncos #NFL

Serena Upset by Pliskova at US Open 2016

Woah! All due apologies to #Rafa & #Pouille...biggest #USOpen upset #Pliskova over #Serena! Tall, big-serving, streaky #CZE sounds familiar!

07 September 2016

Roger Federer Absence Felt at US Open

Yes, @ChuckCulpepper1, a post-#Federer #tennis landscape is terrifying. Thank G*d we still have #Serena! #USOpen http://ow.ly/TICJ303QlpN

02 September 2016

Complete Unknown

#CompleteUnknown: Such a pleasure to see heavyweights Weisz & Shannon do their thing. Intriguing character-identity study by Marston.

31 August 2016

Roger Federer Gets Old

.@brianphillips was breaking my heart about #Roger #Federer over at #Grantland. Now he's doing it again @nytimes!

30 August 2016

Isner & Sock Beat Tiafoe & Fritz US Open 2016

Clash of (rapidly dwindling American) #tennis generations #Isner/#Sock dig deep to beat young #Tiafoe/#Fritz Kids've talent & heart! #USOpen 

Mechanic: Resurrection

#MechanicResurrection: Lean mean B-movie killin’ machine…ie the unbreakable #Statham! We gotta get him into a better action franchise!

29 August 2016

RIP Gene Wilder

RIP #Gene #Wilder. One of my very favourite actors growing up before I even knew what a legend he was. We’re all going to miss him very much

The Night Of

#TheNightOf: Expertly crafted very good slowburn. How great was Turturro! Ridiculous “twists” forgiven thanks to that aww-some final shot!

27 August 2016

West Indies India Florida T20 Match

Woah! That #T20 in Florida was apparently insane! Can't believe #WestIndies scored 245...& #IND 244! We need #cricket in #Olympics! #WIvIND

26 August 2016

In Order of Disappearance

#InOrderOfDisappearance: Awe-bl**dy-some! Brutal, violent, funny. Stellar showcase for the great #Stellan #Skarsgard. We need a franchise!

25 August 2016

Refugee (Annenberg Space)

#Refugee (@AnnenbergSpace): Powerful, heartbreaking images that humanize the faces at the center of the global struggle. Very moving.

24 August 2016

Ixcanul

#Ixcanul: Stunning vistas (courtesy of DP Arteaga) and wonderful, lived-in perfs by (non-pros!) Coroy & Telon help transcend rote story.

23 August 2016

RIP Steven Hill

RIP Steven Hill. Beloved DA Adam Schiff for all of us #LawAndOrder loyalists. Welcome screen presence in a bunch of movies on top of that.

War Dogs

#WarDogs: Jonah doing what he does best playing an unlikeable d-bag He makes Teller sympathetic! Entertaining step-up from director Phillips

22 August 2016

Kubo and the Two Strings

#KuboAndTheTwoStrings: Simply fantastic! One of the best films of the year animated or otherwise! Allergy sniffles come on strong at the end