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Next Fest 2017: L.A. Times, by David Bax

13 Aug

Michelle Morgan’s L.A. Times is an attempt to update the ‘hyper-verbose, aimless young people’ blueprint of 90s fare like Reality Bites to the current day. From the opening scene, in which jaded but overly confident lifestylers at a bourgeois cocktail bar casually assert their opinions on the ethics of patronizing prostitutes, the hollow echoes of those Generation X forebears make themselves known. The roundabout speechifying and armchair psychology continues from that point on and never lets up. The characters in Reality Bites may have been full of shit but at least they pretended to stand for something. The people in L.A. Times can’t see anything beyond the ends of their noses, too vapid to understand the traditional cultural values into which they keep reflexively retreating. Unfortunately, the same can be said of the movie itself.


Next Fest 2017: Golden Exits, by David Bax

13 Aug

In the first full scene of Alex Ross Perry’s Golden Exits, a palpable tension hangs over the seemingly innocuous preparation for a small dinner party. An archivist named Nick (Adam Horovitz) is about to introduce to his wife Aly (Chloe Sevigny) and her sister Gwen (Mary-Louise Parker) the assistant he’s hired to work with him over the next few months, Naomi (Emily Browning). Before the young woman even arrives, suspicions and accusations hang in the air, yet they remain unspoken. Of course they do; in Perry’s cerebral but yearning movie, everyone talks constantly but no one ever says what’s really on their mind.


Next Fest 2017: Lemon, by David Bax

11 Aug

“It’s time for a new you. The old you doesn’t work anymore.” This specific sentence is spoken by Isaac (Brett Gelman) a struggling actor, as a part of commercial in which he isn’t wearing any pants. The line is not just a summation of the entire mission statement of advertising; it’s clearly about Isaac as well, in a bitterly funny way. That sardonic tone is the essence of Janicza Bravo’s Lemon. The accepted portmanteau for this type of story is tragicomic. But Lemon, Bravo’s first feature film, can’t seem to get the tragedy/comedy balance right.


EPISODE 541: Comic-Con Wrap-Up with Jack Giroux

30 Jul

In this episode,Tyler and David are joined by Jack Giroux to discuss this year’s San Diego Comic-Con.

Comic-Con 2017 Day Three, by David Bax

23 Jul

Since I’ve done so the last two days, let’s finish things out by starting with a complaint (yes, there are four days of Comic-Con; Sundays, though, are for margaritas and rejuvenation). This time, however, I’ll take my grain of salt. Over recent years, Comic-Con has taken measures to prevent people sneaking in or counterfeiting badges. Chief among these are the RFID badges (introduced at WonderCon 2016) that require the holder to scan themselves into and out of the convention. They haven’t stopped at the front doors, though; there are badge-scanning towers in other places, most notably a couple that appear as if they’ve sprung up like weeds in the corridors near panel rooms 1-6 and in and around the Sails Pavilion (the massive tent-like space that divides the two halves of the convention center’s upper floor and is the nexus of autograph-signing and various other Comic-Con sideshows). The effect of this, in addition to other measures like funneling cosplayers with fake weapons into one door to the exclusion of everyone else, is to turn the hallways and lobbies into nearly as frustrating a rat maze as the exhibit hall floor itself. Many of the time-saving paths I’ve developed over more than a decade are suddenly unavailable to me.


Comic-Con 2017 Day Two, by David Bax

22 Jul

After another game of the Comic-Con Runaround threatened to leave me as frustrated as I had been on Thursday morning, I finally managed to get into the first panel on my agenda Friday, thanks to the help of my friend Ryan from CriterionCast. That panel was called Female Voices of Film Twitter and featured Friend of the Podcast Amy Nicholson as well as Personal Friend Angie Han and other notable women like Jen Yamato, moderated by the great Alicia Malone.


Comic-Con 2017 Day One, by David Bax

21 Jul

This is my twelfth Comic-Con and, for all I know, it may be my last. I certainly wasn’t feeling that familiar jolt of con joy on Thursday morning as I navigated multiple lines that moved or didn’t move with little in the way of sense or form. I was trying to get tickets to the screening of Death Note that Netflix had planned for that evening. Spoiler alert: I didn’t get them.


EPISODE 539: SDCC 2017 Preview with Germain Lussier

16 Jul

In this episode, Tyler and David are joined by Germain Lussier of i09 and Gizmodo to talk about what’s coming up at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con.

2017 Comic Con Meetup!

11 Jul

LA Film Fest 2017: On the Beach at Night Alone, by David Bax

28 Jun

Like a surprising number of compelling movie protagonists, Kim Min-hee’s Young-hee, the woman at the center of Hong Sang-soo’s On the Beach at Night Alone, is an almost completely passive, reactive character. Distinguished by her severe, long black coat (or coats; it does appear to be longer in the early section), Young-hee spends the movie in cities where she doesn’t live, relying on the hospitality and whims of friends and acquaintances.