High school dramas are back with a vengeance. There’s the noir soap opera shenanigans of Archie, Betty and Veronica on Riverdale, and the sharply observed teen pathos of Thirteen Reasons Why. Both series paint a portrait of high school about fifty shades darker than the quaint distractions of a John Hughes movie. Out on the big screen in limited release this weekend is My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea, joining the class of 2017 with a surrealistic romp fusing teen comedy and disaster movies to hilarious effect.
Take one novelist making her screenwriting debut.
Add in the magical world she created some twenty years ago, but in a new continent and era.
Throw in some of the best actors in the world right now, including an Academy Award winner and star who shines in an ensemble.
Top it off with the director behind some of the most successful fantasy films of the decade and what you get is something….
“The answer my friend/is breaking in the wind/the answer is sticking out your rear”
This is the poetry of Booji Boy — Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh wearing a baby mask — as he walks through a deserted, post-apocalyptic landscape. This is the beginning of Neil Young’s Human Highway.
Human Highway is legendary for its weirdness. Before it was released on DVD in 2016, the film was notoriously hard to find and only available to those lucky enough to find the laserdisc or VHS copies kicking about. Featuring Neil Young as a goofy mechanic who longs to be a rhythm and blues man and Devo as nuclear fallout cleaners, the film is packed with characters, straying storylines, musical numbers and oddness, making it natural material for this column.
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I’ve been obsessed with Anne of Green Gables since I was a kid, and I’m always a bit nervous when new adaptations appear. I never want to see anything that ruins my Anne, so as I sat down to watch the PBS Holiday special, I crossed my fingers, and did my best to keep an open mind.
Throw on some jazz, pour a glass of Giggle Water, and curl up with your favorite bowtruckle, we’re talking Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, on this spoiler-free review.
The Brothers Grimsby
Starring Sacha Baron Cohen and Mark Strong
Directed by Louis Leterrier
Though it was a critical and commercial disaster upon its release in North America earlier this year, The Brothers Grimsby is actually a fairly funny film, if you’re in the mood for Sacha Baron Cohen’s extreme brand of gross-out comedy. In The Brothers Grimsby, Cohen and Strong play long lost brothers – one is a football hooligan, the other a secret agent. If you can’t figure out which is which, I just can’t help you out. Director Leterrier crafts an outstanding opening action scene and keeps the film moving quickly, while Cohen and Strong work very nicely of one another. There is some seriously gross-out humour happening on-screen, but if you can stomach it, you’re guaranteed some decent laughs.
Amy Adams is having a pretty great year. It’s only going to get better. With two top-flight films at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, she’s this year’s Benedict Cumberbatch. I already wrote about her note-perfect performance as the love-lorn gallery curator in Tom Ford’s chilly noir Nocturnal Animals. Her role in Denis Villeneuve’s cerebral sci-fi feature Arrival is even better. The movie is pretty great, too. But Amy, she should clear some space on her mantle.
Last weekend, The Purge: Election Year, the third installment in the horror franchise, opened. Was it as good as the previous films, or should moviegoers vote “no” at the box office?
The first time I ever hard about the original French version of the film Martyrs (2008) was at San Diego Comic Con 2013. I was at a horror panel that featured directors Jen and Sylvia Soska, friends of Biff Bam Pop, who cited Martyrs as an intense viewing experience. Though I never did follow up on watching the film, it did stick with me, mainly because the Soskas are purveyors of a specific brand of horror, so if a film gets to them, there’s likely no way I’ll be able to sit through it. It’s part of what is labelled the New French Extremity movement – I’ll let you look that up yourself. What I can tell is, upon discussing Martyrs with Rue Morgue Magazine Editor-In-Chief Dave Alexander a few days ago, he recalled someone actually throwing up in the theatre at the Toronto International Film Festival screening of Martyrs. So, no thank you.
Then came word that an Americanized remake of Martyrs was on the way from directors The Goetz Brothers, and that piqued my interest. In checking out some reviews, it appeared that the violence had been significantly tapered off (along with some significant story changes as well). On that note, I decided I was ready and willing to take on the film…even if it was a diluted version of it.