If you desperately needed money, what would you be willing to do in order to get your hands on a lot of it quickly?
Living to its title, Cheap Thrills poses a version of this question, setting up a game in which a pair of wealthy sadists offer two hungry guys wads of cash in exchange for escalating acts of humiliation and violence. Provocative but not so extreme as to keep it out of mainstream theaters, the film has commercial potential and should also connect with arthouse admirers of such cruel auteurs as Lars von Trier and Michael Haneke. It’s definitely not for everyone, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good movie. Continue reading
In the 1980s, Hong Kong cinema came up with its own version of a comic monster movie. It was no Ghostbusters, but Mr. Vampire, mixing traditional Chinese folk tales of hopping vampires with action and humor, proved successful, spawning numerous sequels.
Ostensibly in homage, Rigor Mortis stars Chin Siu-Ho — who played one of the main characters in Mr. Vampire — as a defeated, despairing horror film actor, also named Chin Siu-Ho, who moves into a crumbling apartment complex with suicide on his agenda. But this relentlessly creepy film takes its horror straight and contains little comedy. Continue reading
Just consider the premise of Bad Johnson: a compulsive womanizer ruins one too many relationships, and briefly wishes he could be free of his anatomical troublemaker. Next thing you know, his penis has detached itself. It’s taken human form and is running around the city with all the uncontrolled id one might anticipate.
Now imagine what can go wrong with a film like that. And woof, there are many things. So, to fight that, you cast hilarious comedian Nick Thune in a very key role in the movie. That should make sure things are a-ok, right?
Ehhhhhhhhh … Continue reading
Ask the average person on the street to name the city that saw its walls shake with the birth of punk music and odds are they won’t answer “Detroit.” Ask them to name the band who first mashed the raw and the melodic together to create punk music before the term even existed, and they most assuredly won’t say “Death.” And we won’t even bother asking if anyone knew that the forefathers of punk were African American.
But thanks to the new revelatory and inspiring documentary A Band Called Death, the truth behind the band’s nearly simultaneous birth and death may yet find them their proper place in music history. Continue reading
Hey all. Let me be upfront: work is absolutely destroying me. It’s busy.
As such, this week is a bit of a very short inventory round-up. Yes, it’s lazy. That’s what happens when you’re feeling beat. Continue reading
A vagrant doesn’t seem like someone you should fear at all. Unkempt hair, dirty clothes, a Duck Dynasty-esque beard, a look of tiredness in the face, none of these are traits that typically sound off alarms in a person’s brain. And yet, Dwight, the protagonist of Blue Ruin displays all of these traits … and he should be feared. Why?
Because he has revenge on his mind, and his revenge won’t go undone. Continue reading
As long as I can remember, I’ve always been fascinated by voice acting. Still watching cartoons as an adult, I love going to IMDB to look up who voices characters on things I watch. Because of this fascination, when I heard that John DiMaggio (voice of Futurama’s Bender among hundreds of other things) was making a documentary about the world of voice acting called I Know That Voice, I was immediately on board.
What’s interesting about I Know That Voice is that, consistently, every single person interviewed agrees that voice acting is not about coming up with silly voices, it’s about acting. Coming up with voices is part of the job, but being able to emote, and play a character in that voice is where the true talent lies in voice acting. Continue reading
Given its title, you can be forgiven for assuming that director Adam Wingard’s home-invasion thriller will be just another blood-soaked body-count flick. But You’re Next is better than that.
A lot better. Despite its dumb name. Continue reading
When you’re as handsome as Englishman Jude Law is, typecasting is just an occupational hazard. Some filmmaker somewhere always pictures you as “perfect” to play some right-proper gent or another.
On the flip side, when you are as talented as Law is, you can forge your own opportunities and hop off the typecasting train. That’s exactly what he does in writer-director Richard Shepard’s dark English comedy Dom Hemingway, a giddy blend of style and attitude that plays like a cross between a Guy Ritchie and Wes Anderson film.
Unfortunately, it’s also a little lightweight, just like Guy Ritchie and Wes Anderson films can be. Continue reading
When it comes to action blockbusters, it’s hard to think of a time before Jerry Bruckheimer, Michael Bay, Roland Emmerich and company brought their unique style of loud, mega-budget destruction to the masses. And while comic-book movies scratch a certain explosion-y itch, it’s been a long time since the action genre felt like it had a genuine edge.
Which is why The Raid 2 hits all the harder. Adrenaline-fueled and with a scope and variety that belies its origins and budget, it’s already a heavy contender for the giddiest, most thrilling action ride of the year. Its 2011 predecessor proved an effectively kinetic enough calling card for many to sit up and pay attention to Welsh director Gareth Evans. The tale of a drug bust gone hideously, bloodily wrong, it centred on one insanely brave cop’s desperate mission to scale and then take down a tower block full of psychotic criminals. How?
By using the ancient art of punching people very hard in the face. I mean, very, VERY hard. Continue reading