Cinema

Friday, September 15, 2017

Cinema Clips: Columbus

Posted By on Fri, Sep 15, 2017 at 12:00 PM


When his father falls into a coma, Jin (John Cho) goes to Columbus, Indiana to sit by his bedside, which drudges up a lot of issues. He meets Casey (Haley Lu Richardson), a recent college grad who is stuck in limbo due to anxiety about her mother (Michelle Forbes). The two share some cigarettes, then start taking in the city’s architecture, while gradually getting to know each other a bit more.

Sound boring? Well, it isn’t, thanks primarily to the work of Richardson (The Edge of Seventeen, Split), an actress quickly becoming one of the best of her generation. She creates a fascinating character in Casey; very intelligent, perhaps a bit aloof and sensitive about her family and others. Her struggles aren’t portrayed in a melodramatic way, and her relationship with Jin is handled with class.

Casey seems like a real person, to the point where her scenes almost feel like a documentary. Cho is very good as a guy who really can’t figure out where he stands on his father, while Parker Posey the Indie Queen shows up as a former crush and friend. By the time the film ends, you will miss the characters. This is a great ensemble cast, and a sweet film.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Cinema Clips: Birth of the Dragon

Posted By on Mon, Sep 11, 2017 at 1:15 PM


This is a fictitious take on the real-life fight between Wong Jack Man and martial arts legend Bruce Lee, has a couple of good fight scenes in it. In fact, they could be called very good. And, yet, I’m forced to give this movie my lowest mark because those fight scenes are surrounded by crap.

Picture a diamond like the blue one that the old lady had in that Titanic movie. Dip it in gold and put it in a bag with $780 million dollars and a Babe Ruth autographed baseball, and then drop that bag into a communal spot where a bunch of sick hippos have taken massive shits and formed a virtual lake of shit. Let that bag sink to the bottom and become immersed in the lake of sick hippo shit. That’s what happens to the very good fight scenes in this movie. Lost in shit. Sick hippo shit. (Sorry to pick on hippos for this analogy, but, hey, they are huge, and, I imagine, rather disgusting when overcome by intestinal stress, making them capable of generating the amount of shit I needed for this particular illustration.)

The movie deals a little bit with actual, real-life fight between Lee and rival martial arts teacher Wong Jack Man, but it blows the details up to ridiculous extremes, even turning Lee and Jack Man into Batman and Robin by film’s end. It’s garbage.

Marvin Needs a Home

Posted By on Mon, Sep 11, 2017 at 12:00 PM

marvin_838237.jpg

Hi, I'm Marvin!
I am a 2 year old black male cat looking for the purr-fect home! I am very independent but will come to you for attention. I L-O-V-E LOVE to be affectionate. I will purr and even roll over to let you rub my belly. Playtime is my second favorite thing and I could easily spend my whole day on a cat scratch tree. On my lazy days I will sit in a window and watch for hours. I do good with kids and have been nonreactive with the cats here. I will need to go to a home that will let me be indoors only and does not have any dogs. I have a food sensitivity and will need to be on a special diet as well as Advita for life. Come see me at PAWSH in La Encantada, or give an adoption counselor a call at 520-327-6577 for more information!
Lots of Love,
Marvin (838237)

Friday, September 8, 2017

Cinema Clips: Goon: Last of the Enforcers

Posted By on Fri, Sep 8, 2017 at 11:00 AM


Six years ago, Goon, a funny-as-hell hockey comedy based on a real sports figure who played shitty hockey but fought like a madman, came out and seemed to give new life to the acting career of one Seann William Scott.

This sequel, directed by Goon costar Jay Baruchel, is an embarrassment from all angles. For starters, it’s sloppy, the kind of sloppy you would expect from an actor who has no clue behind the camera. The tones shift like crazy, the jokes fall flat, and the performances get killed by piss editing. The movie deals with Goon hero Doug Glatt going into retirement shortly after being named captain of his team because he can’t fight from his left side. Then it goes into a strange side story involving his work as an insurance salesman while he tries to come back, eventually getting fight training from Ross Rhea (Liev Schreiber). His training includes fighting in a hockey league that has no actual hockey, just guys dressed in hockey gear, fighting. That sounds like it could be funny but, trust me, it’s not.

The talented Alison Pill return as Eva, Doug’s love interest, and her talents are wasted, as are the talents of Elisha Cuthbert as her drunk pal. I laughed twice at this thing, both moments involving Doug’s insurance boss and his activities in Doug’s basement office. Otherwise, I just sort of groaned and felt bad for all involved.

Available for download on iTunes and Amazon.com during a limited theatrical release.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Cinema Clips: Wind River

Posted By on Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 11:00 AM


If you’re a fan of last year’s excellent modern Western Hell or High Water, you have some big reasons to get yourself into a theater for Wind River. Taylor Sheridan, who writes and directs, has a wordsmith’s way of capturing American dilemmas on par with the likes of Sam Shepard and Cormac McCarthy.

The man knows how to pen a great thriller with depth, and his works—he also wrote Iscariot and Hell or High Water—have in common a somber tone. This is a guy who knows that many of the people you pass on the street today are dealing with an eternity of grief and loss. They are making it, but it’s a bitch, and it’s not going to get easier. Wind River marks Sheridan’s second feature directorial effort, after 2011’s low-budget Vile, and it stands as one of the summer’s best films. It’s a solid mystery-thriller and a showcase for two fierce performances from Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen—yes, Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch.

They both offer up career-best work, with Renner searing the screen as Cory, a man with a tragic past, paid to hunt wolves and lions on a Native American reservation. Olsen commands her screen time as Jane, one of cinema’s gutsiest FBI agents since Clarice Starling. With this film, Renner has been tasked with some of the more difficult, emotionally brutal scenes an actor has had to handle this year. He’s been impressive before (The Hurt Locker), but this takes his stock to a new level.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Cinema Clips: The Trip to Spain

Posted By on Wed, Aug 30, 2017 at 1:09 PM


I guess these “trip” movies, where Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon travel the world, eat food and improvise, are sort of the modern day version of the Bing Crosby/Bob Hope road movies.

Too bad they aren’t nearly as much fun.

Coogan and Brydon certainly have their moments in this third trip, and some of their impersonations are truly winning. But the whole shtick gets tired fast. Directed by Michael Winterbottom, the film is almost entirely improvised, with slight plot threads weaved in to give it some sort of cohesive vibe. In the end, it’s just too much time watching these guys try to make each other laugh. Hey, they succeed sometimes, and when they laugh, we might laugh, but most of the humor is third rate. Coogan does have a dream about his being confused at the Oscars, and that’s the biggest laugh. By the time Brydon rolled out his Hugh Grant impersonation, I had had enough.

Winterbottom has made some good films in the past, including The Killer Inside Me and 24 Hour Party People. Hopefully, this will be his last trip movie, and he’ll rock something with a little more narrative and spine the next time out. As for Coogan, it’s time for another Alan Partridge movie. Actually, his upcoming Stan and Ollie, with John C. Reilly, looks damned interesting.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Cinema Clips: Annabelle: Creation

Posted By on Fri, Aug 25, 2017 at 1:00 PM

Annabelle, the creepy doll from The Conjuring movies, gets her second standalone film with Annabelle: Creation, a silly movie that’s nevertheless enjoyable thanks to some deft direction and surprisingly competent acting.

The movie essentially holds together thanks to solid performances from Talitha Bateman and Lulu Wilson, the latter being the same child actress who gave incredible work in the also surprisingly good prequel/sequel to a so-so movie, Ouija: Origin of Evil.

Mind you, the film is full of good performances from the likes of Miranda Otto, Anthony LaPaglia and Stephanie Sigman, but it’s Bateman and Wilson who get most of the credit for pulling this off in front of the camera. The film is set many years before the first Annabelle movie, with orphans Janice (Bateman) and Linda (Wilson) on their way to a new home, a group of other girls and happy nun Sister Charlotte (Sigman) at their side. Once at their new home, the doll is discovered, and the resultant playtime totally sucks ass. Last year, director David F. Sandberg delivered a decent genre film with Lights Out, based on his terrifically scary short film. (Talitha’s younger brother, Martin Bateman, starred in that one.)

Sandberg continues to show he’s good with a jolt scare; there are many moments in this movie when you expect one, and it still jolts you. He also makes good-looking movies. The authentic Southern Gothic look of this film lends to its credibility and keeps you in the story.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Cinema Clips: Lemon

Posted By on Thu, Aug 24, 2017 at 11:00 AM


Eccentric comedic actor Brett Gelman gets a much deserved starring vehicle as Isaac, a theater teacher going through some troubles with his blind girlfriend (Judy Greer). She starts getting antsy, and his behavior gets weirder and weirder, especially when it comes to student Alex (a very funny Michael Cera).

Let’s just say things don’t go well when Alex comes over to hang out, and that occurrence is one of the more normal ones in Isaac’s life. As his relationship and acting career (he’s the spokesman for Hep C) crumble, he tries to date others, and that ends with him escaping a party with his date’s grandma (again…Isaac is weird).

The film meanders a bit, and never has a true sense of purpose. Somehow, it all works just fine. Director Janicza Bravo, who co-wrote the script with Gelman, makes an impressively strange directorial debut, thanks in large part to Gelman being her star. Gelman is one of those character actors who basically shows up in everything, cracks you up, and yet you never remember his name. Maybe now we will start to remember him, because he’s been kicking mortal comedy ass for years.

Supporting cast includes Jeff Garlin, Megan Mullally and Gillian Jacobs, who costarred with Gelman earlier this year on Netflix’s Love.

Staff Pick

James G. Davis (1931-2016): Down at the Tower Bar, A Retrospective

Celebrating the career of Tucson artist James G. Davis with a selection of paintings and prints made… More

@ Etherton Gallery Sat., Sept. 9, 7-10 p.m. and Tuesdays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Nov. 11 135 S. Sixth Ave.

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