Results tagged “Josh Tate”

The Sundance Film Festival Comes to LA

Every January the quaint Mormon hamlet of Park City, Utah is overrun by tens of thousands of people eager to attend the films (and parties) of the Sundance Film Festival. Having attended the festival for the last three years, I can highly recommend the experience. In fact, I'd say that everyone should try to attend at least once. From the freezing weather to the immense crowds to the abundance of cinema, alcohol and sleeplessness, it...

Movie Review: Inglourious Basterds

The difficulty in reviewing a film like Inglourious Basterds is that it's really two films mashed up into one. One of those films concerns a young Jewish woman named Shoshanna who exacts a brilliant revenge against the Nazis who murdered her family. The other regards a group of mostly Jewish-American military assassins (the titular "Basterds") who scour the French countryside killing everyone in a German uniform. What's strangely problematic about Inglourious Basterds is that while...

DVD Tuesday: TV Shows & Tyson

Horror classics continue to suffer the indignity of needless remakes with The Last House on the Left being another victim. It's as if someone thought that the original would benefit from polishing when, in fact, it was its very roughness that made it so damn good. James Toback's fascination with Mike Tyson continues with the eponymous (and excellent) documentary Tyson. I still think that Toback is seeing things that aren't entirely there, though, with respect...

Box Office Review: America Loves Abusing Aliens!

In a rare show of good taste, Americans flocked to the alien civil rights drama, District 9, as it rang up a surprising $37M in sales to top the weekend box office. Last week's champ, G.I. Joe: Didn't Suck As Much As Transformers, had a decent second frame ($22.5M | $98.7M), managing to hold off newcomer The Time Traveler's Wife ($19.2M). After that it was the mostly delightful Julie & Julia ($12.4M | $43.6M), the...

Weekend Movie Guide: Welcome to District 9

District 9 is generating the sort of low-level buzz that is often the sign of an unexpected, breakout hit. Thank God, the plug got pulled on Halo or District 9 never would have been made. Also, thank God that the increasingly on-the-nose Peter Jackson didn't direct it. Davis Guggenheim isn't nearly the documentary filmmaker that a Kirby Dick or an Errol Morris is, but the subject matter of It Might Get Loud kept me enthralled...

DVD Tuesday: I Love You, Man!

I keep trying to resist these manufactured "bromance" movies, but damn if they don't continue to work on me. While some men enjoy the guilty pleasure of crappy, godless action spectacles like Transformers and G.I. Joe, I am helpless against the machinations of Paul Rudd. I gave 17 Again a chance in the theater only because I still have a soft spot for Matthew Perry. Probably should have waited for the DVD. The Class was...

Weekend Movie Guide: No Joe or Go Joe?

Paramount refused to screen G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra for critics which is usually a huge, obvious warning that the film is an unmitigated disaster. Then again, maybe the studio is still just chafing from the deserved reaming given to Transformers 2: Racist CGI Porn by reviewers. In any case, G.I. Joe is obviously on the "skip" list. The consensus on Julie & Julia (LAist review here) appears to be that the movie would...

National Night Out: Free Movie, Hot Dogs, Popcorn!

As LAist noted earlier today, tonight is National Night Out, uh, night. If you live in Northridge, you can catch a free outdoor screening of Kung Fu Panda at Northridge Park this evening. As noted in the press release from the office of Councilman Greig Smith (Greig? Really?): Free hot dogs, provided by CPAB and LAPD Community Supporters, as part of National Night Out, will be served starting at 6:30 pm. Movie starts at nightfall....

DVD Tuesday: Jemaine? Present. Bret? Present.

Season Two of Flight of the Conchords wasn't quite as inventive as the amazing Season One, but it was still excellent television. If you don't have HBO, do yourself a favor and pick up this DVD today. Not only are Jemaine and Bret hilarious, but Murray may be the funniest character on television not named Dwight Schrute. This is the Steven Soderbergh I want to see. Not Oceans Steven Soderbergh but dense, four-hour movie about...

Box Office Review: It's Judd's World

Despite facing a brutal marketing challenge, Funny People managed to top the box office this weekend. Though it was the lowest-performing champ of the summer, the Judd Apatow-helmed laugher brought in $23.4M to hold off a resilient Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ($17.7M | $255.4M). The awful G-Force was a hair behind ($17M | $66.4M), followed by the awful The Ugly Truth ($13M | $54.4M) and the, uh, awful Aliens in the Attic ($7.8M)....

Movie Review: Dangerous Men

Any aficionado of L.A cult movie offerings worth his or her salt has come to appreciate both Phil Blankenship of Ameoba Records' series of midnight putridity at the New Beverly Cinema and the skewed, truly debased programming of Hadrian Belove of the Silent Theater. Saturday night, these two titans of trash joined forces to expose a wider audience to Dangerous Men. By a show of hands, only about 10 members of the audience at...

Movie Review: Thirst

Chan-wook Park cemented an already burgeoning reputation among passionate cinephiles with his 2003 film Oldboy. While his latest effort, Thirst, doesn't rise nearly to that level, it is an alternately fascinating, rigorous and maddening piece of cinema. Loosely based on Emile Zola's novel Thérèse Raquin, the film follows Sang-hyeon, a Catholic priest who is accidentally transformed into a sort of vampire by a failed medical experiment (note: Zola's novel does not have Christian vampires). Sang-hyeon...

Weekend Movie Guide: It's Funny, People!

If you're planning to see one movie this weekend, you should re-jigger your schedule and see four! Funny People would be an excellent place to start. It's Rogen, Apatow and Sandler's best film to date (LAist review here). Sure, it's not a straight comedy, but it is damn funny. You'll leave the film in a good mood, but that will quickly turn into righteous anger once you've seen The Cove. The best movie at the...

Movie Review: Funny People

The lazy response to Judd Apatow's Funny People will be that it isn't as, well, funny as his two previous films, The 40 Year Old Virgin or Knocked Up. The subtext of that observation, of course, is that it isn't as good as those other films, and that is a howlingly wrong presumption. True, Funny People is not Apatow's funniest film, but -- true also -- it is his best. While not a straight comedy,...

LAist Film Calendar: The Ups & Downs of Documentaries

Australia's least-scary horror villain -- Bandageman. | Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing I don't know if I've gotten even nerdier, or if documentaries have gotten even better, but half the films I've seen or wanted to see this year are non-fictional in nature. Which is why I'm stoked for DocuWeeks 2009, playing through the end of August at the Arclight. Sponsored by the International Documentary Association, the festival features compelling characters & stranger-than-fiction stories...

DVD Tuesday: More Battlestar!

It may seem like a thankless struggle at times, but I will not rest until everyone who needs to see Battlestar Galactica has seen Battlestar Galactica. I don't think there has ever been a show so great that has been viewed by so few. Remedy that today! I sort of like the graininess of my current Spinal Tap DVD, but if you'd rather see Nigel, David, Derek and, uh, Liam in delicious 1080P than today...

Weekend Movie Guide: Two Fantastic Comedies!

Other than The Cove, I didn't see a better film this year at the Sundance Film Festival than Humpday (review here). It's inventive; it's challenging; it's odd but, most of all, it's funny. Very, very funny. The premise may scare some away -- two straight friends decide to have gay sex for a porn film festival -- but the treatment of the material is so perfect that I can't imagine anyone not loving it. While...

LAist Film Calendar: Deadgirls, Jewish Women & The Filmmakers Who Love Them!

Quiznos returns to more traditional marketing | Photo courtesy of The Cisela Foundation | International Film Circuit, Inc. If you're anything like me, your Fridays are packed with dead bodies. No? Make some time this week to rectify that situation. The Warner Grand's deadly double of The Giant Gila Monster & The Giant Spider Invasion features radiation, rock & roll, and most importantly, a raffle for a dead body at intermission. Once you've won,...

DVD Tuesday: Watchmen | Coraline

Rarely do major film studios finance films as ambitious as Watchmen and with the middling success the film enjoyed, it's likely to become rarer still. Which is a damn, damn shame. Zach Snyder's adaptation of Alan Moore's seminal graphic novel has its share of issues, but he did manage to get Dr. Manhattan, Rorschach and Nite Owl (II) just about perfect which is a huge triumph. Watchmen is a film that deserved greater financial support...

Box Office Review: Wild About Harry!

While it didn't manage to top the records of the deplorable Transformers 2: Racist CGI Moron Porn, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince did enjoy a fantastic weekend as it set a record for the franchise and easily won the weekend ($79.5M | $159.6M). Ice Age 3: More Ice Age placed second ($17.7M | $152M) while the aforementioned Transformers 2: Revenge of the Stupid gathered in a richly undeserved $13.7M ($363.8M). As expected, last week's...

Weekend Movie Guide: It's a Harry Potter Weekend!

LAist has already seen the excellent Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and this weekend the rest of Los Angeles will likely follow suit. One small quibble, though: how do you leave out the [ ] of [ ]? It would have been one of the most powerful scenes in the entire series. That said, the realization of the pathetic Horace Slughorn is fantastic; the scene in the cave is top-notch; and the Quidditch play...

DVD Tuesday: Hauntings, Love and Music

You wouldn't bleed so much if you stopped clawing the walls, dear. | Photo courtesy of Lionsgate A Haunting in Connecticut gets props for casting the radiant Virginia Madsen (and bad-ass Elias Koteas), but significant demerits for wussying out with a PG-13 rating. Once again -- all horror movies should be rated R! Just like in the good old days! As perhaps the world's biggest (and only) Keira Knightley and Sienna Miller fan, I...

Screening Alerts: Warner on Wednesdays

If you've got under a hundred dollars in your bank account, a date at the movies is usually out of the question. You stare longingly at LAist's film calendar every week: the Arclight's obviously a fortune, but even AMCs & revival houses run $15-$20 for two tickets. Add popcorn & soda? Ugh. This is news to no one, but if you're in the South Bay? WOW! The Warner Grand Theatre is looking out for you! Even if you're not - it's probably still cheaper to drive to San Pedro, plunk down a Hamilton and enjoy 2 tickets, 2 sodas & 2 popcorns (single tickets are a whopping $3 - cheaper than a DVD rental).

Box Office Review: Es ist Bruno, Liebchens!

While I think that the cruelly funny Bruno will suffer a precipitous decline in its box-office fortunes once people realize it isn't another Borat, enough unsuspecting Americans bought tickets to the cock-heavy mockumentary this weekend to give it a narrow triumph ($30.4M) over Ice Age 3: More Ice Age ($28.5M | $120.5M). The vile Transformers 2: Racist CGI Moron Porn finished a close third ($24.2M | $339.2M), well ahead of a not-quite-there Public Enemies ($14.1M...

Weekend Movie Guide: Funkyzeit mit Bruno

While reviews have been strong for Bruno, a few outliers have raised objections to the very narrow range the film straddles between exposing homophobia and promoting it. On the old Da Ali G Show, I never thought Bruno was as strong a character as Borat, but I expect to laugh for a solid 90 minutes at the sheer verve of Sacha Baron Cohen. The cute Hayden Panettiere from the first season of Heroes is quickly...

Your Weekly LAist Film Calendar

Now that's how I like my soulless and bloodthirsty Nazis -- sexy! | Photo courtesy of astrobri via flickr We featured The Day The Earth Stood Still when it ran back in May, but this week the Aero cements director Robert Wise's genius by replaying that sci-fi classic, alongside timeless musicals West Side Story & The Sound of Music. West Side Story and Star! (his post-Music reunion with Julie Andrews) are even presented in...

DVD Tuesday: Toupee Alert! Toupee Alert!

Nicolas Cage retains his title as the Enigma with this week's release of Knowing. I know I'm repeating myself, but has there been an actor in recent history who's made more mystifying choices? Rarely is an actor either brilliant or awful. Cage is always EXACTLY that. I first noticed Odette Yustman in a tiny cameo in Walk Hard. Yeah, she jumps off the screen like that. Too bad The Unborn is rote horror bilge. You...

DVD Tuesday: Worst Tuesday in How Long?

Wow! How bad of a release day is it when 12 Rounds and Jonas Brothers: The Concert Experience are the two high-profile releases? Ugh. For the first time in I don't know how long, I couldn't find 20 DVDs worthy of inclusion in this space. Two Lovers is probably the best pick, but it suffers from a surfeit of Gwyneth Paltrow. Maybe the most intriguing DVD out today is Transmorphers: Fall of Man. I'm sure...

Box Office Review: Triple Sub-mediocrity Reigns!

Wow! These plastic toys can move in the movie house! | Photo courtesy of mverde via flickr To no one's surprise -- and to the great embarrassment of all Americans with a still-attached brain stem -- Transformers: Revenge of the Racist Robots That Suck Beyond Belief clobbered more deserving films at the box-office this weekend to the tune of $112M ($201.2M). Last week's champ -- the, in retrospect, ceaselessly brilliant -- The Proposal raked...

Weekend Movie Guide: See Locker, Stoning

More than perhaps any weekend in recent memory, Americans are going to spend their money on the wrong movies starting today. The Hurt Locker is a vibrant, thrilling film about a bomb squad unit in Iraq. It ratchets tension so tightly you'll feel like you can barely breathe and features a star-making performance by Jeremy Renner. And yet it will likely be ignored by audiences. Similarly -- especially now given recent events in Iran --...

LAist Interview: Justin Rice, actor, Harmony & Me

Photo courtesy of Susan NYC via Flickr If you know who Justin Rice is, you probably know him as the lead singer of Bishop Allen or his appearance in Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist. Very quietly, though -- working mostly with friends -- he's put together an interesting film career. I had the great pleasure of not only seeing Harmony & Me a few days ago at the LA Film Festival (review here), but...

LAFF Review: Paper Heart

Before diving into a review of the wonderful Paper Heart, allow me to relate an episode from last night's screening. I think it provides a key insight into the whimsical mind of Charlyne Yi. Following the screening, Charlyne and director Nicholas Jasenovec sat down for a Q&A. Ten minutes in, Charlyne excused herself to the restroom. Moments later, she returned. Except she didn't. A man dressed exactly like her entered the theater and continued the...

Your Weekly LAist Film Calendar

Timmy's wedding suddenly took a strange turn. | Photo courtesy of Midnight Insanity Like many aspiring tranny space aliens, I worked Rocky Horror shows in college, and through many, many weeks of rehearsals have probably seen the show a dozen times. That being said, even though there are two shows every weekend down here, I've yet to see it in L.A. Now might be a good time to check out Midnight Insanity's show at...

LAFF Review: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

The first Transformers was by every estimation a bad movie. Sure the effects were cool, even groundbreaking, but every other element of the movie was basically silly, if not frequently and insultingly stupid. Its sequel, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is significantly, significantly worse. Absent the mildly diverting discovery arc of the first film, the second one is literally nothing but uninspired set piece after uninspired set piece after uninspired set piece after uninspired set...

DVD Tuesday: Waltz with Bashir

If you didn't see Waltz with Bashir in the theater, you have the opportunity to correct that mistake today on DVD. It is rare that a film so perfectly combines a complex, powerful story with such dazzling visual technique. Concerned with lost memories surrounding the 1982 Lebanon War, this is a must-see film for any fan of cinema (or history for that matter). Confessions of a Shopaholic is not such a picture. Pink Panther 2...

Box Office Review: A Surprise Proposal!

After mostly being given up for dead as a legitimate box-office attraction, Sandra Bullock roared back to prominence this weekend as she carried The Proposal to a surprising box-office triumph ($34.1M). Last week's champ The Hangover had yet another powerhouse weekend ($26.8M/$152.9M) as did Pixar's wonderful Up ($21.3M/$224.1M). Sony probably had high hopes for Year One several months ago, but the pic disappointed in its debut ($20.2M). Lack of "funny-ness" and an abundance of "shitty-ness"...

LAFF Review: Harmony & Me

There was a belief a few years ago -- as cheap cameras and Final Cut Pro gained real traction within the filmmaking community -- that we were at the dawn of a cheap indie revolution. Affordability was going to allow new talent to finally be seen and recognized. In some cases that happened, but mostly this surge in access resulted in a colossal amount of dull movies. Thankfully, a micro-budget film still punches through occasionally...

LAFF Review: In the Loop

In the same way that Wag the Dog was about the Clinton sex scandals without ever explicitly being about the Clinton sex scandals, Armando Iannucci's In the Loop is a searing and hilarious shadow satire about the run-up to the West's collective misadventures in Iraq. Alternately howlingly mean and relentlessly authentic, it may be the funniest movie of the year, weaving a pastiche of profanity so inventive one can't help but marvel at it. Further,...

LAFF Review: Big River Man

It would be almost impossible to imagine someone as improbable as Martin Strel. He is one of the rare man on this earth who is utterly unique. Allow me the indulgence of summarizing him in a few sentences. Martin is an overweight Slovenian man in his mid-fifties. Martin is essentially an alcoholic, typically drinking two bottles of wine a day. And -- here's the kicker -- Martin has swam the entirety of the Mississippi, the...

LAFF Review: It Might Get Loud

Jack White, Jimmy Page and The Edge. | Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Film Festival As director Davis Guggenheim remarked in his comments prior to Friday night's LA Film Festival screening of his documentary It Might Get Loud, "I just wanted to make a film about the electric guitar." As rock gods Jack White and Jimmy Page (Jimmy Fucking Page!) confirmed after the screening during an audience Q & A, there really was...

LAFF Review: Passenger Side

A missed opportunity. | Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Film Festival One of the reasons I expect that I will never tire of going to the movies is that even when you think you know what you are going to get, you can still be surprised. I remember being dragged to see Galaxy Quest at the Cinerama Dome. Honestly, the only reason I went was because it was at the Cinerama Dome --...

Weekend Movie Guide: Bad Rom-Com or Lame Comedy?

I thought Sandra Bullock was done doing romantic comedies. Oh wait, The Proposal probably isn't very funny. Speaking of not funny, Year One is getting savaged. Is it really possible that the extraordinary Michael Cera has finally given us a true dud? Say it ain't so! Woody Allen has enjoyed a resurgence since the beyond awful Hollywood Ending (okay, Scoop sucked, too). Looks like that trend continues with Whatever Works. What a great hook Woody...

The Los Angeles Film Festival - The Big Preview

The 15th annual Los Angeles Film Festival kicks off tonight at 7:30 pm with the premiere screening of Paper Man at the Mann Village Theater. The full festival begins in earnest the following morning as over 80 documentary and narrative features unspool in venues across the Westside. In addition to that, the festival features panels and seminars, coffee talks and poolside chats, short-film programs, music video showcases, live concerts and free screenings of such beloved...

Your Weekly LAist Film Calendar

Ack! Ack! | Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers Look to the skies! The flying saucers will always be there! Not even your local cinematheque is safe when evil extraterrestrials & suave spacemen invade Santa Monica. Should our valiant heroes survive these "Far Out" encounters, they must still contend with a Martian militia, led by none other than our governor himself! I heard it through my magick Tesla Coil! From France, they say? Instead of...

DVD Tuesday: Weak Week

I understand every criticism of Family Guy, but I still tune in regularly to watch Peter, Cleveland and Quagmire do the same jokes time after time after time. It just makes me laugh. While Friday the 13th may have sucked completely, at least it didn't wuss out and go for a PG-13. Here's to gore and nudity! With the next Transformers film looming, what better time to piggyback a cartoon compilation and get some free...

Box Office Review: Still Got a Hangover

Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers Raunchy bachelor-party comedy The Hangover topped the box office for a surprising second straight weekend as it dropped only 26% from its strong debut ($33.4M/$105.3M). Pixar's delightful Up presented a strong challenge in its third week to finish a close second ($30.5M/$187.1M) while superb newcomer The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 finished third with a slightly underwhelming $25M. After that, it was the dreadful Night of the Museum...

Weekend Movie Guide: I'll Take the Next Train!

I'm surprised that reviews haven't been better for the re-imagined version of The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3. It is, by all rights, a superior film to the original from the 70s. Moon may not be as funny as Solo, but it does cover similar territory. How can you not love Sam Rockwell? There will be no hot dogs served at the screening of Food, Inc.! Repeat -- no hotdogs! Has Eddie Murphy really...

Screening Alert: Food, Inc.

Movies open every week in Los Angeles, and LAist always tries to let you know about as many of them as possible. Some films, though -- at least I think so -- deserve a special mention because a) they don't have a huge marketing budget supporting them; b) they are the kinds of provocative films that more people should see and c) they are the kinds of films that the worst toadies in corporate America...

Your Weekly LAist Film Calendar

Before Live Aid, Farm Aid & Chef Aid came The Secret Policemen's Ball - which made the mold for the benefit concert, broke it, taped it back together, and ran with it. With a wealth of British comedy (including The Pythons, Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry & Rowan Atkinson) and musical virtuosos (Pete Townshend, Sting, Eric Clapton & Phil Collins in then-unheard-of "unplugged" performances) donating their talents for Amnesty International, the show & tie-in albums, films & tapes, became a phenomenon

DVD Tuesday: Clint Ascendant!

I was a big fan of Gran Torino when it originally dropped in theaters last year. The one complaint I constantly heard from those who didn't like it was that the young Asian actors weren't very good. My reply to them was that within the universe of the film, these kids had a less than perfect grasp of English so naturally they would struggle to speak. At any rate, Gran Torino was a great flick...

Weekend Movie Guide: I Have a Hangover! Get Lost!

Buzz on the The Hangover is so hot that Warner Brothers is already moving ahead on a sequel before the film is even released. Every summer a comedy breaks out of nowhere to be a huge hit. Will this be the one? It probably won't be Land of the Lost. By most accounts, it's a Bewitched Will Ferrell flick instead of an Anchorman one. Away We Go will not work for everyone since it's so...

Your Weekly LAist Film Calendar

Yay! Coordinated dancing is fun! | Photo courtesy of CTV International Now that the summer blockbuster season's in gear, it's time to counter-program with an influx of festivals! The Israel Film Festival runs through the 18th at Laemmle's Fallbrook in West Hills & the Fine Arts Theatre in Beverly Hills. Highlights include Lost Islands, which cleaned kibbutz at the Israeli box office last year and won four Ophir Awards (Israeli Oscars); The Seven Days,...

DVD Tuesday: He Just Wants to Have Sex with You

I'm still angry at how much mileage Greg Behrendt has gotten out of the whole He's Just Not That Into You thingie. Seriously -- this guy is a millionaire because of a fucking phrase! Not only that, but it's a phrase that other people were saying long before this jack-off codified it. It was in common usage for years! It would be like me publishing a book called Who Farted? and suddenly being rich. Don't...

Box Office Review: Up Soars!

In an instance of fitting justice, Pixar's Up, uh, ballooned past expectations to pull in a mammoth $68.2M and easily top the weekend box office chart. Night at the Museum 2: Needless Sequel lost more than half its audience from last week's debut, but still managed to earn $25.5M ($105.2M). The week's other newcomer Drag Me To Hell scared up $16.6M worth of business to edge a plummeting Terminator Salvation ($16.1M/$90.6M). Meantime, the reliable Star Trek continued to plug along at a good pace ($12.8M/$209.5M).

Your Weekly LAist Film Calendar

Wait a minute! This isn't real! | Photo courtesy of Martynf65 via Flickr Every so often, two movies play in theaters that appear so similar, it rips a hole in the cultural zeitgeist. Antz & A Bug's Life. Armageddon & Deep Impact. Capote & Infamous. Back to the Future & Back to the Future. Take your pick; the entire trilogy plays this weekend at both the New Beverly and the Aero. Same Doc-day, same...

Weekend Movie Guide: Up, Up and away!

I'm not sure how much more I can write about Up that I didn't relate in my review from yesterday. Simply put -- go see it! Unless you're a misguided fool like Armond White, you'll love it. Nice to see Sam Raimi taking a dip back into the horror pool with Drag Me to Hell (although the PG-13 rating is chickenshit). I'll never understand why Alison Lohman isn't a bigger star. Watch her in Where...

Movie Review: Up

Every time Pixar releases a new film, one wonders, "Is this the one that breaks the long string of phenomenal critical and commercial success?" I mean, surely a film studio can't continue to release inventive, profitable movies ad infinitum, right? It's just too implausible; even the very brilliant have slumps. Christ, the gold standard that is the Coen Brothers made the god-awful The Ladykillers, didn't they?! And yet...Pixar keeps churning out absolutely top-notch work and...

DVD Tuesday: Yep, Jessica Biel is nekkid!

Large swaths of red-blooded American males have been waiting for this moment since March of 2000 (NSFW) and today that moment finally arrives -- Jessica Biel is nekkid in a movie (unbelievably NSFW)! Of course, by all accounts Powder Blue is a terrible film, but why let something like that stop you from buying it, right? It surely can't be any worse than the week's "big" release, New in Town. What has happened to Renee...

Box Office Review: Museum Terminates the competition!

Maybe Bill Hader can remind Ben Stiller how to be funny. | Photo courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox While it was expected to be a close race, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian ($53.5M) easily topped Terminator Salvation ($43M) to capture the weekend box office crown. Both of these borderline movies will surely be blown out of the water next week by the absolutely fantastic Up (saw it; loved it). Star Trek...

LAist Interview: Rian Johnson, director, The Brothers Bloom

Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo | Photo courtesy of Summit Entertainment Rian Johnson burst into prominence with his sterling debut, Brick. A teenage murder mystery, it was told more in the style of a Dashiell Hammett novel than a thematically similar (and more conventional) film like Bully. His latest film, The Brothers Bloom, is almost a complete 180 in terms of tone -- daffy and convulated where Brick was brooding and fatalistic. What's still...

Weekend Movie Guide: Please Terminate Museum!

I was never a huge fan of the Terminator movies, so I wasn't too upset about the mythology-raping that goes on in Terminator Salvation. For me it was just good, loud fun with cool robots and Moon Bloodgood's amazing cleavage. During a family visit over Christmas I was snookered into seeing the first Night at the Museum. That will not be the case with the dreary-looking Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. Yes,...

Your Weekly LAist Film Calendar

Guy tries to impress girl by dressing up as Leatherface and killing her. | Photo courtesy of Rudy Jahchan via Flickr Haven't been to the cemetery in forever? There's two prime opportunities this weekend, courtesy of Cinespia's latest season of "drive-in" (sit-in?) screenings at Hollywood Forever. Saturday brings super-dead superstars Cary Grant & Grace Kelly in Alfred Hitchcock's masterful heist mystery To Catch A Thief. Sunday hosts super-living unsuper-stars Ben Affleck & Matthew McConaughey...

DVD Tuesday: Cruise Attacks Hitler!

Here's the damn shame of it all: Bryan Singer is a super filmmaker and the "Valkyrie" story is a fascinating piece of German history. That said, Tom Cruise should never have been the cornerstone of this film. A potentially great movie was rendered into something that was merely okay. Then again, "merely okay" would have been a triumph for the awful Paul Blart: Fat Guy Acting Stupid. I originally saw Made in America at Sundance...

Box Office Review: Angels was a Demon!

While it didn't approach the monstrous financial heights of the poorly-conceived The Da Vinci Code, Thomas de Hanks' Angels & Demons ($48M) tricked enough Americans into theaters to hold off the sturdy Star Trek ($43M/$143.6M) to capture the weekend box-office crown. X-Men Origins: Wolverine had a reasonably good third weekend to place, uh, third ($14.8M/$151M) while Ghosts of Matthew McConaughey's Bangbus Girlfriends ($6.8M/$40M) and Obsessed with White Chicks ($4.5M/$40M) rounded out the top five. The...

Weekend Movie Guide: Angels, Brothers, Big Men

Dan Brown's quickly-paced novels seem tailor-made for the big screen, but The Da Vinci Code was a lumbering dud. Here's hoping that Angels & Demons is edited at a much brisker pace (with less exposition). At least they fixed Tom Hanks' weird hairdo from Da Vinci. If you want to see something that will just fill you with joy, try The Brothers Bloom. Rian Johnson's superb debut Brick was clearly not a fluke. In fact,...

Movie Review: The Brothers Bloom

The Brothers Bloom will most likely split audiences down the middle just as it has almost evenly divided critics. Simply put, you either delight in the often whimsical imagination of writer/director Rian Johnson or you dismiss it as precious eye candy. I fall firmly in the former camp. While it would be easy to peg Bloom as a Wes Anderson-ish fable about two con men who endure a Dickensian upbringing which leads them to a...

Your Weekly LAist Film Calendar

Gee, it's usually not like conservatives to get bent out of shape about gay people. | Photo courtesy of Courtesy qWaves The city is experiencing a golden age of naughty puppet films. Hot on the trail of Black Devil Doll is Let My Puppets Come, a fuzzy-felt skeleton pulled from the closet of the late Gerard Damiano (Deep Throat, The Devil In Miss Jones) for The Not-So-Silent Theatre's "Mondo Sexo" this Saturday. If the...

LAist Interview: Anvil!

How long can you rock? | Photo courtesy of Brent J. Craig | 42 West When the film Anvil!: The True Story of Anvil debuted at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, it was instantly acclaimed as the true-life version of This is Spinal Tap. Sacha Gervasi's documentary detailed the story of 50-something rockers from Canada who were still plugging away and trying to get their big break after all these years. The resonance that...

DVD Tuesday: Take this!

Do you have any girls for massage that look like my daughter? | Photo courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox It's still hard to believe that a relatively generic film like Taken became such a huge box-office hit. There certainly aren't that many huge Liam Neeson fans and the luscious Maggie Grace didn't even take her kit off so that's not what drew crowds. Chalk it up to William Goldman's old aphorism: "Nobody knows anything."...

Box Office Review: Nerds Win!

Captain Kirk and Harold prepare to go parasailing. | Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures J.J. Abrams' reboot of the Star Trek franchise soared past expectations to bring in a huge $76.5M this weekend at the box office. Early tracking had pegged a $50-60M haul, but the well-reviewed film blew past those estimates. Last week's champ, Wolverine, endured an expected, precipitous drop but still managed to bring in $27M ($129.6M). The awful Ghosts of Girls...

Weekend Movie Guide: Star Trek et al

Will someone please remove Mr. Shatner from the set? He's scaring the cast! | Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures The early word has been so good on Star Trek that I'm actually starting to get a little nervous that my expectations are too high. Despite the great reviews for Star Trek, however, I have no doubt that Outrage is the best film opening this week (LAist review here). If Atom Egoyan makes a film,...

LAist Interview: Kirby Dick, director of Outrage

One of my absolutely favorite documentary filmmakers. | Photo courtesy of, uh, me! I think it would be very fair to classify Kirby Dick as a documentary filmmaker's documentary filmmaker. He tackles difficult subjects; he's fearless; and, most of all, he tells great stories that can find a glint of humor even in the darkest of places. His two best films to date, Sick: The Life & Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist and This...

Movie Review: Outrage

My name is Larry Craig, and I am a gay American. | Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures Forget Social Security, closeted homosexuality in Washington D.C. is the true third rail of American politics, and provocateur extraordinaire Kirby Dick firmly places his foot on it in his bracingly honest documentary, Outrage. The film covers in meticulous detail the sad truth that virtually all of the mainstream media knows but would rather ignore: there are many...

Your Weekly LAist Film Calendar

Shred! | Photo courtesy of Spanner Dan via Flickr Metallica. Slayer. Megadeth. These local boys gone legends are always worth a good mosh, but it's their lesser-known Canadian counterparts, Anvil, who have grabbed the city's heart by the horns. Continuing their residency at the Landmark, where documentary Anvil! The Story of Anvil has rocked audiences for a month and counting, Anvil appears alongside film director Sacha Gervasi for two special Q&A sessions tonight, May...

DVD Tuesday: Button and Harvey

Man, actors have a tough life, huh? | Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is so expertly crafted that one can't help but marvel at it from a technical viewpoint. As a story, however, the film is just so-so. Sure, it's a provocative premise, but Brad Pitt is almost lifeless as the titular character. Dustin Hoffman is one of the handful of actors whose movies I will always see....

Box Office Review: Summer's Here!

Last time I get in the jacuzzi with this dick. | Photo courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox The summer box-office season officially began on May Day this year as X-Men Origins: Wolverine slashed its way to the top of the chart with a huge $87M weekend. Despite generally poor reviews (even from the fanboy set), audiences filled the seats to see Hugh Jackman don the sideburns once more. The dreadful Ghosts of Girlfriends Past...

Weekend Movie Guide: The Origin of Wolverine

Sabretooth vs. Wolverine | Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox Despite passionately loving independent films and documentaries, I still get excited when the summer blockbuster season starts -- earlier every year it seems -- and so I'm jazzed to see X-Men Origins: Wolverine. How can anyone justify missing a cinematic rendering of the X-Men? Speaking of independent films, they don't get more so than the works of Jim Jarmusch. I loved Broken Flowers and...

Movie Review: Black Devil Doll

Photo courtesy of Shawn P. Lewis Surprisingly, Black Devil Doll is not the first blaxploitation killer-doll horror film. Cult TV movie Trilogy of Terror spawned the sub-sub-genre with a zany Zuni* fetish doll all the way back in 1975, and the unrelated Black Devil Doll From Hell introduced all the best elements of the video-era: awful sex and even worse production values. Continuing blaxploitation killer-doll horror's proud advancement (degradation?) into the 21st century, Black...

Your Weekly LAist Film Calendar

An early concept photo for Bond's iconic pose. It was rejected. | Photo courtesy of twaize via flickr No, really - did some memo go around saying all film festivals had to be scheduled within the same two-week period? The Polish Film Festival continues, flanked by the South-East European Film Festival & the last stands of the Los Angeles Jews & the Pacific Asian subcontinent. But with all the talk of Iran lately, the...

DVD Tuesday: Uhhh....Bride Wars......WTF?

Maybe this hot photo will get the bigots onto the pro-gay marriage bandwagon. | Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox It marks a sad state of affairs when the horrible Bride Wars is the "big" DVD release of the week. I get that Kate Hudson does this sort of crap to bankroll her extravagant lifestyle, but I thought better of Anne Hathaway. Annie, please get back to doing things like Rachel Getting Married! Or,...

Box Office Review: America is Obsessed

Speaking of relatively unknown but superb actors. | Photo courtesy of Sony In the latest example of Hollywood underestimating the size of the African-American audience, Basic Instinct knock-off Obsessed stormed to the top of the box office this weekend with a healthy take of $28.5M. Last week's lame champ 17 Again ($11.6M/$39.9M) edged out newcomer Fighting ($11.4M) while newbies The Soloist ($9.7M) and Earth rounded out the top 5 ($8.5M). Kiddie hit Monsters vs....

Weekend Movie Guide: Tyson Fighting The Soloist

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics For a certain generation (I'll call them the "Mike Tyson Punch Out!" generation), there has always been a strange fascination with the now-humbled pugilist. It's those people -- myself included -- who will be lining up to see James Toback's very well-reviewed documentary, Tyson. Those in need of a gooey validation of the human spirit, on the other hand, will be seeing The Soloist. Downey is obviously a...

Your Weekly LAist Film Calendar

Maybe I should consider relocating to Poland. | Photo courtesy of Van Worden It's a very festive time right now. The sun is shining, birds are chirping, and there's a lot of copying & pasting in Film Digest land. The Indian Film Festival continues its run at the Arclight, as well as its mixed masala line-up. Joining it are the 10th Annual Polish Film Festival, the 4th Annual Jewish Film Festival & a virtual...

DVD Tuesday: Buy The Wrestler

Rourke is so Method that I think this might be real blood. | Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Though it was almost criminally ignored by the Academy, The Wrestler was among the very finest movies released in theaters last year. Since it made only a little more than $26M at the box office, there are still plenty of people who haven't seen it. To those people I say: buy, buy, buy this DVD! It...

Box Office Review: Zac Efron | Champion

Yet another hilarious scene! | Photo courtesy of New Line (R.I.P.) Hordes of sexually-confused young girls made Zac Efron and 17 Again this week's box-office champ as it pulled in an impressive $24M. The superb State of Play lagged far behind ($14M), just edging Monsters vs. Aliens ($12.9M/$162.7M), Hannah Montana: The Stupid Movie ($12.6M/$56.1M) and Fast and Furious and Stupid ($12.2M/$136.7M). Crank: High Voltage disappointed in its opening frame ($6.5M) despite the angelic presence...

Weekend Movie Guide: Serious journalism drama or Efron?

Okay, Ben. This is how you act. | Photo courtesy of Universal Am I the only one who is really looking forward to seeing State of Play? Surely, Russell Crowe is on the short list of actors whose films we should always see, right? And doesn't Jason Bateman land on that list as well? It's a tad embarrassing to admit, but I'll probably see 17 Again, too, mostly because I will always have a...

Your Weekly LAist Film Calendar

Photo courtesy of Kunal Sen Animation If you're a connoisseur of "psychotronic cinema", scanning the New Beverly's weekend line-up just might melt your face. Thursday, the Alamo Drafthouse rolls into town and saddles up some good ol' backwoods sleaze, joining forces with L.A.'s own Grindhouse Film Festival. Friday, those crazed Texans whip out '80s nightmare Surf II (there is no Surf I), in which a mad scientist turns surfers to zombies and everyone grooves...

DVD Tuesday: Kate is such a NILF!

Sure, she's a cold-blooded Nazi, but still...hotness! | Photo courtesy of The Weinstein Company Does Stephen Daldry have the goods on a large majority of Academy Award voters? I mean seriously, how else does a fine, but limited movie like The Reader get nominated for an Oscar instead of more thrilling work like, say, The Wrestler? (I could say the same thing about The Hours a few years ago -- something is rotten here.)...

Box Office Review: Miley more popular than Jesus!

Thank you for rescuing my failed career, daughter. | Photo courtesy of Disney Millions of Americans ignored Christ this weekend in order to fill the already overstuffed pockets of the vaguely satanic and horribly buck-toothed Miley Cyrus. Hannah Montana: The Movie picked up a cool $34M to rule the box-office roost, eclipsing last week's winner Fast and Furious ($28.7M/$118M). Monsters vs. Aliens enjoyed a strong third weekend ($22.6M/$141M) to crush disappointing newcomer Observe and...

Weekend Movie Guide: Go see Anvil!

You will laugh. You will cry. YOU WILL ROCK! | Photo courtesy of VH1 Over the last two years of writing this column I've made numerous, promptly ignored recommendations regarding documentaries that have managed the near-miraculous feat of making it into an actual movie theater. Today, I make the most urgent and heartfelt plea yet -- GO SEE Anvil! The Story of Anvil!!! No matter what you think about documentaries (or heavy metal for...

Your Weekly LAist Film Calendar

Photo courtesy of western4uk via flickr Orson Welles has seen more devastation & studio interference than any other filmmaker. Major works like The Magnificent Ambersons, Touch of Evil & Lady from Shanghai were all slashed to ribbons and will never be seen as the writer/director/actor intended. Still, they retain their innovative style, fierce bite & raw power over 60 years on. Running through Saturday, the Aero's Orson Welles retrospective features valiant restorations of these...

DVD Tuesday: Don't doubt Doubt

That priest has got a fine ass. | Photo courtesy of Miramax If you are looking for an evening of light entertainment with the whole family, what better choice is there than Doubt? I love priest-rape dramas. Are you like me -- do you marvel at the rare ability of Adam Sandler to not ever make you laugh at anything? Ever. As far as I'm concerned, Keanu Reeves probably would have done a better...

Box Office Review: Record-breaker!

Biggest weekend since...The Dark Knight? Wow. | Photo courtesy of Universal Defying all expectations (and good common sense), Fast and Furious roared to the top of the weekend box office chart with an April-record haul of $72.5M. Last week's champ, Monsters vs. Aliens, came in a very distant second ($33.5M/$105.7M), but easily outdistanced A Haunting in Connecticut ($9.5M/$37.2M), the awful Knowing ($8.1M/$58.2M) and the hilarious I Love You, Man ($7.8M/$49.2M). In the latest indictment...

Weekend Movie Guide: Let's All go to Adventureland!

Forget that vampire movie...this is real romance! | Photo courtesy of Miramax There is one movie that everyone should see this weekend and that movie is Adventureland. Alternately funny and touching, it is another rousing success from director Greg Mottola (LAist review here). That said, there is another movie that probably everyone will actually see and that is Fast & Furious. I admit it -- I liked the first title in this series. It...

Movie Review: Adventureland

Young love is ready to bloom! | Photo courtesy of Miramax After more than a decade in the wilderness following his fine 1996 debut, The Daytrippers, director Greg Mottola roared back into public consciousness in 2007 with the wonderfully foul Superbad. His follow-up to that, Adventureland, is a much gentler work that should cement his position as a sought-after director for years to come. Based on Motttola's teenage experiences working at an amusement park...

DVD Tuesday: Tell Everyone!

Best film of 2008 | Photo courtesy of Revolver Entertainment If you didn't see Tell No One in the theater last year, go out and immediately buy or rent the best movie released in the U.S. in 2008. Rarely does a film set up such a fantastical premise and deliver on it so perfectly. Slumdog Millionaire never deserved the mini-backlash it received. Based on its kinetic cinematography alone, it was one of the best...

Box Office Review: A Monster Weekend!

Yeah, I know this picture has nothing to do with this weekend's movies. | Photo courtesy of Paramount Monsters vs. Aliens stormed past expectations en route to a rousing $58.2M opening weekend win at the box office. The Haunting in Connecticut may just be another generic horror pic, but it still managed to scare up a healthy $23M worth of business. Last week's champ, Knowing, slipped to third but still had a distressingly strong...

Weekend Movie Guide: I'll take Monsters over Aliens

E.T. resumes career after long layoff. | Photo courtesy of DreamWorks Animation Does anyone else have the same feeling about Monsters vs. Aliens that I do? Namely, "Gee, I wish Pixar had made this movie instead of DreamWorks." It's either very sad or very cynical that two fine actors like Martin Donovan and Virginia Madsen are doing rote horror pics like The Haunting in Connecticut. The premise of 12 Rounds is that a criminal...

Box Office Review: America Knows Nothing

No, this isn't nakedly manipulative. | Photo courtesy of Summit Entertainment Two very good studio films opened at the box office this weekend (I Love You, Man and Duplicity) and, naturally, neither of them managed to win the box office crown. That went to the terrifyingly moronic Knowing which tricked America's rubes into shelling out approximately $24.8M of hard-earned money. The quite funny I Love You, Man under-performed to the tune of $18M as...

Weekend Movie Guide: Toupee Alert! Toupee Alert!

Renaissance artists couldn't weave this well. | Photo courtesy of Summit Entertainment Knowing looks so spectacularly bad that it may almost be worth seeing. Nic Cage really is a national treasure. The Apatow brand is so strong these days that a movie like I Love You, Man -- which isn't even an Apatow film -- actually feels like one. I'll see it for the ravishing Rashida Jones alone. Does Julia Roberts still have juice...

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