Monday, June 29, 2015

"It Precedes," film series at the Cleveland Museum of Art

[Press release from the Cleveland Museum of Art.]

It Precedes
Five earlier works with or by five of 2015’s breakout film personalities—Alicia Vikander, Damien Chazelle, Eddie Redmayne, Pawel Pawlikowski, and David Robert Mitchell, writer-director of It Follows.
A Royal Affair
Sunday, July 5, 1:30. Directed by Nikolaj Arcel. With Mads Mikkelsen. Alicia Vikander (Ava in Ex Machina) stars in this sumptuous 18th-century period piece that was nominated for the 2013 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. She plays the British-born Queen of Denmark who has a love affair with the royal physician after her husband, King Christian VII, proves mentally ill.
Denmark/Sweden/Czech Republic, 2012, subtitles, color, 35mm, 137 min.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Repost: Results (opening in Cleveland June 26th exclusively at the Cedar Lee Theatre)

[RESULTS opens in Cleveland on Friday June 26th exclusively at the Cedar Lee Theatre.]

Review by Milan Paurich

Andrew Bujalski’s 2006 masterpiece MUTUAL APPRECIATION was sort of the mumblecore answer to Jean-Luc Godard’s MASCULINE FEMININE. Both share the same chiaroscuro-style black and white cinematography, that whole “Generational Statement” thing, and display a finely honed formal intelligence. RESULTS, Bujalski’s latest, is sort of a mumblecore equivalent to the 1967 Neil Simon chestnut BAREFOOT IN THE PARK which starred Robert Redford and Jane Fonda at their most puppy dog adorable. Which is shorthand for saying that Bujalski has taken many of the conventions of Hollywood (and Broadway) rom-coms and put his uniquely idiosyncratic (catnip for some, maddening for others) spin on them.

7 Minutes (opens in Cleveland June 26th at the Capitol Theatre)

[7 MINUTES opens in Cleveland on Friday June 26th exclusively at the Capitol Theatre.]

Review by Bob Ignizio

Redbox, Netflix, and the shelves of what video stores still remain in this world boast no shortage of low budget thrillers and crime films. And as long as one goes in with low expectations, such works can be reasonably entertaining time killers, good for a weekend get together with a few friends and the intoxicant of your choice. Occasionally you’ll even stumble across a sleeper that deserved better than straight to video obscurity. But instead of one of those rare gems getting a theatrical release, for some reason that honor has been bestowed upon 7 MINUTES.

7 MINUTES concerns a group of amateur drug dealers who dump their stock out of paranoia when it looks as if the cops are on to them. This of course does not sit well with their supplier, who gives them two days to come up with the money. The obvious answer, of course, is to pull a robbery.  It should be an easy in-and-out job that, as the title suggests, should take a mere 7 minutes. Of course everything that can go wrong does, and the simple heist turns into a bloodbath.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Escobar: Paradise Lost

Review by Bob Ignizio

Despite having his name in the title, infamous Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar is not the main character in ESCOBAR: PARADISE LOST. That honor belongs to naïve Canadian surfer dude Nick Brady (Josh Hutcherson). We first meet Nick in 1991 as Escobar (Benecio del Toro) is about to turn himself over to the authorities. We don’t yet know how this clearly in over his head gringo became a part of Escobar’s organization; we only know that he is being asked to help Escobar hide his income before his sentence begins, and that doing so will require Nick to commit murder. Cue the flashback.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Eastern Boys (June 24th at the Cleveland Museum of Art)

[EASTERN BOYS screens Wednesday June 24th at 6:45 pm at the Cleveland Museum of Art.]

Review by Charles Cassady, Jr.

It's been a recurring complaint of mine that I get assigned an inordinate amount of gay-themed movies to watch. More than my share, I do believe. I've long complained about it elsewhere; no need to go into gory details here.

But just know that if any paying media outlet had actually, after this long, long, "Cleveland Rising" (yeah, right; not for me) employment drought, genuinely, truly rehired me and told me my first assignment was to see JURASSIC WORLD, I'd probably freak out. Like so:

"You can't fool me! It's another GAY movie! There it is, right in the title! The word `ass!' The real name is probably YOUR ASS IS MY WORLD and the marketing people at Universal just misheard it. And presumed there were dinosaurs in the plot. It's really one of those BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN type man-on-man romances: "Your ass is my world," yes, probably taken directly from the dialogue. I can hear that becoming the catchphrase when this winds up a Best Picture nominee, the gold statuette personally handed over by Neil Patrick Harris and Jodie Foster. I need a break from the damn gay movies!..."

Well, I didn't get rehired anywhere, didn't get to see JURASSIC WORLD. I did, however, make a few bucks seeing the French film EASTERN BOYS. To paraphrase Ellen Degeneres, yep, it's gay.

Monday, June 22, 2015

The House With 100 Eyes (now on video)

Review by Charles Cassady, Jr.

Want to watch something more painful than the last couple Cavaliers games? Okay, pointless question; the upcoming Indians and Browns games will contribute effectively to NE Ohio's unending agony (and then there's always the local economy for added knife twists). But for those of you masochists not interested in the variety of discomfort Cleveland sports, the 2013 torture-porn mockumentary HOUSE OF 100 EYES will do.

Filmmakers Jay Lee and actor/co-director/writer Jim Roof pull it off using that tiresome old BLAIR WITCH come-on that this is edited feature highlights of a mass of anonymous video material received via messenger. The conceit is that what you are watching was the ultimate project by husband-and-wife filmmakers and serial murderers Ed (Roof) and Susan (the pretty-in-a-scary-way Shannon Malone).
He's a longtime psychopath and pretentious filmmaker-type (same deal), while she's a former nurse. Together in a tightly locked house outfitted with dungeon rooms, they do "snuff" movies for the underground market on the seedy side of Los Angeles.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Inside Out

Review by Bob Ignizio

As my friend and fellow area film critic George Thomas pointed out to me, the premise of Pixar’s INSIDE OUT bears more than a passing similarity to that of a Fox TV show from the early nineties that I had forgotten about, “Herman’s Head”. In both, the set-up is that inside the mind of the main character live various anthropomorphic representations of certain character traits. Of course, it’s not the basic idea of a given story that matters so much as what is done with it, and true to form the folks at Pixar manage to whip up a clever and entertaining story that, even if it were inspired by the long cancelled TV show, puts a unique and entertaining spin on the idea.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

National Theatre Productions at the Cedar Lee Theatre including Helen Mirren in The Audience

[Press release from Cleveland Cinemas.]
The Cedar Lee Theatre (2163 Lee Rd, Cleveland Hts.) is proud to continue its presentations in partnership with National Theatre Live to bring some of the most acclaimed London productions to Cleveland.
With an incredible line-up of plays featuring Oscar-winning and Oscar-nominated performers the upcoming schedule is the most star-studded to date. In addition to several exciting new productions, two of the most popular titles will be returning for encore presentations. Both The Audience (starring Helen Mirren) and Coriolanus (starring Tom Hiddleston) are back by popular demand.
Upcoming productions are as follows:

Honeymoon (now on video)

Review by Charles Cassady, Jr.

On late-night radio I heard a movie reviewer in a much higher pay grade and Amazon book-sales rank than mine really sing the praises of director Leigh Janiak's debut HONEYMOON, as an absolute classic. The run-out-and-grab-someone-by-the-lapels-and-drag-them-to-see-it undiscovered gem of the moment.

Well, much as I have also triumphed unheralded genre works as unsung masterworks (BLOODFIST III: FORCED TO FIGHT is a classic - and the Phantom of the Movies agrees with me on that one), I have to confess that HONEYMOON left me with a little bit of a lackluster feeling by the end. Mind you, all props to Janiak for evoking a memorable sense of unease, until a disappointingly cliched payoff (not unlike many honeymoons themselves, I might add).

Saint Laurent (opens in Cleveland June 19th at the Cedar Lee Theatre)

[SAINT LAURENT opens in Cleveland on Friday June 19th exclusively at the Cedar Lee Theatre.]

Review by Pamela Zoslov

After the celebrated fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent died of brain cancer in 2008, Pierre Bergé, his longtime lover, said, “Designing made him deeply miserable. Sadly, Yves was not built for joy. He was an unhappy person who didn't have a taste for life. Occasionally, he was happy, but life was difficult for him. The depression ran deep.”