Monday, April 27, 2015

The Zigzag Kid (now on video)

True story: back when I was in high school, a largely introspective always-sitting-alone-at-lunch "grind," I had a hobby on the side of self-taught calligraphy and ink-pen drawing. And one of the top names in the field of pen nibs and calligraphy accessories was Speedball. I possessed a small, much-used Speedball set, a gift from my much-beloved parents, and some nights after homework (which never seemed to end) I'd work on drawing/writing projects.

So one day in the school library, where I had a student job - non-paying, which sort of set the tone for my later career - I remarked to the adult library advisor (not having any friends my own age, of course) something to the effect that I'd be using my Speedball that night.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Ex Machina

Review by Bob Ignizio

Not unlike Charlie Bucket, computer programmer Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) wins a golden ticket in the science fiction thriller EX MACHINA. Only his ticket doesn't offer entree to a magical chocolate factory, but to the high tech secluded home of his employer Nathan (Oscar Isaac), CEO of the world's most popular search engine and a technological wizard.

Once at Nathan's home, and after signing an extensive non disclosure agreement, the literary comparisons switch from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” to “Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus”. It turns out Nathan has applied his considerable intellect and expertise to the task of creating artificial intelligence. He just needs someone who has the ability to discern whether his creation, Ava (Alicia Vikander), possesses true consciousness.

The Age of Adaline

Review by Candice Lee Catullo

THE AGE OF ADALINE is clouded with a dark but sentimental nostalgia. Through the dreamy haze, we meet Adeline in San Francisco in the year 2014.

The narrator explains: Adaline, played by Blake Lively (GOSSIP GIRL), was in a car accident in 1935. Through a series of unlikely events – and a healthy does of movie magic – Adaline’s body stops aging. Even Adaline cannot comprehend the preposterous sci-fi magic that paused her lifespan, and she spends her life hiding her condition for fear of being analyzed and criticized. In 2014, she is going by the alias Jenny and is living a mostly solitary life.

The Water Diviner

Review by Pamela Zoslov

Russell Crowe's film THE WATER DIVINER arrives just in time for the April 25 centenary of Anzac Day, the commemoration of the landing of the ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) forces at Gallipoli, where they battled the Ottoman Empire in World War I. The Gallipoli (or Dardanelles) Campaign, one of the war's bloodiest, cost the lives of nearly a half-million men. The largest number of those killed were Turks, but many thousands were English, French, Australian and New Zealander.

Best of the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival, April 25 and 26.

Event preview by Charles Cassady, Jr.

Springtime in Chagrin Falls means two things. First there's the Memorial Day weekend "Blossom Time" community festival that customarily includes a massive hot-air balloon convention and flyover. But Chagrin Falls has another claim to fame in the spring. It's the "Best of the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival."

The actual CDFF a week-long celebration of the latest in nonfiction cinema, normally takes over the whole of the town in October. But as a runup to the 2015 edition, the CDFF is making Saturday a retrospective of highlights and audience-award winners from last year's fest.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Man From Reno (opens in Cleveland May 24th at the Capitol Theatre)

[THE MAN FROM RENO opens in Cleveland on Friday May 24th exclusively at the Capitol Theatre.]

Review by Bob Ignizio

*Note: seeing as it can be near impossible to talk meaningfully about some films without what some might consider SPOILERS, consider this your warning.*

Small town sheriff Paul Del Moral (Pepe Serna) accidentally hits a Japanese man with his car while driving along a foggy road. There's something fishy about the accident victim, but before he can be questioned he vanishes from his hospital room. Meanwhile, bestselling Japanese mystery writer Aki (Ayako Fujitani) ditches her press tour without telling anyone where she is going and travels to San Francisco, feeding speculations that she has disappeared (shades of Agatha Christie). At her hotel Aki meets a mysterious Japanese man (Kazuki Kitamura) who seduces her, only to (you guessed it) go missing himself. What the heck is going on?

Dope Island: Exclusive preview footage of Batman Vs. Superman revealed!


Clouds of Sils Maria (opeins in Cleveland April 24th at the Cedar Lee Theatre and Capitol Theatre)

[CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA opens in Cleveland on Friday April 24th at the Cedar Lee Theatre and Capitol Theatre.]

Review by Milan Paurich

She’s like the wind.

Not to get all Patrick Swayze-ish or anything, but Kristen Stewart really does come across like a gale force twister in Olivier Assayas’ CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA. It’s nearly uncanny—and even a little spooky—how you can’t take your eyes off Stewart no matter who she’s sharing a scene with. Even Oscar-winning French actress Juliette Binoche is pretty much left in the dust by the former Bella Swan. Stewart’s fierce intelligence practically burns a hole through the screen, and I was mesmerized by her single-minded intensity and astonishingly vivid, lived-in performance. As an on again/off again Stewart fan, it’s with a tremendous sense of relief, pride and joy to report that she’s never been better, more self-possessed, or quite frankly alive than she is in Assayas’ marvelous new movie. From the opening scene aboard a commuter train where Stewart juggles two cell phones, a jostling caboose and her diva-licious film star boss (Binoche) without breaking a sweat, it’s pretty clear we’re seeing a supremely confident young actress at the top of her game.

An interview with 'Destroy Cleveland' director Matthew Greenfield

Interview by Bob Ignizio

Photo by Jill Paolini
Cleveland hardcore bands like Confront, Outface, False Hope, Integrity, Gordon Solie Motherfuckers, Inmates, One Life Crew, and The H-100s may not be household names, but they mattered to the fans who saw their shows. One of those fans was Matthew Greenfield, director of the new documentary DESTROY CLEVELAND. The film essentially picks up where Brad Warner's documentary CLEVELAND'S SCREAMING! left off, circa 1987 and follows the scene through the early 2000s. DESTROY CLEVELAND is set to premiere in Cleveland on July 24 th at the Ohio City Masonic Arts Center, but in the meantime I had a chance to talk to Greenfield about his film and the music that inspired him.

Repost: Seymour: An Introduction (opens in Akron April 24th at the Nightlight Cinema)

[SEYMOUR: AN INTRODUCTION opens in Akron on Friday April 24th exclusively at the Nightlight Cinema.]

Review by Charles Cassady, Jr.

An NPR radio show (yes, I listen, even though the local affiliate ignores my job applications) pretty much said nearly everything I wanted to say about SEYMOUR: AN INTRODUCTION, at least as regards the documentary's director, actor-author-filmmaker Ethan Hawke. It seems that most of the intelligentsia scoff at Mr. Hawke's creative efforts outside of just being a sub-Brat Pack-actor pretty face in cop-action movies. Laughed him off as a pretentious wannabe smartypants. Whereas James Franco, for some reason, is universally praised for doing the same cross-platform art-performance-life schtick. What gives?