By Bob Grimm
on Tue, Sep 27, 2016 at 9:19 AM
Author JT Leroy came to prominence after the release of his novels Sarah and The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things. After years of staying out of the public eye, he emerged and became a phenom among celebrities like Billy Corgan, Michael Pitt, Winona Ryder and especially Gus Van Sant, who credited him as an executive producer on Elephant.
In actuality, JT Leroy was fictional, a creation of author Laura Albert. The public Leroy was Albert’s sister-in-law in a really bad blonde wig, while Albert would conduct many phone conversations in the guise of Leroy.
Watching this documentary, it’s hard to believe this many celebrities (even Bono!) were fooled by Albert, but many of them were. Asia Argento actually made a movie of Things thinking she was making Leroy’s biography.
Director Jeff Feuerzeig interviews Laura Albert for the film, and we hear many of the phone conversations her Leroy persona had with the likes of Corgan, Van Sant, and Argento. As somebody who knew little about this saga going into the movie, I found it fascinating.
By Bob Grimm
on Mon, Sep 26, 2016 at 9:00 AM
Jerry Lewis makes his first film appearance in more than 20 years, and it’s a dull affair. He plays the title character, a man who recently lost his wife, Eva (Claire Bloom) and makes a discovery while rummaging through some drawers. It turns out the wife was carrying around a compact with a message from some dude scrawled in it, a message that implies she may’ve had a lover.
The film (written and directed by Daniel Noah) doesn’t really know what it wants to be; funny, sad or super dark. Max acts like a major jerk for most of the movie, making him a hard character to get behind.
It doesn’t help that Lewis has never been a very good dramatic actor, save for sort of playing himself in King of Comedy. So when he’s required to emote or get agitated for the part, he goes way, way over the top.
The mystery of the wife affair leads up to a final confrontation that is almost interesting (Dean Stockwell is amusing in his scene), but then the film goes for a strange, emotional ending that it hasn’t earned and seals it’s fate as being super weak.
This one sat on the shelf for three years, and it probably should’ve stayed there. While it’s quite bad, it’s not nearly as bad as Slapstick of Another Kind. I’m quite sure that will always be Jerry Lewis’ worst movie, even if he does someday release The Day the Clown Cried.
By Bob Grimm
on Wed, Sep 21, 2016 at 10:01 AM
A couple (Itay Tiran and Agnieszka Zulewska) have the worst…wedding…ever in Poland after the groom has seemingly become possessed with the ghost of a Yiddish woman. The groom’s possession comes after arriving at the old house he and his soon-to-be wife are to live in. He goes for one of those creepy nighttime walks, sees an apparition, gets sucked into the ground, and it all goes bad from there. His behavior goes from belligerence with wedding guests, to all out seizures and, ultimately, talking in another language to a man who knew the ghost when she was alive.
Director and co-writer Marcin Wrona has crafted his movie in a way that is funny, creepy, genuinely disturbing, and just the right amount of insane.
Tiran is excellent as the guy who rushes into marriage without knowing his in-laws all that well, and Zulewska is equally good as a woman who might not have picked the right guy after all.
The film is based upon a Jewish haunting legend called they dybbuk, but it also acts as a nice parable about the dangers of rushing into matrimony. Wrona made a good movie, and it’s too bad we won’t get more from him. He took his own life at a film festival where this movie was in competition.
By Bob Grimm
on Mon, Sep 19, 2016 at 9:51 AM
Leah (Morgan Saylor), a college student in New York City, is moving into a new apartment. She meets a drug dealer (Brian ‘Sene’ Marc) who she really likes, and gets mixed up in some bad stuff with him. Meanwhile, she’s doing an internship at an ad agency where her boss (Justin Bartha) calls her into the office and, well, there’s trouble in the boss’s office, too, and it involves drugs and his pants.
Basically, this girl can’t do anything right, and when her drug dealer boyfriend gets arrested, she finds herself doing all kinds of stuff to help him out involving drugs and man-pants.
Writer-director Elizabeth Wood makes a film that feels like Larry Clark’s Kids, in that nothing good seems to ever happen to the teenaged protagonist; the bad juju just keeps piling on. It gets a little tedious to watch at times. Saylor is good as the girl with serious issues before the semester starts, while Bartha scores as the dick boss who should stay away from the interns. Chris Noth shows up as an attorney who seems helpful, but really just wants to get paid.
Parents, this one will have you seriously reconsidering that idea of letting your college aged kids live off campus. Well, actually, shit gets pretty unreal in the dorms, too.
In this week's Weekly List, we highlighted some of our favorite Tucson yoga classes—you know, just in case you need something to help cool down after a stressful few days. If yoga's not your thing, I reccomend a good ol' fashioned movie marathon.
This is a list of Casa Video's most rented movies over last week. Maybe it'll inspire your weekend movie marathon.
By Bob Grimm
on Fri, Sep 16, 2016 at 9:30 AM
Ron Howard directs the first major Beatles documentary since The Beatles Anthology in the nineties.
While Anthology is still the most definitive and damn well perfect account of the greatest band to ever walk the earth, Howard does a nice job culling footage snippets of the band during their short lived touring days, replete with screaming fans (one of them being Sigourney Weaver, who is seen in a crowd during vintage footage and in a present interview).
The surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, participate with interviews, while John Lennon and George Harrison have a strong presence in archived interviews. As with Anthology, there’s no narrator, just the voices of the Fab Four either recounting those crazy touring days or commenting on them as they were happening.
The film focuses for the most part on their stretch as a live band. That stretch ended right before Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, when The Beatles became a studio band and eschewed live performances. As the film demonstrates, that decision came about not because they didn’t love playing together, but because they were basically afraid for their lives.
Hardcore fans will be familiar with most of the interviews and performances, although you will see and hear some surprises. This film is actually a great starting point for any of you out there looking to get a little more serious in your examination of the band. Keep this in mind when you check them out: This band did what they did in just seven years. SEVEN YEARS. That’s how long it takes many current bands to put out one album. The many style and sound changes they went through, most of them anyway, are depicted in this film. They were the very definition of progressive.
Through all of the media, music, lifestyle, fashion and technological changes that have happened since the sixties, The Beatles have remained an amazing, lasting, non-dated entity. They were cool then, and they are cool now. They will always be cool, and Ron Howard is well aware of this.
By Bob Grimm
on Thu, Sep 15, 2016 at 9:00 AM
Adam Nimoy directs this sweet documentary about his dad, Leonard, and the everlasting legacy of his most universally treasured creation, Spock.
The film stands as a terrific look back at the origins of the character, and his transitions through time, straight through to the recent Spock incarnation played by Zachary Quinto. More importantly, the film stands as a blessed tribute to the man behind the character, examining his entire career and family life.
Nimoy unearths some great footage, including Leonard reading the original Variety review for Trek in front of a large crowd and, of course, “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins,” Leonard’s most infamous single from his musical career (If you haven’t seen the video, it’s one of the greatest things ever made). Adam had a rocky relationship with his dad but, thankfully, that was remedied in recent years, something the film touchingly covers. The film stands as the most comprehensive guide to the character of Spock, while also being a nice love letter to Leonard Nimoy. Hey, this is actually the best Star Trek movie to come out in 2016!
Available for rental on iTunes, Amazon.com and On Demand during a limited theatrical release.