As we mentioned in our June Indie Preview, one of our favorite movies of the month is Your Sister’s Sister, Lynn Shelton’s smart and sophisticated indie rom-com featuring Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Mark Duplass. But even great moves can have their little flaws, and one thing did nag at us a bit while watching the film: how is it that Blunt and DeWitt are sisters, but have completely different accents? Blunt speaks in her natural British (instead of adopting an American accent, as she did to match onscreen sister Amy Adams in Sunshine Cleaning), and DeWitt keeps her American accent (instead of adopting one to match Blunt’s, as Alison Brie did in The Five Year Engagement). It doesn’t ruin the movie or anything, but it did get us thinking about other movies where we didn’t completely buy the familial connection of the characters; after the jump, we’ve assembled ten of the most egregious examples. … Read More
Cuba Gooding Jr.
When you have to keep an obsessive eye on film, music, books, visual art, television, the Internet, and all other manner of popular culture, something eventually has to give, and for us — well, for this author, anyway — it’s sports. An almost-complete disinterest in professional and collegiate sporting events can make one feel a bit of an outcast (and it certainly makes for a confusing Facebook feed; apparently some guy who’s really into Jesus won something important on Sunday?), but after faking it through high school and college, I can’t pretend to care anymore. Maybe it makes me a pencil-necked geek, but the idea of spending three hours watching a football going to and fro — particularly when there are still Hitchcock movies I haven’t seen — is simply unacceptable.
However, many of the same film fans who are patently disinterested in a Sunday afternoon of TV sports will gladly spend that same time planted in front of a sports-themed movie — basically the same thing, albeit with better camera angles and a scripted ending. (And the angles are the only difference in a wrestling movie, HA HA!) And that’s fine with this viewer; as I told a friend after its release, “I’d watch football every week if it looked like Any Given Sunday.” But cinephiles more sport-phobic than I (and they’re out there!) might prefer films that keep the game play squarely off-screen. In honor of today’s DVD release of Moneyball, one of the best of the bunch, we offer ten genuinely good movies about sports that are notable for their minimal sports action. Check them out after the jump, and add your own in the comments. … Read More
Here’s a factoid that, if you’re about my age, will make you feel nice and old: It was 20 years ago today that Boyz n the Hood, John Singleton’s iconic coming-of-age-in-South-Central tale, first hit theaters. It was one of the 19 films released that year helmed by African-American directors in the wake of the critical and financial success of Spike Lee’s early efforts, which proved the existence of a passionate and underserved audience; that year also saw the release of New Jack City, The Five Heartbeats, A Rage in Harlem, Daughters of the Dust, and Lee’s own Jungle Fever. Never before had one calendar year seen so many films from black voices; sadly, it hasn’t happened since.
The most influential — and most financially successful — of those “Black New Wave” films was Boyz, which begins as a kind of black Stand By Me set in 1984, before leaping into the (then) present as teenage Tre (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and his best friend Ricky (Morris Chestnut) try to stay out the trouble so prevalent in their South Central neighborhood, and often caused by Ricky’s hardcore half-brother Doughboy (Ice Cube). Though the oft-imitated picture suffers somewhat from its melodramatic tendencies (spoofed so mercilessly in the Wayans Brothers’ Don’t Be A Menace…) and the flashes of casual misogyny that would become so troublesome in Singleton’s later work, Boyz n the Hood remains a powerful, important film that captures a key moment in popular culture with both style and intensity. It was also an early milestone for not only Singleton but several performers involved in the film; in celebration of its twentieth anniversary, we’ll take a look at what became of them after the jump. … Read More