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6 articles


For Ellen | Review

24 February 2013 6:00 AM, PST

When we first meet Joby (Paul Dano), he is driving on snow-covered rural roads. His long black hair, make-up and clothing all suggest that Joby might be in some sort of heavy metal band. When Joby stops at a gas station to touch up his make-up, we can only assume that he is on his way to a concert. Instead he drives up to a modest business office where his wife (Margarita Levieva) is waiting with her lawyer to finalize their divorce paperwork. From that opening sequence, we know full well that writer-director So Yong Kim's (In Between Days, Treeless Mountain) portrayal of Joby is not going to be the standard cinematic stereotype of a heavy metal musician. Joby is an intriguing character study of a walking and talking contradiction: equally conceited-yet-vulnerable, awkward-yet-charismatic, thoughtful-yet-dumb. Joby may have chosen the life of an absentee husband and father for several years »

- Don Simpson

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2013 Spirit Awards Predictions

23 February 2013 10:30 AM, PST

The 2013 Spirit Awards is essentially Film Independent’s antidote to the Oscars for us hopeless cinephiles of the independent film world. There has historically been some crossover between the two awards ceremonies (Beasts of the Southern Wild, Silver Linings Playbook), but Film Independent tends to nominate "edgier" and "darker" films -- films that are typically deemed to be too "independent" or "art house" for the multiplexes...and The Academy's voters. »

- Don Simpson

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Hollow | Review

21 February 2013 6:27 PM, PST

Emma's (Emily Plumtree) grandfather has recently passed away, leaving an old house on the Suffolk coastline behind. Assuming it would make for a pleasant country getaway, that is precisely where Emma brings her fiancé Scott (Matt Stokoe), her best friend James (Sam Stockman) and James' girlfriend Lynn (Jessica Ellerby). Down the road from the house is a spooky old tree that has several centuries worth of ghost stories associated with it. All of the stories share a common outcome: lovers hang themselves from the tree in ritualistic suicide. There have been previous attempts at exorcising the presumed demon(s) from the tree, as documented in a book found in the house titled British Exorcisms Of The Twentieth Century; but considering a recent spat of suicides, those exorcisms were total failures. »

- Don Simpson

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Far Marfa | Review

20 February 2013 6:57 PM, PST

Carter (Johnny Sneed) is an aspiring music producer who is struggling to establish a career in Marfa, Texas. Well, "struggling" might be too strong of a word to describe Carter -- it is more like he is waiting for his career to establish itself. For now, at least he has beer... On one fateful and dreadfully hungover morning, Carter finds himself in need of a ride home from a party. Enter Steve (Steve Holzer). The proverbial black dog is already at Steve's door, so he is ready to pass along a large painting to someone else...and that lucky someone turns out to be Carter. When Steve turns up dead moments later, Carter becomes the one and only suspect. As part of their investigation, the local police want to see the painting that Steve purportedly gifted to Carter. As luck would have it, that painting has gone missing. It seems »

- Don Simpson

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Beauty is Embarrassing | Review

19 February 2013 1:30 PM, PST

Some documentary filmmakers have all the luck in the world. Not everyone can find a wildly entertaining subject like Wayne White, but Neil Berkeley certainly did; more importantly, though, Berkeley sculpts a very interesting documentary from White's personal narrative. Primarily using first person interview footage with White, Berkeley captures the life of a successful-yet-struggling visual artist. The Tennessee native got his first taste of the high life (and I'm not talking about Miller beer either) while working as a production designer and puppeteer (among other roles) on Pee Wee's Playhouse -- a gig that earned him not one, but two Daytime Emmy's. Unfortunately, when a visual artist wins two major awards so early in his career, things can only go down from there; and down things went, as White slaved away on a lot of failed and mediocre television and video projects (his work on the Smashing Pumpkins' video for "Tonight, »

- Don Simpson

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Jedi Junkies | Review

18 February 2013 6:17 PM, PST

I have decided that I am going to make my mother watch Mark Edlitz's Jedi Junkies because maybe then she will finally realize that the hundred or so vintage Star Wars action figures that are packed away in my childhood bedroom does not constitute a collection by any means. I bought my last Star Wars action figure in 1984 and every piece of my "collection" has been used and abused; so nothing in that "collection" is worth anything other than sentimental value to myself. Of course, I knew all if this before watching Jedi Junkies; but to hear it from my mother, she makes it sound like I threw away so much of my hard-earned money (from birthdays, holidays and my paper delivery route) on a massive collection that has taken over her home. (I challenge you to search my parents' home for any Star Wars memorabilia -- I guarantee you will find nothing. »

- Don Simpson

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6 articles



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