Posted on Thursday, April 22nd, 2010 by David Chen
The Independent Film Festival of Boston has begun! I’ll be here over the course of the next week providing coverage, hopefully in the form of interviews with exciting people from the indie film scene. Here are some of the movies I’m most looking forward to, and here’s a link where you can find all of our IFFboston coverage from this year and last year. Hit the jump for my brief chat with actor Kevin Kline, who was in town to receive a Career Achievement Award. In the meantime, if you have a movie you’re screening here and want to chat (or if you’re just a reader/listener in the area and want to say hi), feel free to e-mail me at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com. Read More »
Posted on Saturday, April 17th, 2010 by David Chen
I had an awesome time at last year’s Independent Film Festival of Boston, and this year, the festival promises to be even more exciting, with tons of indie directors and actors showing up to chill in the Bay State. The festival will quickly upon us (it begins thisWednesday), so if you’re in Boston or even New England, I’d urge you to check it out. After the jump, some of the movies I’m most looking forward to this year. [Note that I already saw a bunch of the movies that will be playing here when I was at Sundance this year; they won’t show up on this list, but you can read our coverage of Sundance here]. Read More »
About a week ago, while drinking slushies on a beach, I attempted to brainstorm a hyperbolic-geek intro for this interview that was impossibly cheesy and awful, yet aptly expressed my sentiments about the subject. As follows: It would be very difficult indeed to find a dentist who has contributed to more smiles around the globe than would-be actor, Alabama dentist, and newly-championed cult icon George Hardy.
For those who don’t know, Hardy was one of the lead human stars of 1990’s Troll 2;over the last few years, the shittastic fantasy-horror movie has rocketed in cult status and is a viable contender for a next-gen Rocky Horror Picture Show. Made for MGM by a crew of non-English speaking Italians, Troll 2 ironically exists today as an innocent, warped time-capsule of 1980s’ American summers, American culture, and genre films. In the role of the movie’s aloof dad, Michael Waits, Hardy is renown for the silly parental anecdote, “You can’t piss on hospitality!!” His performance is regarded by a growing number of cult cineastes to be one of the worst and most cherished of all time. Patton Oswalt, the Alamo Drafthouse, and Edgar Wright are counted as huge fans. The basic storyline is that of a generic Vacation knockoff meets slime and plot holes worthy of a drug trip: Hardy hauls his family (and a grandfather’s ghost) in a van to spend a summer in a dusty, desolate town called Nilbog. Goblin spelled backwards, Nilbog is populated by devilish country-folk and vegan Druid non-Trolls. In the end, the Waits fam defeats them and their leader, an STD-plagued witch, using a mystical bologna sandwich. Or do they?
Best Worst Movie, the new documentary about the reunited cast of Troll 2 and its international fandom, is a 2009 favorite of the /Film and /Filmcast staff. Directed by Troll 2‘s former “child star,” Michael Stephenson, much of Best Worst follows Hardy as he temporarily leaves his life as a small-town dentist to encounter the ups and downs of modern fame and his performance’s excavated notoriety. Thanks to a compelling story and the sharp twists and turns of real life, Best Worst can be enjoyed with or without having viewed the flick that spawned it. George called me from his lake house to discuss all of this while eating a sandwich. For our interview with Michael Stephenson, click here.
About twenty years ago, director Claudio Fragasso and his wife, screenwriter Rossella Druti, ventured into the pleasant rural community of Morgan, Utah, to make a horror thriller that would be remembered forever. They unquestionably succeeded, but not in the way they had originally planned. Since its release, Troll 2 has frequently been regarded as the worst movie ever made. It’s difficult for those who have never seen the film to comprehend the sheer terribleness of filmmaking on display, so here’s a great montage of the film’s “best” moments for the uninitiated [WARNING: Video is NSFW]:
Normally, a film this bad would vanish into the ether (AKA your local Wal-Mart bargain bin) never to be seen or heard from again, but in the ensuing decades, Troll 2 has inexplicably found a devoted cult following. Director Michael Stephenson, who plays the painfully annoying lead boy character Joshua Waits in Troll 2, has spent most of his life trying to escape from the shadow of the film. But in Best Worst Movie, which recently screened at Independent Film Festival Boston (and will be screening tonight and this weekend at HotDocs in Toronto), Stephenson turns the camera on himself and tracks down the actors from the film to investigate the phenomenon of Troll 2. The results are exciting and funny, but also tinged with sadness. In any case, Best Worst Movie is a great documentary, a must-see for those who are Troll 2 fans (and if you’re not in the latter category, I would recommend you see Troll 2 first to truly grasp its greatness). In creating this film, Stephenson has truly broken out as an exciting new filmmaker. Read More »
Posted on Thursday, April 30th, 2009 by David Chen
It’s been a long few years since Rian Johnson’s first film Brick but Johnson’s follow-up, The Brothers Bloom, is finally about to hit theaters, with a limited release in NY/LA on May 15 and expanding wider in the weeks following. My full review of The Brothers Bloom won’t be published until the 15th, but in the meantime, I can tell you that I’ve seen the film and was completely blown away. Rian Johnson has successfully crafted what I would call a con film with a heart, and continues to live up to his promise as one of the most exciting directors working today. Read More »
Posted on Wednesday, April 29th, 2009 by David Chen
About two decades ago, Jack Rebney filmed a Winnebago commercial that would change the world of viral video forever. In the punishing heat of an Iowa summer, Rebney’s two-week Winnebago shoot made Rebney extremely irritable, which consequently made the entire video crew miserable. In fact, the crew got so incensed with Rebney’s oppressive treatment that they made a blooper reel of the shoot, which was then unleashed upon the world. The video shows middle-aged Rebney screaming profanities and other nonsensical statements. It is, in a word, remarkable. In the years before internet video, this reel was passed around from person to person using VHS tapes, but since the advent of Youtube, the clip has been seen by over 1 million people online. I could continue describing how funny it is, but instead, here it is for your viewing pleasure [Warning: THIS VIDEO IS EXTREMELY NSFW]:
Director Ben Steinbauer’s hilarious and powerful new documentary, Winnebago Man, asks the universal question that many of us have probably wondered about: What happens to people like Aleksey Vayner and Ghyslain Razaafter they became viral video sensations? Steinbauer was fascinated with Rebney’s video and became determined to track him down to find out how the video had changed his life, if at all. Along the way, he interviews people involved with the actual Winnebago shoot depicted in the video to find out exactly what happened that fateful summer that resulted in the creation of the blooper reel (the dissemination of the reel resulted in Rebney being fired). He also talks with people who have enjoyed Rebney’s video; if you’ve seen the video yourself, you know that there’s something cathartic, even therapeutic, about watching an old man completely lose his shit. In watching the film, I got the sense that there’s also something a little bit profound about sharing that experience with millions of other anonymous viewers out there in the world. Read More »
You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Join us next MONDAY night at Slashfilm’s live page at 9 PM EST / 6 PM PST as we review X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
One of Independent Film Festival Boston’s “After Hours” selections, Paul Solet’s Grace screened to a packed theater at the Brattle at midnight this past Saturday. Grace tells the story of Madeline Matheson (Jordan Ladd), whose unborn child is killed in a tragic accident. Nonetheless, Madeline insists on carrying the baby to term. The baby emerges stillborn but shortly afterwards, it miraculously comes back to life. Madeline names the baby Grace, but finds that she’s not like other babies, and possesses a terrible hunger that Madeline will do everything she can to satisfy. Read More »
According to Ondi Timoner’sWe Live in Public, Josh Harris is “the greatest internet pioneer you’ve never heard of.” Timoner’s documentary paints Harris as a man keenly attuned to the rapid advancements of the internet age, always one or two steps ahead of both the conventional wisdom as well as the prevailing technologies of his day. Harris made millions when he started internet data-analysis firm Jupiter Communications, then parlayed that money into other ventures, such as the short-lived internet TV studio Psuedo. Psuedo was launched before Hulu, revision3, justin.tv or uStream; hell, this was even before broadband was as widespread as it is today, making streaming, high-quality television a reality (Psuedo’s programs were a bit choppy).
After Pseudo, Harris launched perhaps his most ambitious project of all: an experimental community/art project called “Quiet: We Live in Public.” Harris rounded up over 100 artists into an underground bunker, offering free food, drink, and firing range access (with a huge of assault weapons to choose from, no joke). Using an intricate system of cameras, he recorded their every move and provided each of them a TV monitor so they could watch the activities of others. When FEMA shut down the bunker, Harris launched a different, more intimate version of “We Live in Public,” installing dozens of cameras and microphones inside his apartment to record the actions of himself and his girlfriend, Tonya. He then broadcast the results onto the internet, to the pleasure of many an internet chat room participant. As the second iteration of “We Live in Public” progressed, Harris found that constant internet surveillance had the ability to drastically affect his psychological condition and, perhaps, the course of his life. Read More »