A fantastic waste of everything

AfantasticfearofeverythingA Fantastic Fear of Everything is, on paper, a great movie. It’s a quirky British import starring Simon Pegg, a genre-blending horror comedy with high level, Wes Anderson-ish production design. It’s perfect on-demand viewing—something a little unusual you probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise, except that it’s easily available in your living room. The reality of A Fantastic Fear of Everything, though, is that all that cool stuff is utterly wasted by an uneven script and uninspired direction. Continue reading “A fantastic waste of everything”

A Single Shot is a nervy, slow burning thriller

a-single-shot-71200-posterOver the last couple months I have started, in my halting, not-remotely-consistent way, to bring you a selection of reviews for movies that are available on demand (under the “VOD review” tag). I’m tired of people complaining about the state of cinema when it is, in fact, easier than ever to see quality movies, thanks to in-home programming, and to that end, I’m making a point of including reviews of on demand movies. So far it’s been an even spread between pretty great, decent, and really fucking unpleasant, but with A Single Shot, adapted by Matthew F. Jones from his own novel, we can chalk another one up in the “pretty great” category. Continue reading “A Single Shot is a nervy, slow burning thriller”

Sharlto Copley double feature: Elysium and Europa Report

I adore South African actor Sharlto Copley (District 9). I don’t understand why he isn’t in every movie. I would just cast him in everything and call it a day (wishful thinking: Sharlto Copley for Ant-Man). After a three-year drought following The A-Team, Copley is back with not one but two whole movies this summer: Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 follow-up Elysium and the found-footage sci-fi thriller Europa Report (now available on demand). I decided to make a double feature of it because they’re both sci-fi movies starring Sharlto Copley. Short review: Yes to both but manage your expectations going in. Continue reading “Sharlto Copley double feature: Elysium and Europa Report”

Only God Forgives is aggressively unwatchable

OnlyGodForgivesNeonposterAfter watching Only God Forgives (available On Demand), the second film from Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn starring Ryan Gosling, I messaged Lainey to tell her that unlike Drive, which I enthusiastically loved, I did not enjoy a single second of Forgives. That can’t have been their intention, she said. I don’t know, I said. It was willfully unpleasant. And it is—there is something deliberate about how hard this movie works to make you hate yourself for sitting through it. It’s like a mean-spirited prank that goes on for ninety minutes. And yet, the movie is so well made that it can’t be called bad. It’s one of the prettiest ugly movies in recent memory. Continue reading “Only God Forgives is aggressively unwatchable”

We Steal Secrets is a compelling look at ego and honesty

We-Steal-Secrets-PosterAlex Gibney, the documentarian behind such films as Taxi to the Dark Side and Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, is a phenomenal storyteller. That’s always been true about him, but it’s especially apparent in his new documentary, We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks (available On Demand now). Gibney neatly lays out the rise and fall of WikiLeaks and its charismatic and/or creepy founder cum figurehead, Australian hacker Julian Assange, but because he didn’t interview Assange directly (he wanted one million dollars from Gibney for an interview), Gibney relies more than ever on the elements of narrative to tell the WikiLeaks story. The end result is a documentary that is at times uneven but is always completely engrossing and fascinating, and surprisingly sensitive. Continue reading “We Steal Secrets is a compelling look at ego and honesty”