I saw One Hour Photo when it was released in theaters in 2002. I’ve never forgotten it.
It was the first film I saw with Robin Williams playing against type as a truly disturbed character. Even 1991′s The Fisher King was Disney compared to One Hour Photo.
Writer and director Mark Romanek cut his filmmaking teeth on music videos for Nine Inch Nails, Madonna, Michael and Janet Jackson, and Fiona Apple. With the success of filmmakers like David Fincher, the stigma of transitioning from music videos into feature films has thankfully diminished. For a first feature, One Hour Photo is astonishing, but it would still be were Romanek a veteran.
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures
The period romance implied in A Royal Affair‘s title is fulfilled in the film, but if you’re looking for Shakespeare In Love, you may be disappointed. Rather than another version of the “love conquers all” fairy tale, it presents a nuanced, complicated, and not always flattering portrayal of the titular threesome.
There are two groups of people in the world: those who love Manborg and those who just haven’t seen it yet. (Too pompous?)
Let’s try this: anyone with only a cursory knowledge of Mystery Science Theater 3000 knows that there is an audience for bad movies. Although some of the most famously bad bad movies have escaped the comic commentary of MST3K (Troll 2, The Room), it doesn’t make them any less beloved in their awfulness. Yes, screenings are organized for fans to openly mock these movies, but if it brings people so much joy and it isn’t really harming anyone, is that necessarily a bad thing? Especially when it comes from the heart.
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Those who read Yann Martel’s Life of Pi towards the beginning of the last decade probably wondered how such a fantastic tale could ever be filmed. There were also those who, upon hearing that Ang Lee was tackling a film version of Life of Pi, felt elated and relieved that someone with such talent and commitment to a story was the one chosen.
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures
Deadfall has the feel of a western and a horror film, an interesting dynamic made more so by the impressive cast. From the old school there’s Sissy Spacek, Kris Kristofferson, and Treat Williams. Olivia Wilde, Eric Bana, Charlie Hunnam, and Kate Mara are the new kids on the block, but there is no showboating here. This is a true ensemble and everyone is outstanding.
If you were expecting a horror romance from Jack & Diane due to the trailer, you’ll probably be disappointed. If you approach it with an open mind, however, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
The film, written and directed by Bradley Rust Gray, is a slightly meandering glimpse at the romance between two young women, Jack (Riley Keogh) and Diane (Juno Temple). There are beautiful visuals that veer from hyperrealist to almost hallucinatory, and sometimes both at the same time. If that sounds like a contradiction, then it’s one that can easily apply to the film as a whole.
Photo ©2012 Danjaq, LLC, United Artists Corporation, Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All rights reserved.
Oh, James Bond fans. For everyone who was electrified by Daniel Craig’s debut in Casino Royale, there were at least two who loathed the follow up, Quantum of Solace. For all Bond fans, Skyfall should be a revelation. It fulfills the promise that Casino Royale made: that Craig’s Bond is one of (if not) the best, and that the character has finally arrived in the new millennium.
By John Lane
Bar none, one of the sweetest documentaries that anyone will view in a lifetime is Stephen Kessler’s Paul Williams: Still Alive, just released on DVD. The bar had been set extraordinarily high when 2010 saw the release of Who Is Harry Nilsson? (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him). After years of our culture pumping out salacious VH1 Behind-the-Music-style garbage about musicians, I had all but assumed intimate portraits with heart were doomed. The Nilsson documentary restored my faith that an honorable rendering could be done; Kessler’s film on musician/entertainer/actor Paul Williams solidifies that feeling for good.
It’s difficult to review a movie like Compliance. Usually the tag line, “Inspired By True Events” signals a couple of hours of cinematic hyperbole. Even documentaries aren’t immune from altering or omitting facts to suit the filmmakers’ agenda(s). What’s most disturbing about Compliance is how scenes that might trigger the viewer’s bullshit meter actually did occur. While much of the dialogue used to illustrate the events may have been created, the scenarios themselves are real.
Anyone who has worked in a fast food restaurant (or as industry parlance prefers, a “quick-service restaurant”) might immediately feel discomfort during the opening scenes of Compliance, not because of any horrific events taking place, but because of the remarkably authentic atmosphere of what takes place in those environments.
By Melissa B.
There are few movies I love more than Bruce McDonald’s 1996 Hard Core Logo. It’s a rock mockumentary about an obscure Canadian punk band who reunite for one last tour, hoping to recapture what fleeting fame they once had. When it came out in the States, it was advertised as a movie in the vein of This Is Spinal Tap. While it is occasionally hilarious, it has a dark, seamy underbelly. It’s not a feel good movie.
Hard Core Logo’s two stars, Hugh Dillon and Callum Keith Rennie, share an electric chemistry. Their scenes together don’t feel like acting. Dillon hadn’t acted a great deal before Hard Core Logo, and what he doesn’t have in technical “acting” skill, he makes up for in sheer magnetism. His character, Joe Dick, is by turns funny, malevolent, pathetic, and always fascinating. He is a mostly charming manipulator.
One of the finest actors around, Callum Keith Rennie is his icy cool counterpart. Rennie’s Billy Tallent is a gifted guitar player, just about to break through with another band after years of paying his dues slogging with bands like HCL. He reluctantly rejoins his comrades for a last tour, with an eye to the end, where he’ll join with indie sweethearts Jenifur.