Over the last 30 years or so, DC has played a quiet, yet impactful role in shaping music culture. So it’s pretty easy to get excited for this upcoming documentary.
“SALAD DAYS is a documentary-in-progress that examines the fertile Washington, DC punk scene of the 1980s. This was a particularly important time in the evolution of punk and independent music, with DC based bands like Minor Threat, Bad Brains, Black Market Baby, the Faith, the Slickee Boys, Void, Government Issue, Marginal Man, Dag Nasty, 9353, Gray Matter, Beefeater, Scream, Rites of Spring, Fugazi, Shudder to Think, Nation of Ulysses, Jawbox and others defining the DC aesthetic. Local record labels like Dischord, Fountain of Youth, Teen Beat, and Simple Machines would become standard-bearers for the DIY revolution.”
Wayne White is the subject of a new movie, Beauty is Embarrassing, and it happens to be Pee-Wee Herman’s 60th birthday today. What better way to combine the two into a post than by looking through White’s work on the cult classic television show Pee-Wee’s Playhouse?
“After an earthquake devastates his beloved country, a Haitian Princeton janitor seeks the support of the privileged community he serves everyday and sacrifices everything to revive his lifelong dream to bring what is most fundamental to his village’s survival; clean water.”
Ruby Sparks—the latest film from husband-and-wife directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris—is about Calvin (Paul Dano), a twenty-something writer struggling to produce a follow-up to his first novel, which he wrote in his teens and became a bestseller.
In an attempt to overcome his writer’s block, Calvin sees a therapist (Elliot Gould), who gives him an assignment to write about his ideal woman. Calvin dreams up a 26-year-old artist named Ruby (Zoe Kazan), who is redheaded, bright and outspoken. The more Calvin writes about her, the more real she becomes, until one morning, when he wakes up and finds a very real Ruby, half-dressed and nonchalantly eating cereal, in his kitchen.
The film’s storyline is reminiscent of the Greek myth Pygmalion, or even Weird Science (one of our favorite movies, for all the wrong reasons). But comparisons to the 1980s science-fiction flick stop there—where Wyatt and Gary create Lisa, a supervixen willing to fulfill their every fantasy, Calvin’s Ruby is a quirky and fully realized character, which means she is not perfect. And when Calvin vows to never write about her again, she becomes individualistic and temperamental, and it’s these aspects of her personality, the parts he did not write, which allow him to understand what it really means to love someone else.
Overall, Ruby Sparksis funny and smart—a rarity in the romantic-comedy subgenre—and despite its imaginative concept, the film succeeds in feeling genuine and delivering an important message about relationships and independence.
In a remote part of the Louisiana delta, cut off from civilization by a levee is a Bayou community known solely as ‘The Bathtub.’ A place where the only luxury is living, and where death is celebrated as joyously as birth. Making something out of nothing is the spirit of both this fictitious community, and the filmmakers who brought this story to life.
Beasts of the Southern Wildis the debut feature from New Orleans filmmaker Benh Zeitlin. A magical, emotional tale centering on a wise little girl named Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis) and the obstacles she faces existing inside a community in constant struggle to retain its independence. Raised by a strong-handed single father named Wink (Dwight Henry) in a two trailer compound on stilts, Hushpuppy is taught everything she knows in order to survive on her own in a world full of uncertainty. Presented with a string of catastrophes—from a Katrina-type storm surge to her father’s mysterious illness—Hushpuppy navigates between childhood fantasy with an innate connection to nature, and the reality of her surroundings in a place whose future is unclear.
Created on a minimal budget, Beasts of the Southern Wilddelivers raw, exemplary performances from its cast—both father and daughter are first time actors, plucked from the state of Louisiana, itself—and cinematic beauty with a mixture of still and handheld shots. These feats have not gone unnoticed, as the film received the Grand Jury Prize for dramatic feature at Sundance, and the coveted Caméra d’Or for best first film at Cannes.
Beasts of the Southern Wild is a film you take your mother to if you want her to end up in tears, and your girlfriend to if you want to see how long she can keep it together. A test that unsurprisingly you’ll be challenged with as well.
Opening in select theaters this Wednesday, July 27th.
What happens when the 16th president of the United States of America finds out that vampires are plotting to take over his beloved country? He hunts them down, and kills them. Now imagine that in 3D. Directed Timur Bekmambetov, and produced by Tim Burton, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is one of those summer movies that gives you just the right amount of blood and fantasy to keep you locked into the screen until the very end.
In LOLA VERSUS—the new romantic comedy from filmmaking duo Zoe Lister-Jones and Daryl Wein—29-year-old Lola (Greta Gerwig) is dumped by her fiancé just three weeks before their wedding.
Single for the first time in eight years and nearing 30, Lola immerses herself in power eating and power dating, both of which are accompanied by witty one liners (“Who needs a boyfriend when you have pizza delivery?” and “Did you just have sex with that rollerblader?” are two of our favorites).
Though maneuvering her way through a mess of rebounds and missteps, Lola remains quirky and sincere (or self-described as “slutty” but a “good person,” which is pretty much the same thing in our book).
In the end, LOLA VERSUSis a true coming-of-age film—except in this case the age is 30. It includes life-changing experiences, hard lessons, transformation and growth, as Lola emerges from her emotional-eating journey all the wiser, and realizes that it is OK to be alone, even at 30.
Fist pound, Lola. Let’s hang when you get in your Dirty Thirties.
In the first scene of Sound of My Voice—a sci-fi drama from first-time director Zal Batmanglij—a couple follows directions into the garage of a suburban house. They are met by a stranger who instructs them to wash up, thoroughly, and put on hospital gowns. The stranger then handcuffs and blindfolds them, and leads them into a van.
Their restraints are removed once inside another location, where they are led into a basement and, after a series of elaborate handshakes, are welcomed into the group and introduced to Maggie.
Barefoot and veiled, Maggie enters the room with an oxygen tank in tow. She sits cross-legged on the floor, lifts her veil and proceeds to tell the story of how she came to be. The story concludes with her showing the group her tattoo of a delicate anchor and the number 54. “See, I come from 54,” she says. “2054. Your future.”
This all takes place within the first 12 minutes of the film—viewable here—and the rest of the film is equally engaging. It is later divulged that the couple, Peter and Lorna, are actually documentarians who want to make a film on cults and expose Maggie as a fraud. But Peter and Lorna get in over their heads, and begin to question their own beliefs—and each other.
Though it was shot on a micro budget, Sound of My Voice is impactful, raising questions about the power of belief, the search for truth and how the two can be easily confused. Brit Marling is particularly enchanting in her role as Maggie, disorienting and disarming cult members—and moviegoers—with her celestial beauty and poignant performance.
Each scene in film builds on the last, and amounts to a wonderfully complex narrative that is as fantastic as it is real.
We attended the World Premiere of Morgan Spurlock’s new film Mansomethis past Saturday. Through candid interviews, Mansometakes an in-depth and humorous look at grooming, and the extremes of keeping up a man’s appearance in the 21st century. Executive produced by Will Arnett, Jason Bateman and Ben Silverman. When this comes out nationally, you’ll want to see it. 84 minutes of A+ entertainment.
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