November 13, 1992 |
Hal Hartley is a filmmaker who takes us to familiar-looking yet utterly strange places: modern cul-de-sacs where anxiety meets lassitude, honor battles absurdity, and love tries to strike a bargain with lust. He's a comic original, but he's not just a comedian. With his mixture of sly wit and wary compassion, he's able to dig deeper into his characters than all but a handful of American directors, especially the self-consciously serious ones.
March 9, 1990 |
"Coupe de Ville" (selected theaters), a mediocre road comedy with a few sparkling scenes, tackles that pivotal cultural question of the '60s: Exactly what were the lyrics of the Kingsmen's mush-mouthed big-beat hit "Louie Louie"? Were they, as many suspect, a barrage of unrelieved scatology and filth? Were they a tender, if incoherent, love song? Or were they, as one "Coupe" character stoutly maintains, a sea chantey about a voyage to Jamaica?
May 21, 1995 |
When the FBI went into the movie business in the 1980s in an attempt to weed out racketeering and payola, mobsters weren't the only casualties of the sting. Among the unwitting participants in the drama were struggling filmmakers Dan Lewk and Gary Levy. Though their film "Cartunes" was never produced, they were left with a wild story to tell--and now the real Hollywood is listening. The two were approached in 1987 by a producer named David Rudder with an offer they couldn't refuse.
January 3, 2011 |
As a film genre, the road movie has proved to be as durable as any in Hollywood history. Perhaps that's because it's always being re-interpreted to fit the mood of the times and can be mined for both comic ("Sullivan's Travels," "Planes, Trains and Automobiles") and dramatic ( "The Road," "Rain Man") potential. Road movies were especially prevalent during the Great Depression, including 1933's "Wild Boys of the Road" and 1940's "The Grapes of Wrath," as millions of Americans left home in search of a better life.
October 15, 1999 |
The one sure thing that David Fincher's $68-million movie "Fight Club" has going for it, or against it, is controversy. According to movie marketing experts, the free publicity that the film is generating can either help or impair a film's ultimate box-office performance. No one in Hollywood doubts that 20th Century Fox's "Fight Club," starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton, will have a strong opening this weekend--estimates range from $14 million to $17 million.
April 10, 1987 |
In "Three for the Road" (citywide), the movie makers try to revive another day's genre--the early '70's "road" pictures--in today's terms. And it doesn't work. The looser, more anarchic feelings they're going after don't jibe with the modern packaging, and they wind up with something slicked-up, streamlined and hollow--like "Blowing in the Wind" rearranged as elevator music.
March 1, 2007 |
IN the new comedy "Wild Hogs," Tim Allen, John Travolta, William H. Macy and Martin Lawrence play weekend warrior buddies from Cincinnati who jump on their Harleys and take a road trip to the Pacific in hopes of pepping up their humdrum suburban lives. Though filled with slapstick and more than a few off-color jokes, the movie's underlying theme is how many baby boomers feel that they have compromised their values while losing the idealism of their youth.
September 4, 1992 |
Gregg Araki's savagely comic, deeply romantic "The Living End" (at the Hillcrest Cinemas) wastes no time in getting to the point. Within its first five minutes, Jon (Craig Gilmore) learns that he has tested HIV-positive. To head off an inevitable mood of gloom, Araki swiftly cuts away from Jon to another young man, Luke (Mike Dytri), a sexy, well-muscled drifter, caught up in a series of outrageous and comical adventures on the road.
August 21, 1992 |
Gregg Araki's savagely comic, deeply romantic "The Living End" (at selected theaters) wastes no time in getting to the point. Within its first five minutes, Jon (Craig Gilmore) learns that he has tested HIV-positive. In order to head off an inevitable mood of gloom, Araki swiftly cuts away from Jon to another young man, Luke (Mike Dytri), a sexy, well-muscled drifter, caught up in a series of outrageous and comical adventures on the road.
June 13, 2010 |
Mark and Jay Duplass were despondent. It was 2002, and the brothers had just made an independent feature film that turned out so badly they vowed to never let anyone see it. Instead, they sat on the couch watching their favorite movies and wondering where they had gone wrong with their own. The two had been making films since they were little kids in New Orleans, lugging around a camcorder connected by cables to a VCR. Film was their life. But the next day, they shook off their self-pity, picked up their parents' digital video camera, and shot a scene for 20 minutes without thinking about it. The resulting short starred Mark as a guy trying to perfect a personal greeting on his answering machine, "who fails to do so, and then basically has a nervous breakdown," says Jay, 37, adding that it was based on his own experience.