16 items from 2017
The bonus features for the long-awaited Blu-ray release of The Poughkeepsie Tapes are included in today's Horror Highlights, which also features a deleted scene included on The Mummy Blu-ray, clips from Die Laughing and The Lodgers, the trailer and poster for Haze, and images from Restricted Area.
The Poughkeepsie Tapes Blu-ray: Press Release: "From the filmmakers that brought you Quarantine and As Above, So Below comes a descent into the twisted crimes of a serial killer! Long sought-after by horror enthusiasts after its original 2007 theatrical release was infinitely delayed, this highly anticipated documentary-style thriller has never before been officially released on home entertainment formats. Making its Blu-ray and DVD debut October 10th, 2017 from Scream Factory, The Poughkeepsie Tapes also includes new interviews with writer/director John Erick Dowdle, writer/producer Drew Dowdle and actress Stacy Chbosky, as well as the original theatrical trailer as bonus features. Fans can pre-order their copies now by visiting ShoutFactory. »
- Derek Anderson
Each month, the fine folks at FilmStruck and the Criterion Collection spend countless hours crafting their channels to highlight the many different types of films that they have in their streaming library. This August will feature an exciting assortment of films, as noted below.
To sign up for a free two-week trial here.
Tuesday, August 1
Tuesday’s Short + Feature: These Boots and Mystery Train
Music is at the heart of this program, which pairs a zany music video by Finnish master Aki Kaurismäki with a tune-filled career highlight from American independent-film pioneer Jim Jarmusch. In the 1993 These Boots, Kaurismäki’s band of pompadoured “Finnish Elvis” rockers, the Leningrad Cowboys, cover a Nancy Sinatra classic in their signature deadpan style. It’s the perfect prelude to Jarmusch’s 1989 Mystery Train, a homage to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and the musical legacy of Memphis, featuring appearances by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and Joe Strummer. »
- Ryan Gallagher
We all like to root for the underdog, especially if it is someone we, the audience, feel is being unjustly treated by a cruel, uncaring world. So, sitting down to Wilson, the film adaptation of Daniel Clowes’ graphic novel, we’re predisposed to cheer for the title character, especially as portrayed by Woody Harrelson.
Unfortunately, we get a soft, gooey portrayal of a misanthrope who brings much of the misery upon himself, surrounding himself with ill-defined characters. The 94 minute experience is at times uncomfortable and other times you shake your head at the missed opportunities.
The 2010 graphic novel is comprised of 70 single page gag strips about Wilson, inspired in part by his own father’s death as well as the relationship between Peanuts creator Charles Schulz and his father. Days and years pass in Wilson’s life between these vignettes forcing you to guess what has happened. In some ways, the film works in the same frustrating manner.
The film, out now from 20th Century Home Entertainment, focuses on Wilson, a down on his luck guy who loses his father to cancer then goes in search of his past by tracking his ex-wife where he learns the abortion that ended their marriage never happened. Instead, she gave away the child, now a teen, and they go in search of her.
Laura Dern looks appropriately strung out as Pippi, his ex, who is variously described as a crack whore and lunatic. She left Wilson, gave up her daughter, and tried to stay straight as a waitress. When Wilson finds her, she crumbles around whatever she originally found in him to love. As a result, she gives in all too readily and all too often, when he wants to love her or find their daughter and then pursue a relationship with her. Later, time passes and her situation changes with no real explanation, undercutting our appreciation for her struggles.
Harrelson gives the part his all, but is ill served by Clowes script. The story is fine but there’s little to like about Wilson, who is rude, arrogant, befuddled, and stressed out depending upon the scene. After being arrested for allegedly kidnapping Claire (Isabella Amara), he transitions to a three year stint at prison. There, he seems to find God or bond with every sub-culture in the prison population, softening his edges at last, so in the final act, he can find some solace. There’s a better story hidden under all this but Clowes won’t show us. His adaptations of Ghost World and Art School Confidential are far superior.
Had this been in the hands of a surer director, such as the originally-planned Alexander Payne, we might have been given that better movie. Instead, we get relative novice Craig Johnson, making just his third feature. Therefore, performances by Judy Greer, Cheryl Hines, and Margo Martindale are wasted.
We veer from slapstick to sentimental and the entire final portion of the film shifts tone into something sappy. The entire production lacks focus, direction, and even a point. As a portrait of a middle-aged man lost in the world, it has more promise than actual delivery.
Given that the film was a box office and critical disappointment, it’s no surprise that there is a paucity of special features. We do get 15 Deleted Scenes, some of which would have helped the overall story but none are entirely missed. There are also a photo gallery and trailers. »
- Robert Greenberger
Beginning next Friday, New York’s Metrograph will present a Terry Zwigoff retrospective that includes screenings of all five of his feature films. The weekend-long series begins with “Ghost World” and continues with “Louie Bluie,” “Art School Confidential” and “Bad Santa” before closing with his acclaimed documentary; Zwigoff will appear in person at each screening. Watch an exclusive trailer for the tribute below.
Here are some notes on the festivities in Metrograph’s own words: “Terry Zwigoff never seemed to belong to the careerist, wheeler-dealer world of the Sundance indie, and that’s part of his charm. Catapulted to prominence with ‘Crumb,’ his instant classic documentary on underground legend R. Crumb, Zwigoff went on to reel out a trio of blackly-comic fiction films which all together offer a jaundiced, »
- Michael Nordine
by Spencer Coile
Daniel Clowes struck gold in 2001 when he wrote the screenpay for Ghost World, an adaptation of his graphic novel of the same name. Telling the story of self-identified outcast Enid (Thora Birch), his first screenplay toyed with themes pertaining to isolation, the dissolution of friendships, and lots and lots of teen angst. It was relatable and altogether melancholic, but importantly-- it all worked. Drawing from his own work (no pun intended), Clowes pulled together some all-too-familiar film tropes, and managed to subvert them in thoughtful and oftentimes amusing ways. After a return to the screen with another adaptation of his own work, Art School Confidential in 2006, Clowes layed low, working primarily on writing/drawing and short films. He's back with Wilson, now in theaters, pairing with The Skeleton Twins director Craig Johnson, for another foray into the hilariously damaged human spirit »
- Spencer Coile
As the comic writer’s fantastically misanthropic work Wilson hits cinema screens, he talks about grief, Ghost World and surviving in Trumpland
With Terry, I was very much there the whole time in kind of a Coen brothers-ish scenario. We were bouncing ideas off each other and it felt fairly collaborative – for this one, I had decided I really had not enjoyed that process. I really like hanging out with Terry, we have fun together, but the actual process of making the movies was not at all fun for me. After the last one I thought, you know what, I’m just going to do what I do, write the script, hand it off and see what happens. My whole goal with this »
- Sam Thielman
This week sees another comic book adaptation arrive at movie theatres, while the Lego Batman and Logan are still pulling audiences in at the multiplex. Ah, but this film is not another superhero slugfest (we’ll have three more of those from Marvel Studios, and two from Warner/DC by the year’s end). No this comes from the “upper classes” of illustrated narratives, those “serious and somber” graphic novels (kind of a “highfalutin'” moniker). Several prestige flicks have been based on such books, like The History Of Violence and The Road To Perdition (both earned Oscar noms). The “graphic artist” (hey, I’ll bet he’d prefer cartoonist) behind this new film is no stranger to cinema. Matter of fact, this is his third feature-length movie adaptation. The first was my personal favorite flick of 2001, the quirky Ghost World (no ectoplasmic apparitions, but a teenage Scarlett Johansson). Five years »
- Jim Batts
For nearly thirty years, Daniel Clowes has been at the forefront of San Francisco’s second wave of underground cartoonists, first making waves with his anthology comic, Eightball, which ran for fifteen years. One of the many serialized comic stories in that comic was Ghost World, which was turned into a popular indie movie in 2001, directed by Terry Zwigoff and starring a very, very young Scarlett Johansson.
Five years later, Zwigoff and Clowes reteamed for the comedy Art School Confidential, also based on an Eightball story, and around the same time, Clowes shifted away from Eightball to writing and drawing stand-alone graphic novels.
One of those graphic novels was 2010’s Wilson, which Clowes has now adapted into a movie starring Woody Harrelson as its cantankerous title character, who goes on a quest to reconnect with his ex-wife Pippy (Laura Dern), and find their now-teen daughter Claire (Isabella Amara). It’s »
- Edward Douglas
Welcome back to the Weekend Warrior, your weekly look at the new movies hitting theaters this weekend, as well as other cool events and things to check out.
So we’re going to try something different this week, because the Weekend Warrior has been getting a little long in the tooth, and we’re worried that our busy readers may prefer shorter and more concise pieces. We’ll give this a try over the next few weeks and maybe I’ll write a little more when there’s a bigger movie opening.
This past weekend, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast reigned supreme with nearly $175 million--over $20 million more than my prediction (ouch!)--and even with a substantial drop this weekend, it’s unlikely that any of the three new movies will be able to »
- Edward Douglas
Woody Harrelson is the life of this party, based on the graphic novel by Daniel Clowes, the indie-comics legend whose work has inspired one film landmark in 2001's Ghost World (forget Art School Confidential). Wilson is not in that movie's league by a long shot, though you couldn't imagine a better interpreter of Clowes' world than Harrelson. That mischief in the actor's eyes keeps us intrigued by the film's title character, a neurotic grouch who rails against the Internet and other plagues of the modern age. Wilson also hates people – his main enjoyment, »
Billy Crudup appeared in two Oscar-nominated films in 2016 — “Jackie” and “20th Century Women” — but he also appeared in the family drama “Youth in Oregon” opposite the Tony Award-winning actor Frank Langella. In the film, Langella stars as the 79-year-old curmudgeon Raymond who makes arrangements to be euthanized in Oregon, but his family refuses to accept his decision. When another family emergency arises, Raymond’s daughter’s husband Brian (Billy Crudup) ends up driving Raymond and his wife Estelle (Mary Kay Place) 3,000 miles to Oregon, but soon Brian tries to convince the old man to give life another chance. Watch an exclusive clip from the film below.
The film is directed by Joel David Moore. He previously directed the films “Killing Winston Jones,” about a sixth grade English teacher who tries to get the newly constructed gym named after his elderly father, »
- Vikram Murthi
Can a film be both bitterly, bitingly misanthropic and kind of cuddly? Wilson (Grade: B) gives it a good college try. The film is based on the 2010 graphic novel by Daniel Clowes, who helped adapt some of his earlier works into a pair of big-screen comedies, Ghost World and Art School Confidential. With Wilson, he’s again translated one of his prickly studies of modern alienation to the screen, but without Terry Zwigoff—a kindred spirit of despair and bilious humor—behind the camera. Instead, the project has been helmed by Craig Johnson, director of the recent Sundance favorite The Skeleton Twins, and one can often sense it being pulled in divergent directions, toward the acid wit of its creator and toward something a little more charitable, a little more Fox Searchlight-friendly.
An uptick in humaneness, and in palatability, was possibly inevitable; behavior that readers can stomach from a ...
- A.A. Dowd
Cartoonist Dan Clowes is responsible for some of the best graphic novels and short comics stories of the past 25 years, two of which — “Ghost World” and “Art School Confidential” — ave been made into movies. But it’s his book “Wilson” that best represents his work as a whole. A character sketch about a chatty, reactionary misanthrope, “Wilson” is structured as a series of one-page comic strips, drawn in a variety of styles, which combine to tell a loose story.
- Kevin Jagernauth
“Wilson” is pitched somewhere between “Bad Santa” and Rick Alverson’s “The Comedy,” inhabiting a familiar strain of American movies about profoundly unlikable people. It’s based on the 2010 graphic novel of the same name by Daniel Clowes, who excels at examining the lives of somber characters trapped in drab, isolating worlds. But even as the screenplay (which Clowes adapted) contains much of the source material’s pitch-black humor, it also falls short of realizing its subtle vision of an angry recluse learning to make peace with his surroundings.
A crazy-eyed Woody Harrelson portrays Wilson, a loudmouthed, middle-aged creep, and his performance captures the character’s fundamental appeal. Tackling this material was a tricky proposition, but the movie pulls off some endearing qualities thanks to director Craig Johnson, who last achieved a balance of gloomy comedy and a dark backdrop with “Skeleton Twins.” With “Wilson,” he appropriates the graphic novel »
- Eric Kohn
Kayti Burt Jan 19, 2017
Not all comic book adaptations are about superheroes. Take Wilson, the upcoming film adaptation of the Daniel Clowes graphic novel about a middle-aged, misanthropic loner who finds out he has a 17-year-old daughter.
Directed by Craig Johnson (The Skeleton Twins) and starring Woody Harrelson, Laura Dern, Judy Greer, Isabella Amara, Margo Martindale, and Cheryl Hines, Wilson just made its Sundance Film Festival debut, and will get a theatrical release on March 24th in the Us (no word on the UK yet). It comes from a script written by Clowes himself and, from the looks of the trailer below, the film includes much of the heart and cynicism of the original comic.
This year’s Sundance Film Festival is mere days from unspooling in snowy Park City, Utah and, with it comes a brand new year of indie filmmaking to get excited about. As ever, the annual festival is playing home to dozens of feature films, short offerings and technologically-influenced experiences, and while there’s plenty to anticipate seeing, we’ve waded through the lineup to pick out the ones we’re most looking forward to checking out.
From returning filmmakers like Alex Ross Perry and Gillian Robesepierre to a handful of long-gestating passion projects and at least one film about a ghost, we’ve got a little something for every stripe of film fan.
Read More: Sundance 2017: Check Out the Full Lineup, Including Competition Titles, Premieres and Shorts
Ahead, check out 20 titles we’re excited to finally check out at this year’s festival.
The trifecta behind previous Sundance »
- Chris O'Falt, Eric Kohn, Graham Winfrey, Jude Dry, Kate Erbland, Steve Greene and Zack Sharf
16 items from 2017
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