Archive for 2011

Red State

Posted in movies with tags , , , , , on September 6, 2011 by Parker Connell

Who knew foul-mouthed, king of the slackers Kevin Smith had a movie like Red State in him?  Once known pretty much exclusively for masterful creation of dick and fart jokes Mr. Smith has come out with one of the best thrillers in recent memory.

After the cinematic turd known as Cop Out I was ready to cast Smith aside, and any hopes I had for his next film Red State were pretty much thrown out the window. Then the first trailer came out. It looked gritty and visceral, more Rob Zombie than Kevin Smith, and that creepy voice over by Michael Parks, had me interested, but then thoughts of Bruce Willis telling unfunny jokes during poorly shot and edited car chases danced in my head and I filed my curiosity away.

Well here I sit eating my words.  Red State is an expertly made thriller about religious fanatics think Fred Phelps meets Waco. Three teens are kidnapped after being tricked with the promise of sex. Abin Cooper (Michael Parks) and his flock intend on punishing the three deviants for their wicked thoughts and actions. Soon things escalate and ATF is called to the scene

The story is something that has been seen before, but not in movies very often, this sort of thing happens in the news. Where Smith surprises is in his direction. Usually Smith focuses on the writing and the direction, cinematography, and pacing are left on the back burner. In Red State we have dynamic camera work, and one or two scene that are tenser than anything I’ve seen in years. Never before has Smith had me on the edge of my seat but here I was hold my breath, can’t look away, holy shit what is going to happen, tense for long stretches of the movie.

That isn’t to say that the writing suffers. Red State features some of Smith’s best writing since Dogma (it seems religion gets the best out of him) and it seems he benefits from the almost complete lack of dick and fart jokes.

As far as acting this is really a one-man show for Michael Parks who is allowed long speeches about scripture and “the homosexual” and it’s really enthralling and disturbingly entertaining. John Goodman does well as the ATF agent in charge and Kevin Pollak has a good moment followed by a great moment. The teens are good and Kevin Smith seems to understand how actual modern 18 year olds act and talk.

Perhaps Red State is a fluke, or a momentary rest from his standard output, either way I feel safe in saying that aside from Clerks, Red State will be the one Kevin Smith is remembered for in the long term. Short term it’s a great movie.


Flicks Looking Forward: Spring 2011

Posted in movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 2, 2011 by Parker Connell

Okay folks I’m sorry to say I do not have a review ready for you on this Wednesday, but I made a promise that I would update at least once a week on Wednesday and I plan to stick to it. Hopefully I will have a review for The King’s Speech soon and that will be posted as soon as it is finished.

Until then I’d like to say a little bit about the films coming out in the spring of this year. In the coming weeks I’ll do a few more posts about the summer and fall, and maybe winter, who knows. Enjoy!

Drive Angry (February 25th) – Yes it looks unbelievably stupid, yes Nic Cage looks to be playing the guy from Bangkok Dangerous, yes it’s actually called Drive Angry, but watch the trailer and then tell me it doesn’t look like it’ll be worth every cent. Plus it was filmed in 3D none of this post-3D-ification Clash of the Airbenders nonsense.

Rango (March 4th) – I haven’t been this excited for a kids movie since Where the Wild Things Are. I don’t think Rango will be as good, but man Rango looks fun as hell. It’s really nice to see worthwhile CG projects coming out of a studio not named Disney.

The Adjustment Bureau (March 4th) – I really want this movie to be good. I know it won’t be good, but damn it could be. It looks to straight-laced to be a great PKD adaptation (like Minority Report or A Scanner Darkly) but a bit too weird to get the Matt Damon soccer mom crowd. I probably won’t be seeing this until it’s on Netflix Instant

Mars Needs Moms (March 11th) – Just kidding this looks really stupid.

Battle: LA (March 11th) – I only know the bare bones of this flick, but I can’t imagine it goes much deeper than aliens attack. I’m mildly interested to see this, if only for Aaron Eckhart and maybe a solid Military Sci-Fi story.

Jane Eyre (March 11th) – In my The Kids Are All Right review I made some big proclamations about Mia Wasikowsk, the big one being that I would see anything and everything she does from now on. Well this Bronte adaptation is hr next work so I guess I’m gonna have to eat my shoe on that one. For I am mostly a man of my word, mostly.

Paul (March 18th) – When I first heard about this flick I was mad excited, and each new sliver of information that was released over the following 2 years was met with enthusiasm. Then the first trailer came out and I had my first twang of worry, then the second trailer came out and I have pretty much given up on this flick.

Sucker Punch (March 25th) – March 25th cannot come soon enough, I am so unbelievably stoked for this outrageous looking movie. I’ve enjoyed everything Snyder has done in the past and this, his first original work, looks to be his best most entertaining flick. 2011 has a lot of lackluster looking action flick but hopefully Sucker Punch can redeem them.

Source Code (April 1st) – Everything about this movie screams cookie cutter light sci-fi thriller, but, I am excited for this film simply by virtue of it’s director Duncan Jones the man who brought us Moon. Also it has Jeffrey Wright the best actor alive not named Robert Duvall.

Your Highness (April 8th) – Could be great like Eastbound and Down, could be pretty good like Pineapple Express, but it could be awful. I’m hoping for greatness, and expecting pretty goodness, but there is a reason Willow 2 was never made.

Thor (May 6th) – Of the big budget Superhero flicks coming out this year Thor is the only one I want to see. The lead looks good, Natalie Portman is a talented actress who can hold her own against everyone in the cast. Plus nobody is wearing weird ugly CG clothes.

So that pretty much covers the movies I want to see in the springtime. Maybe I’ve sparked your interest in an upcoming film, maybe I made you decide not to see another, at the very least I hope I have entertained you momentarily.