blog

harrysally Top 10 Movie Couples We Want to Double-Date dreamers The Naked Truth: Some Directors Aren’t Afraid of Nudity… Seriously, Not Afraid BlueVelvet_Meldown Crazy Good! The Top 10 Movie Meltdowns bluevelvet4 Top 10 Seriously Messed Up Movies

Film

In THUMBSUCKER, Keanu Reeves is (finally) in on the joke

Article: In THUMBSUCKER, Keanu Reeves is (finally) in on the joke

Piecing apart the broader coming-of-age themes in Mike Mills’ THUMBSUCKER may not be a fruitful exercise. I’m not saying the film isn’t worth discussion or parsing; not at all. There’s just a more diplomatic (read: cute) way of celebrating the director’s feature-length debut. Like this: Keanu Reeves plays a New Age orthodontist who, for a change, is in on the joke. Doesn’t that already sound more intriguing?

Mitt Romney has a thing or two to learn from MELQUIADES ESTRADA

Article: Mitt Romney has a thing or two to learn from MELQUIADES ESTRADA

When it comes to the issue of immigration, Mitt Romney has two faces. There’s the one he wore at his now-notorious behind-closed-doors fundraiser in Boca Raton, where he “joked” to a roomful of fat cats that “it would be helpful to be Latino.” Then there’s the noticeably browner face he wore to a forum on the Spanish-language network Univision, where he spouted meaningless rhetoric about how the answer to illegal immigration is “self-deportation.” He seems so unconcerned with understanding what life is like for Spanish-speaking immigrants (illegal or otherwise) in this country, it’s a milagro he can discuss issues of concern to that community while keeping a straight face.

HAPPY ENDINGS and PULP FICTION top our favorite ensemble casts

Article: HAPPY ENDINGS and PULP FICTION top our favorite ensemble casts

What makes a great ensemble cast? Often the individual players are exceptional in their own right; often they are undisputed leads. But brought together, with the right director and the right script, they can create something different, something bigger.

HAPPY ENDINGS and PULP FICTION top our favorite ensemble casts

Article: HAPPY ENDINGS and PULP FICTION top our favorite ensemble casts

What makes a great ensemble cast? Often the individual players are exceptional in their own right; often they are undisputed leads. But brought together, with the right director and the right script, they can create something different, something bigger.

Top 10 untouchable real-life movie gangsters

Article: Top 10 untouchable real-life movie gangsters

Where would the cinema world be without gangsters? The gun-blazing standoffs, ballsy bank stickups, mobster massacres… they’ve all contributed to some of the biggest moments in movie history. But there’s a special subset of the genre that blurs fantasy and reality, those films that portray the real, bigger-than-life gangsters.

CASSANDRA'S DREAM and the complicated legacy of Woody Allen

Article: CASSANDRA'S DREAM and the complicated legacy of Woody Allen

Anytime Woody Allen releases a new film, moviegoers naturally debate where it ranks on his filmography. Is it a triumphant return to form like last year’s MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, or a dud like 2009’s WHATEVER WORKS? Is it a vibrant echo of his early masterpieces, or a dispiriting reminder that he’s now 76 and his best years may be behind him? There’s rarely a middle ground: It’s either Good Woody or Bad Woody.

BIG FAN and the real blood sports both on and off the field

Article: BIG FAN and the real blood sports both on and off the field

After Washington Redskins wide receiver Josh Morgan committed a penalty that may have cost his team a recent game, he received death threats on Twitter. Who would be crazy enough to do such a thing? Meet Paul Auferio (Patton Oswalt), a 36-year-old schlub who works at a dead-end day job and spends his nights calling in to a sports-radio station to proclaim his undying love for the New York Giants — and his murderous hate for the divisional rival Philadelphia Eagles. He’s the tragic title character in the super-dark comedy BIG FAN (airing tomorrow night at 8P on Sundance Channel).

Now Playing on Sundance Channel: TRIAD ELECTION, FISH TANK, THE CENTER OF THE WORLD

Article: Now Playing on Sundance Channel: TRIAD ELECTION, FISH TANK, THE CENTER OF THE WORLD

Autumn is now in full effect — the carefree days of summer are behind us and we’re left to ponder the oncoming cold and the meaning of our existence as we watch campaign ad after campaign ad. To us, that makes the season all about two things: complicated relationships… and elections. Thankfully, we’ve got the appropriate films for any occasion. We’re an all-season network!

Five hot women of horror

Article: Five hot women of horror

Horror pushes characters to their limits — especially female characters, who generally have to stay alert and fight back if they want to make it through two hours alive. To be a horror hottie, it’s not enough to have good looks. You need smarts, resourcefulness, strength and a special something extra. In THE WIG, airing tonight at midnight, you’ll see just how hot horror heroines can be and how, sometimes, good deeds become their own punishment.

New York Film Festival preview: LIFE OF PI, FLIGHT and more

Article: New York Film Festival preview: LIFE OF PI, FLIGHT and more

The 50th New York Film Festival is bookmarked by two films in which disasters lead to personal awakenings. The opening movie on September 28 is Ang Lee’s LIFE OF PI, a 3D adventure tale about an Indian boy’s antics with various wildlife after a shipwreck sets them adrift on the ocean. The closing night attraction is Robert Zemeckis’ FLIGHT, about a pilot, played by Denzel Washington, who saves a plane — if not necessarily his life — from crashing.

PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE: Rock schlock that's a brilliant hot mess

Article: PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE: Rock schlock that's a brilliant hot mess

Anyone can make a bad film, but it takes considerable craft, talent and personality to make something intentionally B-grade that’s really, really good. So what Brian De Palma does in the 1970s bouillabaisse of American culture PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE (playing tonight at 12:20A) is nothing short of a brilliant hot mess, if not the template for great schlock.

JOY DIVISION and more music docs that break your heart and rock your soul

Article: JOY DIVISION and more music docs that break your heart and rock your soul

Though Joy Division’s time on the music scene was brief, their influence continues to be felt to this day. Guitarist Bernard Sumner’s aggressive, driving riffs — coupled with singer Ian Curtis’ hypnotic lyrics — inspired such musical acts as the Cure and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, to name just a few. And while their short-lived musical career was a mere burst in the flaming circus that is rock ‘n’ roll, the Joy Division story has fueled two feature-length films, one of which —- Grant Gee’s JOY DIVISION —- makes its Sundance Channel debut tonight.

William H. Macy: Five must-see roles of an indie darling

Article: William H. Macy: Five must-see roles of an indie darling

Any real film fan will recognize William H. Macy. Chances are, you’ve seen his Oscar-nominated role in FARGO and his supporting turns in MAGNOLIA and BOOGIE NIGHTS. But if that’s all you know of this indie Everyman hero, are you ever missing out. Both awkward and intelligent, apprehensive and over-eager, Macy conveys a jittery familiarity — you know a guy like this, however far-fetched a character he may be playing. Here’s a William H. Macy sampler that will give you the full picture of his considerable talents — and, lucky for you, you can even catch two of these movies this weekend on Sundance Channel.

Signs you may be bi-curious, Ă  la ROOM IN ROME

Article: Signs you may be bi-curious, Ă  la ROOM IN ROME

Homosexuality is such a political hot potato these days — what with television shows about gay couples and surrogates popping up, and transsexualism being so popular amongst the youth — that people are drawing lines in the discussion. But polarization happens to be taking the place of the great gray space where, I think, most people’s sexuality resides. And that’s a drag. The uproar is having a negative effect with the absurd notion that being bi-curious is wishy-washy, not firm enough of a position for either side. Like, what ever happened to appreciating a good ol’ B.U.G.?

Robert Redford to honor Roger Ebert at "Celebrate Sundance Institute" benefit

Article: Robert Redford to honor Roger Ebert at "Celebrate Sundance Institute" benefit

Sundance Institute today announced that its president and founder Robert Redford will present journalist and film critic Roger Ebert with the Vanguard Leadership Award in recognition of his advocacy of independent cinema. The award presentation will take place at the third annual “Celebrate Sundance Institute” benefit, on June 5, 2013, in Los Angeles.

Did DEATH WISH kill gun control?

Article: Did DEATH WISH kill gun control?

Once upon a time in America, there was a gun-control debate. Then came Charles Bronson. In 1974′s DEATH WISH — tonight at 10:10P on Sundance Channel — the journeyman character actor shot to superstardom as Paul Kersey, a self-confessed “bleeding-heart liberal” who becomes a pistol-packing urban vigilante after his daughter is raped and his wife is murdered. Made for a modest $3 million, the gritty flick earned back more than seven times its budget and spawned four sequels over the next 20 years. Now director Joe Carnahan (THE GREY) is planning a remake.

Now Playing on Sundance Channel: JOY DIVISION, I'M NOT THERE and HOW TO BE

Article: Now Playing on Sundance Channel: JOY DIVISION, I'M NOT THERE and HOW TO BE

This week, it’s a veritable early autumn music festival with films celebrating two of the iconic figures in rock history, along with a cautionary comedy about what can happen to all those singer-songwriters out there who don’t happen to possess the talent of Ian Curtis or Bob Dylan.

5 kick-ass feminist exploitation films

Article: 5 kick-ass feminist exploitation films

Feminist exploitation movies have a way of turning violence against women on its head, taking the kick-ass female heroine to an extreme, turning women from victims into predators. They make radical ultraviolence a commentary on the treatment of women in society — and reclaim female power, especially when they come from female directors like the Soska sisters, the women behind DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK, airing tonight at midnight.

VOLVER and Pedro AlmodĂłvar's second golden age

Article: VOLVER and Pedro AlmodĂłvar's second golden age

Over the past three decades, Pedro AlmodĂłvar has become one of the most widely beloved filmmakers in the world. His 2006 drama VOLVER — on Sundance Channel tonight and all month — was one of his biggest popular and critical hits, garnering its star Penelope Cruz a Best Actress Oscar nomination and helping cement his status as one of the few foreign filmmakers who could rightfully be called a household name in the U.S. To those of us who have been following his career since the beginning, this has come as a welcome surprise.

Top 10 movie meltdowns

Article: Top 10 movie meltdowns

One of the most enjoyable things about movie watching is that moment when someone loses his or her crackers, even if just for a moment, showing us a whole other shade of character. And as enjoyable as it is for the audience, we suspect that it’s probably lots of fun for the actors to let loose a little too. A compendium of raging, comic, emotional and/or heartbreaking meltdowns follows.

Toronto International Film Fest '12 wrap-up: Big hits (and big misses)

Article: Toronto International Film Fest '12 wrap-up: Big hits (and big misses)

No matter which way your cinematic tastes go, the Toronto International Film Festival likely has you covered. It’s easy at TIFF to program your daily viewing schedule with Oscar hopefuls like Paul Thomas Anderson’s THE MASTER, mainstream popcorn thrillers like Rian Johnson’s LOOPER, gory Midnight Madness exercises like Barry Levinson’s THE BAY and international sensations like Michael Haneke’s AMOUR.

Care about the presidential election? Then you seriously have to watch W.

Article: Care about the presidential election? Then you seriously have to watch W.

“We’ve seen this movie before,” Vice-President Joe Biden told the crowd at an Ohio rally last weekend. “And we know how it ends.” He was referring, of course, to the prospect of electing Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, who promise a return to the policies of George W. Bush. If you need a reminder of what exactly those were, check out Oliver Stone’s controversial 2008 biopic W. all month long on Sundance Channel. It’s a movie you probably haven’t seen — but you should.

Breaking boundaries: 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE, Michael Winterbottom and Steve Coogan

Article: Breaking boundaries: 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE, Michael Winterbottom and Steve Coogan

Right from the get-go, you can tell that Michael Winterbottom’s 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE — airing this weekend and all month long on Sundance Channel — is no ordinary biopic. It begins with Tony Wilson (Steve Coogan) addressing the camera as he narrates his life. Wilson was a British TV personality who was so taken with the emerging punk and post-punk scene in the 1970s and ’80s that he founded Factory Records, a Manchester-based label that brought the world such notorious bands as the Happy Mondays, Joy Division and New Order. This playful, inventive retelling of his tale intercuts between some of his TV stunts and the key moments of his career, all as he continues to speak directly to us; part of the film’s charm is that Coogan was himself a Wilson-like character at the time. (Already popular among Brits, he enjoyed a tremendous career surge after this role.)

A queer underdog has her day in BREAKFAST ON PLUTO

Article: A queer underdog has her day in BREAKFAST ON PLUTO

We’re all familiar with the proverb, “You can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy,” or some abstraction thereabouts. The phrase certainly proves true in BREAKFAST ON PLUTO, in which Patrick “Kitten” Braden (Cillian Murphy), possessed of an irrepressible spirit that gets him into one predicament after another, is unable — and simply does not want — to hide what he is from the world. This sort of story is usually reserved for films about underdogs the general audience relates to and celebrates: ROCKY, LUCAS, Fanny Brice in FUNNY GIRL, even Holly Golightly in another BREAKFAST, this one at Tiffany’s. But it’s much rarer to find in a queer protagonist — especially one with an intrepid sense of fashion.

Now Playing on Sundance Channel: CASSANDRA'S DREAM, VICTIM and THE DEEP END

Article: Now Playing on Sundance Channel: CASSANDRA'S DREAM, VICTIM and THE DEEP END

This week on Sundance Channel, it’s murder most foul with three films that take a decidedly different approach to exploring crime and punishment. Throw in heavy a bout of soul-searching, a healthy dollop of high-intensity thrills and a creepy doctor or two and you’ve got yourself some serious watching.