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

 
Film
Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA

For fans of everything from the truly buzz-worthy (Terry Gilliam) to that found footage trope yet again (Casey La Scala), this warm-up to the end of the year awards has you covered.


 

cover art

The Identical

Director: Dustin Marcellino
Cast: Blake Rayne, Ray Liotta, Ashley Judd, Seth Green, Joe Pantoliano
5 September
The Identical

Sold as a faith-based film that reimagines Elvis Presley’s life as if his stillborn twin brother lived, this cinematic insanity reminds the viewer why Mystery Science Theater 3000 is still relevant in 2014. Troll 2 may be considered the Best Worst Movie of all time, but this Room-like reject is bereft of anything other than cult camp kitsch value. A co-production of a pro-Israel organization and overflowing with “Jesus Saves” shout-outs, this confused collection of biopic clichés tries to match its mythology move for move. Instead, it creates a slice of cine-madness that has to be seen, and experienced, to be believed.


 

cover art

God Help the Girl

Director: Stuart Murdoch
Cast: Emily Browning, Olly Alexander, Hannah Murray, Pierre Boulanger
5 September
God Help the Girl

Belle and Sebastian frontman Stuart Murdoch has had the idea for this quirky coming-of-age tale in his head for over ten years. While on tour, he came up with the idea of creating a song cycle about the growing pains of a music obsessed young girl. He created a concept album for the project, with hopes he could one day bring it to the big screen. Well, here it is, and it’s twee and terrific, both incredibly insightful and a bit shaggy around the edges. While Murdoch’s inexperience as a total filmmaker shows (he directed and wrote the screenplay) the film is still fun.


 

cover art

Frontera

Director: Michael Berry
Cast: Eva Longoria, Michael Peña, Ed Harris, Amy Madigan
5 September
Frontera

In a series of interconnecting stories, an illegal crossing the border into Texas is accused of killing the wife of a local sheriff. His pregnant bride, desperate to help him, allows a man named Coyote to help her into America, only to suffer under his sadistic hand. Like a combination of Crash and the work of Alejandro González Iñárritu, this first film from Michael Berry has critics complimenting the work of actors Ed Harris, Eva Longoria, and Michael Pena.


 

cover art

Innocence

Director: Hilary Brougher
Cast: Sophie Curtis, Kelly Reilly, Graham Phillips, Linus Roache, Sarah Sutherland, Stephanie March, Perrey Reeves
5 September
Innocence

“A young girl discovers that her elite Manhattan preparatory school harbors a dark secret…” What? Like everyone’s a neckbiter ala Vampire Academy? That the institution is run by a cover of Eastern European witches? That no one cares about such YA nonsense? Turns out, it’s the second suggestion, in direct copycat correlation to Dario Argento’s brilliant horror film from nearly 40 years ago, Suspiria. Certainly, just like Suzanne Collins and Battle Royale, based on the book author Jane Mendelsohn surely ‘never’ heard of the Italian Master of Suspense’s defining film. No matter, as this movie has no chance of being as good.


 

cover art

The Longest Week

Director: Peter Glanz
Cast: Olivia Wilde, Jason Bateman, Billy Crudup
5 September
The Longest Week

This year is about to become the Year of Excessive Jason Bateman. After the return of Arrested Development to streaming TV, his directorial debut Bad Words, and the upcoming Horrible Bosses 2, the cult actor still has three more films up his cinematic sleeve, this being the first out of the gate. He plays an spoiled jerk who lives off his parents. As in most movies of this time, he falls in love just as he is dispossessed and out of work. Some are comparing it to Wes Anderson and other twee indie dramedy makers. All we need to hear is the acronym “RomCom” to know what to expect.


 

cover art

The Remaining

Director: Casey La Scala
Cast: Johnny Pacar, Shaun Sipos, Bryan Dechart, Alexa PenaVega, Italia Ricci
5 September
The Remaining

It’s found footage time once again, as a group of young adults attending a wedding come face-to-face with The Rapture, and decide to film their call to Judgment. Yes, it’s another faith-based film (damn you God’s Not Dead and Heaven in for Real) trying to glom onto the by now DOA cinematic gimmick ala The Blair Witch Project. Casey La Scala, behind the scenes suit on such films as Donnie Darko, Welcome to Collinwood, and What a Girl Wants, steps into the director’s chair to try and make this mangled material work, but thanks to its combination of the Apocalypse and the approach, it doesn’t.


 

cover art

Wetlands

Director: David Wnendt
Cast: Carla Juri, Christoph Letkowski, Marlen Kruse, Meret Becker
5 September
Wetlands

A woman with what can best be described as questionable personal hygiene (and an unusual and eccentric attitude/obsession towards same) is involved in a personal grooming “accident” and ends up in the hospital. There, she tries to reunite her divorced parents while macking with a male nurse. Featuring a star making performance from newcomer Carla Juri and a premise guaranteed to get conservative critics in a froth, the trailers tend to make this look like a graduated gross out comedy. Early reviews suggest something more salacious, scatological, and surprisingly heartfelt. Still, not for the faint of… heart?


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
15 Oct 2014
Terry Gilliam's quest for life's biggest answers finds a new formulation in The Zero Theorem: perhaps, the film suggests, there is no meaning to it all.
14 Oct 2014
They are the contemporary voices of an ages old ideal, the new fear masters in a genre sometimes stunted by its own lack of (critical) legitimacy.
By Lesley Smith
2 Oct 2014
Aided by Marcel Syskind's gorgeous cinemaphotography, the audience sees that these characters are often hidden beneath only the lightest of masks.
discussion by

Comments
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Announcements

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

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.