Monday, April 16, 2012



This Week
  • Chimpanzee
  • Darling Companion* / 0%
  • The Eye of the Storm / 68%
  • The Lucky One / 80%
  • Marley* / 90%
  • The Moth Diaries* / 17%
  • Thinks Like a Man / 50%
  • To the Arctic

Last Week
  • Bad Ass*
  • Blue Like Jazz* / 41%
  • Cabin in the Woods / 92%
  • Detention* / 36%
  • Lockout / 31%
  • Post Mortem / 89%
  • The Three Stooges / 41%
* = limited release


  • Born to Be Wild / 98%
  • The Divide / 22%
  • The Last Rites of Joe May / 79%
  • Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol / 93%
  • Shame / 80%
CC = Criterion Collection
% from Rotten Tomatoes

* * *


It's all drugs and rock in "Hit So Hard," a documentary that looks to the grunge bands of the '80s, especially backstage and into their personal lives. Specifically, this is "the life and near-death story of Patty Schemel," the drummer for hole. Nirvana's Kurt Cobain serves as the caution to a path she nearly followed. The film received a limited release last week.

Last week also saw the limited release of "Detention," the latest film from the notorious director of "Torque," Joseph Kahn. This film would certainly be worse than detention for some people, but for others (such as Adam Quigley of /Film) it is a treat. High school students band together to take down a serial killer in this horror/comedy. Full of references and one clever shot after the next, this genre slasher looks like a bit of a mess. Some of my favorite films are that way.

"Ice-T takes us on an intimate journey into the heart and soul of hip-hop with the legends of rap music."  That line will stop some of my readers I'm sure. Hip-hop/rap is such a fascinating style of music that has generated haters and lovers across the country. "Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap" interviews several of the top-listed practitioners of the genre and explores where it came from and what it means. It goes without saying that there is a lot of despicable rap (same could be said for any genre of any art in my opinion). So much of the lyrics are degrading or intellectually insulting, but bear an almost irresistible rhythm. In some ways it is Dr. Suess (mentioned by one fellow in the doc) with his head in the gutter. Those hooks and choruses top the Billboards and then are replaced. Other rappers are so smart and let that show in their music. It is a mixed bag of tricks. I for one am interested in what the film discovers. June 15th in select cities (probably the same cities where a lot of these artists hail from).

"Jesus Henry Christ" (unnecessarily blasphemous) gets a bare-all trailer. Y'know, the kind where you see the whole plot unravel in two minutes. It's your typical indie film with a budget. Quirky family dramedy with an artsy mise-en-scene. In this post "Garden State,""I Heart Huckabees," "The Squid and the Whale," and age it is difficult to find these refreshing. I like what I see here, but now I've seen the whole thing (for more than one reason). Henry James Herman is a boy genius, but there is one thing he doesn't know, who is father is. He finds the sperm donor (now a real father himself) and attempts to bring the two incomplete families together. Awkward antics ensue and I'm sure eventual tenderness. This film receives a limited release this week.

The layer of glowing gloss over "The Deep Blue Sea," the newest film from Terence Davies, is thick enough to cut with butter knife. Oscar-winner Rachel Weisz stars opposite Tom Hiddleston in a mature post-War English drama. He is her affair. Leaving her torn between two men and finding divorce to be not-so-accessible. It is emotional distress in a beautiful way. Reminded of "A Single Man." It's currently in select theaters.

From Australian director Scott Hicks comes another love story from the ever-devising mind of Nicholas  Sparks ("The Notebook"), "The Lucky One." A U.S. marine (Zac Efron) returns home after serving in Iraq intent on finding the girl (Taylor Schilling) in a picture he found on the battlefield. You'd be surprised to learn that he finds her, they fall in love, and waste no time in getting it on. And that's just in the trailer! Have you even seen a mom so desperate for her child to fall for Prince Charming? His only obstacle seems to be the girl's ex. "The Lucky One" hits theaters this Friday. You could see it or you could just watch the trailer or you could just avoid both so we can avoid getting this story again.

O (played by Blake Lively) has two stoner boyfriends. When she is kidnapped by a Mexican drug-lord they join forces to rescue her. It's "This Means War" meets "Bad Boys II." The wild and Oliver Stone is responsible for this unwieldy machine. Sex, drugs, and violence in Central America, a narrator who may already be dead, kinetic editing and vivid colors: It's a trip that many might not care to take. Good to see Benecio Del Toro though. "Savages" heats up theaters when it blasts off on July 6th.

Get that jackass in the stable, I reckon it's prime time for The Trailer Round-Up Awards.

Sick Cow:

There seems to be no shortage of Sick Cows these days, the affection term I dub defective-looking tripe like the trailer for "LOL." Miley Cyrus (I don't see the appeal) plays your average teen movie girl who gushes over average teen movie boy. Guess what happens? Her grades drop, her mom gets pissed, and she runs to her room and slams the door! There will be angst.  What is likely to happen to this situation? Have you seen "Juno"? Now that's a not-so-average teen film I can get behind. The target audience is surely those pre-teens and middle school girls who were raised dancing to "Hannah Montana." Yeah, I'm not one of them, but seriously, "LOL," WTF?! The film is currently playing in Singapore. Okay...

The Head-Scratcher:

"Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale" is one of the most expensive films to rise from Taiwan. Produced by legendary Asian filmmaker John Woo, here is a historical epic that is receiving similar treatment to his "Red Cliff." Released in two two-hour parts in Taiwan, the film will make it to the States as a trimmed single feature. "Warriors of the Ranbow" has generated positive buzz, but see for yourself. I like to hope there is something more here than rough translations, bad CGI, and cheesy slo-mo. To be fair, there is much more, but those were the moments that stuck out to me. During Japan's rule over Taiwan, the Seediq tribes (the island's aborigines) are forced from their homes and clash with one another. In Taiwan it is being compared to "Braveheart," but I think you'll agree that if it looks like anything it looks like "Apocalypto" (another Mel Gibson film). This will receive a limited release in the States this month.

Lasso of the Week:

Writer/director Rian Johnson's "Looper" was teased Monday thru Wednesday last week on Apple Trailers. Come Thursday we finally got the first official trailer. Film friends, it was totally worth it. It looks to be best mind-bending action blockbuster this side of "Inception." Joseph Gordan-Levitt (insert female swoon here) plays a hitman who takes care of targets who have been sent 30 years back in time. Imagine his surprise when his target turns out to be him. It is with this "12 Monkeys" wrinkle (also featuring Bruce Willis) that the film offers up a compelling paradox. Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, and Jeff Daniels join he cast. Plus, the action all looks well shot (love that window fall). If I could forward in time to September 28th to see this film immediately, I would.

* * *


Since I started this relatively new segment in The Film Tome Report is seems that simplicity is the key. Here is a particularly exciting confirmation poster for Tarantino's upcoming film, "Django Unchained." I'm still hoping it ends up being better than the draft of the screenplay I read last summer. The open-link on the poster alludes to the salve's freedom by a German bounty hunter. The two team up to rescue the slave's wife. Black figures on a red backdrop, very remanent of those opening credit sequences from Leone's "Dollar" trilogy. Tarantino has always been influenced by the "Spaghetti Westerns" and this is going to be his closest work to that genre yet.

* * *


Film School Rejects list "The 20 Most Anticipated Movies of Summer 2012." Nearly all of these have been covered in The Film Tome. Their most anticipated is surely mine as well. What are yours?

Remember last week's news of Gary Ross leaving "The Hunger Games" trilogy? Matt Patches, writer for, considers five female directors to catch fire.

Maggie Grace, the girl-to-be-saved in "Taken" and now "Lockout," reveals her "Five Favorite Films" to Rotten Tomatoes.

* * *


Sir Ben Kingsley is in serious talks to play Extremis, the billed villain in "Iron Man 3." I like my villains charismatic or not at all. He would certainly help us with the former. (Source: Variety)

* * *


Last week we got some scoops on two incredible-sounding films. One will be here soon, the other has quite a wait:

Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron instantly garnered forever-in-the-spotlight status when he released "Children of Men" in 2006, my favorite film of the decade. His next picture, "Gravity," is due this fall and reportedly commences with a 17-minute long take! The reasons I admire "Children of Men" are endless, but the long takes were an especially exciting point of interest. I geek out over such choreagraphed cinematography. What's more? The film consists of 156 shots! Expect more long takes than just the opening. George Clooney and Sandra Bullock star in this "space epic." Look for it in IMAX 3D on November 21st. (Source: The Film Stage)

Darren Aronofsky ("The Fountain" and "The Black Swan") has been wanting to make a film based on the Bible story of Noah's ark since he was a kid. With a reported $150 million budget the film is slated to release on March 28th, 2014. As of now Russell Crowe is listed to star as the ship-building animal-gathering prophet himself. (Source: /Film)

* * *


With its re-release "Titanic" is a hot topic once again. Check out last week's issue for abundant content on that ground-breaking film. The question needs to be asked, "Is 'Titanic' cool to hate?" Owen Gleiberman, writer for Entertainment Weekly, tackles the issue. (By the same coin I'm tempted to ask, "Is 'Titanic' cool to love?")

* * *


Audiences in China are upset that the already unneeded nudity in "Titanic" has been cut from their version of the 3D re-release. (Source: The Hollywood Reporter)

Rick Broida of CNET compares Netflix and Amazon (in terms of their streaming library). While Netflix is king for now, he sees potential in Amazon to "rule the world." Personally, I love Netflix unconditionally. I have only used Amazon's streaming briefly and it was nothing to write home about.

As if Gosling-lovers needed more of a reason to keep doing what they're doing... He recently saved a woman from being hit by a car. Last year he broke up a fight! Turns out he is a "real hero" and a "real human being." ("Drive" reference anyone?) If you could have any movie star save you, who would it be? (Source: Yahoo! Movies)

Speaking of Gosling, the guy is becoming quite the meme these days. (Source: The Hollywood Reporter)

 * * *


Check out this cool feature on Entertainment Weekly documenting cast reunions of "Office Space," "Aliens," and the 25th Anniversary of the beloved "The Princess Bride" (pictured above).

Here's another supercut/video essay from Flavorwire with 7 steps on "How to Pull the Perfect Movie Heist." As you'd expect, clips from the "Ocean's," "Reservoir Dogs," "The Usual Suspects,"and more. Gotta love heist films.

* * *


Unreality Magazine has a fun batch of "Movie Villains in Their Golden Age."

* * *


"Opening Speech" (1961) by Norman McLaren 

The National Film Board of Canada informed me last week that it was the birthday of Canadian filmmaker Norman McLaren. If you've never seen any of his stuff, start now. He has played with the medium more than most practitioners as you will see above.

* * *

No comments: