Thu, 19 Jan 2017 09:02:43 PST
Road to the Well carries the feeling of five films wrapped into one, and never coalesces into something steady enough to stand upright while it's being pulled in a star of directions. It's a horror movie, a comedy, suspense, bizarre drama, an indie project, everything rolled into 100 minutes with no apologies given for the mess that is the final product. Jon Cvack definitely has an original idea, brings something darkly wacky to the screen, but ultimately fails to wrap it all up in order to fit it into one package. Some mistakes from a low-budget team are to be expected, but too many ruin whatever was the intended aim, a goal that...Read the entire review
Tue, 17 Jan 2017 12:16:33 PST
(image) Killer Rack:
Cult Auteur and Gore Comedy specialist Gregory Lamberson might not be the most prolific director; eleven films released since Slime City in 1988, (but filmed earlier) but you must admire his consistency. Killer Rack from 2015 perfectly captures Lamberson's entire ethos: a little fun, a little gore, a little sexuality and a little Lloyd Kaufman. This might be his most outrageous, and best movie yet, but it still feels like something Frank Henenlotter's genial cousin might have directed. If that sounds somewhat mild, I don't think Lamberson would mind. If you like the director's thing, you'll love Killer Rack.
Poor Betty (Jessica Zwolak) finds herself overlooked at work and unloved at home. People in her town are breast-obsessed, and she doesn't exactly stack up in that department. Enter Dr. Kate Thulu, (Debbie Rochon) plastic surgeon extraordinaire, and a ga...Read the entire review
Mon, 16 Jan 2017 13:18:24 PST
(image) In 10 Words or Less
Being yourself doesn't pay in baseball
With the exception of the NBA, which puts superstars above anything else, the world of professional sports is not the place for individuals. Speak up or act out and you'll be smacked down hard. After all, that's what happens when being a part of a team is valued above anything else. So when there is a unique personality in sports, you tend to hear about it, usually because they go in trouble. And though Bill "Spaceman" Lee may not be too well-known today, he certainly was in his own time, as the skilled pitcher, one of the wi...Read the entire review
Mon, 16 Jan 2017 04:32:34 PST
(image) In 10 Words or Less
Turning it off one last time
Loves: The IT Crowd, Moss
Dislikes: Series finales
Hates: The limited number of episodes in British sitcoms
The Story So Far...
Written and directed by Graham Linehan (Black Books) and produced by Ash Atalla (The Office), The IT Crowd was a British sitcom set at the help desk of a massive corporation (which oddly requires only a pair of analysts to service.) Roy (Chris O'Dowd) and Moss (Richard Ayoade) are socially-inept guys working in the basement peacefully and grudgingly helping the technologically inept, until a new boss is hired. Jen (Katherine Parkinson) knows nothing about computers, and...Read the entire review
Sat, 14 Jan 2017 05:03:02 PST
Unconventional rock band The Tubes was one of my favorites on early 1980s radio when first seriously discovering music, with their appealing keyboard and guitar melodies combined with often insane lyrics. Not having access to MTV I didn't really know much about their visual or stage persona until much later, when I acquired "The Tubes Video" on the obsolete CED videodisc format. This was an early attempt at a "video album" version of their 1981 "Completion Backward Principle" LP, with off-the-wall production numbers choreographed by future "High School Musical" director Kenny Ortega. In Germany, one of many countries that brought more daring music presentations to broadcast TV than the US (as well as having looser content restrictions), the band performed a 90-minute concert f...Read the entire review
Thu, 12 Jan 2017 15:46:55 PST
(image) The Film:
Wed, 11 Jan 2017 18:28:04 PST
(image) For a brief period in the late-2000s, there was a short reign of comedies about relatively average men who were unwillingly thrown together with and subsequently tormented by an obnoxious weirdo, only for the weirdo to turn out lovable in the end. Although the names of most of these comedies escape me now -- the American Dinner for Schmucks comes to mind, as well as Due Date, and even Galifianakis' character in The Hangover feels like a version -- it was a trope, and a tiring one. Now, for almost a decade later, "SNL" cast and crew, including Taran Killam, Bobby Moynihan, writer Mikey Day, producer Lorne Michaels, and directors Oz Rodriguez and Matt Villines, have teamed up to give us Brother Nature -- arguably the worst example yet.
Killam, who co-wrote the script with Day, plays Roger, an incredibly organized aide for congressman Frank McClaren (Giancarlo Esposi...Read the entire review
Wed, 11 Jan 2017 04:57:35 PST
(image) It took nearly two years but CBS/Paramount has finally gotten around to releasing Gunsmoke: The Twelfth Season (Volumes 1 & 2, 1966-67), the series' sixth year after transitioning from a 30-minute show to an hour one, and the first in color. I don't know but suspect previous seasons were remastered gradually, but that there was a general commitment to the show's black-and-white years. By the time the black-and-white seasons were done, the market for DVD has slipped to the point where the remaining nine seasons, all in color, remained in limbo for a time. Possibly the label is anxious to see how this two-volume set will sell before making a decision on the remaining seasons, perhaps hoping the allure of color shows on DVD for the first time will give it the little boost it could probably use.
In any case, episodes look great, far superior to the handful of color shows released as part of ...Read the entire review
Wed, 11 Jan 2017 04:57:35 PST
(image) Though almost instantly forgotten when audiences took notice at all, the TV-movie Gunsmoke: One Man's Justice (1994) marked the end of an American institution. It was the final Gunsmoke story, the last to star James Arness as Matt Dillon, and Arness's final role of any sort. He retired after this telefeature, which he also co-executive produced, passing away in 2011 at the age of 88.
Happily, the film is a fitting end for the long-running series, which began in 1952 as a popular and acclaimed adult Western radio drama, the best of its kind. Arness led the equally fine television adaptation, which began in 1955 and ran 20 seasons, racking up a staggering 635 episodes, including four consecutive years as the #1 show in the country, and 13 years in the Top Ten. Though a couple of TV shows have matched or exceeded Gunsmoke's run in terms of number of seasons, episode-wise no prime-t...Read the entire review
Thu, 05 Jan 2017 08:29:25 PST
Perhaps the only independently intelligent thing director Clea DeVall did when filming her debut was to cast Melanie Lynskey as the hands-down lead. Not only is Lynskey the central figure to the story in many ways, she's also the most talented actor in the bunch and the most capable of taking the entire project onto her shoulders. That the film required heavy lifting was apparent from the very beginning, and without her, it would have fallen flat on its recycled face. DuVall isn't actually even a director, she's a mediocre actress who specializes in bit parts and ba...Read the entire review
Tue, 03 Jan 2017 08:39:07 PST
Joey from Friends once said that if two actors have chemistry, it's because they haven't had sex yet. If they have no chemistry at all, it's because they've already done it. The passion of anticipation builds the heat, and when there's no more pressure, there's no more on-stage spark. That silly theory fits well here, as the two main characters of Last Girl Standing have no chemistry whatsoever and are, in real life, a married couple. I guess that's the problem with acting on screen or on stage with your significant other; no matter how wonderful your relationship might be off camera, it's hard to show that to audiences in the...Read the entire review
Mon, 02 Jan 2017 13:41:20 PST
Collectors of old TV shows really want their product, and the rights owners know it; I was more than eager to get my hands on the old Dobie Gillis show, and was also happy with multi-disc sets for Wanted: Dead or Alive and The Dick Van Dyke Show because they weren't time compressed. If it weren't for cable TV time compression to cram in an extra commercial, I'd be an addict of old TV just like Tobey Maguire in Pleasantville... old half-hours of Leave it to Beaver are mesmerizing pieces of Americana. Way back in the 1970s and before video time compression, I started editing by helping Robert S. Birchard find ways to trim ninety seconds out of 16mm prints of the old Ozzie & Harriet s...Read the entire review
Sun, 01 Jan 2017 18:15:03 PST
With less than three weeks until the inauguration of Donald Trump as the U.S. president, the sci-fi satire BrainDead now seems more timely than it did during its original airing on CBS this past summer. The show's Twilight Zone-ish takedown of bipartisan extremism in American politics effectively dramatized the harmful effects of "ideological bubbles" months before they became the favored fodder of post-election thinkpieces.
Mon, 26 Dec 2016 12:57:35 PST
With a website called Archer Avenue, it isn't hard to guess that my favorite film is The Royal Tenenbaums. Apart from some genius directing from Wes Anderson and the creation of a fantastic world that is like our own only much better, the film is a wonder of story and characters, a look at family and death from a viewpoint that's both original and beautiful. A Man Called Ove is, in a strange way, the Swedish equivalent of Tenenbaums, the revelation of the good inside a bitter old man and the painting of a world around him that may not be perfect, but is full of the love and companionship he's been searching for his whole life...Read the entire review
Sat, 24 Dec 2016 04:57:22 PST
(image) In 10 Words or Less
The mistake by the lake
Loves: Bobby Moynihan, Gillian Jacobs, Kumail Nanjiani
Likes: Taran Killam, SNL
Dislikes: Broad comedy
Hates: Wasted potential
If I told you there was a movie released in 2016 starring Taran Killam, Bobby Moynihan and Gillian Jacobs, along with Kumail Nanjiani, Kenan Thompson, Rachel Harris, David Wain, Mike O'Brien and Aidy Bryant, written by two SNL writers and directed by SNL's video superstars Matt & Oz, you'd probably wonder why you never heard about it, much less saw it. You'd also probably guess that it wasn't very good...Read the entire review