From the very first shot of Memories of the Sword, the taste of Asian martial arts cinema at its most gravity-defying floods your palette. Much of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’s DNA has been spliced into Heung-Sik Park‘s South Korean swashbuckler what with all the running up bamboo, nonchalant wind-walking and artful swordsmanship. Its similarities to that cornerstone of modern Asian cinema do not however prove to be its undoing as Memories of the Sword is an often beautifully realized, artfully photographed cinematic experience filled with rich characters and even richer histories.   Read More


Talking With Jason Schwartzman of 7 CHINESE BROTHERS

I like to consider Jason Schwartzman and I best buddies. Now as to whether he feels the same way, I can only speculate a resounding “Yes.” The following interview took place during the 2015 Seattle International Film Festival, where I first acquainted with the dapper star of Bob Byington‘s secretly hysterical 7 Chinese Brothers and took to asking him soul-searching questions pertaining to his preference for cats or dogs. Join us as we discuss injecting himself into the role, if he’s as snide as the characters he plays, his preference for a lazy day and what it’s like co-starring in a movie with his dog.

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Out in Theaters: 7 CHINESE BROTHERS

The old “I could watch so-and-so read a phone book” adage speaks to an ability to turn the banal into something unexpected and has been liberally applied to the works of anyone from Bill Murray to Daniel Day Lewis. In a similar but distinctly different vein, there’s something mundanely alluring about planting Jason Schwartzman in a room and allowing him to made snide riffs on each and every thing. The Rushmore-starrer possesses uncommon command over his ability to make you feel lesser, even if he’s day drunk, mostly unemployed and in the middle of getting punched in the face and Bob Byington capitalizes insanely on his ability to do such. Read More


Out in Theaters: WE ARE YOUR FRIENDS

I could rant and rave about EDM culture till the MDMAddicts foam at the mouth. What’s supposed to be about music really only appears to focus on grabbing the nearest thing and doing it — be it man, woman or drug. Famous DJs make trash music that sells because it’s what we all want to hear. A new-age art form that’s endemic in my generation, EDM shows more about how we’ve raged than how we’ve changed. I hoped We Are Your Friends might delve into the DJ lifestyle that’s evolved into an addiction. At some points, it blurs the lines and senses and manages to say something poignant. Then it OD’s and it’s a bad trip from there. Read More


Out in Theaters: Z FOR ZACHARIAH

*This is a reprint of our 2015 Sundance review

There are so many pivot points in Z for Zachariah that it becomes hard to nail down exactly what director Craig Zobel intended for it. At one point, it seems decidedly about gender politics, at another about race relations, and eventually it boiled down to themes of suspicion, greed and jealousy. Spliced with a domineering amount of ambiguity. All this from a cast of three. To call it thematically rich may be overly generous – maybe thematically crowded would hit the nail on the head more – but nonetheless, it strives for something thoughtful and great, even when it comes up just short. Read More