I’ve always loved hearing filmmakers discuss movies. We’ve often printed interviews where we ask filmmakers about their favorite films and the /Filmcast has tried to bring on directors to review the latest big screen movies. That hasn’t been as constant of a feature as David Chen and I originally planned, because as it turns out, people in the movie industry generally don’t like to publicly bas other filmmaker’s projects and we generally only got yeses from those directors who had a positive take on the film at hand. But I’ve always enjoyed hearing filmmakers discuss the movies they love and the current state of cinema.
Richard Kelly, writer/director of Donnie Darko, Southland Tales, and The Box, has always made his opinions and himself very accessible (actually, I almost wish he wouldn’t have explained the intentions and meanings behind his films, as they serve better as mysteries with no definitive answer). And this week, like many of us, he saw David Fincher‘s latest film Gone Girl and wrote a bit about it on his blog. Find out more about the Richard Kelly Gone Girl review, after the jump.
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All good films get two things right: pace and tone. You can have the most gorgeous visuals, best performances, incredibly well-written script, but if the director doesn’t keep the movie moving forward with a consistent feel, it can all fall apart. Alexandre Aja‘s Horns is a textbook example of this.
Based on a revered novel by Joe Hill (the son of Stephen King), Horns tells the story of a man named Iggy. Played by Daniel Radcliffe, Ig’s accused of killing his long time girlfriend (Juno Temple). His whole Northwestern hometown is sure he did it and, in his despair, Ig mysteriously begins growing a pair of horns. The horns give him incredible powers, and Ig uses them to try and solve the murder.
Right there, you can tell this is going to be difficult. How do you make a murder mystery with religious overtones, a pop sensibility, humor, and Harry Potter? The truth is there’s no real answer as Aja’s film combines lots of strong elements that never quite come together in a cohesive manner. Read More »
With Everly, director Joe Lynch answers the age old question, just how much action can you stage in a single room? The answer, not surprising, is a lot. Salma Hayek is the title character, a hooker turned informant who has just been discovered by her employer. Her mission is to stay alive over the next few hours in hopes she can save her family. And over that time, she’ll be forced to stay in the apartment because of the seemingly non-stop barrage of people coming to kill her.
Written by Yale Hannon, from a story by he and Lynch, Everly sounds like a pretty simple movie and it is. It’s also a Christmas movie, giving this one woman vs. the world, in a confined space, film a decidedly and deliberate Die Hard vibe. The film never reaches the heights of that classic, but it keeps us suitably engaged because we never ever know what’s going to come through that door next. Read the rest of our Everly review below. Read More »
Posted on Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 by Angie Han
From a marketing standpoint, Fox’s Gotham already had the deck stacked heavily in its favor. It’s a gritty superhero origin story, at a time when gritty superhero origin stories are doing massive business. And the superhero in question isn’t some indie-comic third-stringer, but one of the most iconic, most beloved superheroes of all time. Those facts alone would be enough to make Gotham one of the most buzzed-about new shows of the 2014-2015 season, even without a seasoned, capable creator (Bruno Heller, of Rome and The Mentalist) and a thoroughly solid cast (Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, Jada Pinkett-Smith).
But from a creative standpoint, that very same advantage — Gotham‘s familiarity — proves to be a major liability. It’s an antihero crime drama in a pop culture landscape already saturated with antihero crime dramas, and these particular antiheroes are already extremely well known. By the show’s very nature, there’s little question as to where most of its characters will end up, which drastically lowers the dramatic tension. Were Gotham not a Batman prequel, we might be left wondering whether Jim Gordon (McKenzie) could possibly make good on his promise to clean up the city, or whether Bruce Wayne’s traumatic childhood would forge a hero or a villain. As it is, we already know exactly what the answers are.
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I want you to go get a piece or paper or open the Notes program on your phone and write down two words: Tokyo Tribe. You’re going to want tangible proof you knew about one of the craziest, most surprising, surreal fun films of the year well before anyone else.
Tokyo Tribe is directed by Shion Sono, a director whose films (Love Exposure, Cold Fish) are usually pretty brutal. For the most part, this one isn’t. In fact, it’s the opposite. Tokyo Tribe is a hip hop musical about gang wars in Tokyo filled with sex, action, rapping and more rapping. Think Les Miserables if it were populated by The Warriors, who acted like they were in a kung-fu version of Beat Street, with the visual aesthetic of Spring Breakers. Set in an Eighties. That almost describes Tokyo Tribe, a film I loved to no end. Read More »
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Kevin Smith‘s Tusk is a prime example of a filmmaker in the midst of reinvention. Ever since the disaster that was Cop Out, Smith has been on a quest to become a new director. First he shunned Hollywood and self-distributed Red State, a welcome departure from his off-the-wall comedies of the past. Now he’s delving deep into horror with Tusk, the story of a man named Howard (Michael Parks) who kidnaps a podcaster named Wallace (Justin Long) and attempts to turn him into a Walrus.
Much like Smith’s up-and-down career path, Tusk has a fascinating trajectory. Everything starts off well with the director slowly but surely building a very specific, intriguing and foreboding tone. Even as the story begins to border on the ridiculous and the gore gets exponentially more intense, we buy it because the film has won us over with its sharp writing, well-timed humor, inventive plot and layered storytelling.
Unfortunately, about two-thirds into the movie, Smith apparently saw some brake lights in front of him because the film comes to a screeching halt. It stops being fun so suddenly and so painfully it’s almost unfathomable. Things never quite recover from that narrative roadblock and, by the end, it all feels arbitrary and amateurish. Read More »
Update from editor Peter Sciretta: The following review was published by Germain Lussier on January 19th 2014 from the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. The movie is out in theaters this week:
The films by director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett always have one thing in common. They are obviously influenced by an intense passion for movies, but are not overtly obvious about referencing those movies. In that sense, The Guest might feel like something you’ve seen before. It’s got the basic feel of a stalker film from the late ’80s or early ’90s, but filtered through the action of Quentin Tarantino, the music of John Carpenter, the ideas of James Cameron and almost too many others to mention. There’s action, sci-fi, horror, comedy… you name it, this movie has it. The result is a fresh, fun film that crescendos from title to credits with suspense, laughs and violence. Read More »
Editor’s note: This is our review of The Skeleton Twins from this year’s Sundance Film Festival. It opens in limited release this weekend so we are rerunning.
When Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig were building their careers on Saturday Night Live, they played multiple characters every single week. That took incredible acting chops. Though they’ve since left the show and are concentrating mostly on comedy films, Craig Johnson‘s second film The Skeleton Twins proves these skilled comedic performers can be dramatic as well.
The Skeleton Twins is about estranged siblings, Maggie and Milo, who haven’t spoken in a decade. After they are reunited by tragedy their relationship is quickly rekindled, but deep old wounds re-open. That may sound overly solemn and, at its heart, The Skeleton Twins is certainly a drama. But you don’t cast Hader and Wiig just to cry and be depressed. The chemistry they built for years on TV sizzles on the big screen in characters with an exuberant realism. The movie itself is good, but Hader and Wiig make it great. Read More »
The Expendables 3 is a mostly successful blend of the franchise’s first two films. It’s filled with the wanton mayhem and destruction of the second film, but also plenty of terrible dialogue and overall cheesiness of the first movie. Despite those flaws, the Patrick Hughes sequel works because it’s constantly fun and features a story that builds off the fact the franchise was in danger of getting stale, leading it into a new era. Read the rest of our Expendables 3 review below. Read More »