Archive for March, 2013

Indie Roundup: ‘Room 237’ – Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’ is a Much Weirder Movie Than You Might Think

Upon the first viewing, Stanley Kubrick’s classic “The Shining” is completely terrifying, filled with images that brand themselves on the brain: That cascade of blood from the elevator. Jack Nicholson’s bizarrely monotonous creative output. Those creepy twins. Yet upon a third, fourth, and fifth viewing, the movie starts to become really strange. What’s the deal with that dude in the penguin suit at the end of the film? And why is Nicholson reading a Playgirl magazine when he’s waiting in the lobby? Rodney Ascher’s entertaining documentary “Room 237,” which comes out this week, includes interviews with a series of people who give wildly divergent interpretations of the movie. Continue reading ‘Indie Roundup: ‘Room 237’ – Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’ is a Much Weirder Movie Than You Might Think’

‘Rubber’ Director Quentin Dupieux Talks About Dreams, Weird Accents, and His Movie ‘Wrong’

If you’ve ever longed to see a movie about a homicidal sentient tire or a lovelorn pet owner finding solace in the memories of his dog’s poo, then the films of Quentin Dupieux are for you. His films are like a extended cinematic hallucination that are equal parts funny and unsettling.

At the beginning of Dupieux’s last movie, “Rubber,” there’s a long, hilarious monologue about how there’s fundamentally “no reason” for anything. And if there’s a central organizing philosophy behind Dupieux’s strange, surreal movies, it’s that. Palm trees turn into pine trees. Dog turds have memories. Abandoned tires murder people. Why? No reason. Continue reading ‘‘Rubber’ Director Quentin Dupieux Talks About Dreams, Weird Accents, and His Movie ‘Wrong’’

Indie Roundup: Pablo Berger’s strange silent fairy tale ‘Blancanieves’

As movies are increasingly going digital, from production to projection, we’re seeing a wave of nostalgia for the physical medium of film. Last year, a French silent movie, “The Artist,” vied for the Best Picture Oscar with “Hugo,” a drama about filmmaking pioneer George Méliès. This year saw the release of Miguel Gomes’s “Tabu,” a festival fave coming from Portugal that was shot in part with 16 mm cameras without sync sound. And coming out this month is”Blancanieves,” a silent movie from Spain. Like “The Artist,” this movie is a gorgeously shot homage to early cinema complete with black-and-white photography, iris shoots, and intertitles. Unlike “The Artist,” which is so ingratiating that it becomes irritating, “Blancanieves” is a strange, dark work that doesn’t quite have a fairy-tale ending. Continue reading ‘Indie Roundup: Pablo Berger’s strange silent fairy tale ‘Blancanieves’’

Joseph Gordon-Levitt Says ‘Don Jon’ Wasn’t Influenced by ‘Jersey Shore’

“I had actually never seen ‘Jersey Shore’ before I wrote this, and that’s the truth,” said Joseph Gordon-Levitt to me the other day at an interview during South by Southwest.

We were talking about “Don Jon” (nee “Don Jon’s Addiction”), which he wrote, directed, and starred in. The movie concerns a meathead lothario hailing from New Jersey who loves his family, the church, and his sweet ride. But his real passions are trolling cheesy nightclubs for that perfect 10 and trolling the Internet for that perfect porn video. And yes, he and his buddies tend to sport the same overgelled hair stylings and douchtastic duds favored by the Situation and company. Continue reading ‘Joseph Gordon-Levitt Says ‘Don Jon’ Wasn’t Influenced by ‘Jersey Shore’’

Five Stand Out Films at SXSW

As the film portion of Austin’s sprawling South By Southwest festival winds down, check out five films that people will be talking about: Continue reading ‘Five Stand Out Films at SXSW’

Olivia Wilde Talks About Drinking and Stripping Down for ‘Drinking Buddies’

“I think I need to take my clothes off.”

That’s what Olivia Wilde told director Joe Swanberg at one point while shooting her latest movie “Drinking Buddies.” After the movie’s premiere at SXSW this weekend, I had a chance to talk with Wilde, Swanberg, and the rest of the cast during a private meet-and-greet. Continue reading ‘Olivia Wilde Talks About Drinking and Stripping Down for ‘Drinking Buddies’’

Indie Roundup: Cristian Mungiu’s bleak and chilly ‘Beyond the Hills’

Romanian director Cristian Mungiu’s last movie, “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days,” was about a pair of women struggling to live under the insane policies of Cold War-era strongman Nicolae Ceausescu. It’s an austere, chilly, impossibly tense masterpiece, though from personal experience, a terrible date movie. Mungiu’s follow-up movie — “Beyond the Hills” — doesn’t evoke that nation’s Communist past but its marginally less dysfunctional present; the story is based on a real-life event that took place in 2005.

Continue reading ‘Indie Roundup: Cristian Mungiu’s bleak and chilly ‘Beyond the Hills’’

Indie Roundup: ‘Stoker’

If Wes Anderson and Edward Gorey got together to make “Shadow of a Doubt,” that movie would be “Stoker.” Of course, it wasn’t directed by either Anderson or Gorey, but by auteur Park Chan-wook – the guy who famously had his protagonist devour a live octopus for his breakout, Cannes-winning hit movie “Old Boy.” Park made a name for himself in his native South Korea with a series of brilliant and increasingly baroque movies about cruelty, lust, and vengeance that always successfully rode the line between spine-tingling suspense and overwrought insanity. For his first English-language movie – which stars Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, and Nicole Kidman – Park mines very similar territory, even if the script was penned by “Prison Break” star Wentworth Miller. Continue reading ‘Indie Roundup: ‘Stoker’’

March 2013

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