BOFCA REVIEW ROUNDUP: 4/26

Pain & GainPAIN & GAIN

“Michael Bay’s latest doesn’t just wallow in depravity, it jumps up and down in it. It showers in it. It celebrates it. The poetry of frat boys, roid-ragers and drunkards; it may be ugly but it’s honest.” – Jake Mulligan, EDGE Boston

“Unfortunately, Bay is still a hateful, misogynist cretin, content with slapdash slapstick jokes at the expense of the infirm, foreigners, fat people and gays. A vile film.” – Sean Burns, Metro

“Two hours of the sort of vanity, materialism and ignorance Bay explores here winds up being morally punishing and tiresome, an exercise in guilt-tripping given how awful we feel for laughing at the sustained ludicrousness.” – Andrew Crump, Go See Talk

“Bay’s approach to the meaninglessness of human existence is to dive into the middle of it and see what fun can be had smashing all the garbage together. Nothing matters, everybody sucks, but look how awesome it looks when I blow it the fuck up.” – Bob Chipman, The Escapist

“The same affront to humanity with which we’ve become all too acquainted, Michael Bay’s latest ‘comedy’ proves that he truly is the piece of shit you’d imagine.” – Kristofer Jenson, Dig Boston

“A violent action comedy that has the advantage of a strong cast. Audiences willing to put up with the violence may find the dark humor here appealing.” – Daniel M. Kimmel, North Shore Movies

 

The Angels ShareTHE ANGELS’ SHARE

“With a few of the rougher edges sanded down—and several hundred c-words dubbed over—it’s the kind of thing you could picture Miramax releasing back in the ‘80s. A real crowd-pleaser, unexpectedly disarming.” – Sean Burns, Philadelphia Weekly

“A spirited, if low-proof, three-finger belt of a film. But this movie doesn’t have the essential moxie it needs to rise above the typical tropes of its genre and setting.” – Kilian Melloy, EDGE Boston

“THE ANGEL’S SHARE has everything: street fights, comedy and drama. And there’s even a ride off into the dull gray mist in place of a sunset. It’s still Glasgow, after all.” - David Riedel, Santa Fe Reporter

“This is a film that’s too anchored to be identified simply as fluff; it has too much compassion for its flawed protagonist and invests itself too strongly in his salvation for that qualifier to fit.” – Andrew Crump, Go See Talk

 

The Big WeddingTHE BIG WEDDING

“Sets the bar low at ankle level, then digs itself a cozy little trench in the mud and proceeds to wallow for ninety excruciating minutes. This flick is toxic sludge.” – KIlian Melloy, EDGE Boston

“What were they thinking? Based on a French film that apparently has never been released here, this is a movie about self-absorbed twits.” – Daniel M. Kimmel, North Shore Movies

 

BOFCA REVIEW ROUNDUP: 4/19

OblivionOBLIVION

“A movie that feels like five or six different M. Night Shyamalan screenplays smushed together into one, in so much that it’s a story built entirely out of twists, and that it’s just kind of bad.” – Bob Chipman, The Escapist

“While neither stupid nor dull, it is shallow, having only its few plot twists to offer along with the impressive special effects.” – Daniel M. Kimmel, North Shore Movies

“OBLIVION isn’t a remake of anything, although it might as well be. And like most remakes, you’ll feel like the films that it mimics not only did these things first, they did them better.” – Evan Crean, Starpulse

“See it later, ideally when you’re bedridden with the flu and the syrupy slowness of the plot will lull you into sweet dreams of Olga Kurylenko.” – Inkoo Kang, Screen Junkies

“The cinematic equivalent of that shiny new toy you get at Christmas, the one that’s a lot of fun to play with… for about an hour.” – John Black, Boston Event Guide

 

Room 237ROOM 237

“A confounding, eye-opening, and often hilarious documentary about individuals whose over-wired brains are devoted to one cinematic masterpiece: Stanley Kubrick’s THE SHINING.” – Norm Schrager, Paste Magazine

“The movie is competently made, with sharp editing, graphics and a decent sense of pace. But this is the cinematic equivalent of being stuck on the subway listening to an insane person rant.” – David Riedel, Sante Fe Reporter

 

The Lords Of SalemTHE LORDS OF SALEM

“Most horror movies look at the fairer sex and see vulnerability personified, attached to an oversized pair of tits. Not Rob Zombie. For better or worse, he seems downright terrified of the opposite gender.” – Jake Mulligan, Rushmore Kite Flying Society

 

BOFCA REVIEW ROUNDUP: 4/12

To The Wonder AgainTO THE WONDER

“This is a Terrence Malick film set in supermarkets, fast-food joints and gas stations. These characters are lost spiritually and culturally. It is about the struggle to long for transcendence while simultaneously debating whether to get a Coca-Cola or a milkshake.” – Jake Mulligan, EDGE Boston

“The real challenge of the film lies in untangling its meaning from its poetic structure. To put it another way: your mileage may vary. It’s the kind of picture that refuses to hold its viewers’ hands, but it is one of Malick’s most purely cinematic.” – Andrew Crump, Go See Talk

“The relationship that brings Kurylenko and Affleck together? Hard to describe. She dances and he likes that. He’s American and she’s not. I think taking her to Oklahoma really fuels the drama.” – David Reidel, Santa Fe Reporter

“The story isn’t related so much as allowed to evaporate. Malick has taken his narrative minimalism too far here, creating gorgeous images but neglecting his role as storyteller. As a result, TO THE WONDER is wispy, tenuous and insubstantial.” – Kilian Melloy, Kal’s Movie Blog

 

Upstream ColorUPSTREAM COLOR

“The film is brimming with breathtaking cinematography, quotes from Thoreau, and, well, odd scenes on a pig farm. Think Terrence Malick with an even bigger affinity for symbolism. It has that same devotion to incredible scenery and visceral emotion.” – Monica Castillo, The Artery

“I have no doubt many viewers will get hung up on a literal level. But if UPSTREAM COLOR manages to burrow its way into your brain, you won’t be likely to expel it anytime soon.” – Jake Mulligan, EDGE Boston

It’s obtuse on purpose, but that doesn’t make it good—or bad. But whether you find it good or bad will likely depend on your prevailing mood, your sense of equanimity and whether you like pigs. And worms.” – David Riedel, Santa Fe Reporter

 

4242

“Instantly enters the pantheon of great baseball movies. A history lesson about America and about how, no matter how painful it might be, in the end we struggle to do the right thing.” – Daniel M. Kimmel, North Shore Movies

“Can we go back to the 1990s and rally behind Spike Lee’s attempt to craft a more truthful rendition of Robinson’s life? What we’re left with is saccharine, cheesy fakery that doesn’t do enough to honor Robinson and his legacy.” – Andrew Crump, Go See Talk

“At times, the dialogue is sappy and the music heavy-handed. The volume seems to increase when you’re supposed to feel inspired. But this is one of those sports stories that just makes you feel good.” – Evan Crean, Starpulse

“The rest is pretty dull. And in a revelation that will surprise no one, Harrison Ford, as Branch Rickey, is terrible. Rickey is supposed to be a character, not a caricature.” – David Riedel, Santa Fe Reporter

“It can’t seem to muster up enough invention to justify it’s existence, other than to give next year’s crop of overworked and underpaid schoolteachers one more contemporary movie to throw in the VCR during Black History Month.” – Bob Chipman, The Escapist

 

The Company You KeepTHE COMPANY YOU KEEP

“Redford directs, giving the film a high level of gloss. What it lacks is any sense of drive. There’s an essential energy missing. You almost care about this long-dormant hippie-era version of the culture wars… almost.” – Kilian Melloy, EDGE Boston

“Long, lumbering and unabashedly earnest, it’s the kind of talky, politically-minded adult thriller that went out of fashion decades ago, except nobody told Redford. It feels like a relic from another time, which isn’t exactly a bad thing.” – Sean Burns, Philadelphia Weekly

“Instead of dealing with something interesting, like, say, radicalism and politics and leftist causes and some of the violence that resulted, the movie is a sort-of weepie about fathers and daughters.” – David Riedel, Santa Fe Reporter

 

Trance

TRANCE

“A muddled movie that tries to distract the audience from its fundamental silliness with switchback twists and turns. Even Danny Boyle’s masterful skills cannot shape this garish material into something harmonious and unified.” – Kilian Melloy, EDGE Boston

“TRANCE exists to take its audience on a ride, but it’s a ride you won’t care about and probably won’t remember taking. It presents a story not worth telling by a director who’s capable of telling great stories.” – David Riedel, Santa Fe Reporter

 

DisconnectDISCONNECT

“Apologies to all in attendance, but the ludicrousness eventually peaked at such inane heights that I doubled over with laughter, gasping for air.” – Sean Burns, The Improper Bostonian

 

Koch4KOCH

“Ed Koch was a consummate ham and a bit of scoundrel. Neil Barsky’s documentary tries to pay tribute to both. 
It gets the first part right.
” – Sean Burns, Philadelphia Weekly

To paraphrase a line from MONEYBALL, he’s the kind of guy who enters a room and his dick has already been there for two minutes.” – David Riedel, Santa Fe Reporter

 

BOFCA INTERVIEW: BEN AFFLECK

To The Wonder

Last September, Ben Affleck sat down with BOFCA members Sean Burns, Jake Mulligan and Greg Vellante to talk about ARGO. If you know us at all, you’ve probably already guessed that the conversation eventually shifted around toward Terrence Malick’s TO THE WONDER, which had just premiered to wildly polarized reactions at the Venice Film Festival, and at the time did not yet have an American distributor.

The legendary Malick’s hotly debated sixth feature finally hits theatres and VOD this week, so we thought it might be fun to revisit what could be the longest answer ever given during a roundtable interview to a single question. (And this is after some heavy-duty editing!)

Q: How does working with someone like Terrence Malick change the way you look at filmmaking?

A: Terry is an incredible guy. I really like him. He’s a really sweet guy. I don’t know why he doesn’t do interviews, he would come off great. He’s so likeable and thoughtful. Maybe it’s just cooler to be the enigmatic guy than it is to be the guy people are trying to get around to talk to Brad Pitt.

To The Wonder 2This movie that we just did together, I don’t know if any of you have seen it yet. I guess it hasn’t screened. It’s very experimental. It’s out there. You gotta want some Malick with your Malick. It’s a little bit like TREE OF LIFE, without the dialogue.

But it’s great. I just want people to really be ready. Some of the promotional art looks very conventional. Me and Rachel McAdams, looks like the sequel to THE VOW or something. It’s not that at all. It’s an impressionist movie, sort of a tone poem. It’s about this one woman that my character is kind of obsessed with, and so the camera is sort of obsessed with her. She talks in French and wanders around, and then you have Javier Bardem as a priest.

There were great performances that aren’t in the movie now. Rachel Weisz was in it, Barry Pepper did great stuff. Terry paints with his actors. Usually you show up and do your job and it’s this fixed job. With Terry you realize, he wants blue from you and red from her and green from him, and then he paints it all later. So it takes awhile, like what do you mean blue? Just blue?

To The Wonder 4Then later on you watch it. And this is kind of intense, kind of amazing. He has this theory from Chekov about relationships where one is near and one is far. I always thought it was a literary first-person device rather than a filmmaking device, but basically what it came down to was the whole movie is an over-the-shoulder shot over me and onto this woman, following her and watching her, and periodically I come into the frame and kiss her and stuff.

We didn’t have a script. We didn’t know what it was. You don’t know where you fit into this. He said this is a movie experimenting in silence, and we’d have these voice-overs occasionally but they really wouldn’t be about what we’re seeing. So I was terrified and thought, what do I do? And it was about learning to let go. You know what I mean? For better or for worse, you throw out everything you know and just jump off the thing and see what happens.

There are things I love about the movie, and there are things I still don’t understand. But I’m glad somebody’s out there making their own movies. When I make a movie I’m thinking, is the audience going to like this? Will they understand that? How will it play in Middle America? All these insecurities, I don’t think any of that shit ever crosses Terry’s mind. He just makes his own movie and you’re on for the ride.

To The Wonder 3

TO THE WONDER opens at the Kendall Square Cinema on April 12th, when it will also be available via iTunes and Video On Demand.

BOFCA REVIEW ROUNDUP: 4/5

The Place Beyond The PinesTHE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES

“Cianfrance sweeps his characters along in the style of a Greek tragedy. Events unfold slowly, but with a tidal force that catches everyone up in irresistible currents of fate. We are all at the mercy of forces we cannot comprehend.” – Kilian Melloy, Kal’s Movie Blog

“It’s just too big for its britches, puffing up a perfectly fine, sad little tale of small-time crooks with ungainly epic portent. Derek Cianfrance could probably be a great filmmaker if he wasn’t trying so hard to be a Great Filmmaker.” – Sean Burns, The Improper Bostonian

“The opening and closing movements feel hopelessly incomplete, broad strokes in a film that requires great detail and expanse. The ambition is huge, but Cianfrance’s approach is fatally small.” – Jake Mulligan, Charleston City Paper

“The stories don’t so much weave together as collide with each other, but the actors give good enough performances to help you over the cinematic speed bumps along the way.” – John Black, Boston Event Guide

 

Gimme The LootGIMME THE LOOT

“The most purely enjoyable movie I’ve seen since I-can’t-remember-when, writer-director Adam Leon’s debut feature is a film brimming with so much mischief and joy that it left me in an almost insufferably good mood for days afterwards. I didn’t want it to end.” – Sean Burns, Philadelphia Weekly

“This astoundingly spirited debut from director Adam Leon keeps a youthful faith in the endless possibilities of the future. But the movie also stays grounded in the realities of struggling, up-and-coming artists. It’s human and hopeful.” – Monica Castillo, Paste Magazine

“Fresh, vital and engaging. One of those little movies that comes along from time to time and hits all sorts of nails on the head. What seems at first to be a shallow comedy built on cliché turns instead into a wonderful ramble through the cinematically neglected sectors of a busy, richly diverse city.” – Kilian Melloy, EDGE Boston

“Who knew a street-centered narrative could be so sweetly buoyant? GIMMIE THE LOOT’s foremost characteristic is its effervescent veneer. Put simply, it’s a lot of fun. A refreshing, necessary entry in contemporary indie filmmaking.” – Andrew Crump, Go See Talk

 

Beyond The HillsBEYOND THE HILLS

“Mungiu’s lens gazes fondly, for a time, at the quaint, pastoral rhythms that define the cloistered life. But it’s toward the real world, bustling and corrupt, that the film gives a knowing look and a wink.” – Kilian Melloy, EDGE Boston

“A heartbreaking, complicated microcosm of Romanian life. And just like in life, there are no easy answers to be found in BEYOND THE HILLS, only more questions and an overabundance of sorrow.” – Andrew Crump, Go See Talk

“He shoots the film in the flattest, most matter-of-fact way possible, relying on long camera takes with no musical accompaniment, lulling us to the day-to-day drag of this monastic lifestyle.” – Sean Burns, Philadelphia Weekly

 

 Evil Dead 2013EVIL DEAD

“There’s so much blood and gore exploding on the screen in this gutsy new remake that you almost need to wear a raincoat if you sit too close. And for fans sick of the PG-13 crap that’s been trying to pass for horror movies lately, it’s a welcome sight indeed.” – John Black, Boston Event Guide

“There doesn’t seem to be much reason or need for this EVIL DEAD. It’s interesting to compare how effects or acting styles have changed, but for a film about demonic possession, it is surprisingly soulless.” – Daniel M. Kimmel, North Shore Movies

“Alvarez appears to have had several warehouses worth of karo syrup and red food coloring on hand during principal photography. He’s made not the better film, but the redder film, and that’s very much to his credit.” - Andrew Crump, Go See Talk

“Even with the borrowed title and premise, it’s a solid movie in its own right and a welcome antidote to the lame, watered down excuses for horror movies we’ve been putting up with for far too long.” – Bob Chipman, The Escapist

“If there’s anything wrong with this movie, it’s that it lacks heart. The same passion that the original was made with just isn’t there. Also, the characters say stupid things and none of them have memorable personalities.” – Evan Crean, Starpulse

“You’d think that kids these days would know better than to read what’s inside of a book bound by human skin, especially if those kids are taking shelter in a cabin in the middle of the woods. And yet!” – Monica Castillo, Bitch Magazine

“Alvarez apparently thinks by ginning up the literal blood count and viscera on-screen that such antics will make for a more terrifying film. On that score, EVIL DEAD is truly D.O.A..” – Tim Estiloz, Boston Movie Examiner

 

From Up On Poppy HillFROM UP ON POPPY HILL

“Goro Miyazaki is far from ready to step into his father’s shoes. But in going back to the basics, he has me thinking that, someday, he may be able to do that. Maybe.” – Jake Mulligan, EDGE Boston

 

Jurassic Park 3DJURASSIC PARK 3D

“Of course the movie looks great up on the big screen where it belongs, but the idea of being charged $18 for the experience is obscene.” – John Black, Boston Event Guide

“The 3D doesn’t add very much to the mood of the film. It’s incredibly mediocre, and at some moments just plain painful for your eyes.” – Evan Crean, Starpulse