Other things that we will touch on during the show… (more…)
David Robert Mitchell’s The Myth of the American Sleepover is a movie about the resigning of innocence; the last gasp of youth that is gracefully exhaled before inevitably breathing in the fumes of the adult world. Like American Graffiti before it, there’s an overwhelming sense of melancholia that hangs over the movie’s single night setting, as if the writer/director is mourning the cycle of childhood as it moves into the dawn the responsibility. With his follow-up feature, Mitchell has crafted a natural progression in terms of thematics, only he adds a dash of perverse Cronenbergian genre play, resulting in what may be the defining horror film of this generation. It Follows is a dynamite piece of supernatural storytelling, equal parts touching and thrilling. Though fundamentally the film is more of the same from Mitchell, who is emerging as the premiere cinematic observer of youth in the modern auteurist pantheon. (more…)
Les Blank’s Burden of Dreams chronicles the trials and tribulations Werner Herzog faced when attempting to mold his masterpiece, Fitzcarraldo, without once wavering from his daunting personal vision. Outside of the filmmaking process, what Blank’s documentary captures best is the way that dreams can consume us if we’re not careful. Herzog was an artist driven by his own unique brand of madness and, in the end, triumphed over adversity (not to mention a deranged Klaus Kinski) to deliver what might be the defining narrative picture of his career. With Kung Fu Elliot, “non-fiction” filmmakers Matthew Bauckman and Jaret Belliveau explore a similar consumption by artistic fascination. Only instead of resulting in a masterwork of idiosyncratic expression, their profile of “Canadian action star”, Elliot “White Lightning” Scott is nothing less than a cataloguing of pathological lies, culminating in a deeply disturbing portrait of partner abuse. (more…)
Don’t let Electric Boogaloo fool you: Roger Corman started it.
Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus simply improved upon the cheapo tyrant formula that came to dominate drive-in style cinema in the 60s and 70s. Technically, The Weinstein Brothers perfected the mold, taking the schlock-factory model and somehow managing to add genuine quality into the mix (a shocker, I know). But none did it quite like Golan & Globus, whose somewhat unbelievable rags to riches story was fueled by pure, maniacal love for cinema. And much like he captured the Outback mayhem that was Australian genre cinema in the 70s with Not Quite Hollywood, Mark Hartley has returned to give us The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films. Only by narrowing the focus of the film and making it much more about Golan & Globus as people (though the constant talking head impersonations of the brothers threaten to turn the cousins into cartoons), it gives Electric Boogaloo an intimate edge that the director’s previous cinema documentaries lacked. Frankly speaking, Mark Hartley’s third picture devoted to the niche racks at your local video store (or, more accurately in 2014: Netflix Queue) might be the best movie about movies since Ted Demme’s A Decade Under the Influence. (more…)
When I was young, my dad used to constantly relay an old maxim. “Son,” he’d say, “the loudest guy in the bar is always going to be the least tough.” Outside of providing me with an essential bit of sage wisdom when it came to assessing the chances of getting my ass kicked, this brief aphorism doubled as one of my first lessons in the art of storytelling. Essentially, what my father was relaying was a tutorial in how to determine intent — to pick through a story’s delivery and try to understand just why it was being told. Keeping this truism in mind, I’m having a tough time deciding just why in the hell Kevin Smith decided to make Tusk, his latest foray into the world of horror filmmaking. While the New Jersey writer/director is certainly stretching outside of his comfort zone with this demented slice of body horror, it ultimately is nothing more than another juvenile descent into nonsense. To borrow from another tried and true expression (whose zoological roots seem fit for a movie about a loon transforming another man into a walrus): “a leopard cannot change its spots.” (more…)
When approaching the early works of David Cronenberg, many modern viewers are initially put off by the ruddy, low-rent stylings of films like Shivers, Rabid and The Brood, citing the director’s choice of low-budget genre trappings as rendering his cerebral central postualtions inaccessible. Much like the Canadian horror auteur (who has since moved on to greener pastures of prestige with pictures like Dead Ringers, Naked Lunch and A History of Violence), American independent filmmaker Billy Senese has crafted his sophomore feature, Closer to God, with one foot in the horror film grave. Borrowing liberally from the clinical director’s filmography (The Brood being the most obvious point of reference), Senese strains to balance the “dark thriller” portions of the narrative with the set of proverbial “big ideas” he presents. Once Closer to God descends into out-and-out monster movie territory, it becomes readily apparent that any kind of heady aspirations were simply the jumping off point for a somewhat pedestrian riff on modern Frankenstein mythos. (more…)
This is the best week of the year.
Seriously. If you’ve never been to Fantastic Fest before, start saving now to book your flight to Austin, Texas in 2015. Even if you have no idea what Fantastic Fest is as you’re reading this article, just start monitoring your bank account and scanning Southwest Airlines’ website for cheap flights. Because no other film fest in the world is like this one — a non-stop cortège of badass genre movies, video games, boxing matches, trivia challenges, drunken debauchery and the biggest food fight Texas has ever seen. Where at most other fests you have to parse through a sea of party-hopping star fuckers to find the real film fans, at Fantastic Fest you’re rubbing elbows with the most hardcore sect of cinephiles from the world over every single day. Simply put: if you love movies, this is Nirvana.
In 2014, Fantastic Fest is celebrating its tenth year of existence. To ring in such a grand occasion, the programmers and Alamo Drafthouse Founder/CEO Tim League are sparing no expense. Want to see League verbally spar with Ti West about whether or not found footage is a legitimate sub-genre (before they both don gloves and wail on each other in the ring)? Fantastic Fest X has got you covered. Wondering if the new Kevin Smith horror picture is worth its weight in snoogins? Fantastic Fest X has got you covered. How about a detailed Q&A with longtime film critic Leonard Maltin, moderated by former Drafthouse programmer extraordinaire Zack Carlson and suave Vulcan Video head Bryan Connolly? Fantastic Fest X has got you covered.
Welcome to Fantastic Fest X. To get you started, here are the eleven films we here at Nerd Bastards are most excited for. Not gonna lie, it’s going to be a rough and tumble seven days, but just remember what the fox once said:
“Chaos Reigns” (more…)
What’s always made Doctor Who unique as well as enduring as a television show is its ability to constantly reinvent itself. From season to season, decade to decade, Doctor Who is allowed–no, expected to be something entirely different. Last week was a funny, charming romp in the past with Robin Hood and his Merry Men. This week we’re forced to face one of our oldest fears – what’s that under the bed? (more…)
The Baltimore Comic Con descended on Charm City this past weekend bringing out a bevy of cosplayers and comic book fans. Some of my personal favorites from this group include Hawkgirl with her amazing (and one imagines, hard to walk around with) wings, the Flash/Zatanna pair, Loki and this fun picture of a fan in a TARDIS dress with a cowboy hat fending off a weeping angel. I also want to give a shout-out to possibly the first, only and best Whistler cosplay that I’ll ever see. That dude rocks.
We’ll likely have a little more about BCC in the coming days as we try to bring you some info about some of the craftiest vendors at the convention, but until then, enjoy this cosplay gallery and our recap of the convention. (more…)
The Baltimore Comic Con is a top-flight show that brought out an impressive lineup of guests, some great panels (featuring Marvel, Boom!, Valiant, Thrillbent, some cool creator showcases and chats about issues that effect the industry) and cosplayers over the course of three days this past weekend. It’s also hosted within a spacious and easily accessible convention center with a ton of conveniences. There is a bakery, yo.
This is a “capital C” Comic Convention that honors the craft and the virtuosos who bend lines and words for our amusement and it’s one of my favorites, but with all of that said, I wasn’t as excited about going to the convention as I used to be when I went to these events. (more…)