Saturday, November 20, 2010

Watch This: "Source Code" Trailer

If you like things that don't stink, you probably liked Moon, and afterwards, you were probably all, "Hey, whatever movie that guy makes next, I'm seeing!" Well, good news: "that guy" is Duncan Jones, and you'll be seeing Source Code. Bad news: It's not out until April 2011. But this trailer should tide you over at least a little; the movie, which stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, and Jeffrey Wright, looks like the cross between The Matrix and Groundhog Day that you never realized you couldn't live without.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

On DVD: "The Two Escobars"

I’ve never been a sports fan, but I never miss an episode of 30 for 30, ESPN’s anniversary series of original sports documentaries by filmmakers of note. The resulting docs have been of such high quality that they’ve made the festival rounds and even seen some limited theatrical playdates; Jeff Zimbalist and Michael Zimbalist’s The Two Escobars, an ambitious dual biography of Colombian footballer AndrĂ©s Escobar and Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, is one of the best to date.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

On DVD: "The Extra Man"

Let us consider the strange case of writer/directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, who made a huge splash back in 2003 with Sundance winner (and Oscar nominee) American Splendor. That film, an ingenious hybrid of biography, documentary, comic book, and general malaise, managed to be singularly unique in a particularly homogenized period of independent film; it appeared to mark the arrival of a pair of truly original voices. So everyone was more than a little confused by their 2007 follow-up, The Nanny Diaries, a film not so much bad as it was plain and forgettable. Anyone, it seemed, could have been behind this Upper West Side coming-of-age comedy/romance; there was nothing particularly distinctive to be found in it.

On DVD: "Metropia"

Just once, I’d like to see a movie where the future is bright and sunny, where the sun shines bright in the sky and kids frolic in the street and everything’s not all, y’know, dystopian. That movie would be dull as toast, I realize, but hey, it’d be a refreshing change of pace. Our latest vision of the bleak, rainy urban hell of our future is Metropia, Tarik Saleh’s animated tale of darkness, hopelessness, and mind control.

Monday, November 15, 2010

On DVD: "The Kids are All Right"

Lisa Cholodenko is an uncommonly gifted writer/director, skilled at crafting potentially shallow situations, then giving them life and depth with her perceptive dialogue and characterizations. In the hands of a lesser filmmaker—a Nancy Myers, say, or a Brian Robbins—The Kids Are All Right and its story of a lesbian family shaken up by the presence of their long-ago sperm donor might not rise above the level of a slightly bawdy sitcom. But Cholodenko sees more layers than that; she understands these characters, knows them—their histories, their secrets. Some of these people are types, but—here’s the key—they don’t know that. And Cholodenko does, though she never treats them that way.

On DVD: "Best Worst Movie"

We spend the first few minutes of Best Worst Movie wondering exactly what’s going on. It begins as a gentle portrait of a middle-aged guy from Alexander City, Alabama; the town dentist, he’s a good-natured, likable fellow, a pillar of his community. We watch him running his errands and hear testimonials from his neighbors—good and well, but who is this guy? And then we find out: his name is George Hardy, and twenty years ago, he starred in Troll 2.