As eagerly anticipated as The Expendables 3, but by a completely different group of people. Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy are back with a vengeance in this third installment of the popular arthouse romance that began with 1995's Before Sunrise. And this time it's personal!
But, anyway... Rolling Stone's Peter Travers says "From first scene to last, Hawke and Delpy shine brilliantly, wearing their roles like second skins," and our own Star Tribune's Colin Covert summed it up, "Lovely. Insightful. Sad. Funny."
A hit at this year's Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Film Festival, Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me chronicles the now-legendary power-pop band, notoriously underappreciated during their lifespan. R.E.M.'s Peter Buck said that Big Star (whose classic albums can be checked out from your library, <cough cough>) "served as a rosetta stone for a whole generation of musicians," and The Replacements' Paul Westerberg paid homage with a song titled after bandleader Alex Chilton. Recommended, and not just for those of you who are already fans of the band.
It's rare for a documentary to receive reviews like "a mesmerizing psychological thriller" (David Chang, Variety), but Sundance hit Blackfish does just that. The uses the orca Tilikum - famous for attacking and killing a SeaWorld trainer in 2010 - as the lynchpin for a story of the cruelty of keeping these whales in captivity. The Village Voice's Alan Scherstuhl called it "revealing, wrenching, and important" and NPR's Thomas Hachard called it "gripping".
Sounds like there's been some confusion around this release. We do have it ordered: it's part of the Chucky: The Complete Collection. I'm pretty confident in saying that a plurality of the horror movie fan population would name Chucky as their favorite murderous, possessed doll in the genre's history (but don't sleep on the little guy from the third part of the made-for-tv Trilogy of Terror (which is available through MnLink)). Certainly being voiced by Brad Dourif, one of the best actors ever to be exiled to the genre, can't hurt.
Director Johnny To, whose elegant, brutal, supremely confident crime pictures have earned him numerous plaudits, returns to the genre he loves so well with Drug War. The New York Times' Mahnola Dargis said, "the brilliant, unsettling action scenes - ugly, savage, dehumanizing - speak volumes," while the Chicago Reader's Ben Sachs said, "Few other working filmmakers display this degree of visual sophistication and old-school craftsmanship." I cannot recommend this highly enough for fans of the genre.
Indie A-listers Greta Gerwig (Lola Versus) and Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale) reunite for this critically acclaimed dramedy about 20-somethings (well, one particular 20-something) merging into the ambiguities of adult life. If you're unfamiliar with Noah Baumbach, think Wes Anderson (with whom he co-wrote The Fantastic Mr. Fox) with greater sincerity, greater naturalism, greater feeling and a sharper sense of humor. Baumbach and Frances Ha were at the Walker recently to give a talk and a screening, respectively. Distributor IFC Films describes Frances as "a modern comic fable that explores New York, friendship, class, ambition, failure, and redemption."
Werner Herzog is not the first director to make a habit out of confounding expectations, but I struggle to recall anyone who in doing so has produced such consistently exceptional films. His latest blast from the land of "Wha...?": An AT&T funded public service announcement about the dangers of texting while driving (that such a PSA needs to be made is probably proof that humans were never intended to operate motor vehicles, but that's neither here nor there). PSA sells it a bit short, as the end-product is 35 minutes long, and maybe short documentary feature would be more appropriate, but then again I guess undefinability is the crux of post-millennial Herzog. This is not available on DVD, the library doesn't own it, but you can freely view it on YouTube in its entirety by following this link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xk1vCqfYpos
Tornado filled with sharks? Check. Tara Reid? Check. Special thanks to Uwe Boll for spiritual guidance? Wouldn't surprise me. If you liked Snakes on a Plane, and if you like things that are like other things you like, only with different animals in different unexpected places, then you might like Sharknado. At least the Syfy channel hopes so.
Following up on Insidious, James Wan's The Conjuring had surprising box office legs for a horror movie, which speaks to good word of mouth. And true to form, it's the best haunted house movie in recent memory, featuring real scares - if nothing particularly original - and a cast of near A-Listers who turn in a caliber of acting much in excess of what one might expect of the genre.
A new Wong Kar-Wai movie is always cause for cinephile rejoicing, and The Grandmaster - while not his finest work - is no exception. International superstar Tony Leung stars as Ip Man, a real-life historical figure and Bruce Lee's mentor. There is another recent, creatively unrelated series of films about Ip Man that have also been hits.
Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy star as, respectively the by-the-book FBI agent and the by-her-own-set-of-rules Boston PD detective in this cop-slash-buddy comedy from the director of Bridesmaids. The film is a fair vehicle for its leads' not inconsiderable comedic talents, but, not to put too fine a point on it, Bridesmaids was way better. The Heat also co-stars Marlon Wayans, in case you feel like your life doesn't have enough Wayans.