Dark Comedies

The Details trailer

Though Mean Creek director Jacob Aaron Estes’ latest project, The Details, debuted all the way back at Sundance 2011, it’s just finally gearing up for a real theatrical release come November 2. Why has it sat on the shelf for so long? Maybe it’s just because the idea of watching Spider-Man act like a jerk for a couple of hours is something of a hard sell. From the looks of the film’s new trailer, The Details is a character drama that sees Tobey Maguire cheating on his wife, banging Ray Liotta’s wife, getting another woman pregnant, contemplating murder, toilet training raccoons, appreciating latte art, chatting with Kerry Washington, chatting with Dennis Haysbert, and trying out religion. Okay, so maybe there isn’t anything wrong with those last few things, but the first couple are pretty bad. Is this going to be the sort of lead character who audiences can relate to?

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Sightseers Trailer

Given that it’s British and it’s about two people taking a laugh-filled trip through the countryside, the initial instinct is to compare Sightseers to Michael Winterbottom’s 2010 release, The Trip. Or maybe given the inclusion of a cute little dog that gets in on all the action, Michel Hazanavicius’ Oscar winner from last year, The Artist. But, about halfway through its new trailer, when all of the casual murdering starts, it becomes clear pretty quick that comparing Sightseers to anything else just won’t do. For those who’ve seen its director Ben Wheatley’s previous film, the shocking and grizzly Kill List, that probably comes as no surprise. If Wheatley proved anything there it was that he’s a storyteller who can keep an audience on their toes, and a visual artist who isn’t afraid of graphic depictions of murderous acts. Trying to pin his films down is an exercise in futility, you might as well just go along for the ride and try not to get any on you.

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Carey Mulligan

Though Carey Mulligan is an actress who’s shown quite a big of range in her young career, she’s generally always been cast as the nice girl, the one who’s going to end up being a victim. She was the naive girl who got her feelings trampled in An Education, the bright student who would never get to achieve her dreams in Never Let Me Go, and the struggling single mother in Drive – all roles that made her easily relatable to the audience, but which didn’t allow her to explore her dark side. Well, according to a report from THR, that’s about to change. Apparently Mulligan has been pursuing the lead role in a darkly comedic thriller called Nancy and Danny, and her pursuits have been effective enough that she’s now in negotiations to take the part. The movie is about a scheming woman who comes back to her hometown after her plans to make it in the big city fail. Once back, she wastes no time scheming to land a high school crush, using people as pawns, and involving herself in get rich quick schemes that go terribly wrong. The film sounds like a less cynical and more sinister version of Young Adult, and has been described as being similar in tone as Gus Van Sant’s To Die For.

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MTV, TMZ, The Real Housewives of Whereever, Dancing With the Whoever…modern pop culture is a wasteland of broken people being made famous for little other than the willingness to humiliate themselves. But the bigger problem is, more and more we’re viewing what the people involved in these projects do not as humiliation, but as “living the dream.” If you’re one of the good ones who thinks that the current cultural milieu in the United States is poisonous and is creating a society of vain, ignorant, entitled freaks…well, then director Bobcat Goldthwait has a cathartic expression of violence in store for you. Goldthwait’s latest film, God Bless America, is about a man who gets pushed to the brink and responds by going on a murderous rampage where he systematically mows down all of pop culture’s most vile, vapid icons (with some collateral damage involving rude, selfish, everyday behavior along the way). Check out the film’s red band trailer after the break.

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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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