A Brilliant Young Mind, sadly changed from its far-superior UK title, X + Y, is a film that shows how much a fairly overdone concept can be elevated with outstanding performances, very thoughtful casting, and an intriguing directorial vision. It’s not the most innovative piece in the world, but for the kind of sentimental comfort food it’s aiming to be, it’s satisfying and even moving. Should you watch this movie? I think you should.
Toronto residents can watch a special theatrical screening of Gilda at The Royal tonight at 7:30 p.m., presented by the Ladies of Burlesque.
Without Gilda, my life would have been very different. As a naïve young English major at UC Santa Barbara, I registered for a Film Noir class to fulfill a requirement for my degree. I wasn’t new to old cinema; the giant poster of James Dean on my bedroom door and my stash of Gary Cooper movies recorded onto VHS were a testament to that. I didn’t know, however, about German Expressionism, Jim Thompson novels, the word “chiaroscuro,” or how important Citizen Kane was to the development of the noir style. I would soon learn.
By Tim Murr
There is no good reason Thor weren’t bigger than KISS. Oh, sure, there were reasons, but not good ones. Starting out in the body building world before moving on to rock and roll, Jon Mikl Thor made a name for himself with feats of strength and great stage presence. His first serious foray into rock as Thor was a glam classic (Keep The Dogs Away, 1977). It should have been huge. It was not.
The most cursory viewing of Radu Muntean’s One Floor Below reveals a very banal, uninteresting portrayal of a man who does nothing, and frankly, that’s the point. Examining the Romanian thriller beneath the surface, however, provokes some hard questions about what it means to exist in society and the responsibility we have to each other in times of tragedy and danger.
By Tim Murr
“Get upstairs, fuck face! I can’t keep God waiting!”
Recently, Arrow Video released a gorgeous Hellraiser box set. In 2014, we finally got the director’s cut of Nightbreed. But still, on the film’s 30th anniversary, there is no news of a DVD/Blu-Ray release of Rawhead Rex!
The horror genre loves a good controversy, but not all controversies are created equal. The Forest, from director Jason Zada, has taken criticism not for violence and gore, but about whether it exoticizes its Japanese location or trivializes the problem of suicide. As it turns out, though, there’s more than that to dislike about this sub-par movie.
By Tim Murr
The weight of the world is on the shoulders of 15-year-old Faith. She’s forced to go to school and act like everything’s normal while her father is dying of leukemia. Faith rages at the unfairness and hopelessness of it all until her new field hockey coach, Sissy, approaches her with an offer to cure her father, using intimate knowledge of ancient witchcraft. In exchange, Faith only has to have a baby for Sissy.
These sort of things always work out, right?
“The Black Cat” isn’t usually the first story that comes to mind when people think of Edgar Allan Poe. It tends to get overshadowed by his poem, “The Raven,” or his story, “The Tell-tale Heart,” which actually shares a lot of plot devices with “The Black Cat,” but that’s not important right now. What is important is that Poe’s work is public domain. No one owns it. That makes his work ripe for the gutting by film producers and writers. Slap Poe’s name on it somewhere and you’ve got a built-in audience of horror fans and American Literature majors.
Roger Corman certainly made his nut making quickie Poe flicks, but that’s not important right now, either. What is important is what happened to “The Black Cat” in the hands of two stylistically different Italian directors, horror maestro Lucio Fulci and giallo king Sergio Martino. Their two versions of Poe’s old tale can be found in one beautiful box set from Arrow Video.
By Tim Murr
Many movies have attempted to capture the coming of age journey, of misfits finding their path and rising to their true potential or becoming the hero they were always meant to be. Deathgasm proves that most of these movies are utter bullshit.