Shoot ‘Em Up” definitely surprised me. Every time I thought that this uber-violent flick couldn’t possibly get any more ridiculous, the film managed to take it to the next level. The title pretty much says it all — this is a violent action movie that is all about violence and action … and very little else.
The sixth installment of the annual Boston Independent Film Festival took place a couple weeks ago from April 23rd to 28th. Over 90 films were screened over seven days at the Somerville Theatre, the Brattle, and Coolidge Corner. In case you missed the action, here are some highlights and lowlights so you can start getting excited for next year’s festival.
I can’t be the only one sick of the terrible movies in theatres lately; the filth that comes out in this springtime post-awards season lull is pathetic. Thankfully, some relief is coming to Boston later this month is the form of the sixth annual Independent Film Festival of Boston. It may not be as well known a festival as Sundance, or SXSW, but this relative anonymity might be a good thing. The festival is small enough for anyone to enjoy but large enough to attract some fantastic entries.
My new favorite thing when looking up a movie is to read the plot keywords on IMDB. They are usually hilarious and often surprisingly able to sum up a movie. For example, the keywords posted for <i>Baby Mama</i>, the new comedy starring Tina Fey, are “pregnancy,” “toilet,” and “surrogate mother.” These three words are absolutely accurate; the movie is indeed about pregnancy and surrogacy, but it’s also so absurd that the word “toilet” is not out of place.
I have to admit that I have a considerable dislike for Colin Farrell … and can you blame me? Surely if you sat through “Miami Vice,” you cannot. Thankfully, Farrell departs from roles such as Bullseye in “Daredevil” and whoever the hell it was he played in “S.W.A.T.” to take on a role that suits him much better in this new film, “In Bruges.” Even Mr. Farrell would probably have to agree with me that there are few words for how terrible some of the films he has participated in are. When speaking about his “In Bruges” character, he hints at what might have gone wrong in earlier roles, remarking “[It’s] nice to not have to pretend to be cool.” It seems that Farrell has changed his ways and it can only be for the better.
Movie musicals have enjoyed a bit of a revival lately, partly sparked by Baz Luhrman’s 2001 hit, “Moulin Rouge.” After a series of recent duds such as “Hairspray” and “The Producers,” the genre is in need of a fresh perspective. This is exactly what “Once” delivers. I hesitate to even place “Once” in the same category as these other films because it is so much better and completely void of the painful clichés the mere phrase “movie musical” evokes. “High School Musical” this (thank God) is not.
Based on a true story, “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” uses some interesting cinematic devices to draw the viewer close and make a strong emotional impact. The film tells the story of Jean-Dominique Bauby (played by Mathieu Amalric), the editor of Elle magazine, who was left nearly completely paralyzed after a stroke. Although he could only blink one eye, he still managed to dictate his memoir (published shortly before his death) on which the film’s screenplay is based.
Ira and Abby” is the classic love story — boy meets girl, girl meets boy’s parents, boy marries girl, and several montages later, they live happily ever after! The twist in this latest rendition is that Ira (played by Chris Messina) and Abby (Jennifer Westfeldt, who also wrote the film) are engaged six hours after they meet, and they are married within the first half hour. Every aspect of the film is accelerated and exaggerated, and the end result is a light-hearted movie that will appeal to some, but certainly not everyone.
I don’t know about you, but it is easy to get depressed about the current state of American cinema. <i>Disturbia</i> is number one for the third week in a row and somebody actually finances the likes of <i>Kicking it Old Skool</i> and the Nick Cage atrocity, <i>Next</i>. Before you decide to send a pipe bomb to Universal studios, keep in mind all the great smaller filmmakers pursuing innovative and interesting cinema! Last week, some of these brave filmmakers descended on Boston for the fifth annual Independent Film Festival of Boston. With over 70 shorts, documentaries, and narrative features including some premieres, the event has become a great destination for anyone who likes movies and is sick of the crap in wide release. Beyond the films, there were also panel discussions, Q&A’s with the filmmakers after most screenings, parties every night, and lots of free Utz potato chips.
There is a lot to love about "Year of the Dog." It features well-written characters, good acting, decent cinematography, and lots of adorable canine companions — but is it a good movie? One thing is certain, it is a movie that is almost impossible to categorize. Is it a comedy or a drama? Is it worth seeing or not? I have no idea! Just for this ambiguity, "Year of the Dog" is an interesting film — it is unusual to sit through a movie and afterwards not have any idea whether you liked it or not. This also means that the film will not appeal to most moviegoers who venture to the cinema with one goal — entertainment.
You may not be familiar with his name, but you are almost certainly familiar with Mike White's work. He has written such indie flicks as "Chuck & Buck" and "The Good Girl." He also penned the big-budget "Orange County," "The School of Rock," and "Nacho Libre." White has also written for television's "Dawson's Creek" and "Freaks and Geeks."
Fresh off their new album release, <i>Wincing the Night Away</i>, The Shins are in the midst of a whirlwind tour, and last Thursday they graced Boston with their presence. I was lucky enough to witness this, and what follows is a (mostly) accurate representation of what went down. Interviewing fans leaving the venue, I gathered the following: the show was "fucking awesome," "really great," and "smokin'."
A new romantic comedy opening at Kendall Cinema gets its enigmatic title, "Starter for 10," from the British game show, "University Challenge." Apparently, British people would catch this reference and it would mean something for them. However, the reference is lost on us Americans, but that isn't too important because "University Challenge" isn't really the focus of the movie, and the storyline never really pans out. Then again, I am not really sure what the focus of "Starter for 10" is<i>.</i> The main point is that there is a college freshman, Brian (James McAvoy) and he has two love interests, Alice (Alice Eve) and Rebecca (Rebecca Epstein).