August 5, 2016
The Bride (La Novia) is based on the famous play “Bodas de sangre” by Federico García Lorca, retold through the eyes of Spanish writer-director Paula Ortiz, who is able to bring out the female perspective in this tragic love triangle, albeit with mixed results cinematically. In The Bride, a threesome of two boys and a girl meet as youngsters in a remote, desert town. The three strike a friendship that marks their lives, as one of them later is to be married to this young girl while she pines for the other.
Shadows obscure life throughout Dheepan, in the drudgery of scraping a living together from nighttime street vending to cleaning out dank common areas in a French housing development rife with tension between rival gangsters to the room the titular character shares with a woman and girl masquerading as his wife and daughter. The shadows seep into the lead character’s sense of self, for his real name is not even Dheepan, as established early in the film. He’s a former Tamil soldier fleeing strife in Sri-Lanka, adopting a new name and joining forces with a young woman and an orphaned girl for safe passage to France.
There is nothing in Suicide Squad that shows any hope that an auteur filmmaker can do anything distinctive with the current cash cow of the Hollywood machine: the super hero movie. What Christopher Nolan once made his own has devolved into a predictable pastiche whose charms should be wearing thin on audiences. It doesn’t help that the movie is also an example of how bad one of these films can be when it becomes watered down and designed to refrain from shaking up anything in the so-called DC Universe. Suicide Squad, a PG-13 film, was supposed to be DC’s entry to rival Marvel’s R-rated Deadpool. Even though Deadpool had its own problems as a self-aware action movie, it still had focus and a bravado that is nowhere to be found in Suicide Squad.
Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words highlights the mind behind the music … and the ideology — a film review
July 28, 2016
Though fans will likely go out of their way to see it, those familiar with Frank Zappa will probably not gain any major insight from the new documentary by Thorsten Schütte, Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words. Anyone who already gets Zappa, however, will easily fall in love again. But those with only a passing familiarity with the icon and an interest in popular music’s tension between culture and business, need to see this movie. Made with the cooperation of some of his family (son Ahmet Zappa and recently deceased wife Gail Zappa have executive producer credits), Eat That Question is a refreshing declaration of a man’s desire to express himself freely in the face of moralizing doctrine imposed by the few, the powerful and the sheeple.
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.