10 items from 2014
On the one hand, I respect anyone who can devise a formula that works for them and for an audience, and while I wasn't a huge fan of the film, the first "Horrible Bosses" seemed to connect with audiences three years ago. The appeal of that film, and one that seems like it's pretty smart in its universal appeal, is that we have all had bosses we hate at some point. Watching characters we like get one up on people we hate is something that seems enormously easy to enjoy. My problem with the first film was that it felt like it never really embraced its premise. It wasn't mean enough, and I guess I hoped we'd see them cut loose in "Horrible Bosses 2" and really go for the dark humor the first film promised but soft-pedaled. After all, they were adding to very game performers in the form »
- Drew McWeeny
The VHS homevideo format may have gone to its grave years ago, but the horror series of the same name lives on with its third anthology, “V/H/S Viral,” delivering three playful yet thoroughly disposable experiments in short-form p.o.v. cinema. While the scares are in short supply, there’s a surfeit of macabre, tongue-in-cheek creativity to be found here, from mock docs to skate vids, sandwiched between a gonzo found-footage framing device in which cameraphone-savvy teens risk their lives to become the next viral sensation. As portmanteau films go, this Bloody Disgusting-backed, Magnolia-released offering of attention-deficit thrills seems ready-made for the video-on-demand generation.
Only the wraparound segments, dubbed “Vicious Circles” and directed by “Deadgirl” helmer Marcel Sarmiento, take the “viral video” idea seriously, even if none of the teen characters seems old enough to even remember the VHS format. Instead, as members of the digital generation, these »
- Peter Debruge
Ordell (Mos Def) and Louis (John Hawkes) have planned the perfect kidnapping. Their target is Mickey (Jennifer Aniston), wife to a sketchy businessman named Frank (Tim Robbins) who’s hiding a fortune in a secret bank account. The plan is simple. Kidnap Mickey, tell Frank to pay the ransom if he ever wants to see his wife again and then retire in style. But they never considered the possibility that Frank might not want his wife back. Chronology is a funny thing. The inclination will be (and has been if you check the IMDb page) to label Life of Crime a straight-up rip-off of 1986′s Ruthless People. In actuality though this is an adaptation of Elmore Leonard‘s 1978 novel, The Switch. Keep moving backward and you’ll find that all of these incarnations share an inspiration in O. Henry’s 1907 short story, “The Ransom of Red Chief.” The problem for this film then is how to stand »
- Rob Hunter
If O. Henry and Edgar Allan Poe collaborated on a love story, it might look something like this juicy bit of ironic gothic romance. I’m “biast” (pro): love the cast
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
I have not read the source material
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
If O. Henry and Edgar Allan Poe collaborated on a love story, it might look something like this juicy bit of ironic gothic romance. It’s 1860s Paris, and Thérèse (Elizabeth Olsen: Godzilla) has been lumbered with her dull, sickly cousin, Camille (Tom Felton: Rise of the Planet of the Apes), in a loveless marriage forced on her by her aunt, Madame Raquin (Jessica Lange: The Vow), as a sort of demented payment for her having raised Thérèse after her father abandoned her when she was little. (That’s right: the cousin she’s married to is more like a brother. »
- MaryAnn Johanson
Watching the new trailer for "Wayward Pines," the new Fox 10-episode thriller from M. Night Shyamalan ("The Sixth Sense"), I couldn't shake a feeling of deja vu. No, not visions of dead people, but elements that seemed to be ripped from (oh, wait, an homage to) other sources. On the one hand, this could be seen as a salute to a short-lived by deeply influential 1990 cultural touchstone ("Twin Peaks") or a beloved scifi series ("The X-Files") or a serious take on a hit comedy ("The Truman Show"). Or, if you're not a fan of Shyamalan, you could see this as a desperate grab for the good ideas of other people. You be the judge! 1) This looks a lot like "Twin Peaks." Like, a lot. From the police chief mooning over his rum raisin ice cream (shadows of Agent Cooper's pie fixation) to the wacky townspeople to the very premise of »
- Liane Bonin Starr
“I like to disappear,” Josh Hartnett jokes after a waiter brings me over to his table from where I was sitting, having overlooked him my first time through Pete’s Tavern. “You walked right past me,” he says, teasing. “When I was younger I learned how to get through this city without anybody noticing. Which is important to me.” Pete’s, on Irving Place, is “the tavern O. Henry made famous,” a gas-lamps-and-bourbon version of a celebrity-obsessed joint, possibly since it opened in 1851. The dark-wood dining room is covered in (usually quite unflattering) framed snapshots of famous Tavern guests, and Ashlee Simpson’s is tacked up next to Hartnett’s table, where he’d arrived early to enjoy a bottle of Pellegrino and a plate of steak fries. Hartnett’s picture is up here, too, somewhere, from a previous visit in a previous decade, when he seemed poised to be »
- Carl Swanson
It is not unusual to have a Bollywood film inspired by a book.
A few examples are 3 Idiots, which was adapted from Chetan Bhagat’s Five Point Someone, 7 Khoon Maaf, by Ruskin Bond’s short story Susanne’s Seven Husbands and Lootera by O. Henry’s The Last Leaf and the upcoming 2 States which again is based on Bhagat book.
However, there is now a Bollywood film that is to be adapted into a theatrical production.
- Aashi Gahlot
Female ingenuity, with a grand act of mischief to drive the point home, sets Kutlug Ataman’s amusing and visually pleasing “The Lamb” gamboling along. Shot in a stunning area of northeastern Anatolia, this sardonic rural drama sees an impoverished mother taking extreme measures to ensure she saves face by throwing a modest feast to celebrate her son’s circumcision. “Lamb” further proves the helmer’s broadening range following the experimental “Journey to the Moon” and the Istanbul-set “2 Girls,” again decidedly coming down on the side of the womenfolk and sure to please fest auds and crix alike.
Ismail (Cahit Gok) needs a lamb, but shepherd Haydar (Necmettin Cobanoglu) won’t give him one. And why should he, when Ismail can’t pay? Little Mert (Mert Tastan) is to be circumcised with the other village boys, but Ismail’s out of work and his wife, Medine (Nesrin Cavadzade), doesn’t »
- Jay Weissberg
Welcome to The Last Horror Blog, a biweekly column on all things horror. In the pantheon of great horror-anthology TV series, Monsters sits somewhere in the middle of the pack. The syndicated show ran for three years, filling in for the departed Tales from the Darkside, which was also produced by Richard Rubinstein. Like Tales, Monsters popped into our living room each week with a 30-minute tidbit of terror that often reveled in an O. Henry-esque twist ending. Unlike Tales, which was free to cover the full gamut of the genre, Monsters generally kept true to its name – with each shiver-inducing short featuring some sort of beast. The complete series made its DVD debut this week, allowing fans to finally pitch all those grainy old VHS recordings or shoddy black-market...
- Mike Bracken
Although Lootera failed to seduce the audience, Vikramaditya Motwane’s film got good reviews and the performances of both lead actors, Ranveer Singh and Sonakshi Sinha, were highly praised. In fact, the film, loosely based on O. Henry’s short story The Last Leaf, allowed the actress to prove her acting skills to those critics who considered her a weak actress.
But that’s not all. As a source told the Times of India, her portrayal of Pakhi, a Bengali girl dying of tuberculosis, caught the eye of a theatre group based in New York and has approached the actress for a Broadway adaptation of The Last Leaf. According to the same source, the play is planned for the coming summer and Sonakshi has not given an answer yet. While Sonakshi remains silent, her spokesperson confirmed the news and said, “Yes, she has got an offer to perform there and »
- Núria Bonals Hidalgo
10 items from 2014
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