The summer movie season kicks off this week with Iron Man 2, yet another sequel that seems to have succumbed to the Hollywood notion that bigger is better. Director Jon Favreau and lead dude Robert Downey Jr. are joined this time by a lengthy list of intriguing supporting actors (Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke and Garry Shandling) and what seems to be a radically heightened set of expectation.
On the morning of Feb. 28, 1958, a school bus carrying 48 elementary and high school students ran over an embankment and plunged into the Big Sandy River in Prestonsburg, Ky. Twenty-six kids and the bus’ driver lost their lives in the crash, forever altering the small, close-knit Floyd County town’s inhabitants.
Michael Crisp’s appropriately somber documentary, The Very Worst Thing, meticulously re-creates the events surrounding the accident via vintage radio recordings and photos and modern-day interviews with people — from a survivor of the accident to those who want to keep the victims’ legacy alive — connected to that day more than 50 years ago.
A “re-imagining” of A Nightmare on Elm Street opens this week. Really? The original Freddy movie, which is now best known as Johnny Depp’s first big-screen role, not to mention its endless (and endlessly lame) sequels?
A trio of “event” screenings boosts this week’s mixed bag of new releases (of which Bong Joon-Ho’s Hitchcockian thriller, The Mother, is the clear winner).
Contemporary movie trailers suck. Not only are they — like most of the movies they pimp — typically lowest-common-denominator dumb but they also mislead viewers about a given movie’s true nature in an attempt to entice the broadest possible audience. (For example, check out the stupid, disjointed Inglourious Basterds’ trailer, which tried to sell Quentin Tarantino’s arty, longwinded, multilingual revenge epic as a straightforward Brad Pitt-centered World War II action flick.)
I loved Joan Jett when I was a kid. I listened to side one of I Love Rock N’ Roll almost every day — often multiple times a day — for more than a year. I turned the volume up on my crappy little radio every time the title song came on Q102 — which at the height of its popularity, was about once an hour.
The collision of simple, classic guitar chords, her tough-girl voice and her sexy, goth-informed visage staring out from the album’s cover left me endlessly fascinated. As a pre-teen, early-’80s suburbanite, I’d never experienced anything like her.
The amusing, curiously lo-fi comedic diversion known as Hot Tub Time Machine revisits a moment in time not known for its significant cultural contributions (especially on a mainstream level). Who better, then, to appear in a movie that looks back with a nostalgic eye to the 1980s than Crispin Glover, one of the great, under-appreciated oddballs of that or any era?
The local cinematic universe gets a much-needed shot of adrenaline this week. Even the Hollywood studio efforts look palatable.
The post-awards/pre-summer movie season trudges on with a curious collection of releases in a variety of genres: we’ve got another romantic comedy starring Jennifer "I Do Movies to Get a Boyfriend" Aniston (The Bounty Hunter), a futuristic thriller (Repo Men), a family-friendly teen thing (The Wimpy Kid Diaries) and even a 3-D IMAX documentary (Hubble).
We didn’t need the Academy Awards to tell us that Kathryn Bigelow is a really good director — she’s been that for more than 30 years.