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by Jason Gargano 04.09.2010
at 02:44 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Friday Movie Roundup: I Love Joan Jett

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.

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by Jason Gargano 10.23.2009
at 12:14 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 

Friday Movie Roundup: Bite Me, Robert Pattinson

What’s up with the current vampire/zombie craze?

Yes, there’s always been interest in the genre and its preoccupation with the dark side of human nature and sexuality — from the books of Bram Stoker and Anne Rice to the movies of Bela Lugosi and George A. Romero to the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. No doubt blood and bare necks and sucking and such will always be alluring, but what is it about this cultural moment in time that has so many geeking out on the idea of the undead?

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by Jason Gargano 12.02.2011
at 01:27 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Friday Movie Roundup: Sundance Lineup Edition

I haven't done an exhaustive study, but it seems for the first time since I've been writing the words that appear in this space, there are no new movies opening in theaters this week. Zero.

But that's not to say there aren't plenty of worthwhile options currently residing in local theaters.

As I pointed out last week, there have been an uncommon number of strong movies released of late, including four last week: The Descendants, Hugo, The Muppets and My Week with Marilyn. That quartet follows the recently released Martha Marcy May Marlene and Like Crazy, which means a half-dozen movies in the last three weeks have garnered an A- or better from CityBeat's typically stingy crew of critics.

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by Kelly Tucker 05.02.2011
at 12:14 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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Beyond the Myth: A Look at Dog Breed Discrimination

Hearing the police knock on your door never gives anyone the warm fuzzies. It’s nerve-wracking. But imagine opening your door to a police officer who’s come to take away a member of your family. They’ll be locked in confinement until a) you can permanently relocate him or her, or b) time runs out and your loved one is killed.

That’s been the harsh reality for many pit bull owners in breed-discriminatory cities, as depicted in Beyond the Myth: A Film About Pit Bulls and Breed Discrimination by filmmaker Libby R. Sherrill.

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by Jason Gargano 12.27.2010
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Actors with Cincinnati Ties to Marry

And now this from the CityBeat entertainment gossip desk: A couple of actors with Cincinnati ties announced marriage engagements today.

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by Brandon Barb 04.24.2012
at 08:59 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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'Jeff, Who Lives at Home' Saved Me from the 'Stooges'

Indie dude comedy feels more real than most in genre

So I recently tried to force myself to buy a ticket to The Three Stooges, but in the end my better judgment prevailed. Standing at the box office trying to convince myself that the Stooges wouldn’t be that bad was a near impossible task. There are just so many things wrong with the Stooges movie — mainly that there is one out there and the fact The Jersey Shore cast fist pumped its way into the plot. In the end I kept myself from the train wreck and saw the Jason Segel film, Jeff, Who Lives at Home.

If you haven’t heard of Jeff, Who Lives at Home that's probably because it wasn’t widely advertised and only saw a limited release in theaters. It was a stroke of luck that the AMC at Newport on the Levee was showing it that night, or, as Jeff would put it, “a sign."

Segel plays Jeff, a thirtysomething man living in his mom’s basement. The film starts like a stoner comedy with Jeff sitting on the couch watching infomercials while smoking weed. We are introduced to his belief that everything is connected somehow like in the 2002 M. Night Shyamalan movie Signs. A simple wrong number phone call leads Jeff into an eventful day.

Ed Helms plays Jeff’s older brother, Pat. Helms is a little out of his wheelhouse here, playing an all-around jerk who is trying too hard to be a successful guy, but he pulls it off nicely. Jeff and Pat don’t get along but through series of synchronistic events end up helping one another.

Susan Sarandon plays Sharon, Jeff and Pat’s mom. There is a subplot involving a secret admirer that gives the audience a break from the two brothers. But every character seems to come together randomly at the climax on a stretch of highway.

Jason Segel tends to play lovable characters that a good number of people can relate to. Jeff isn’t any different. Sporting unkempt hair, a scruffy five o’clock shadow and an old hoodie through the majority of the movie, Jeff is a guy you could find walking down the street right now, although maybe not as big — Pat calls him sasquatch at one point.

The same can said about each of the main characters, really. Mothers are upset with their children for lying around not doing anything, while husbands make stupid decisions like buy expensive sports cars without talking it over with their wives — Pat buys a Porsche in the early going of the movie.

This was the first Indie-type film that I have seen in a theater and I was impressed. This was also the first Duplass brothers movie I’ve seen. Their last film, Cyrus, featured a son way too attached to his mother and had the same charm that Jeff, Who Lives at Home does.

Jeff, Who Lives at Home is a man-boy comedy but it feels more real than others in the category. Maybe it is the close up camera work or down-to-earth characters; either way Jeff, Who Lives at Home is a breath of fresh air amidst the spring time blockbusters.
 
 
by Brandon Barb 05.04.2012
at 03:22 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Marvel Hulk Smashes the Competition with 'The Avengers'

A quick look at the upcoming movies based on comic books

This week is a busy one for comic book movies. With The Avengers opening up today, all the attention has been on Marvel Comics. But, not to be outdone, DC Comics and Warner Bros. released a new trailer to The Dark Knight Rises. On top of that, it is Free Comic Book Day on Saturday.

The new trailer for the next Batman movie is two minutes of pure excitement for fans of the Christopher Nolan trilogy. The Dark Knight Rises will be the last in the Nolan trilogy, and by judging from how the stakes were continuously raised on Gotham City in his first two films, this one should be a beautiful ending to Bruce Wayne’s Batman. That is, until someone else gets a hold of the cash cow franchise.

[Read tt stern-enzi's take on The Avengers here.]

Despite releasing the trailer, DC is taking a back seat to Marvel. For years Marvel has had better movies than DC, with the exception of Nolan’s Batman, and recently the former has had a string of successful hits. This past year along saw Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger, two widely popular characters that Marvel needed to establish before going ahead with The Avengers.

DC has tried to branch out from Batman and Superman, but most of their efforts have resulted in ridiculed movies. The last Superman movie was terrible, but a new one is still in the works. Last year Green Lantern came out to mixed emotions from fans. Ryan Reynolds was surprisingly good; it was everything else that fell short in the movie. Weak villains and missed opportunities were the downfall of Green Lantern, but that is a whole other story. I will say that it was a decent attempt to start the push toward a Justice League movie.

In a way, Marvel wins the movie race because they are the first to release a movie based on their group of high profile characters. According to MovieTickets.com the pre-sale ticket numbers suggest that this movie is going to be bigger than the two Iron Man movies, Thor and Captain America. With sequels in line for the Captain, Thor and Iron Man, Marvel is going to be sitting pretty for the next few years.

This summer is going to be a great one for comic book fans. Not only is The Avengers opening up the summer blockbuster season, but The Dark Knight Rises releases July 20 and The Amazing Spider-Man on July 3. The third Men in Black movie comes out in a few weeks on May 25.

 
 
by Jason Gargano 11.21.2008
at 02:57 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Friday Movie Roundup: Danger, Young Love and Sexual Longing

What’s up with the fuss surrounding Twilight?

Hundreds of multiplex sellouts for last night’s midnight opening? Fans camping out a day early to catch a glimpse of stars Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart as they arrive for the film’s Hollywood premiere? Hordes of screeching teenage girls going gaga over Pattinson during a recent promotional appearance at a mall in Pennsylvania?

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by Jason Gargano 10.13.2008
at 02:09 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Paranoid in the Queen City

We’re a long way from September 2007.

Remember when nearly every political pundit was frothing at the mouth to cover the inevitable Hillary Clinton vs. Rudi Giuliani presidential battle royale?

Well, some 13 months later, Hillary is campaigning for Barack Obama and Rudi is left to drop divisive, stereotype-laden cultural bombs (all the while being one of the East Coast elites he rails against) and to brood about the demise of his beloved New York Yankees.

Oh, and more than a year after I caught it at the 2007 Toronto Film Festival, Cincinnati movie buffs finally have a chance to see Gus Van Sant’s Paranoid Park ... on DVD.

Picked up by IFC Films in late 2007 and distributed in many markets in early 2008, Paranoid Park never made to a Cincinnati movie house largely due to The Esquire/Mariemont theatres’ policy of not screening films available on pay-per-view TV, a format IFC simultaneously makes available in conjunction with its theatrical releases.

Business-based, behind-the-scenes details aside, Paranoid Park is the latest entry in Van Sant’s recent string of strangely poetic, curiously impressionistic films that includes Gerry, Elephant and Last Days. It’s also one of the best films of Van Sant's varied career — a thriller that subverts nearly every genre convention while still generating an odd, almost subliminal tension.

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The setup, per the truncated press notes at Toronto, is simple: “Alex, a teenage skateboarder, accidentally kills a security guard in the vicinity of Paranoid Park, Portland's tough skate park. He decides to say nothing.”

Van Sant infuses this bare-bones framework with a hypnotic array of technical flourishes: the use of ambient noises, vintage Nino Rota score snippets and Elliott Smith songs; a non-linear, overlapping narrative technique; cinematographer du jour Christopher Doyle’s striking visuals; and non-professional actors that give Paranoid Park an extra layer of authenticity.

Curiously, it looks as though Van Sant will return to more conventional techniques for his next film, Milk, a look at the life of trailblazing San Francisco politician Harvey Milk (played by Sean Penn), the first openly gay man to be elected to public office.

(Paranoid Park was released on DVD on Oct. 7.)

 
 
by Jen Lee 07.16.2009
at 12:16 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Forgive the Inconsistencies in Latest Potter Film

When the quietly haunting notes of Nicholas Hooper’s score begin to play a little past midnight on July 15, cueing the opening scene of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, my heart feels like a hot cauldron bubbling with a jumble of emotions: excitement, anxiety, and even a slight trace of fear, in case things — god forbid — go horribly wrong.

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