Ever have a facebook “friend” that annoys you with everything they write? Maybe they constantly brag about their life while masking it in a complaint? For example: “I was just at the supermarket and heard a lady complaining about the brand of caviar they carry. I HATE living in Beverly Hills.” Ugh. One of the worst offenders on my friends list is a girl I went to school with who’s snobby, materialistic and a master of the passive-brag-gressive post that makes me want to throw my computer out a window. While she had nothing to do with the production of the movie, her voice was all over “Slightly Single in LA“, a film that’s as engaging as a slideshow of your neighbor’s family vacation… only “hipper”. It’s as if Writer/Director Christie Will decided to take her social media wall and reenact every post with a collection of fading 90′s stars.
Archive for Heavenly
Back in college, I took a beginner’s Japanese class. I remember learning that a white collar businessman is called a “Salary Man”. I guess it’s similar to calling someone a “businessman,” but in my mind, I always thought that Asians regard this class of worker differently than Americans. In reality, I think we both look at them as the drones that keep the economy running… only one seems to hide their discontent better than the other. In any case, when I watched Lim Sang-Yun’s “A Company Man“, I kept hearing the word “Sarariman” over and over in my mind. While most cubicle-bound businesspeople doing the 9-to-5 may claim that the job is killing them, I don’t think many have meant it literally. Here, it is quite literal… and quite exciting. Read more
There’s an old adage in the screenwriting business: “Show, don’t tell.” On that front, director Ramin Bahrani’s “At Any Price“ opens beautifully. Home movies capture the backyard barbeques and birthdays of the Whipple family, who live and work in the cornfields of Iowa. We end up seeing 20 years of exposition in a little more than two minutes. It’s a smart, effective way of handling backstory. Unfortunately, it’s about the only thing the movie does well. Read more
When I think of a “Floating City“, the first thing that pops into mind is Cloud City on the planet Bespin. On planet Earth, I immediately think of Venice, Italy. Well, the titular city in director Yim Ho’s comeback film actually refers to Hong Kong, floating off the southern coast of China. As I’ve mentioned before, when it comes to world history, you can just about squeeze what I don’t know into the Grand Canyon. I do know that Hong Kong used to be controlled by the Brits and that Christianity is big there, but if you were to ask me anything about the “Egg People”, I’d think you were referencing something from “Sgt. Pepper“. On 8/20, “Floating City” hits Blu-Ray and DVD, providing a snapshot of Hong Kong in the final years of British rule and sheds a bit of light on the struggles of these oddly named people. Read more
Chances are, if you saunter into the local multiplex on any given weekend, you’ll find a schmaltzy romance engineered to raise the expectations of women everywhere. Films where young, good-looking couples overcome the odds to find their “happily ever after”. Of course, every now and then, a filmmaker might throw a wrinkle into the formula to keep things fresh. But sometimes, if you’re a director like Michael Haneke, you obliterate the formula, fast-forward 50 years and take a hard, unflinching look at that couple’s unhappy ending. You might even christen the film something ironically generic, like Amour. Read more
What do you get when you combine epic sword fights, terrorism, betrayal and… decapitations? “The Guillotines“, of course! Andrew Lau, perhaps best known to Western audiences as the Producer/Director of the “Infernal Affairs” trilogy, brings new meaning to “headhunting” with his latest film coming to Blu-Ray and DVD on 8/13 from Well Go USA. Part action movie, part period drama, “The Guillotines” aims to fire on all cylinders and appeal to a wide audience. But as is brought up numerous times in the film, when you make a promise, it must be kept – and the promise is cool weaponry taking off heads. Unfortunately, just like a character in a Lau film, the Director betrays us and delivers something that’s mostly different. That isn’t always a bad thing. Read more
Admittedly, I don’t know a lot about world history. I mean, I know a few things but I wish I knew more. For example, I knew that America and the Vietnamese were both in the Vietnam War, but I didn’t know that Australia was fighting along side us. I just sort of thought it was only our debacle. Honestly, most everything I know about ‘nam is either from “Platoon“, “Apocalypse Now” or my older co-worker Ron who occasionally brings up hotboxing in a tank or smoking joints with a monkey he picked up somewhere in the jungle. In any event, I learned something new and it’s all because of Synapse Films’ new release of “The Odd Angry Shot“, coming to Blu-Ray and DVD on 8/13. The movie is quite different from American films dealing with the same conflict, in that it has nothing really to say politically… and that made it pretty controversial in Australia.
Lots of movies coming out today seem to be more about spectacle than about people. Look no further than most of this summer’s offerings; it’s easy to wipe out an entire city block, but it’s not so easy to create characters anybody cares about. That’s kind of the thing about road trip movies, they can be really offbeat and bizarre, but at the end of the day, if they’re going to succeed they have to be about people you want to be around. Seriously, who really wants to be stuck on a two hour journey with Paul Walker as he struggles to read dialogue off of his palm? It also helps if the characters are fun, quirky and (most importantly) have great chemistry with each other. ”Cloudburst“, coming to DVD July 30 from Wolfe Video, manages to hit many of the right notes, but doesn’t reach it’s destination without hitting a few speed bumps. Read more
The early to mid-2000′s really put Korean cinema on the map. Films like “Oldboy“, “The Host” and “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring” were both financially and critically successful in North America – not the easiest market to crack for foreign films. It could be that more than any other Asian country, Korean cinema hits closest to American tastes. The latest example of this is Park Hoon-jung’s “New World“, available on DVD and Blu-Ray 7/23 from Well Go USA. The film plays like the love child of “The Godfather” and “The Departed” and while it isn’t quite as good as either of those films, it comes damn near close.
I’m a big fan of Kung Fu movies and one of the coolest I’d seen in a long time was 2012′s “Tai Chi Zero“. Stephen Fung’s martial arts extravaganza was infused with video game and steampunk elements that electrified the genre and found an appeal with mainstream audiences the world over. On July 2, we go from “Zero” to “Hero”, as the second film in a planned trilogy, “Tai Chi Hero“, makes it’s way to Blu-Ray and DVD courtesy of Well Go USA. Continuing right from where the first left off, “Hero” maintains the mood and humor of it’s predecessor while amping up the fight scenes and visual effects. Fans of “Zero”, as well as the uninitiated are bound to have a lot of fun with this action-packed sequel. Read more