The Bowery becomes a nexus of shattered dreams when a merchant has 72 hours to pay his rent. Facing extinction, his ramshackle tent of antiquities lures a troop of misfits, freaks and renegades who form a tableaux full of carnival pageantry, white lies and victimless crime in a fleeting glimpse of Downtown New York.
“Oddly touching.” - Jim Jarmusch
“This Movie is F**king Real.” - Abel Ferrara
“A vibrant, visceral portrait of the streets of New York at their most sublime.” – W Further Information:
French and German subtitles
The score includes choice musical contributions from Brian Jonestown Massacre, Elvis Perkins in Dearland, Slowdance and A.R.E. Weapons
Catalog Number: MC-1319
Genre: Comedy / Satire, Drama, Music, Political / Social, Modern Culture
Length: 77 minutes
DVD Region: 0
TV System: NTSC
Label: Matson Films
Rating: Not Rated
This is a Microcinema Exclusive title.
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2012-09-04Educational Media Reviews Online By Tom Ipri
Dirty Old Town opens as Billy (William Leroy) is confronted by his landlord regarding the overdue rent for his second-hand goods shop. The landlord gives Billy an ultimatum: come up with two month's rent within 72 hours or have the store shut down. To complicate matters, Billy's daughter is soon heading off to college and he needs money for her as well. Billy is aided in his quest by a "troop of misfits" who hang around his store. The focus of the film is more often than not on the carnival inspired atmosphere of the shop and its hangers-on than on the urgency of Billy's dilemma. Side plots revolving around a young prostitute and an undercover cop and Billy's friend who is tailing him occupy significant screen time, giving this lean film a leisurely feel that belies the premise.
That said, first time feature film directors Jenner Furst and Daniel B Levin have crafted an impressive looking low budget feature full of compelling images, sharp editing and an exciting soundtrack. The numerous characters are skillfully introduced and, despite some shaky acting here and there, interesting and compulsively watchable.
Dirty Old Town focuses on events over a few days in New York's Bowery but subtly touches on broader themes of post 9/11 anxiety, recession era unease, and the threat of the increasing corporatization of America.
2012-06-25The Los Angeles Beat By Paul Gaita
Little snapshots of everyday life are also at the heart of Dirty Old Town (Matson), a verite-style docudrama about Lower East Side antiques dealer Billy Leroy, who plays himself in a fictionalized, noir-flecked take on the circumstances that brought his fabled shop to a close earlier this year. Gentrification was the real culprit for the shutdown, but here, Leroy is up against gangsters who want his overdue rent in 72. The fictionalized story serves as a framework for directors Jennifer Furst and Daniel B. Levin to allow Leroy and a remarkable cast of amateur and non-professional actors to bring a palpable sense of authenticity to the proceedings. A documentary on the demise of Leroy’s store might’ve served purposes better, but for those who remember and pine for the “old” New York, this is a bittersweet taste of things that were.
2012-05-29Movie Gazette Online By Rori Aronsky
Remember the gritty black-and-white cinematography of Clerks, how it made you feel like you were in the Quick Stop with Dante, Randal, and outside of it with Jay and Silent Bob? Well, first, think of Billy (William Leroy), proprietor of Billy’s Antiques & Props, as Dante. He’s the reverse of Dante because he is supposed to be there today, and unlike Clerks, we see him go through the motions of his business and his life for more than a day. 72 hours, in fact. 72 hours in 77 minutes, 72 hours that he has to pay ,000 in late rent.
Think of Nicky (Nicholas De Cegli), Billy’s friend and protector, as Randal. Unlike Randal, he has a sense of responsibility and a devotion to duty, making sure Billy and his shop are undisturbed by skeevy types such as Bobby (Scott Dillin), a cop keeping watch on Billy and his shop, harassing him to no end. Nicky knows what he must do, as friendly as he looks and acts: He must make it stop by any means necessary, and he keeps watch on Bobby for that opportunity to make sure Billy is never harassed again.
Think of Rachel (Janell Shirtcliff), the drug-addicted prostitute with a young son, the gangbangers who threaten Billy, and the delightfully freaky personalities who populate Billy’s shop and exist elsewhere in New York City, as those convenience store customers, but with more sense, even as sense seems to elude them. However, the most unforgettable character in Dirty Old Town is Ronnie Sunshine, billed as playing himself, who Rachel goes to for drugs, and who Ronnie wants for perverse pleasures. The entire production team of Dirty Old Town, including directors Jennifer Furst and Daniel Levin, need to consider making a movie about Sunshine alone. It’s said that a little bit of an eccentric character goes a long way, but there’s a craving to know more about Sunshine, how he lives, how he exists day-to-day, what he wants out of life. Disgusted as one might be by his actions, he’s irresistible.
And think of the handheld energetic color cinematography of Dirty Old Town as that black-and-white cinematography in Clerks, but more kinetic, showcasing a New York City that continues to shrink. This is not Times Square New York City, this is not tourist-trap New York City. This is the New York City that people live in, even with all those shiny storefronts selling shiny objects to tourists. Those storefronts are not seen, just neighborhoods that look so lived-in. But they are the real thing. This is ground-level filmmaking, not Hollywood’s New York City. It’s rarely seen, and most welcome, but the best thing to do is to not to look for plot as we know it, from one point to another and another, an easy path. Just get caught up in it, watching more for the characters, who they are, how they live, and being made breathless by the whirling force that is Ronnie Sunshine.
Also fun is figuring out who these actors look like. William Leroy looks like a combination of Mickey Rourke and Matt Dillon, making the ideal Henry Chinaski if another adaptation of a Charles Bukowski book is filmed. The actress who plays Bobby’s wife looks like a Michelle Rodriguez/Eva Mendes hybrid, and Janell Shirtcliff looks like Kat Dennings, but less worldly and more street smart. Scott Dillin looks like many cops you’ve probably seen in movies and on television, but his show of emotion is rare, and pretty remarkable to watch. He’s not a mean bastard just for the sake of it. His life is crumbling and he’s trying to catch the falling pieces. Trying, and failing.
Dirty Old Town has its touching moments, especially when Rachel spends time with her son and at one point must leave him as quickly as she arrived, blending in easily with everything else. It must be experienced at least once, to admire filmmaking that doesn’t happen very often today, that represents New York City so well.
0000-00-00 By Jim Jarmusch
0000-00-00 By Abel Ferrara
This Movie is Fu**ing Real
0000-00-00The Village Voice
A low Budget Ode to No-Budget NY
A vibrant, visceral portrait of the streets of New York at their most sublime.
0000-00-00New York Press
When the Lower East Side is chock full of high rise condos and Starbucks shops, we will look to films like Dirty Old Town to remind us of what it once was that grew beneath those walls.
It’s much more street than Mean Streets, and makes Taxi Driver seem like it was shot in Ohio.
It grabs hold of something sad and sweet.
Drips with sweaty ambiance and guerilla-style energy.
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