Posts Tagged 'indie roundup'

Indie Roundup: ‘Sightseers’ – Pitch Black Comedy in the British Hinterland

Ben Wheatley’s first feature, “Down Terrace,” was a blood-soaked domestic tale. Think a Yorkshire version of “The Sopranos” as shot by John Cassavetes. That film showed Wheatley’s knack for teasing out undertones of primal rage beneath the tedium and the sniping of a suburban home. The result was an uneasy mixture of kitchen-sink drama, black comedy, and gnawing dread. His follow-up, “Kill List,” which was of my favorite flicks of 2012, developed and amplified this queasy sensibility as the movie spiraled from domestic chamber drama to gory crime thriller to bizarro horror flick. The ending left me unnerved. For his latest film, “Sightseers,” Wheatley delves back into familiar thematic territory, though he tells the story with less genre-bending, experimental verve than in his last outing. On the other hand, this film is a lot funnier. Continue reading ‘Indie Roundup: ‘Sightseers’ – Pitch Black Comedy in the British Hinterland’

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’

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’’

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’’

Indie Roundup: ‘No’

Straight off, “No” is one ugly movie. Shot on a grainy 1980s U-Matic video camera with a muddy gray-and-brown color palette, the Oscar-nominated flick by director Pablo Larrain is not going to win you over with pretty pictures.

Of course, the movie takes place in a very ugly period in history: the waning days of Augusto Pinochet’s brutal regime. No Chilean needs to be reminded that the military strongman seized power in 1973 following a CIA-led coup and then brutally crushed all dissent. Yet what made sense back during the realpolitik of the ’70s became an embarrassment in the late ’80s when the Soviet Union was gasping its last breath. Bowing to international pressure, Pinochet grudgingly allows a referendum on his reign to go forward in 1988. A yes would give the mustached generalissimo another eight years in power. A no, in theory, would not. Continue reading ‘Indie Roundup: ‘No’’

Indie Roundup: ‘Like Someone In Love’

Abbas Kiarostami helped put Iranian cinema on the map back in the ’80s and ’90s with movies such as festival faves “Close Up,” “A Taste of Cherries,” and “The Wind Will Carry Us.” For the past couple of years, however, Kiarostami has been making movies abroad, no doubt because of the increasingly political environment in his native country. In 2010, he released “Certified Copy,” starring Juliette Binoche and set in the Tuscan countryside. That movie — about marriage, identity, and authenticity — was beautiful and elusive, leaving many critics baffled and enraptured.

Kiarostami mines similar thematic territory in his follow-up movie “Like Someone in Love,” but it’s set in Tokyo with an all-Japanese cast. The result is very odd but strangely satisfying. Continue reading ‘Indie Roundup: ‘Like Someone In Love’’


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