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Talking with Jeremy Saulnier of ‘GREEN ROOM’

Jeremy Saulnier emerged from the shadows last year with his not-quite-cult independent smash Blue Ruin. About a man fatally ill prepared to strike justice on the man responsible for his parent’s slaying, Saulnier managed an original voice in a familiar setting. With this year’s Green Room, he’s managed to strike the sweet spot once more. An uncompromisingly violent tale of a hapless punk band (played by Alia Shawkat, Anton Yelchin, Callum Turner and Mark Webber) who come head to head with a Neo Nazi club owner (an intimidating as hell Patrick Stewart) is shrouded in viscus and plays like a violent assault to the senses. Visceral and mean, Saulnier has sharpened his edge as a filmmaker to craft a siege film set in a seedy underbelly society that’s absolutely boiling with tension. Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘DADDY’S HOME’

There was an age of Will Ferrell where just about anything the slapstick buffoon did would conjure a hearty laugh from me. His performances in Anchorman, as the verbose, showboating newsman Ron Burgundy, and Step Brothers, as perma-man-child Brendan Huff, send me into a goofy rage of hacking cough fits to this day. But it’s been a hot minute since Ferrell has been able to lock himself and his signature non-sequitors into a winning project and Daddy’s Home continues that losing streak. Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘ROOM’

In the crippling solitude of a padlocked garden shed, Ma (Brie Larson) and Jack (Jacob Tremblay) bestow meaning unto mundanity. Just as Max’s world is fire and blood, their world is bondage and fantasy. Each item in their life’s limited pantry becomes a proper noun. There’s Bucket, Melty Spoon, Chair 1 and Chair 2. There’s Wardrobe in which Jack sleeps, when Old Nick comes. And of course, there’s Room. Ma, unable to yet explain to her recently 5-year old son that their life is one of mere captivity, spins a wild yarn about all life existing in Room. Everything outside of Room (Jack learns of the outside world via a janky television set) is make believe. Up until now, this fiction has been their salvation, providing an insular bubble wrap for the horrific situation in which they’ve found themselves. But as the tides turn with their captor, Ma and Jack must find the fortitude to free themselves or risk spending the rest of their existence in a 100-square foot space. Or worse. Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘THE FINAL GIRLS’

The premise for The Final Girls – a group of teens are inexplicably sucked into a slasher movie and must survive its 92 minute runtime in hopes of returning to their world – is questionable to say the least. One might think to find such a movie buried deep down in and amongst the filth of Netflix; hidden amongst those low-budget wanna-be’s masquerading as the real deal. It doesn’t take the aid of Sherlock to prove that this is not the case. Not only is The Final Girls not atrocious, it’s rather excellent. As in, it’s goddamn righteous. Read More

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FEAR THE WALKING DEAD “Not Fade Away” Review

The action heats up and starts to boil up on “Not Fade Away”, despite the calm on the surface and a decided dearth of Walkers.

Fear The Walking Dead has been a slow burn, thus far, taking the time to develop characters and establish the tension that ultimately makes it so successful. While many have criticized Fear The Walking Dead for being a “family drama with zombies”, that’s exactly what the creators were going for. It provides a necessary emotional subtext to really feel the onset of Armageddon. Read More

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Out in Theaters: THE SUMMER HOUSE

The Summer House is one of those “look how f*cked up the rich are so that the rest of us can feel better about not having any money because at least we’re good people” bones we get thrown so often at the cinema these days. This time around, behind the curtain of the “seemingly put-together” family of three stands a father who, while extraordinarily resourceful in business and prudent in financial planning, conceals a nasty predilection for young boys. Oh yeah, it’s a pedophile movie as well. Read More

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Talking With Conrad Anker and Renan Ozturk of MERU

Meru, the new documentary by, of, and for the mountain climbers is a true labor of love [our review here]. In 2011, three lifelong friends, Jimmy Chin, Conrad Anker, Renan Ozturk, set out to tackle one of the most death-defying peaks on t      he planet, the Shark’s Fin on the Himalayas’ Mount Meru. And they brought cameras in their pockets. Conrad Anker and Renan Ozturk were kind enough to take some time out of their un-relatably courageous climbing schedules to have a refreshingly un-Hollywood, non-slick chat with me about filmmaking as a natural extension of the adventure, how to make sure the cameras don’t weigh so much that the rations suffer, what most mountain movies get wrong, and an old climbers’ lifehack for what to do with that last rind of Parmesan.

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TRUE DETECTIVE Season 2 Episode 6 Review “Church in Ruins”

hurch in Ruins is why True Detective was worshipped to begin with. So far, the best episode of the season is reminiscent of Rust’s extended action sequence through the ghetto. Bez’s (Rachel McAdams) subplot’s climax evoking–either a Kubrickian or Lynchian (either way, brilliantly twisted and atmospheric) tone–matches Velcoro’s unbridled snowy Cuervo bender. Read More

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Out in Theaters: UNEXPECTED

 Kris Swanberg gives a somewhat too conventional glimpse into unplanned pregnancy in Unexpected, co-written with Megan Mercier and Kris Williams. This marks Swanberg’s third feature film, and notably her first film with known actors and a budget that’s actually workable. While Swanberg said she wanted Unexpected to be a more realistic film, stripped of the usual comedy around unplanned pregnancy and the heightened melodrama of the environment of low income schools, the lack of both elements makes for a charming film of realism indeed, but one that’s too dramatically scarce.  Read More

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Gratuitous Trailer Breakdown: GOOSEBUMPS and the Challenge of Capitalizing on Nostalgia

Ok, you’ve had some time to geek out over the nostalgia-gasm that is the new trailer for Goosebumps, right? You’ve splooshed and boi-oi-oinged to the barrage of imagery straight from the pages of R.L. Stine‘s landmark, commercially record-breaking, critically-null epic chronicle of that which lurks beneath the sink and the seemingly mundane life of every kid born between 1983 and 1988 (my apologies to the precocious and the held-back). Read More