Film Critic, Film Programmer, Film Lover, Nap Taker. In no particular order.

Movie Review: WE GOTTA GET OUT OF THIS PLACE

[Editor’s Note: This review was originally published on Film Threat.]

Sue (Mackenzie Davis) and Bobby (Jeremy Allen White) gotta get out of this place. They’re both smart kids, but stuck in a bad town. A town where the sun don’t shine and the only thing to do is get into mischief and trouble. Good thing is that they both have been accepted to excellent colleges and it seems to be their ticket to freedom and a better life. They’re both incredibly smart and love to debate trivial things — there’s a great scene at the beginning of the film where they talk Whataburger’s biscuits and gravy, if the meal should be plural or just biscuit and gravy since it’s, well, just one biscuit being eaten. Their chatter is endearing.

Before they can head off to school, trouble in paradise smacks them right in the face. BJ (Logan Huffman), Sue’s kind of boyfriend, is a self-serving idiot who steals a lot of money from a bad man named Giff. Just about the only character development we get from BJ is that he’s a sonofabitch. Maybe he’s lonely — after all, he’s the only one of the three not going to college and will be stuck in this town everyone’s trying to leave — or maybe he’s losing his mind from boredom, but there’s no denying he’s a real piece of work.

Read More

Comments

Movie Review: David Gordon Green’s JOE

[Editor’s Note: This review was originally published on Film Threat.]

“…be nice until it’s time to not be nice.” – Dalton, Road House

Joe is a special breed of a movie for Nicolas Cage, and perhaps the greatest performance of his career. He’s an ex-convict turn straight shooter living in a small town in Texas. During the day he manages a group of folks who poison dead trees so the bigger bosses can come in, chop them down, and plant new, fresh ones. While not working, Joe passes the time drinking and visiting a popular whorehouse. It’s OK though, none of this gets him in trouble (except for when the law harasses him for no good reason, or a guy with a menacing scar sometimes shoots at him for reasons unknown).

Read More

Comments

Movie Review: Check-in to ‘THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL’ and Leave Profoundly Happy

image

Note: This review was originally published on Film Threat. 

Welcome to the place where you can enjoy what matters most in life: laughter, love and adventure. A place where the most important thing is you. A place where anything can and will happen. Welcome to The Grand Budapest Hotel: An intimate and charming retreat with supreme comfort and guest-themed hospitality. 

There are a diverse number of people that guests will meet during their stay at The Grand Budapest Hotel. The friendly staff is led by concierge M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes), his trusty sidekick and Lobby Boy, Zero (Tony Revolori), the hotel’s baker and Zero’s girlfriend Agatha (Saoirse Ronan), and at some point in the timeline, M. Jean (Jason Schwartzman). If guests get in any trouble while on vacation, Ludwig (Harvey Keitel) and his sidekicks will bail you out. If guests need a lawyer, look no further than Deputy Kovacs (the always marvelous Jeff Goldblum); and of course, the hotel management will always have your back, including M. Ivan (Bill Murray), M. Chuck (Owen Wilson) and more. I am leaving out a lot of names for the purpose of awe, and to reserve some surprises for when you visit The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Read More

Comments

SXSW 2014 Review: ‘WOLF AT THE DOOR’ Huffs, Puffs, and Blows Sweet Love Goodbye

image

Note: This review was originally published on Twitch

In the fairytale classic  the Three Little Pigs, — you guessed it — three little pigs set out in the world to find their fortune. Things come to an abrupt halt, however, when an asshole big bad wolf comes into the picture to destroy everything they’ve literally built for their lives. This is also the setting for A Wolf At The Door, an intense drama about haste decisions and the inevitable consequences that follow. 

Read More

Comments

Giveaway: Win Drafthouse Films’ ‘MS. 45’ on DVD!

image

This giveaway is now over. Winners are: Leslie Stinson and Josh Gressett. Please check your email to claim the movie!

Ah, yes, another fantastic release from Drafthouse Films, the ultimate revenge thriller, Ms. 45

I’ve once again teamed up with Drafthouse and Cinedigm to give two copies of the film on DVD. To enter, EMAIL ME your favorite revenge film and why (please put MS. 45 in the subject line). I’ll pick the two most deranged answers and will announce on Monday, March 17th. Have a blast, movie lovers!

Comments

Giveaway: Win @DrafthouseFilms’ ‘THE VISITOR’ on Blu-ray or DVD

image

UPDATE: Winners are:

1) DJ Kento
2) Garrett Solomon

I have emailed you both — please reply within 48 hours to claim your movie!

This week, “the greatest film 1979 couldn’t handle” — The Visitor — released on Blu-ray and DVD, by way of Drafthouse Films and Cinedigm Entertainment. I’ve teamed up with the distributors to give whoever’s reading this a chance at winning a copy on either Blu-ray or DVD. To enter,  EMAIL ME your favorite film from the 70s that should be restored and re-released and why (please put THE VISITOR in the subject line). Also, let me know which format you want the movie on.

I’ll pick the two most die-hard answers and will announce on Wednesday, March 12th. Good luck, movie lover. 

Comments

Movie Review: ‘THE VISITOR’ Returns From 1979 to Peck Out Your Eyes and Make You Like It

image

Good vs. evil! Abortion! Potty-mouthed asshole children! Frank Nero as Jesus? Frank Nero as Jesus! Shelly Winters power-slaps! How to fight off bullies on the ice skating rink! Lance Henrikson getting his ass kicked by a plastic falcon! This is The Visitor, a super low budget horror film from 1979.

There’s a lot of fun going on in The Visitor, but I really couldn’t tell you what it’s about. It’s a bizarre circus of magic and mayhem, and stars Sam Peckinpah (director of Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia and The Wild Bunch), Lance Henriksen (Aliens), Glenn Ford (Clark Kent’s dad in Superman 1979), Franco Nero (Django) Shelley Winters (The Poseidon Adventure, Lolita, Night of the Hunter) and John Huston (The Maltese Falcon) as people of good and bad higher power trying to get inside the head of and brainwash an 8-year-old girl with telekinesis powers and an attitude that will put any Hollywood diva to shame. Things will go one of two ways: 1) good or 2) the opposite of good.

Read More

Comments

Throwback Thursday: Video Interview with Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim

image

During my brief (and miserable) stint in LA, I interviewed Tim and Eric for their billion dollar movie. Knowing these guys would not take me serious, I played dumb journalist (or am I just a dumb journalist?). Did it work? We’re they really mad? Was it staged? I’ll never tell. Watch below, ya filthy animal.

Comments

AFTERNOON DELIGHT Captures the Challenges of Seeking Love, Happiness, and Peace

Poor Rachel (Kathryn Hahn). Although she’s married to the man of her dreams, Jeff (Josh Radnor), leads a really nice lifestyle, and has a healthy son, she’s bored as hell as a stay-at-home housewife. Her friends are starting to suck, because they all have day jobs and/or do normal mom things. And Jeff never wants to have sex. They high five in passing more often than they copulate, and Jeff even has an unspoken “no sex tonight” safe phrase when they’re going to bed.

In an attempt to spice up their sex life, she, along with Jeff and some of their friends, go to a strip club. Here’s where it gets, well, a bit odd. After getting a lap dance from a young stripper named McKenna (Juno Temple), Rachel’s curiosity and boredom get the best of her, and she takes it upon herself to help McKenna out of her current unhealthy lifestyle. Things will go one of two ways: 1) Genius. 2) Stupidly bad.

Read More

Comments

Giveaway: Win @MagnetReleasing’s HERE COMES THE DEVIL on DVD and Become Super Popular

image

This giveaway is now over. Winners are: Nick Hardman and Kirk Reimer. Please check your email to claim your movie!

Hi there — I’ve teamed up with the good folks over at Magnet Releasing to give away two DVDs of Adrián García Bogliano’s Here Comes the Devil. To enter, email me your favorite horror film from 1978 and why — I’ll pick two of the most deranged answers and announce on March 14th. Email me HERE

Here Comes the Devil releases on Blu-ray and DVD on March 18th. 

Comments

Uncut Philip Seymour Hoffman Interview

image

Here’s the uncut video interview I did with Philip Seymour Hoffman. Please watch the beginning — it’s so great.

Philip Seymour Hoffman Sundance 2010 Interview from Anthony Meadows on Vimeo.

Comments

That’s That, Mattress Man: Remembering Philip Seymour Hoffman

image

It is with a heavy heart to report that the great Philip Seymour Hoffman passed away today of an apparent drug overdose. I am in shock, denial, and am devastated. Hollywood has lost another titan — one of the greatest the industry will ever have. News of his death is tragic and heartbreaking to movie fans all around the world.

I have a special moment in time with him that I’d like to share with you, dear reader:

Back in 2010, Rusty Gordon (of Gordon and the Whale) and I talked a lot about people we’d love to interview and whether or not we could keep our composure around them if that opportunity come to fruition. I would always pick Philip Seymour Hoffman — he’s been my Hollywood Hero ever since I first saw him shine on the screen in the great movie that can fit into every genre, Twister. Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love, The Master, Boogie Nights, The Savages, Happiness, and Almost Famous are a handful of my favorite films of all time, and partly because of Hoffman’s roles in those films. My friends and colleagues know how much I adored this man for quite some time. 

I got to interview Hoffman at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, and below is that interview — this is one of the greatest and most treasured moments in my life. If you pay close attention, you can see in the beginning how nervous I am — I had to move my hands around a lot to keep my scared mind occupied. The best part of this — which you unfortunately can’t see — is that in the beginning, Hoffman heckled me for being nervous. He was very cool, calm, and relaxed. What a guy.  

See you on the other side, amigo. You will be dearly missed. R.I.P. (Return If Possible). 

Comments

The 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards Voting Has Begun. Here Are My Picks

image

Hi. How are you? Here’s my favorite time of the year — voting for the Film Independent Spirit Awards. My heart and all  efforts pour into supporting independent filmmaking, and I’m proud to be a voting member of the Spirit Awards.

Some nominees were a little more studio than what I’ve experienced in the past, but I’m happy to vote for him/her/it if the performance/film moved me more than the others. 

Here’s who got my vote: 

Read More

Comments

Sundance Review: Gregg Araki’s ‘White Bird In A Blizzard” Starring Shailene Woodley, Eva Green & More

image

Note: This review was originally written and posted for Indiewire’s The Playlist. Please click on this link and support their site. 

By now, devoted cinephiles likely know what to expect going into a Gregg Araki movie: sex-crazed teens, an overabundance of nudity (sometimes pretty, sometimes not), a dream-like story wrapped snugly in a nightmare and a killer soundtrack. However, it would be lazy for someone to call it trash cinema—there’s a lot of feeling in his films (please watch “Mysterious Skin” now). Araki is a brilliant director who finds a great deal of meaning in stories of teenage angst and sexual desire, and is perhaps the finest example of coming-of-rage cinema. His latest film, “White Bird in a Blizzard,” is his most grownup film to date, but never deviates far from his comfort zone.

Read More

Comments

Sundance Review: ‘Rudderless’ Is A Remarkable Directorial Debut From William H. Macy

image

Note: This review was originally written and posted for Indiewire’s The Playlist. Please click on this link and support their site. 

So let it be known throughout the land: William H. Macy has balls of steel. In addition to juggling a busy, successful film and television career, he’s taken on a new role—filmmaker. His first feature film, “Rudderless,” is a poignant story that explores finding happiness in the midst of loss and pain. And you know what? It’s really damn good.

Read More

Comments