Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

Film
Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Films That Should Satisfy

cover art

A Serious Man

Director: Joel & Ethan Coen
Cast: Michael Stuhlbarg, Richard Kind, Sari Wagner Lennick, Fred Melamed, Aaron Wolff
Review [11.Dec.2009]
Review [11.Dec.2009]
2 October
A Serious Man


How do the Coen Brothers do it? How do they keep coming up with inventive narratives, complicated characters, and directorial flair that’s as reverent to the past as it is indicative of film’s future. Aside from a rough bit from 2003 through 2005 (in which the subpar Ladykillers remake and Intolerable Cruelty resulted), they’ve delivered nothing but brilliance—and if the trailer for this latest period piece is any indication, they have crafted another amazing masterpiece. Man deals with the late ‘60s, a Midwestern college professor with marital troubles, and from what we can tell from the preview, elements of Judaism and faith. While the subject matter sings pure Coen, it’s the visual look that’s so compelling. As they do with almost every film they make, there is an artistic approach here that’s impossible to ignore. It bodes well for this dark comedy’s chances at connecting with audiences.


 

cover art

Capitalism: A Love Story

Director: Michael Moore
Cast: Michael Moore
Review [23.Sep.2009]
2 October
Capitalism: A Love Story


Michael Moore is often lamented as the liberal’s liberal mouthpiece, a man so far to the left of center that he literally tilts every documentary he designs toward his proto-pinko-peacenik politics. Even when he’s right - Roger & Me, Bowling for Columbine, Fahrenheit 9/11, SiCKO - he’s seen as a whack job working out his obvious anti-American feelings on a blindly faithful fanbase. None of this will change with his latest fact-based rant, yet another attack on how corporations are killing the economy. This time around, however, he has the ear of an unemployed and disenfranchised populace angry over how Wall Street worked the entire country into a bankrupt, bail-out frenzy. Sure, there will be the typical nitpicking and Hell fire, but here’s betting more people are willing to hear him out than shout him down.


 
Films That May Leave You Starving

cover art

Zombieland

Director: Ruben Fleischer
Cast: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin
Review [17.Feb.2010]
Review [2.Oct.2009]
2 October
Zombieland


Oh boy…something about this film stinks. Unless your Edward Wright making Shaun of the Dead, or Dan O’Bannon delivering The Return of the Living Dead, zombie comedies just don’t work. Granted, this one does have Woody Harrelson in full blown cornpone mode, Adventureland‘s Jesse Einsenberg doing his best deadpan drollness shtick, Abigail Breslin growing up and Emma Stone for added sugary eye candy. Still, jokes about cannibalism and the end of the world? Preview clips that argue over the “best kill” for a certain segment of the storyline? Huh? The talent behind the lens also inspires little hope. Director Ruben Fleischer has limited credits, comedy or otherwise, and writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick are responsible for such ribticklers as The Joe Schmo Show and Invasion Iowa. Maybe they can pull it off. Don’t be surprised if they don’t.


 

cover art

Whip It!

Director: Drew Barrymore
Cast: Ellen Page, Marcia Gay Harden, Kristen Wiig, Drew Barrymore, Juliette Lewis
2 October
Whip It!


In which Drew Barrymore does roller derby—and brings along such fetching female talent as Ellen Page, Zoe Bell, Juliette Lewis, and Kristin Wiig along for the ride. And we’re not talking about old school ‘70s skate smash-ups like those in Rachel Welch’s classic Kansas City Bomber. Instead, this story (based on the book Shauna Cross) seems invested in the desire to show how organized team sports and gender equity leads to a sense of purpose and amplified self-esteem. This is Drew’s first effort behind the lens as well, and from the trailers currently making the rounds, she seems pretty adept at both the action and the dramedy. If it finds the right audience, an alternative crowd who want to see girls getting physical and finding their own source of power, this could be a big hit. Here’s hoping Drew and her excellent cast deliver the damage.


The Ala Carte Menu

cover art

More than a Game

Director: Kristopher Belman
Cast: Lebron James, Dru Joyce, Romeo Travis, Sian Cotton, Willie McGee
2 October
More than a Game



He is basketball’s reigning god, a deity among men who are already pretty close to immortal in the eyes of their fans. So what does this documentary about Lebron James have to offer the already devoted? Well, apparently, a paycheck for the four other teammates who played with the high school phenom before his early jump to the NBA. Indeed, Kristopher Belman had long decided to follow King James as he played his way through poverty and peer pressure, all while leading his team to several titles before he became Cleveland’s savior. As much a work of happenstance as hype (Belman indeed started this film before the much ballyhooed media meddling in James post-interscholastic plans) this is Hoop Dreams without the depressing downside, a story of inner city struggle where the end game turns out to be a shot at a National Championship - as well as several multimillion dollar years as a professional. Could be good. Could also be grating.


Since deciding to employ his underdeveloped muse muscles over five years ago, Bill has been a significant staff member and writer for three of the Web's most influential websites: DVD Talk, DVD Verdict and, of course, PopMatters. He also has expanded his own web presence with Bill Gibron.com a place where he further explores creative options. It is here where you can learn of his love of Swindon's own XTC, skim a few chapters of his terrifying tome in the making, The Big Book of Evil, and hear samples from the cassette albums he created in his college music studio, The Scream Room.


Related Articles
10 Jul 2012
Thanks to translation, the cult '60s British show The Avengers is known to French viewers as Chapeau Melon et Bottes de Cuir, literally "bowler hat and leather boots", a title which could be misconstrued for a show about bondage tips and foot fetish.
By PopMatters Staff
5 Jan 2011
As the medium continues to struggle with significance in the steady "streaming" of the 21st Century, here are PopMatters' picks for the best the format(s) have to offer.
23 Nov 2010
Just as the female lead character strikes out against the identifiable point of oppression in her own life, von Trier strikes out against the very audiences and critics who continue to endure his films in order to both convince them otherwise -- and annihilate them.
9 Nov 2010
So obsessed with birth and biology that the symbols practically stand up and shout their intent, this is New Age therapeutics as Grand Guignol geek show.
Comments
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Announcements
PopMatters' LUCY Giveaway! in PopMatters's Hangs on LockerDome

© 1999-2014 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.