Monday, September 26, 2016

GCFC welcomes "Little Evil" to Cleveland

[Press release from the Greater Cleveland Film Commission.]

The Greater Cleveland Film Commission (GCFC) is excited to announce that the feature film "Little Evil" has begun shooting in Northeast Ohio.

Eli Craig, the man behind the cult horror comedy "Tucker & Dale vs. Evil," will direct "Little Evil" from his own screenplay.  Starring Adam Scott and Evangeline Lilly, the story follows Gary (Scott), who just married Samantha (Lilly) only to find out that her 6-year-old son is the Antichrist. Donald Faison and Chris D'Elia also will appear in the film, along with Brad Williams, Bridget Everett, Clancy Brown, Marcus Terrell Smith and Tyler Labine. Owen Atlas will be playing the young Antichrist.

GCFC announces Tom Hanks as guest of honor at "Behind The Camera" event

[Press release from the Greater Cleveland Film Commission.]

The Greater Cleveland Film Commission (GCFC) is excited to announce that Tom Hanks will be the guest of honor at their "Behind The Camera" event Friday, December 2, 2016 at 8:00pm at the InterContinental Cleveland Hotel and Conference Center, 9801 Carnegie Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106.

The Academy Award ®-winning actor, writer, producer, director and American icon will sit down with WKYC Channel 3 anchor Russ Mitchell in an intimate setting for a conversation about his career, his Cleveland roots and the impact that a full-time media industry can have on a region like Northeast Ohio.

CIFF Presentations kick-off this week

[Press release from the Cleveland International Film Festival.]

Join us on Thursday, September 29th as we kick-off our CIFF Presentations series and celebrate halfway to CIFF41!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Phantasm (September 24th at the Capitol Theatre)

[PHANTASM in a newly remastered edition screens Saturday September 24th at 8:00 pm at the Capitol Theatre.]

Review by Bob Ignizio

Appropriately for a film concerned chiefly with the fear of death, PHANTASM begins with a murder in a cemetery. The victim was a friend of Jody (Bill Thornbury), an aspiring musician who is doing his best to take care of his adolescent brother Mike (Michael Baldwin) in the wake their parents' death. Jody tries to keep Mike away from the funeral, worried that he won't be able to handle it, but the young boy shows up anyway, watching the service from afar. That's how he sees the funeral director, known only as “The Tall Man” (Angus Scrimm), pick up the coffin of Jody's deceased friend like it was nothing and, rather than bury it, tosses it in the back of his hearse.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years (now playing at the Cedar Lee Theatre. Opens in Akron at the Nightlight 9/23)

[THE BEATLES: EIGHT DAYS A WEEK – THE TOURING YEARS is now playing in Cleveland at the Cedar Lee Theatre and opens in Akron on Friday September 23rd at the Nightlight Cinema.]

Review by Bob Ignizio

The idea of a band playing up to 8 hours a day in clubs seems unfathomable today, but that's what The Beatles did early in their career. And they did this for about 3 years in their home town of Liverpool and, later, in Hamburg, Germany. At first the band included drummer Pete Best and bass player Stu Sutcliffe (Paul was on rhythm guitar at the time). But by August of 1962 they had coalesced into the soon to be "Fab Four", with Paul moving to bass and Ringo Starr replacing Best on drums. And they were a finely tuned live music machine.

The Magnificent Seven

Review by George M. Thomas

Denzel Washington, center, leads a cast of unlikely allies to avenge '
the wrong imposed on a small town in the west.
Sometimes when a movie is remade, it’s best to not have seen the original.

Confession time:  I’ve never seen the first THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN which starred a legendary cast of actors led by Yul Brynner.

I’m glad I didn’t.  It probably would have tainted my view of the remake which stars Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Vincent D’Onofrio, Ethan Hawke, Byung-hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo and Martin Sensmeier.   A classic is a classic, right? 

Will this version of THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN be remembered as highly? I doubt it.  But the fact remains there’s little doubt that it accomplishes its goal – though languid in spots, it’s pretty damned entertaining overall.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Hollars

Review by Pamela Zoslov

The indie comedy-drama THE HOLLARS belongs to a familiar category, the homecoming film, in which a person is plucked out of adulthood and forced to return to the family homestead, there to deal with all manner of dysfunction. Graced by a superior ensemble and flecked with humor and tenderness, it has the look of a winning film and would be, if not for problematic plotting and a weakness for wacky laughs.

Our returnee is John Hollar (John Krasinski of The Office fame, who also directed), a graphic artist living in Manhattan. He's wavering about marriage, even though his girlfriend, Rebecca (Anna Kendrick), is conspicuously pregnant, and he's dissatisfied with his job at a publishing house (he aspires to be a graphic novelist.) John learns that his mom, Sally (Margo Martindale) has been hospitalized after collapsing at home. Rebecca puts John on a plane to his hometown.

Complete Unknown (opens in Cleveland September 23rd at the Cedar Lee Theatre)

[COMPLETE UNKNOWN opens in Cleveland on Friday September 23rd exclusively at the Cedar Lee Theatre.]

Review by Bob Ignizio

*NOTE* - This review was previously published under the assumption that the film had opened on September 16th. The release date was pushed back. We at the Cleveland Movie Blog apologize for any confusion.

In COMPLETE UNKNOWN, Rachael Weisz plays Alice, a woman who changes identities and professions as easily as most of us change our socks. When we first meet her, she's working as assistant to a Chinese magician. Evidently tired of this particular life, she does a disappearing act of her own. When she turns up next, she's in America passing herself off as a scientist studying frogs. It is in this guise that she encounters Tom (Michael Shannon). Although Tom, for his part, is certain that the two have met before.

Director Joshua Marston, who co-wrote the film with Julian Sheppard, allows the story to unfold slowly, creating an atmosphere of uncanny mystery and romantic tension as he does so. The film also benefits from its two leads, both of whom deliver enthralling performances that compel the audience to stick with the film, certain there must be something of interest just around the bend, some twist of the plot or some deeper theme. Yeah, not really.

Multiple Maniacs (opens in Akron on September 23rd at The Nightlight Cinema)

[MULTIPLE MANIACS opens in Akron on Friday September 23rd exclusively at The Nightlight Cinema.]

Review by Bob Ignizio

John Waters has always been interested in shocking people with his films. But as he writes in his aptly titled memoir 'Shock Value', there's good bad taste, and bad bad taste. It's not enough just to be offensive. Waters believes, to quote his book, that, "good bad taste can be creatively nauseating but must, at the same time, appeal to the especially twisted sense of humor, which is anything but universal." That pretty well sums up MULTIPLE MANIACS, the black and white feature length atrocity that preceded his infamous, career making breakthrough PINK FLAMINGOS.

In MANIACS, bored suburbanites are lured in to a twisted circus of sorts called "The Cavalcade of Perversion." Mr. David (David Lochary) serves as master of ceremonies, introducing such performers as, "the puke eater. He'll lap it right up for you, he loves it," also promising, "you'll see two actual queers kissing each other on the lips. These are actual queers!" And the price is right: free! What bored bourgeoisie could resist?

Goat (opens in Cleveland on September 23rd at the Cedar Lee Theatre)

[GOAT opens in Cleveland on Friday September 23rd exclusively at the Cedar Lee Theatre.]

Review by Bob Ignizio

After leaving a party, Brad (Ben Schnetzer) gives a couple of townies a ride. They wind up beating and robbing him, which understandably traumatizes the 19-year-old. Nonetheless, Brad puts on a strong front as he heads off to college. His brother Brett (Nick Jonas) is already a student there, and a member of one of the campus fraternities, to boot. It only makes sense for Brad to pledge the same frat. But when it comes time for his initiation, what the fraternity calls "hell week", neither Brad nor his brother are prepared for the level of brutality and humiliation.

But it's not the goal of GOAT to delve that deeply into the cesspool of Greek life. Its focus is squarely on the hazing, and with regard to that it does a good job of showing just how perverse that can be. Aside from simple verbal and physical abuse, the recruits are forced by their future brothers to engage in a whole lot of homoerotic/homophobic stuff. There's even the threat of having to engage in sex with an actual goat if they can't drink enough in a certain amount of time. At some point, though, it becomes difficult to feel sorry for anyone stupid enough to willingly partake in this kind of abuse just so they can be part of some stupid campus clique and lord it over others.