Offended? Terrified? Whether you're a Sunday School regular or a godless intellectual, you're certain to find Bill Maher's anti-religion polemic Religulous to be a provocative, brilliant, infuriating documentary. It's one part Bowling for Columbine, one part An Inconvenient Truth, built upon a base of sneering mockery.
Continue reading: Religulous Review
Sadly, there's no Jack Bauer in this mini-apocalypse, but rather his antithesis: a stay-at-home husband/wanna-be rock guitarist named Brad, played by 1990s slacker incarnate Rory Cochrane. Furthermore, instead of finding the nearest gasmask and doing everything in his power to save his working wife Lexi (Mary McCormack), he bunkers up in their sloping-suburbs house with the next-door gardener (Tony Perez) and scotch-tapes every window, door, nook, cranny and crease the he can find. Then honey comes home: Contaminated.
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When Richard Linklater released Waking Life in 2001, he became the granddaddy of a whole new kind of filmmaking process. The film had been shot and edited like a normal feature, then sent to computer jocks who basically painted over each frame, giving the images a surreal quality of undulating colors that fell somewhere between photography and animation -- an acid-trip philosophy lesson.
Linklater returns to the same technique once again (and for the last time, from what he has said, due to rampant production difficulties) for a much more literal acid trip. Based on the Philip K. Dick novel of the same name, A Scanner Darkly is a feature-length PSA on the evils of drugs and the potentially-as-damaging efforts to ferret them out of society.
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Imagine Trainspotting without any trace of humor and you're on the right track. Picture Pasolini's Salo: 120 Days of Sodom shot by some MTV music video kid interested in the novelty of his new camera. Darren Aronofsky (Pi) stacks one degrading sight atop another without implicating the viewer, nor providing any framework or reference for his visual rape of his audience - all smoke and mirrors disguising a great, vapid emptiness.
Continue reading: Requiem For A Dream Review
The adult-oriented character piece delves headfirst into the natural landscapes of the Southeast - primarily Georgia and North Carolina - to hide the criminal wrongdoings of kidnapper Arnold Mack (Willem Dafoe) and his valuable target, Wayne Hayes (Robert Redford). While the men work their way to an undisclosed location in the woods, Clearing continues to focus on the consequent people affected by the impromptu abduction - from Wayne's wife, Eileen (Helen Mirren), and their children (Alessandro Nivola, Melissa Sagemiller) to the businessman's mistress (Wendy Crewson).
Continue reading: The Clearing Review
Most people will not understand Waking Life. Some will find it to be one of the most brilliant pieces of film ever produced. I found it to be beyond words; a combination of film, groundbreaking computer animation, and a difficult and profane script that produces a sublime interpretation of existence.
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I don't know what else to make of this movie, another young-kid-can't-get-a-break flick, a kind of anti-coming of age story. Speed of Life features Drew (Caan) trying to care for dad, stricken with Alzheimer's. He's also enamored with a girl named Sarah (Mia Kirshner), a random street hussy who gets off on shooting guns, doing drugs, and having wild sex (as long as she is not required to get naked). Another friend is just trouble. And poor Drew just doesn't know what to do.
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Maybe I've seen too many Gyllenhaal movies, but Leland's slightly hunched posture and quizzical facial expression, indicative of a familiar detached dreaminess, recalls indie prince Jake constantly, right down to the casting of go-to indie girlfriend Jena Malone as Becky (who acted alongside Gyllenhaal in Donnie Darko). To be fair, I wasn't thinking of Gyllenhaal for every second Gosling was on screen. Sometimes I was musing over his unfortunate resemblance to Screech from TV's Saved by the Bell.
Continue reading: The United States Of Leland Review
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