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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Bronx Film: Buzz Building for 'Gun Hill Road'

[Video: a trailer for Bronx-based film "Gun Hill Road," which opens tomorrow.]

I picked up the Village Voice near the Kingsbridge Road 4 train stop yesterday and, because I'm a movie junkie, immediately turned to the film reviews. It included a short and positive portrait of "Gun Hill Road," an independent movie written and directed by Bronx-born filmmaker Rashaad Ernesto Green, starring two well-known Bronx actors, Judy Reyes and Esai Morales.

That's good news for Green's film, which made it's New York debut at the first-ever Bronx Film Festival in May. Only one problem: the reviewer said the movie is set in Brooklyn! Doh! Finally, an independent Bronx film starts building buzz (apologies to "City Island" fans) and the Boogie Down gets mistaken for trendy Brooklyn. Sigh.
Silly copy editing mistake aside, this exposure bodes well for "Gun Hill Road," which is, of course, set in the Bronx, on and around Gun Hill Road, where Green says his family has a history and still maintains a presence. "Gun Hill Road," which was picked up by a small distributor after doing well at the Sundance Film Festival, will begin playing at three theaters in New York (two in Manhattan and the Bay Plaza theater in Co-op City) starting tomorrow. The following week it opens in Los Angeles and then, a week later, in San Francisco.

We've been writing about "Gun Hill Road," since it first started filming in the Bronx last summer. I wrote about the film after seeing it at the Bronx Film Festival during Bronx Week and was interested to see how professional critics would review it. 

The answer is a mixed bag. According to Rotten Tomatoes, the 12 reviews published have been half positive, half not-so positive. But not one reviewer trashes the movie.

The Voice liked it. Time Out said the acting is good, but the movie "falters thanks to it's paint-by-the-numbers storytelling." The Observer's Rex Reed also has problems with the storytelling, but says the movie is "worth seeing for the acting." IndieWIRE gave it a B+ and said "it continues to generate buzz among gay filmgoers." 

With it's gay community buzz, recognizable cast, a pocket full of generally positive reviews and a recent NY Times article about Harmony Santana (the transgender actor who plays the lead role of a transgender Bronx teenager), "Gun Hill Road" appears on a path to success.


  1. I cannot wait to see Gun Hill Road! It premiers tonight in NYC, WOOO! Come out and support the message of this film. You can buy tickets online at fandango, heres the link: http://bit.ly/GunHillRoad_Tickets hope to see you there!

  2. I also noticed the Village Voice's error in its film review of "Gun Hill Road" and wrote to the editor. Unfortunately, I also noticed an error in this article related to the independent film set in the Bronx. The writer and director of "Gun Hill Road" is Rashaad Ernesto Green, not Ernesto Rashad Green. For what it's worth, mixed reviews aside, I saw this movie and applaud the efforts of a stellar cast and insightful director. The story is fresh, compelling and authentic.

  3. Great point Tania. Apologies to Rashaad.


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