The Disaster Artist and all the images you see in this review are owned by A24
Directed by James Franco
I may not be as over the moon in love with The Room as plenty of other people are, and it has admittedly lost a bit of its charm once you realize just how misogynistic the whole thing is, but it certainly has my respect as being one of the more unique examples of a GOOD BAD MOVIE due in no small part to the auteur himself, Tommy Wiseau. Now he’s far from the only ridiculously cocky creatives out there who write, direct, and star in what they perceive to be their one true masterpiece (*cough* Old Fashioned *cough*), but with Mr Wiseau there’s a genuine sense of mystery about the guy as many details of his origin are STILL unknown to this day (HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE IN THE INTERNET AGE!?) and his… shall we say UNIQUE brand of acting certainly sets him apart from many of the other low rent struggling artists out there. No doubt there is a VERY interesting story to tell about this one guy, his one movie, and his friendship with co-star Greg Sestero, which the wannabe auteur himself James Franco has opted to do by adapting Greg’s book The Disaster Artist into a motion picture; one that he directs, produces, and stars in of course. Will this examination of one of Hollywood’s biggest oddities be a worthwhile exploration of the creative process and what it truly means to be an artist, or are we just desperately trying to milk a novelty that had lost its luster many years ago? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the journey of two men; aspiring actor Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) and… I guess aspiring actor as well Tommy Wiseau (James Franco). The two meet in an acting class where Greg finds the eccentric weirdo with bad hair and a worse accent rather endearing for his utter fearlessness and ability to throw himself out there in ways that Greg is still struggling to do despite his hopes of becoming an actor. Because of Greg’s admiration for Tommy and Tommy’s love of being admired, the two move in together and work their way through Hollywood; getting small gigs here and there but nothing that will truly set them apart from the thousands of other working actors cluttering the streets of LA. After a particularly rough string of bad luck, Tommy eventually starts writing his own movie and wants none other than Greg himself to be the co-star. The Room is what he titles his masterpiece and he funds it himself with his seemingly unlimited supply of money but things go from awkward to unsustainable as Tommy’s ego and complete inexperience with the process starts escalating tensions with the cast and crew and even with his best friend Greg who’s trying to stick by him but is finding it hard and harder to deal with Tommy’s unpredictable behavior. Can Tommy find it within himself to get past his issues and foster a good working environment for the only people in the world who are helping him achieve his dreams? Will Greg stand by his best friend, or will he realize just how much Tommy is holding him back? WILL THE WORLD EVER UNDERSTAND THE BRILLIANCE OF THIS ONE MAN’S VISION!?
Krampus and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Michael Dougherty
There really hasn’t been a good Christmas horror movie since Gremlins, has there? I’ve heard good things about Rare Exports, but that didn’t even get a decent sized theater release here in the US. That’s all about to change… maybe, with this horror film about the holiday season’s canonical version of The Grinch! It certainly has an uphill battle considering how hard it is to walk that line between scary and being hilarious (intentionally anyway) but there’s some strong talent behind this film so there’s a good chance they can actually pull it off! Will this movie manage to be a fun horror comedy that becomes a holiday staple, or is this a giant piece of cinematic coal that we’re being punished with for giving War Room so much money? Let’s find out!!
The movie is about a family who gets together on Christmas despite the fact that no one likes anyone. You’ve got Tom and Sarah (Adam Scott and Toni Collette) who are the parents of Beth and Max (Stefania LaVie Owen and Emjay Anthony) and they’re playing host to Toni’s sister Linda (Allison Tolman), her husband Howard (David Koechner), and their three kids Stevie, Jordan, and Howie Jr (Lolo Owen, Queenie Samuel, and Maverick Flack). Oh, and there’s a baby in there somewhere along with bitter sardonic Aunt Dorothy (Conchata Ferrell). Wait, am I forgetting anyone? THAT’S RIGHT!! Tom’s mother Omi (Krista Sadler) who will play Miss Exposition here as she knows ALL about Krampus yet doesn’t tell the family until well after the shit has hit the fan. Anyway, as you’d expect around the holidays, tensions flare up and there’s a huge fight that causes young Max to finally give up on the Christmas spirit. This decision makes completely responsible for what happens next and the deaths of whichever loved ones get caught in the crossfire. A huge storm rolls in that cuts off this neighborhood from the rest of the world and takes out the power and cell phone towers. There’s something else out there though and the family soon finds themselves besieged by Gremlins knock offs, snow monsters, and a really fucked up Jack in the Box before Krampus finally shows up to deal with this family himself. Can they survived Yuletide massacre long enough to open their presents? Will Max be forever haunted by the fact that his sadness (which is something that’s REALLY outside of his control) is the root cause of all this horrifying shit being rained upon them? Is it at least as good as Santa’s Slay!?
Even if it is, that’s some serious damning with faint praise.
Black Mass and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros. Pictures
Directed by Scott Cooper
We’re finally in Oscar season, right? I mean Straight Outta Compton was a huge hit, but this is the first one that Hollywood studios are actually pushing for some Academy nods. We’ve got a big name actor playing a dark character in an organized crime biopic! Hell, the only way it could have more Oscar appeal is if it was set in World War 2! Still, Hollywood doesn’t always get it right when the make big Oscar films (look no further than The Judge from last year) and Johnny Depp has had a PRETTY hard time of it lately (again, look no further than Transcendence from last year). Will this movie be the critical hit that Johnny Deep needs at this point in his career, or will this biopic get lost in the shuffle once the other big films of the season start coming out in earnest? Let’s find out!!
The movie is about James “Whitey” Bulger (Johnny Depp) who rose to the top of the Boston crime world due to the fact that was an FBI informant and was getting protection from them as he helped them take down the Italian mob. Once the Italian’s were out the way though, Whitey became just as big a nuisance for the city, only HE had a federal organization who was at least somewhat hesitant to reveal their own involvement with him so he ran pretty much rampant for a good twenty years (1975-1995). Presumably the story is a lot more complex with a lot more people involved, but for this movie the main players are Whitey himself, his brother Billy (Benedict Cumberbatch) who was the President of the Massachusetts senate at the time, and John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) who grew up with Whitey and became the FBI agent that got him involved as an informant. Needless to say that having these three working together (to some capacity) creates a neigh unstoppable force as each party is protecting the other to some extent and the trio (John less so than the rest who seems to be a SOMEWHAT legitimate politician) make a WHOLE lot of money. The gravy train can’t ride forever though as the rest of the world starts to close in and Whitey’s actions become more erratic over time. Will these men get the comeuppance they deserve, or will they be able to escape whatever’s coming after to them once they take things too far? Well it’s a biopic so you can look up the answers right now, but then why would you want to spoil the fun?