Drama

Before he gets his eye patch on for The Avengers this summer, Samuel L. Jackson is taking Luke Wilson on a bizarre killing spree. From director Chris Fischer, Meeting Evil tells the story of a man facing foreclosure and joblessness who helps out a man who comes to his house looking for some help with his car. That helpful hand pulls him into dangerous territory with a man capable of ending lives. Shockingly, it’s Jackson who plays the BAMF waving a gun around. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Rough and uneasy is how director Luca Enrico Canessa likes it in this turgid short about fidelity, marriage and betrayal. With floating inner monologues between lovers, it captures the false nature of their bond and breaks like a bandit into a personal dream. Where reality begins and ends is difficult to say. What will it cost? Only 5 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films.

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Writer Alex Kurtzman‘s (Star Trek) directorial debut People Like Us looks to be a sobering yet bright drama about a previously estranged family being glued back together by the will of an absentee father. It stars Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks, Olivia Wilde, Michelle Pfeiffer, Mark Duplass and Jon Favreau. As far as trailers go, this one is a winner. It’s engaging, evocative and the talent oozes right out of the edit. Check it out for yourself:

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Editor’s Note: This review previously ran as part of our Fantastic Fest coverage but with The Corridor hitting limited theaters this weekend, it makes sense to publish it once again. A sharp twist to the concept of getting together for a boys’ weekend (and the ultimate bizarre response to the influx of Dude Bro movies), The Corridor opts for rounded, deeply complicated characters who have the kind of shared history that is as likely to cause an outbreak of hugs as it is a burst of heated words and violent threats. The whole messy pile then gets an eyebrow-raising element right out of The Outer Limits dropped on top, and it’s off to the races. The film opens with a frantic confrontation where Tyler (Stephen Chambers) hides in a closet while his mother (Mary-Colin Chisholm) lies dead on the ground ostensibly by her own handful of pills. A brick wall named Bobcat (Matthew Amyotte), pretty boy named Lee (Nigel Bennett), and Brad Cooper look-a-like named Everett (James Gilbert) bust into the house only to be confronted by a maniacal Tyler who takes a swipe at Everett’s face and stabs Lee in the hand. Months later, they find themselves at a funeral/reunion at Tyler’s mom’s house in the woods with another childhood friend (Glen Matthews) in tow, trying to reconcile their relationship and deal with a supernatural force that threatens their existence.

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? These days, getting noticed can often be a matter of having outrageous effects, a slick animation or a shocking idea that turns heads. Because that’s become the norm, it’s even more shocking when simple emotion hooks you without letting go. Jonas (Edmund Lyndeck, who’s probably most famous as the crazy drunk in Big Daddy) is an umbrella salesman trying to make it through a rain-less summer and a loneliness filled with memories. For anyone who’s ever had a sweet old grandfather who stuck to his antique guns even when modern times made him seem out-moded, Kevin Slack‘s short film is a celebration of faith and tenderness that also happens to be gorgeously shot. It’s a short movie that quietly rises above a noisy fray. What will it cost? Only 10 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films.

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Getting the other side of the piracy debate, I speak directly to an online pirate about why he does it and how he sees it. Plus, Goon co-writer Evan Goldberg talks hockey and the violence of comedy while Detachment director Tony Kaye proves he’s still slightly crazy. Download Episode #124

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In his last day on the planet, Satché (Saul Williams) doesn’t go sky diving, and he doesn’t go skinny dipping. He probably doesn’t even have a bucket list. What he does have is a vibrant world at his fingertips and a courageous ability to walk calmly toward death. In Aujourd’hui (the french word for “Today”), writer/director Alain Gomis has used the stuffy old cliche of impending death and faced it with a poetic tone and a philosophy rooted more in sex and friendship than in deeper thinking. This is a mirror world that resembles our own. Possibilities are shunned, the end is embraced, life is just as dull and beautiful as it’s always been.

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Editor’s note: This review was originally published as part of our Fantastic Fest 2011 coverage on October 11, 2011. But since most of you have not yet had the chance to watch the devil himself practice good dental hygiene (and because the film is hitting limited theaters this Friday, February 17), we’re re-posting it here for your…enjoyment? Masterpieces tend to be weighty. They tend to aggravate and enthrall both during the runtime and once the credits have rolled. They tend to have a heft that makes them difficult to carry even though they demand to live in your gut for months or years afterward. On that front, and on many others, Michael defies the rules and expectations by being a shockingly breezy masterwork. Make that a shockingly breezy masterwork about a pedophile with a young boy locked in his basement. Writer/director Markus Schleinzer has created a film that shoves all of the horrifying elements into your imagination without ever delivering the goods visually. It’s an incredible feat that makes its mark from the opening scene where our villain returns his dumpy self to his dumpy home and visits the cub scout he keeps locked away. They eat dinner, they watch a little television, and the scene cuts to a shot so suggestive post-act that it makes everything far, far too clear for comfort. This is the primary technique of the rougher segments of the movie, and it works with a stark skill that streamlines the nightmare. Michael Fuith commands the […]

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? After Valentine’s Day and the launch of our Dating Site For Movie Fans, it seems only fitting to feature Joops Fragale‘s Date Night. Try to pretend like the director’s name doesn’t already have you interested. In this dreamy trip of a short film, a Tennessee-throated young woman applies a magazine perfume sample and finds a stranger in her house who seduces her with movie lines. The two then float through the elements of their date, but nothing gold can stay. The story takes chances and manages to include elements of horror, romance, comedy and, well, just about everything in between. Definitely one of a kind and worth a look. What will it cost? Only 14 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films.

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Not only will Joel Edgerton be in at least four dozen movies this year, The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that he’s just sold a spec script to Regency called One Night Stand that has them on the hunt for a director. The concept, which seems light-years away from The Square, involves an honest look at what happens when a guy and girl shack up for a single night. Consequences ensue. That’s a sadly inexact description of the script (considering that it describes a ton of movies), but hopefully there’s some magic hidden in it that caught the eye of the studio. Edgerton of course wrote The Square which caught a lot of attention, but seemed more than a bit clunky as a thriller. This new project is outside that wheelhouse just a bit as it’s described as a “drama with comedic elements,” which means someone gorgeously recites the To Be Or Not To Be speech before slipping on a banana peel. Or, if his Square sensibilities in tact, the main character will sleep with a dude no-string-style and then dump an illicit bag of money on his bed before leaving. All of this adds up to continued dominance from the Australian actor/writer/producer who just keeps making his presence known. At any rate, he’s come a long way from playing Owen Lars in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, eh?

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Once again utilizing his low budget sensibilities and a few friendly faces, writer/director/producer/actor Ed Burns has crafted an impressive adult dramedy that feels blissfully familiar (and awkwardly familial). Newlyweds is a semi-documentary style film that relies almost solely on the talents of its cast – a true ensemble made up of Burns as Buzzy, the cocksure fitness instructor on his second marriage; Caitlin Fitzgerald as his sweetly sarcastic wife Katie; Kerry Bishé (seen above) as his self-destructive sister Linda; Marsha Dietlein as his opinionated sister-in-law Marsha; and Max Baker as Marsha’s perverted old husband (in his second outing as a character named Max for an Ed Burns film). Buzzy and Katie are the kind of couple you want to be best friends with. They’re pragmatic and funny, obviously looking at life through the sober and absurd lens that their first marriages afforded them. They are tonal opposites of Marsha and Max whose 18 years together have given them emotional crow’s feet and an aggressive bitterness that doesn’t make them flinch when it starts gnashing its teeth in public. They could be representations of different stages and styles of relationships as a means to put on display the human fragility of latching yourself on to another human being for “the rest of your life.” Or, you know, they could just be real people. Which is more likely.

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In The Paperboy, Zac Efron and Matthew McConaughey play reporters from Miami hired to prove the innocence of a death row inmate (John Cusack). The woman who hires them is the highly sexual Charlotte Bless (Nicole Kidman) who has fallen in love with the inmate despite never meeting him. She’s convinced he should be free, and that they should be married. The movie is based on the novel by Pete Dexter (who wrote the screenplay), and it’s being directed by Precious helmer Lee Daniels. With one Oscar-nominated film under his belt, it will be interesting to see if he shoots for a second. It will also be interesting to see if they keep the harrowing ending to the novel, because if they do, things are about to get a lot darker. A new poster for the film is making the rounds, and it’s the kind of artwork that makes most poster artists seem lazy (as if they need help). It’s a fantastic throwback style with a little too much eye-liner. Check it out for yourself:

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Like all Harry Potter alumnae, audiences have questioned what David Yates will make his first film coming out of Hogwart’s. His name has been attached (no matter how loosely) to The Stand, to the Al Capone biopic Cicero, to an adaptation of the Vertigo comic Fables, to a movie about Alan Turing, to a war picture called St. Nazaire, and to the divisive new Doctor Who movie from BBC. Now, according to Variety, there’s a new project to add to the list. Yates is reportedly on board to direct Your Voice in My Head- an adaptation of the Emma Forrest memoir of the same name which chronicles her experience with bipolar disorder and the death of the psychiatrist who was helping her cope. Here’s the money quote from the Guardian review of the book:

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Why Watch? A little girl’s bedtime story, told while bullets fly. I featured another Jamin Winans film yesterday, but there’s no reason not to check out more – especially when Winans cuts to the chase in a movie’s first second. This short features a gambler on the run who gets a phone call from his niece and has to tell her a bedtime story that seems to have some clear parallels to his own chase scene. A little comedy, a little coincidence and another magical urban fairytale from a fresh voice. What does it cost? Just 5 minutes of your time. Check out Uncle Jack for yourself:

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Why Watch? DJ as destiny. People as Rube Goldberg device. Jamin Winans came out of nowhere (seemingly) to amaze with Ink, but this is the short film that got him the attention he deserved in the first place. It’s a head-noddable exploration of the rhythm of life where editing has as big a role to play as camera work. How does everything in life work out? Apparently it’s because of a guy in a bandana lugging around twin turntables. What does it cost? Just 8 minutes of your time. Check out Spin for yourself:

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Why Watch? A gorgeous example of dynamic camera work done for a poetic patchwork of story imagery. Yes, it’s funny to see a movie called The Last 3 Minutes be 4 minutes long, but every second is well worth it. This is death through the eyes and ears of our memory – the last gasping wonder of a world brimming with colors and trumpet bursts that we don’t think about as we walk through our normal hours. This short film is as evocative as it is stunning. A common idea presented uncommonly. What does it cost? Just 4 minutes of your time. Check out The Last 3 Minutes for yourself:

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Is there really any doubt? With Meryl Streep‘s consistent successes and the added bonus of a win for The King’s Speech last year, all that The Iron Lady has to do is prove that it’s not a carbon copy with a female in the lead to make Academy voters happy. There’s a shot in the new UK trailer for the film where Streep, as former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Margaret Thatcher, stands tall with her chest out and her chin held out in the air. It’s followed immediately by a somber shot where she hangs her head low while seated in the shadows. I can only assume that the film will focus on both aspects of her life, the trials and triumphs, the personal and the political. She’s joined by the brilliant Jim Broadbent, and the whole basket of crumpets was directed by Phyllida Lloyd (Mamma Mia!, Macbeth). It’s a gorgeous trailer. Check it out for yourself:

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Why Watch? It’s all about camera work, parallel visions, and grief in this humbling drama short by Dan Marcus. A young man faces emotional chaos after his mother’s death, and a father tries sorely to reconnect with his son. The performances from Greg Schweiner and Joshua Brail as father and son are awkward perfection. They’re in the same room, but on completely different planets. It’s enough to make the air turn blue, but the real triumph here is with every framed image that belies a strong sense of storytelling through what we can see (and what we can’t see) on the screen. What does it cost? Just 11 minutes of your time. Check out Wake for yourself:

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Why Watch? Keep an ear out for some inspired sound design in this short drama about a young man facing the darkness inside of him. Yes, that’s a tried and true story we’ve heard millions of times before, but writer/director Julius Amedume does something bold and uncomplicated with an ancient concept. It comes close to noir with its narration, a steamy voice over about a father that feels more like poetry than prose, and the long shots of London give it a vice grip on visuals. What does it cost? Just 13 minutes of your time. Check out Mr. Graham for yourself:

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, Ben Solovey explains why he’s personally restoring a 16mm print of Manos: The Hands of Fate, one of the worst movies ever made. Plus, I Melt With You director Mark Pellington talks drugs and demons, and it’s Fat Guy Kevin Carr versus Geek Tyrant editor-in-chief Jim Napier in a Movie News Pop Quiz that will change everything forever and ever. Download This Episode

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