WILD WILDLIFE Had director Davis Guggenheim attempted to explore all the creative possibilities that lie behind such a name as Al Gore (get it?), An Inconvenient Truth would have been a much more interesting and way scarier film. Not that turning a pressingly threatening environmental issue into unforgettably blatant propaganda isn't frightening. Read more »
TOOTHY TV Stop fronting like you don't love Shark Week. You live for its exciting footage of the world's most potent predators, its programming that veers between sensational and scientific, and its narration that comes overstuffed with metaphors: "She is a missile, armed with teeth ... ready to fire!" The Discovery Channel knows it has you by the chum bucket, so it's devoting an entire week of programming to Shark Week's 20th anniversary. Read more »
CULT FILM Some movies define a generation. Some distort a generation. Very special ones manage both. Welcome to the genius of Psych-Out, a 1968 American International Pictures epic (produced by none other than squeaky-clean American Bandstand icon Dick Clark) that remains perhaps the all-time high-water mark in cinematic hippiesploitation.
Oh, Psych-Out, Psych-Out, Psych-Out! How many times have I loved your psychedelic excesses since that fateful first viewing in the 1980s at Boston's annual Schlock-around-the-Clock marathon? Read more »
GAMER Continuing my current tendency to gravitate toward games involving cute animals, I recently became addicted to the latest Pokémon installment, Pokémon Diamond. Pokémon Pearl is the same game with some different Pokémon.
My first Pokémon experience came during a long road trip in 2000, when I got hooked on Pokémon Gold. Read more »
FILM Angelina Jolie in blackface and a decent film? Both seem remarkable when one considers the cinematic caca generated by the Tomb Raider franchise star since her Oscar win for Girl, Interrupted (1999).
Decidedly weightier and more ambitious than the screwball Mr. and Mrs. Read more »
FILM Always be suspicious of any documentary that starts off with this snippet of dialogue: "Is it real, is it not real?" In fact, for the first 10 minutes of American Cannibal, directed by Perry Grebin and Michael Nigro, I suspected I might be watching a mock doc. But nope, it's real more authentic than reality TV, anyway, which is the subject it chronicles via both insider insights (from showbiz types like Fox Reality Channel honcho David Lyle) and the tension-fraught journey of Gil S. Read more »
FILM Recently, my eyeballs were among the first to be skewered by the finished print of Hostel 2. As torture and black humor unspooled on the big screen, director Eli Roth last seen working on Grindhouse, both as an actor and behind the camera for the Thanksgiving trailer prowled about, gauging audience reactions to his third feature film. The next day I met Roth to discuss all things horror. He talks fast. Read more »
FILM Even if you've never heard of the composer Bernard Herrmann (19111975), it's a safe bet that you've quoted him at some point in your life. He's the coauthor of the widely recognized shorthand for murder and mayhem, the mimed downward thrust of a knife accompanied by the high-pitched squeal, "Wee! Wee! Read more »
CULT FILM It's fitting that Troll 2 is playing at Midnites for Maniacs it's truly a film only a maniac could love. This 1990 masterpiece (sorry, Julia Louis-Dreyfus fans it's a sequel to 1986's Troll in name only) was made by an Italian crew (director Drake Floyd's real name: Claudio Fragasso), starring a cast of Salt Lake City locals. Read more »
ART BOOK Any ole body can start a LiveJournal or blog these days with the flick of a mousing finger and a peck on a keyboard. But how many people can undertake a project such as the one documented in The 1000 Journals Project (Chronicle Books, $22.95)? Read more »