Created to be a role model for women and girls in a genre that famously depicted violence to target a male audience, Wonder Woman has been a role model for more than 75 years and continues to inspire the world’s female population to this day. As Princess Diana of Themyscira makes her DCEU debut, it has made global headlines that the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has chosen to celebrate by hosting a handful of women-only screenings of the new movie. Part of the reason it has drawn so much attention has been the reaction of men who can’t bear the thought of women having one thing for themselves. (more…)
You’ve heard of “Ladies’ Night”, but how about “Ladies Only Night” at your local cinema? That’s the novel idea of the Alamo Drafthouse, the vaunted art house cinema in Texas most famous for their stringent rules on etiquette and matching the perfect meal with the perfect movie. With the release of Wonder Woman next week, the Drafthouse had the great idea to have an all-female staffed, all-female attended screening of the first major superheroine film starring Gal Gadot and directed by Patty Jenkins. Sounds like a great opportunity for local geek girls, and some men’s rights wackadoos are kind of losing their proverbial $#!% over it. (more…)
For the past few weekends the majority of the free world appears to have made it’s way to the cinema to take in that smarmy spaceman/baby-tree/laser trash-panda epic, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is still at the top of the box office and the James Gunn directed cosmic comicbook action/comedy has been universally regarded as both captivating and crowd pleasing. Well, except for one person apparently. (more…)
Editor’s Note: This review originally ran during the 2014 Fantastic Fest. We’re rerunning it now that It Follows is in limited release.
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 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…)
Yesterday, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas came down from their respective perches atop Mount Olympus and a huge pile of Disney Dollars to tell us all how the movie industry’s comeuppance was about to come: progressive pricing that would place a premium on big damn summer fare while squeezing smaller films out into the box office ghetto.
Coincidentally enough, today we’re getting a chance to sorta see what that looks like with Paramount’s World War Z Mega Ticket “Deal”. What does the mega deal get you? Well, according to Deadline, the $50 Mega Ticket includes:
[A]dmission to the June 19 3D showing of the flick, a download or stream of the film when it’s released on home video, custom 3D glasses, a limited-edition official movie poster and a small popcorn. […] The offer is good at megaplexes in Irvine, San Diego, Houston, Atlanta and Philadelphia.
Now, if you had already planned on seeing World War Z, you have a burning need for the above mentioned baubles, and you feel like that really is a value, then go nuts. But for people to think that this is a step toward the future that Spielberg and Lucas predicted, well, that’s hard to believe.
For one thing, the value of advanced screenings for the studios comes from word of mouth and buzz. That’s why such passes are often given away: the studios want to make the viewer (and potential viral marketing sleeper agent) comfortable with as little investment to justify as possible. That’s partly why some members of the press get into advanced screenings as well.
If you pay $50 to see World War Z early, that experience needs to justify that cost — moreso than if you had shelled out $10 bucks or seen it for free, because now your investment is much more than mere time or a few bucks and now it can be held accountable.
Put it this way: if I go to a fast food place and my burger is rubbery and tasteless, I’m going to be displeased. If I go to a nice restaurant and get a $50 steak that is equally rubbery and tasteless, I’m going to be pissed, I’m going to complain, and I’m going to let people know about it the experience.
Is Paramount sure that they’re offering up a $50 steak that is worth the price? For their sake, I hope so, but in light of the chatter surrounding World War Z, with stories about a set in chaos, re-writes, and no planned ending, well… it seems like Paramount could have used all the good buzz and word of mouth that they could get.
To the larger point, with regard to the theory about progressive ticketing, — and Luke did a nice job talking about that last night — I’d add that the embrace of that new model would have to assume that theater owners had suddenly become eager to be complicit in their own destruction, because I can’t imagine the National Association of Theater Owners fighting such a shift with any less ferocity than they have in the fight against smaller theatrical to home release windows ( a fight to keep the theater experience away from extinction).
Why is that? Well, the economics of the situation boil down to this: theater’s make a ton of their money on concessions, not the movie tickets themselves. What is required for concession sales? People, and if packages like this or progressive pricing become commonplace, it would price out a large segment of the market, because for most of us, this is a time of “No fucking around” when it comes to our finances, a time when the weighty line between the black and red of a budget jumps right off the kitchen table to crawl up our guts before sliding across our necks.
People can barely afford the cost of a standard ticket right now, let alone some ratcheted up price, and so while we shouldn’t hold our breaths for a break or mercy, we should be confident that for as long as the studio’s need to appease theater owners (and they will until such a time as our infrastructure can promise as impactful and lucrative a VOD release as the present model offers for theatrical releases), we won’t have to worry about progressive pricing being anything more than an annoying gimmick. A gimmick that, for now, only faintly threatens the magical and communal nature of seeing a movie in a packed theater and irreplaceable signature experiences like IMAX, the Alamo Drafthouse, the dying drive in, the reRun theater in Brooklyn, and several others.
While most who worried about the fate of their most beloved television shows already learned whether they’d be renewed or not, fans of NBC‘s Hannibal – Fannibals, for those not cruising Tumblr tags – have been waiting, in agony, to learn if the series would be picked up for a second season. Finally, today NBC decided to renew for a second season. And there was much, much rejoicing.
Deadline broke the news only hours ago, with NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke commenting,
We’re so proud of Bryan [Fuller]’s vision for a show that is richly textured, psychologically complex, and very compelling. There are many great stories still to be told.
Raise a glass and toast to another season of cannibal cooking lessons, food puns, and Hannibal Lector’s ever growing collection of ridiculous suits only he seems capable of pulling off. Need a fine wine to fill that glass? Movie theater chain, Alamo Drafthouse has prepared something special for the occasion,
Two wines are offered, a red and a white, called Cannibal Chianti and Suit Yourself Pinot Grigio. Bottles are available for purchase, as well as Lector’s Package* – yes, I laughed too – which gets you, “a bottle to rub the lotion on your skin, some fava beans and a recipe from Alamo Drafthouse Chef Trish Eichelberger.”
*Liver not included