Posts Tagged 'movies'

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’

‘Angels’ Share’ Director Ken Loach Slams Margaret Thatcher, Launches a Meme, and the End of Capitalism

I was planning on talking about whisky, but Ken Loach was more interested in talking about the end of capitalism.

Loach is a legendary filmmaker in British cinema, known for his gritty, brilliantly crafted dramas like “Kes,” “Poor Cow,” and “My Name is Joe.” He is also an unapologetic leftist, something of a rarity these days. His films are in turns touching, troubling, and occasionally funny, but they are all rigorously from the point of view of the working class.

This week, following the death of Margaret Thatcher, Loach issued a fiery full-throated indictment of Britain’s first female prime minister, which garnered headlines and turned into an Internet meme.

“Margaret Thatcher was the most divisive and destructive Prime Minister of modern times. Mass Unemployment, factory closures, communities destroyed — this is her legacy,” he wrote in a statement. Continue reading ‘‘Angels’ Share’ Director Ken Loach Slams Margaret Thatcher, Launches a Meme, and the End of Capitalism’

Indie Roundup: ‘My Brother the Devil’

It’s a story as old as cinema itself: a criminal who struggles to shield his loved ones from the allure and brutal realities of life on the wrong side of the law. You can see it in classic Warner Brothers gangster flicks starring James Cagney and in ‘The Godfather.” Director Sally El Hosaini’s debut feature, “My Brother the Devil,” gives us a bracing new take on this archetypal tale. Continue reading ‘Indie Roundup: ‘My Brother the Devil’’

‘Upstream Color’ Director Shane Carruth Admits That He’s a ‘Control Freak’

Shane Carruth’s first movie, “Primer,” takes all the paradoxes and mind-bending possibilities of time travel and distills them into one 77-minute-long head trip. If you saw it, you’re probably still trying to figure out what that all was about. Carruth wrote, directed, shot, starred in, and composed the score for the movie, making him easily one of the most independent of all independent filmmakers out there.

Carruth’s follow-up movie, “Upstream Color,” is much stranger and more biological. If David Cronenberg and Terrence Malick ever got together and made a movie, it might just look something like this. The world that Carruth creates is as maddeningly opaque as it is compelling. This is not a flick that is easily summarized, but it centers on Kris (Amy Seitz), a woman who, after suffering a devastating if baffling crime, finds herself seeking out safety and comfort in the equally damaged Jeff (Carruth). But they both seem to be part of a surrealist ecosystem that involves worms — which petty thugs use to create some kind of mind-controlling drug. And there are those menacing blooms of blue organisms. And a band of orchid thieves. And then there’s that pig farmer who may or may not be God. ‘ Continue reading ‘‘Upstream Color’ Director Shane Carruth Admits That He’s a ‘Control Freak’’

‘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’’

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’’

June 2023

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