As soon as I left the theater, still shaken from Elizabeth Wood’s ‘White Girl,’ I Googled the title of the film see what else the filmmaker has done. My finger must have slipped on the Google Search recommendations, as the results for “white girl wasted” popped up. I looked down at the Urban Dictionary definition highlighted at the top, a description that only just begins to capture the perilous, infantile destruction frequently found among, and willingly created by, a demographic often found at New York City bars and clubs.
What if Rutger Hauer’s relatively absurd, visually-impaired martial arts badass from Blind Fury was besieged by a home invasion in his reclusive Early Bird Special years? The answer is — to an extent — Don’t Breathe, a thriller that skews a little more toward The Collector than David Fincher’s underrated Panic Room. The latest effort from director Fede Alvarez (the Evil Dead remake) is a relentlessly intense cat-and-mouse game with a couple of hard lefts thrown into its twisted domestic labyrinth. It’s a nasty little piece of work that needs to be a bit more lean and slightly less mean.
In the thick of the Chicago summer of 1989 two people went on a first date, marking the beginning of one of history’s most famous couples. It was Barack and Michelle Obama’s first date. But the First Lady, then Michelle Robinson, a 25-year-old lawyer, was insistent it was only a meeting between colleagues.
Chad Hartigan’s ‘Morris From America’ opens with a close-up of the titular 13-year-old boy bopping his head to an old school hip-hop song with his father Curtis (Craig Robinson). Morris (Markees Christmas) confesses he’s not a fan, calling out the song for its lack of a hook. Offended his son can’t appreciate the roots of the music genre they both love, he sends Morris to his room. It’s playful, but he’s not kidding. That’s the kind of relationship Curtis has with his son, loving, but firm, where the two share more of a brotherly bond. Curtis treats Morris like an equal, entrusting the boy to make his own decisions, but challenging him to grow into a more thoughtful adult.
Anomalisa is a tough stop-motion act to follow (to be fair, Charlie Kaufman typically sets the bar pretty high), but if anyone is suited for the task it’s Laika, the studio behind delightful animated features like ParaNorman and The Boxtrolls. Their latest effort blends Laika’s usual wit and charm with stunning visuals matched by an equally remarkable journey, making Kubo and the Two Strings an epic worthy of the eponymous character’s vibrant mythology.
Among the review quotes on the Amazon page for Guy Lawson’s Arms and the Dudes about a pair of stoners from Miami who became international arms dealers, is one from the magazine Mother Jones. “It sounds like a comedy flick.” It does, and now it is; War Dogs from director Todd Phillips. As the man who made Old School and The Hangover series, Phillips is a specialist in stories about men of limited intelligence and limitless ability to get into trouble. Finding the story of Efraim Diveroli and David Packouz, two ambitious bros who smooth-talked their way into a massive deal with the Pentagon supplying millions of rounds of ammunition to the Afghan military, must have felt like a gift from God. If Phillips and his screenwriters had simply invented these guys and their improbable rise to the top of the American military supply chain, no one would have believed it. But a look at the Rolling Stone article Lawson later expanded into his book confirms that a shocking amount of the events in this movie really happened.
On October 25, 1944, a 76-year-old socialite who had absolutely no vocal talent sold out Carnegie Hall in just two hours. Florence Foster Jenkins had no pitch, no sense of rhythm, and couldn’t hold a tune for her life. Yet audiences flocked to the theater that night to witness the spectacle of a woman blissfully unaware of her lacking talent.
The road signs in Hell or High Water kept catching my eye. They’re like a Greek chorus, commenting on the action in the foreground of the film. During the opening sequence, the robbery of a small Texas bank, the camera pans across the front of a Goodyear Tire Shop, essentially mocking the two brothers carrying out the robbery. (Their mother has just died and they’ve turned to crime to make ends meet.) A few moments later they drive past a “Closing Down” billboard, and there are also signs advertising “Debt Relief,” “Pass With Care,” and “Fast Cash,” all tempting (or perhaps taunting) these two men as they engineer a crime wave in West Texas.
Sausage Party is the first ever R-rated CG-animated film. Based on a concept Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill and Evan Goldberg first came up with 8 years ago, the film, by definition, is something you have never seen before. It’s raunchy, rowdy and completely insane. Unfortunately, it’s just not very funny.
How was the Joker? Is Ben Affleck’s Batman a welcome addition? What about the other surprise DC cameo? Does Amanda Waller’s plan make any sense at all? Who the heck is Slipknot? How does Harley Quinn fit into the rest of the Suicide Squad? Why did they introduce Katana so late in the movie? What the hell was going on with the Enchantress? Did they really just rip off Ghostbusters with that ending? All of those topics and more are on the table for our FULL SPOILERS discussion and review of Suicide Squad.