Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Indie Showcase: Art of Love (2019)

Art and love might seem like a natural pairing in numerous situations. After all, ever since the days of the ancient past, art did explore in so many shapes and forms the concept of love. Yet, while so many works of art try to approach the subject from a philosophical, grand, and even emotionally detached perspective, some try to observe love and art in the contemporary setting, through the eyes of regular people who work hard to survive and thrive in an often ruthless and uncaring world. Art of Love is a feature-length indie title that tries to do just this. Here is how the film describes its plot:

Monday, May 20, 2019

Two-Paragraph Review: High Life (2018)

Gentle and brutal, complex and really simple, relatable and completely alien - all of these are the traits that High Life possesses as a work of art. This alone would make it worthwhile for anyone who is seeking to experience something new. Still, besides these characteristics, the movie has many other fantastic points. Among them is Robert Pattinson as the quiet and contemplative Monte, who easily carries the main role of this oddly structured film.

Yet, Pattison, just like the decades-older veteran Juliette Binoche works fantastically with each other, the rest of the cast and the whole vision of the director, Claire Denis. The plot of the film, which sets a crew of death row inmates on a mission to explore a nearby black hole, is just one of the cogs in this truly impressive machine. The entire setup is much larger than a smarter retelling of Interstellar. Instead, it’s a genre-bending concept piece that is wonderful to watch and also a strong chaotic commotion that you more experience emotionally than understand intellectually. I loved it throughout.
 

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Two-Paragraph Review: Game Night

When you look at it superficially, the concept of Game Night seems immediately worn out. A group of friends getting for a night of games, entering one that was supposed to include actors but ends up including a real crime which they're firstly oblivious about. Sure, it's like Fincher's Game but only in a comic reverse mode. Must be dumb and boring, right?  Well, oddly, it's really good.

In fact, for me, it's one of the best AAA Hollywood comedies I saw in recent years. The duo of John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein made the film with steady hands and a great eye for a serving of black humor jokes. I was impressed by its sharpness and even more, by the willingness to take the film into some dark and twisted waters - not that deep into them, mind you, but the effort is still appreciated. Lastly, Jesse Plemons is one of the most talented actors of his generation and the movie was lucky to have him - he added a cherry on an already really good cake.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Short Film Review: Spilled Paint (2019)

The plot of the Spilled Paint short film begins as an old-school jazz tune - full of beat and with rising tension. In the movie, the audience is quickly introduced to Patrick, a painter, who is very unpleasantly (even though not yet extremely violently) questioned by a crime boss. The painter made a mistake: he borrowed $10,000 from the same criminal and now it is time to pay up.

Of course, he also made an additional mistake which has been ongoing for some time: he is disorganized, unable to focus and on moments, not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer.

But, he gets a break. The boss will give him a week to get the money. Naturally, with nowhere to turn, the painter realizes his only option is to create a masterpiece of end up very hurt or even worse.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Two Paragraph Review: Dragged Across Concrete (2018)

I really loved Bone Tomahawk and I didn't like Brawl in Cell Block 99. Now, there is the new film by S. Craig Zahler and this is his biggest undertaking so far. Featuring a cast led by the always good Mel Gibson, Zahler did his own version of the Poliziotteschi genre (don't worry, I never heard about it either). In the movie, the vibe of the entire plot is an almost intangible mesh of personal drama, background political commentary and quick bursts of almost senseless violence.

This is something that on moments works great and sometimes fails completely, especially because of the weird script Zahler wrote. Here, the idea of repeated dialogue lines, like "being smarter by a yard post" and similar stuff reminded me of film school student trying to write like Tarantino. The presence of these dorky and completely unnecessary elements is hard to figure out but they often break the immersion and any weird-but-good magic this director can clearly deal out to its audience. Still, no one could argue that for a neo-noir film Dragged Across Concrete doesn't cover its genre basis pretty well.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Indie Showcase: The Bachelor Party (2018)

When it comes to parodies, the basic principle for successful films in this genre doesn't change over time. Today, like always, the more over the top, the better. This is why The Bachelor Party promises a great ride for anyone who is into these types of comedies. Here is how the film describes itself:

Internationally mega-viral superstar Shawn "The Showstopper" Valentino is "The Most Famous Bachelor in the Galaxy." After his hero Hefner passes away, Shawn faces the most impossible mission of his life: a choice to settle down with 1 of his 5 girlfriends or to continue his playboy lifestyle of decadence and fantasy in this ridiculously over-the-top parody of spy films and romantic reality TV.