I've been at the Guardian awhile -- it'll be eight years next month, in fact. I started as a fresh-faced, eager intern, and since 1999 I've met many other fresh-faced, eager interns, intent on careers in media or academics or giraffe-tending (for real! If you're out there, intern-who-reviewed-movies-but-was-also-a-zookeeper, email me and let me know how you're doing.) But I've only known a few who were determined to segue from film writer to filmmaker -- and one of 'em was Dina Gachman, who just finished her graduate thesis film at USC.
Are Kasper Hauser's members the funniest people in San Francisco? Just try not busting a gut over the sketch troupe's new SkyMaul: Happy Crap You Can Buy from a Plane, a takeoff on the SkyMall catalogs you find on airplanes. An uncanny takeoff. Read more »
I first encounted Mindy Smith on VH-1 Country, of all places -- it was a video for her cover of Dolly Parton's "Jolene" (with the divine Ms. P providing backing vocals), which matched Smith's unfussy, dulcet voice with a mournful, almost eerie arrangement. Read more »
The world is chained tochains in Jem Cohen's Chain, a sort-of documentary that also weaves two narratives into its study of global economics. Hard-faced young squatter Amanda (musician Mira Billotte of White Magic) spends monotonous days haunting the nearest shopping center, a place so generic it could be positively anywhere, including the suburban hell of George A. Romero's darkest nightmares. Read more »
Einstürzende Neubauten (Danielle de Picciotto, Germany, 2006). Perhaps appropriately, April Fool's Day 1980 marked the first appearance of Einstürzende Neubauten, at the Moon Club in Berlin. After taking the stage frontperson Christian Emmerich (better known as Blixa Bargeld) and percussionist Andrew Chudy (N.U. Unruh), plus others, proceeded to bemuse their audience with a Dadaesque display of hammers banging on metal sheets mixed with accompanying electronic sound effects. Read more »
Male malaise sure had a banner year in 2006 at least as far as Hollywood was concerned. How many more times are we gonna have to sit through the same story about some supposedly endearing dude in his 20s or 30s whose quest to figure shit out exasperates everyone around him? Read more »
It was dark and stormy the night I journeyed to Oakland to meet the Saviours — a perfect weather match for their music, which I've had on constant ear blast since picking up their Tim Green–<\d>produced debut, Crucifire (Level Plane, 2006). These guys are fucking serious. Read more »
There's a reason Kate Winslet has four Oscar nominations. Even in a film as fake-snow fluffy as The Holiday, she's able to imbue her character, lovesick Londoner Iris, with pathos and dignity. Read more »
Francis (Cory Knauf) documents his home life -- which happens to involve quite a bit of bloody murder -- in The Hamiltons.
Yesterday, I posted my interview with Mitchell Altieri, one half of the filmmaking team known as the Butcher Brothers -- the Bay Area not-really-brothers (though they are tight-bros-from-way-back-when) responsible for The Hamiltons, described by Altieri as "a horror coming-of-age story." (More on the film in my entry below). Read more »
Finally, a horror movie that can be called both subtle (despite gleeful bloodletting) and refreshing. Another Hole in the Head pick The Hamiltons, codirected by the Butcher Brothers (the nom de screen of Bay Area filmmakers Mitchell Altieri and Phil Flores), imagines a family of naughty orphans who just can’t stop themselves from trapping and killing any vaguely expendable human who crosses their path. Read more »