31 May 2012

Search for the Truth in 'Red Lights'


This thriller has received poor critical word for its ending following its festival-run. Perhaps director Rodrigo Cortés (Buried) crafted a new conclusion to the film. Either way, I'm curious enough to see this thing through with a cast this talented.

30 May 2012

Quentin Tarantino's Movie Universe Is All Encompassing

So it turns out that Quentin Tarantino's movie universe requires an almost insane amount of work. Per a discussion on Reddit, all of Tarantino's films (Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, Inglourious Basterds) are all interconnected. How nice it must be to live in a world where Hitler got offed in a movie theatre.

As it turns out, Donny Donowitz, ‘The Bear Jew’, is the father of movie producer Lee Donowitz from True Romance – which means that, in Tarantino’s universe, everybody grew up learning about how a bunch of commando Jews machine gunned Hitler to death in a burning movie theater, as opposed to quietly killing himself in a bunker.
Because World War 2 ended in a movie theater, everybody lends greater significance to pop culture, hence why seemingly everybody has Abed-level knowledge of movies and TV. Likewise, because America won World War 2 in one concentrated act of hyperviolent slaughter, Americans as a whole are more desensitized to that sort of thing. Hence why Butch is unfazed by killing two people, Mr. White and Mr. Pink take a pragmatic approach to killing in their line of work, Esmerelda the cab driver is obsessed with death, etc.
You can extrapolate this further when you realize that Tarantino’s movies are technically two universes – he’s gone on record as saying that Kill Bill and From Dusk ‘Til Dawn take place in a ‘movie movie universe’; that is, they’re movies that characters from the Pulp FictionReservoir DogsTrue Romance, and Death Proof universe would go to see in theaters. (Kill Bill, after all, is basically Fox Force Five, right on down to Mia Wallace playing the title role.)
What immediately springs to mind about Kill Bill and From Dusk ‘Til Dawn? That they’re crazy violent, even by Tarantino standards. These are the movies produced in a world where America’s crowning victory was locking a bunch of people in a movie theater and blowing it to bits – and keep in mind, Lee Donowitz, son of one of the people on the suicide mission to kill Hitler, is a very successful movie producer.

Sound good?

(Courtesy: Collider)


Review: Follow Your Bliss (Moonrise Kingdom)

This review was originally posted as "People's Republic of Moonrise" on Hollywood Elsewhere

Wes Anderson is an acquired taste. His cavalcade of eccentric loners has spawned some of the most passionate fandom and some of the most bitter vitriol. Even previous works like Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, judged to be Anderson's best films, have their detractors. So it seems the young romance and warm, yellow tints of Moonrise Kingdom invite remarks of being "too twee" and "reeking of hipster-ism", but at the Anderson's seventh directorial effort is one that looks at childhood in the faraway distance of an adult's mind.

A mail correspondence between Sam (Jared Gilman), a very efficient boy scout, and Suzy (Kara Hayward), the product of two intellectuals, initiates a love that soon sets a town asunder. Suzy and Sam abscond away from their respective families in a New England town to make a life for themselves. Their living in the wild is not as far-fetched as it would be for star-struck lovers as Sam is an expert in the outdoors and Suzy is too cool to care about the problems that come with living in a forest.

Moonrise Kingdom serves as wish fulfillment for its audience. A yearning for a time when children could seek out themselves without the worries and anxieties that come with adolescence in 2012: updating relationship statuses, sexting, pregnancy worries, etc. The island these two have created is infused with all of the positive feelings of the sixties before they were ripped away by the Manson murders and Vietnam. A scenario like this just could not play out in modern day America.

Eventually the freedom that Sam and Suzy have must end as a hurricane threatens to wash their kingdom away. Scoutmaster Ward (a delightfully neurotic Edward Norton) organizes a search and enlists the aid of Cousin Ben (Jason Schwartzman) to find the children. Suzy's mother sends Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis) out to find the children as well. Parents and adults in Anderson films are often wildly irresponsible, but Norton and Willis serve as beacons for excellent background characters. These men are not without their own problems, yet they take to the call of action with ease.

Those unaccustomed to love in an Anderson tale, don't assume the romance is overly sweet. Confronted with Suzy's mentions of love, Sam responds in kind by noting "you don't know what you're talking about."  When the adults enter the tale, then the fleeting romance becomes clear: love doesn't always last. Suzy's parents, Walt (Bill Murray) and Laura (Frances McDormand) entire relationship can be summed up in this exchange. "Stop feeling sorry for yourself," Laura tells Walt. "Why?" he asks. A loveless marriage can sometimes spring out of the universal condition, but that is not this film's concern. Here at Moonrise Kingdom, all of the wonder, terror, and bliss of life can be experienced without the worries of what comes with age. What Wes Anderson gives us with Moonrise Kingdom is pure unadulterated joy, without all of the neuroses.

It's a slice of life from a simpler time, if just for a moment.


***/****

Watch the Very Baity 'Les Miserables' Trailer



And the winner of multiple Oscars is...

28 May 2012

In Memoriam


Thank those who came back and remember those who couldn't.

27 May 2012

Review: Consider MIB2 Neuralized (Men In Black 3)

Not much has changed in the Men In Black fraternity. K is crotchety, J is busting balls and finding that his knowledge of this universe is infinitesimally small. What makes this sequel different is that K hasn't quite manned up about everything the job requires. There are further secrets of the universe and apparently quite a few of them involve time travel.

Boris (Jemaine Clement) has a vendetta against K, a bone to pick so to say. He was this close to destroying the Earth in 1969 and now he's out of prison. While he's on his way to bringing about the destruction of the third rock from the sun, he wants to make K's life a little more inconvenient. And what better way to inconvenience someone than by killing them back in time? Facing the extinction of the human race and a nineteen hour deadline, Agent J has to save K and the world.

Which brings me the shining portion of the third MIB: Josh Brolin. The repartee between Smith and Jones has gotten a little stale during the previous two installations of the MIB franchise, so infusing the film with a sense of cock-eyed craziness was just what MIB3 needed. Brolin has worked with Jones on No Country for Old Men and In the Valley of Elah, so his younger incarnation of K is less a pale imitation than an embodiment of a persona. Few men can match the Texan gravitas of an actor like Tommy Lee Jones, but Brolin does it with flair.

Men In Black 3 also marks Will Smith's return to the bigscreen in four years. His presence has been sorely missed. Summer blockbusters as of late have had a dearth of charismatic leading men and there is none more charismatic than Mr. Smith. To the pleasant surprise of the audience, the film's success is not entirely dependent upon Smith's charisma. The plot offers enough fun to make this a viable alternative to watching The Avengers for a fourth week in a row.

It's not a completely original film, but it's enough to pass an afternoon. Where Men In Black 2 faltered in its rigidness to recreating the original formula, 3 veers off the beaten path. The main premise is not introducing a rookie to the black suit fraternity, or bringing back a veteran with a wiped memory, this is a hero's mission plain and simple. In a world of revisiting favorite characters and global drama, Men In Black 3 fits like a glove.

**1/2 out of ****

25 May 2012

The Vault: Night of the Hunter (1955)


One of history's most notable characters was born out of Night of the Hunter. More importantly, it is a character that still sets people on edge today. Robert Mitchum's Preacher Harry Powell is so frightening in this film that he seems to be possessed by some uncontrollable evil. All it takes it a little singing and then the little hairs on the back of your neck begin to stand up…

John (Billy Chapin) and Pearl (Sally Jane Bruce) are left without a father when Ben (Peter Graves) steals $10,000 and kills two men. While serving time before his execution, he meets "The Preacher" Harry Powell (Robert Mitchum). The Preacher is a bluebeard, marrying and killing twenty-five wives because he is sure that this is God's calling. Unfortunately, murder is not why the Preacher is behind bars; he is only serving 30 days for stealing a car. He hears Ben talking about the money in his sleep—but not where the money is hid. Once Ben is hanged, Harry Powell lusts for the opportunity to get out. God has given him the perfect chance: money and a widow.

John is now the man of the house, though still only a boy. He was there when his father came running to the house with the money, and he, along with his little sister, knows where it is hid, but they swore to tell no one. His mother Willa (Shelley Winters) does not know, and when the Preacher arrives in town she is pressured into marrying him, most of all from Mrs. Spoon. Mrs. Spoon says it’s not right for a young woman with two kids to be unmarried, and voilà, the wedding is on. John smells a rat in the form of the Preacher. It’s more than just him trying to take the place of his father; it’s the probing questions that the Preacher asks. John tries to convince his mother, but she is naïve and doesn’t believe him. Everyone in town seems to take the Preacher at face-value. They are blinded by Harry Powell’s posturing and preaching. 

It takes a little while before the truth shreds the lies, and the danger is real—real enough to have John and Pearl jump into a boat and float down the river with the money that the preacher seeks without hesitation. The Preacher's greediness lies above all things— even before his wife, whom he leaves at the bottom of a river. And then the boat floats up on the riverbank into the harsh, but loving, arms of Mrs. Cooper (Lillian Gish), who runs a home for wild and abandoned children. The story concludes in an epic showdown, although understated in climactic standards, with Mrs. Cooper with a rifle, and the Preacher Harry Powell with a switchblade, keeping watch and singing “Leaning on Everlasting Arms”.

Robert Mitchum was phenomenal as Harry Powell, and it is one of the best roles that he has ever played. Unfortunately this film was not nominated for any Academy Awards, and neither was Robert Mitchum. At this time in his career he was not looked upon in high esteem for his possession of marijuana arrests, and it hurt the movies he was in. His performance as the Preacher Harry Powell was thankfully rediscovered along with this movie, and now people can watch it in awe. “Let me tell you the story of good and evil,” Preacher Harry Powell says, displaying his tattooed hands and starting the story.

Mitchum was not the only ace casting of the film. Movie legend Lillian Gish was the perfect casting for the modest Mrs. Cooper. She was exactly the fiery actor needed for her character, and I don’t know why she didn’t replace Shelley Winters for the second to the top of the credit roll. Her portrayal brought her back up into films after her absence of stardom since the 20’s. Shelley Winters’ performance wasn’t particularly noticeable as Willa, but when it was, it was when she was underwater in the old model-T. It’s such a beautiful shot, her hair floating and dancing along with the plants.

This movie is beautiful. The use of shadows and light is reminiscent to film noir in the film's use of long shadows, and backlighting that hides the figures creating a sense of unease. Nowhere is this highlighted more than the river trip scene set at night with Mitchum always lurking near John and Pearl in their rowboat. The serene sights and sounds are constantly waiting to be subverted by a cry into the night "children...". Stanley Cortez must have had the most fun photographing this film, and Director Charles Laughton excellent control of the feeling of the movie, creating the perfect atmosphere and getting the most out of his main actors-- it's a shame that this was his only directorial outing.

This film's critical response is surprising—when it came out it wasn’t well received or appreciated. All that has changed nowadays, and I am proud to say that this eerie film will not be easily forgotten.  Night of the Hunter is simply too good to be forgotten.

23 May 2012

Baz Luhrmann's 'Gatsby' Takes A Bow


Well... when Baz Luhrmann adapts a literary classic, he does it with panache. Amitabh Bachchan, Jay-Z, 3D, he leaves absolutely no stone unturned.

Logo for 'Pacific Rim' Released


Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures co-release Pacific Rim, directed by Guillermo Del Toro, has been given a logo today. Not much was known about the film, but fortunately, a plot description was released today as well.

When legions of monstrous creatures, known as Kaiju, started rising from the sea, a war began that would take millions of lives and consume humanity’s resources for years on end. To combat the giant Kaiju, a special type of weapon was devised: massive robots, called Jaegers, which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are locked in a neural bridge. But even the Jaegers are proving nearly defenseless in the face of the relentless Kaiju. On the verge of defeat, the forces defending mankind have no choice but to turn to two unlikely heroes-a washed up former pilot (Charlie Hunnam) and an untested trainee (Rinko Kikuchi)-who are teamed to drive a legendary but seemingly obsolete Jaeger from the past. Together, they stand as mankind’s last hope against the mounting apocalypse.


Doesn't look like the Godzilla knock-off many were calling it previous to today. Given how many projects that have been wiped off of Mr. Del Toro's slate, I look forward to this picture with anticipation.

21 May 2012

'Skyfall' Teaser Pushes the Throttle Toward Badass


Oh, Daniel Craig. How did we ever get along without you?

'The Master' Teases A Planview Performance from Phoenix


Are we going to see a Daniel Day-Lewis level of committment from Joaquin Phoenix? Given the oddities revealed in the teaser for Paul Thomas Anderson's latest, I believe so. Jonny Greenwood is characteristically eerie here as well. And to think that we still haven't even seen Philip Seymour Hoffman as the titular character. Hopes for this film are going to be very high come its release date on October 12th.

18 May 2012

10 Words or Less: Battleship (2012)


Add aliens. Explosions. Repeat.

17 May 2012

'Skyfall' Teaser Poster


007.com revealed the first poster for the twenty-third installment in the Bond franchise today, and Bond is back and heading into some shadowy locales in Skyfall. Skyfall debuts in the U.S. on November 9th.

15 May 2012

Eagle Eyes Can Catch Hoffman as The Master


The team at Cigarettes and Red Vines has received a few tidbits from Paul Thomas Anderson's forthcoming The Master, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman as a man who creates a new religion following World War II. The film will be Anderson's first effort since There Will Be Blood and the chance for a sneak peek at Hoffman in character is almost too tempting to pass up. Luckily, Anderson sent over a negative for Cigarettes and Red Vines to develop, and a look is available below.

I cannot make out much, but for those of you with better vision, enjoy!

Malick's New Film Titled 'To The Wonder'

Terrence Malick has always been known as a notoriously slow worker, but the fact that film enthusiasts have gone without a title for the Ben-Affleck-and-Rachel-McAdams led-drama for a year and a half tells you a lot. Thanks to The Film Stage we now know the film is titled To the Wonder, and a lot more about the film:

…a philanderer (Ben Affleck) who, feeling at loose ends, travels to Paris, where he enters a hot-and-heavy affair with a European woman (Olga Kurylenko). Said Lothario returns home to Oklahoma, where he marries the European woman (in part for visa reasons). When the relationship founders, he rekindles a romance with a hometown girl (Rachel McAdams) with whom he’s had a long history.

The story summary sounds exactly like what we should have anticipated from a romance directed and written by Terrence Malick. Now if we could just get a release date...

13 May 2012

Review: 'Dark Shadows' A Half-and-Half Effort


White make-up, Helena Bonham Carter, misfits, it must be time for another Johnny Depp-Tim Burton collaboration. All jokes aside, the frequency of this duo's releases in the last ten years has created fatigue among moviegoers who expect a return to Edward Scissorhands, not Alice in Wonderland. Infuriatingly, the film cannot makes up its mind.

In a lot of ways, Tim Burton has not lost that romantic touch that makes up a majority of his films. Barnabas Collins was once a man. A very happy man. With loving parents, a doting fiance and a crazed witch that wishes him dead. Well, they can't all be winners, can they?

Now, hideously deformed, alone, and depressed, Barnabas finds himself shunned by humanity. He is chained inside of a coffin and buried into the hearth of Collinsportthe town that once lived him. Released hundreds of years later, Barnabas finds himself hilariously outdated in a time that worships at the cult of oddity. More importantly, his family finds him at a time of great despair.

The Collins family that once ruled Maine is now in shambles: the fishery is bankrupt, the family could hardly be described as nuclear, and treachery lurks at every corner of the household. Despite all of this, Barnabas believes the company's situation can be redeemed, he believes his family will prosper again. More importantly, he believes he will too find the love that was once stolen from him.

Here lies the problem with Dark Shadows. Tim Burton has become more proficient as a director, but he has strayed from where his best skill-sets lie. The film is at its best when it focuses on Barnabas and his unique blend of humor, familial devotion and passion. Barnabas is a romantic and whether he lives in the 1790s or the 1970s, he is a compelling character. Depp may have gotten comfy in his collaborations with Tim Burton, but he has never lost the charm of his eccentric characters.

Add a delightfully catty Eva Green to duel with and you have a movie worth watching. What could succinctly describe Dark Shadows as a visual is a juggler having trouble with keeping all of his narratives in air. When one storyline is developed further, it comes at the expense of another. As the audience races towards the climax storylines are dropped one after the other.

Now, that is not to say that Dark Shadows deserves the critical thrashing that it has been given—it doesn't—but, it also can never find its stride either. This is not a cash-in effort from either man (Johnny Depp has fought to get this project made for several years) and when the film's heart is on its sleeve, it beats best.

**1/2 out of ****

09 May 2012

The 2012 Lammys

Another year, another LAMMYs hosted by the Large Association of Movie Blogs. For your consideration in the above categories: best blog, best design, most prolific, and best running feature (10 words or less).

Best Blog: There are far better candidates out there, but a guy can hope...

Most Prolific: A post a day is difficult given school, interning, and some semblance of a social life.

Best Running Feature: 10 Words or Less. Come on, you know some of you have laughed at a few of these.

08 May 2012

'Argo' Trailer: Hooray Shag Carpeting and Long Hair


Ben Affleck's third directorial feature looks like it may be the one that will finally earn him acclaim. Let us hope that he keeps the shaggy do for the awards ceremonies. Along with Affleck, Argo stars John Goodman, Alan Arkin, Kyle Chandler and Bryan Cranston. By the way, does Bryan Cranston sleep? It seems like he has been in almost every other movie lately.

07 May 2012

Hulk vs. The Incredible Hulk vs. The Avengers


There are two movies about the Hulk and one that features the green monster as a major player. One was made in 2003 by an auteur, starring a little-known Aussie. Five years later The Incredible Hulk came out to the same tepid reaction as Ang Lee's Hulk did. This weekend, The Avengers made the Hulk as popular as he has been in a long time. So it comes down to this: Hulk vs. Hulk vs. Hulk. Who will smash whom?

Round One: Acting
Edward Norton outshines Eric Bana as the dual persona of the meek Bruce Banner and the rage-induced Hulk. Eric Bana was given little to do but run and fight and often the audience was just waiting for him to transform. With the Incredible Hulk, Norton's Banner is fully fleshed-out and we are given a reason to care about him. Being allowed to go a little dark with Banner's scenes questioning what is left of his life provided emotional resonance to the character that Hulk lacked. Yet even with the capable performance that Norton gives there was something to be desired. Throughout the majority of Incredible Hulk we are welcomed to thrown punches instead of character development. Mark Ruffalo shines in his brief portions of Avengers, but despite his immense charisma, his shortened screentime puts him at an advantage against Edward Norton. This round goes to The Incredible Hulk, by an edge.

Round Two: Kick-Assery
Hulk features mutated, giant battling dogs, and then a lightning monster played by Nick Nolte, hardly fitting of the Hulk's talents. The Incredible Hulk benefits from the climactic showdown with Tim Roth's demented Abomination that destroys most of Harlem, however it is not enough to best Ruffalo's romp through the third act of The Avengers. Loki's interrupted monologue will attest to that.

Round Three: Effects
Hulk suffers from a lot of helter-skelter motions that visually distracts audiences from the film. And again, giant CGI dogs: Hulk is disqualified immediately. The Incredible Hulk steps up a few more rungs on the technological ladder due to the sheer benefit of several years of advances in the computer generated images. Even with that concession, the Hulk hardly resembled Edward Norton. It is The Avengers that provides the most realistic looking Hulk and one who actually matches his alter-ego. There is no need to hide this Hulk in shadows, he can battle it out in daylight in the middle of Manhattan.

Final score: Hulk (0) The Incredible Hulk (1) The Avengers (2)

So with a final score of 2-1-0 Ruffalo's Hulk takes this match-up. Ultimately, the 2003 and 2005 films are middling at best, so it made the competition very easy considering The Avengers finally had an actor and an auteur who knew how to write to his jolly green benefit.

05 May 2012

Review: The Dysfunctional Four (The Avengers)



The concept of teaming up Captain America, Thor, Iron Man and Thor was a dream years in the making for most film fans. Then, finally, in 2010 proto-geek Joss Whedon (Buffy, Firefly, Cabin in the Woods) was named director of The Avengers.

For comic book enthusiasts The Avengers proves to be everything wanted from a team-up. For those who are less familiar with these heroes and their storylines, the film is a proverbial menu to choose from. Enjoy history and the limits that one man will go for his country? Captain America, at your service. How about Norse mythology? Thor, at the waiting. Eccentric billionaires with an addiction to thrill-seeking? Iron Man is around here somewhere. Rage problems? Hulk, please don't make him angry.

Really the only major roadblock for The Avengers is one Whedon similarly handled for Serenity: these are characters who already know everyone in their own universe, but now find themselves introduced into new ones. A fine line has to be drawn between making the introduction scenes informational enough for those unaware of the Avengers and witty enough for devoted fans.

These four heroes are members of a team, but instilled is a tension that can only come up with grave consequences. They are all successful in their own right and see no reason to coalesce with others. Tony Stark is a star in his own right and takes being given orders in a poor light. Captain America, however, recognizes this behavior from several decades ago. And they do not get along.

To make matters worse, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is a master manipulator of the mind. These heroes are already fractured, but Loki wants to break them; prove that mere mortals are not fit to face him down. Loki has made a transition from Thor and it is indeed a nasty one. What was once a man conflicted by his loyalty to family and his true nature gives way to a Machiavellian villain. Loki is feral now. The Avengers needed a villain large enough to deserve the team up of these heroes and Tom Hiddleston performs admirably.

It is an oddly precarious situation for these heroes to be in. They found themselves pushed into making frighteningly real decisions and the choices they make won't necessarily be likable. However, decisions that gave Bruce Wayne pause about making in The Dark Knight are made without hesitation by Nick Fury when dealing with Loki. The Avengers are well-meaning, but they are still tools for S.H.I.E.L.D. The Avengers is not a deconstruction of the comic book genre that The Dark Knight was, however it was never meant to be. And scenes in which Thor and Iron Man bicker, "do not touch me" and "then don't take my stuff" remind the audience that this is nothing more than fun. Despite the fact that these men are nearly God-like in their power, they are still boys with (extremely dangerous) toys.

Speaking of dangerous, the Hulk finally gets his chance to shine in his third effort on the big screen. While Eric Bana and Edward Norton were limited in what they could do with the character Mark Ruffalo inhabits the character as something more than a villain lurking in a hero's body. A potential stumbling block, Ruffalo's Hulk manages to supersede everything before it. Several scenes are made by a line delivered by, or a look that encapsulates the scene. Ruffalo is the embodiment of the Hulk that was made for the silver-screen.

Verbal barbs exchanged just as often and as intently as uppercuts, the dialogue that Whedon is known and loved for is on full display. More importantly, the action in the film is truly spectacular. The dramatic conclusion to the film can only be described as awesome. Every conceivable scenario discussed in school yards during playtime is on display: Hulk tangles with Thor, Iron Man takes on an army, and finally, Thor's hammer (mjölnir) meets Cap's shield (vibranium).

The Avengers proves that superhero team-ups are possible, but only if they are as well developed as the characters and universes crafted by Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, and the always cool, Samuel L. Jackson. This is for every comic book-loving-ten-year-old that grew up and still kept those geek tendencies. This is for us.

***1/2 out of ****

04 May 2012

Review: A Man of the People (Bernie)


Jack Black has a history for doing roles that only require he speak louder to be effective, but here he completely disappears as Bernie Tiede. How he came to be at Carthage is rarely mentioned, but upon his arrival he was adopted as one of their own.

From the onset of Bernie, we are introduced to a man seemingly without flaws. He practices his craft without peer, he volunteers with the local arts, he sings for the church, and there is hardly a favor he wouldn't do. He is possibly the most loved man in Carthage, Texas.

Marjorie Nugent (welcome back Shirley MacLaine) is recently widowed and lies on the opposite side of the popularity spectrum. Not a single citizen can be bothered to say a nice thing about her. So it strikes the locals as odd when Bernie takes such a personal interest in the widow. Her money was of use to him, but he certainly didn't live high on the hog. There was no romantic notions held in the opinion of others—the most affectionate moment between the two involves holding hands. Whatever Bernie's reasoning is for befriending Marjorie, it takes.

Things start off well enough for Bernie, the woman hated all across Carthage was now out-and-about abandoning her misanthropic ways, and it was all due to him. It is almost enough to make you forget that we are told almost immediately that he is also the man who murdered her.

Most are skeptical that Bernie could commit such a crime, but two of his detractors are thoroughly convinced. One of which is District Attorney Danny Buck (Matthew McConaughey). Buck, depending on how you look at him, serves as the goofus or gallant of Bernie. The D.A. is not looked upon kindly, but whether it be out of self-promotion, or a sense of duty, he is committed to sending Bernie to prison.

Bernie tries desperately to cling to a slicked rope as a man who was once beloved, now faces a lifetime in prison.

As we watch how everything sorts out, one of Bernie's  shining highlights is the city of Carthage itself. Richard Linklater should be lauded for using footage with the real residents of the town. Too often films based on true stories look at locals with distaste, however, these onlookers provide an unique flavoring to the story.

Credit Linklater and script collaborator Skip Hollandsworth (who wrote the article the film is based on) for making a mockumentary without the bitter self-awareness of most post-modern films. While the line between comedy and drama blends into greys, most of the film's laughs are derived from incredulity, not vitriol.

Who says true stories are boring?

***/****

02 May 2012

'Avengers' Universal Timeline

With Marvel's The Avengers coming out in less than two days, I thought it would be nice to bring everyone up to date with the timeline of all of the character's films: Thor, Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, and Iron Man. Thankfully, Patrick Casey Bennett of Comic Book Movies went to all the trouble for us. For the entire infographic check out the link below.

(Courtesy: Comic Book Movies)

Summer 2012 Preview

Summer 2012 is shaping up to be a prolific one for action movies. Whether you're a kid on school break, a die-hard action movie buff, or looking to score some AC, there are a variety of action flicks coming out this summer that will get your adrenaline flowing. 

The Avengers
Loaded with a plethora of prominent Hollywood actors (Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Hemsworth, and Chris Evans) and a superhero team of all-star proportions (Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor, Captain America) The Avengers is sure to be a treat for every movie geek. Under the threat of intergalactic invasion, these heroes must assemble to fight a planetary threat.

The Amazing Spider-Man
Another lucrative comic book movie franchise, The Amazing Spider-Man follows the story of Peter Parker and his newfound alter ego. While finding clues and investigating the death of his parents, Peter Parker comes face to face with his father's former partner, Dr. Curt Connors, and his hideous transformation, the Lizard. Box-office analysts will be curious to see if Andrew Garfield can adequately fill the shoes of Tobey Maguire.

The Dark Knight Rises
Director Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale return for what is shaping up to be one of the greatest trilogies of all time. Eight years after Batman took the fall for Harvey Dent's crimes and murder, a new terrorist leader called "Bane" wreaks havoc on Gotham. Batman, shunned by the city, must return to protect and safeguard the city of Gotham.

The Bourne Legacy
The hugely popular espionage franchise based on Robert Ludlum's novels has raked in over a billion dollars at the box office. Under the new direction of director Tony Gilroy and a new CIA operative, played by Jeremy Renner. The stakes are life or death for this new Bourne. Will audiences flock to it?

Other notable summer 2012 actions films include Prometheus, Dark Shadows, Lawless, Snow White and the Huntsman, Men in Black 3, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer, Dark Shadows, and Savages.

01 May 2012

Final 'Dark Knight Rises' Theatrical Trailer



As pathetic as this sounds, I can't bring myself to watch the trailer before seeing it on the big screen along with The Avengers on Friday. Enjoy!