Thursday, May 5, 2011

In Theaters: "Hobo With a Shotgun"

I gotta level with you: I’m not sure what the hell to make of Hobo with a Shotgun. It treads, quite uneasily, the fine line of bad movie parody: Is it playing at being terrible, or is it legitimately terrible? Or both? It certainly feels like a bad movie—the filmmaking is incompetent and the dialogue is atrocious. Some of that is clearly on purpose. But how much?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

On DVD: "My Own Love Song"

Is there a wheezier, more worn-out genre than the road movie? The construct is just plain tired; it was an old chestnut when Rain Man took it out for a spin two decades ago. But there seems to be a resurgence of them lately—a couple of months back, William Hurt and Kristen Stewart took the road (forgettably) in The Yellow Handkerchief, while Jamey Sheridan took the solo route to self-discovery in Handsome Harry a couple of weeks ago. But no one puts a fresh spin on this notion; it remains an easy, formulaic contrivance, a lazy way to create conflict and deliver shaky emotional payoffs. When you’re on the road, who knows what you’ll get into—but you just might learn something about yourself!

Oh Yeah, #TribecaFest Wrap-ups

I did two of them: A rundown of the best under-the-radar movies for Flavorwire (read it here), and an overall festival wrap-up, including top five and a full list of reviews, for DVD Talk (read it here). There's already plenty of shared text between them, so I'll not crosspost here; just click to check 'em out.

That is all.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

#TribecaFest Review: "Semper Fi: Always Faithful"

Master Sergeant Jerry Ensminger joined the United States Marine Corps in 1970, right out of high school. He served honorably for 25 years. Part of that time was spent at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina; that’s where his daughter Janey was born. A few years later, Janey died of leukemia. In 1997, a report surfaced, indicating that toxic cleaning solvents had been improperly disposed of at Lejune, contaminating the camp’s drinking water supply. Sgt. Ensminger’s daughter was one of hundreds who were born or spent time there and had succumbed to leukemia, cancer, and other ailments. The Marine bureaucracy refused to take responsibility—they were not, in his Ensminger’s words, “gonna do what was right by their people. They were gonna have to be forced to do it.” And he was just the guy to do that.