Sunday, January 20, 2013


"Filly Brown" premiered at last year's Sundance where young break-out star Gina Rodriguez garnered some serious praise. With a mom in jail and her family in financial woes Majo does what Majo does best to improve her family's life: spits lyrics. It's a Latino/a "8 Mile" set in Los Angeles, it's "Hustle & Flow" without the hoes. You might want to keep an eye out for this one later on in the year.

(South) Korea's modern version of  "The Towering Inferno" is tightly titled "The Tower." A luxurious skyscraper in Seoul has a fire breakout on Christmas Eve (this film came out in S. Korea on Christmas Day where it had the second highest opening day in the the country's box office history). It's enacted like a high drama while shot like an action film, though the only villains here are fire and gravity. It looks like a pretty big disaster film even if it doesn't have the visual effects sophistry of a Hollywood blockbuster. It's currently only playing in Korean markets, but look for it online later this year.

Matthew McConaughey, who had an incredible year in 2012, plays "Mud," a wanted man living out in the wilderness who is found by two young exploring boys. They form unlikely allies to a man trying to stay hidden but desperate to re-connect with his former lover (Reese Witherspoon). This is Jeff Nichols third film (after "Shotgun Stories" and "Take Shelter"); "Mud" played at Festival de Cannes last year, is at Sundance now, and the rest of us non-festival folk can look forward to its limited release on April 21st.

As I started watching the trailer for "21 and Over" I asked my wife, "Do you know this guy?" She's Chinese and the lead actor (whose character is turning the pivotal age... if you drink) is an Asian fella. She didn't. At the end of the trailer Jeff Chang's friends are at the door of an Asian girl asking if she knows him. "Just because I'm Asian doesn't mean I know other Asians!" It's true and funny, so I laughed. Not much else made me laugh out loud about a night of college-aged partying and poor decisions. It's from the writer of "The Hangover." Go figure. March 1st and you only have to be 17 or older to see it!

Sweep off the porch granny, I reckon it's prime time for the Trailer Round-Up Awards!


The forces that be thought it worthwhile to make a sequel to first live-action version "The Smurfs," a widely panned affair. This one features an evil wizard who has created his own Smurf-like creatures, Naughties. I feel much like the cat seen in the trailer who puts his head down in shame. "The Smurfs 2" unleashes its blue fury upon humanity on July 31st.


"Spring Breakers" comes to us from Harmony Korine, a troubled filmmaker who has produced some very troubling films in the past ("Kids" and "Trash Humpers" to name two).  This looks to be his most fun (though promisingly promiscuous) film as it follows four college girls who rob a restaurant in order to pay for their spring break vacation. Two former Disney teens (Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens) are part of the team. James Franco plays Alien, a dreadlocked arms dealers who hires the young bikini-clad clan for a job of his own. Spring comes early on March 22nd.


Sundance Film Festival kicked off this week and one of the most anticipated features for film geeks is Shane Carruth's sophmore effort, "Upstream Color," though "effort" is not really the right word. This trailer is gorgeous, bizarre and full of mystery. It does not reveal the narrative, it shows us scattered snippets from what can only be an unconventional one. I am as sure as the sun that it will not be linear or traditional in any sense. The IMDb plot description will also tell you very little. It will be coming to film cities on April 

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