God Bless America

Ben Wheatley‘s Sightseers is the ultimate dark comedy. It puts the most audacious visuals in front of you and dares you not to laugh at them. In the film, Chris (Steve Oram) and Tina (Alice Lowe) take a week out caravanning across the English country-side. Little does she know, he’s a murdering psychopath with a short temper. Eventually, the two are traveling from one landmark to another killing anyone who pisses them off. Earlier this year, Bobcat Goldthwait similar God Bless America received a lukewarm response from critics. This feels like a less overbearing version of that film. While most instances of violence come from things that aggravate our protagonists, the murder spree doesn’t come out of some sense of entitlement. Chris and Tina kill just because they prefer that person dead, for their own gratification and to better enjoy their holiday. It’s not to improve the world around them. The film derives some great comedic moments from the bookends holding scenes together. Chris kills a man for telling him and Tina to clean up a piece of excrement, which is followed by them asking themselves, “Isn’t the country lovely?” The film revels in how easily Tina and Chris can justify their murders and brush them off as a part of their holiday.

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Idiots and Angels

While blockbusters battle it out on the big screen, some of the best of what to watch is at home, streaming directly to your TV. In the past couple of weeks, Netflix has added a plethora of stellar titles to its instant library including a rock n’ roll redemption documentary, a dark and hilarious animated feature and an overlooked Friedkin title.

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Patton After Dark

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that is often written drunk, especially on national holidays. We spent all day celebrating America in all her imperfect, boldly designed glory. No matter where you fall on the current state of American politics and culture, the beauty of it is that you’re free to think and say whatever you want. Around here, we like to say all kinds of things about moving pictures. Some call them movies. They are the backbone of this very nightly column, one that takes you around the movie blogosphere, already in the midst of its celebration of America. If you’re still sober enough to read these words, then you’re ready to do the news.

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This Week in DVD

Welcome back to This Week In DVD! I just moved to Arizona a couple days ago, and I have yet to get carded. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Barbarella (Blu-ray) A leftist pinko astronaut named Barbarella (Jane Fonda) is tasked with finding the origin of Duran Duran’s name and rescuing a lost scientist along the way. Neither plan comes to fruition, but she does manage to use her skill at love-making to help the resistance in their struggle against tyranny, teach an angel to fly, and break a musical dildo machine. (Probably worth reminding readers that my ‘Pick of the Week’ isn’t necessarily reserved for excellent movies or even the week’s best releases, but instead it’s meant to highlight a title worth, well, highlighting.) This boob and innuendo-filled, PG-rated, late-sixties romp is ridiculous and ridiculously entertaining. Cheesy, absurd and pretty damn funny.

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This Week in Blu-ray

Between this week and last, the world of Blu-ray has been rather quiet. Each week provides its own go-to titles, but it’s not quite the deluge of high definition spirit that we’re seeing at the box office this time of year, there are a few real standouts. It’s our job to sift through the buffet of choices and find said standouts, and that’s what we intend to do with This Week in Blu-ray. We begin this week with one of this author’s favorite films of 2012 thus far… God Bless America The Pitch: One man’s rage over the fall of reason in American pop culture turns into a killing spree with a teen girl sidekick. This is known: Putting a quote from my theatrical review on the back of your Blu-ray packaging will not guarantee you pick of the week status, but it certainly won’t hurt. Purchasers of Bobcat Goldthwait’s excellent tale of a fed up guy (Joel Murray) and his bloodthirsty, pubescent friend (Tara Lynne Barr) will find the following quote on the back cover, accredited to this very site: “It’s a magnetic film that provides 100 minutes of subversive, blood soaked fun.” We do not print lies, friends. This one is highly political, hyper-violent to the point of being militant and above all, hilarious. Joel Murray and Tara Lynne Barr are a regular Butch and Sundance, if Sundance rocked an a-cup and the gang was out to kill the Kardashians. You won’t want to be the like who […]

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SXSW: God Bless America

Editor’s Note: This originally ran as part of our SXSW 2012 coverage, but God Bless America sees limited theaters this weekend. Should you check it out? “Jesus Frank, you look like fuck pie.” As we meet Frank, a lonely, recently unemployed man soaked in discontent for a society gone awry, it’s clear that no more clear a portait of his current state could be painted than the words spoken by his 16-year-old companion, a troubled girl named Roxie. In a country filled with appalling reality television, fear-mongering telepundits and a nation whose prime directive is to be as hopelessly mean to each other as possible, Frank has had enough. Unable to connect with an oblivious ex-wife and his spoiled rotten 7-year old daughter, and saddled with the news that his migraine headache affliction may, in fact, be a massive brain tumor, Frank sets out to do something noble — shoot a reality TV princess. That’s where he meets Roxie, an onlooker to the murder of a girl who represents all the seething awful that bad upper middle class parenting can create. A  troubled young girl who would become the Bonnie to his Clyde, an inspiration for a killing spree that spans all levels of America’s rotten culture. From religious nutjobs to the devotees of an American Idol-esque competition show, no one will escape the wrath of a desperate man and his frighteningly over-zealous sidekick.

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Finally, readers, the summer movie season is upon us. So far this year has been solid, but sorely lacking in mega-blockbusters. John Carter did not deliver for the fifteen people who saw it and The Hunger Games, as successful and good as it was, wasn’t an epic actioner or packed with real spectacle. Yet there’s much promise in the action department for the summer of 2012, and it’s starting off just right, with something we’ve all been anticipating. Hopefully the rest of the summer will follow that film’s mighty lead…

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This year’s SXSW may be over, but it’s certainly not forgotten. Another week of barbeque, buddies, beer, and – oh yeah – movies down, and we’re still recovering, both in terms of remembering everything we saw and attempting to pry ourselves out of our stretchiest of pants. As with any film festival, the stunning depth of films available to watch has resulted in a solid handful of serious favorites. This time around, our twelve favorite films of the festival include big studio comedy, intimate documentary, the best action film in years, true independent features, and even a picture made entirely on cell phones. Take a look at our twelve favorites from this year’s SXSW after the break.

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If you say bro, give high fives, call your boobs “the girls,” or talk like Juno, writer/director Bobcat Goldthwait will shoot you in the face…or at least his sad, funny, and sweet leads will, Frank and Roxy. Underneath the dark concept and inherent sadness of God Bless America, there’s a well-intentioned message most of us can all get behind: just act nice. Frank (Joel Murray) and Roxy (Tara Lynne Barr) go on a killing spree, taking out the scum of the world. They see the annoying people they murder as selfish, as they indulge in extremely selfish wish-fulfillment acts. Haven’t we all dreamed about taking out the daily annoyances and unbearable people in our lives? Bobcat Goldthwait shows how sad carrying out that fantasy is, and the same goes for how funny it can be. Here’s what Bobcat Goldhwait had to say about long rants, when violence and sweetness come together, and how shitty nerds are:

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South by Southwest is our favorite film festival not just because it’s in our own backyard (relatively speaking) or because it affords us a chance to eat BBQ on daily basis or even because it means we can sit in the Drafthouse all day but because – wait, no, it’s our favorite film festival for precisely those reasons. What else could you possibly want from a film festival? Good films? Fair enough. Luckily, finding good films at SXSW isn’t hard, not even remotely, which explains why our list of Our 16 Most Anticipated Films came together with no overlap – there’s truly something for everyone. For Rob Hunter, that means a lot of guns and violence, for Dear Leader Neil Miller, he just wants to stop being the last person in America who hasn’t seen The Raid. We even let Jack pick some films too. Sixteen in total, these films encapsulate the variety that makes SXSW so great – stick with this list and you probably can’t go (too)  wrong. Why sixteen films? Because we’re sweet. Or just suffering from anticipatory exhaustion from our favorite film festival. Check out all the movies we’re aching to see after the jump.

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There’s a solid chance that you haven’t heard of most of these movies. Yet they exist – out there somewhere as a thorn in the side of movie fans trying to see as much as possible. Nuggets of potential waiting to be picked up from the movie orphanage by a distributor and given a warm home with cup holders in every seat. The European Film Market is fascinating for that reason and for the way people attend it. Tickets this year were around $600, but that’s a reasonable price for companies sending representatives trying to find the next moneymaker for their company or the hot movie to bring to their festival. That means screenings come complete with people on cell phones and unimpressed buyers walking out after ten minutes to hustle next door to see if the other movie playing has any promise to it. It’s a bizarre way to watch movies, but it makes a kind of sense given the massive size of the movie list compared to the tiny amount of time to see everything. There were upwards of 675 movies in the EFM this year, all of them with their own selling points. Here are the 87 most interesting-sounding with descriptions found in the official catalog. For the most part, I haven’t seen these movies (and didn’t even know about many of them until the Berlin Film Festival), but they all have something going for them that should earn them a spot on your radar.

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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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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s nothing more than a nightly film news column that keeps fighting the good fight. The one that celebrates movies, good, bad and otherwise interesting, and is generally optimistic. It doesn’t attack other websites that smear its name. Though if /Film’s Page 2 keeps mean-mugging it, that bitch is gonna get smacked. That’s how we settle things in the streets. As you are about to see, this week’s final News After Dark edition comes on a very slow news night. So it’s all posters, future Blu-rays and articles I found interesting. Including this AV Club Q&A about first R-rated movies. Like AV’s Josh Modell, I’m fairly certain — almost completely certain — that my first R-rated film was The Blues Brothers, a film that has remained part of my beating, movie-loving heart ever since. What was your first R-rated movie? Feel free to let me know in the comment area below and we’ll have some fun discussing. Or not, whatever. I see how it is.

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Last week the programmers for this year’s Toronto International Film Festival introduced the main course of this year’s festival lineup, fifty-three films from all over the world, big and small, about any number of subjects. The list was so impressive I ran out and booked a hotel room. So, now that I’m financially locked in to heading up to the city of David Cronenberg and that rapper who called himself SNOW, I’ll be following future announcements by the festival pretty closely. Today brought a big one. Adding to their initial lineup of films, TIFF has added a bunch of documentary works by fairly large documentary filmmakers and a bunch of genre works from fairly deranged genre filmmakers. First let’s take a look at some of the docs. Thom Powers is the lead programmer for documentaries, and about this year’s lineup he said, “I’m thrilled at the large number of veteran filmmakers who have brought us new works this year. The line-up contains a wide range of memorable characters – crusaders, convicts, artists, athletes, nude dancers, comic book fans, dog lovers and more. Not to mention the epic 15-hour Story of Film. These documentaries will have audiences discussing and debating for months to come.” I don’t think I’ll have time for that fifteen hour one, I’ve only got five days in the city, but the one about nude dancers is definitely on my docket.

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With Boondock Saints, it was heavy gang members. That made sense. We were all afraid of organized crime back then, just like in the 70s when it was Charles Bronson taking some vigilante justice in a way the police refused to. So who do we fear now? Who are the police too afraid of to confront? Bobcat Goldthwait has figured it out: those tiara-wearing non-princesses on My Super Sweet 16 who get Kanye West to sing at their birthday pre-party. According to the World’s Greatest Dad director, God Bless America will focus on a man who’s watching an episode of the MTV program, goes a little Falling Down in the head, and drives 400 miles to kill the girl from the show. This eventually snowballs into more killings, and he gets a sidekick to help carry the bodies. It all sounds like more subversive quality from a dark comedic mind. If this announcement made you feel bad for feeling violent toward teenage girls, Goldthwait has already done half his job. [Cinema Blend]

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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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