NYFF Log Day 3: Armageddon Time, Personality Crisis

Another day of NYFF 2022 has come and gone and it was mostly notable for the fact I got to see my friend Austin Burke and watch 2 just ok movies.

So here’s my thoughts:

Armageddon Time

This film comes from director James Gray and is semi-autobiographical about his life growing up in Queens in the 1980s going to a private school run by Maryanne Trump (the former president’s sister played by Jessica Chastain).

Gray always paints a nice palate to his films with cinematography by Darius Khondji and he does so here. It feels more 1970s than 80s but I’m not an expert so I trust the costume designer did their homework. The cast is very strong with Anthony Hopkins probably earning his next Oscar nomination for his supporting work as the Grandfather who fled Nazi Germany after his parents were murdered in front of him.

The child named Paul is played well by Banks Repeta and his friend Johnny is Jaylin Webb. Anne Hathaway and Jeremy Strong play Paul’s parents Esther and Irving.

With a title like Armageddon Time you’d think the movie would be more exciting but it’s really a by-the-numbers coming of age story. Nothing new here but it’s not bad. If you are fan of this genre than you’ll enjoy it. I actually often find that to be the case with Gray’s movies. They are usually serviceable but nothing more.

6 out of 10

Smile Worthy

Personality Crisis: One Night Only

Some people may not know that Martin Scorsese has done a number of music-based rock documentaries including No Direction Home about Bob Dylan, Shine a Light about The Rolling Stones and The Last Waltz about The Band. Now his latest entry in the genre carries the unwieldly title Personality Crisis: One Night Only about the lead singer of the New York Dolls, David Johansen (aka Buster Poindexter).

The most interesting part of this documentary for me is it’s actually the second documentary I’ve seen about members of the New York Dolls. Another one called New York Doll came out in 2005 and is about band member Arthur Kane and how he went from punk rocker to Mormon senior missionary. It’s a fun watch:

This film, Personality Crisis, is more your standard music documentary. The most interesting part is probably Johansen exploring his Dolls persona and his Buster persona (the personality crisis of the title).

They do give long stretches of singing which I’m sure fans will especially enjoy. Obviously this is the perfect documentary to have at NYFF and I suspect it will end up on a streaming service eventually such as Apple Plus or HBO Max. If you have a chance to see it there I’d recommend it like I said especially if you are a fan of either of Johansen’s identities.

6 out of 10

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