Saturday, February 27, 2010



Do I smell a new rick roll?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Review: Overnight


Overnight (2004)
Directed by Tony Montana and Mark Brian Smith
Starring Troy Duffy

In 1997, a virtually unknown bartender from Boston managed to sell his script, The Boondock Saints, to Miramax, hungover and in overalls, and got a real cushy deal from it. Overnight, he became the talk of Tinseltown. "How'd he do it?" is a common question to the surprise success of the man with no experience in film.

Overnight chronicles Duffy's rise. But it's not all smiles and sunshine in this movie, as matter of fact, Miramax axes Duffy and the film, and Duffy has to fend for himself now, and the rest of this movie chronicles his ego-driven fall. The film shows Duffy as he negotiates his way in the cutthroat world of film so he can make his movie. He does, with half the budget of the Miramax deal and gets an incredibly limited release. The film does become a (questionable) cult classic on DVD, but Duffy received no royalty payments from it until recently.

Overnight isn't the best documentary. It's a little confusing in the beginning but once you understand everything that goes around it's a entertaining watch, as we see Duffy make outrageous claims (such as claiming that "Harvey Weinstien is afraid of me".), insult film students, and becoming outright paranoid (he was involved in a hit and run; he believed that Weinstein was involved and subsequently locked himself in his apartment and armed himself to the teeth). The documentary is a great on how egos can destroy people in Hollywood. The film is not only a message from Duffy's friends to him, but it should be viewed by any young filmmaker who wants to make it in Hollywood.

However, while at the end Overnight, it seems that Duffy may have lost, he may have the last laugh: Miramax has gone under, Weinstien's new company isn't doing too well, and he finally made the sequel to Boondock Saints last year, making a modest gross despite horrible reviews. It seems that Duffy learned his lesson.

***

3 out of 4 Stars

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Reviews

As a way to make up for breaking my "review a week promise" I'm just going to condense four movies in four paragraphs. Also, all of them are positive reviews! Yay! :3. Everyone's a winner.

First off...

Little Children (2006)
Directed by Todd Field
Starring Kate Winslet, Patrick Wilson, Jennifer Connolley, and Jackie Earle Haley

In drama, there's a post-American Beauty sub-genre where suburbia comes apart. Little Children is an excellent addition to the deconstructionism of suburbia genre. Directed by Todd Field and excellently photographed by Antonio Calvache, Little Children is a gorgeous film, and thanks to an excellent script by Field and Tom Perrotta, is humorously tense film, filled with sex and deception. Kate Winslet is great as Sarah Price, a former feminist unceremoniously living in a Massachusetts suburb, trapped in a sexless marriage and without any connection to her young daughter. Pressured on a bet by the local Stepford wives, she meets Brad, the so called "Prom King" of the playground. He's trapped in a loveless marriage with a controlling documentary filmmaker, and while Sarah does get his number, she also manages to get a kiss from him. And the plot is set in motion. Other plotlines include Larry, a disgraced former cop who frequently bullies Ronnie, a sex offender living with his mother, play excellently by Jackie Earle Haley. While I did enjoy this film from start to finish, the film ain't perfect. I loved the narration in the film, which is reminiscent of the Danish short, The Perfect Human, as it turns suburbia into the Serengeti. Perfect example of this animal theme: when Ronnie makes his first appearance, it's at the community pool, and the minute people realize who's in the pool with, they scour like animal running away from a lion. The cinematography is gorgeous, and the plot is full of twist and turns that it'll make your head spin. However, I felt the movie was a little long, and could have cut some fat off the script. I'm mixed with the character of Ronnie, who, as mentioned before, is played excellently by Haley, but I feel his presence as a character is rather unnecessary until the third act, and works better as a mysterious, never-seen character in the first half of the film. Overall, it's a terrific film nonetheless.

***1/2
3 1/2 out of 4 stars

Next...

Dark City (1998)
Directed by Alex Proyas
Starring Rufus Sewell, William Hurt, Jennifer Connolley and Kiefer Sutherland


Before there was The Matrix and The Dark Knight, there was Dark City, a Blade Runner for the 90s. Waking up in a bath tub without an ounce of memory and a dead woman in his hotel room, John Murdoch tries to piece his life together, and then, saves humanity from the mysterious Strangers. While a sci-fi noir film with a twisting plot and wonderful effects and cinematography, Dark City at it's core is a film full of existential themes. Entertaining at every minute, Dark City feels incredibly grand for an 100 minute film that cost $27 mil (cheap, considering the effects, sets, etc.). It's truly an experience that everyone must experience.

****

4 out of 4 stars


Roadgames (1981)
Directed by Richard Franklin
Starring Stacey Keach and Jamie Lee Curtis

My friends referred to it as "Osploitation", but it really isn't. Sure, it's from Down Under, but there's nothing 'ploitation about it. Instead we have Stacey Keach one-lining his way on the Australian highway in this tense psychological thriller about sanity. Keach is Quid, an American working as a freelance truck driver. Carrying meat across Australia, encounters strange Aussie characters, Jamie Lee Curtis as an ambassador's daughter and a mysterious man in a green van, burying something in the middle of nowhere. While the film is tense, it does have a tendency to rely too much on Keach's lonely riffing, so that's kind of a put off. But it's still a fun film to watch anyways.

***
3 out of 4 Stars.


and last, but not least...


Cache (2005)
Directed by Michael Haneke
Starring Daniel Auteuil and Juliette Binoche

A chilling film from the Austrian master Haneke, Cache is a deceptively simple film about the complexity of post-colonial guilt. Really. Georges Laurent is a TV presenter in France, and starts getting mysterious videos his home. Just a single shot of his suave, bourgeois home. Accompanied with unsettling drawings, we learn that Georges has a secret, that threatens to tear his family apart. What that secret is, I won't tell. This film is too intense and captivating to miss. A terrific film from a true film genius.

****

4 out of 4 Stars.

Sunday, February 7, 2010



Bonnie & Clyde is on TCM right now, and while it's a terrific film on it's own accord, I just have to say that Faye Dunaway is absolutely gorgeous in the film - just stunning. And it wasn't just looks; She was a terrific actress in the 60s and 70s. She was fantastic in Network as the soul-crushing tv exec, a role that earned her an Oscar. Too bad the 80s and 90s didn't fare for her too well. I blame Mommy Dearest.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Pazz and Jop Poll.


AnCo unsurprisingly take the Best album honors.

While Jay-Z gets best song honors for the terrific "Empire State of Mind".

Read the full lists here.

Though I only did a quick scan of the list, some things were weird for. Well, only two:
  • Wild Beasts' Two Dancers placed at 147, getting beaten by the likes of Julian Casablancas and Ida Maria. Fail.
  • Health's "Die Slow" only at 71. Did I forget to get the memo?
Also, the list has a decidely Pitchforkesque style to it, leading some to wonder how far indie has come. (via the Alt Report at Hipster Runoff)

Viva La Phoenix!



Phoenix deservedly winning the Best Alternative Album at the 52nd Grammy Awards (to be exact, the half empty, pre-award show telecast). Considering who was nominated (I'll let It's Blitz slide, even if I thought there were many other better albums last year), Phoenix rightfully won against the band that stopped being good some years ago(DCFC), an irrelevant band (Depeche Mode) and wasn't that album released in the middle of 2008, but was still good anyways (Brian Eno & David Byrne)?

Pop open a bottle of champagne, eat some foie gras and join me as we salute Phoenix! C'est magnifique!

Happy Birthday Philip Glass


Stay repetitive, Mr. Glass. I know I'm an hour off, but you're not gonna read this. EVER!. I think that's called being a Knight of Resignation.