Cinema

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Cinema Clips: Deepwater Horizon

Posted By on Wed, Oct 12, 2016 at 9:00 AM


I think my shockingly lustrous eyelashes got singed watching Deepwater Horizon, director Peter Berg’s harrowing account of the worst oil rig disaster in American history. That’s because Berg’s film drops the viewer into a situation where fire and explosions are so realistic, you can feel the heat and disorientation of the 2010 disaster, which claimed the lives of 11 men and led to an oil spill eclipsing all other oil spills.

Mark Wahlberg is first-rate as Mike Williams, a man who was actually on the rig at the time of the disaster. Kurt Russell equals his power as Jimmy Harrell, who questions the integrity of the rig, and then proceeds to have the worst shower in cinema history since Janet Leigh had a showdown with Anthony Perkins.

Berg puts his film together in a way where the mere sight of mud oozing from a pipe is terrifying. When the stages of the disaster go into high gear, it’s as scary as any horror film to hit screens this year.

There’s a true sense of isolation and disorientation when the action goes full throttle. Props to the editor for creating a sensation of being utterly lost in the mayhem that escalates until the final two survivors jump many stories to the ocean below.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Cinema Clips: The Greasy Strangler

Posted By on Tue, Oct 11, 2016 at 10:00 AM


This totally bonkers film plays out like David Lynch meets John Waters.

Grouchy old man Big Ronnie (Michael St. Michaels, who once played a security guard on Diff’rent Strokes) and his weird son (Sky Elobar) conduct disco tours in which they lie to tourists about where the Bee Gees wrote their music.

In the evenings, the grouchy old man just might be the Greasy Strangler, a man who is basically what his title implies: a dude covered in grease (in part due to the greasy food he eats) who strangles people.

Things become complicated when Big Ronnie takes a liking to his son’s girlfriend, resulting in a lot of full frontal nudity from all cast participants.

First time director Jim Hosking traffics in a sort of absurdist humor that won’t be appreciated by all, but for those who like their movies weird, he’s serving up a smorgasbord with this one. It’s also really gross, with lots of grease, farts, and eyeball consumption. If you are a fan of such cult films as The Dark Backward, you will eat this up. If you don’t like your comedies weird and gross, stay far, far away.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Cinema Clips: Birth of a Nation

Posted By on Mon, Oct 10, 2016 at 10:21 AM


Director Nate Parker’s biographical film about Nat Turner plays out like the scariest of horror shows, and it very well should.

The film scarily portrays Turner’s slave rebellion in the south, one that resulted in many African Americans being slaughtered in retaliation. It’s bloody, it’s heartbreaking, and it’s the two-by-four to the face type of film the subject warrants.

Parker plays Turner, a slave raised as a preacher and exploited for money by his plantation owner (Armie Hammer in a most scary performance), and his performance is a powerful one. As for his directing, he portrays white plantation and slave owners and preachers as hissing, hateful, almost cartoonish demons, and I say amen to that.

Some of the history might not be 100 percent accurate, but the portrayal of the hatred and disgusting state of affairs that led to Turner’s uprising is vivid and on target. Jackie Earle Haley, a.k.a. Kelly Leak of The Bad News Bears, successfully portrays one of the most repugnant, irredeemable characters ever put to screen.

Stylistically, the film gets a little strange in a few moments, but the end results and impressions are long lasting, very meaningful ones.

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Friday, October 7, 2016

Casa Video Top 10

Posted By on Fri, Oct 7, 2016 at 2:30 PM

Did this week feel 500 days long to anyone else? There are many ways to let loose this weekend, but my favorite remains lying on the couch, doing a little binge watching with my cats and a glass of wine. 

Thinking about planning your own movie marathon? Check out Casa Video's most popular rentals from this week:

1. Neighbors 2

Continue reading »

Race Relations: What Horror Films Are Made Of (This One At Least)

Posted By on Fri, Oct 7, 2016 at 9:00 AM

Folks, something amazing is happening in February. 

No, Saint Valentine is not swooping down from the heavens to help you find your one, true love. 

No, Tucson is not bringing Mardi Gras to Fourth Ave (so please don't let me find you running up and down the street topless, throwing beads everywhere).

And no, the Cardinals are not winning the Superbowl. I'm calling it now—you read it here first. 

What IS happening is a horror film is being released that actually has a legitimate storyline, and...wait for it...THE BLACK GUY DOESN'T DIE FIRST! I don't know which I'm more excited for because the toss-up here is strong. Now, for the guy (or girl) who just read that last part and immediately opened up another search window and typed in the words "horror movies in which the black guy doesn't die first," let me inform you NOW that this article is tongue in cheek, and should be taken with a grain of salt. I am well aware that the Black guy doesn't always die first (and I did the Google search for you—here's an article that backs that up), but that is the long running joke within the Black community, so humor me if you will and read this through. 

Okay, so now that that is cleared up, back to my original point. YES! IT'S TRUE! In February, Jordan Peele (of Comedy Central's "Key and Peele") will be making his directorial debut with his first horror film, called Get Out. Now, I said the Black guy doesn't die first, but that's not entirely true. A Black guy does die first, but not the main character. You're confused. I know. I was too when I first heard about it, but here's the twist: Get Out is a racially charged horror flick (the first of its kind, actually). You're probably wondering what that means—I WAS TOO! Basically, it means that the old lore of White girl brings Black boy home from college to meet the folks, and the folks are cool on the surface, but maybe not *so* cool that they're above letting the Black boy know where he stands, is brought to life, but with a strange, horrific, terrifying twist. 

People, I don't even like horror films, but I will see this one. Not because Jordan Peele wrote, produced, and directed it (Go 'head on with ya bad self), and not because it's considered "racially charged." Not even because the main Black guy doesn't die first. I'm seeing this one because it will finally be a scary movie I can watch without having to holler out "Becky! Don't go up those stairs, girl!"

Yup. I just said that. 

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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Cinema Clips: The Magnificent Seven

Posted By on Wed, Oct 5, 2016 at 9:00 AM


Director Antoine Fuqua’s remake of The Magnificent Seven, which was itself a remake of Seven Samurai, has enough in common with the Yul Brynner/Steve McQueen film to make it feel like a retelling of the classic story. It also contains enough departures to make it feel like a fresh take rather than just a rehash.

The Mexican bandits led by Eli Wallach are replaced by an evil, land-stealing company led by Bartholomew Bogue. As played by Peter Sarsgaard, Bogue is a memorable villain who makes the skin crawl. He rolls into a mining town, kills a bunch of good hard-working people, and winds up getting the group in the movie’s title on his ass. Let the spectacular gunfights commence!

Fuqua’s pal Denzel Washington—they did The Equalizer and Training Day together—is first rate as Chisolm, basically Brynner’s role from the 1960 classic. When the wife of one of the deceased (Haley Bennett) comes looking for help and mentioning Bogue’s name, Chisolm flies into calm, collected and most certainly valiant action. He enlists six other men to visit the town and prepare the townspeople for the fight of their lives. The supporting cast includes Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke and Vincent D’Onofrio.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Cinema Clips: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Posted By on Tue, Oct 4, 2016 at 9:00 AM


Holy hell, is this film a boring mess.

Tim Burton directs a leaden Asa Butterfield in this adaptation of the Ransom Rig’s novel. The movie is sloppy, as if the effects weren’t completed. The story is convoluted, as if the filmmakers thought hiring a big time art director and costuming department were a fair swap for a good script. The narrative involves some nonsense regarding mutant children in a house in the forties that is stuck in a time loop. The house is led by Miss Peregrine (Eva Green, the only good thing about the movie), and visited by young Jake (Butterfield), who heard about the place from his late grandfather (Terrence Stamp).

The kids all have “peculiarities” but no personality; they are X-Men with no sense of purpose. Butterfield, a normally reliable young actor, decimates nearly every line he utters in this film. It’s actually quite shocking how inept and lost he seems in this production.

Burton stresses the visuals, as usual, but without a good strong lead like Johnny Depp or Michael Keaton, Burton is a lost cause.

I’m thinking this will hang tough as one of the year’s biggest disappointments. Samuel L. Jackson does show up with a gray version of his wig from Unbreakable, along with Venom’s teeth. He has his moments, but he can’t save this thing.

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Monday, October 3, 2016

Cinema Clips: Amanda Knox

Posted By on Mon, Oct 3, 2016 at 8:43 AM


Directors Rod Blackhurst and Brian McGinn investigate the horror show that was the Meredith Kercher murder and the many injustices rained down upon American exchange student Amanda Knox and her boyfriend of one week, Raffaele Sollecito, in Perugia, Italy.

Both were convicted by an Italian court, along with a third suspect, of stabbing Knox’s roommate Kercher to death, and both served time as their cases went through a series of appeals. The two, now free, sit down for interviews and speak of the confusion that was their interrogation, their whereabouts on the night of the murder, and the hell they endured in prison.

The film mostly skips over the trials, concentrating more on Knox and Sollecito’s recollections about the night of the murder and the aftermath. The subject probably requires an entire series, and not one 90-minute documentary, but the story is covered pretty well given the time constraint.

Others interviewed include an idiotic journalist who admits much of what was reported on Knox was rushed, inconclusive or even made up. The head prosecutor on the case also sits down, and insists upon Knox’s guilt even though there was a lack of evidence.

This story probably had many families pull the plug on plans for teenagers to attend school overseas.

Available for streaming on Netflix.

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