Point and Babadook (This Week’s Movies)

Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman: The Babadook

Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman: The Babadook

Links to reviews I published this week in the Herald and Seattle Weekly, and etc.

The Babadook. “Ignoring the timeworn horror-movie warning about chanting the name of the monster.” (In case of Herald paywall, the Weekly version is here.)

The Sleepwalker. “A northerly chill.” (Weekly version here.)

Point and Shoot. “Maybe each generation gets the Lawrence of Arabia it deserves.” (Weekly version here.)

At the Overlook Podcast, Steve Scher and I respond to the PBS “American Masters” profile of Bing Crosby, and ponder the nature of Der Bingle’s stardom; listen here.

And put it on your calendar: The 10th annual Critics Wrap happens at the Frye Art Museum on Thursday, Dec. 18, at 7 p.m. See more info here.

Movie Diary 12/3/2014

Exodus: Gods and Kings (Ridley Scott, 2014). Stop me if you’ve heard this one: Moses, Ramses, plagues, passover, Red Sea. If you’re going to do this, you might as well have Ridley Scott guiding the chariot. The storyline also suggests that a society rife with dramatic economic imbalance will eventually drive the have-nots into an uprising. Ancient history, right? (full review 12/12)

Movie Diary 12/2/2014

Into the Woods (Rob Marshall, 2014). The fine print says this one is embargoed. So my lips are sealed, but hey, I’ve seen it. (full review 12/25)

Movie Diary 12/1/2014

Big Eyes (Tim Burton, 2014). The Keanes, the creators of the big-eye waif paintings of the Sixties, given life by Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz and a narrow focus by Tim Burton. (full review 12/25)

Wild (Jean-Marc Vallee, 2014). True story of a dippy trekker, played by Reese Witherspoon, walking the Pacific Coast Trail by herself. Hits every note pretty squarely on the head, lest you might miss something. (full review 12/12)

Finding Vivian Maier (John Maloof, Charlie Siskel, 2013). The photographer who never showed any of her thousands of pictures while she was alive – an eerie subject for a documentary, and a portrait of an artist focused on the thing itself.

The Skeleton Twins (Craig Johnson, 2014). Whatever this movie adds up to, it sure is fun watching Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Luke Wilson et al. in a tale that looks like an Alexander Payne first draft.

Point and Shoot (Marshall Curry, 2014). Matthew VanDyke, a self-styled 21st-century Lawrence of Arabia, is the subject of this doc, much of which consists of footage he shot while riding his motorcycle (and joining a Libyan rebel militia) in far-off places. A wacky chronicle, perhaps not far from Grizzly Man. (full review 12/5)

The Sleepwalker (Mona Fastvold, 2014). An arty nightmare in the Massachusetts woods, where two couples work out some buried secrets. Seems half-digested, but you can see what the idea was – and a cool, ominous soundtrack. (full review 12/5)

The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014). I liked it the first time, I liked it the second time – Anderson’s best movie since Rushmore is a “statement” movie, for all the well-orchestrated frivolity.

Viral Homesman Bosses (This Week’s Movies)

Hilary Swank, Tommy Lee Jones: The Homesman

Hilary Swank, Tommy Lee Jones: The Homesman

Links to reviews I published this week in the Herald and Seattle Weekly, and etc.

The Homesman. “The real subject is the West itself, the brutality of it, and the price paid for settling it.” (In case of Herald paywall, Seattle Weekly review here.)

Horrible Bosses 2. “This lowbrow series has hit its stride.” (Weekly version here.)

Penguins of Madagascar. “Flightless birds who realize the world isn’t all black-and-white.”

V/H/S: Viral. “Strictly for cultists, but the one good segment suggests a filmmaker ready to burst.” (Weekly version here.)

And there’s a holiday-movie preview thingie, here.

And another piece on The Homesman, this one for Film Comment, here.

Here’s last weekend’s edition of the “Mark Rahner Show,” on KIRO Radio, where we talk about The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, and play a round of “Focus Group.”

Movie Diary 11/25/2014

A Most Violent Year (J.C. Chandor, 2014). New York City, 1981, and lots of intricate plotting around a property deal – but more than that, too. The movie seems to want to be a film from the era it depicts. Maybe not quite as original as Chandor’s Margin Call and All Is Lost.  (full review 1/16)

Movie Diary 11/24/2014

Ida (Pawel Pawlikowski, 2014). Catching up on the 2014 releases I missed. Some stirring things about this black-and-white post-Holocaust story, including an unusual visual approach – perhaps meant to evoke the look of Eastern European films of the early 60s?

Belle (Amma Asante, 2013). A mostly BBC-style take on a true-ish story, buoyed by the excellent performance by Gugu Mbatha-Raw in the role of a biracial woman raised in her father’s moneyed family in the late 18th century.

V/H/S/: Viral (various, 2014). An anthology horror film (the third in this series), with a single worthy segment: a tale from Timecrimes director Nacho Vigalondo, in which a scientist discovers his doppelganger on the other side of a laboratory doorway; what’s on the other side appears to be identical to his world, but it’s so, so much weirder. (full review 11/28)

Penguins of Madagascar (Eric Darnell, Simon J. Smith, 2014). The penguins take over. It might not be quite as nonstop zany as the last Madagascar movie, but lots of goofy moments nonetheless. (full review 11/26)

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