Presenting Princess Shaw star and director talk connecting via Internet and criticism leveled against film
July 19, 2016
She hugs strangers and loves to declare “Cool sauce!” punctuating the quirky saying with operatic singing of “rock sauuuce!” Samantha Montgomery, known to her YouTube subscribers as Princess Shaw, has positive energy to spare. A recent documentary about her, Presenting Princess Shaw, which we reviewed last week (Presenting Princess Shaw reveals value of success in music without the money — a film review), reveals she didn’t come to her positivity lightly.
While the odd couple trope has been done before, in Hunt for the Wilderpeople, actor/writer/director Taika Waititi is able to breathe new life into the genre with his adaptation of Barry Crump’s 1986 novel Wild Pork and Watercress. The New Zealand filmmaker, who is also a painter and comedian, brings to life an endearing relationship between Ricky Baker, a 13-year-old Maori boy, and Hec Faulkner, a cantankerous old Caucasian man, who lives in the New Zealand mountains.
July 14, 2016
The internet is filled with weirdos. In Tickled, all the dangers of those weirdos that your mother or grandmother warned you about come true. In this bizarre, true story, New Zealand TV reporter David Farrier digs deeper than he should into the extreme sport of competitive tickling. He finds hundreds of videos online featuring young men tickling each other while wearing athletic gear. The phenomenon piques David’s curiosity so much so that he decides to investigate further.
July 13, 2016
Presenting Princess Shaw is a sweet yet frank documentary on the aspirations of an amateur YouTube star as she unwittingly is about to go viral. By focusing on Princess Shaw (real name: Samantha Montgomery) — the YouTube user — and the popular YouTube channel of Israeli multi-instrumentalist Kutiman (real name: Ophir Kutiel), Israeli director Ido Haar reveals the rather noble possibilities of a relatively new medium in the world of music. Due to legal circumstances, Kutiman’s channel is free of pop-up ads so as not to infringe on the contributions of the musicians he samples. This allows for more cathartic rewards of success to resonate and reveals how vital and essential success is to the unknown talent of Princess Shaw.
July 1, 2016
Unlike many indie filmmakers who plied their craft in the 1990s era of uncomfortable humor whose grim laughs came from looking at the darkest parts of humanity, the films of writer-director Todd Solondz have retained a sort of unshakable relevance. Part if it comes from how he continues to follow certain characters, years later. But also, Solondz himself has grown as a filmmaker. He has a special knack to tap into the ineffable with a sometimes murky kind of storytelling that speaks to humbling truths in humanity that can range from embarrassing to terrible and always feel inexpressible in polite company.
June 29, 2016
The hook that will attract most people to Swiss Army Man is how former Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe fares playing a corpse for the length of a feature film. The draw can range from childhood crush intrigue to a more subconscious allure of celebrity transcending death. But what it all comes down to is that final word and how we personally relate with its inevitablity. With their debut feature film, directors Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (a.k.a Daniels), who also wrote the film’s script together, toy with the narcissism of life and the humility of death via a funny, simple premise about a man lost at sea named Hank (Paul Dano) who befriends a dead body.
The Wailing can’t overcome storytelling issues to merit two and a half hour running time — a film review
June 25, 2016
For the first 30 minutes or so, The Wailing (Goksung), has its charms, but as the film wears on, those moments become more and more sparse. Director Na Hong-jin has moments of blending horror and humor with deft cleverness, yet the film unravels. As it lumbers along on its exorbitant running time, The Wailing bobs and weaves with redundancies, inconsistencies and the classic horror problem: frustrating logic, that makes the film feel like a bit of a slog. It isn’t a terrible film, and critics have been adoring to it. However, several note problems in storytelling or a loss of substance in cultural translation.