Category: Film

Film & DVD Reviews

Predestination – Time travel done best

PREDESTINATION_27X40_R3MECH.inddIt is so incredibly difficult to make a good film about time travel. The successful ones live forever: Back to the Future, for example, hits everything right, while setting a standard for the genre. Many other time travel films miss the mark, by leaving gaping plot holes, or by messing with time so much so that it becomes a mess itself. I won’t name any names – but the movie that just popped into your head? That’s probably the one I’m thinking of.

And then there’s Predestination, a time travel film done so incredibly well it left my jaw hanging on the floor long after it had ended. A movie that messes with your mind so much that you wonder if you even had a mind at all.

This movie is almost impossible to review without spoilers, so this review will come in two pieces; spoiler free, and the full intense review. Continue reading

Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

The fact Guardians of the Galaxy won me over is quite remarkable considering the attitude I started out with. I remember shaking my fist at the sky, full of feminist ire, as I proclaimed “How can they say Wonder Woman doesn’t have enough wide market appeal, then green light a movie about a cybernetic raccoon?” A dear friend of mine, and an expert in comic book nerddom, pointed out that one is DC and one is Marvel, and the rights are owned by different studios. I find that to be nearly irrelevant when I lump together all the “powers-that-be” into one man in a suit shaking his head “no.” But the fact of the matter is, my feminist ire was misplaced (but came in handy later on when protesting the very real lack of toys celebrating the kick-ass lady alien this movie made me care about). Continue reading

Ten Obscure-ish Films Everyone Should See

Earlier this year, the largest video store in the United States, Scarecrow Video had a Kickstarter to help fund its survival and conversion to a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of video.  Of course, being a film-loving Seattlite, I was just about contractually bound to contribute to the Kickstarter — and one of the perks was being allowed to curate a top 10 list that’d be available for folks to browse in the store.  That list is here — though it’s not really a top 10 list, but more of 10 movies that may be a little obscure that are worth checking out.  (And I believe a fair number of these I first saw from Scarecrow!)  In no particular order, those films are…

Continue reading

Review: The Hundred-Foot Journey

The Hundred-Foot Journey
The Hundred-Foot Journey

The world has so many unique cuisines, so it was inevitable that one day, two would go head to head: if you love Indian food, if you love French food, if you love food in general, this movie is to watch ASAP.

The Hundred-Foot Journey” tells the story of Hassan Kadam (Manish Dayal), a man with dreams of being a chef. When Hassan and his family are forced to leave their native India, they travel to Europe, and, led by Papa (Om Puri), they decide to settle down in the picturesque village of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val in the south of France, and do what they do best: cook Indian food. However, the home they have purchased, and renovated into the ‘Maison Mumbai’, happens to be a hundred feet across the street from a Michelin starred restaurant, le Saule Pleureur, run by Mme. Mallory (Helen Mirren). Along the way, Hassan falls for the talented sous-chef, Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon), who cultivates his passion for food. Continue reading

Review: Robot & Frank

Robot & FrankCan a movie about grand theft be heartwarming?  I wouldn’t have thought it, but Jake Schreier’s 2012 film Robot & Frank is.  Frank Langella plays Frank, a retired criminal with a knack for figuring out break-ins — who’s also suffering from a memory disorder.  It’s never revealed by name, but it looks like the early stages of Alzheimer’s.  His son buys him a caretaker robot (voiced by Peter Sarsgaard and physically acted by Rachael Ma) to keep his mind active and help ward off the problems he’s been having.  Frank’s not thrilled with the idea of needing a robot to take care of him, until he determines the robot’s use when it shoplifts a small item for him from the store that replaced his beloved restaurant Harry’s. Continue reading

Review: Street Fighter – The Legend of Chun-Li

Cover of "Street Fighter: The Legend of C...
Cover of Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li

Back in the 1990s, the arcades were brought back to life thanks to a game called Street Fighter II: The World Warrior. The popularity of the game and its characters told anyone versed in the laws of business that spin-off media was inevitable. And it came in spades. There were several anime adaptations (some better than others), an American Saturday morning cartoon, action figures, comic books, customized game controllers, apparel and just about anything else you could think of. Continue reading

Review: From Straight To Bizarre

From Straight To Bizarre
From Straight To Bizarre

Sometimes with documentaries, length can be a hinderance.  There’s such a thing as too much depth, and they can tip from fascinating to boring.  Other documentaries, like From Straight To Bizarre about the other acts on Frank Zappa’s labels in the late 1960s and early 1970s, keep the interest up all the way through — in this case, through almost three hours.  In fact, when I saw how long it was, I was a little worried — but I needn’t have.  The release from Sexy Intellectual is very highly recommended to any Zappa fans, loaded with original music (and not weirdly lame knockoffs like the otherwise awesome David Bowie: Rare and Unseen) and interviews with the particulars. Continue reading

Review: The Great Dictator

The Criterion Collection edition of The Great Dictator.
The Criterion Collection edition of The Great Dictator.

If you want, you can picture an image of the Pokémon Slowpoke with the words “Hey, The Great Dictator is a great movie!” around him.  After all, the movie came out in 1940, and was a critical and commercial success.  So you know, duh.  But sometimes obvious things need to be said, so… Hey, The Great Dictator is a great movie!  But more than that, it’s a surprisingly brave movie, showing the brutality of Hitler’s reign while  coming out before the United States got involved in World War II.  (It’s Chaplin, so it’s also funny.) Continue reading

Review: Evil Roy Slade

cover of Evil Roy Slade
Evil Roy Slade

It’s interesting to me how sometimes if a film is too good, you can’t say much about it.  For example, this weekend, I watched two films — Fantastic Mr. Fox and Evil Roy Slade.  Of these two movies, Fantastic Mr. Fox is the superior one.  Wes Anderson is a brilliant director, and the film was exquisitely made.  But I can’t really figure out what I’d fill up a review with other than adding about 300 “really”s to “It was really really really good”. Evil Roy Slade, on the other hand, is quite good, but has some pacing issues, and has a couple of casting flaws, but — there’s more for me to say about it. Continue reading

Review: All That Glitters Is A Maresnest

All That Glitters Is A Maresnest

Cardiacs were a wonderful band — pretty much any given lineup of the band is going to be awesome, but the lineup on the All That Glitters Is A Maresnest concert film is probably my favorite lineup.  Or at least one of them, since, well, probably all the various Cardiacs lineups are my favorite.  But this one especially so — I love Sarah Smith’s sax and William D. Drake’s keys and, well, just about everything.

Continue reading