Todd Berger’s It’s a Disaster opens deceptively, with a black and white image of a beach — but as the credits roll, a slow pull out reveals the explosion of an A-bomb off in the distance. The film’s narrative uncoils in a similar fashion: Tracy (Julia Stiles) is bringing Glenn (David Cross), a possible new boyfriend, to what another character dubs “our famous ‘couples brunches.’” There, Glenn will meet four other couples, Tracy’s long-time friends; pleasantries will be exchanged and topics will be gingerly avoided, and the stage is set, it seems, for some good old-fashioned comedy of awkwardness. That’s before all the dirty bombs go off. … Read More
Spring is upon us, dear readers, so it’s your last chance to enjoy some light entertainment before the summer onslaught of giant explosions and endless sequels. (What’s that? G.I. Joe 2 came out last weekend? Let’s pretend like it didn’t happen.) As is our wont on the first of the month, we’ve rounded up April’s independent films of note: those we’ve seen and recommended, and those we can’t wait to get a look at. Join us after the jump for a sampling of this month’s art house goodies. … Read More
The best of this week’s (admittedly lean) DVD releases is Coriolanus, the sleek and muscular Shakespeare adaptation from star and first-time director Ralph Fiennes. He’s been angling to bring the play to the screen for nearly a dozen years now, since he first played it on the London stage, and when the time came to do so, he did what many a filmmaker before him has done to make Shakespeare tenable to today’s audience: he modernized it. But the text is so open, and his staging is so robust, that the interpretation works; it couldn’t feel more timely and appropriate, with (perhaps intentional, perhaps accidental) allusions to the Tea Party, Congressional dysfunction, and the Occupy movement that land without the clumsiness that so often batters political cinema.
In honor of a job well done, we’ve assembled ten other films that altered the Bard’s plots and texts in a similarly entertaining fashion. Check them out after the jump, and add your own in the comments. … Read More
January is upon us, and we film fans know what that means: nothing good. The first month of the year is traditionally the dumping ground for Hollywood studios, the month in which they unload the films that aren’t quality enough for the Oscar-courting fall, but not commercial enough for the lucrative holiday, spring, and summer seasons. January is where bad movies go to die, and where studios hope we won’t notice them. They’re usually right; viewers either tend to catch up on the prestige pictures that are going into wider release, or just stay at home and watch football. But our nation’s film critics, fat and happy after the holiday feast of smart, highbrow entertainment, are often subjected to the sugar crash of January dogs, and as a result, their reviews often pack a little bit of extra vitriol. After the jump, we’ve assembled the ten worst movies released in the month of January — according to the reliable aggregators at Rotten Tomatoes — along with a few choice words from the scribes who sat through them. … Read More
The Cereal Project takes a beloved breakfast food and archives it into a pop culture encyclopedia of graphic design, advertising, and historical significance.
The website is chock-full of random cereal trivia; for example, Quaker has released 27 versions of Cap’n Crunch that riff on the 1963 original. Ship Shake Cap’n Crunch Liquid diet drink, anyone? You can also view Julia Stiles acting her heart out in an Apple Jacks commercial from 1994 or Michael Jordan’s classic shill for… Read More