Here Comes Paul Thomas Anderson

We like Paul Thomas Anderson, but we do not love him. A little bit of his style of film making goes a long way. We’re of the opinion that even the best of artists need someone to reel them in a little, even if it’s only by 5%.

Would you rather watch a Blade Runner or Pulp Fiction type film and hear about the scenarios and scenes they left behind and imagine ‘what if?’, or see every little thing that was on the director’s mind and be let down by a bloated, wandering, pretentious mess where the full effect of the story at hand comes up short?

Having said that we saw Boogie Nights in the theater five times.

 

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As It Turns Out Limitless Actually Has A Few Limitations

Bradley Cooper plays Eddie Morra, a down and out writer who is introduced to experimental top secret drug NZT and uses his new found mental abilities to  discover a world  where some would like to have him assassinated, some would like him to be their asset, and some would very much like the old Eddie back.

Anyone who’s a part of a movie going crowd has seen the trailer, if not the movie by now. What peaks our interest here is the lack of coverage by indie blogs, because for all it’s flaws, Limitless has an interesting premise that borderlines on being edgy, which isn’t something that the mainstream throws our way with any sort of regularity.

Bradley Cooper provides a multi layered performance as his Eddie Morra, evolves, adapts, charms, devolves, and runs through the entire cycle again.  Robert DeNiro turns in a subtle performance as Carl Van Loon, the mogul who likes Eddie new talents but is also skeptical about the who,what,where,why,and how behind his abilities.  Basically, the annoying traits that were on full display by these actors in the trailer aren’t any sort of a deterrent to seeing the movie.

Where the flaws play in here begin with the idiotic recurring voice over by the Eddie Morra character. Although it does have it’s poignant moments, less would have been more and the voice over does a great disservice to the way the story could have played out in a cinematically. Also worth noting is the lack of boldness in the shot selection, cinematography, and editing. We’re dealing with Hollywood here, so the lack of risk taking is not surprising. Cinematographer Jo Williams, whose work can also be admired in the excellent 2004 film Hard Candy, does a a professional modern job, but there really isn’t any one scene that generates the excitement of repeated viewing.  One would think that any movie that features human blood slurping just might want to play it up a little, build around and capture that one moment with a certain cinematic flow and style to it rather than just treating it like any other scene in any other movie.

They could have had something special here, the next Fight Club, the next Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. They could have made something great, a movie that would stand the test of time.

Instead they settled on just making a good movie…

and they ought to be ashamed of themselves.

Some Flicks Just Like To Get Down

Good cop Rama must lead his inexperienced and over matched police squad against a crime lord and his mad dog army in a 15 story high tenement building, in The Raid: Redemption.

Written and directed by up and coming Welshman Gareth Evans and staring Iko Uwais as SWAT team leader Rama, Joe Taslim as psychotic bad guy Jaka, and the tribal warfare fighting style of Pencak Silat.

There really is nothing to prepare you for the onslaught of action that ensues. This is Gareth Evans and fight choreographer Yayan Ruhian’s second film together and they have really hit their stride in terms of craftsmanship. Simply referring to this as an action or martial arts film doesn’t quite do it justice. The Raid is a film that is not only at the top of it’s genre, but has also set an impossible new standard. The cinematography of Matt Flannery, another Gareth Evans regular, makes a major contribution with with his multiple angles and usage of hand held zoom.  Although the script is sparse by design, the cast does an amazing job of projecting their characters.

This will probably be the only film you will ever see that is EXACTLY the product that is advertised in the trailer, and then some. What could be and should be the indie darling, most talked about, ” have you seen” movie of the year, is akin to watching all four Die Hards…at once…on a roller coaster…in a bad part of town.

What Harmony Korine Is Up To

Spring Breakers, directed by Harmony Korine and starring James Franco and Selena Gomez is currently tearing it up at the Cannes Film Festival. In the meantime, try to catch The Fourth Dimension at your local art house/ indie theater. Three directors collaborated on this tale about their own interpretations of what the fourth dimension could be.

What You’re Listening To In 2012: Dope Body

Not too long ago, four noise rock scuzz screachers banded together to spit fire and ruin electronics. Dope Body makes the kind of dangerous sound that suggests  at least one of their instruments may be broken.

There video for 100 Mile off of  2011’s album Nupping is something that in another era of musical television, would have gotten enough repetitious play to influence a new generation youth targeted commercials.

Their new album, Natural History, is being released by Drag City, home to more than couple of bands that at one point or another, were able to capture the pulse of right now.

Dope Body is not an easy band to throw into your party mix. You have to time it just right, and then take a moment to survey the effects.

 

Tim and Eric Tongue Kiss a Demon

Chances are that if Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie is playing anywhere near your part of town, then it’s playing at the art house/ indie theater. The kind of theater who’s management  would not only turn a blind eye towards toking up pre movie,   but would be ok with joining in on the tokage.  It’s also now available on DVD and Blu-ray for those in the hookah crowd.

Anyone familiar with Tim and Eric’s tv show will enjoy this movie, and anyone not familiar with their show will like it too, that is if they’re halfway decent to hang out with.

Although there is the same cast of weirdos and cameo appearance artists, this is an actual linear movie and not a collection of skits.  The pace is just a little different, which is a good thing since if it moved the exact same way the tv show does, it would akin to eating your Easter, Halloween, and Christmas candy all in one sitting.

The basic premise is that Tim and Eric are given a billion dollars to make a movie and of course they royally fuck it up. In order to not have their loved ones murdered by the vile corporate types who lent them the money, ( Robert Loggia doing Robert Loggia type things), they put everything they have left in revitalising a ramshackle mall.

Are they successful? Are they pretty? Does Ron Don Volante save the day? You’ll just have to roll about half a dozen joints and find out.

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Pontypool is Pretty Cool

You’re probably well past the point of being zombied out by now. The zombie block parties and zombie pub crawls really weren’t that great to begin with, and they wont go away. The Walking Dead at least had the good decency to move the story along towards the latter fourth of the season and ended on a high note. What to do until next season?

Ol’ Pontypool has been around for a spell, 2008 if we’re being sincere, and is thankfully everything that the bright, shiny, useless  Zombieland isn’t. There’s some depth here, some intensity, some atmosphere, and it zigs where the typical films zags.

Radio jockey Grant Mazzy and his cowboy hat have been recently fired from a big time gig and now must slum it on a morning show in a small Canadian town. Reports of mob violence and bizarre behavior begin to flood the station. The small crew working at the radio station wonder if they are being pranked, and then their in studio guest starts to lose it. Things quickly escalate and pretty soon the radio station is being interviewed by the world news amid increasingly absurd reports of events in the town.

Grant Mazzy and co. slowly learn that the root cause of this insanity may lie in the very words they are speaking.

Pontypool isn’t what you would call a gore fest, most of the violence takes place off camera via radio reports, but when our main characters are faced with an immediate threat, the implied violence and lingering dread really has an impact.

The familiar face of Stephen McHattie  plays  the aging rebel disc jockey like an academy award winner. Although McHattie doesn’t have the most familiar  of film resumes, he is quite prolific with his supporting parts in bigger films. He’s sort of a cross between Lance Henrickson’s little brother and Bryan Cranston’s Canadian cousin. Between his performance, the claustrophobic direction of Bruce McDonald, and the droll, Edward Hopper-esque cinematography of Miroslaw Baszak, an impression is left that you will want to share with others.

you tell your goddamn friends to see Pontypool!