Call Him Mister Ego, by Craig Schroeder

27 Feb

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Nicolas Winding Refn is a vibrant filmmaker who, at his best (Bronson), uses his flamboyant style to brilliantly complement his narrative and, at his worst (Only God Forgives), is hindered by his slavish devotion to formalism which eclipses anything of substance. But all of his films have a common thread: they’re fixated on the most primal urges of masculinity. My assumption of Refn, the man–a chest-puffed, TAPOUT shirt-wearing macho man’s man–is entirely influenced by his work as a director. The new documentary My Life Directed By Nicolas Winding Refn, directed by Refn’s wife Liv Corfixen, shows that the director is not at all like the emotionally-stunted brutes he puts forth in his films. His celluloid masculine ideals are not reflections of himself, but are the hyper-masculinized fantasies of a sensitive man.

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Apartment Hunting, by Rudie Obias

27 Feb

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Setting a movie in a single location takes a lot of confidence from its cast and crew. The movie has to be interesting enough to keep its characters in one location, such as Rope or Reservoir Dogs, while engaging enough for the audience so it doesn’t get boring or repetitive, such as Buried or Cube. In director Joe Lynch’s new film Everly, the one location premise seems more like a limitation than a strength.

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BP Movie Journal 2/26/15

27 Feb

Listen-Up-Philip

In this movie journal, Tyler and David discuss Wild, Listen Up Philip, and more!

Mads to the Bone, by Aaron Pinkston

26 Feb

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Mads Mikkelsen as an everyman-turned-badass out for revenge in the Old West? Eva Green as a mute moll gunslinger, permanently scarred and under the control of a madman? Jeffrey Dean Morgan as a rugged, ruthless outlaw willing to kill every man, woman and child standing in his way? The Salvation has every ingredient to be a great modern revenge Western. But Danish filmmaker Kristian Levring’s homage to the great American classics is stuck in its genre that has worn out this story with more style, philosophy and thrills. This leaves The Salvation feeling like a middle of the road, paint-by-numbers genre exercise that should have been so much more.

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Take Me to Church, by David Bax

26 Feb

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Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Secret Service would certainly appear, in a superficial manner, to have “something to say.” Its plot, wherein a villain plans to remove most of the world’s population with the exception of the richest and most powerful elite, contains a blunt smack of social relevance. But just where do the film’s political and moral allegiances lie? The story I’ve just described implies an opinion of income inequality that lines up with liberal ideals (and the film at least twice directly references the liberal fable Trading Places). But this is also a film that derides the wasteful and ineffective bureaucracy of large governments and chides one of its leads for blaming his station for his lack of life achievements. Ethical ambivalence is intrinsic to violent action movies. But in one centerpiece scene, already gaining notoriety, Kingsman puts the confusion on gonzo display, not in a manner that clarifies anything but that explodes these issues and more in a way we’ve never quite seen before.

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Which Way to the Exit?, by Matt Warren

25 Feb

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Maps to the Stars is the shittiest movie of David Cronenberg’s career. I never saw that one about a hairlip Ralph Fiennes bumping into catacomb walls or that one where Carl Jung ejaculates into Kiera Knightley’s bulldog underbite, but there’s no way either of them are worse than this. Maps is so bad, it literally gave me eye cancer. Currently, I’m in Rochester, MN receiving experimental corneal treatment at the Mayo Clinic. The prognosis is encouraging, but if surviving this terrible affliction means being forced to live another second in a world where irrelevant Canadian auteurs are free to impotently lift their leg and issue a hot stream of poutine-tinged urine on the Hollywood Sign while muttering in deranged tongues about the blandly obvious and thematically tired grotesquerie of the Entertainment Industry, then I’m no rush to live. What an unholy pit of vipers this terrible world is. I await the cleansing fire.

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Home Video Hovel: Code Black, Craig Schroeder

25 Feb

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There’s an incredible lack of focus in Code Black, the documentary film from Ryan McGarry that chronicles the hectic lives of doctors working in the emergency wing of the Los Angeles County hospital, and its relationship to the current state of the healthcare landscape. Having an agenda is fine, but the thesis of Code Black (read: the US health care system is totally fucked) is a completely pedestrian examination of a complicated issue. Furthermore, once the film gets up on its soapbox, it all but abandons the more compelling and humanist stories it establishes in its first act.

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WTF Are You Watching? Space Pirate Captain Harlock

24 Feb

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In this episode, Kyle and Lincoln discuss the Japanese animated film Space Pirate Captain Harlock.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

New to Home Video 2/24/15

24 Feb

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Review

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Review

Monday Movie: Live Flesh

23 Feb

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1997’s Live Flesh is not often counted among the best works of its director, Pedro Almodóvar. Perhaps that’s because, as a twisty melodrama of sex, violence and sexual violence, it appears to cover a lot of the same ground as his previous films. But watch his movies chronologically and you’ll notice a slight but crucial shift in visual style. The candy and neon colors of works like Law of Desire are toned down and the film appears to take place in a world much closer to our own. Yet the ingredients of magical realism and adult fairy tales are still there. They’ve just melted into the whole like thinly sliced garlic dissolving into a tomato sauce. The ensuing effect is an uncanny and ineffable weirdness that Almodóvar would go on to employ in more recent films like the brilliantly discomfiting The Skin I Live In. The story of Live Flesh, which involves an extensive and decades-spanning love polygon, starts and ends with two different women giving birth in the middle of traffic jams. Everything that follows and precedes is fittingly sweaty, immediate and tactile. Sex, as in most of Almodóvar’s work, is the primary impulse for everything. Sex causes life and it also causes death and everything in between. Live Flesh‘s beauty lies in its refusal to qualify or place moral judgments on any of that. We are all made of flesh and there’s no sense in apologizing for it.