Tag Archives: retro scene

Review: ‘Love, Rosie’

'Love, Rosie'
‘Love, Rosie’

The contrivances of star-crossed lovers in cinema makes for compelling romantic tales, hinting at the perfect relationship we all desire and giving us a sweeping alternative to the often messy, imperfect ones we ultimately settle into. And if one does find that rare partnering, then grab it with both hands and hold onto it for dear life.

One of these relationships lies at the heart of Christian Ditter’s Love, Rosie, starring Lily Collins and Sam Claflin as Rosie and Alex, the couple who become friends as children, then spend the next twelve years or so denying their true feelings and orbiting each other’s stuttering emotions and failed relationships.

Opening during Alex’s wedding when they’re both 30 years old, Rosie stumbles through an awkward “best man” speech, then proceeds to throw herself under the covers and cry. From that explosion of pent-up girl power, the film backtracks briefly to their childhood friendship, focusing on their time together at the age of 18. Not only do Rosie and Alex have to deal with their fluttering unspoken feelings for each other, but they’re soon thrust into separate relationships which result in complicated consequences.

Eventually broken apart by school, an ocean, and adulthood, Rosie and Sam oscillate between the reality of their lives — motherhood, terrible lovers and everyday jobs — and an idealized partnership through cell phone texts and the occasional visit. Even though they understand each other’s dreams and have a shorthand in conversation, they never seem to fully express what we naturally observe between them. Now living in Boston, Alex falls into a destructive relationship with Sally (Tamsin Egerton). Back home in England, Rosie marries Greg (Christian Cooke), partially out of convenience, and struggles day-to-day as a maid at a local hotel. Years pass and the tension of if, when, and where they’ll ever consummate their cloistered emotions becomes the overriding tension within Love, Rosie.

It’s easy for a film such as this to reach and miss, substituting cloying situations and ‘sappiness’ for honest, endearing warmth. Love, Rosie does feature its share of saccharine moments, yet it maintains a grounded and genuine tone mostly through the wonderful presence of actress Lily Collins, who overshadows everything else in the film. She gives a standout performance, effortlessly projecting just the right amount of wide-eyed spunkiness that inevitably collides with the forced rigors of adulthood. It’s a precarious role that she nails and has one rooting for her the entire time.

Positioned for a release here in early February, Love Rosie, is assuredly meant to capitalize on the Valentines Day box office and it should serve as a great alternative to the more risqué fare coming soon. Regardless, its tale should be heart warming any time of the year.

The film opens at AMC Mesquite 30 on Friday, February 6.

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.

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.)

Retro Scene: ‘The Beyond’ at Texas Theatre

Lucio Fulci's 'The Beyond' at the Texas Theatre
Lucio Fulci’s ‘The Beyond’ at the Texas Theatre

Eternally perched between low-class, weirdo schlock – think Manhattan Baby (1982) or Sodoma’s Ghost (1988)- and gloriously macabre thrillers, at the very least, Italian filmmaker Lucio Fulci is never boring. The Beyond, beginning a repertory run at the Texas Theater this weekend, is one of his best.

Originally released in 1981, the film concerns a portal to hell in the basement of a Louisiana hotel that unleashes some particularly gruesome events on its modern inhabitants. True to Fulci’s hallucinatory vision, gross-out theatrics and ‘video nasty’ vibe, The Beyond was rescued from obscurity a few years back via Grindhouse and Rolling Pictures and now its excess can be viewed on the big screen. Starring Catriona MacColl and David Warbeck.

Presented in 35MM at the Texas Theater Friday January 9th and Saturday January 10th. Check theater for exact show times.

-Joe Baker

Retro Scene: ‘Strange Brew,’ ‘Night of the Demons,’ ‘Dracula,’ and More

Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas in 'Strange Brew'
Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas in ‘Strange Brew’

A fabulous selection of titles to choose from — or choose them all! — beginning tonight (Wednesday, October 23). Here’s a quick guide to what’s what:

  • Wed: ‘Strange Brew.’ Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas in a Canadian tale of mounties, hosers, and beer. (Alamo Drafthouse) Screens 10/23 only.
  • Wed: ‘Night of the Demons.’ Gnarly old-school horror in 1988. (Alamo Drafthouse) Screens 10/23 only; projected from VHS; only $1!
  • Thu: ‘E.T. The Extra Terrestrial.’ An alien comes to Earth, is strangely attracted to young boy. (Alamo Drafthouse) Screens 10/24 only.
  • Fri-Sun: ‘Oldboy.’ Park Chan-wook’s harsh revenge tale is an ugly, magnificently disturbing drama. See it before Spike Lee’s new version opens in late November. (The Texas Theatre) Screens 10/25-27.
  • Fri-Thu: ‘The Wicker Man: The Final Cut.’ Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, and Britt Ekland star in a classic tale of pagan practices vs. Christian teachings in an isolated community. Directed by Robin Hady; this version is said to restore footage cut from the original edition and thought to have been lost. (Angelika Dallas) Screens 10/25-31.
  • Sun: ‘Dracula.’ Todd Browning’s influential version of Bram Stoker’s night-stalking legend. (Alamo Drafthouse) Screens 10/27 only.
  • Mon: ‘Blood-C: The Last Dark.’ Violent revenge anime. (Alamo Drafthouse) Screens 10/28 only; free with RSVP!
  • Tue: ‘Hocus Pocus.’ Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy as evil witches. (Alamo Drafthouse) Screens 10/29 only.
  • Tue: ‘Varsity Blues.’ The MTV version of high school sex and football. With James Van Der Beek, Scott Caan, Amy Smart, Ali Larter, and a whipped-cream bikini. (Alamo Drafthouse) Screens 10/29 only.

Retro Scene: ‘Pink Panther,’ ‘Oyster Princess,’ ‘Tootsie,’ ‘Battle Royale’

Peter Sellers in Blake Edwards' 'The Pink Panther'
Peter Sellers in Blake Edwards' 'The Pink Panther'

Here’s a spotlight on four retrospective screenings, starting tonight:

  • ‘The Pink Panther’ (1964; d. Blake Edwards). Nearing the age of 40, with ‘Lolita’ behind him and ‘Dr. Strangelove’ just around the corner, Peter Sellers teamed with Blake Edwards to create his most beloved character, the bumbling Inspector Clouseau. See it to marvel how Sellers absolutely stole a routine heist picture from matinee idol David Niven (a very game straight man). [Tonight and tomorrow, Texas Theatre]
  • Amusing Aside: In his book ‘The Moon is a Balloon,’ Niven notes that he suffered frostbite in his nether regions whilst taking advantage of the producer’s offer to provide ski instruction on an afternoon off from filming ‘The Pink Panther’ in the Italian Alps. (The producer did not know that Niven was an experienced skier.) Quickly surmising the danger, Niven sought help from several Italian ski guides, who helped him to a hotel bar bathroom, where the actor thawed out his member in a glass of brandy.
  • ‘The Oyster Princess’ (1919; d. Ernest Lubitsch). If you can only see one retrospective screening this week, make it this one, which I was happy to catch at SXSW last month. Austin group Bee Vs. Moth debuted their awesome original score there, and will play it again; it’s a terrific accompaniment to Lubitsch’s film, a very funny, visually inventive story about a very picky heiress, her potential suitor(s), and her very bored father, a wealthy business tycoon. [Saturday night only, Texas Theatre]
  • ‘Tootsie’ (1982; d. Sydney Pollack). Reportedly a troubled production in which the script went through a myriad amount of changes, the finished product emerges as some kind of jewel. The script is still problematic — for one thing, the treatment of Terri Garr’s character is abysmal — but it feels like Dustin Hoffman’s ultimate performance as a thinly-disguised version of his own flinty, vain persona. With Jessica Lange, Dabney Coleman, Geena Davis, Charles Durning, and abundantly funny, cameo-sized roles for Bill Murray and director Sydney Pollack. [Friday night only, Palace Arts Center, Grapevine]
  • ‘Battle Royale’ (2000; d. Kinji Fukasaku). Beyond the superficial plot similarities, what ‘The Hunger Games’ and ‘Battle Royale’ most hold in common is a desire to comment on society. Fukasaku’s message was to young people in Japan, and he marshaled all of his considerable talents and experience to deliver a very potent, chilling time-bomb. But will the half-drunken midnight crowd see past the blood, cheese, and  melodrama? If not, it’s their loss. [Midnight, Friday and Saturday only, Landmark Inwood]