automotiveAutomotive, playing Saturday evening at Los Angeles’ “Dances With Films” festival, is an ambitious project. It’s a neo-noir, shot entirely in and from the protagonist’s 1964 Mercury muscle car. That alone is enough to make the film worth a look. But, there’s more to Automotive than that. Writer/director Tom Glynn has crafted a smart, gripping thriller that’s satisfying and fun.

 

Much Ado JossI fantasize about getting drunk with Joss Whedon and reading Shakespeare.

I realize the brashness of this statement is slightly jarring, but this is the honest truth. Ever since my little, Whedon-obsessed brain first read that Joss would, on occasion, invite cast members of Buffy to his home for informal Shakespeare reading shindigs, I have desperately wished to bear witness to one of these epically artistic and bacchanalian (perhaps only in my mind) events. Whedon’s latest release, a modernized, black-and-white film take on William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, might be nothing more than a single, concentrated drop of the joyous nectar that is a Whedon Shakespeare reading, but that “single drop” is still one of the most elegant, charming, hilarious, and, of course, romantic films of the year.

Feeding Mr. BaldwinA little over a year ago, I interviewed filmmaker Will Prescott as he set out on an ambitious Kickstarter campaign. He wanted to raise the majority of his budget through crowdfunding in order to produce and direct his first feature film . . . and that’s exactly what he did! Check out Fanboy Comics’ original interview with Will here.

The Way Back WhenThe Way, Way, Back stars Liam James as Duncan, a young, quiet teen grappling with identity issues and lacking a strong sense of self. To his detriment, his mother Pam (Toni Collette) is in a semi-serious relationship with Trent (Steve Carell). Yes, this time around, Steve Carell basically plays a jerk. Trent lacks a strong sense of self, like Duncan, but as an adult, he uses his status to talk down to Duncan and pretty much everyone around him. Despite Duncan’s lack of enthusiasm on the matter, he, his mom, sister, and Trent head down to Trent’s beach house for a hopeful summer of relaxation and fun.

 

MudMud is the latest film written and directed by Jeff Nichols. Nichols wrote and directed 2007’s Shotgun Stories and 2011’s Take Shelter (one of my favorite Sundance movies from that year). Nichols has proven that he understands character, and Mud, a true bildungsroman, is no exception. Two impressionable teenage boys living in the rural South discover a fugitive hiding out in marshland, and they agree to help reunite him with his true love.

Dirty LaundryThe FFOW! series takes a look at that vast library created by the proud and the passionate: fan films.  Whether the budget and talent is astronomical or amateur, FFOW! celebrates the filmmakers whose love of comics, books, movies, video games, and TV shows inspires them to join the great conversation with their own homemade masterpieces.



The Punisher
movie released in 2004 was a guilty pleasure of mine in college. It wasn’t a masterpiece. It was a guys’ matinee action movie that cost two dollars in the mall quinta-plex outside of my Ohio town. That’s exactly how I first saw it, and I’m pretty sure the only way I ever saw it. In my memory, it’s a hard-as-nails revenge movie fronted by the grimmest visage to play the character of Frank Castle, Thomas Jane.

In 2012 Jane returned to the Castle, and this time Jane don’t got a gun.

 

The LifeguardThe Lifeguard is written and directed by Liz W. Garcia. Garcia has a background in television where she co-produced for Cold Case and executive produced for Memphis Beat. The Lifeguard is her directorial debut. The film stars Kristen Bell (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Veronica Mars) as Leigh, a former valedictorian who quits her reporter job in New York City and returns to Connecticut to live with her parents.

Emergency LandingThe FFOW! series takes a look at that vast library created by the proud and the passionate: fan films.  Whether the budget and talent is astronomical or amateur, FFOW! celebrates the filmmakers whose love of comics, books, movies, video games, and TV shows inspires them to join the great conversation with their own homemade masterpieces.

 

 

If you want to, just go to Jurassic Park.
You’ll probably be eaten alive after daaaaaark
If you like food, then go to Jurassic Park
You’ll become food faster than you could get chewed by a shaaaaark . . .

Yes, it’s 3D IMAX time for Spielberg’s classic tale of man vs. lizard/bird/frog clones. Time, once again, to listen to the music written by John Williams and played on a constant loop at the Jurassic Park River Adventure Ride in Universal Studios Hollywood. Maybe I did once work in that section of the theme park, and maybe I did write lyrics for the music because it played on a constant loop . . .

 

Afternoon DelightA housewife stuck in a suburban rut seeks to spice up her life. Sound familiar? Perhaps. But, the 2013 Sundance film Afternoon Delight deserves a deeper examination. The film stars Kathryn Hahn (Crossing Jordan, Girls) as Rachel, a suburban housewife living in Los Angeles. She is a dutiful mother to her toddler daughter and a committed wife to husband Jeff (Josh Radnor, How I Met Your Mother). It’s clear, though, that restlessness is just under the surface as Rachel visits regularly with psychologist Lenore (Jane Lynch, GLEE) and finds little solace in Lenore’s guidance.

 

AustenlandAfter viewing the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice and, specifically, the scene where Mr. Darcy, a.k.a. Colin Firth, dives into the pond outside his Pemberley estate in Derbyshire England, have you ever wished you could visit a fantasy Pemberley, complete with a fantasy Darcy and a fantasy pond scene?

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