Tobe Hooper’s ruthless 1974 shocker isn’t just one of the greatest horror movies ever made, it’s also one of the most powerfully terrifying. Not in the way that jumps out at you and gives you those mechanized, cattle-prod starts once every 10 or 15 minutes, but rather in the way that crawls under your skin and turns it jaundiced and greasy with fear.
“God has to be busy with everyone else” — Those are the heartbreaking words said by one of the three boys whose lives filmmakers Tracy Droz Tragos and Andrew Droz Palermo follow in Rich Hill, a sobering yet vividly human documentary about poverty in small-town, Middle America. From the get-go, it’s apparent that at least one of these boys has been called “white trash,” but the film never treats them with scorn. Instead, cinematographer Droz Palermo captures their lives with incredible grace, so much so that it brings to mind the effervescent films of Terrence Malick. But as impressive as the camera work can be, the details in Rich Hill sting.
How did the old song go? “The cat came back the very next day.” After spending a year at the Great Minnesota Get-Together, the venerable Internet Cat Video Festival is returning to its initial digs on the hill just outside of the Walker Art Center.
With preseason games in full effect, we thought it would be worth taking a look at some of the best the genre has to offer and were shocked (shocked!) to find so many candidates out there. We whittled from a list of roughly two dozen legitimate contenders the following 10.
Heroes in a half shell are indeed a bodaciously tempting offer, but if the rest of the month is looking pretty anemic for new movie offerings on a mass scale, maybe you’d like to scale down and sample one of these options?
Anna Kendrick was good in Drinking Buddies, but she’s better in Happy Christmas. This time, in another work of director Joe Swanberg, she plays an infectiously bubbly, if irresponsible, 27-year-old named Jenny, who’s moved to Chicago after breaking up with her boyfriend. She stays in the Windy City with her brother (played by Swanberg), and the film focuses on her struggle to balance her youthful energy with the realpolitik of growing up. And despite what the title suggests, the film’s not really about Christmas.
Mood Indigo, the latest from French director Michel Gondry — Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Science of Sleep — kicks off as a whimsical, surreal Parisian love story before falling, like an autumn leaf, into a melancholy look at aging, death and possibility of fate. The Paris of Gondry’s imagination is remarkable. It’s a quasi-steampunk, sci-fi wonderland with bizarre inventions: keyboard instruments that mix cocktails, flying cloud cars and alarm clocks that scurry up walls, like spiders. Those familiar with Gondry’s work will recognize his flair for fantastical production, of which he is an undeniable master. For those unfamiliar, think of him as a Gallic Wes Anderson, but less of a perfectionist.
It’s absolutely, unquestionably official. This summer blockbuster season is a bust on almost every conceivable level. And you know what I have to say about that? Yay.
It’s unfortunate that this film had to go up against Boyhood. That 12-years-in-the-making, coming-of-age colossus is my most anticipated movie of the summer, and it comes out the same weekend as Hellion, which is also a film about growing up. It’s also unfortunate that Hellion is a bit hit-or-miss.
Apologies for my absence last week. I could lie and say I was out busy watching all the new movies in theaters, but in actuality, I spent a lot of the last week nursing a cold and watching clips from my favorite movies on Blu-ray as part of my medicinal routine.
To say something is seriously wrong with the cost of college – and mountain of debt piling atop the backs of America’s young people – is to state the obvious. Andrew Ross, the director of Ivory Tower, understands this. Instead of just saying “Guys, we’re in a hell of a pickle here,” his documentary gives us a road map as to how we got to this place and tries to decipher, through the fog of unrest and a forest of blinking technological light bulbs, what our possible options are to move forward. Don’t get me wrong, though: Ross doesn’t hint at a savior. The reason, after all, this is such a big mess is that no one has the knowledge, or will, to fix it. Still, it’s a given things are bound to change pretty soon. Everyone, it seems, agrees on that.
Relentless, thoughtful and weirdly surprising: “Snowpiercer” is a twisty, sci-fi rollercoaster that’s tough to pin down and just as hard to forget. South Korean director Joon-ho Bong channels a dystopian world in the somewhat comic style of Terry Gilliam’s Brazil but swaps out the political satire for action and allegory. The result is a tonic for those bored of CGI spectacles and a top-shelf option for the holiday weekend.
Picnics with hot dogs, fireworks with sparklers, miniature American flags with parades. They’re all fine and dandy, but don’t you want to catch some of the explosively entertaining options available at area movie theaters this long holiday weekend?
In April 2011, Ai Weiwei — the Chinese artist who helped design the Beijing “bird’s nest” Olympic stadium and who filled London’s Tate Modern with 8 million sunflower seeds — was arrested by authorities in his home country. They held him in detention for nearly three months on what later turned out to be tax fraud charges. After that, they placed their most prominent international artist on house arrest. This is where Danish filmmaker Andreas Johnsen’s documentary The Fake Case starts. The beloved, world-renowned creator is leaving the very grip of the authorities’ intimidation chamber, and he’s rattled — not talking to international press, keeping quiet. Something’s wrong.
This week’s list of the best screenings around town features at least a couple movies I’m not very fond of, actually. I hope that you take this as a mark of my own possibly hopeless attempts to remain objective about what people might consider the “best bets.”