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You’ve heard of “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”? Well, “The Greasy Hands Preachers” is pitched at pretty much the same choir, but instead of seeing the joys of hands-on motorcycle work as a chance to delve into deeper philosophical topics, this collection of superficial platitudes from dudes whose lives were made better by building custom cycles serves mostly to validate its subjects’ two-wheeling lifestyle. It’s just the sort of niche-interest affirmational docu Christopher Guest has made a career of parodying, though this one plays it straight, relying on Orlando Bloom’s exec-producer credit to push-start its limited prospects.
Financed through a combination of crowdfunding and corporate sponsorships (from Belstaff, BMW Motorrad and Motul), the warm-and-fuzzy pic is perfectly representative of a new breed of documentaries flooding the world these days, now that enterprising filmmakers have found a way to leverage the enthusiasm of specific interest groups (e. »
- Peter Debruge
Before we begin, an explanation: This is not a list of the 39 best SNL sketches of all time.
Any institution that lasts as long as Saturday Night Live has—and that experiences as much cast and writer turnover as Saturday Night Live does—will necessarily have stronger years and leaner years. In SNL’s case, the difference between eras can be especially stark; you’re more likely to laugh at a meh John Belushi sketch than you are at even the finest display of Charles Rocket’s talents. Given that fact, it’s easy for a simple “best sketches ever »
- Hillary Busis
“We consider ourselves bi-costal if you consider the Mississippi River one of the coasts!”
Waiting For Guffman screens Tuesday, September 30th at the Mx Theater downtown (618 Washington Ave, St Louis, Mo 63101) as part of The Mx Independent Film Festival. Admission is Free!
Never has small town theater been so hysterical. Christopher Guest’s mockumentary Waiting For Guffman is one of the funniest movies ever made. Its smart humor and devoted cast all give the 1996 film what it needs to work. In the small town of Blaine Missouri (“The stool capital of the world”), temperamental, effeminate Corky St. Clair (Christopher Guest) is determined to get his play about the town’s history off the ground. Using all the (very) limited talent he has in the community, Corky puts on his production. Blaine’s dentist Dr. Allen Pearl (Eugene Levy), travel agents Rob and Sheila Albertson (Fred Willard and Catherine O’Hara »
- Tom Stockman
When it came out in 1984, “This Is Spinal Tap” convinced many people they were watching a genuine documentary about a clueless heavy metal band. “We showed it in Dallas,” recalls Christopher Guest, who played fictional axe man Nigel Tufnel. “There were these two girls in front of us, who said to each other, ‘These guys are so stupid. Why would they make movie about them?’”
But the world caught on and a genre of comedy was born. Thirty years later it’s considered a bonafide classic and will be honored in a screening Oct. 8 (followed by a Q&A with Guest) at the New York Film Festival.
Directed by Rob Reiner and starring Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer, “Spinal Tap” isn’t just a send-up of pompous metal bands, it’s an unblinking portrait of awkwardness and a masterpiece of improvisation.
“(McKean) and I had been playing music for 20 years, »
- Tim Greiving
From actor Cary Elwes, who played the iconic role of Westley in The Princess Bride, comes a first-person account and behind-the-scenes look at the making of the cult classic film filled with never-before-told stories, exclusive photographs, and interviews with costars Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, and Mandy Patinkin, as well as author and screenwriter William Goldman, producer Norman Lear, and director Rob Reiner. The Princess Bride has been a family favorite for close to three decades. Ranked by the American Film Institute as one of the top 100 Greatest Love Stories and by the Writers Guild of America as one of the top 100 screenplays of all time, The Princess Bride will continue to resonate with audiences for years to come. Cary Elwes was inspired to »
- Pietro Filipponi
With Christopher Guest and his gang pretty much retired from film, the mockumentary movie genre needs a new gang to take reigns and co-writers/directors Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement make a pretty damn convincing case that they should be the guys to do it with What We Do in the Shadows. The fact that they managed to take such a familiar comedic format and spice it up with the even more overplayed subject in vampires is just further evidence that these comics are the real deal. The film is so funny that it’s almost unfair and races by at such a fevered pace it’s hard not to feel a little sad once it’s over. It’s been a little while since any comedy pulled that off, let alone a mocumentary. Hit the jump for all the hilarious bloodsucking details. In addition to writing and directing, Waititi »
- Phil Brown
The 2014 New York Film Festival will host a series of special events, the Film Society of Lincoln Center announced in a press release today. A number of films will make their U.S. premieres at the festival, in addition to an anniversary screening that will turn the whole festival up to 11. While dates have yet to be announced, This Is Spinal Tap will receive a 30th-anniversary screening. In 1984, Rob Reiner’s mockumentary satirized the lifestyle of rock musicians and has since been a staple of movie history.
Star and writer Christopher Guest will attend the screening, through no other members »
- Jonathon Dornbush
The 2014 New York Film Festival will present a special screening of “This Is Spinal Tap” in celebration of the film’s 30th anniversary, with writer-star Christopher Guest on board to appear at the event.
The screening of influential mockumentary “Spinal Tap” — the latest in a string of Nyff anniversary fetes that has in previous years included “The Royal Tenenbaums,” “The Princess Bride” and “Dazed and Confused” — comes on the heels of the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the org that presents Nyff, giving its annual Chaplin Award to Rob Reiner, the movie’s director (as well as the helmer of “Princess Bride”).
Prior Nyff anniversary screenings have attracted the attendance of multiple cast members and creatives from the projects being screened; only Guest has so far been confirmed for the Nyff event. Date of the screening remains to be announced
“Spinal Tap” joins a roster of Nyff special events that »
- Gordon Cox
Kevin McCallister is all grown up now. Macaulay Culkin celebrates his 34th birthday today (August 26), so what better time to take a trip down memory lane to find out what happened to the cast of Culkin's greatest work: Home Alone.
Digital Spy goes 'then & now' with the cast of the comedy classic below...
The biggest child star of the '90s, Culkin spent almost a decade away from screen acting following 1994's Ri¢hie Ri¢h. After a stint on London's West End in Madame Melville, he returned to TV and film in 2003 with roles in Will & Grace and Party Monster. His acting parts since have been sparse - a 2010 Robot Chicken Christmas special is his last (voice only) credit - but Culkin seems to have found his calling as the frontman of a Velvet Underground pizza-themed cover band.
A 2013 YouTube video titled simply 'Macaulay Culkin Eating a »
Directed by: John Michael McDonagh
Running Time: 1 hr 40 mins
Release Date: August 8, 2014 (Chicago)
Plot: A priest of a small town (Gleeson) has a week to live after being threatened by a random man during confession.
Who’S It For? Those who like dialogue-based films where the energy is in the ideas, and even its editing.
In Christopher Guest’s 1989 satire The Big Picture, Kevin Bacon plays Nick Chapman, nubile filmmaker who dreams of splashing into the world of directing by creating a rapturous black and white tome on life and death a la Ingmar Bergman for his first feature. Cherry-picked right from film school after making a hot short film, he attempts to create this supposed opus before the rest of The Big Picture’s narrative takes hold, in which Bacon loses creative control of his »
- Nick Allen
Trevor Hogg chats with Colin Geddes about turning a passion into a dream job…
“I grew up in rural Ontario back in the day when there were no cable TV stations and no such thing as VCRs so I didn’t have a lot of exposure to films but my parents made sure that we saw good and fun films,” recalls Tiff International Programmer Colin Geddes. “I would see The Wizard of Oz  on TV as a kid, my parents took me to the drive-in on a regular basis, and I saw Star Wars  when it came out when I was six years old. My parents nurtured me into fun genre films. They knew as a kid that I liked science fiction and horror films so they made sure that I got to see those but more importantly every time we would see a film we would talk about it. »
- Trevor Hogg
“Dozens of people spontaneously combust each year. It’s just not really widely reported.”
This Is Spinal Tap runs only 82 minutes, which is hard to believe, given how many jokes, both subtle and not so subtle, are thrown at us. One of my favorite moments of the film is when we see Nigel Tufnel’s shrieking guitar solo. He is aimlessly dragging a violin across his guitar, and then stops to tune the violin. Kills me every time I see – which is a lot of times and I always find something new to laugh at I hadn’t noticed before.
This Is Spinal Tap is such a perfect send up of the lost days of arena rock that you will often feel that you are watching a documentary. Every line is perfectly believable. This movie is commonly labelled a “cult classic”, which is a shame, because it is one of »
- Tom Stockman
"Magic in the Moonlight" isn't in theaters just yet, but Woody Allen is already hard at work on his next film, and Parker Posey and Jamie Blackley are the latest performers to join his ever-growing cast of characters. The duo will join Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone in the next "Untitled Woody Allen Project," which is currently shooting in Rhode Island. The film's plot is a mystery for now. As per usual, Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum will produce the film, which will likely be seen sometime in 2015, although no distributor is yet on board. The prolific Posey is perhaps best known for her roles in Christopher Guest's mockumentaries, including "Waiting For Guffman" and "Best in Show." She'll soon be seen in "Ned Rifle," directed by frequent collaborator Hal Hartley. She also appears in the much-maligned "Grace of Monaco," which has yet to be released in the U.S. »
- Dave Lewis
Wow, talk about your quick sequel turn-around. This weekend sees two follow-ups to surprise box office hits from 2013. For thriller fans there’s The Purge: Anarchy (check out Mike Haffner’s review!) and for the kiddies it’s the return of that low flyer, Dusty Crophopper in Planes: Fire & Rescue. And once again, the ads tell us it’s set in the world of Cars (as with last year’s flick, this is not from the Pixar gang, it’s officially from DisneyToon Studios with much of the work produced by Prana Studios of India). It’s clear from this new film that the makers will not need to piggyback on the earlier Pixar hit again. With this one, Dusty and his pals can stake a claim on their own series, because like the new Apes film still in theatres, this is a much improved, superior sequel.
The opening »
- Jim Batts
Melissa Maerz: Jeff,
When the Emmy nominations were announced this morning, I was sitting at my desk, shouting, “Hodor! Hodor! Hodor!” Game of Thrones dominated with 19 nominations! Hot pie for everyone! I’d quibble with the fact that Noah Hawley’s fantastic update of Fargo didn’t get a best drama nod, especially since it was the runner-up with 18 nominations, and The Good Wife was unjustly ignored in that category, coming off its best season ever—it might be the only network drama that I truly loved—but the rest of the list was pretty solid. Among the smartest choices »
- Melissa Maerz
Sony Pictures Classics honchos Michael Barker and Tom Bernard have been feted up one side and down the other lately. The duo celebrated 20 years of Spc in 2012 and have received awards from the Museum of the Moving Image and the Gotham Awards as of late. Tonight they will receive the Los Angeles Film Festival's Spirit of Independence Award as the love keeps pouring in. Given that we recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of Fox Searchlight — another crucial entity in the indie film space — it seemed like we were over due for a similar appreciation of Sony Classics' 22 years of output. The interesting thing, though, is that unlike Searchlight, there isn't necessarily anything outwardly identifiable about Sony Classics films as, well, "Sony Classics films." They all have a strong whiff of good taste but they don't have the heavy marketing footprint of some of the studio's contemporaries. Barker and Bernard's cinephile passion is always evident, »
- Gregory Ellwood, Guy Lodge, Kristopher Tapley
With the terrifying found-footage bigfoot movie Willow Creek now available on DVD, Thn was able to catch up with the film’s writer and director (and former Police Academy star, if you’re asking), Bobcat Goldthwait.
What is it about the legend of bigfoot that made you want to make Willow Creek?
Umm, bigfoot’s sexy? No… I really made this film for the part of me that’s a little kid who loves bigfoot. Before I made the movie I drove around California visiting a lot of the major bigfoot sites. I didn’t know I was going to make this movie, I thought I was going to make a Christopher Guest kind of bigfoot movie. But then I said to someone, “I want to make it found-footage but I know they’re terrible,” so they said to me, “Just go and make your movie.”
Did you get involved »
- Tom Fordy
It's a shock to go back and watch "Midnight Cowboy" 45 years after its debut (on May 25, 1969) and see how raw and otherworldly it looks. After all, the X-rated Best Picture Oscar-winner has been so thoroughly assimilated into American pop culture that even kiddie entertainments like the Muppets have copied from it.
The tale of the unlikely friendship between naïve Texas gigolo Joe Buck (Jon Voight) and frail Bronx con man Enrico "Ratso" Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman), "Midnight Cowboy" was initially considered so risqué that it's the only X-rated movie ever to win the Academy's top prize (though after it won, the ratings board reconsidered and gave the film an R). Still, the film featured two lead performances and a few individual scenes that were so iconic that homages (and parodies) have popped up virtually everywhere. (Most often imitated is the scene where Ratso, limping across a busy Manhattan street, is nearly »
- Gary Susman
“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!”
Why is this such a classic line in the minds of many? I don’t know, really. But I do know that the way that Mandy Patinkin delivers it in this film has ‘classic line’ written all over it!
Believe it or don’t, but I just saw The Princess Bride for the first time earlier this year at a Tenacious Eats ‘Movies for Foodies’ event. I’d heard great things about it for decades so I’m not sure why I’ve spent so many years avoiding it. Perhaps because I was 25 when it was made in 1987 and really, what self-respecting dude would watch a movie called The Princess Bride with his buddies (I must not have had a girlfriend at the time)?
One of the best qualities of The Princess Bride is that it simultaneously »
- Tom Stockman
Spending time on stage with the man who was Walter White was not nearly enough Breaking Bad-adjacent action for Michael McKean. He’s just signed on for a co-starring role in the show’s spin-off, Better Call Saul.The series, created and run by Bad boss Vince Gilligan and Saul creative parent Peter Gould, looks to follow the wise-cracking, money-grabbing lawyer as played by Bob Odenkirk. It’ll serve as a prequel, showing what he got up to before (and potentially during) the time that Walter White entered his life.McKean is apparently playing a character called Dr. Thurber, a formerly brilliant lawyer now troubled by a strange affliction. He’s joining Jonathan Banks, who will be breathing new life into grumpy fixer Mike Ehrmantraut in the show, which is scheduled to air in the Us from this November.Aside from theatre duties, where he’s appearing alongside Bryan Cranston in All The Way, »
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