#108 : Tony Scott 1944-2012

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The guys discuss the career of film director Tony Scott after his surprising death by suicide. They use the Badass Digest editorial “Never Hate a Director” as a frame through which to examine some of their least-favorite Tony Scott films, their worth, and the worth of bad films in general. They also rave unanimously about their love of TRUE ROMANCE.

#108 – Tony Scott 1944-2012

[audio http://www.reelfanatics.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/108-tony-scott-1944-2012.mp3]

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#107 : KLOWN

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The guys discuss the new release from Drafthouse Films, KLOWN, as well as THE EXPENDABLES 2, THE PASSENGER, Starz’ new television show BOSS and the red band trailer to John Hillcoat’s LAWLESS among other things.

#107 – Klown

[audio http://www.reelfanatics.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/107-klown.mp3]

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Gores Eats Film : SLEEPWALK WITH ME

SLEEPWALK WITH ME (Birbiglia) | ★★★

Comedian Mike Birbiglia’s film adaptation of his off-Broadway show is much better than one would expect. It feels sufficiently cinematic, and his comic timing is firmly intact. At times, the picture recalls (and obviously strives to be) Woody Allen’s Annie Hall, even though it lacks the profundity and freshness of that classic comedy. Nevertheless, Birbiglia’s movie succinctly captures the life of a struggling comedian and easily avoids vanity.

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Gores Eats Film : LAWLESS

 

LAWLESS (Hillcoat) | ★½

This Depression-era crime drama is a major disappointment, especially considering it is helmed by the talented John Hillcoat, whose Australian western, The Proposition, is one of the finest recent revisionist entries in the genre. Lawless, on the other hand, is a predictable, bland tale that has none of the energy, identity, or memorable brutality of Hillcoat’s earlier work. The picture’s gritty realism is undermined by the mythical approach to its narrative.

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Never Hate a Director

Fantastic perspective from the folks at Badass Digest that just might make you never talk poorly of a filmmaker ever again.

JUST AS WE SHOULD NEVER HATE A MOVIE, WE MUST NEVER HATE A DIRECTOR.

NOT JUST BECAUSE THEY MAY BE GOOD, NOT JUST BECAUSE THEY MAY BE BELOVED BY OTHERS, BUT BECAUSE SOMETIMES A DIRECTOR OPERATING ON THE EXACT OPPOSITE ARTISTIC PRINCIPLES AS YOUR OWN IS THE FUCKING POINT OF ALL THIS. OUR MEDIUMS SHOULD HAVE RANGE. THEY STRETCH TO EDGES OF CONVENTION. THERE SHOULD BE ARTISTS OUT THERE WHO CHALLENGE YOUR ENTIRE SENSE OF WHAT YOU LIKE, HOW THE ART SHOULD LOOK AND WHY WE EVEN DO IT.

Read the entire article here.

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Gores Eats Film : THE IMPOSTER

THE IMPOSTER (Layton) | ★★★½

Bart Layton’s documentary about a Frenchman who posed as the missing child of a Texas family is a crafty, chilling tale that plays like a thriller. Of particular note is the playful way in which Layton discloses information to the viewer, oscillating between suspense and surprise. And the picture’s unreliable narration makes for effectively mysterious storytelling. Indeed, sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

Layton also gets right a typically cheesy technique of such tales: event re-creation with actors. The filmmaker wisely emphasizes atmospheric cinematography and creepy music over acting. In this way, the movie recalls Errol Morris’ superb documentary, The Thin Blue Line.

The Imposter most certainly ranks among the year’s best documentaries.

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Gores Eats Film : CELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER

CELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER (Krieger) | ★★★

With just her first screenplay, Rashida Jones, along with co-writer Will McCormack, has done something that only a handful of films are able to do: capture the zeitgeist. Celeste and Jesse Forever is a perceptive depiction of a failing modern relationship and the desire for comfort at the expense of progress, and it has a keen sense of pop culture, technology, and societal expectations. At the same time, the film also seems to be a sly critique of Los Angeles.

The script is not without flaws. Celeste’s (Jones) run-ins with a young pop star feel forced, and her behavior occasionally lapses into cliché. Several false endings suggest Jones & McCormack didn’t quite know where they wanted to end the story. Nevertheless, the movie holds up and its observations remain salient.

Jones has written herself the meatiest film role of her career, and she doesn’t waste it. SNL alum Andy Samberg, who plays opposite Jones, shows off solid acting chops, demonstrating he doesn’t always have to go for laughs. Together, they have both romantic and comic chemistry.

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Gores Eats Film : THE CAMPAIGN

THE CAMPAIGN (Roach) | ★½

The latest Will Ferrell vehicle is a sorry excuse for comedy. Clearly, Jay Roach’s The Campaign has little interest in being a clever lambasting of an increasingly absurd political game. Bulworth, Wag the Dog, or Being There this film is not. Instead, writers Chris Henchy and Shawn Harwell target the easy and obvious, reducing a conceptually intriguing premise to a stale exercise in cheap laughs. And the best of these were revealed in the film’s advertisements. There are precious few moments of anything resembling scathing satire. Will Ferrell is a talented comedian, but he should have turned down this toothless farce. His unofficial series of narcissistic antiheroes (Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Blades of Glory, Semi-Pro) is a case of diminishing returns.

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Gores Eats Film : THE BOURNE LEGACY

THE BOURNE LEGACY (Gilroy) | ★★½

Tony Gilroy faced a tough task in carrying on the Jason Bourne franchise without its titular character or star actor. Stylistically, he is up to the challenge. The film looks and feels much like its last two predecessors, both helmed by Paul Greengrass, though the handheld camerawork is toned down. What’s more, Jeremy Renner, taking over for Matt Damon, handles the material with ease. It’s easy to envision him as an action hero.

But the script is where the film falters. That may come as a surprise considering Gilroy was the primary screenwriter on the earlier Bourne films. But here, he and his co-writer brother, Dan, fail to raise the stakes. Across three films, Bourne’s arc involved discovering his identity, getting revenge on his former employers, and exposing government secrets. In Legacy, Aaron Cross (Renner) is trying to acquire medicine that makes him smart. Any way you slice it, that is lowering the stakes. Moreover, the film lacks the kinetic energy found in previous entries, as its first hour is mostly dialogue that ties Cross’ storyline to Bourne’s. The action we do get lacks the sizzle of past films.

Legacy is competently made, but it just does not measure up to the Damon pictures. Ultimately, this film feels more like a cash grab than the worthy continuation of a respectable franchise.

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Gores Eats Film : BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD

BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD (Zietlin) | ★★★

After rave reviews out of Sundance and Cannes, Beasts of the Southern Wild, the directorial debut of Benh Zeitlin, arrived in commercial theaters with immeasurable hype. Is it worthy of such acclaim? No, but it is still a worthwhile picture.

Much credit for the film’s success goes to the frighteningly good performance from amateur child actress, Quvenzhané Wallis, who plays the young protagonist, Hushpuppy. Her irrepressible spirit and warm presence carry an often dark story of poverty, miseducation, and tragedy. Don’t be surprised if her name comes up again around Oscar time. Another critical piece is the original score by Dan Romer and the director. The music is some kind of brilliant Cajun-flavored concoction fused with the grandeur of a more traditional film score.

The screenplay has some problems—the clumsy titular beasts, a clichéd third act—but Zeitlin makes up for this by giving the viewer a glimpse into a Louisiana bayou world seldom seen in cinema.

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