While we wait for Terry Gilliam‘s new film The Zero Theorem to hit theaters in the US (which will happen… sometime) we’ve got a few new tidbits for you to check out. One is a “making-of” featurette on that film, showing some of the means with which Gilliam, his crew, and stars Christoph Waltz, Melanie Thierry, Lucas Hedges, Ben Whishaw, Tilda Swinton, David Thewlis, and Matt Damon brought the story’s weird vision to life.
Even as that movie moves towards theaters, Gilliam is really going back to shoot The Man Who Killed Don Quixote once more. He’s scorned the idea of using Kickstarter to finance the film when asked about such an idea in the past, but now seems to be more open to the process. Quotes on that are below, too. Read More »
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If Jose Padilha‘s RoboCop wasn’t called “RoboCop,” it would be much easier to embrace. While this remake evokes and/or borrows many designs and big ideas from Paul Verhoven’s 1987 original, the meat of the story is almost totally unique, giving it the feel of a completely different movie. Obviously, that was the point, but by simultaneously differentiating itself while also staying beholden to the original, the film is burdened with the weight of expectations and analysis of the original film.
That burden aside, Padilha has made a pretty solid movie. It has a lot to say and it delves into facets of the Alex Murphy character we’d never seen before. The story is global; the influence of media and government plays a huge role. There’s some really intense action, which takes a back seat to myriad points of social commentary and morality. Those points give the film a seemingly unique voice, but it doesn’t work as a cohesive piece. Padilha has brought together a strong cast with beautiful music and camerawork to make a movie much better than one would expect, but nowhere near what you’d hoped. Read More »
Posted on Friday, February 7th, 2014 by Angie Han
It’s not tough to imagine the pitch meeting where The Lego Movie was conceived. The toys have been a familiar fixture of toy chests since the ’40s, and given that every other remotely recognizable playroom property is getting adapted for the big screen these days, it was only a matter of time before someone grabbed a fistful of plastic bricks. Lucky for us, those people turned out to be Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and 21 Jump Street directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller.
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Posted on Friday, February 7th, 2014 by David Chen
The Lego Movie is probably the most fun I’ve had at the movies since seeing Pacific Rim last summer. Writer/directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller have taken a film that could have been a shameless, lifeless tie-in and infused it with so much life that it’s bursting at the seams with jokes, movie references, colorful set pieces, hilarious dialogue, and even characters from other universes.
Hit the jump for my full video review. Read More »
Paul Thomas Anderson and Jonny Greenwood are working together again. I can’t quite think of Greenwood’s music as fun — the Radiohead guitarist and occasional film composer creates sounds that are deeply affecting and even cacophonously emotional, but not “fun,” exactly.
Anderson is also not exactly a poster child for levity. Yet his new film film Inherent Vice is based on a Thomas Pynchon novel that is among the author’s most wacky and energetic books. It is certainly one of Pynchon’s easiest reads, with some madcap criminal activities and a set of weirdo SoCal characters. It’s a fun book, if one stretches the definition of “fun” into realms of the strange.
Anderson’s facility with character and dialogue makes him seem like a great choice to tackle the material, and some of the story’s tone should please fans who have always wanted another Boogie Nights from Anderson. Now the director has recruited Greenwood to provide the score. Read More »
Posted on Thursday, January 30th, 2014 by Angie Han
In the end credits of That Awkward Moment, we’re treated to a blooper reel. The footage is typically goofy stuff — stars flubbing lines, knocking over props, cracking dirty jokes, and generally getting silly — but it’s a pleasure to watch because the actors are so damn fun. Zac Efron, Miles Teller, and Michael B. Jordan come across as warm and funny people, and the rapport between them is inviting. I can only imagine that the set must have been a blast.
The film itself, however, is not. Although the premise should, in theory, provide plenty of opportunities for sparks to fly and for the cast’s magnetic personalities to shine through, as they do in the blooper reel, writer/director Tom Gormican seems more interested in shoving the characters along predictable plotlines. The result is a tedious romantic comedy that can’t sell the romance, the comedy, or even the bromance.
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There’s an implied threat in the title of the film A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. Those words together suggest menace and victimization. An image forms, not of a woman out for an enjoyable stroll, but of one who might not make it home.
A reversal of that threat is the core of this vampire film written and directed by Ana Lily Amirpour. Luminescent black and white photography buttresses a very spare approach to story. Into the tale are woven supernatural tropes, and elements of westerns and ’50s rebel movies. Shot in California but set in Iran, with dialogue in Farsi, the film’s images and characters are a collision of Iranian and American cultures, specifically with respect to social politics of sex and gender. This is an inversion of classic horror, because it is not about victimization of the person described in the title, but rather that person’s retaliation against forces that seek to dominate and subjugate.
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“The year is 1985. Rad Miracle is a shy, 13-year-old white kid obsessed with two things: Ping-Pong and hip-hop.” That’s the first sentence of the Sundance description of Ping Pong Summer, a new film by writer/director Michael Tully. The instant I read that, I had to see the film. It just so happened that the screening was my final film of the festival. I couldn’t have asked for a more appropriate send-off. The film blends sports and coming of age traditions, wrapped in Eighties nostalgia, resulting in a sweet, funny film that just feels right. Read More »