Category Archives: News

Local filmmakers and events; film festivals and openings; trailers, clips and images.

Opening: ‘The Lazarus Effect,’ ‘Focus,’ Plus 8 Indies

Olivia Wilde in 'The Lazarus Effect'
Olivia Wilde in ‘The Lazarus Effect’

Opening Friday, February 27

    • The Lazarus Effect. Olivia Wilde dies and is then resurrected, to the misery of her fellow scientific experimenters. With Mark Duplass and Evan Peters. Wide release.
    • Focus. Will Smith and Margot Robbie in con-man adventure. Wide release.
    • A La Mala. A comedy from Mexico about a woman who helps her best friend test out her fiancee’s fidelity. Hmm, this sounds familiar. Wide release.
    • Human Capital A drama from Italy about two families and a tragic accident. Angelika Dallas.
    • Maps to the Stars. David Cronenberg looks at Hollywood. With Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack, and Robert Pattinson. Look Cinemas.
    • Out of the Dark. Newly-arrived in Colombia, a married couple (Julia Stiles and Scott Speedman) discover their daughter is in mortal danger due to … ghosts? The movie is better than it may sound. with Stephen Rea. Studio Grill Spring Valley.
    • Red Army. An acclaimed documentary about the famed and fearsome Soviet Union national hockey team. Angelika Dallas, Cinemark West Plano.
    • Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal. A Chinese New Year’s confection from director Peter Pau. Cinemark Legacy.
    • Timbuktu. Academy Award-nominated drama about a cattle herder and his family. Landmark Magnolia, Angelika Plano.
    • What We Do in the Shadows. A horror-comedy mockumentary from the very funny and talented duo behind Flight of the Conchords. Advance word is positive. Angelika Dallas, Angelika Plano.

Indie Spotlight: ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ at Texas Theatre

'Gangs of Wasseypur'
‘Gangs of Wasseypur’

The highly-touted Indian gangster epic Gangs of Wasseypur will enjoy its local theatrical premiere this weekend, courtesy of The Texas Theatre, in partnership with Cinelicious Pics.

The film will be presented in two parts:

PART 1: Sunday, January 25 at 7:15 p.m.
PART 2: Thursday, January 29 at 7:00 p.m.

Here’s the description by The Texas Theatre:

Gangs of Wasseypur mirrors the tumultuous and explosive growth of modern India with ferocious cinematic intensity. As with Al Pacino’s Michael Corleone in The Godfather, it’s the least likely of Sardar’s children – the perpetually stoned Faizal (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) – who rises to the top ranks of the Khan crime family, vowing brutal revenge on their longtime nemesis, the wily and seemingly unstoppable Ramadhir Singh (Tigmanshu Dhulia). Composer Sneha Khanwalkar’s stunning soundtrack ranks with legends like R.D. Burman, but don’t expect Bollywood-style dance numbers: this is a movie that up-ends every expectation of what great Indian cinema should look (and sound) like.”

View more information — and buy tickets! — at the official Texas Theatre site.

Opening: ‘The Duke of Burgundy,’ ‘Leviathan,’ and More

'The Duke of Burgundy'
‘The Duke of Burgundy’

Opening Friday, February 6

  • The Duke of Burgundy (d. Peter Strickland) A style-soaked drama about a woman and her lover. Texas Theatre.
  • Jupiter Ascending (d. The Wachowskis) A science-fiction adventure. With Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum. Wide release.
  • Leviathan (d. Andrey Zvyagintsev) Corruption rules a small town in Russia. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Angelika Dallas, Angelika Plano.
  • Love, Rosie (d. Christian Ditter) Platonic best friends separate to attend college, then realize they may be in love. With Lily Collins and Sam Claflin. AMC Mesquite.
  • One Small Hitch (d. John Burgess) Romantic comedy and a fake wedding. Studio Grill Spring Valley.
  • Seventh Son (d. Sergey Bodrov) Epic fantasy, starring Ben Barnes, Jeff Bridges, and Julianne Moore. Wide release.
  • SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (d. Paul Tibbit) Antonio Banderas stars in this live-action/animated adventure. Wide release.

Retro Scene: ‘The Long Goodbye’ at the Alamo Drafthouse

Elliott Gould in Robert Altman's 'The Long Goodbye'
Elliott Gould in Robert Altman’s ‘The Long Goodbye’

The paradigm of the film noir private investigator is tossed violently out the window in Robert Altman’s 1973 classic The Long Goodbye. Needless to say, this film would make for a dizzying double bill with Paul Thomas Anderson’s newly released Inherent Vice.

Starring Elliott Gould as the classic Philip Marlowe character, that’s the only familiar trait of Altman’s neo modernist whodunit. The film establishes a mystery to be solved — namely, the disappearance of his best friend — then spends the rest of its running time creating a unique, rambling series of interactions between naked hippie neighbors, a cantankerous writer (Sterling Hayden), his beautiful wife (Nina van Pallandt), a persistent psychiatrist (Henry Gibson) and a hungry cat. Just how it all connects is part of the joy.

Saturated in Altman’s typical style including a roving camera and his predilection for overlapping dialogue, The Long Goodbye is a stalwart of the revisionist cinema of the 70’s, completely entertaining and truly deserving of the term “classic.”

The Long Goodbye screens Sunday January 18th, 12 p.m. at the Alamo Drafthouse in Richardson. (Click the poster to see it in all its glorious, detailed beauty.)

Review: ‘Inherent Vice’

Paul Thomas Anderson's 'Inherent Vice' (Warner Bros.)
Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Inherent Vice’ (Warner Bros.)

Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice is sure to polarize and challenge the expectations from a film noir. It’s a woozy tapestry of gung-ho cops, mysterious drug lords, disaffected Flower Children, fringe political anarchists and lots of marijuana use by its lead private investigator, which only casts a wider sense of paranoia and murkiness around the whole affair.

It’s also about the tenuous moment in time when sunny California, as the template for America at large, changed from the Summer of Love into something decidedly more sinister. Now, full admission. I worship P.T. Anderson’s films, so take the rest of this with a cinematic grain of salt. Two of his most divisive films, Magnolia (1999) and The Master (2012), I consider as two of the best films of their respective decades.

Like those ambitious efforts, Inherent Vice doesn’t play by the rules. The dialogue and voice-over (by indie singer Joanna Newsom) evoke the guttural poetry of a Hunter S. Thompson novel. Scenes between characters run on for minutes at a time, often in a slow zoom single take, allowing the words and their hidden meanings to take shape before our eyes. The actual case taken on by “Doc” Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) doesn’t congeal into an easily explainable finale, often raising more questions than it answers. Inherent Vice isn’t a disposable Friday night date film. It requires patience, a bit of personal interaction and the desire to lose oneself in the convoluted universe Anderson and novelist Thomas Pynchon, whose book the film is based upon, have created. It’s a tall order but one that delivers on its majestic intent.

Taking place in the fictionalized ocean side town of Gordita Beach, California, in 1970, private investigator Larry “Doc” Sportello (Phoenix) has his nightly “decompression” time interrupted by ex-girlfriend Shasta Fay (Katherine Waterston) asking for help. She’s involved with some bad people who want to capitalize on the fortunes of her current boyfriend, wealthy land developer Mickey Wolfmann (Eric Roberts). He accepts the assignment and, before long, finds himself in a cascading tunnel of police investigations, shady characters and loose ends, all the while continuing to smoke pot which most assuredly obfuscates his own thinking on the case.

In addition to all that, other people begin seeking him out for the resolution of their own missing people. A distraught housewife (Jean Malone) wants “Doc” to find her missing jazz saxophonist husband (Owen Wilson). A Black Panther member (Michael K. Williams) enlists “Doc” to investigate an old cellmate with ties to the Aryan Brotherhood. His visit to a massage parlor and its kinky employee (Hong Chau) exposes “Doc” to the Golden Fang — which could either be a nondescript boat or the corporate name for a vertical drug smuggling operation responsible for pummeling the West Coast with heroin.

Somehow, all these leads inadvertently careen back to Wolfmann. Even the help of “Doc’s” supposed allies, including his lawyer buddy (Benecio del Toro), Deputy District Attorney/old girlfriend Penny (Reese Witherspoon), and overbearing Detective Bigfoot Bjornson (Josh Brolin), lead him further down the rabbit hole of suspicion, confusion and alienation.

Inherent Vice features so many red herrings, unusually zany cameos (Martin Short, incredible!) and diversions from the truth it soon becomes almost a parody of film noir. Fasten your seat belts. This isn’t your father’s Sam Spade.

In Anderson’s sophomore epic film on the travails of the porn industry, Boogie Nights (1997), the central set-piece involved a New Year’s Eve party on December 31, 1979, where emotions boil to the surface and a violent outburst shatters the good times. Nothing’s the same after that. The 1980s arrived and video cassette effectively curtailed that industry’s heyday. Within that 20-minute set-piece, Anderson effectively conveyed the end of an era.

With Inherent Vice he stretches the collision of the old 1960s free love with the harsher realities of the 70s over two and a half hours. The Sharon Tate murders are mentioned. The horrible, degenerative effect of heroin on the body are alluded to several times. As Shasta Fay, actress Waterston is given a long monologue that succinctly delineates her feelings on the state of modern relationships.

Effectively, Inherent Vice is a very sad film behind its very comedic heart. Its narrative may not always make complete sense, but the mood it resonates makes all the sense in the world. It’s one of the very best films of the year.

Opening: ‘Blackhat,’ ‘Little Accidents,’ ‘Winter Sleep,’ and More

Chris Hemsworth in Michael Mann's 'Blackhat'
Chris Hemsworth in Michael Mann’s ‘Blackhat’

Opening:

  • Blackhat (d. Michael Mann) Chris Hemsworth stars as an imprisoned computer hacker who is unleashed to tackle a threatening new virus. In wide release.
  • Little Accidents (d. Sara Colangelo) Secrets and lies in a small mining town haunted by disaster. With Elizabeth Banks. Texas Theatre.
  • Paddington (d. Paul King) A friendly bear comes to life and makes a new home with a British family. With Colin Firth and Sally Hawkins. In wide release.
  • Spare Parts (d. Sean McNamara) Hispanic high school students start a robotics club. With Alexa PenaVega, Marisa Tomei, Jamie Lee Curtis, and George Lopez. In wide release.
  • Vice (d. Brian A. Miller) Thomas Jane investigates serious allegations against a pleasure resort populated by robots and run by Bruce Willis in a sci-fi action-thriller. AMC Grapevine Mills.
  • The Wedding Ringer (d. Jeremy Garelick) Josh Gad is a hapless groom who calls upon professional best man Kevin Hart for guidance. In wide release.
  • Winter Sleep (d. Nuri Bilge Ceylan) The Turkish master filmmaker examines a small hotel and the husband and wife who run it. Angelika Dallas.