young ones

Young Ones Is An Ambitiously Artsy Story Of Survival And Desperation

Even if you’ve got apocalypse fatigue, this one is worth your time.


Birdman Walks A Fine Line Between Genius And Pretension

BirdmanAlejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman: or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) is a big, bold movie, the kind that takes aesthetic and thematic risks, and that grabs you from frame one and practically screams at you to pay attention. It’s also very convinced of its own cleverness. The film made the rounds at all the prestigious fall festivals, garnering praise and adulation at every stop, and it’s become impossible for anyone to mention it without discussing awards possibilities. Surely this will figure into those races, in many respects justifiably so, but while Birdman is a very good film, even coming near greatness, it’s not necessarily the paradigm shifting, perception altering feature that some have made it out to be. There’s a fine line between genius and pretension, and Birdman walks on both sides. As much as there is to praise, there’s always a ‘but’ looming.

Technically, Birdman is beyond compare. Iñárritu teams cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, who lensed Gravity for Alfonso Cuaron last year with incredible results, and who takes his game to an entirely different plateau. Much has been made of how the film is cut together to look like one long take, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. This isn’t like Hitchcock’s Rope—a film Iñárritu totally dissed in interviews by the way. Composed of a series of long, intricate shots, meticulously staged and choreographed, it isn’t intended as one extended, continuous moment. You still leap forward in time in bursts and chunks, from one night to the next morning, or from earlier in the day to later in the evening, but the way these shifts are framed and edited is ingenious.


Doctor Who Season 8 Is Headed For Blu-Ray, But Will It Be Here In Time For Christmas?

WhoDoorWe’ve still got three episodes remaining in Doctor Who’s season eight, and it’s been a fascinating ride as we’ve watched actor Peter Capaldi settle into his role as the latest incarnation of the rogue Time Lord. If you haven’t been keeping up with the recent run of episodes, you’ll soon get the chance to marathon through them at your own pace, as BBC Home Entertainment has revealed a release date and details for Doctor Who: Season 8 on Blu-ray & DVD.

Good news for anyone with a Who fan on their Christmas shopping lists: the season 8 set will hit shelves on December 9, giving you plenty of time to burn through the season before the new Christmas special arrives on, well, Christmas Day. And none of that split-season nonsense like last time. Thankfully, this season is running straight through without a break, so the set will get you the complete collection of 12 episodes. (The season wraps its TV run on November 8, with the ominously titled “Death in Heaven.”)


Frankenstein’s Story Is Returning To Life Once More On The Small Screen

FrankThink about all the good science fiction out there, and then think about what the genre needs. Project Hieroglyph and author Neal Stephenson believe science fiction needs more “techno-optimism” to pave the way for non-dystopian realities. Some call for more female writers and characters in science fiction; some call for less. But one thing that has never crossed my mind in answer to the question of what sci-fi needs is more Frankenstein spinoffs. But that’s never stopped anyone before, particularly Fox, which has just ordered a new Frankenstein pilot.

The original Mary Shelley work was written in 1818, and since then there have been a slew of Frankenstein-inspired narratives: Thomas Edison’s 1910 film version; the Boris Karloff 1931 movie; the 1935 sequel, Bride of Frankenstein; the 1939 sequel to that, Son of Frankenstein; Ghost of Frankenstein in 1942; Young Frankenstein in 1974; failed Broadway productions in 1981 and 1984, Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie in 1984; a manga adaptation in 1988; Frankenstein in 1992; Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in 1994; this year’s bomb I, Frankenstein — and that’s just scratching the surface.


Dredd: Superfiend: Watch This Full Trailer For Judge Death’s Origin Story

While we’re not likely to get a sequel to Pete Travis’ 2012 comic book adaptation Dredd, at least not anytime soon (no matter what star Karl Urban says), we’ve spent a lot of time recently talking about a follow up of sorts. Dredd: Superfiend is an unofficial, unsanctioned adaptation of the 2000 AD comics title, and so far this week we’ve seen the first photos and a teaser trailer. Now we’ve got the first full-length trailer, and like everything we’ve seen thus far, it’s not exactly what we expected.

The brainchild of Dredd producer Adi Shankar, who, as he points out in his introduction, has no legal or practical claim on this material, this is definitely more in line with the comics than the movie. While the film is stone-dead serious, the comics are very satirical in nature, and that comes across in this longer look at Superfiend. While I was initially concerned about the look of the animation, the twisted, Heavy Metal-ish style actually feels like a good fit for this particular take on the source material.


Young Ones Is An Ambitiously Artsy Story Of Survival And Desperation

young onesEarlier this year, David Michôd’s post-Western The Rover told a tale of revenge set against gorgeously bare landscapes. Jake Paltrow’s directorial debut, Young Ones, is an outwardly similar drama that trades in suspense-riddled minimalism for something more sweeping and timeless, appearing as if it could have been made at any point in the past 60 years of cinema. Though the artificially intelligent pack-bots would have been a little harder to pull off in John Ford’s days.

An ambitious and unevenly sprawling tale, Young Ones is set in a time when water has become a scarce commodity in the Southwest, and people are forced to adapt to a more primal lifestyle. Ernest Holm, played by the ever-intriguing Michael Shannon, transports supplies to make the money to feed his kids; Mary (Elle Fanning), the emotionally manic one, and Jerome (Kodi Smit-McPhee), the calm, artistic one. Ernest swears the land they’re on is fertile, but he finds no help in irrigating it from the roughneck crew putting a water pipeline together.


Watch Spaceballs And WALL-E Get An Interstellar Makeover

Any time a big new movie with its own distinct style comes out, you can rest assured that the Internet is going to take a bunch of earlier movies, usually ones with little in common with the film in question, and recut them in this new way. It’s a hoot. As Christopher Nolan’s upcoming Interstellar is the next big thing on our docket, it was only a matter of time before we started seeing “BLANK cut in the style of Interstellar.” And these two titles couldn’t be more different. Sure, they’re both sci-fi, but when you think of Nolan’s film, your mind doesn’t automatically go to Spaceballs and WALL-E. Or maybe it does, I don’t know you or how your brain works.

As you well know, Mel Brooks’ 1987 Star Wars spoof Spaceballs is basically one long, ridiculous gag. Given that situation, it must have taken damn near every last straight line from the entire film in order to construct this video. More than anything, it makes me want to marathon Mel Brooks movies. Maybe I’ll see if I can track some down for viewing later this evening.