Monday, May 16, 2011


      At the beginning of this year I made some what of a promise to myself, maybe even a new years resolution, that i would go to more film festivals. I guess in my case, I would go to A film festival, seeing as though i had never been to a proper one. And to my surprise Florida has a few decent ones, and actually attract some good films.

       So my first stop on the festival circuit would be the Sarasota Film Festival. And the first film would be "Super", the new Film from James Gunn (Tromeo and Juliet, Slither). Now, I'm assuming that everyone who hears about this film or sees the trailer will automatically think it's basically "Kick Ass". Which is not the case. Yes, there are obvious similarities. A "normal" guy is sick of all the crime and wrong doings in his town and decides the best way to go about solving this is to become a vigilante super hero. But more of a "Kick Ass" with a low budget.

      Where its differs from that film is it's dark points. Very dark points. The times when you're not sure if you should laughs, the others where you do and you know you shouldn't have. They do leave you a bit shocked and throw you off a bit, but you're soon taken back to a land of fun, by means of a knife to the dick. You just need to know going into the film that it's not a full on comedy. It's similar to the way "The Break Up" was billed as one (in no way as good a film as this), and ended up having no laughs at all and being completely depressing. Now that's not exactly how "Super" is, but just know it's not going to be non stop comedy.

      The cast was picture perfect. Rainn Wilson plays Frank D'arbo/ The Crimson Bolt, and right from the start you have a feeling that he's not completely sane (but who is), by the end you know he's not completely sane. Delivering his brand of justice to pederasts and queue cutters alike. The Crimson Bolt will stop at nothing until he gets his wife, Sarah back. Played by Liv Tyler, though not in the film too much, does her part as a convincing drug addict, who knows shes gotten herself into some shit and knows Frank is the only one that can save her. Kevin Beacon, who plays Jacques, the man who lured Sarah away, is sensational in his comedic timing and all around scum bagginess, you almost believe every rotten thing he says. Then there's Ellen Page (who looks pretty cute by the way), who comes in as Boltie, The Bolts comic shop sidekick. Who after seeing how much she "wants to be with frank", you can easily tell she's just removed from reality as Frank, maybe even more so. With that being said, she played it to a t.

      I was very impressed with the film, and by the way Gunn was able to make you care about the characters, even when they're not so much stopping crime, but just being a menace to the public they're supposed to be protecting. Gunn was able to craft a film that's fun, disgusting, in bad taste and more heartfelt than any i've seen in the recent past. How this hasn't gotten a wider release, i don't know. But i'm hoping it does.

      Another reason i dug this film was that, it being a very low budget film (a lot of it filmed at Gunn's home), everyone involved took the lowest pay that the SAG would allow. Which I imagine for Wilson, Page and Beacon is probably a good sized pay cut. So you know it was a project that the cast and the crew believed in.

      This film is another example as to why critics are pointless. The same with a recent film I reviewed (Red State) where people complain about random bullshit, mostly the fact of the comedy is broken up with some REAL shit. Which was the main reason i liked this film. Blame the marketing team, not the filmmaker, for them hyping it as a comedy. Which brings me back to this initial argument... It's not "Kick Ass". That film really had no base in reality, with people having arsenals of weapons and jet packs. However "Super" is reality. It's what happens when people think they can achieve when they're no more than a piece of shit. It's what happens when People cry, and it's not pretty, people bleed, and people die. That's life.

      I've just realized how much energy i've put into defending this film. It's a hot flick, i enjoyed it. I recommend you check it out, willing they give it a decent release. (I hope) you won't be disappointed.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Sea Hag IPA

      I don't get canned beers to often. Mostly due to the fact that most canned beers are shit. But lucky for me i stumbled across a sweet fucking brew from the New England Brewing Company from Woodbridge, CT. Not only is the brewery from my neck of the woods (which drew me to it), it's also not that bad. I picked up the Sea Hag IPA for $10 for a sixer, which is usual when buying a half decent beer. Like i said one of the things that drew me to it was the location of the brewery, but the first thing was the badass can. It was tucked in the back on the top shelf, but luckily it stuck out.

      Sadly beyond the few things that suckered me into buying it, there's nothing much to say about. When i grab an IPA i'm looking for a very hoppy, clean and full bodied taste. I didn't find that here. There's not much in the line of bitterness to it and hardly any of the characteristics of an IPA, which makes me think they should of just dropped the I and stuck with the PA. I would buy it again, it just wouldn't be my first choice. It's not a bad beer, just not what I was expecting. But hey, I'm from New England. So I'm used to disappointments (mostly from the sports teams).

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I Love You Sarah Jane

      This is something I forgot to post along with the last review. "I Love Sarah Jane" is a short film by Spencer Susser, the Writer/Director of "Hesher". In this film we can almost see where the character of Hesher evolved from. Starring Mia Wasikowska, who played Alice in Tim Burtons "Alice in Wonderland" (don't let that deter you).

      The premise is that it's post apocalyptic times, all that's left are kids, and the adults have turned into zombies. The cinematography is beautiful and I'm guessing it had a pretty hefty budget for a short film, due to the wonderful looking production value. It's about 12 minutes, so do yourself a solid and check it out.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Hesher Is Metal

      "Hesher" has been one of the most highly anticipated films at every festival it has played at, starting at last years Sundance, where it premiered. Also a film that I had been looking forward to, the second I saw a still from the film and even more so when the trailer was finally released. Every time I watched Joseph Gordon-Levitt leap into a filthy pool by way of flaming diving board it fuel my anticipation for this film. And it being such an independent and small film (it has over 20 producers), I knew it wouldn't get a proper release. So I would be stuck waiting for it on home video. Knowing all this only brought me down.

         But then a ray of hope shined through. "Hesher" would be playing at the wonderful Florida Film Festival. Whose lineup this year was pretty damn impressive. So we made the trek to Orlando for a full day of fantastic films. We started with "Meek's Cutoff" (review of that later) and ended with "Hesher". There was a lot of stress in between, Like the fact when i looked up the times for "Hesher", it was sold out. Know this was quite upsetting for me, seeing as though this was the only reason I came this far. To see "Hesher". We had tickets. I'm not that big of a fool. But we had bought a ticket package, which would allow us entrance into two films. Turns out that even if you have these types of packages, you're fucked if you get there and it turns out to be sold out. I was none to happy with this. So we got our stand by tickets, which would allow us to buy tickets if five minutes before the start of the film people had not shown up. Long story short, people didn't show up, we got our tickets and they were...Wait for it... FREE! So everything worked out, I saw the film I had been waiting for and didn't pay a goddamn dime. Well, enough with the back story, on to the film.

      T.J. (played by Devin Brochu) lost his mother in a car crash two months ago and all he wants is the car his mother died in. During one of his attempts to retrieve this car, he has an unfortunate run in with 
Hesher. Played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Hesher doesn't have much to speak of. No family, no friends, no home and no job. By the looks of it, he likes it that way. Seeing as though everyone he comes into contact with he immediately drives them away. Whether it be with his filthy mouth, a threat on their lives or his seemingly never ending supply of gasoline, M80's and matches.

      That's exactly how we (and T.J.) are introduced to Hesher, obscenities flying, along pipe bombs and bad ass 80's metal. From that moment on T.J's life will not be the same. With T.J's mistake of ruining his current living quarters, Hesher feels it appropriate to move into T.J's garage. T.J's father, Frank (played by Rainn Wilson), Zonked out on medication to help with the death of his wife, barely notices Hesher. If it wasn't for the initial questioning of his presence, you'd be led to believe that Hesher is all in T.J's head.But sadly for the family, this is not the case.

       The performance by Brochu as T.J. is wonderful. Spiced in between the angry outbursts fueled by Hesher, we are able to see that this young boy is still scared and heartbroken by the loss of his mother. It's never really spoken about, but you can see it in his subtle heart wrenching facial expressions. As his world around him falls apart, he stills knows what's right and wrong. And even though his father's comatose couch potato routine seems good in theory, he knows it's not the way to get the family back on track. Wilson plays the depressed dad beautifully, the pain in his face is like none I've ever seen, especially from an actor who been mostly stuck in comic roles. So if you're looking for Dwight Schrute, you've come to the wrong place. As for Natalie Portman, playing a grocery store clerk that T.J. has a "slight" crush on. Despite the fact that she is much older, and knowing he has eyes for her, she plays along, lending to some very sweet moments between the two and giving T.J. a small ray of sunshine in an otherwise dark point in his life.

      As for Levitt, he explodes (literally) on the screen as Hesher. Gone are the lovable, charming and charismatic characters we're used to him playing. Now we see a completely different side of him. One who chain smokes, can't speak a sentence without it being riddled with expletives, no matter who he's speaking to. Whether it be a young boy, his father or a sweet old lady. Hesher is Hesher and no one's going to change that. With no back story or explanation as to why he acts this way, Levitt burns through scene after scene acting like a complete asshole. Which is fun, but at some point you're just hoping for some shred of humanity in this loathsome human being. Just some excuse as to why he's such a prick. But it never fully comes. It gets close a few times, and just when we're close to an honest heartfelt moment Hesher ruins it.
      Susser successfully blends comedy and drama, in this unconventional, tough to pigeonhole film. What it lacks in plot, it is made up by great performances, some subtle, some too in your face. This film does have a heart, some where deep down. It's there, you just have to find it.
      I can see a bunch of young, future anarchists latching on to this film and the character, so get on board with this flick before it's deemed uncool to be.

This is one of the official trailer, and I feel it's more true to the content of the film.  This is the other.