Posted on Friday, February 6th, 2015 by David Chen
The Wachowskis’ Jupiter Ascending is a total mess. It’s plot is nearly incomprehensible. It feels like there’s a director’s cut out there with at least a half hour more of explanatory plot details and character development. It introduces various story lines and characters whose appear on the screen for minutes before they vanish and are never followed up on. It borrows heavily from The Wachowskis’ own film, The Matrix, yet is crammed full of ideas that have appeared in other, better fantasy and sci-fi films.
And yet, I couldn’t help but enjoy it. Hit the jump to see my video review of the movie.
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Many people today don’t realize it, but much of modern comedy was born at the National Lampoon. John Hughes, Al Jean, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, John Landis, Ivan Reitman and John Belushi are just some of the famous names who got their start through something related to the once-popular humor magazine, created in 1970.
Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon, directed by Douglas Tirola, tells the complete history of this incredible brand. Simultaneously, the film documents much of the humor we love today: Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, and more. Below, read the rest of our Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead review. Read More »
Though it doesn’t say it at the beginning, True Story is indeed a true story. It’s the story of Mike Finkel, a New York Times reporter who is oddly drawn into the world of Christian Longo, an Oregon man accused of killing his wife and three children. Playing against their usual types, Jonah Hill plays Finkel and James Franco plays Longo in first time feature director Rupert Gould’s crime mystery that is mostly good, but falls short of its full potential. Read more of our True Story review below. Read More »
When you think post-apocalyptic movies, you probably think about action. You think zombies, or destruction. You probably don’t conjure up water wheels, a turkey dinner, and romance. But that’s what you get with Z for Zachariah. Directed by Craig Zobel (Compliance), the film is almost an anti-post-apocalyptic movie as it’s much more concerned with human relationships than anything else going out around them. With a cast including Chiwetel Ejiofor, Margot Robbie and Chris Pine, that’s both a blessing and a curse. Read more of our Z for Zachariah review below. Read More »
Turbo Kid is insane. It’s remarkable that a film like this was produced at all. Imagine what a movie might look like if it came from the mind of a ten-year old kid from the ’80s who is obsessed with Mega Man, and who just saw the Mad Max movies for the first time. Take a step further, and picture the film, if it was produced by a competent team of filmmakers with a budget affording that kid access to a good team to create practice special effects and makeup.
Of course, Turbo Kid wasn’t brought into the world under those circumstances, but it certainly feels like it — and that is the highest compliment I can give this movie. Read our Turbo Kid review after the jump.
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In Rodrigo Garcia‘s beautiful and lush film Last Days in the Desert, the journey is uncertain for a while. We follow Jesus, played by Ewan McGregor, as he enters the desert on a journey for truth. “Father, speak to me,” he says. As he walks and thinks, he begins to see visions of Satan, also played by McGregor. He meets a family out in the desert, and the audience may initially wonder what those people are doing out there. But eventually it clicks. We realize the point, just as Jesus probably realizes the point in the narrative, and the film blossoms into something beautiful but not entirely fulfilling. Read more of our Last Days in the Desert review below. Read More »
The Cove director Louie Psihoyos returns to Sundance in 2015 with a new call to action. Racing Extinction is a more wide-ranging documentary than its predecessor, albeit one that is just as sharply produced, and no less stirring. Psihoyos says his intention was to go a lot bigger, and the film follows through by offering a sort of omnibus catalog of several interrelated problems facing life on Earth. If anything, Racing Extinction is too broad to give ample time to every subject, but the sum total of Psihoyos’ efforts is devastatingly effective. Read More »
Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief is a good primer for, and a very damning and powerful indictment of the church of Scientology. Unfortunately, the film provides little in terms of new revelations, and viewers who have researched the church will find most of the documentary to be familiar ground. Read my Going Clear movie review after the jump.
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On paper, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl doesn’t seem particularly exciting. An adaptation of a book by Jesse Andrews, it’s the story of a high school senior who is forced to become friends with a school acquaintance who is diagnosed with leukemia.
Interesting, yes but not that exciting. Thankfully, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl isn’t merely on paper. It’s a film — in fact, a film that loves film, celebrates film, and is very much about the medium – with beautiful shot composition, tense long takes and elaborate tracking shots. It tells a touching and incredibly funny story with very realistic, honest characters and enough self-awareness to make it all feel modern. Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and adapted by Andrews, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl had its world premiere at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival this weekend. Read our Me and Earl and the Dying Girl review here. Read More »