Reviews

Infinitely Polar Bear: An Insult to the Sundance Film Festival

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Infinitely Polar Bear is the appropriately terribly named movie that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this past week. It is, and I say this with great conviction, absolutely awful. It is the worst film I’ve seen since M.Night Shamalamadingdong’s The Happening. In fact, those two films share so much that I wonder if director Maya Forbes used it as her main inspiration. Both pieces of media (”film” would be ruined as a word if used in discussion of either of these works and “movie” gives both too much credit) have stupid titles, bad acting, bad directing, bad writing, and if both had a shot of a liquor bottle in them then advertising executives would congratulate the directors on getting every viewer to drink more. More of everything, from cheap vodka to the tequilla in the back of your parents liquor cabinet to the blue stuff in the garage. Anything.

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The Trip to Italy

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Rob Brydon is hilarious. Steve Coogan is hilarious. A movie that has those two eating and drinking while doing impressions must, ergo, be funny. It is.

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Review: Richard Linklater’s 12-year project “Boyhood”

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Mason (Ellar Coltrane) as a five or six year old boy

Mason (Ellar Coltrane) as a five or six year old boy

Few directors have come to be known and associated with a place and culture the way Richard Linklater has with Austin. Since releasing “Slacker” at Sundance in 1991, following it up with “Dazed and Confused” in 1993 and “Waking Life” in 2001 as well as founding the Austin Film Society, the director has helped to create a culture that still permeates the city to this day.

This year at Sundance, Linklater released his most recent effort, “Boyhood.” Although it was submitted too late to be included in competition, I daresay it would have had a very good chance at winning the audience or Grand Jury award in the U.S. Dramatic category. It has been 3 days since I saw the film and the sense that it may be one of the best and most near-perfect films I have ever seen remains.
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Cooties: What it is and What it isn’t

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

"Oh look, carnage!" -Doug

So what does Ian Brennan (writer of Glee) have in common with Leigh Whannell (writer of Saws I-III)? Nothing! On to the review…no, wait, I messed that up. They wrote Cooties together and, wouldn’t you know it, it’s strange. I’ll just start off by saying that the film was most certainly entertaining. I attended a midnight screening with two buddies and the theater was filled with energy and laughter from start to finish. (more…)

Experiencing Wetlands

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Yes, I assure you, that blood came from some unsavory place.

Yes, I assure you, that blood came from some unsavory place.

Wetlands is a film that is truly experienced rather than viewed. Never before has a film been an experience for my body more than my mind. There is at least one scene in the film that I literally could not bear to look at. And yet, despite its immense vulgarity, it manages to be funny, exciting, even tender and it will take you to incredible and unexpected places but you have to let it. It is through the main character, Helen’s (played masterfully by Carla Juri), comfort with her own body that we are put at ease and are able to become comfortable with sexuality in a way that no film before it (at least that I’ve seen) ever has. (more…)

The Most Disturbing Short Films at Sundance

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Sammy Davis Jr. contemplating his morality

Sammy Davis Jr. contemplating his morality

“The Short Film program for the 2014 Sundance Film Festival features an astonishing array of new stories, viewpoints and filmmaking talent, positioning it at the core of our work to discover and share independent perspectives on our culture and world.” - Sundance director of programming Trevor Groth (more…)

Blind

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Ingrid/ Elm

Ingrid/ Elm

A Norwegian film about a young woman who slowly looses her sight and prefers to stay in the confines of her own home and mind while learning how love and live again. This debut director, Eskil Vogt, said that he was striving to make a new and unique film that, unlike Hollywood, would keep the audience from knowing what was going to happen in the first five minutes. The main character, Ingrid, played by Ellen Dorrit Petersen, is seemingly cold to the audience, which makes it very hard for us to feel any kind of connection to her. The shots are simple and vague, and this minimalism is possibly to allow us to make our own interpretations, but also to allow for a parallel to be drawn as to what daily life might be like in the world and head of a blind person. Every day struggles of dropping, breaking, and running into things seem very insignificant as to the internal struggles of being shut in ones own mind, and one apartment, all day. (more…)

Boyhood: An Honest Look at Growing Up

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Mason, age five

Mason, age five

Richard Linklater knows what he’s doing. Boyhood is a film about growing up, shot, appropriately, over the course of twelve years. It is incredibly honest in ways that few movies are. It’s never pushy or over-blown the way that many films of this sort can be. There is no definitive inciting incedent and the film thrives because of it. No single event defines the experience of growing up and the same is true in the film. It follows Mason (played beautifully by Ellar Coltrane) and his family from age five to eighteen. The film gives no definitive resolution to any particular problem and leaves us still wanting to follow Mason on his journey. (more…)

Boyhood

Monday, January 27th, 2014

I never thought that my life could be played out in 163 minutes. While some events vary, watching Mason (Ellar Salmon) go from age five to eighteen was like watching myself grow up. Boyhood (directed by Richard Linklater) is not as film about childhood but a film documenting childhood.

So much changes in twelve years and as we watch Mason grow up we watch the world grow with him. From music to fashion we watched the American Culture evolve from the 1990’s to the 2010’s. Featuring song artists like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Daft Punk and Justin Timberlake the soundtrack of the film was a blast from the past and I found myself singing along…a lot.

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No No - I Refuse to Make a Pun for This Title

Saturday, January 25th, 2014

Well, I tried anyway. Really, truly, from the bottom of my heart, no pun intended. I mean, I could’ve gone with, “Just Say ‘No’ to No No,” but I loved the documentary, directed by Jeffery Radice, about Dock Ellis, a professional baseball player who notoriously pitched a no hitter while tripping on LSD.

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