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Showing posts from April, 2014

Review: Under the Skin

Arthouse curios are truly one of the great gifts that cinema continually offers to fans of indie filmmaking. There isn't a lot of room for experimentation in blockbusters or mid-budget dramas, but with a film like Under the Skin, anything goes. Jonathan Glazer has turned in two off-beat pictures in Sexy Beast and Birth, but this, this is an even rarer find. With the exception of casting star Scarlett Johansson, everything about Under the Skin is a barebones production, from the use of non-actors to utilizing hidden cameras to capture scenes.

Review: Transcendence

With the rise of new technology has come an obsession with said technology. Twenty years ago hardly anyone had personal computers, but now it's not uncommon for people to be "plugged in" for upwards of twelve hours a day. Technological thrillers that warned of the dangers of blindly submitting to these new inventions disappeared from the landscape as consumer electronics and computers gained popularity, but now Transcendence aims to serve as Frankenstein for a new era.

Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp) has devoted his life, along with his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) to researching the singularity. Will and Evelyn Caster are truly made for one another. They bounce off each other remarkably well in the laboratory and when the Casters go home they share wine and music and laughs. In many ways, Transcendence is much more focused on the relationship between Evelyn and her husband than a mad scientist versus humanity, but as with any film with a budget over $100 million, the battl…

'Gone Girl' Poster Doesn't Look Like a Poster

This is a pretty ballsy move on the part of David Fincher's marketing of the upcoming Gone Girl. No title, no listed actors (not even the future Batman), only a release date along with the ticker-tape mention of a local disappearance. It's very striking artwork, but it's not hard to see why the director of Fight Club and The Social Network is still considered a rebel after working in the business for 20+ years.

The film stars Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Tyler Perry, Neil Patrick Harris, Missi Pyle, Patrick Fugit, Casey Wilson and Emily Ratajkowski.

Gone Girl hits theaters on October 3rd.

At Movie Mezzanine: A Defense of Nicolas Cage

When Nicolas Cage appears in a trailer, audiences cringe before he opens his mouth to utter even a single word. They don’t remember the solid actor from Moonstruck, Raising Arizona and Leaving Las Vegas, or even the blockbuster mode Cage from the National Treasure series or Con-Air, all they see is the man screaming “Not the bees!”

Yes, Nicolas Cage appears in bad films, but is there an actor/actress who hasn’t? For all of the award nominations and critical acclaim that Meryl Streep has, she was also in She-Devil starring Roseanne Barr. No one is above a bad movie. What Cage does that other actors don’t is he firmly plants himself into the material, going haywire for maximum entertainment value. He certainly could have been more muted in The Wicker Man remake, but would that have made the film any better? Hardly. Yet, by going fully insane for the conclusion of that film, Cage elevates the material from forgettable thriller into camp masterpiece.

Read more at Movie Mezzanin…

Review: Captain America - The Winter Soldier

Captain America has always been described as a man out of time, but nowhere is that made clearer than in a post-9/11 U.S. The world after that attack is one that is constantly under surveillance. Agencies like S.H.I.E.L.D. rely on pre-emptive measures to counter whatever enemies may throw at them. Since the events of The Avengers, acquiring funding for this 24/7 surveillance is not an issue.

Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is making peace with that world a little at a time. He’s catching up with the modern day pop culture (yes, he’s seen War Games, no he hasn’t listened to Nirvana), but adjusting to the new landscape is much more difficult. His mission has always been to do what’s right, but it is becoming harder to tell what is right anymore.

Review: The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel begins with the titular establishment on the last legs of its former glory. Residents there are solitary and only nod at each other in passing. A particularly lonely man (F. Murray Abraham) in the lobby piques the interest of a writer (Jude Law), who upon conversing is treated to the entrancing story of the hotel in all of its past glories.

Review: Bad Words

Guy Trilby (Jason Bateman) admits he doesn’t always think things through before acting on them. That is a little obvious to the audience as he preps himself to take the stage opposite dozens of children to compete in a spelling bee. The reaction to a 40 year-old man taking place in a children’s competition is naturally a harsh one and, after Guy wins the trophy, he must run to escape with his head.

This is the third such bee that Guy has won on his course to the Golden Quills Spelling Bee finals in Los Angeles. The beat reporter (Kathryn Hahn) following Guy around on his trail of hurt feelings has a great number of questions about why Guy is doing all of this, but he isn’t saying. One thing is for sure, the man is a veritable terminator when it comes to picking out someone’s biggest insecurity and then pouncing on it.