Tag Archive | Movie

Movie Review: The Film Critic (El Critico )

FILM CRITIC Poster

A film critic whose intolerance for cliché-ridden, formulaic Hollywood romances has earned him a reputation as a merciless film curmudgeon experiences a kind of existential crisis when he falls hard for beautiful, mercurial woman in Writer/Director Hernán Gerschuny’s Argentinian comedy The Film Critic (El Critico). This fast paced, sharply written and well-acted film will entertain anyone who loves movies but also enjoys a hilarious, insider jab at the filmmaking industry.

The Film Critic - 5

Victor Tellez (Rafael Spregelburd) is a popular film citric who feels that the main responsibility of his job is to help the audience discern “Art from Schlock.” Tellez spends his days in dark screening rooms with his fellow critics, with whom he then retreats to a favorite local café to discuss what they’ve just seen ad nauseum. Tellez is so pretentious that, while he speaks Spanish, he thinks in French (thus the film is in both French and Spanish with English subtitles), which is hilarious in itself.

When Tellez goes to see an apartment that he hopes to rent, he meets the very enigmatic and sassy Sofia (played by Dolores Fonzi, who bears a striking resemblance to Mila Kunis), who has beat him out as the next potential tenant by arriving on the scene before him. Through his relentless attempt’s to convince her to let him have the apartment, Victor is unexpectedly charmed by this lady, the likes of whom he’s not met before.

The Film Critic - 2

As Victor finds himself falling hard for Sofia, a woman who playfully challenges his beliefs and tastes on almost every level, he struggles to reconcile this new relationship with the profound disdain he has always felt towards the romantic film genre.

Ironically, when he is commissioned to write a short screenplay in exchange for some easy cash, Victor bases his story on the seemingly formulaic trajectory of his relationship with Sofia, with hilarious results. Will Life imitate Art? You’ll have to watch to find out!

The Film Critic is marvelously meta, but engaging subplots that include Victor’s relationship with his snarky teenage niece (also an avid cinephile whose idea of a great film is Jerry Maguire); and his increasingly agitated interactions with a young filmmaker who takes Victor’s scathing criticism of his own film a bit too personally, keep the action lively. We loved this movie!

The Worley Gig Gives The Film Critic (El Critico) 5 out of 5 Stars. See it in Theaters and on VOD starting May 15th, 2015!

The Beatles A Hard Day’s Night Gets 50th Anniversary Restoration and Re-Release!

A Hard Days Night One Sheet
Photo By Gail

Do you love The Beatles? I sure do. I remember watching the band’s first film, A Hard Day’s Night, for the first time on a black & white TV set tucked way in a family room that we called The Den, and being totally enraptured by The Beatles charming shenanigans and totally amazing songs. I was probably five years old at the time, and by then the film was two years past its 1964 release date. Since that day, I’ve seen A Hard Day’s Night countless times on TV — either broadcast or via recorded media– but I’d never had the chance to see it on a Big Screen until Criterion hosted a press screening last month to promote the upcoming release of the newly restored 50th Anniversary edition of the film. Let me tell you, it is really something special, and sitting there in the dark theater with images of John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr all larger than life, took me right back to being that little five year old girl who was (and still is) just completely nuts about The Beatles.

Hard Days Night Ticket Stub
This and Image Below Courtesy of Rogert Ebert Dot Com

Directed by the legendary Richard Lester and released amid the initial global frenzy of Beatlemania, A Hard Day’s Night follows the fab four through a fictionalized ‘typical day’ of running from hoards of crazed fans, traveling by train, hanging out in their hotel room, meeting the press, cracking wise, filming a live TV show and, finally, performing for a capacity crowd of those same of hysterical fans who simply will not stop screaming. There are couple fun subplots such as a hilarious running joke about Paul’s Grandfather (Played brilliantly by Wilfrid Brambell, who was actually on 50 years old when he made A Hard Day’s Night) and a sweet interlude where a dejected Ringo runs off to have his own brief misadventure. The film is just fantastic and features a dozen original Beatles songs that still sound better than any pop music released in the past 20 years or more. I could watch it over and over again.

A Hard Day’s Night returns to theaters on July 4th, 2014 (check local listings for showings your area), but this past week saw the release of Criterion Collection’s DVD/Blu-Ray edition of the film, featuring a new 4K digital restoration approved by Richard Lester with three audio options. Up to Criterion’s usual high standards, the package also contains a booklet with an essay by critic Howard Hampton and a number of extras; some of these are vintage documentaries about the film, but two of the best are new: an interview with author Mark Lewisohn tracing The Beatles’ history up to A Hard Day’s Night, and “Anatomy of a Style,” an astute analysis of Lester’s and editor John Jympson’s techniques. This collection is must-own for all Beatles fans.

Hard Days Night Movie Poster

About the video and audio restoration: Using the latest in digital restoration technology, the Criterion Collection was able to restore A Hard Day’s Night from the 35 mm original camera negative, which, though incomplete, was in excellent condition. The missing material was taken from two original interpositives. The image was scanned in 4K resolution on a Scanity film scanner to retain the character of the film’s original printing stock without any generational loss, and the raw data was carefully treated using a variety of digital tools to remove dirt, scratches, flicker and other damage. The final result was approved by director Richard Lester, and is in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.75:1. Stereo Audio Restoration and 5.1 Surround sound were supervised by sound producer Giles Martin (son of Beatles producer George Martin), with the soundtrack and songs remixed at Abbey Road Studios and Twickenham Studios by Martin and Sam Okell.

I will leave you with some fun A Hard Day’s Night Trivia! Enjoy!

John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote the song “A Hard Day’s Night” in one night, basing the title on a Ringo-ism.

The soundtrack to A Hard Day’s Night was the band’s first record not to include any cover songs, and is also the only all-Lennon-McCartney LP in their catalog.

The film was titled Yeah Yeah Yeah in Germany, Tutti per uno (All for One) in Italy, Quatre garçons dans le vent (Four Boys in the Wind) in France, Yeah! Yeah! Tässä tulemme! (Yeah! Yeah! Here We Come!) in Finland, and Os reis do Iê-Iê-Iê (The Kings of Yeah-Yeah-Yeah) in Brazil.

A thirteen-year-old Phil Collins is an extra in the Scala Theatre scene.

Charlotte Rampling is one of the dancers in the nightclub scene, watching her then boyfriend Jeremy Lloyd (also in Help!) trade moves with Ringo on the dance floor.

The characters of Norm and Shake were based on the Beatles’ personal assistant Neil Aspinall (Norm) and road manager Mal Evans (Shake).

During the performance of “Tell Me Why,” director Richard Lester can be seen briefly toward the end of the song, walking by the front of the stage.

The words The Beatles are never spoken throughout the course of the movie.

A Hard Day’s Night competed for two Academy Awards, losing in both categories: best screenplay (Alun Owen) and best adapted score (George Martin). None of the Beatles’ original songs were nominated.

Watch the Trailer Below:

Reccommended Viewing: Escape From Tomorrow

Escape From Tomorrow Poster

Do you like Disneyland? I sure do. I’ve been going to Disney parks since I was practically an egg, and I never, ever get tired of it. I was there two summers ago with my older sister and we had so much fucking fun, our heads almost exploded. Disneyland Rules! It is largely due to my obsession with Disneyland (or DisneyWorld, whatever) that I’m very excited to tell you about an independent film I just saw called Escape From Tomorrow which was filmed Guerrilla-style almost entirely on location at Disneyland and Disneyworld! Holy shit! How did that even happen?

Now, when you have been to Disneyland as many times as I have, you KNOW that they have plain-clothes spies all over the park watching you and just waiting for you to do something that could be perceived as a mild threat to the status quo — or “Un-Disney” — so that they can scold you, or worse, kick your ass out of the park. I have been approached by The Secret Disney Police twice in my life — once for wearing a red bandana on my head during my adolescent Punk Rock phase (Read: Wearing Gang Colors), and once for sitting on the back of the boat during the Pirates of the Caribbean ride to make it scarier (don’t ask) — and both times the experience was appropriately surreal, but considerably less than fun. My point is, when you are at Disneyland, you are “Under the Dome,” so to speak, and your every move is most likely being watched. This type of close surveillance and strict adherence to rules is why, in 50 years of operation, there have only been, say, a dozen or so murders or deaths at Disney parks. Those are good odds! But “Bad Things Happen Everywhere,” as the Movie Poster Tells us.

The plot of Escape from Tomorrow does not matter. You can read about the plot here. The plot is just a loose facilitator for what does matter, which is that the film’s writer/director, Randy Moore was able to film a fucking movie inside the rides at two different Disney parks and get away with it! If there were an Academy Award category for “Biggest Set of Balls,” the Oscar would go to Randy Moore! This movie is amazing! If you love the art of Independent film making, and/or Disneyland, you need to see it.  Just read the Wikipedia Entry first so you know what you’re getting yourself into.

The Worley Gig Gives Escape From Tomorrow Four and 1/2 out of Five Stars!

Escape From Tomorrow is currently showing at the IFC Center on Sixth Avenue and 4th Street in Greenwich Village, NYC, and I believe it is also available On Demand from certain Cable Channels. Consult The Google for Showtimes and to find where it is playing near you!

Escape From Tomorrow Marquee
Photo By Gail

DVD Review: Darnell Dawkins, Mouth Guitar Legend

Darnell Dawkins DVD Cover
Ross Patterson Stars As Darnell Dawkins

If the cast of Saturday Night Live set out to make a feature-length skit that aspired to be the This is Spinal Tap of the Woodstock generation, they might come up with something similar to Darnell Dawkins: Mouth Guitar Legend. This fairly clever and rather historically accurate (as satires go) ultra-indie Mocumentary traces the remarkable story of “mouth-guitar” legend Darnell Dawkins (played by Ross Patterson, who also wrote the script).

The story goes that Dawkins was a childhood friend of Jimi Hendrix (played by comedian R. Ernie Silva), who ended up filling in for the legendary guitarist at Woodstock after Hendrix missed his flight. Sadly, Dawkins’ disapproving father suppressed much of the filmed footage of Darnell’s performance career from public release – until now. The confusing thing is that, while Dawkins is described as a “Mouth Guitar” legend, he does not actually play the instrument with his mouth (as Hendrix famously did) but, rather, he made the sounds of the guitar with his mouth. So, no guitar playing is actually involved, and “mouth guitar” is somewhat like air guitar, in a way. While it’s probably funnier to not be entirely clear on this until you see the film, I think I am okay with this degree of a spoiler, since it’s easy to figure out pretty early on, and it makes the film’s tagline, “He only spoke with his mouth” seem worth a few extra laughs.

Considering the slim budget on which the film appears to have been made, the filmmakers pulled together a cast with a remarkable number of recognizable faces, including Ray Wise (Laura Palmer’s Dad from Twin Peaks) as Darnell’s Dad, Christine Lakin as Wilhemina, Darnell’s muse, William R. Mapother (Lost, who is also Tom Cruise’s Cousin!), Michael Raymond-James (Rene from True Blood), Curtis Armstrong (Booger from Revenge of The Nerds) and Veteran B Movie Actor Richard Riehle.

Darnell Dawkins Jimi Hendrix
Darnell Dawkins with Jimi Hendrix

Darnell Dawkins: Mouth Guitar Legend, which could be compared to a bare bones budget version Walk Hard, is not a genius film or anything, but it’s pretty funny (funnier than Walk Hard, to be honest) and especially endearing if you’ve seen the Woodstock concert film and know your stuff when it comes to classic sixties acts such as Hendrix, The Jefferson Airplane and other bands of that time. It’s a film that would be fun to watch with a small group of like-minded friends at a house party where you are perhaps drinking and smoking a bit too much and just want to be silly. I enjoyed it.

The disc can be purchased for under $12 on Amazon.com and it’s worth that price just to have it around the house so you can whip it out when your friends who like this kind of film are over and say, “Hey, check out this crazy thing!” Also there’s lots of nudity (read: naked chicks) in it, if that’s something that interests you. Run Time: 87 Minutes.

The Worley Gig Gives Darnell Dawkins: Mouth Guitar Legend 3 out of 5 Stars