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On DVD: "The Living Wake"

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • August 4, 2010 3:59 AM
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If you're not anywhere near a theater currently playing Aaron Schneider's acclaimed "Get Low," you can somewhat make due for now by renting the very slightly similar, less-known indie "The Living Wake," which is also about a man holding a kind of eulogy service for himself while still alive. Directed by Sol Tryon and originally released to the fest circuit in '07, the strange and dark comedy finally hit DVD yesterday courtesy of Breaking Glass Pictures. Having long seen and heard people like Stu VanAirsdale, Aaron Hillis and Cinematical's Erik Davis all rave about it, I figured I'd give it a try for this week's DVD spotlight. Especially since I haven't been able to make time for "Get Low" yet and thought this would tide me over.
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Before There Was "Dinner for Schmucks" There Was "Dogfight"

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • July 30, 2010 8:00 AM
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"Dinner for Schmucks" may have officially been based on the French film "The Dinner Game," but when I first heard about the plot, I immediately thought of "Dogfight." The 1991 drama, directed by Nancy Savoca ("If These Walls Could Talk"), stars River Phoenix in one of his last major roles and Lili Taylor. Like "Dinner for Schmucks," it's about a game in which a group of terrible people compete to see who can find the most contemptible person. And in both films the protagonist ends up feeling bad about the game and starts to like and respect their victim.
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"Titanic II" is No Longer Just a Bad Joke. Film Blog Water Cooler 7/28/10

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • July 28, 2010 10:00 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Thanks to the Internet, we've seen plenty of fake posters and trailers for non-existent sequels to James Cameron's "Titanic" (happy belated 100th birthday to Gloria Stuart, by the way). Now thanks to the existence of The Asylum, the production company that brought us "Transmorphers," "The Da Vinci Treasure" and "Snakes on a Train," we have the chance to see an actual film called "Titanic II." Of course, it's not officially linked to the 1997 blockbuster as a sequel or otherwise. The title actually refers to the name of a new ocean liner that's been built to honor the original ship and will make its maiden voyage on the 100th anniversary of the Titanic's tragic one and only trip.

On DVD: "The Art of the Steal"

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • July 27, 2010 2:01 AM
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  • 1 Comment
This week's DVD pick is Don Argott's "The Art of the Steal," a documentary centered on the ongoing art world scandal involving the Barnes collection. It doesn't matter if you're not much of an art enthusiast. You've likely been to a museum or two, and this film will possibly change how you look at such institutions. I've compared my own personal conflict, as inspired by this doc, to when I was first explained the pros and cons of zoos as a child. Of course, art isn't alive, but some people seem to care more about it than they would a living creature.
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Dreams Confuse Moviegoers: "Vanilla Sky" Tops Bewildering Poll

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • July 26, 2010 12:38 PM
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  • 2 Comments
I'm guessing that "Inception" would feature high up in a later list of most confusing films of all time given the results of a poll conducted by European Netflix equivalent LoveFilm. As voted by subscribers of the DVD service, "Vanilla Sky" has apparently perplexed more film fans than "Mulholland Drive," "Donnie Darko," "2001: A Space Odyssey" and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," all of which were included in the top ten. LoveFilm editor Helen Crowley recognized a trend in the results: "It's clear that dreaming is the biggest cause of confusion for viewers. Switching from reality to dream sequences pulls the wool over our eyes and leaves us searching for the truth."
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Watch the Only "Nightmare on Elm Street" Remakes You Need

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • July 26, 2010 6:21 AM
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I haven't seen the recent Platinum Dunes remake of "A Nightmare on Elm Street," and I'm therefore unlikely to see any subsequent installments of the rebooted franchise. The only thing that might get me to see them is if Leonardo DiCaprio shows up for a meta cameo that more directly ties together Freddy Krueger, "Shutter Island" and "Inception." Seeing as that's never going to happen, I'll just settle for this video titled "A Nightmare on Elm Street in 10 Minutes," which comes from the DVD of the recently released documentary "Never Sleep Again - The Elm Street Legacy."
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See It: "Inception" Standout Tom Hardy in "Bronson"

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • July 20, 2010 2:32 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Even some of the harshest critics of "Inception" seem to have enjoyed Tom Hardy in the role of Eames, a master of disguise in the dream world and a bit of comic relief on screen. Yeah, he's pretty good in that, but wait 'til you get a load of him in Nicolas Winding Refn's "Bronson," a critical darling from 2008 that really should have a cult following already. Here's hoping that Hardy's latest role inspires more people to give this film a shot. I admit it wasn't until I saw him in the new film that I finally made myself watch it. So I understand if others needed "Inception" to be the portal for discovery.
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On DVD: "A Town Called Panic"

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • July 20, 2010 2:32 AM
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  • 1 Comment
With so many great animated films released in 2009, one of the best was lost in the shuffle, especially when it came to the Academy Awards. I have to confess that I didn't see all of those films nominated for the Animated Feature Oscar, so I can't rightly claim that the French-language stop-motion animation "A Town Called Panic" (aka "Panique au village") deserved to be in there over any one of them. And of those I have seen, it's actually very difficult to compare them to this. But with the category opened up to five titles last year, I really had hoped this little Belgian movie would easily slip in as other foreign works had when there were only three slots available. I guess it got trumped by "The Secret of Kells," which was a co-production between Belgium, Ireland and France.
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