Just a quick 10-minute cab ride from the Alamo Drafthouse off Route 183 in Austin, Texas sits Pinballz, a massive arcade that specializes in — make sure you’re sitting down for this one — pinball. They’ve got old machines dating back decades, and new ones from just the last few years...
Director Ben Wheatley and his screenwriting partner Amy Jump are known for their specific, darkly humorous sensibilities, from the horror thriller Kill List to the black and white psychedelic intensity of A Field in England, and the bleak hilarity of Sightseers. The duo return this year with High-Rise, based on J.G. Ballard’s sophisticated dystopian tale of class warfare in an elegant apartment block. It may be his most inaccessible and tonally ambitious film to date, but it also might be his best.
Everyone wants to believe they’re special. When I was in second grade, I was a multiplication table genius. A gift for rote memorization and an intense competitive streak turned me into the Michael Jordan of Math Class Around the World. Almost 30 years later, I still remember playing and winning, probably because that was the last time in my life I really felt truly superior to everyone around me.
Seven days before Demon made its U.S. premiere at Fantastic Fest 2015, its director, Marcin Wrona, died in a hotel room in Poland. He was 42 years old. The preliminary autopsy indicates Wrona committed suicide. If Wrona was alive and well, Demon would still be a brilliant film, an impressive and inventive blend of psychological horror and sardonic comedy. But his suicide casts the entire film in a whole new light, and adds even more poignance to the already heart-rending story of a seemingly happy man who succumbs to an inexplicable breakdown at his wedding.
The Wave really is just about one single wave that decimates a Norwegian town, and its impact on a small group of characters, primarily a geologist and his family. That’s it — but that’s all it needs to be. This film is a reminder that disaster movies work best when they focus on the characters and their struggles, not the big special effects they’re running from.