Wednesday, March 28, 2012

On DVD: "The Sitter"

Let's get all of the givens out the way: Yes, The Sitter should be funnier than it is. Yes, it's sloppy and tossed-off and kind of lazy. And yes, director David Gordon Green's move from art-house darling to stoner comedy auteur is just plain weird. All of these things are true. But none of them mean that The Sitter is some sort of act of evil, as the majority of its reviews have contended; if it's a broad comedy that primarily functions as a cheap rental or pay-cable time-waster, it would be hard to mount much of a case that those are loftier goals than the star and filmmakers intended. This is a film created in the somewhat less than artsy mold of the '80s comedy, and its primary objective was apparently to remake Adventures in Babysitting with more f-words. Sure, everyone should aim high, but was greatness ever really in the cards for this one?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

On DVD: "Corman's World"

Roger Corman, 85 years old, is currently credited on imdb with producing 395 films--three of which are currently in post-production. This is not the filmography of a man who is in it for a buck, or he'd have retired long ago. He is in it because he loves the movies, the sheer act of making one. That love is present and palpable in the worst of his no-budget turkeys; it's there in the madcap opening sequence of the new documentary Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel, in which director Alex Stapleton is all but drunk on those movies, on those goofy images of monsters and mayhem and babes and boobs. Corman wasn't a serious filmmaker, but Corman's World takes him seriously--as an exploiter, and as an artist, and often as both simultaneously. It's an obscenely good time of a movie, the same sort of "inside the outside of Hollywood" fun delivered by films like Not Quite Hollywood and American Grindhouse.

Monday, March 26, 2012

On DVD: "Mystery Science Theater 3000, Vol. XXIII"

At the end of Castle of Fu Manchu, a particularly terrible movie that makes up one of four episodes in the new box set Mystery Science Theater 3000 XXIII, a pained Joel (Joel Hogdson) issues a challenge to the “Mads” who force him and his robots to watch this dreck: “You should try to watch a movie sometime!” They take him up on the challenge, and their subsequent lame riffing—TV’s Frank (Frank Conniff) blasts, “Here’s a car that… you could say something about!” to which Dr. Forrester (Trace Beaulieu) retorts “It’s old!”—proves that this stuff isn’t as easy as it looks. (It’s also a bit of a fake-out, since Dr. F and Frank prove themselves able riffers elsewhere in the box.) I sometimes think of that show’s ending when trapped in a movie theater with a would-be wit who thinks himself capable of MST-style wisecracks; like NASCAR or the flying trapeze, this kind of thing looks fun but should really be left to the professionals.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Your Links for the Week

From The Atlantic:
12 Great Movies the Critics Got Dead Wrong

If you’ve paid much attention to film festival coverage over the past few months, you’ve probably heard a thing or two about a film called The Raid (it was later given the rather silly subtitle Redemption, though I’ll be damned if I recall anybody being redeemed in it). It screened at Toronto, Sundance, and SXSW, and it is a knockout—a powder keg of pure action, done with deadpan humor and hyperkinetic style. I saw it at an all-media screening at Sundance, and even among that jaded group, the audience literally gasped at loud at several points, and burst into applause at the end. It’s terrific cinema.

And that’s why so many people who have seen it are losing their shit over Roger Ebert’s inexplicable one-star review of the movie, which went online last night. He complains about the film’s “wall-to-wall violence,” cracks that “if I estimated the film has 10 minutes of dialogue, that would be generous,” and says that the picture is “almost brutally cynical in its approach.” This coming from a guy who gave three stars to Transformers and most of the Fast/Furious franchise. The point is, sometimes the critics just plain get it wrong. After the jump, we’ll take a look at a dozen classic movies, and the scribes who blew the call on them.

10 Great American Gangster Movies

This month marks 40 years since The Godfather's theatrical opening. To honor the occasion, here's look at the picture's peers among the great canon of American gangster films. We kept the list domestic for the sole purpose of keeping it to a manageable length; for the same reason, we've tried to focus on films that are primarily gangster films, as opposed to movies like Reservoir Dogs that are heist movies or other genres with organized crime in the background. Below, we'll take a look at The Godfather within that canon: the film itself, the films that inspired it, and the films it inspired in turn.

From Flavorwire:
Six Lessons Learned at the SXSW Film Festival

Your humble film editor spent last week at the South by Southwest Film Festival—my first time not only at that event, but in Austin, period. (It’s a lovely town, full of friendly folks and outstanding smoked meat products.) Normally, when I go to a film festival, I just try to jam as many movies into my eye-holes as possible, but there were some interview and panel opportunities this year, and I knew you guys wouldn’t forgive me if I passed up the chance to talk to Patton Oswalt or Nick Offerman or Aubrey Plaza or Mike Birbiglia, or to go to panels with Joss Whedon or Lena Dunham and Judd Apatow. But the moviegoing took a hit—I accomplished a pathetic average of two movies per day. Hell, I do better than that sneaking into multiplexes at home.

And although I managed to see not a single solitary one of the SXSW Film award winners, I did learn some valuable lessons from the movies I did manage to see. I’ll share them with you after the jump!

Flavorpill’s Guide to Movies You Need to Stream This Week

Welcome to Flavorpill's streaming movie guide, a new feature in which we help you sift through the scores of movies streaming on Netflix, Hulu, and other services to find the best of the recently available, freshly relevant, or soon to expire. This week, we've got a new mash-up music documentary, films from Darren Aronfsky, Jim Jarmusch, and Werner Herzog, and a couple of titles we told (or showed) you about over the past couple of weeks. Check them all out after the jump, and follow the title links to watch them right now.

This Week in Trailers: ‘The Host,’ ‘Cosmopolis,’ and More

Every Friday here at Flavorwire, we like to gather up the week’s new movie trailers, give them a look-see, and rank them from worst to best—while taking a guess or two about what they might tell us (or hide from us) about the movies they’re promoting. It’s a pretty light week, with only five new trailers to share, though they include new films from Toni Collette, Michael Sheen, Andy Serkis, and Twilight author Stephenie Meyer, as well as the David Cronenberg-Robert Pattinson collaboration that you never knew you wanted. Check ‘em all out after the jump, and share your thoughts in the comments.