Reviews

Birdman-Keaton-Norton(2)

I might be 21 days late with this, but happy new year everyone. Yeah okay, so I’ve been a little lax with the writing this year, what can I say? It’s January, and so far 2015 is shaping up to be one of my best years ever. That’s another way of saying that I’ve been having way too much fun. What fun you ask? Well, I saw Birdman over the weekend and I hate to succumb to the hype train, but I was impressed. So impressed I felt the need to share why, because there’s a lot there. (I also feel the need to give a quick warning here: I don’t feel like I spoil the plot at all, but if you were wanting to go into this movie blind, I do detail a bit of the technical accomplishment of the film, which you may want to discover yourself. Also fair warning: Arty farty bullshit is on full display below). Continue Reading

SkeletonTwins1

Welcome to a new recurring feature where I highlight a lesser known, hard to find, or just generally overlooked film. In this case the 2014 comedy-drama The Skeleton Twins. I was greatly looking forward to this movie during the press cycle but unfortunately it was a limited release and therefore did not run in my area, and presumably many others.

Craig Johnson wrote and directed this film about an estranged brother and sister who are both on the verge of suicide and must work together to rebuild their relationship. Kristin Wiig and Bill Hader are absolutely perfect as the titular twins. Comedians often make wonderful dramatic actors and this is no exception. Their long history working together on SNL coupled with their impeccable comedic timing makes their relationship the strongest and most believable in the entire film. And it has to be. This is a movie that could come off as overly saccharine or cloying but Wiig and Hader keep things incredibly grounded and believable while still managing to show off their significant comedic chops in a few scenes (one of which is unfortunately spoiled by the trailer). Luke Wilson and Ty Burrell also have very good turns as Maggie’s husband and Milo’s former lover respectively. The Skeleton Twins is all about Maggie and Milo but the supporting cast does a wonderful job of inhabiting their world and helping to inform us how and why they have become so damaged and dysfunctional.

The movie is very brisk and tightly paced at 93 minutes but never feels rushed. Oft times I find dramas tend to be over long or paced in such a way that they feel longer than they really are. The Skeleton Twins does not suffer this problem. When the credits rolled I actually found myself wishing we had spent just a bit more time living with these characters. I think wanting a movie to be longer is a pretty solid sign of a movie worth watching.

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@movingpicpod

Hello all, my first episode is up today, woo! In honor of this momentous occasion I thought I would share a bit of my weekend experience with you. This past weekend, delightful girlfriend and I watched all four of the Tremors movies. How did she talk me into doing this you ask? Well she can be pretty convincing. I quite like the original and remember watching some of the sequels and also remember them being awful. Do my memories of these movies still stand? Or was I pleasantly surprised by some of them. Well I decided I’d share some of my thoughts with you on this future holiday. Continue Reading

Reverend Billy, Buy Nothing Day NYC 2005

During my first year of grad school I shared an office with a group of Indian students, and when Thanksgiving break rolled around we got to talking about it, and to my upmost pleasure I learned that they thought Thanksgiving was actually an American celebration of Black Friday – where people get off work and eat a big meal to prepare for all the shopping they’ll do. From their two-ish year perspective they had made a completely logical conclusion from all the data they had received – completely logical but one many Americans might refute. I loved the thought of them skyping home to tell their families in hushed voices about this brave new world of consumption and corporatocracy – where the people have a feast to celebrate and prepare for days of hedonistic spending. I of course tried to set the record straight, “Oh no, Thanksgiving is really a holiday about – actually no you’re right.” It’s in this spirit of an outsider’s totally not false perception, in honor of Black Friday, that I continue our indie recommendations by asking: Have you seen What Would Jesus Buy? Continue Reading

primer-01

Greetings everyone. The number of mainstream movies I haven’t seen would probably shock you. Friends and acquaintances constantly gasp “What?! You haven’t seen such and such big summer movie that everyone loves and is awesome?” Yeah, s’pose not. But for every big movie I haven’t seen there are lots of little indie films I’ve watched. You can call me an unrepentant hipster if you like, go ahead, but for some reason I find lower budgets, unique ideas, and smaller executions far more compelling than expensive CGI things fighting each other. It’s just the way I am. So in that spirit I’ve decided to start sharing some of the more obscure films you may not of heard of, or missed in the shuffle of huge budget over exposure. These are simply movies that I’ve found compelling in some way that sit comfortably beneath the radar, and perhaps through my recommendation you might find a few new unexpected favorites. So to start I’ll ask: Have you seen Primer? Continue Reading