Cheap Thrills

Mark Webber in 13 Sins

In almost every set of “dueling” movies, whether they’re competing biopics or similar-premise disaster flicks out within months of each other, there’s a right one and a wrong one as far as which you’re supposed to prefer. It’s okay to enjoy Michael Bay’s Armageddon, but you should recognize Mimi Leder’s Deep Impact as the better movie. Capote over Infamous. Observe and Report over Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Top Gun over Iron Eagle. Dantes Peak over Volcano. Tombstone over Wyatt Earp. 1492: Conquest of Paradise over Christopher Columbus: The Discovery. The Prestige over The Illusionist. Mission to Mars over Red Planet. Chasing Liberty over First Daughter. Leviathan over DeepStar Six, and The Abyss over both of them. Some pairs are nearly a draw as far as neither actually being worth a preference, such as Lambada and The Forbidden Dance. Here’s a more recent one: Cheap Thrills over 13 Sins. The former came out first (in March), which is often a plus financially but can also be in a movie’s favor with critics. It sure seems that way given the distance between their Rotten Tomatoes rating (88% to 58%). The latter opened in April and now is available on DVD and VOD as of last week, and it hasn’t been receiving nearly as much love. Well, maybe it’s because I actually saw it first, but I like 13 Sins better. They’re not really easily comparable outside their likeminded concept, both involving a desperate guy performing rising-stakes dares for rising sums of money. 13 Sins is richer (and sometimes […]

read more...

Drafthouse Films

The past couple of years seemed to see a rash of films dealing with the somewhat similar plot device of people doing increasingly dangerous, disgusting or risky things for cold, hard cash. 13 Sins, Would You Rather and others deal with the idea in different ways, but one of the most celebrated of the bunch is E.L. Katz‘s Cheap Thrills. The film follows a down on his luck man named Craig (Pat Healy) who’s fired from his job on the same day he receives an eviction notice. With a wife and baby son counting on him he willingly steps into a bizarre scenario involving a wealthy, thrill-seeking couple (David Koechner and Sara Paxton) willing to pay Craig and his friend (Ethan Embry) to take part in a series of often grotesque challenges. Things go about as well as you’d expect. It’s an alternately funny and tragic film that walks an incredibly fine and blackly-comic line, and it’s just been released on Blu-ray/DVD from Drafthouse Films. Keep reading to see what I heard on the commentary track for Cheap Thrills.

read more...

MPI

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. Death Spa The hottest health spa in in town uses a state-of-the-art computer to help its clientele get the most out of their workouts, but the business is threatened when people start dying on the premises in wonderfully gory ways. Well, it would be threatened if the customers cared more about their safety than they do their bodies. It seems the owner’s wife, a woman who burned to death under mysterious circumstances, has returned for some supernatural vengeance. I won’t pretend that this late ’80s horror flick is a “good” movie per se, but there’s definitely a lot to enjoy here from the bloody gore effects to the decade-glorifying production design to its unabashed love of nudity to dialogue that delivers unintentional laughs. It’s a fun little movie that also earns points for finding a different angle on the haunted house tale. Gorgon Video’s new Blu-ray offers a solid HD transfer alongside new and entertaining extras, and while it’s not the best new release this week (and it’s more than a little over-priced) it’s a joy to finally see this somewhat forgotten gem find new life. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentary, making of, trailer]

read more...

Corman

In Alex Stapleton’s documentary Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel, prolific filmmaking legend Roger Corman discusses a philosophy of entertainment that he developed about a decade into his career. Corman had just made his first serious drama, the 1962 integration-themed The Intruder. The film, which he and his brother self-financed because studios wouldn’t touch it, was Corman’s first work that he felt to be truly important, and it stands today as a film without equal in its timely diagnosis of American race relations. The film also turned out to be Corman’s first indisputable box office failure. So after The Intruder, Corman changed course: he decided to continue pursuing relevant themes in his work, but maintain his dominance of American B-cinema. The text of his films would entertain audiences, but the subtext would resonate with an eye on timely social, cultural, and political issues. Corman saw his 1967 film The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, for instance, as both an entertaining gangster picture and a comment about the underground economy that develops when immigrant groups are sidelined from legitimate social mobility in a xenophobic America. The message, Corman admitted at a local Q&A this weekend, would not be apparent to all audiences. But at least it would be there. Corman was hardly the first to recognize the political power of entertainment, but the fact that one of the most prolific B-movie producers in history understood this unique potential is significant: what are supposedly the most lowbrow or expendable of movies can actually be the most […]

read more...

Cheap Thrills

Director E.L. Katz‘s Cheap Thrills was the first movie to get picked up for distribution at this year’s South by Southwest, and it’s also the third movie in a row actor Pat Healy has had at the festival, following Compliance and The Innkeepers. All three movies have featured Healy in a starring role, but, according to Healy, that doesn’t mean he still isn’t crashing on people’s couches to make it to a film festival.

read more...

Ice Pirates

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

read more...

Grand Budapest Hotel

March may not be the most wonderful time of the year, but this year it’s a pretty wonderful 31-day span. There’s a Wes Anderson movie, Muppets, a biblical epic, and the return of one of TV’s most charming characters. This month is overwhelming with quality, so much so that I had to exclude Eva Green’s performance in 300: Rise of an Empire from this list. Not only is that semi-sequel more fun, self-aware, and bonkers than the original, but Green chews up every bit of CG scenery in her sight. I already feel shame for scratching it off. Make sure to experience Green’s performance in 3D. Never before has a woman kissing a decapitated head been portrayed with such grace, but somehow Green and the power of a third dimension makes the romantic act more beautiful and visceral than ever. None of the 10 films featured below has the actress killing it in the third dimension, but they all have their own things going for them. Again, it’s an excellent month to look forward to.

read more...

tiko and shark

Much of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is more of the same from Ron Burgundy and the gang. As the lead character, Will Ferrell does the news, does some ladies and has a few meltdowns. Brick says idiotic things, Champ says inappropriate things and Brian Fantana has a special cabinet alluding to his assumed sexual prowess. Oh, and Veronica Corningstone is back and mad at Ron again. There is even another cameo-filled brawl. But there are a few things added in that we didn’t see in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, like Ferrell wrestling with a shark that calls to mind scenes with a cougar and a bear in Talladega Nights and Semi-Pro, respectively. The sequel reminded me of some other movies besides those in the filmography of its star. Sometimes this was the intention of the filmmakers via a direct reference. Other times it was just the usual wandering of my brain making relevant associations. Occasionally the reminders came externally from another writer’s comparison. Regardless of where this week’s list of recommendations came from, I’ve wound up with a nice variety of titles about broadcast journalism and keeping sharks as pets plus selections highlighting some of the cast’s other work worth checking out. Queue them up for your holiday week, why don’t you. As always, the following may involve SPOILERS as some of the titles below are linked to specific plot points of the movie.

read more...

review cheap thrills

Editor’s note: Our review of Cheap Thrills originally ran during this year’s SXSW Film Festival, but we’re re-running it here as the film plays Fantastic Fest. Hey, did you guys know the economy sucks? It’s pretty evident from the price of gas to the unemployment rate to the housing market that we’re still not out of the woods yet. So it’s the perfect climate for a movie critiquing how money rules all and offers peace and stability to those who desperately crave it. Cheap Thrills is both thriller and dark comedy at the same time. The lead character is Craig (Pat Healy), a regular guy doing his best to provide for his wife and small child, but his best isn’t good enough, and with an eviction looming he loses his job at a mechanic shop. Hurting from being kicked while he’s down, he heads to the nearest bar to drown his sorrows. He runs into Vince (Ethan Embry), an old friend he hasn’t seen in awhile, and the two are drawn into a conversation with Colin (David Koechner) and his wife Violet (Sara Paxton) who are celebrating and throwing money around the shithole dive bar. But it’s when Craig and Vince head back to the couple’s house that the stakes go way up and the money really starts flowing… as long as Craig and Vince are willing to play along.

read more...

review cheap thrills

Like anyone else, I am all too aware that the economy isn’t doing so well. As a writer, I’ll gladly take an extra article for a quick buck or an extra sandwich. But Cheap Thrills, the new dark – dark – comedy from director E.L. Katz is taking that concept to another level and putting its protagonist through a night of hell as he tries to make ends meet. When the married father of a newborn (Pat Healy) loses his job and faces eviction, he can’t comprehend how he’s going to fix his situation. Enter David Koechner and Sara Paxton, who play a bored, impossibly rich couple who offer him and his friend (Ethan Embry) wads of cash to complete a series of dares and tasks over the course of one night. As the night wears on, however, the dares get more gruesome and provocative as the amount of cash increases. And it all looks like good, sick fun. Are those missing fingers I (don’t) see at the end? As equal parts thriller and dark comedy, it’s fodder for hiding behind your fully-attached fingers as this poor dude’s “night of his life” unfolds. Check out the trailer for yourself:

read more...
Some movie websites serve the consumer. Some serve the industry. At Film School Rejects, we serve at the pleasure of the connoisseur. We provide the best reviews, interviews and features to millions of dedicated movie fans who know what they love and love what they know. Because we, like you, simply love the art of the moving picture.
SXSW 2014
Game of Thrones reviews
Got a Tip? Send it here:
editors@filmschoolrejects.com
Publisher:
Neil Miller
Managing Editor:
Scott Beggs
Associate Editors:
Rob Hunter
Kate Erbland
Christopher Campbell
All Rights Reserved © 2006-2014 Reject Media, LLC | Privacy Policy | Design & Development by Face3