Any movie synopsis that includes "black comedy" and "David Koechner" is an instant sell for me. Toss in Empire Records' Ethan Embry and the two leads from Ti West's The Innkeepers and my expectations will be through...
I've realized something important in the past year or two: I don't really like period pieces. I like watching films from other eras and seeing them as they represent their own culture and time, but I don't really like seeing them try to reminisce about a better (or worse) point in history. The further back it goes, the less interested I am. There are exceptions to be made, of course, but they're few and far in between.
Almost Human is set in the late 1980s, which would be a strike against it, if it wasn't for the fact that its time period is all but irrelevant. It would be basically the same movie if it was set in 2013 as it is set in 1989.
It hurts me that people think that Quentin Dupieux makes surrealists films. It really does. And it's not just a bunch of hipsters trying to sound smarter than they are. Film critics who really ought to know better have lauded him for his modern day surrealism. It hurts.
Let's be clear: Quentin Dupieux does not make surrealist films. Got that? He does not make surrealist films. And if anyone tells you otherwise, you should hit them. Up until now, Dupieux's filmography has consisted entirely of absurdist films, films that bring to mind Beckett rather than Dalí. But that has changed with his newest release. Wrong Cops is not an absurdist film; it's just absurd.
It's a stereotype that the French are more cultured than Americans, but obviously that's a hard claim to either prove or disprove. There are any number of examples that could be used to show it either way, but here's evidence that, as far as I can tell, is incontrovertible:
What's in a Name?, a drama-comedy completely devoid of action that centers around a really uncomfortable dinner party, is one of the biggest blockbusters in France's history. It outsold The Avengers on opening weekend.
I'm a bit at a loss of what to write here. I've always been weird toward deaths of well known individuals as to when how soon is "too soon." After spending the last few days thinking of all the positives of Paul Walker's career, when is it safe to talk about the negatives again? Sure Walker is the most attractive everyman I've ever seen, but he just never quite got the right material to emphasize it. He's always been stuck in middling solo films or in big name franchises playing second fiddle to someone else.
But Paul Walker was always trying to be more than a pretty face. Those middling solo films like Eight Below? It was his attempt at branching out past the action star he was portrayed as. With Hours, Walker once again tried to break out of that "Everyman" mold...with stymied success.
Open Grave stars Sharlto Copley as a man who wakes up in a mass grave, only be to rescued by others who have done the same. As they all suffer from some amnesia and are trying to find out who put them in that grave, they dis...
There are lots of big home video releases this week. On the new side we have Before Midnight (the third part of the Before trilogy), Only God Forgives (a film that Hubes (RIP) didn't like but seems to resonate with others), T...
Our Day Will Come (Notre jour viendra) is the debut feature film of Romain Gavras, best known as the music video director behind "No Church in the Wild" by Kanye West and Jay-Z and "Born Free" by M.I.A. Released in France in...
When you approach a film titled Big Ass Spider, you know what you're in for. At worst you're getting cynical Syfy Channel type low grade schlock, at best, you're getting a film that reached too high but it's failures are completely astounding to watch. With the confidence to name itself Big Ass Spider!, I hoped going in it would deliver on all the Big Ass Potential a title like that could provide. It certainly supplies all the dopiness, comedic schlock, and cheese I could ever hope for.
So where does Big Ass Spider! fit into this spectrum? Is Big Ass Spider! a Big Ass Failure or a Big Ass Spectacular?
Diablo Cody is quite the opinion splitting screenwriter. Her fast paced, biting, and pop culture infused dialogues have been used as a deterrent in the past to keep most folks away from her work. However what those folks don't realize is underneath that layer of heavy dialogue, there is a creamy nougat center of fine character work. With Cody's directorial debut, Paradise, a major concern of the film is whether or not that strong character work is discernible beneath Cody's sometimes cumbersome dialogue exchanges.
Should you book two tickets to Paradise? Or is Diablo Cody's slice of heaven too sweet?
While going out to see a movie is getting more and more expensive, it makes smaller independent movies more of a risk to the consumer. Would you rather spend you ten dollars on a smaller film like Only God Forgives, or go wit...
Disney and Sony have begun testing what is basically an anti-pirating measure regarding their films in South Korea. What they are doing is testing an on-demand service which offers the ability to rent movies while they are st...
Rapture-palooza (with a newly minted hyphen) should be taken as is and nothing more. It's a straight to VOD (with a limited theater run) comedy about the Rapture that happens to star lots of recognizable faces releasing arou...
Aroused is an odd documentary. It's essentially an advertisement for director Deborah Anderson's art book (which she makes sure to plug in the film), and although at times the entire film seems disingenuous, it's hard to deny the emotional impact of its cast.
Aroused rounds up 16 famous names (ranging from veterans like Lisa Ann to relative newcomers like Allie Haze) in the adult film industry and intends to shed light on the women themselves, rather than their personas. It's surely a lofty goal as the personas of these women are manufactured in order to avoid this very thing.
Does Aroused dig into these women and discover their feminine power as it aspires to? The answer is a very strong maybe.
What should you expect with a film titled All American Zombie Drugs? It can go one of two ways. Either the film is going for B-movie style horror or the title is a reference to the pulpy nature of its art house take on drugs. So which direction does All American Zombie Drugs take? Well, both and neither.
All American Zombie Drugs is certainly an interesting experiment that attempts to bond together two types of films but unfortunately falls short causing it to meander a bit in mediocrity.
I would love to see a staged version of a Quentin Dupieux film. His work is so clearly a part of the absurdist theater that Samuel Beckett and Eugene Ionesco made famous that it hurts a little bit. I haven't seen all of his earlier films (though his first effort, Nonfilm, sounds like a re-imagining of Christopher Durang's play The Actor's Nightmare, so I suspect this holds true), but they seem like they would translate to the stage so imperfectly that the most fundamental vision of absurdism would shine through even more brilliantly.
Whether on stage or on film, Wrong is a nearly perfect execution of that vision.
Getting affordable oil comes at a price, especially to local populations. This was probably best explored in Joe Berlinger's 2009 documentary Crude, which focused on Chevron's pollution and negligence in Ecuador. It's a film that also cost Berlinger dearly: a legal action brought against Berlinger by Chevron resulted in more than $1 million in legal fees for the filmmaker. There's a cost when you take on powerful interests, no matter where you're from.
Something similar in terms of power is going on in Andrew Berends's documentary Delta Boys. We're told at the beginning that Nigeria is the fifth largest supplier of oil to the United States and the eighth largest exporter of oil in the world. And yet most of the country lives in poverty, without jobs, without schools, without paved roads, and without clean water. Out of frustration, militant groups have risen up to fight the oil companies and the government along the Niger Delta.
Watching the film, you get a ground's eye view of militant life, which falls somewhere between freedom fighter and gangster.
What do Undefeated and Troll Hunter have in common? They're both movies you've probably never heard of since they've each earned less than $200,000 in theaters so far. They're also both about trolls that no one should fear. D...
Kevin Smith’s Red State has been somewhat of a polarizing film, what with the whole Sundance fiasco and its “revolutionary” take on distribution. Now the director has announced the next phase of his master p...