Rinse and repeat … the shower scene from Psycho, and now Psychos

Steven Soderbergh’s gone “Psycho”

After the overwhelming commercial and critical failure of Gus Van Sant‘s 1998 Psycho remake one would think no other filmmaker would even dare attempt to take another stab at Hitchie’s ...

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Top 15 Films of 2013

I know, we’re almost a quarter of the way into 2014, but hey, better late than never, right? Follow the jump to see the films I thought were the best ...

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The Best and Worst of 2013

Yep, yet another “best of” list. It’s the end of the year, which means it’s time for me to share with the movie nerds webwide what I thought was the ...

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Instead of “The Amazing Spider-Man 2″, watch these 20 MOVIES ABOUT SPIDERS

Hey guys! The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is opening on May 2nd! You know where I’ll be opening day?

At home. Drinking beer. Watching movies about big-ass spiders.

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A Handful of Must-sees at San Francisco’s 57th International Film Festival

SFIFF55_GoboStill trying to choose which films to see at this year’s International Film Festival? Well, perhaps I can help.

Regardless of where your particular tastes in cinema may lie, this festival will usually have at least one film catered just for you. Sadly, if your catered cup of tea happens to be animated features, tough noogies. Other than the animated block of shorts you’re shit out of luck when it comes to cinematic animation. Oh well, I guess you’ll have to get satisfy your animated jones elsewhere. Anyway, animated film or not, one can take solace in knowing there are still a fair amount of films to look forward to this year. Let’s get down to it shall we? Follow the jump to see 8 films that I have deemed absolute cant-be-miss essentials.

This year’s International Film Festival takes place from Thursday April 24th through Thursday, May 8th Read More…

Coming to SFIFF 2014: “Manakamana” and “Burt’s Buzz”

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MANAKAMANA_02three-stars15Ever wonder what it would be like to sit in a sky tram for an hour-and-a-half and stare at whomever or whatever got on board every 10 minutes? Wonder no more. This movie is a great way to satisfy your people staring addiction without being perceived as being a creep.

Manakamana is a perfect example of the difference between a motion picture performance art piece and a more conventional fly-on-the-wall documentary, with this being the former. It’s also a very fun film to pronounce. So yeah, there’s that too.

Showtimes for Manakamana:
Friday, April 25th 6:00pm (New People Cinema)
Sunday,April 27th 1:00pm (New People Cinema)
Monday, May 5th 2:00pm (Sundance Kabuki) Read More…

Ivan Reitman’s “Draft Day”

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four-stars4The NFL Draft takes itself way too seriously. Everyone involved takes themselves way too seriously. Ivan Reitman’s Draft Day inadvertently does a great job of depicting this. It’s like the D-Day of American sports. They have folks who transport team caps individually safeguarded inside sealed clear plastic cubes like the Crown Jewels while our soldiers overseas can’t even regularly secure bulletproof vehicles. This gregarious pomp and circumstance naturally opens the film. You’ll get caught up in the moment and shake your head at it at the same time. That being said, Draft Day, which is not based on a true story, is easily what 2011’s overrated Moneyball should have been, as it’s far more entertaining, not to mention its protagonist has better hair. And being a football fan myself, there was no way I wasn’t going to bite. Read More…

Frank Pavich’s “Jodorowsky’s Dune”

1five-starsWithout a doubt, this is one of the best, most strangest, and extraordinary behind-the-scenes films ever made. The film combines the recruiting-of-the-troops element from “Seven Samurai” with all the candid ambition shown in its fellow behind-the-scenes cousins “Burden of Dreams” and “Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse“.

Truly, this is not at all your run-of-the-mill talking head documentary, at least not for someone like me who has never seen extensive footage of the director before. Both eye-opening and mind-opening, “Jodorowsky’s Dune” is thoroughly entertaining. The last thing I expecting from a film about a film that never got made was to be wowed by its slew of enlightened, revealing and profoundly inspirational moments. Then again, this is a documentary prominently featuring one of the greatest cinematic surrealists to ever pick up a movie camera, so I guess I shouldn’t have been that surprised. Read More…

Gareth Evans’ “The Raid 2: Berandal”

2four-stars4There were moments in The Raid 2 that made me feel as if I were standing in several lines for some of the most extreme roller coasters on Earth, with each wait having to be subjected to a bombardment of meaningless loudspeaker announcements explaining the minute politics of the insignificant price of eggs in Mozambique. I mean seriously, who gives a hen’s shiney hiney shit hole about the state of eggs in Africa?! And while no actual eggs were discussed in the movie (it’s called an analogy, people), what I am referring to is of course Gareth Evan‘s (writer/director) need to overcomplicate his sequel’s action extravaganza with a storyline choc full of who-gives-a-shit expositional moments, all of which that take place in between some of the most extraordinarily exhilarating fight sequences (that would be the roller coaster part of the analogy) I’ve seen in a film – ever!

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Remake Wars #2: The Blob (1958) vs. The Blob (1988)

 

Inspired by fellow Filmbalaya writer Nick Petrick’s battle between two versions of Lolita, I’ve decided to do a Remake War of my own, and it’s one that sci-fi and horror fans have been bickering over for 25 years.

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Elephant in the Room: Episode #7 – “Nebraska”

usmapIt’s time for yet another installment of Elephant in the Room; the video segment brought to you courtesy of my cousin, Ida, and her cohort, Sophie. Watch either with or without awe (as usual, the amount of awe you bring to this feature is totally up to you) as these two Chicago based comedians take up a minute and a half of your precious time in order to explain the Elephant in the room in Alexander Payne‘s latest comedy, Nebraska. Click the jump, and watch the video.

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Lars von Trier’s “Nymphomaniac: Vol. I”

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Lars von Trier is a director that is seemingly constantly pushing audiences into feeling as uncomfortable as possible. So, when I got the chance to check out his newest film I jumped at it. I figured if nothing else it will be like nothing I’ve ever seen before. On that front I was disappointed, but as a whole the film is quite enjoyable.

When you go see a film called Nymphomaniac by a director who notoriously shows plenty of on screen sex and violence you expect it to be taken to a whole new level. I was pleasantly surprised  to find that the sex scenes were not horribly graphic and awkward but also mostly short and humorous.  I found myself laughing during most parts of the film. even with the film’s dark subject matter, I never felt it was being too serious.  Part of this is due to the fact that the main character is not very well-rounded, and our glimpses into her life tend to just be the highlights (or lowlights). We don’t really feel connected to her as a human. If we did, the story would be much more of a tragedy and I have a sneaking suspicion that Part II will quickly descend into this very dark place. Read More…