Saturday, May 5, 2012

Saturday Night Netflix: "Everything Must Go"

When Nick Halsey (Will Ferrell) comes home and finds all of his stuff on the lawn and the locks to his house changed, he buzzes the intercom and pleads, “Are you in there? If you are, can this happen another day?” It’s not an unreasonable request; he’s home from work early because he’s been fired from his cushy executive job. It’s because of his drinking problem (and a sexual harassment complaint stemming from it). She’s not inside, though; she’s left him, for good this time. He surveys the accumulation of items spread across the lawn, and decides to have a seat and finish his beer.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Link Dump

Due to all the Tribeca stuff over the last couple of weeks, my linking to non-reviews got a little backed up. So here's a whole bunch of them:

From The Atlantic:

Are Indie Movies Getting Too Pretty?

When the opening images of Macdara Vallely’s Babygirl unreeled in front of me at the Tribeca Film Festival, they proved a bit of a shock to my glossed-over eyes. After several days of indie rom-coms and evocative documentaries photographed in smooth-as-silk high-definition video, here was a movie shot in Super 16mm—and it looked it. The image was grainy, grubby, dirty. Frankly, after four films a day in pristine HD, it was a little ugly. And that was something of a relief.

The Best Action Scenes of the 21st Century
Though it was considered a possibly tough sell upon its original theatrical release last December (due to the, shall we say, tricky PR challenges presented by star Tom Cruise), we probably don’t have to do much at this point to sell you on Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol, the fourth (and best) of the series, out today on DVD and Blu-ray. But if you’re still unconvinced, it is worth reiterating that not only is the picture a smooth, confident, masterfully executed spy thriller, but it contains one of the single finest action sequences we’ve ever seen (below). Contemplating the weight of that statement got us thinking about some of the other contenders; in the interest of brevity, we decided to confine ourselves to films released in the current century. After the jump, take a look at some of our favorite recent action sequences, and be sure to add your own in the comments.

From DVD Talk:

Tribeca Film Festival 2012 Wrap-Up

It's no slam to note that, among the high-profile film festivals, Tribeca doesn't tend to get the same respect as Sundance, South by Southwest, and the New York Film Festival. Part of it is simply a matter of age—it''s only been around about a decade—and part of it the festival's continuing struggle to find its specific festival identity, a process that's bound to take some time and patience. Its other problem, from this observer's point of view anyway (this is my fourth year attending), was the fest's unreliable quality standards. As a young festival trying to get publicity, there was an unfortunate tendency in previous years to program less-than-stellar pseudo-indies solely because of a recognizable face or two in the cast; if those folks would come to the festival premiere and get their pictures taken, well, everybody wins. Except the viewer.

From Flavorwire:

Requiem for a Video Store

The text came from a buddy—a fellow film fan, but also one who had spent his first couple of years in New York as an employee there. “Just a heads-up,” he wrote, “World of Video is closing on 4/28 and they’re selling off their stock. May find some good deals.” I stopped in, and found a couple of bargains, but the victory was bittersweet: World of Video, the 29-year-old DVD and VHS rental joint in New York’s West Village, felt like the last of the Mohicans, the last man standing, and now it’s closing its doors for good. At risk of overdramatizing the thing, it feels like the end of an era—not just the shuttering of a genuinely great video store (seriously, they had stuff there you couldn’t find anywhere), but the end of the video store experience, which is, let’s face it, one of the few remaining vestiges of communal cinephilia.

So, We’re Over James Franco Now, Right?
Thank God, the joke is finally over. On Sunday, the Tribeca Film Festival premiered Francophrenia (Or Don’t Kill Me, I Know Where the Baby Is), actor/artist/writer/student/whatever James Franco’s look at his stint on General Hospital, as seen through a prism of navel-gazing and self-conscious artiness. It’s a bad film, pretentious and irritating, mistaking preening for candor and self-indulgence for insight. But it’s more than that. Arriving when it does—a good year-plus after our Franco saturation point—it’s like looking at a shameful old yearbook, where you can’t believe that you used to do your hair like that, or wear that sweater-vest. We used to care about this?

Video Essay: “Encore — More Famous Faces in their Film Debuts”
We had no idea everyone was so interested in seeing the first film appearances of your favorite stars when we posted our video essay “And Introducing…” a month ago, but the damn thing up and went viral, so as with anything movie-related that does well, there has to be a sequel. After the jump, you’ll find 30-plus more famous faces in their first feature films, all in just about three minutes. Enjoy!

What Was the Best Summer for Movies?
We’ve made clear, on several occasions, our deep affection for Austin’s (and soon to be New York’s) Alamo Drafthouse, a venue that has, year after year, taken cinema obsession and programming ingenuity to new heights. This summer, however, they’ve outdone themselves: they’re paying a 30th anniversary tribute to the summer of 1982 with a series of 35mm screenings, timed to the original opening weekends of the movies that made up, in their words, “the greatest summer of movies… ever.” That, friends, is a tall claim, and one that we felt required further investigation. After the jump, we’ve assembled ten possible contenders for that crown, along with the highlights of that particular season of movie-going; cast your ballots (or add your own alternates) in the comments.

Hypotheticals: The NWA Reunion Album
Here at Flavorwire, we love to engage in what Marcellus Wallace called “contemplating the ifs”—imagining a pop culture landscape filled with movies that never happened, adaptations that never came to pass, and performances that were not to be. In “Hypotheticals,” our new, semi-regular feature, we hone in on a single project that never was (a film, a television show, an album, a book, anything really) and explain why it went away, and what we might’ve missed. Today: a look at the long-promised, never-delivered N.W.A. reunion album.

Flavorpill’s 10 Most Anticipated Summer Movies
Y’know, there was once a time where the phrase “summer movies” was confined to describing movies that came out in, I dunno, the summer. But over the past few years, as studios have continued to make the pursuit of tentpole blockbusters their primary financial goal, the season’s starting pistol keeps going off earlier and earlier, and with the Entertainment Weekly summer movie preview showing up last week (yep, pre-Tax Day), alongside the impending release of The Avengers next Friday, we can either shake our calendar-clenching fists at these upstart kids, or just go along with it and present our summer movie preview now. Thus, after the jump, we present the ten big summer movies we’re most looking forward to, in order of release; agree, disagree, or add your own in the comments.

10 Under-the-Radar Tribeca Films You Have to See
The 11th Tribeca Film Festival opened last night with a screening of the Judd Apatow-produced Jason Segal comedy The Five Year Engagement, and will close next Saturday with the summer’s most anticipated movie The Avengers—neither of them the kind of flick that leaps to mind when contemplating independent film. But in between those two big-budget, big studio summer movies, the festival will unspool 89 independent features (and 60 shorts) from all over the world. That’s a smaller and more focused group of entries than in years past at Tribeca, one of the changes made by a new programming team, and speaking as a bit of a veteran of the festival (this is my fourth year attending), it has resulted in the strongest slate I’ve seen there. After the jump, we’ve assembled ten of the best films playing at Tribeca—and information about how you can see some of them too, whether or not you’re in New York.

Flavorwire’s Guide to Indie Flicks to See in May
It’s May 1st, and the summer blockbuster season begins with explosions and superheroes galore this Friday as The Avengers hits theaters. And though we’re looking forward to that and a few other big summer movies, it’s easy—particularly in this season—to overlook the smaller and more challenging movies that are rolling into your local multiplexes and arthouses. Thus, we’re kicking off a new monthly feature here at Flavorwire, where we’ll take a look at some of the exciting indies of the month to a come, and a few smaller titles from previous weeks that you might’ve missed. Check them out after the jump!

Flavorpill’s Guide to Movies You Need to Stream This Week
Welcome to Flavorpill's streaming movie guide, 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 films from Lars von Trier, Terrence Malick, and Werner Herzog; detective movies from our most recent video essays; a Warhol rarity; the first feature from Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol director Brad Bird; and more. Check them all out after the jump, and follow the title links to watch them right now.

This Week in Trailers: Meryl, Medea, “Mansome” 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. We took a week of for Tribeca, so we’ve got ten new ones for you this week—including a couple of titles from that festival, plus new stuff from Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, Steve Carell, Blake Lively, Jennifer Connelly, Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, Ed Harris, Robert Pattinson, and Tyler Perry. Check ‘em all out after the jump, and share your thoughts in the comments.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

On DVD: "George Harrison- Living in the Material World"

Martin Scorsese’s two-part documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World is something of a cinematic cousin to his brilliant 2005 doc No Direction Home: Bob Dylan; though it covers more material (Scorsese tackles the entirety of Harrison’s life, whereas the Dylan film only covered the first few years of his career), it does so at a comparable length and in a similar style, and with similarly marvelous results. In both cases, Scorsese is taking on an beloved subject, one about whom reams have been written and miles of film shot, yet the master filmmaker finds new ways to approach familiar material, and sly methods of humanizing the Cultural Icons at his pictures’ centers.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

On DVD: "New Year's Eve"

Let’s start with the music, because that’s a good a place as any. The score for Garry Marshall’s all-star clusterfuck, New Year’s Eve, is provided by John Debney, and he worked for his paycheck—every single moment in the film is smothered in music, slathered in it, every potential change in emotion or tempo telegraphed, loudly, by the non-stop music. Sad scene? Slow piano. Charming, cutesy scene? Gimme an uptempo, jazzy number. Hey look, there’s Zac Efron—he’s young and hip, so let’s switch this plinky music over to somethin’ with some guitars in it! Yay-uh! Oh hey, here comes Colombian sexbomb Sofia Vergara! Put in some salsa music!

You guys, I’m serious, they put in salsa music for her entrance. I guess we should be relieved that it’s such a painfully white movie, if for no other reason than to spare us the sound of a gong accompanying the entrance of any Asian characters.

Monday, April 30, 2012

On DVD: "Haywire"

So turns out, Steven Soderbergh’s bone-cracking action movie isn’t nearly the aberration you might’ve anticipated. The film, Haywire, is a fast-paced spy movie in which mixed martial arts star Gina Carano beats her way through a rather distinguished cast of supporting players—and it is, at first, a bit jarring to see the Oscar-winning filmmaker indulging an audience’s appetite for ass-kicking and glass-smashing. But once the initial shock has worn off, his familiar interests and stylistic devices begin to surface, as well as his continuing (and welcome) insistence on bringing new life and energy to wheezy old tropes. The genre gives the filmmaker a new jolt of energy; he, in return, gives it a crackling intelligence.