Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

The Playlist

SXSW Review: 'Milius' Is A Rousing Tribute To The Warrior Poet Of Mainstream Hollywood

  • By Drew Taylor
  • |
  • March 17, 2013 1:26 PM
  • |
  • 8 Comments
In the opening moments of “Milius,” a hellzapoppin’ new documentary about John Milius, a genius tyrant and warrior poet of '70s and '80s mainstream Hollywood who wrote and directed testosterone-soaked epics like “Conan the Barbarian” and “Red Dawn,” Sam Elliott, in the same laid back butterscotch drawl he used to narrate the adventures of The Dude, sums up the filmmaker thusly: “He doesn’t write for women and he doesn’t write for pussies. He writes for men. Because he’s a man.” And as “Milius” (the documentary) elaborates on Milius (the man), this was his biggest strength and his greatest weakness – at some point the persona he fashioned for himself, festooned with his fondness for cigars, right wing politics, and guns, would become too much of a liability, ultimately leading to his undoing.

SXSW Review: VHS Doc 'Rewind This!' Is An Affectionate Tribute To A Bygone Era

  • By Cory Everett
  • |
  • March 16, 2013 10:41 AM
  • |
  • 8 Comments
DVDs are filling up bargain bins everywhere, Blu-ray never really took off the way it was supposed to and digital streaming and downloads will soon usurp all physical media for film the way it has for the music industry. And though VHS remained in production as recently as a few years ago, it seems like it could require some kind of archeological dig to uncover these forgotten artifacts, so far removed are we now from them. That dig is part of what fuels the new documentary "Rewind This!," a love letter to the VHS cassette and the many wonderful and forgotten oddities it brought along with it.

Review: Matteo Garrone's Lightweight & Lifeless 'Reality' Is A Disappointment

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
  • |
  • March 15, 2013 9:59 AM
  • |
  • 4 Comments
The relationship between audiences and reality television has shifted to some degree over the past decade (or longer). Where early shows were once positioned as voyeuristic/documentary style looks at Real People, it quickly became clear to those in front of the camera, behind it and at home watching, that reality television is just a different kind of performance. While these programs are ones ostensibly rooted in Real Life, the people selected for these shows -- as well as the writers, producers and directors -- have become increasingly aware of the audience, playing directly to them. Simply put, most people know reality television is actually not that real at all, but in case you forgot, Matteo Garrone's "Reality" is here to remind you.

SXSW Review: 'I Give It A Year' Is A Woefully Inept Deconstruction Of Romantic Comedies

  • By Drew Taylor
  • |
  • March 15, 2013 8:58 AM
  • |
  • 2 Comments
There's a certain amount of winky irreverence built into "I Give It A Year," based on its title alone, which is something that people snarl, usually at the weddings of people who they feel are fundamentally incompatible. The title suggests that, while it might appear to be a bouncy romantic comedy, it has some seriously acidic undertones. This sensation is solidified once you know that Dan Mazer, one of Sacha Baron Cohen's confederates and a co-writer on both "Borat" and "Bruno," wrote and directed "I Give It A Year." Maybe it's the "Cabin in the Woods" of romantic comedies – something that simultaneously deconstructs the genre while celebrating it (and ultimately elevating it to the next plateau). Unfortunately, "I Give It A Year" is a woefully inept, unfunny, unsexy romantic comedy that falls into all the pitfalls and clichés that it willingly tries to avoid.

Review: 'My Amityville Horror' Is A Disturbing Mixture Of The Paranormal And The Psychological

  • By Drew Taylor
  • |
  • March 14, 2013 7:11 PM
  • |
  • 3 Comments
In 1975, George and Kathy Lutz (along with Kathy's three children from a previous marriage), moved into a huge house in Amityville, a tony Long Island suburb. In less than a month, the family would abandon their possessions and leave the house, later claiming it had been the source of a number of supernatural disturbances – including the appearance of a floating, wolf-headed pig; demonic possession; and swarms of ghostly black flies. (The events were immortalized in a supposedly nonfiction book by Jan Anson that has been adapted a number of times for the big screen.)

Review: Harmony Korine's 'Spring Breakers' Is A Semi-Conventional Genre Flick & Future Cult Favorite

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
  • |
  • March 13, 2013 6:31 PM
  • |
  • 12 Comments
This will make you feel old: it has been 18 years since Harmony Korine wrote “Kids” at the age of 21, with the Larry Clark-directed film proving to be something of a firecracker in the midst of mid-'90s indie cinema, by turns controversial, seedy, and honest. Korine made his own directorial debut with 1998’s “Gummo,” and over the last 15 or so years has made films that (with the possible exception of “Mister Lonely”), push aesthetic and critical boundaries further and further, culminating in 2009’s “Trash Humpers,” a film shot on a VHS camcorder, featuring a cast in old-people masks generally trying to provoke the audience into walking out. So where could he possibly go from there?

Review: Intimate & Devastating ‘Ginger & Rosa’ Features A Transformative Elle Fanning Performance

  • By Rodrigo Perez
  • |
  • March 12, 2013 7:00 PM
  • |
  • 4 Comments
Lovely and devastating, challenging yet worthwhile, Sally Potter's "Ginger & Rosa" may be the English filmmaker's best since "Orlando," and perhaps her most accessible to date. The intimate and sensual picture also features yet another terrific performance by 14-year-old Elle Fanning, who is quickly becoming the most compelling teenage actor working in movies today. But this time, as the lead, Fanning is transformative, heartbreakingly conveying the inner life of an adolescent with an almost eerily nuanced command of her craft.

DVD Review: Missing ‘House Of Cards’? Excellent ‘Borgen’ Season 1 Will Keep You Satisfied

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
  • |
  • March 12, 2013 9:58 AM
  • |
  • 4 Comments
If it isn’t already happening, Danish television is about to have a moment. AMC’s remake of the “The Killing” was canceled, swiftly brought back, and is now shooting its third season. HBO is in the midst of remaking the popular series “The Bridge” and NBC already snagged the rights to the political drama “Borgen.” It’s arguably the hottest of the three shows at the moment -- Stephen King named it as the best television he watched 2012 (the aforementioned Danish shows above made the top ten as well) -- and coming in the wake of Netflix’s tremendously well received “House Of Cards,” those looking to slake their thirst on political drama would be highly recommended to track down “Borgen,” which is arguably even more dense and layered than David Fincher and Kevin Spacey’s program.

SXSW Review: 'Kiss Of The Damned' Is An Intoxicatingly Lusty Homage To Old School Horror

  • By Drew Taylor
  • |
  • March 11, 2013 4:13 PM
  • |
  • 1 Comment
Xan Cassavetes, the daughter of John Cassavetes and the director of the wonderful film world documentary "Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession," wrote and directed "Kiss of the Damned" with a wink and a nod so overt that, from the opening credit sequence, which closely mimics the similarly-titled Hammer horror movie "Lust for the Vampire," it runs dangerously close to becoming a ninety-minute game of Spot The Reference. Thankfully, the knowingness never becomes too cloying, and what Cassavetes lacks in technical proficiency, she more than makes up for in a kind of heartfelt conviction sorely lacking in the genre.

Review: 'Upside Down' Envisions A Lifeless 'Romeo and Juliet' Tale With Sporadic Sci-Fi Escapism & Visual Thrills

  • By Charlie Schmidlin
  • |
  • March 11, 2013 2:04 PM
  • |
  • 2 Comments
In Juan Juan Solanas.' fantasy romance "Upside Down," twin planets exist with opposite gravities and social restrictions of Dickensian thematic heft. "Up Top" boasts gleaming skyscrapers, well-dressed citizens, and the majority of wealth, while "Down Below" struggles in poverty and mud-stained existence. Between the two, Adam (Jim Sturgess) and Eden (Kirsten Dunst) live out their own interstellar "Romeo and Juliet," torn apart by family as well as physics. If a smirk emerged from hearing any of these names or locations, it will remain over the course of Juan Solanas.' indulgent swirl of symbolism; but that doesn't mean there aren't moments of visual splendor and escapist fun to temporarily break up the expression.

Email Updates

Recent Comments