Posts tagged "critic"

The Two Doubles: “Enemy” vs. “The Double”

2014 has been, so far, one of the best years for art film in recent memory. Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood” is the current critical darling of indie cinema, but beyond that film (which I have yet to see unfortunately) we are seeing some really fascinating movies from avant garde directors both new and legendary, including “Under the Skin” dir. Jonathan Glazer, “The Zero Theorem” dir. Terry Gilliam, “Only Lovers Left Alive” dir. Jim Jarmusch, “Noah” dir. Darren Aronofsky, “Snowpiercer” dir. Bong Joon-Ho, “Child of God” dir. James Franco, “Grand Budapest Hotel” dir. Wes Anderson, “Lost River” dir. Ryan Gosling. Still upcoming are “Birdman” dir. Alexander Gonzalez Innaritu, which will apparently be made to seem as if the movie is all one long tracking shot, and what looks to be Cronenberg’s answer to the other master surrealist director named David’s “Mulholland Drive”, “Maps to the Stars” also awaits us.

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But today we’re going to look at easily the most interesting part of 2014 in film so far, "The Double", directed by Richard Ayoade, based on the philosophical fiction classic by Fydor Dostoyevsky, and "Enemy", directed by Denis Villeneuve, based on the philosophical fiction classic “The Double”, by Jose Saramago. Both films are startlingly similar, and, if you can’t guess, the primary reason why is that the plot is centered around the presence of a doppelganger whose personality is the direct opposite of our protagonist.

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X-Men: Days of Future Past

There is one trademark of the X-Men franchise that I’ve continuously noticed. The films are never truly horrible, yet they never truly transcend their genre. Of the first six films, the consensus seems to be that “X2: X-Men United” was the best film, though I’d contend it was “X-Men: First Class”. Where the latest installment, “Days of Future Past” stands is currently up in the air, but it certainly has earned a spot as a contender for the X-Men heavyweight world championship.

Like it’s predecessors, “Days of Future Past” has a healthy dose of disappointment in it’s ingredients, but a higher quantity of that essential component, which I like to refer to as “tight shit”, to offset it.

In my opinion, it is absolutely impossible for one to dislike an X-Men film, mostly because the viewer already knows whether they will enjoy the film before seeing it. For some reason, people sometimes go to films that they expect to dislike, so I’ll save everybody some time:

Do you want to see future-Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) time travel back to the 70’s and fuck shit up, while Jennifer Lawrence runs around wearing nothing but blue paint?

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     “This totally counts as clothes, right?” - Jennifer Lawrence

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Lawless

This is going to be a short review. Anyone who reads this blog should be relieved.

"Lawless", the third collaboration between director John Hillcoat and screenwriter Nick Cave, is the sort of gangster movie that is both at once positively innocuous, making it a perfect passive afternoon viewing experience, and ribald and scorching, a direct comment on the American dream. It’s also the best work of it’s creative duo to date, surpassing the dark landscape heavy drudgery of "The Road" and "The Proposition". 

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The Bondurants, in all their scholarly glory.

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Cat People is Fuckin’ Sweet!

The following is a review of the 1982 film "Cat People"

If you’ve never heard of the movie “Cat People” before let me break this down: Natassja Kinski is all virginal and stuff, so that’s off putting straight from the beginning due to her well publicized history. Seriously, her dad, great actor he may be, was all touchin’ his daughters and stuff. Klaus Kinski was a seriously fucked up man. And that’s why he made some seriously fucked up movies (that are awesome) like “Aguirre: the Wrath of God” and “Nosferatu”. Anyway.


Natassja Kinski is the most oft-naked virgin you can imagine and the reason is: She’s a cat person. In fact, so is her brother Alex from “A Clockwork Orange”, slave name Malcolm McDowell. He’s all trying to bang her because the cat people can only mate with other cat people and they are the last two cat people. If cat people have sex with people people then the cat people transform into cats and the only way the cat people cats can become cat people people again is if they kill some people people. 

Got that? Good. So anyways, their cat people parents were also brother and sister and it’s gone on like this for a long time, which means that they should look a lot more retarded, but maybe cat people DNA doesn’t incestuously distort like people people DNA does.

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Man of Steel

Superman’s biggest problem has always been that he’s, well… he’s Superman. It’s telling that in trying to reboot the world’s most famous superhero, the name Superman is tossed aside except for when it’s treated as a joke. Here Superman is known by his real names, Clark Kent and Kal-El. This is a smart choice, since Superman has always been my least favorite superhero, which is true for many others as well. He’s too perfect. He can do anything, and nothing can beat him except for one stupid plot device, kryptonite (another element that the film leaves out). For the first time in film history, Superman is actually legitimately vulnerable in “Man of Steel”, which is the film’s greatest triumph.

It starts at the very beginning, as Jor-El, played by Russell Crowe, and Lara, the underrated Ayelet Zurer, stick their newborn son Kal in a space ship and rocket him off to earth. Kal (played as an adult by Henry Cavill) is the first natural Kryptonian birth in centuries. Apparently most children are conceived in some future-space chamber and designed for specific purposes, such as warrior, teacher, scientist, politician, etc. Jor takes a philosophical stance against this, and steals the codex, a.k.a. MacGuffin, which holds all the genetic information allowing this way of life, sending it to Earth along with Kal.

Of course this means Jor is a bit of an asshole, since Krypton also happens to be dying due to overuse of it’s natural resources. There’s all sorts of go-green, keep funding NASA commentary here, but it’s handled fairly smoothly. Jor gets on the bad side of General Zod, (the brilliant Michael Shannon) who attempts to stage a coup to save the planet and regain the codex so the Kryptonian race can survive. So in a way, Jor has doomed the planet and his entire species. Except for his son. Like I said, kind of an asshole.

What works here though is that it makes General Zod a surprisingly relatable character. He really isn’t a bad guy, in fact were I a Kryptonian I’d totally be on his side. But of course, while Kal/Clark’s DNA may read alien, he’s a red-blooded American at heart. So when Zod shows up on Earth, in pursuit of the codex, so he can destroy Earth and build a new Krypton, Clark isn’t down with that noise.

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Evil Dead

Anyone who read my muddled list of favorite films knows that “Evil Dead II” is one of my favorite movies. To quote myself: “[it is] is the most awesome shit ever, and that’s about all you need to say.” Yep that sums it up. So naturally when I heard of the newest installment of what is perhaps my favorite franchises, I danced.

It’s important as well to note my relationship with the original film, “The Evil Dead”, of which this new film is a remake. I was originally introduced to the series through “Army of Darkness” and went backwards from there. So, one rainy night I snuggled up all alone in my dark basement, popped in a DVD of “The Evil Dead” and sat in rabid anticipation of what was sure to be another hilarious slapstick horror comedy.

I was caught off guard to say the least. I refuse to re-watch “The Evil Dead” ever again. Not because I’m afraid of it, but because I don’t want to taint the original effect it had on me. I have never been more frightened by a film in my life. The pacing, the originality, and most of all the inventive low budget aesthetic created a terrifying experience. To this day, it is still the only time I can recall a film actually scaring me.

Anyway, on to the remake. I didn’t expect to be scared by it, because the surprise factor of the original was no longer present, nor was the novelty. I did however expect an intense, gory, well made movie that could hopefully stand up to the rest of the series.

So, did the film succeed? Well… yes and no.

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Many have said that “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is a “Breakfast Club” for a new generation. I don’t think that’s necessarily something to aspire to, considering that the John Hughes “classic” is a shallow attempt to validate teen angst and shove children’s book level morals up the audience’s nose.


Still, I understand the comparison. Both try to provide insight into the adolescent mind, and create something relatable for their core audience, while holding a nostalgic relevance to the older generations. “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” seems to be trying to remind me what it was like to be 15 again.

Except here’s the problem. Teen angst isn’t that interesting.

The film centers on Charlie (Logan Lerman) a shy and nervous 14 year old entering his first day of high school. Charlie is the wallflower of the film’s title. He doesn’t raise his hand in class, and has no social life. His only friend blew his brains out the year before.

This last detail brings up a major problem of “Perks” which is it’s use of heavy melodrama, much of which is casually brushed over, rendering it irrelevant. I suppose this wouldn’t be much of a problem if the film wasn’t so overtly attempting to be “powerful”.

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Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters

This movie is so awesome.

There’s really not much to say honestly. Literally everything you need to know is in the title of the film and it’s rating. The story focuses on Hansel and Gretel, from the Grimm fairy tale, once they’ve grown up into badass mercenary witch hunters. The movie is a hard R. So it’s violent.

If you like B-Movies, this is your flick. If you like action, pulpiness, trolls, boobs, fire, monsters, magic, flying, Peter Stormare, steampunk weaponry, more monsters, cheesy one liners and total, abject stupidity this movie is a must see.

Seriously, I love “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters”. I just like saying the title. “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters”. It’s so ridiculous, and it has literally no aspirations of being good. It reminds me of something Sam Raimi or Peter Jackson would have done back in their early days, though it’s risky to predict that this director, Tommy Wirkola, will ascend to those lofty heights. But Wirkola clearly understands the fundamentals of filmmaking and doesn’t try to make this a good movie, opting for fun instead. The movie knows what it is and it knows what it needs to deliver.

The action is technically amazing, the effects are good, the movie is funny and surprisingly well acted. The story concept is so old school in it’s hokey, old timey, drive in chic appeal. File it next to “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”, another ludicrously dumb movie that had no aspirations beyond blood and cool action. I wish we had more exploitative action movies like this, instead of the Luc Besson, Jason Statham garbage that we see multiple times a year.

That’s about all that needs to be said. There is not one legitimate discussion to be had about a movie like this, and nor should there be. If you have 90 minutes to kill, go watch this movie. It’s a blast.

4 out of 5 stars

JOSH LONEY is a(n):
Award Winning Radio Personality, Director, Producer, Critic, Published Cartoonist, Author, Philosopher, Film Theorist, Lover (Not a Fighter), Rapper/Musician and All Around Swell Guy.

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