I Want My DVD: Tuesday, March 25, 2014

by Ethan Alter March 25, 2014 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Because Oscar voters failed to do so, Leonardo DiCaprio toasts himself on a killer performance in The Wolf of Wall Street.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, March 18, 2014

by Ethan Alter March 18, 2014 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Elsa lets it all go on Blu-ray.

Bad Words: Under His Spell

by Ethan Alter March 14, 2014 6:00 am
<i>Bad Words</i>: Under His Spell

The title of Jason Bateman's directorial debut, Bad Words, isn't the only thing that's reminiscent of another dark comedy about a not-very-nice-person, 2003's holiday classic, Bad Santa. Both films seek to get a lot of comic mileage out of watching their central creeps treat everyone around them -- adults and, especially, children -- like dirt as they put in motion a scheme for personal fun and profit. Where Bad Santa has the courage of its convictions, though, Bad Words gets squishy and sentimental as it approaches its endgame, operating on the mistaken assumption that it needs to explain its anti-hero's pathology and, thus, let him off the hook for his behavior.

I Want My VOD: March 2014

by Ethan Alter March 12, 2014 12:19 pm
I Want My VOD: March 2014

Elijah Wood is the Piano Man in a new high-concept thriller.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, March 11, 2014

by Ethan Alter March 11, 2014 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Come gather 'round people wherever you roam and watch Inside Llewyn Davis, the best film of 2013.

The Grand Budapest Hotel: Welcome to the Hotel Europa

by Ethan Alter March 7, 2014 6:00 am
<i>The Grand Budapest Hotel</i>: Welcome to the Hotel Europa

Not since the Overlook has there been a cinematic hotel as immaculately constructed as The Grand Budapest Hotel, the titular lodging glimpsed in Wes Anderson's latest confection. That shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone even remotely familiar with the director's work, which consistently features some of the most lavish, yet carefully precise production design seen this side of an Architectural Digest layout. Still, even by Anderson's standards, the Grand Budapest is a honey of a setting: a rustic 1930s-era retreat perched amidst the picturesque hills of Zubrowka, the Eastern European nation that, on a map, would probably be located somewhere between Freedonia and Latveria. A private funicular deposits you on the hotel's stoop and, once you pass through the front doors, you're inside an opulent, high-ceilinged lobby, with the well-trained staff buzzing about, directing you to the dining room, spa, outdoor deck or your own quarters. Though it overlooks the outside world, the Grand Budapest functions as its own little universe where time itself seems to stand still.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, February 25, 2014

by Ethan Alter February 25, 2014 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, February 25, 2014

So when are we getting the Loki franchise, Marvel?

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, February 18, 2014

by Ethan Alter February 18, 2014 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Spider-Man isn't the only Sam Raimi-directed superhero capable of swinging over rooftops...

Indie Snapshot: Adult World

by Ethan Alter February 14, 2014 5:55 am
Indie Snapshot: <i>Adult World</i>

Remember the John Cusack who made you think kickboxing and putting "In Your Eyes" on boombox blast was the height of cool? The John Cusack who warmed your heart by helping out young runaway Natty Gann? Or, hell, even the John Cusack who took you on a weird, wild trip through John Malkovich's brain? Well, that John Cusack is mostly gone, but for the first time in a very long time, remnants of him can be seen in Adult World, the sophomore feature from actor Scott Coffey, whose career dates back to the '80s when Cusack was a king of Young Hollywood. Though they never appeared in a film together in that era, Coffey clearly remembers the dashing figure that Cusack once cut and he draws on some of that nostalgia for the role the actor is playing here: a once-hot, now-not poet named Rat Billings, who has spent the past decade or so neglecting his talent by teaching classes and editing anthologies he doesn't really care about and in general holding the world at arm's length via a curt, caustic attitude. In fact, if he hadn't already called the movie Adult World, The John Cusack Story would be an appropriate title.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, February 11, 2014

by Ethan Alter February 11, 2014 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, February 11, 2014

And now his game has ended.

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