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Posts Tagged ‘New Film Reactions’

One of the many perks of living in the Tri-State area is the ease in which I can visit the IFC Center in downtown Manhattan, a wonderland of independent and foreign cinema. Ever since the otherworldly vibe I felt while watching David Lynch’s Inland Empire there in the winter of 2006, I’ve loved the place. Over at Reel Loop, I’ve jotted down my thoughts on a new French film playing at IFC, Catherine Breillat’s Bluebeard

Give it a read, if you can….

LINK: Reel Loop review — ‘Bluebeard’


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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a damn-good Swedish thriller that opened here in America a couple weeks back, without any real promotion or word. Meaning, this is most likely the first time you’re hearing about the damn thing. Click the link below to learn more about it, courtesy of a review I’ve penned for Reel Loop:

LINK: LATE PASS Review — ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’


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The stench was pungent from the very first scene. I sat down, endured some pretty lousy trailers (I’ve seen the Death at a Funeral remake preview a dozen times now and it somehow gets worse with each round), and eagerly anticipated a spin in the Hot Tub Time Machine. The reviews have been predominantly upbeat, and the cast all but promised enjoyment. Craig Robinson and John Cusack, side by side? Foolproof, I thought. But five minutes in, I nearly slapped my forehead in disbelief. Robinson’s character, Nick Webber-Agnew (having taken his wife’s last name, because he’s the emasculated Ed Helms/’Stu’ member of the film’s all-dude quartet), works at a dog training-and-grooming spot, ‘Sup Dawg, after a failed singing career left his days as the frontman of Chocolate Lipstick as historical inventory. A customer (the usually spot-on Thomas Lennon) brings his sick pooch in for a look-over, recognizes Nick from his crooner days and then gags as Nick pulls the canine-owner’s car keys out of the dog’s ass—-fecal matter as a bonus topping. And in that instant, I realized a painful truth: Hot Tub Time Machine was going to be an excruciating 100 minutes. 

Little, if anything, convinced me otherwise by the time Rob Corddry’s just awful Lou pops up in the final scene as the lead singer in a fake Motley Lue video. The impetus, of course, is that he and his pals were sent back to 1986 after getting sloshed in the title jacuzzi, and the old butterfly effect came into play, allowing Lou to use his foresight to conceptualize Lougle (Google) and front Motley Lu (Motley Crew, obviously). It’s a somewhat clever ending to a altogether unfunny film. Ineffective use of its inner 1980s motif is made, other than a running joke with Back to the Future costar Crispin Glover, tons of shiny clothing and scattered peripheral imagery. Focus is put on gags where one heterosexual guy is forced to give his also hetero boy oral sex, or hand soap is splattered all over one’s face to look like ejaculated spooge. Cheap tricks, dragging down a premise that could have spawned endless humor. Guy-on-guy blowjobs are the easy way out, of course, and will always induce a giggle or two from audience members. Nobody (myself included) buys a Hot Tub Time Machine ticket and expects high art, but unexpected punchlines and intelligent one-liners? Shouldn’t be too much to ask.

I’ve spoken with a good amount of people who’ve seen Hot Tub Time Machine and loved it, so perhaps I’m screwing up here. I’m no flawless filmgoer, being the same cat who owns Neil LaBute’s The Wicker Man remake on DVD, by tongue-in-cheek choice, though that doesn’t matter in the bigger self-respecting picture. I’ll duel to the death on point, though—-Rob Corddry single-handedly ruins the film. One of the most over-the-top performances I’ve ever seen; manic beyond the point of entertainment. It’s tough enough that the majority of his lines are stale dick-and-ball jokes; he could have been delivering Ricky Gervais-written bits and I still wouldn’t have liked a mere second of his work. One reviewer called him “the next Zach Galifianakis,” an attempt to parallel Hot Tub Time Machine to last year’s infinitely superior The Hangover. Toss that comparison out the window, right away. Galifianakis’s presence in The Hangover succeeds thanks to an alternately subtle and bizarre demeanor; Corddry, however, bullies his way through every scene on a tailspin. There’s a stark difference between a humorous guy and one who seems on the verge of self-destruction, or, worse, gone-postal violence. Spitting out words like a cocaine fiend. Unfunny words, at that.

I know, I know… the film is called Hot Tub Time Machine, so I should just loosen up my britches. Put my analytical side on hold. Go watch The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo instead (which should be the move tonight), or Catherine Breillat’s Bluebeard (tomorrow evening), if I’m craving a real fix. Believe me, that was the intention all along, until Rob Corddry ruined everything. If not for him, I could have even given ‘Sup Dawg another try.

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Over at Reel Loop, I’ve weighed in on the this weekend’s newly released erotic drama Chloe.

Give it a look…. it can’t hurt, right?

LINK: Reel Loop: Review – ‘Chloe,’ Sexual Force Proves Impotent, Says Matt


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Opening today is Antoine Fuqua’s Brooklyn’s Finest, a film I’ve been heavily anticipating since it made waves back in January 2009 at the Sundance Film Festival. Though the reviews from that fest were mixed, I latched on to the word that the picture is brutally dark, and had a downbeat and polarizing ending. I say ‘had” because I’m pretty sure they went back and changed the coda after that response. I could be wrong, though, since the conclusion I saw wasn’t even close to being marginal; it’s outright grim.

Over at Reel Loop, I’ve written my thoughts down into a review. Give it a look, eh?:

LINK: Reel Loop – Review: ‘Brooklyn’s Finest’


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I owe it to myself and to my few but loyal readers to scribe a full-on Shutter Island reaction, one that gushes with praise while defending Martin Scorcese’s admirable decision to totally indulge in his lifelong cinema geekery, on some Quentin Tarantino ish. That piece is being written in my head, and will hopefully make its way onto this here blog in the near days to come. Just have to bang through a wall of other stories that need proper attention.

In the meantime, I feel it’s only right that I post a numero dos for Score Settling: Shutter Island, this time singling out my personal favorite musical composition used in the film, the ditty that rose above all the other dynamite stretches of audible boom. It’s called “Root of an Unfocus,” and the composer is one Boris Berman. This creeps into the film during two choice scenes, the first one standing out as a chilling highlight: Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) enters a distorted, nightmarish dream-state, after a migraine attack sends him onto a cot. In this slumber-terror, he’s slowly walking through a walking creepshow, first seeing a dead little girl’s eyes pop open, then pow-wowing with the arsonist responsible for killing his wife, and finally aiding a three-time child killer. Boris Berman’s work, an off-putting series of sonic raindrops, sets the scene to goosebumping degree.

Hear for yourself (if you’ve yet to see the film, or just want to revisit this gem of a score), after the jump: (more…)

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Slowly but surely, I’m jumping back into the film review pool. Time permitting, of course.

Here’s my first leap back, a review of this week’s remake of The Wolfman. Head over to Reel Loop for the words, please. Many, many thanks.

LINK: REEL LOOP: ‘The Wolfman’ Review


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