Tragedy Girls is by far the most fun I’ve had watching a movie at the SXSW film festival. The completely filled-up midnight showing was met with screams and laughs alike, with word-of-mouth quickly spreading throughout the festival. This meta-horror-comedy, that’s Clueless meets Scream, stars Brianna Hildebrand (Deadpool) and Alexandrea Shipp (X-Men: Apocalypse) as two death-obsessed teens who fake a killing spree in order to become viral sensations. It seems as though every year, a film comes along that dares to walk the tricky tightrope between comedy/horror and most of them fail (see 2015’s “The Final Girls”). But with Tragedy Girls, we have a film just clever, and fun enough to rival Heathers (its major source of inspiration).
When social media and commentary on the shallowness of youth are portrayed in films, they typically come across as either heavy-handed or completely out of touch with reality. Here, it perfectly captures the fast-paced nature of teen sociology and the internet, without using cringey slang or fake websites. To help sell the satire here, are two charismatic and energetic performances from our leads, Hildebrand and Shipp who help make the movie what it is. I can’t imagine this film without them, as they’re able to sell both the gruesome and comedic elements while also giving the film a sense of heart, something terribly missing from this genre. And to top it off, this film isn’t afraid to get pretty gory. If it weren’t for the constant comedic tone, there’s some violence in this film that’s on the verge of getting an NC-17 rating. The kills are nasty, shocking, and have a wicked sense of humor to them.
Hopefully, when this film is finally released, it reaches the cult-classic status that it deserves. Whether it be in theaters, or at a slumber-party, this is the fun, feminist horror-comedy we’ve been waiting for, and it did not let us down.
The highly buzzed about biopic about “The Worst Movie Ever Made” starring James Franco premiered at SXSW, only to receive a standing ovation as the credits rolled. What is this so-called ‘worst movie ever made’, you might ask? On June 27th, 2003, a film was released on two screens in LA for two weeks, grossing only $1,800 total. The low-budget indie was panned for nearly everything, most notably the writing and acting from Tommy Wiseau (who wrote, directed, starred in, and financed the film himself). When it became apparent just how blissfully unaware the film was, a strong cult following has since developed and it is continued to be shown at midnight in theaters alongside the U.S. à la Rocky Horror. Fans bring plastic spoons and footballs to throw (if you watch the film, which I highly recommend, you will understand) and yell lines at the screen. Back at the premiere, when Wiseau’s film was laughed at and mocked, no one could’ve expected it to grow to what it’s become today. Greg Sestero, the second lead actor, and best friend of Tommy Wiseau, wrote a book about his experiences on the set of the film and the level of mystery surrounding Tommy. No one knows where he got the money to finance the film, no one knows where his “accent” comes from, and his behavior can be described only as “unpredictable”.
A side-by-side comparison of the official poster for “The Room” (left) and the re-creation of it for “The Disaster Artist”
James Franco, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg come along to adapt the book into a film, and rather than simply mock “The Room” and Wiseau, the film goes for a more empathetic, celebratory approach. As Rogen explained at the film’s Q&A, they wanted to explore WHY people love the film, and delve into the mind-set of an auteurist filmmaker that refuses to conform (and I don’t say that with a shred of irony). To boot is a tremendous performance from James Franco, who truly captures the look and mannerisms of Wiseau. It’s transformative in the way Charlize Theron portrayed Aileen Wuornos in Monster. Of course there is a lot of humor in the film, most of it comes from Tommy’s eccentric personality and arbitrary actions, however it’s always in a loving manner, applauding Wiseau for his uniqueness, never mocking or insulting. I think many will walk out, thinking twice about laughing at Wiseau’s film, or at least develop a sense of empathy for the man. Alongside Franco is his younger-brother Dave, co-starring as Greg Sestero, who serves as the character the audience is able to identify with. It’s no surprise he has wonderful chemistry with James, but there are a lot of scenes without Wiseau’s character and Dave carries the film surprisingly well.
This isn’t the big joke-of-a-film everyone was expecting it to be. This isn’t your typical raunchy comedy (in fact, this film just barely gets an R rating), it’s so much more than that. There’s genuine character development, performances, and an overall sense of appreciation and celebration for the craft of filmmaking. With the Academy becoming more and more progressive as of late (remember, Apatow’s Bridesmaids was nominated for TWO academy awards), there’s hope for this to become an awards contender, which it rightfully deserves.
After leaving Marvel’s Ant-Man, director Edgar Wright returns to the big-screen with an original script, over 20 years in the making. Baby Driver follows a young getaway driver, (Ansel Elgort) who is coerced by a crime boss (Kevin Spacey) to take part in a heist that quickly goes south. The twist here being, he is a music fanatic whose life syncs up to the tunes on his iPod. The simplest way to describe Baby Driver is “La La Land meets The Fast and the Furious”. It’s high-speed thrills often paired with a playful soundtrack, all done in Wright’s signature flashy style.
While this premise could come off as gimmicky in the hands of another director, who might use this concept to insert pop songs in order to sell soundtracks, Baby Driver’s eclectic tunes carry significance and were carefully selected. To maintain this kinetic spirit throughout are some very energetic performances from Elgort and the supporting cast of characters (including Jamie Foxx, John Hamm, Lily James and Kevin Spacey).
Unfortunately, the script isn’t nearly as noteworthy as it’s execution. There’s very little new here-story wise, and a few of the supporting characters rely on tropes as character development rather than something fresh or exciting. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of substance to be found here. The dialogue is rich with wit and charm, it’s visually engaging (as expected from an Edgar Wright film) and it’ll be a very enjoyable treat for the end of the summer movie season.
Catch Baby Driver in theaters, August 11th!
This weekend, Universal Pictures brings us the first potential blockbuster of 2017, the sequel to the record-breaking “Fifty Shades of Grey”. It was no surprise that after the 2015 surpassed the $500 million mark-worldwide, Universal was eager to get the ball rolling on the sequel.
‘Jackie’ is a completely riveting biopic, unlike any other. Director Pablo Larraín brings not only aesthetic flair to the tragic tale, but a remarkable amount of emotion, one only furthered by a bravura performance from Natalie Portman. Anyone seeking a straightforward narrative will be disappointed, as Jackie will appeal more to the arthouse crowd than the average viewer.
Sausage Party is a film that may not have been on your radar, and if so, correct that immediately. Despite what the image above would have you believe, this is no children’s film. Sausage Party is pure, adult animated fun that pushes the boundaries of it’s hard R-rating and and satirizes normal animated film conventions. In many ways, this is 2016’s “The Lego Movie”.
*SPOILER FREE REVIEW* One of the year’s most anticipated films has finally arrived and what do you know, it’s horrible. Although there were plenty of signs pointing towards this conclusion (last minute re-shoots, DC’s bad track record, etc.) no one wanted to admit it to themselves. Not only is it an incomprehensible mess, but I don’t even think it could work as a “crowdpleaser”, it’s all flash with little to no substance. While it was clear it wouldn’t be good, no one could’ve prepared themselves for this complete train wreck.
In a world where men seem to dominate the comedy genre, STX Entertainment finds a market for some untapped potential…those who can’t even go to the movies! With all of these “Bad” films coming out (Bad Teacher, Grandpa, Santa, etc.), it was inevitable that this was coming, and none only from the writers of The Hangover. This writing team hasn’t had a solid track record after writing both “The Change-Up” and “21 & Over”, two critically-panned films, so how does Bad Moms compare? More importantly, how does this film portray women, especially considering it’s written and directed by two men. Well, the answer is surprisingly well.
In the latest outing, Woody Allen whisks us away to the glamorous land of 1930s hollywood where a young jewish man, Bobby Dorfman (Jesse Eisenberg), travels from New York City to the west coast, working for his talent agent uncle (Steve Carell), only to fall for his secretary (Kristen Stewart) who is already committed in a relationship.
The Infiltrator made headlines last April when it was announced a hollywood movie would be filming locally in Tampa, FL.
Mark your calendars! July 6th, Bryan Cranston will return to Tampa for the exclusive premiere of his latest film, The Infiltrator.
It’s safe to say, Nicolas Winding Refn is unlike any other film director working today. His trademark use of lighting, colors and textures to create tone are absolutely remarkable and at forefront here in his latest film, The Neon Demon.
While attending the 10th Annual Gasparilla International Film Festival, Cigar City Magazine was lucky enough to chat with Mark-Paul Gosselaar at the premiere of his new film, “Precious Cargo”, now available on VOD platforms (including iTunes, Amazon Video and Google Play).