“Pulverizing, excruciating, incompetent—the pejoratives finally fail me. An hour into this thing, I turned to a colleague and groaned aloud: ‘I want to murder myself.’” – Sean Burns, Philadelphia Weekly

“A train wreck. But it sure is fun to watch.” – John Black, Boston Event Guide

“Cruise literally does everything to look, sound, and move like a rock star, except for showing any genuine conviction. It’s like someone programmed a robot to play the character, but left out the emotion chip.” – Evan Crean, Starpulse

“Terrible. A bad story told badly through a series of corny on-the-nose song choices and bad comedy.” – Bob Chipman, The Escapist

“Singers should sing, actors should act, and 9 times out of 10 the two should never mix.” – Monica Castillo, DigBoston

“One long evening of 1980’s Rock and Roll karaoke. Manages to evoke both a wince and a smile.”- Tim Estiloz, Boston Latino TV

“Oh, the choreography!” – Steve Head, The Post-Movie Podcast



“Plaza does indeed give a great performance, carrying a movie that for the most part isn’t worth her efforts.” – Greg Vellante, The Eagle Tribune

“The Duplass brothers seem to specialize in half-written movies with garbage cinematography, and I would happily donate $10 to buy them a tripod.” – Sean Burns, Philadelphia Weekly
“It reminded me of a movie from the 70’s in the worst way possible. It’s all quirky and cutesy but then has that cop-out indie ending.” – John Black, The Post-Movie Podcast
“Everything comes together a bit hastily, but happily the ending doesn’t disappoint.” – Evan Crean, Starpulse
“If the bar had been set any lower for this film’s vulgar humor only flatworms and slugs could crawl underneath it.” – Tim Estiloz, Boston Movie Examiner
“Easily Sandler’s best movie in a long, long time.” – John Black, Boston Event Guide
“It’s a vile, puerile, lowbrow, totally disposable junk movie, but I can’t deny that it works as one.” – Bob Chipman, The Escapist
“This may be the most loathsome film of the year.” – Daniel M. Kimmel,
“This is the perfect movie to take your dad to on Father’s Day if you hate him.” – Greg Vellante, The Eagle Tribune
“This is a shitty movie on every level. The shittiest.” – Steve Head, The Post-Movie Podcast
“Director Sean Anders does nothing to mop up this gross-out comedy mess.” – Monica Castillo, The Boston Phoenix
“Lola battles against many problems in this ridiculously titled film. What’s unfortunate is that none of them are interesting.” – Jake Mulligan, The Suffolk Voice




“There’s an awful lot of spin going on in Robbie Gemmel and John Kirby’s playful documentary.” – Brett Michel, The Boston Herald



The Brattle’s ‘Nicolas Cage: Greatest American Actor’ series is a great opportunity for audiences to re-assess the wrongly reviled performer, and to see him as what he truly is: a man daring enough to separate acting and realism. His over-the-top performances, so often dismissed as camp, feel more like an actor trying to achieve an unforeseen future of acting – one where emotional honesty and expressionism is key, and reality means nothing. His performances skew abstract and absurdist in a culture where everything, even superheroes, need to be gritty. And never before has Cage been as absurd as in his masterpiece of unrestrained “mega-acting,” VAMPIRE’S KISS.

Most of the films in the Brattle’s series see Cage as filtered through the mind of great auteurs. RAISING ARIZONA sees him reborn in the eyes of the insane Coen Brothers, who split the difference between philosophical inquiry and Looney Tunes lunacy in their character. FACE/OFF sees him playing a classic John Woo bad guy, diving in all directions with two handguns cocked and loaded. WILD AT HEART strands him in a Lynchian nightmare of sex, violence, and Americana. But VAMPIRE’S (which was forever immortalized by its inclusion in the ‘Nicolas Cage Losing His Shit’ viral video) sees Cage let loose in a way he never has before. Swinging madly from accent-to-accent, he allows no boundaries of character or reality to limit the depraved insanity of his performance as Peter Loew, a womanizing yuppie whose misogyny starts to externalize itself in bloodsucking ways. And director Robert Bierman seems delighted with the choice; allowing his mainly static frames to merely sit in awe of Cage’s alien presence.

But the great mistake audiences made is in assuming this is a sub-TROLL 2 work of so-bad-it’s-good camp. But the truth is that this tale of false masculinity and creeping insanity is closer to AGUIRRE, WRATH OF GOD than to MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER. It follows Cage down the rabbit-hole of self loathing, at first creating a psychological link between his bedtime troubles and a bat-bite, then following that conceit until Cage is slogging through clubs, trying to pick up women with plastic fangs enshrouded in his teeth. It’s a slow descent into madness, and Bierman follows through with a masters dedication: he allows both Cage’s hallucinations and his mental illness to follow through to their most extreme endgames, until he’s wondering around the street begging bystanders to stake him the death (all the while, he imagines that his romantic savior is just around the corner.)

Many have compared this film and its themes to AMERICAN PSYCHO, but that film has nothing on Cage’s one-of-a-kind take on the psychologically demolished yuppie character. Yes, he’s awash in false gravitas and retarded sexuality, but the film is about so much more than just the sleaziness of the playboy lifestyle. I’m not being facetious with the AGUIRRE comparison: Bierman’s willingness to watch Cage’s confidence and demeanor slowly unravel itself to the point of self-destruction is downright Herzogian, and Cage’s hunchback limps and pained howls evoke the one of the cinema’s greatest madmen, Klaus Kinski. In fact, I almost wish this had been double featured with BAD LIEUTENANT – VAMPIRE’S KISS feels like a lost hallucinatory comedy Herzog made twenty years prior. – Jake Mulligan

VAMPIRE’S KISS plays tonight, 6/13, at 5:15, 7:30, and 9:45. The Brattle Theatre, 40 Brattle Street, Cambridge MA, 02138.


Rockin’ good news.

The Brattle Theatre is about to be overwhelmed by eleven of the wildest and weirdest performances of the past twenty-odd years. Nicolas Cage: Greatest American Actor showcases this singular performer at his most boffo bizarre. While researching a recent article in The Improper Bostonian, our own Sean Burns spoke with The Brattle’s Creative Director Ned Hinkle about the series. Here are some highlights from their conversation:

Q: Why Nicolas Cage? Why now?

A: Do you really have to ask? He’s not only a cultural icon, a legit movie star, and a talented actor, but he’s also a magnet for the crazy, the weird, and the wonderful of cinema. ­And he has a sense of humor about it!

He’s basically a very famous, very handsome super-nerd; which I think is just awesome. It also helps that he’s in two of my favorite films of all time (WILD AT HEART and RAISING ARIZONA) and one of the all-time best guilty pleasures (CON AIR.)  While it’s admittedly facetious to subtitle the series “Greatest American Actor,” I mean it when I say Cage’s range is something to behold and his ability to leave it all on the screen is just amazing. I personally think that his talent is overlooked far too often and that he gets written off as a goofball in some silly movies because he needs a paycheck.

Hell, I like Nicolas Cage so much that I can even forgive him for appearing in that remake of WINGS OF DESIRE…. but only just barely.

Q: Interesting that you have programmed so many of Cage’s iconic 1990’s roles, and yet not his brief, Oscar-winning window of respectability, LEAVING LAS VEGAS?

A: I’ll put it out there: I am not a fan of LEAVING LAS VEGAS. I’ve never liked it. Probably because I appreciate Cage the best when his roles have a bit of humor to them, and that movie is just so joyless. Aside from that, I wanted to focus mostly on the Cage films that weren’t taken seriously. Or, as I have affectionately dubbed them: “The Crazy Cage Films.”

Q: So is the goal to send audiences home with a deeper, more un-ironic appreciation of this (ahem) National Treasure?

A: I do think that if people can see past the joke that Cage is in danger of permanently becoming they will truly, un-ironically appreciate him as an actor. I mean, the chances he takes are just phenomenal. And no, sometimes they don’t work out. Hello, WICKER MAN! But often they do. In VAMPIRE’S KISS he eats a live cockroach for Chrissakes! It’s easy to say that Cage’s best days are behind him and that he’s his own punch line now, but look at BAD LIEUTENANT. That movie is brilliant, and his performance is what makes it. He’s goofy but scary, unhinged but in control, and not afraid to look ugly.


Nicolas Cage: Greatest American Actor. Runs June 11th through June 21st at The Brattle Theatre. 40 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA 02138. For a full schedule, visit





After 2007’s soul-shattering THERE WILL BE BLOOD, writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson seems to have been accepted into the pantheon of ‘great American directors.’ And deservingly so.

He’s undoubtedly one of our country’s most ambitious filmmakers, crafting stories that work as both incredibly specific evocations of time and place and as universally relatable fables. I imagine that Anderson’s MAGNOLIA (a film about finding human connections) and the previously mentioned BLOOD (a film about avoiding them) will forever remain the films that cemented him as one of our great voices. But BOOGIE NIGHTS, his sophomore effort, is still his best work. This is the film where he brings everything together. It’s hilarious but tragic, visually audacious but dense in both character and narrative, surreal in its constant sense of escalation but entirely honest in its pathos.

BOOGIE NIGHTS begins -and at first is seemingly nothing more than- a tribute to the sounds and looks of the disco era it takes place during. Anderson starts off with a showy, indebted-to-Scorsese Steadicam shot that follows all our characters – a collection of adult film stars, producers, and hangers-on, for the uninitiated – around a dance hall before finally emerging on Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg,) who is a “seventeen year old piece of gold” to these purveyors of porn. The music is loud, the clothes are louder, and at this point most viewers are probably anticipating a nostalgic, lighthearted throwback to the kinder moments of SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER (itself paid tribute to in the appearance of Wahlberg’s bedroom – a poster-by-poster recreation of Tony Manero’s pad.) How wrong they would be.

Instead, BOOGIE NIGHTS becomes something far more: it’s a fable about the need to find a family, even if it isn’t your own. It’s about the unmatched collaborative possibilities that come with making movies, and also about the dark personal hells that have been found while making them too. It’s the result of a filmmaker’s life-long love affair with the cinematic form; with P.T. not only using every camera movement in the book, but also everything from 35 and 16mm to VHS footage in a CITIZEN KANE-like attempt to chronicle cinema’s many forms and styles. One could even say that the film retells the story of American cinema from the birth of the New Hollywood to the explosion of the 90s independent scene: the youthful exuberance, creative fulfillment, and artistic freedom of the character’s 70’s work gives way to coke-fueled, cheap, indulgent, and overly commercial films in the 80’s, before everyone finally finds their niche with smaller audiences in the 90’s.

If HARD EIGHT promised us a great filmmaker, then BOOGIE NIGHTS delivered one. P.T. creates a texture over the film, using his camera to create a symmetry that helps bring it to feverish and allegorical levels. He opens and closes with long tracking shots, indulges in long montages of character intros/outros following and prior to the aforementioned bravura sequences, and crafts a paralleling rise-and-fall narrative to fit in between – the film doubles back on itself; emerging as more of a fairy tale than a snapshot of a moment in time. It also shows a visual confidence that HARD EIGHT hardly even hinted at. Moment after moment of this film is burned into my head permanently.

And this is hardly scratching the surface. There’s the unbearable tension of the film’s most thrilling moments, the finer subtleties of its most iconic performances (John C. Reilly is a national treasure, but he’s never been better than here,) and it’s many transcendent musical scenes – one, where all the positive emotions swell over into an impromptu dance number, remains one of the more magical moments I’ve ever witnessed. I’m unexplainably excited to see BOOGIE NIGHTS tonight on the Coolidge’s main screen, where Anderson’s Cinemascope photography will open up to truly overwhelming sizes.

Most films, you watch. BOOGIE NIGHTS, you experience. – Jake Mulligan

BOOGIE NIGHTS shows tonight, 6/11, 7:00PM, as part of the Coolidge’s Big Screen Classics series. Coolidge Corner Theatre, 290 Harvard St, Brookline MA, 02446.



“Ridley Scott has fashioned a science fiction film that will leave fans arguing, with some dismissing it out of hand and others declaring it a modern masterpiece.” – Daniel M. Kimmel, The Sci-Fi Movie Page

“The best-looking stupid movie I have seen all year. It’s sumptuously photographed, and quite often inane.” – Sean Burns, Philadelphia Weekly

“That’s the big problem with this ‘prequel’ to the original alien film: there’s no real drama, or at least no sense of drama building as the story moves along.” – John Black, Boston Event Guide

“What’s left behind from the promising start is nothing more than muddled faux-philosophy, and even that’s probably more of a sequel set-up than an artistic statement.” – Jake Mulligan, The Suffolk Voice

“By default, the best thing even vaguely connected to ALIEN to come out in decades.” – Bob Chipman, The Escapist 

“If you were lost on an alien planet and a slimy creature emerged from a puddle of black goo, would you call it pet names and attempt to get closer to it?” – Greg Vellante, The Eagle Tribune



 “The kind of vibrator movie you can take your parents to see.” – Sean Burns, Philadelphia Weekly

“Contains enough grains of truth to make it just salty, and just spicy, enough that you soon get over the initial uncomfortable impulse to giggle and enjoy some real laughs.” – Kilian Melloy, EDGE Boston

“Despite its titillating subject, don’t expect HYSTERIA to create much of a buzz.” – Brett Michel, The Boston Herald



“For all the high-minded philosophical debates about gender equality, vegetarianism, and letting loose, it manages to come off as random chatter trying to sound smarter than the dialogue actually is.” – Monica Castillo, DigBoston

“It’s basically just GEORGIA RULE all over again. Only without Lindsay Lohan. Who thought that was a good idea?” – Jake Mulligan, The Suffolk Voice


“Plenty of slapstick and adventure for the kids, as well as a lot of wit and charm for the adults.” – Daniel M. Kimmel,


“By the time our intrepid New York menagerie decides to give the circus an American makeover that is, when projected up on the screen in surprisingly effective 3D, glorious to behold, you’ll be hooked.” – John Black, Boston Event Guide

“Pure, simple fun that gave me the desire to shove sugary cereal in my mouth while watching and change back into my pajamas.” – Greg Vellante, The Eagle Tribune

“Insane in the best possible way.” – Brett Michel, The Boston Herald



“Hustache-Mathieu seems to delight in the small details of the story, the little objects or intimacies that reveal everything you ever wanted to know about a character.” – John Black, Boston Event Guide

“By the time yet another Paris matron throws herself at Pattinson, shock and disgust give way to exasperation.” – Kilian Melloy, EDGE Boston