IFC Midnight

Ben Wheatley’s darkly violent, morbidly humorous, and utterly surprising thriller Kill List was one of the best films at SXSW earlier this year, but unfortunately it’s an extremely easy movie to have spoiled by reviews, articles, trailers, and other marketing. (For the record my spoiler-free review can be found here.) Knowing too much won’t ruin the film by any means, but going in blind is rarely as rewarding as it is here. The film follows an unemployed hit man who gets back into the hired killer game as a means of providing for his family. He partners up with an old friend to take on an odd assignment that only gets progressively weirder. What starts as a relationship drama and character piece becomes a tense and brutal thriller before finally hitching a ride on the crazy train. Check out the trailer below… then don’t watch, read, or listen to another thing about the movie until you see it.

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Culture Warrior

Last week, as I watched Quentin Dupieux’s Rubber, I noticed that the trailers on the rental Blu-Ray were all of titles sharing space at the top of my queue: titles like Takashi Miike’s 13 Assassins, Kim Ji-woon’s I Saw the Devil, and Jason Eisener’s Hobo with a Shotgun. All, I quickly realized, had been released by the same studio, Magnet Releasing, whose label I recalled first noticing in front of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Bronson. After some quick Internet searching, I quickly realized what I should have known initially, that Magnet was a subsidiary of indie distributor Magnolia Pictures. The practices of “indie” subsidiaries of studios has become commonplace. That majors like Universal and 20th Century Fox carry specialty labels Focus Features and Fox Searchlight which market to discerning audiences irrespective of whether or not the individual titles released are independently financed or studio-produced has become a defining practice for limited release titles and has, perhaps more than any other factor, obscured the meaning of the term “independent film” (Sony Pictures Classics, which only distributes existing films, is perhaps the only subsidiary arm of a major studio whose releases are actually independent of the system itself). This fact is simply one that has been accepted for quite some time in the narrative of small-scale American (or imported) filmmaking. Especially in the case of Fox Searchlight, whose opening banner distinguishes itself from the major in variation on name only, subsidiaries of the majors can hardly even be argued as “tricking” audiences into […]

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published: 04.14.2014
B
published: 04.14.2014
A-
published: 04.14.2014
C
published: 04.11.2014
B+

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