Every subculture, niche market, and fringe topic, no matter how minor and specific, will eventually get its own movie. This is something I firmly believe. Bike messengers have “Premium Rush,” food trucks recently got “Chef,” and then there is dodgeball, ping-pong, paintball, and damn near everything else you can imagine. Personally, I’m waiting for a movie about an over 30, co-ed kickball team, and considering that Andrew Disney’s “Intramural” takes on the no-stakes world of college, recreational flag football, we’re not too far off.
Saturday, June 21, 2014
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Robert Pattinson desperately wants to distance himself from his Twilight teen-heartthrob image, something I’ve never understood in the first place, because he is a strange looking individual. And what better way to shake off the persona of a sparkly vampire than by letting the rough, windblown post-apocalyptic Australian frontier sandblast it off? There is not much glitter in The Rover, the latest film from director David Michod (Animal Kingdom), a grim, gritty addition to the genre that makes the world of Mad Max look downright cheery in comparison.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Christopher Priest’s (The Prestige) new sci-fi novel The Adjacent is a frustrating book to write about. For the first two-thirds, you’re completely on board. The writing is fantastic, the story is vague, but in an intriguing way, and an unusual structure, pace, and tone makes for a fun, engaging read. But then it comes off the rails, hard. While the majority of the book is one of the better things I’ve read in recent days, the unraveling made me so angry that I can’t possibly recommend what is, largely, a very good book.
Saturday, June 14, 2014
Director Matt Reeves’ Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is set to hit movie theaters next month. The latest installment in the venerable franchise takes place ten years after the last outing, 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and, as you probably imagined, a fair amount has transpired in that decade. In order to fill the gaps, there is the official prequel companion novel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Firestorm by Greg Keyes. While this quick read gives you an interesting glimpse at the events that went down between the two films, and isn’t terrible, there’s not much to recommend it as a standalone work.
Thursday, June 12, 2014
William Eubank's indie sci-fi thriller The Signal isn't going to be a film for everyone, but there are some of you out there who are absolutely going to love it. There are definitely times when you'll ask yourself what the hell is going on and not be entirely sure, and there are moments when the film is needlessly obtuse and obfuscates the facts seemingly just to frustrate he hell out of you.
As far as big, blockbuster type movies go, this summer has a noticeable lack of notable comedies. “Neighbors” was great, “A Million Ways toDie in the West” was mediocre, and “Tammy” looks terrible—which is too bad, because Melissa McCarthy is so damn funny. The only other member of this club is “22 Jump Street,” the sequel to 2012’s surprise hit. While I laughed a decent amount, and there are some very good moments, the film pales in comparison to its predecessor, and when taken as a whole, is not a particularly great movie.
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
This weekend saw the release of mega-star Tom Cruise’s latest science fiction actioner, Edge of Tomorrow. From the box office numbers, not nearly as many of you went to see is as should have since it only managed third place (though it did top $100 million worldwide, so there’s hope). We here are in agreement that it is one of the best movies of the summer, a fantastic mix of action, dark humor, invading aliens, and Tom Cruise dying in a many, many ways. Before you read on, you should step away from your computer and go watch this movie. Maybe buy an extra ticket while you’re at it, just to tell Hollywood that they need to keep making movies like this. Doug Liman’s film is one that wears its influences on its sleeve. As you watch, you notice a variety of scenes and elements that definitely call to mind other notable genre movies. In that spirit, we’ve put together a list of movies to watch, or most likely re-watch, after you see Edge of Tomorrow repeatedly.
Sunday, June 8, 2014
From the very first frame, it becomes apparent that director Manuel Martín Cuenca’s “Cannibal” is a movie in no hurry to get anywhere. An extended wide shot watches a couple from a great distance. They fill up their tank, smoke a cigarette, and generally take their sweet ass time before moving on. This doesn’t mean “Cannibal” is slow, simply deliberate and measured. Eventually in this lengthy take, you come to realize that you’re sharing a character’s gaze. As the target car finally moves on, revealing that you’ve been watching from inside another vehicle. Placing you in the still unknown person’s point of view makes you implicit in what comes next—the stalking, killing, and butchering of a human being—and serves to unsettle you, a feeling that never goes away.
Thursday, June 5, 2014
It might be premature to call director Doug Liman’s “Edge of Tomorrow” the best film of the summer. But, up to this point, this is the most fun I’ve had at the movies since “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” and I thoroughly enjoyed the likes of “Godzilla,” “Neighbors,” and “Chef.” If nothing else, the alien invasion actioner is easy to go into with no baggage, because this is one of the few big blockbuster style sci-fi movies of the summer that isn’t part of a franchise, some kind of reboot, or focused on pre-existing superheroes. Though this is an adaptation, most of the general movie going public isn’t super familiar with Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s novel “All You Need is Kill,” or the subsequent graphic novel. The fact that we’re talking about something different is refreshing, and when you consider that this also manages to be smart at the same time it kicks ass, all the better.
Monday, June 2, 2014
Kelly Reichardt’s (“Meek’s Cutoff”) “Night Moves” is one of two movies I’ve seen at the Seattle International Film Festival this year about dam removal. The other, “DamNation” is a documentary that charts the environmental impact, corruption in government programs, and the long, twisted history of damn building in the United States. That film plays as a nice companion piece to “Night Moves,” a fictionalized thriller about a trio of environmental activists who take it upon themselves to remove a particular dam that has a stranglehold on an Oregon river.
Sunday, June 1, 2014
When you watch a time travel movie, it’s easy to sit back and imagine the ways that you could use such technology to your own advantage, and how you would avoid the pitfalls and traps that always ensnare the characters on screen. In Time Lapse, when a trio of friends stumble across a camera that takes pictures 24-hours into the future, they set about doing exactly this, and they don’t fare any better than their predecessors. Along with movies like Primer and Safety Not Guaranteed, these low-budget, idea driven sci-fi movies are becoming staples and film festivals, and I am totally okay with this, at least as long as they’re as good as Time Lapse.
The Funhouse was a bar in Seattle, and a dive bar at that. But, nestled in the shadow of the Space Needle, under the Monorail, the most useless piece of public transportation ever devised, it was also a community. For nine debauched, alcohol-fueled years, the Funhouse played host to countless shows, featuring everything from punk bands of all varieties to burlesque troupes and even some things that aren’t so easily classified. I’ve seen both semi-professional wrestling and public pencil fighting—yes, just like you remember from elementary school—go down there, as well as many other awesomely absurd events.
The last movie I saw from the mind of Juno Mak, 2010’s “Revenge: A Love Story,” is not an easy movie to watch, even for the most seasoned shock cinema veterans. Full of brutal sexual violence, torture, mutilation, and some ways to deal with a pregnancy that most people would never think of, it can be a rough go. But it’s also a fantastic feat of storytelling, full of misdirection and moves that totally change your perspective on the film. Mak wrote and stars in “Revenge,” and he steps behind the camera to direct the vampire horror thriller “Rigor Mortis,” offering up a different kind of darkness.