Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Press Play

REVIEW: Virtues of a Nasty Girl: Jason Reitman's YOUNG ADULT

It would be easy to mistake Charlize Theron’s words and deeds in Young Adult for plain nastiness.
  • By Peter Tonguette
  • |
  • January 17, 2012 8:52 AM
  • |
  • 4 Comments

DVD REVIEW: JEAN-PIERRE GORIN: a new DVD box set spotlights the director's best documentaries

At first glance, the title of "Three Popular Films by Jean-Pierre Gorin" looks like a joke. If Jean-Pierre Gorin, a Frenchman who moved to San Diego to teach at UCSD in the ‘70s, is known in the U.S. at all, it’s because he collaborated with Jean-Luc Godard as a member of the Dziga Vertov Group. However, except for Tout Va Bien and Letter to Jane, most of the Dziga Vertov Group’s work is now difficult to see. Eclipse’s 3-DVD set of Gorin’s California-made documentaries, completed between 1980 and 1992, rescues them from oblivion. They’ve rarely been screened theatrically in the U.S. in the twenty years since the most recent one, "My Crasy Life," was made, apart from a 2010 retrospective at New York’s Migrating Forms festival.
  • By Steven Erickson
  • |
  • January 16, 2012 12:06 PM
  • |
  • 0 Comments

SIMON SAYS: As another year passes, Chris Gorak's RIGHT AT YOUR DOOR reminds us where we have been

Writer/director Chris Gorak's "The Darkest Hour" hit theaters on Christmas Day; to give you an idea of why you should be excited, here's an appreciation of Gorak's topical 2006 chiller, "Right at Your Door." “They don’t really know anything,” Rory Cochrane murmurs wonderingly at one point early on in Right at Your Door, writer/director Chris Gorak’s nightmarish horror parable about the "War on Terror" as it's imagined at home. That line of dialogue guilelessly gets to the heart of Gorak’s drama, which features the best and not-so-best aspects of George Romero’s trenchantly moralistic horror movies.
  • By Simon Abrams
  • |
  • December 30, 2011 8:51 AM
  • |
  • 3 Comments

GREY MATTERS: HOMELAND and the art of playing crazy

As a certified crazy person, I’m here to tell you that either vampires burn in daylight or they don’t. I’ll accept no wiggle room on this. Anything less and you’ll quickly lose my suspension of disbelief. To get what I’m babbling about, this way, please. I’m talking about "Homeland," which is, by the way, about almost nothing but crazy people. "Homeland," in case you’ve been busy catching up on something more realistic – I suggest Syfy’s zero-dollar wonder, Alphas – is about Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), a C.I.A. operations officer haunted by the notion that she failed to do something that may have stopped 9/11 from happening. She was also compromised in an Iraq operation because of an American soldier who’d turned against his country.
  • By Ian Grey
  • |
  • December 28, 2011 4:17 AM
  • |
  • 6 Comments

GREY MATTERS: Martin Scorsese's interesting year

Aside from being a lousy whitewash out to prove God-knows-what, Martin Scorsese’s George Harrison: Living in the Material World doesn’t even live up to some simple realities, things like the fact that when you’re Martin Scorsese, you most certainly do have a huge responsibility when taking on such an undertaking. Nobody will ever again have your resources, access or your name, and the sobriety of purpose and sheer cred that goes with it. And now, to super-complicate matters really interestingly, we have Hugo, easily one of Scorsese’s top five films, a masterpiece, coming mere months on the heels of the Harrison debacle. The two films, in eternal orbit and connected by “George” as a name and notion – of the guitar player and his revolution in sound, and of the disgraced special effects trailblazer, Georges Méliès, who, in our world, delighted a small, asthmatic Italian-American boy in Little Italy almost 60 years ago with his lowest-fi wonders.
  • By Ian Grey
  • |
  • December 19, 2011 1:33 PM
  • |
  • 2 Comments

SIMON SAYS: Tom Cruise in MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 4: "it is my destiny to be the king of vain."

In the recent Mission: Impossible movies, Tom Cruise has basically played a charismatic body under stress. While Mission: Impossible III is still the most satisfying film of the series because it takes the Ethan Hunt character and gives him personal stakes to fight for, Hunt’s main appeal has always been his charm as a humorless beast of burden. No film in the series makes this more apparent than the fourth and most recent entry in the film franchise, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. Here, Cruise, who gets a prominent producer credit in the film’s opening credits, shows his age; in fact, he flaunts it. Not in an “I’m getting too old for this shit” kind of way. More like a “My body has seen better days but I’m still pretty amazing, so shut the hell up and watch me scale the tallest building in the world...one-handed” kind of way.
  • By Simon Abrams
  • |
  • December 19, 2011 6:03 AM
  • |
  • 9 Comments

SIMON SAYS: THE SITTER, blah blah, balls on fire, Method Man cameo, blah blah, double-fisted punch to the balls, blah

This is it, folks: David Gordon Green isn’t the guy that made George Washington and All the Real Girls anymore. Now, he’s the guy that made Pineapple Express and Your Highness. Which is a transition that doesn’t really deserve an award or a hearty handshake or even much praise really. But for the sake of needlessly giving credit where credit is due, I have to say: this new David Gordon Green is ok.
  • By Simon Abrams
  • |
  • December 12, 2011 12:33 PM
  • |
  • 0 Comments

TONY DAYOUB: TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY is a worthy remake filled with lonely characters

The tall, athletic man introduced earlier in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as British Intelligence officer Jim Prideaux (Mark Strong) walks into a classroom and begins to write his name on the chalkboard. Only he does not write the name we’ve come to know him by. The typically garrulous young males attending the tony prep school remain blissfully unaware of their new teacher’s identity as he starts handing out the class assignment. But the viewer is all too keenly aware of who Prideaux is if only for the fact that we saw him shot in the back at the start of Tomas Alfredson’s film adaptation of the John le Carré novel. Is this a flashback? Or did Prideaux somehow survive the shooting? Prideaux’s mild demeanor belies his efficiency, a fact his students become aware of when a bird trapped in the chimney suddenly flies into the classroom in confusion. Prideaux rapidly pulls out a club from his desk drawer and swats the bird down to the ground where it continues to squeal in pain. As Alfredson directs the camera to capture the students’ horrified reactions, the sound of Prideaux beating the bird to death comes from off-screen.
  • By Tony Dayoub
  • |
  • December 9, 2011 12:35 PM
  • |
  • 3 Comments

Joe Swanberg's CAITLIN PLAYS HERSELF defies expectations and categorization

There’s not much nuance to the discussion around Joe Swanberg’s films. You either think the amazingly prolific director’s the second coming of Ingmar Bergman and the French New Wave or a sexist softcore sleazebag. No other member of the mumblecorps generates so much heat, even if Andrew Bujalski or Aaron Katz’s films aren’t universally liked. At a Q&A in Brooklyn two months ago, I asked Swanberg why he thinks his work is so divisive. He pointed out several possible reasons – shooting entirely on video (although he’s far from alone there), acting in his own films – before settling on the fact that he puts his libido explicitly into his work. That sex drive is usually but not always directed towards beautiful young women. However, Swanberg has also filmed himself masturbating for real, and his forthcoming film, The Zone, an update of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Teorema, depicts a mysterious bisexual stranger.
  • By Steven Erickson
  • |
  • December 2, 2011 11:39 AM
  • |
  • 0 Comments

MATT ZOLLER SEITZ: On “Weed Wars,” drug clichés go up in smoke

“I run a family business, and the business is cannabis,” says Steve D’Angelo, a central character in Discovery’s new series “Weed Wars” and the co-founder and executive director of Oakland’s Harborside Health Center, which distributes medical marijuana to almost 100,000 customers. D’Angelo’s matter-of-fact statement sums up the tone of this series, which treats the Harborside Heath Center as just another family-owned (albeit nonprofit) business, ultimately not too different from a veterinary clinic, a hair salon or a tattoo parlor.
  • By Matt Zoller Seitz
  • |
  • December 1, 2011 7:53 PM
  • |
  • 0 Comments

Follow Us

Most "Liked"

  • What Does It Mean That Joe Swanberg ...
  • Humor Is Life: RIP Robin Williams, ...
  • Kevin Kline on MY OLD LADY, THE LAST ...
  • VIDEO ESSAY: R.I.P. Lauren Bacall
  • First AMERICAN HORROR STORY, Now TRUE ...
  • METAMERICANA: Outlaw Country Goes Psychedelic: ...
  • FARGO, TRUE DETECTIVE, JUSTIFIED, RECTIFY ...
  • VIDEO ESSAY: Our Scary Summer: 1979
  • How GROUNDHOG DAY and THE ONE I LOVE ...
  • The Cool of Science, from Bill Nye to ...