Friday, July 3, 2015

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Review by Joseph Anthony

ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL feels so familiar. It’s as if Wes Anderson’s spirit and Michel Gondry’s BE KIND, REWIND met up with THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER and THE FAULT IN OUR STARS. That is to say, ME AND EARL feels like a hybrid of a quirky art film and an accessible indie teen film.

The “Me” in ME AND EARL is Greg (Thomas Mann), a high schooler who stays on the outskirts of high school subgroups – but in everyone’s good graces. He can be creative, intellectual, high-spirited, melancholy, whatever the situation dictates. Greg is happy to not call anyone his friend, while at the same getting along with everyone.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Melt Bar & Grilled Late Shift Titles Announced by Cleveland Cinemas

[Press release from Cleveland Cinemas.]
Cleveland Cinemas has announced the titles for the second half of 2015’s MELT BAR & GRILLED LATE SHIFT. The series continues to showcase a variety of popular films from the recent and distant past that have developed enthusiastic fans over the years. Features will screen at the following Cleveland Cinemas locations: Cedar Lee Theatre (2163 Lee Rd., Cleveland Hts.) and the Capitol Theatre (1390 W. 65th St., Cleveland).
The line-up includes some seminal anniversary presentations including 40th Anniversary screenings of JAWS and TOMMY and the final presentation of THE ROOM which is ending its run at the Cedar Lee Theatre after more than 5 years.
The films showing in MELT BAR & GRILLED LATE SHIFT are as follows and special promotions are noted below each title.

Adam Scott Q&A at the Cedar Lee Theatre for "The Overnight" on July 3rd

[Press release from Cleveland Cinemas.]
Continuing not only its commitment of presenting the most interesting films to Cleveland but also of providing audiences rare, direct access to the key talent from these works, the Cedar Lee Theatre (2163 Lee Rd., Cleveland Hts.) will be hosting a live via Skype Q&A with ADAM SCOTT, star of the new comedy THE OVERNIGHT. The Q&A will take place following the 7:15 PM showing at the Cedar Lee on Friday, July 3rd.
In THE OVERNIGHT Alex (Adam Scott), Emily (Taylor Schilling), and their son, RJ, have recently moved to Los Angeles's Eastside from Seattle. Feeling lost in a new city, they are desperate to find their first new friends. After a chance meeting with Kurt (Jason Schwartzman) at the neighborhood park, they gladly agree to join family pizza night at his home. But as it gets later and the kids go to bed, the family "playdate" becomes increasingly more revealing as the couples begin to open up.

Gemma Bovery (opens July 3rd at the Cedar Lee Theatre)

[GEMMA BOVERY opens Friday July 3rd in Cleveland exclusively at the Cedar Lee]

Review by Milan Paurich

Was Gustave Flaubert's Emma Bovary the original "Desperate Housewife"? A bored trophy wife who turned to adultery as a way of escaping the tedium and dull conformity of middle-class life, Emma was clearly ahead of her 19th century time. Which probably explains why Flaubert's masterpiece has been filmed so many times, and in so many different ways. World-class auteurs as diverse as Jean Renoir, Vincente Minnelli and Claude Chabrol have all taken a crack at Emma. Just last month the latest iteration (Sophie Barthes' MADAME BOVARY starring Mia Wasikowska as the titular heroine) briefly played Cleveland area theaters.

The Overnight

Review by Milan Paurich

If Jason Schwartzman's Max Fischer from RUSHMORE had grown up to become an internet fetish porn mogul and moved to Los Angeles with his (French!) wife and young son, he could be Kurt in Patrick Brice's THE OVERNIGHT. That's my theory and I'm sticking with it. Of course, virtually every role Schwartzman has played since his breakthrough performance in Wes Anderson's 1998 masterpiece--many of them in other Anderson movies--has felt like an extension of uber-precocious nerd Max. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Certainly my abiding affection for Schwartzman-as-Max helped in navigating Kurt's considerable "ick factor." When we first make his acquaintance, Kurt is charming the pants off recently transplanted Seattle married couple Alex (Adam Scott) and Emily (Taylor Schilling from Netflix's "Orange is the New Black"). After an impromptu meeting in a Silver Lake park--their toddlers have just hit it off on the playground--Kurt impulsively invites mom, dad and RJ (RJ Hermes) over to his house for a playdate, both for the kids and their parents. Since Emily and Alex had been hoping to make some new friends, it's an offer they simply can't refuse.

Magic Mike XXL

Review by Matt Finley

Steven Soderbergh's delightful, breezy MAGIC MIKE used the backdrop of the economic recession to follow a pack of well-intentioned, down-trodden hard bodies between the sun-bleached malaise of Florida's coast and the high camp of gimmick-driven strip club theatrics. Gregory Jacobs’ MAGIC MIKE XXL, for which Soderbergh served as cinematographer, ditches both the cultural reference point and much of the humorous visual flair of the original.

XXL is, as the title inadvertently suggests, a bit flabbier than its predecessor, lugging a bloated narrative at a disappointingly sluggish pace.

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.