Archive for the ‘2016 Berlinale’ Category

WOE_FirstLook-2-1024x716Have you ever wondered if a mime would make a noise when run over by a police car? This and other too-often neglected questions of law enforcement are finally answered in John Michael McDonagh’s irreverent take on the buddy cop formula, War on Everyone.

Imagine a remake of Lethal Weapon in which the Mel Gibson character spoke and acted like Mel Gibson in the course of a DUI. Meanwhile, the Danny Glover guy profanely berates his children, enables his alcoholic partner, and argues with his wife over the source of existential philosophy quotes. War on Everyone is South Park meets Starsky & Hutch, a kick ass, crazy, would-be procedural that is not satisfied until it has found the scene that offends you. (more…)

Midnight SpecialMidnight Special was one of the real treats of the recently concluded 67th Berlinale Film Festival. The first showing was the film’s world premiere, and the inclusion of a genre movie into the Competition section of the festival was a welcome change from the programming approach of recent years. The initial showing occurred in the coveted first Friday evening time spot and was prefaced by a red carpet march of key crew and cast members including director/screenwriter Jeff Nichols and actors Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, and Kirsten Dunst. The film unspooled, and the proverbial good time was had by all. (more…)

berlinale 2016The 2015 edition of the Berlinale Film Festival was rough going. Sitting through many of the screenings was like eating undercooked vegetables. Gems were few and far between. The average became sublime; the tolerable were standouts. In any year, the winners of the Bears – the awards given out on the final Saturday night of the festival are a mediocre indicator of the strength of the field. Rather it is the depth and breadth of program sections like Panorama, Forum, and Generation, in addition to the Competition films, that determine just how memorable the year was. With the exception of the Perspective Deutsches Kino section, 2015 was largely forgettable.

Whether that was an assessment shared by the curators is unknown, but, for the most part, they came into 2016 and programmed like they had something to prove. The result was a stellar festival with more movies of interest and excellence than a single filmgoer could hope to see. There were winners aplenty and a few losers as well, and a number of surprises in both categories. (more…)

Hail, CaesarThe first scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, the sequel to one of the greatest action movies ever filmed, is a musical number. There was no cinematic justification for Kate Capshaw leading a line of chorus girls in a Mandarin Chinese rendition of “Anything Goes” for three minutes while audiences asked “WTF?” before that was even a thing. No justification does not mean no explanation. It turns out that director Steven Spielberg always wanted to direct a musical. And, oh, yeah, he was married to Capshaw.

Now, imagine, not just one scene, but an entire film comprised of scenes from genres that the director always wanted to film. (more…)