Since I will be starting my MFA in Film Production this week and Ben Creech will be starting his senior year as an undergraduate, we’re in a bit of a transitional period and decided to go on hiatus. After Labor Day weekend we’ll have a new posting schedule from Ben, but I won’t be back until I finish a script I’ve been talking about all year.
When we both return to the M-W-F format, there will also be some changes to the site we hope you’ll appreciate.
Thanks for your support. We’ll post new info as it comes.
Comedic auteurs are few and far between, or they were, until recently. The last decade has offered up so much fresh talent, as alluded to in my recent review of the second season of Eastbound and Down, that we seem to be in a veritable age of comedy. Somewhere between Judd Apatow’s ubiquitous productions, and Adam McKay’s strange blend of raunch and politics, for the first time in recent memory funny movies are becoming quite good. Continue reading
We’re a little more than half-way through the year and given the plethora of films I, Remington Smith, and writer co-hort Ben Creech, review, we thought it would be a good time to chat about our favorite films of the year so far. Here’s that conversation: Continue reading
Posted in News, Reviews
Tagged 13 Assassins, 2011, best of, Certified Copy, Drive Angry 3D, Film, Hanna, Hobo with a Shotgun, Of Gods and Men, Rango, Source Code, Stake Land, Super, Super 8, The Lincoln Lawyer, The Tree of Life, Troll Hunter, X-Men: First Class
Any trailer that has a gag about a guy bringing a bomb to a school is the type of dark comedy I’m intrigued to explore. 30 Minutes or Less is a fun, race-against-the-clock ride, but it never gets into the black comedy its trailer suggests. Furthermore, the fact that it’s based on a real-life situation that yielded less than upbeat results does make you question the film’s moral compass. Continue reading
I spent a whole chapter of my Master’s dissertation in Film Studies discussing how the term “torture-porn” is an eye-catching, hyperbolic phrase that should be swapped out for “torture horror.” Which is to say, I’m not an exaggerating ninny anytime some gore hits the screen. Final Destination 5, however, does make that term “torture porn” come to life in unsettling ways. Continue reading
The second season of HBO comedy series Eastbound and Down came out on DVD a couple weeks ago, and having had a chance to peruse it, I feel obligated to say that it is without a doubt one of the best shows on television. Created by Adam McKay (Talladega Nights, The Other Guys), Jody Hill (The Foot Fist Way, Observe and Report) and David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express), the show boasts an inordinate amount of fresh, young comedic talent, and with the second season they take the show to new heights, allowing the characters and plots to develop far more than you ever thought they could. They elevate the typical raunchy TV comedy by adding pathos, and when it comes to a head in the second season, all you can do is sit back and be amazed. Continue reading
The film year, just like the real one, is split into seasons. There’s the time around May through August, which is filled with Summer blockbusters; there’s January through April, which contains all of the buzz from Sundance and Berlin and a hefty slew of off-kilter picks. And then there’s September through December, better known as Oscar season. It kicks off every year with two events, the Venice and Toronto International Film Festivals. Between these two weeks, early picks for Best Picture, as well as the acting awards, surface and separate themselves from the rest of the chaff; films that do well here are practically guaranteed a good run a few months down the line. This year’s lineups were announced two weeks ago, and if nothing else, they reveal that the best of 2011, cinematically speaking, is yet to come. Continue reading
The original Planet of the Apes films (numbering five in all) took on various issues of its day, famously nuclear war (the ending to the original Planet of the Apes) and racism. Some have alleged that the recent Rise of the Planet of the Apes discards the original franchise’s penchant for political parable, utilizing weak tropes instead – a re-hashing of Frankenstein, and the ethics of animal cruelty. What most seem to miss, however, is the theme of anti-establishment class warfare.
Frequently, films of the big budget sort have issues because the men with money don’t respect the filmmaking process. When building a skyscraper you don’t rush it to completion – otherwise you get catastrophic results. The same goes for visual storytelling, in which character development will never happen if you don’t allot the appropriate amount of time to build a connection with the audience. Rise of the Planet of the Apes respects this, which is why it’s the surprise blockbuster hit of the summer. Forget Thor or even the decent Captain America, this film may even be better than Harry Potter 7 Pt 2. Not bad for a bunch of damn dirty apes. Continue reading
It’s not often that a genre film doesn’t realize that it’s a genre film. A comedy plays within the conventions of its niche and most horror films do the same. Daybreakers is one of the best vampire films since the 1980’s unleashed Fright Night and The Lost Boys because, like its forerunners, it knows how to play to the genre trappings as intelligent entertainment. That’s usually the best horror fans can expect from the genre. But films like The Blair Witch Project, Let the Right One In or Stake Land treat a horror tale like a drama and not a creature feature – which makes it all the more frightening. Continue reading
Posted in Filmsmith Faves, Reviews
Tagged coming of age, Drama, Horror, post-apocalyptic, religious fundamentalism, road movie, Stake Land, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The Road, Vampires