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Herzog by his example gave me a model for the film artist: fearless, driven by his subjects, indifferent to commercial considerations, trusting his audience….he has never created a single film that is compromised, shameful, or uninteresting. Even his failures are spectacular.
– Roger Ebert

Send In The Boxtrolls

By on Mar 10, 2014 in Previews | 0 comments

I get irrationally excited over a new Laika film. It’s the same excitement I used to have when Pixar teased a movie (prior to them being acquired by Disney) or still feel when Studio Ghibli releases a film. All three animation studios have displayed the ability to produce wonder.

When Coraline first came out I was cautiously optimistic. A fan of the art produced when Neil Gaiman and Dave Mckean combined their creative talents, I wasn’t sure any studio could produce a film that captured both Gaiman’s tone and Mckean’s aesthetic. Laika was well up to the task. Bringing in Henry Selick to direct was a master stroke.… Read the rest

Another Visit to Sin City

By on Mar 8, 2014 in Previews | 0 comments

You can dislike a piece of art but still find some aspect of it that resonates with you. The original Sin City film was like that for me. What worked on paper, didn’t work on the big screen. The jagged edges of Frank Miller’s art felt flattened, polished, and slick. And a good artist doesn’t necessarily make a good director. The film felt bloated, empty, and its little bit of visual flash soon forgotten. It was the film equivalent of walking onto and off the Strip.

The scene that stayed with me was one of the few intimate ones. A conversation between Benicio Del Toro and Clive Owen’s characters guest directed by Quentin Tarantino.… Read the rest

Jake Gyllenhaal and Jesse Eisenberg are Doppelgangers

By on Mar 8, 2014 in Previews | 0 comments

Anything worth doing is worth doing twice. At least in Hollywood. Which is why Jake Gyllenhall and Jesse Eisenberg are playing doppelgangers. Well, maybe not in the same film. But Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessie Eisenberg are both playing characters who deal with the unforeseen consequences of encountering their double in films being released in the next month.

The doppelganger trope can be an interesting one as long as the actor can hold the audience’s attention. For example, Adaptation, featuring Nicolas Cage, works both because Charlie Kaufman’s script was in excellent hands with Spike Jonze and because Cage can chew up the screen when he can be bothered to.… Read the rest

Favorite Scenes: Watermelon from Buckaroo Banzai

By on Mar 5, 2014 in Favorite, Scenes | 0 comments

I like non sequiturs. The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eight Dimension is a film filled with them. None better than this:

Yes that’s Jeff Goldblum in chaps. Because, why not?


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The Raid 2: Berandal Promises More Silat Mayhem From Gareth Evans and Iko Uwais

By on Mar 4, 2014 in Previews | 0 comments

Gareth Evans is one of the best martial arts directors working today. His work on The Raid (2011) alone is enough to win him such praise. A bloody, brutal, skull crushing, bone-snapping, 101 minute joyride, The Raid feels like it features 90 minutes of hand-to-hand combat. Its run time makes the 3:41 fight scene with no cuts in Tony Jaa’s The Protector seem fleeting and the pace of its brutality makes Jet Li’s Unleashed feel restrained. And it’s plot was so good that Karl Urban’s Dredd ripped it off.

Not that there was any real plot outside of setup: a twenty man SWAT team in Jakarta raids a tenement ruled by a drug lord.… Read the rest

Super 8 Invites You Out To Play, Yelling “Hey, You Guys!”

By on Mar 3, 2014 in Reviews | 0 comments

I like to imagine there is a time in all professional filmmakers lives when a love for film trumps a paycheck. When that love was their only motivation. When they ran around with their friends creating and capturing scenes in any way they could before Summer ran out. It is the kind of breathless time that Ray Bradbury often wrote about and the kind Steven Spielberg’s early films evoked.

Super 8 is a movie that reminds me both of Spielberg and Bradbury. It evokes Spielberg’s wonder years specifically Goonies and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It also captures the kind of breathlessness kids have when while working on a creative project that has to be completed now.… Read the rest

Silly Looper is More than Just Your Average Joe

By on Mar 2, 2014 in Reviews | 0 comments

Looper is a silly film. Watching it is like watching your ultra-creative friend present their final project in class. They’re lobbing all kinds of things at the wall, only some of which stick, and most have nothing to do with the assignment. But they’re having fun and so is the class. And inevitably the teacher is loath to give them a bad grade because at least they’re trying to be creative.

Rian Johnson, Looper’s director, is trying very hard to be creative. Not trusting the strength of his premise, he attempts to give you two films for the price of one and sprinkles in some slapstick just for kicks. The first is a science fiction film about assassins and time travel.… Read the rest