Films

by Jeremy Webster | Thursday, January 29 | Posted in Film

The Babadook is worth the hype.

The low budget, independent horror darling that's been slowly invading shores outside of its native Australia has certainly racked up plenty of critical accolades amongst critics and viewers.

And I'll be damned if it doesn't deserve the attention it's getting.

The film centers around mother Amelia (Essie Davis) and seven year old son Samuel (Noah Wiseman) as their long-traumatized relationship begins to wear near a breaking point.

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by Dan Kampling | Thursday, January 29 | Posted in Film

The neo-noir genre has taken many strides over the years. It's made stars out of directors like Quentin Tarantino and the Coen brothers, and it typically falls under the subgenre of many great films for the past generation of film history.

Another notable director, Paul Thomas Anderson, brings his contribution to the genre with the release of Inherent Vice. The film is an adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's book of the same name about a pot smoking private detective and his ongoing investigations.

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by Jeremy Webster | Thursday, January 22 | Posted in Film

Starry Eyes is the sort of low budget independent horror feature that shows why, when the right passion and the talent align on a project, the results can be amazing.

Co-directed and co-written by Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer, the film follows Sarah (Alexandra Essoe), a young would-be starlet in L.A. as she's approached with what seems to be an opportunity of a lifetime — if she's willing to put herself through some very hellish things to get there.

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by Dan Kampling | Thursday, January 22 | Posted in Film

In this day in age, it's downright astonishing to see a non-tent-pole movie reach a $100 million opening weekend. This record-setting feat was accomplished over the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend with the nationwide release of American Sniper, based on the life of Iraqi war veteran Chris Kyle, dubbed the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history.

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by Jeremy Webster | Thursday, January 22 | Posted in Film

On Sunday night the chairs and booths at John Barleycorn's were filled by horror and independent film fans who'd come to experience Starry Eyes.

A low budget, independent horror darling with a solid 76 percent fresh rating at www.rottentomatoes.com, Starry Eyes was well-attended by a respectfully quiet and appreciative audience.

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by Jeremy Webster | Thursday, January 15 | Posted in Film

2012's The Woman In Black proved to be an important film in two important ways. In a more immediate and pop cultural sense, it promoted Daniel Radcliffe's acting abilities outside of the Harry Potter franchise.

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by Dan Kampling | Thursday, January 15 | Posted in Film

Any actor typically relishes the chance to be in a fairy tale adaptation. Not only is it content safe for their children to see them in, but it allows them to step outside their usual roles and have a chance to fulfill a childhood fantasy.

Take that notion, along with the chance to be in a Disney picture, and you've got the driving force behind the production of Stephen Sondheim's Tony-award winning Broadway musical, Into the Woods, which appears to have entertained the actors and filmmakers more than it does for the viewers.

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by Jeremy Webster | Thursday, January 8 | Posted in Film

When it comes to reviewing, biopics — such as The Imitation Game, the recent release starring Benedict Cumberbatch as computer forefather Alan Turing — can really be kind of a pain in the butt.

A biopic is, by nature, a film that's often at odds with itself. It's trying to present via cinema an approximation of a period of history in order to educate its viewers. In contrast, by the very nature of being a commercial motion picture, it also has a goal of entertaining and satisfying its audience in order to stand a chance at being commercially successful.

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by Dan Kampling | Thursday, January 8 | Posted in Film

Long before the days of Internet search engines informing us of what was currently trending, major cities dictated what was at the time and eventually spread the trends across the nation. As the 1950s transitioned into the 1960s, the public's perception of what was considered to be fine art took a radical change with those who either grasped it or dismissed it as a bad sign of the times of widespread distribution of unworthy material.

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by Mike Marlett | Wednesday, January 7 | Posted in Film

There's a few things everyone knows about the Nazis: they were bad, they plundered and they lost World War II. Unfortunately, George Clooney's The Monuments Men won't add much of anything to that assessment. Did you know that the U.S. government spearheaded an international effort to get the works of art that the Nazis stole back to their rightful owners? Well, they did. So now you know just about everything there is to learn from The Monuments Men.

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by Jeremy Webster | Wednesday, January 7 | Posted in Film

The Lego Movie, a CGI animated romp based around the endlessly popular building toys, could have stopped at being a cute toy commercial and called it a day and would have probably made sufficient money. But it didn't settle for that. With fantastic animation, wit, heart, and even subversiveness, The Lego Movie sets a high benchmark for family-centric cinema.

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by Jeremy Webster | Wednesday, December 24 | Posted in Film

Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy has been an annual tradition in my house for years now. Once a year, somewhere between Christmas and New Year's, the little golden box with the extended edition Blu-rays is hauled out and, over two evenings, the family once more thrills over the adventures of Frodo, Gandalf and the rest of their friends as they journey throughout Middle-Earth in the hopes of destroying Sauron's Ring of Power for all time.

I regret to say that, as far as traditions go, the same won't be happening with The Hobbit.

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by Jeremy Webster | Wednesday, December 24 | Posted in Film

One thing you've got to say in director/co-screenwriter Peter Jackson's favor in regards to his Hobbit trilogy finale — he went with everything but the kitchen sink as far as awesome visuals are concerned.

As for everything else, well, it's called The Battle of Five Armies for a reason. Eighty percent of the film is open warfare in one way or another. That's pretty much it.

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by Dan Kampling | Wednesday, December 24 | Posted in Film

It should be no surprise that the Western film genre is largely an exaggeration of the time period. There have been a slew of revisionist Westerns made over the last half century that portray the less-heroic aspects of the Old West. While those stories involved gunplay, foreplay and foul play, very rarely did they ever tap into real mental illness. The immigrants who came to settle in the Plains didn't all manage to keep their sanity, which is the core idea that drives The Homesman.

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by Jeremy Webster | Thursday, December 18 | Posted in Film

Ridley Scott has, in his long career, directed some of the most memorable films ever made. The guy has Alien, Blade Runner and Gladiator on his resume. If there's something he's always been good at, it's visual storytelling.

When a Scott film trips up, it's usually something outside of the pure visual aesthetic that causes it. The most recent example of this would be the Alien prequel Prometheus which, again, while visually impressive, has a script that's dumber than a box of rocks.

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by Dan Kampling | Thursday, December 18 | Posted in Film

It has been 30 years since Bill Murray garnered his first Golden Globe nomination for his role of Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters, and his most recent one for his role in St. Vincent was not handed to him by chance. Murray is a unique actor whose career has spanned over four decades, and his silver-tongued wit and charm have not only brought him acclaim but also made him a fixture of popular culture.

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by Jeremy Webster | Thursday, December 11 | Posted in Film

Concerned and interested viewers gathered in the auditorium of the Murdock Theater last Friday to experience a screening of the documentary film Pay 2 Play.

Directed and produced by John Wellington Ennis, Pay 2 Play is an examination and exploration of current controversial and often unethical campaign financing tactics.

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by Dan Kampling | Thursday, December 11 | Posted in Film

I've never before been scared in a movie theater. Sure, I've been startled by loud bursts of noise, but I've never succumbed to the state where I must close my eyes at the horror of what's occurring on the screen. Well, you're never too old for first experiences, which is just what occurred at my screening of Whiplash, which manages to startle the senses with grim reality.

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by Dan Kampling | Thursday, December 4 | Posted in Film

Comedy sequels are completely pointless. There's hardly anything left open in their original films that necessitate a follow up. They're merely an excuse to exploit the same shticks and cash in on a marquee name. Horrible Bosses 2 enters that realm, whose first film told a complete story that left no ends untied, and can't use the Dumb and Dumber To excuse of arriving 20 years after the fact.

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by Jeremy Webster | Thursday, December 4 | Posted in Film

The Wichita group Election Apocalypse will be presenting a screening of the documentary Pay 2 Play at the Murdock Theater, 536 N. Broadway, this Friday at 7 p.m.

Pay 2 Play is focused on the corrupting influence of money in the current political climate, and features speakers such as Robert Reich, Noam Chomsky, Lawrence Lessig, Marianne Williamson and Van Jones among others.

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