DON’S PICKS (GUESSES) FOR SUNDANCE 2015

Prior to the first wave of announcements for the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, I thought it might be fun to try and pick some films that I think will make the grade. I’m basing these guesses (and they are total guesses) on my past experience…



Posted on December 2, 2014 by

THE MILL VALLEY FILM FESTIVAL PRESENTS “THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK,” AND DON IS 9 AGAIN

The Mill Valley Film Festival, now in it’s 37th(!) year, always does a nice job mixing in some classic George Lucas films into their prestigious program, and for good reason. All Lucas’ best and most indelible films were thought up and partially created in Marin County where the original ILM was and where the glorious Skywalker Ranch still sits…



Posted on October 8, 2014 by

ABCS OF DEATH 2

3.5 Stars
Year Released: 2014
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 125 minutes

ON VOD! This time out I decided to stream the film while drinking a few pints of local craft beer and, frankly, this is probably the best way to enjoy an onslaught of silly, gory, fucked up short films…


Posted on October 3, 2014 by

LIFE ITSELF

4.5 Stars
Year Released: 2014
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 112 minutes

But not only is “Life Itself” a fine remembrance of Roger Ebert, it’s also a good reminder to follow your dreams, love big and never give up…


Posted on July 4, 2014 by

JUDEX: CRITERION COLLECTION (BLU-RAY)

3 Stars
Year Released: 1963
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 104 minutes

Played by American magician Channing Pollack, Judex does some very fun sleight of hand throughout the film, but when it comes time to kick some butt, he finds himself clobbered over the head frequently…


Posted on June 22, 2014 by

GONNA MAKE YOU WATCH: “NOAH” WITH DAVID TEMPLETON

In this podcast I will invite a guest whose work resonates or reminds me of a film I’ve seen or heard about, and I will then make them watch it. After that, we’ll chat about the film and whatever new thing they’re working on as it relates to the film…



Posted on May 20, 2014 by

BLUE RUIN

4 Stars
Year Released: 2013
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 91 minutes

IN LIMITED RELEASE AND ON VOD! Like a vicious ripple in a serene lake or a virus unleashed and gone wild, revenge never ends well…


Posted on April 25, 2014 by

UNDER THE SKIN

4.5 Stars
Year Released: 2014
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 108 minutes

While Glazer’s latest is indeed a totally trippy experience, you only need to relax and let the film glide over and pull you in to finally realize it’s a pretty straight forward science-fiction story told in a completely unique way…


Posted on April 6, 2014 by

NOAH

2.5 Stars
Year Released: 2014
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 138 minutes

In trying to bring it to life on the big screen, Aronofsky shows the flaws in the story and, as a result, it’s unintentionally funny…


Posted on March 30, 2014 by

GRAND PIANO

4 Stars
Year Released: 2014
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 90 minutes

Mira succeeds by some terrific direction that walks the line between showy and necessary to the plot. Indeed, much like the script and the concert onstage, the direction is also a tightrope walk between believability and silliness…


Posted on March 26, 2014 by

KUMIKO, THE TREASURE HUNTER

3.5 Stars
Year Released: 2014
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 105 minutes

2014 SXSW FILM FESTIVAL FEST FAVORITES SELECTION! Rinko Kikuchi is amazing as Kumiko. While she doesn’t have much to say, her eyes say it all as we at first see her simmering rage and frustration at her place in life. She tries to hold it in, but her vacant stares and, later, angry fits about her search really fill us in on her character…


Posted on March 12, 2014 by

NO NO: A DOCKUMENTARY

3 Stars
Year Released: 2014
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 100 minutes

2014 SXSW FILM FESTIVAL FEST FAVORITES SELECTION! While Ellis is an interesting guy, the film covers his entire career and the things that happen along the way overshadow his own story which, although the guy was an all-star, he didn’t have a particularly great career…


Posted on March 9, 2014 by

LISTEN UP PHILIP

4.5 Stars
Year Released: 2014
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 108 minutes

2014 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL NEXT (<=>) SELECTION! “Listen Up Philip” is a nearly two-hour film focusing on an asshole and his asshole friends and I loved it…


Posted on January 28, 2014 by

MR LEOS CARAX

4 Stars
Year Released: 2014
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 72 minutes

2014 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL WORLD DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION SELECTION! Seeing as Carax embraces his outsider status as an unknowable creator (Leos Carax is an anagram of his name even), the documentary relies mostly on shots from his films and interviews with critics, as well as filmmakers he’s influenced (Harmony Korine for one) and actors he’s worked with, including Kylie Minogue, Juliette Binoche and Eva Mendes…


Posted on January 27, 2014 by

R100

1.5 Stars
Year Released: 2013
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 100 minutes

2014 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL SPOTLIGHT SELECTION! There’s just some films that are so messed up that they gain cultish, legendary status and seeing them is like a rite of passage amongst film geeks. Unfortunately, “R100” is not that kind of film although I think secretly director Hitoshi Matsumoto wishes it was yet, knows it isn’t…


Posted on January 19, 2014 by

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