Saturday, August 30, 2014

Short Film Saturday: United

This short is from Atlanta-based filmmaker Artemus Jenkins and chronicles the Atlanta response to the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.  #HandsUpDontShoot

h/t Shadow & Act

Thursday, August 28, 2014

What's a Chick Been Watching?

What’s a chick been up to besides redecorating her site?  Well, I haven’t been going to the movie theater that much.  For me, the summer movie pickings have been pretty slim and I just haven’t been that inspired to go see much.  Maybe the fall will be better as we move towards award season.  Anyhoo, Netflix has pretty much become my means to stave off utter and complete boredom during these summer months.  Binge watching tv shows has become a thing and I’ve been sucked in.  I usually don’t write about tv shows, but I’d thought I mention one I just watched recently--From Dusk Till Dawn (The Series).  Apparently this show originally aired on producer Robert Rodriguez’s cable channel El Rey and is now streaming on Netflix.   Yes, it is based on the 1996 movie of the same name which was directed by Rodriguez and starred George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino, who also wrote the screenplay.  And just like the movie, the story follows the outlaw Gecko brothers, the kidnapped Fuller family, and the deadly happenings at the Titty Twister bar.  While the movie was all vamps and camp, the series is decidedly more nuanced, dark, and sexy.  First of all, the monsters are not quite vampires but rather derive their dark powers from snakes.  They have the same blood lust as vamps, but their fangs are decidedly snake-like and their movements just a bit slithery.  The series also adds a character--Ranger Freddie Gonzalez who is after the Gecko brothers in order to exact revenge for the death of another ranger and who is apparently from an ancient bloodline of snake-killers.  The chief baddies are Carlos (played by Wilmer Valderrama) and Santanico Pandemonium who actually met their end in the movie, but who in the show play the henchman and the queen of the snake cult, respectively.  We learn that Carlos and Santanico Pandemonium have been supernaturally orchestrating the movements of the Gecko brothers in accordance with a prophecy that is only tangentially explained in the 10 episodes that make up season 1.  The show is packed with so much background and character development that the 9+ hours that make up season 1 essentially leave off right where the 90+ minute movie ended.  Are you intrigued yet?  I was.  Luckily, the show has been picked up for a second season.  Of, course the bad news is having to wait for the next binge.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

On the Road with El Jefe

Seeing the film Chef reminded me of why I like movies so much.  The experience of leaving the movie theater in a better mood than when you entered is so worth the price of admission.  Remember that feeling you had when you saw Swingers and discovered you were so money and didn’t even know it?  Well writer, director, and actor Jon Favreau has done it again in this movie.  Favereau plays Carl, a Los Angeles chef who has lost his mojo, so to speak.  When an angry confrontation with a food critic goes viral over the internets, Carl loses his safe restaurant job and must find a way to start again.  He ends up buying an old food truck, refurbishing it, and embarking on a cross-country trip that allows him to reconnect to his 10 year-old son and  to his love of cooking.  Hollywood should take note that you don’t need superheroes and CGI to make a good movie.  What you need is HEART, as well as a good story and good performances.  And Chef has HEART in spades.  Although a relatively small movie, it’s also big on star power: Dustin Hoffman, Robert Downey, Jr., Sofia Vergara, John Leguizamo, Scarlett Johansson, Bobby Cannavale, and Oliver Platt.  The music is excellent too.  [Look out for a performance by blues musician Gary Clark, Jr.] And if you’re a foodie or just like to eat, you’ll be in heaven.  So treat yo’self to Chef and be sure to sit through the credits. [Update:  This indie gem is getting a nationwide re-release over Labor Day weekend, so get you some!]

Thursday, August 14, 2014