Sarah Walker wants more than anything to make it big in Hollywood, struggling to get by on her waitressing job at a fast food restaurant. It's even got to the point where she's finding it difficult to even spend time with her friends anymore, some of which are also, seemingly more successful, actors. One day, after what seemed like another failed audition (and rather unusual at that), she is unexpectedly called back, but it doesn't take long for her to discover that there's something very wrong with this casting call. Desperate enough to do whatever it takes to make it in Hollywood, she makes an agreement with the unconventional production house, who are willing to totally transform her body and mind no matter how horrific the process may be.
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Comedies don't get much more pitch-black than this fiendishly clever film, which will shift into horror for everyone in the audience, although that tipping point varies for each person. In other words, this movie will feel intensely personal for everyone who watches it. And credit must go to the cast, director and writers for making a film that, while unnerving you to the core, teaches you something about yourself in the process.
It centres on Craig (Pat Healy), who is having a seriously bad day: he's been sacked at work and evicted from his home, so before returning to his annoyed wife (Amanda Fuller) he stops for a stiff drink. At the bar he runs into his estranged friend Vince (Ethan Embry), a slacker who gets them into a conversation with Colin and Violet (David Koechner and Sara Paxton), a wealthy couple that's celebrating Violet's birthday by daring strangers to do things for money. In need of cash, both Craig and Vince volunteer, and the initially harmless tasks quickly become dangerous, sparking competition between them. And yet they play on. The question is how far they're willing to go.
Writers Trent Haaga and David Chirchirillo have conceived these challenges as a sliding scale from benign fun to nasty embarrassment to disturbing transgression and finally a full-on nightmare. Because of the way viewers react, this is definitely a film to watch in a crowded cinema, as it's clear which point on this scale is each person's limit: the laughter changes to nervous silence and ultimately gasps of horror. The fact that the movie sparks such a visceral reaction is indicative of its genius. You can't be complacent; you're right in here to the bitter end.
Continue reading: Cheap Thrills Review
Watch the ridiculous trailer below
Remember that Simpsons episode; the one in which Homer becomes Mr. Burns’ performing monkey, playing tricks and endangering himself for cold hard cash until Lisa convinces him his self-respect is worth more than said cash?
Well, someone made a movie just like that. It’s called Cheap Tricks and, like Homer in that episode of The Simpsons, our lead character Craig – played by Pat Healy – is desperate for cash and will stoop low to get it.
Continue reading: 'Cheap Thrills' Trailer Provides Us With... Well Guess What? [Trailer]
When Craig gets fired and receives an eviction notice informing him he has 7 days to pay up or he, his wife and his new baby are out of their apartment, he is desperate for some relief from his troubles. He agrees to go out for a drink with his best friend Vince but, along the way, they meet the excessively rich Colin and his young wife Violet who take them on to a strippers bar to continue their alcohol-fuelled wild night. Colin starts to play a game with them, offering increasingly large sums of money for the first person to agree to a daring act. It stars small, with the challenges being simply downing shots or touching strippers - tasks that Vince takes up with immediacy. Craig, desperate to win some cash to take care of his family, starts to join in, getting himself beat up by a doorman and even agreeing to cut his own pinky finger off. It soon becomes clear, however, that this sick couple have no boundaries in the challenges they are willing to suggest.
Continue: Cheap Thrills Trailer
Sonny Weaver, Jr. is the general manager of National Football League team the Cleveland Browns who is faced with immediate dismissal if he does not put together an unbeatable draft pick for his team. With pressure from his associates and from Browns fans, he wants to make a spectacular impact on the football world on draft day but, with his ideas being very different from everyone else's, he's in for a big struggle to bring everyone round to his way of thinking and after making what seems like a professionally suicidal trade, even his mother starts to lose faith in him. Excitement builds as draft day nears, with everyone baffled by what could possibly be in store for the Cleveland Browns; but will Sonny pull through with the number one pick of the year?
Continue: Draft Day Trailer
If a movie's success is measured by its ability to get under our skin and provoke a reaction, then this might be the film of the year. Designed to make us furious, this drama pushes us to the brink as we shout at the characters for being so naive. But the events depicted are based on actual experiences, and the more we think about this, the more unnerving it becomes. It might be impossible to believe that anyone could be this stupid, but can we really be sure we'd make better decisions?
Award-winning actress Ann Dowd (who also played Channing Tatum's mum in Side Effects) stars as Sandra, manager of a ChickWich fast-food outlet in Ohio. She has the usual issues with her young employees, who think she's out of touch, but is happy because she expects her boyfriend Van (Camp) to propose tonight. Then she gets a phone call from Officer Daniels (Healy) telling her that her young employee Becky (Walker) has stolen cash from a customer. He asks Sandra to detain Becky in the office and search her belongings. Sandra makes sure the assistant manager (Atkinson) is present, but she becomes more hesitant about Daniels' more extreme demands. And over the next few hours, he pushes things much further, getting Becky's young colleague Kevin (Ettinger) involved, as well as Van.
Writer-director Zobel structures the film perfectly to strike a nerve. As outsiders we are naturally more suspicious, wondering how Sandra knows that the man on the phone is actually a cop, especially when be begins to bully her with threats. She just wants to do the right thing, and questions all of Daniels' requests, but for us looking in we can't help but think that what he's saying is so preposterous that she needs to just put a stop to it. Cleverly, each character has a very distinct reaction when they get on the phone with Daniels. But as the situation escalates into something unthinkable, we can't understand why no one becomes a voice of reason.
Continue reading: Compliance Review
Claire and Luke (Paxton and Healy) aren't taking their last weekend on the job seriously. The hotel they work in is closing, so they're trying to finally get proof of a legendary ghost. They only have two guests: an angry mother (Bartlett) and her young son (Schlueter). Then a former actress (McGillis) arrives, who turns out to have some psychic abilities. And an older man (Riddle) also checks in, asking for a specific room on the closed-off floor.
Meanwhile, Claire is starting to think that the ghost might be real.
Continue reading: The Innkeepers Review
The musicians enter a small hotel room and play for Martin and Clarence and then, after being told how they are endangering culture by keeping their talents hidden away, are asked to fork over thirty percent of the recording cost or whatever they can spare really. Clarence has a knack for selling the American dream: the idea of a huge payoff from doing very little. Martin has the sincerity of a true music fan, pouring his heart out when he actually believes in an artist. As a team, they are lethally charming and rarely lose the talent's confidence.
Continue reading: Great World Of Sound Review
This isn't to say Rescue Dawn isn't good. It's often great, and in all the ways that Herzog's cinema can be great. As in Aguirre: The Wrath of God and Fitzcarraldo (his undisputed masterpieces) Herzog plunges himself (and the rest of us) once again into the jungle, in all its deceptive beauty. The jungle is that twilight zone, the border between life and death that is the domain of Herzog's cinema, and cinematographer Peter Zeitlinger (who also shot Little Dieter) ably carries the torch that his predecessor Thomas Mauch held aloft so heroically in those aforementioned Conradian tales of men endeavoring to overcome nature (and failing). Herzog lives in awe and terror of the natural world (he goes into this at length in Grizzly Man), and nowhere is that paradox more palpable than in Rescue Dawn, in which the jungle can be jaw-droppingly gorgeous one moment, and a stultifying prison the next.
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The story takes place during the second World War in San Francisco. Two intelligence officers are assigned to the duty of creating a false life for a dead man - including family letters, tickets to shows, and love letters from kindred souls - and planting him in Japanese territory to confuse the Japanese military of pending Allied military operations. Naturally, the two officers infuse their own personal letters, hatreds, and family situations into the creation of the life of the dead man. The only problem is that these two officers are the two most messed-up individuals I have seen since Hopper in Blue Velvet.
Continue reading: Treasure Island (1999) Review
If I were to choose the single greatest American directorial debut of the last ten years, David Gordon Green's "George Washington" would be very near the top of the list. This extraordinarily lyrical film unfolded its odd, wonderful moments with a near complete disregard for plot mechanics. Green's second film, "All the Real Girls," included many of the same disconnected moments, but they were now spattered into a story about a womanizer who falls in love for the first time.
His third film, "Undertow," continues in the same vein as his latter effort. It still has the good stuff, but now it's steeped in a rudimentary, even ludicrous, plot. It plays like nothing more than an exceedingly well-written "Friday the 13th" sequel.
"Undertow" tells the story of a Southern family: a soft-spoken father, John (Dermot Mulroney), a troublesome older boy, Chris (Jamie Bell), and a sickly younger boy, Tim (Devon Alan); their mother has long ago passed on. When John's brother Deel (Josh Lucas) turns up on their doorstep, fresh from prison, John invites him to stay. It turns out that the menacing Deel is really after a case of gold coins that their father once collected. He stops at nothing to get them, not even killing his own brother and stalking the two boys across hill and dale.
Continue reading: Undertow Review
'The Art Of The Deal' how you've never seen it before.
The Boss will release his memoirs via hardback, audiobook and e-reader on September 27th 2016, and reportedly secured a $10 million advance.