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Blog Posts from June 2013

Two Excellent Indies That May Come Here

Posted: 4:21pm 6/03/2013

Two Excellent Indies That May Come Here


I went to New York for the weekend and saw a couple of currently hot indie films: FRANCES HA and THE STORIES WE TELL.  Both of these films are already considered art house hits.  FRANCES HA last weekend was number 11 on the national box office listings and it’s playing on only 133 screens in the U.S.  In comparison the number one movie FAST and FURIOUS 6 played on 3686 screens. THE STORIES WE TELL was in the top 25 movies this week playing on 39 screens.  Now those aren’t figures that  blow anyone away but these are true indie films generating enough business to possibly get booked into the Warren East in one of the smaller screens “past the second lobby.”


FRANCES HA is the latest film by Noah Baumbach who had minor hits with THE SQUID and THE WHALE starring Jeff Daniels, MARGOT AT THE WEDDING a Nicole Kidman film and a Ben Stiller movie where he seriously acts, GREENBERG.  All of those played Wichita theatres.  FRANCES HA stars the very appealing Greta Gerwig who was in NO STRINGS ATTACHED with Ashton Kutcher (this movie’s much better than that.) This movie follows Frances and her circle of late twenty-somethings as they chase every impulse and dream they can muster to avoid committing to growing up.  You may find it a little frustrating or you may find it a little bit like parts of your own present or past and it is in Black & White.  You will find it funny and light and worth the 86 minutes it breezes through.


THE STORIES WE TELL is even more worth the investment of time and money.  It is a very unusual documentary made by Sarah Polley, a well known 30ish actress in American and Canadian independent films.  She was the youngest daughter of two successful stage actors and as a child her older siblings joked that she didn’t look anything like their father.  Her mother died and when she became an adult she decided to investigate what the truth was about her parents.  This movie is the stories of what she found out.  It is part mystery—part love story—part comedy—part drama as each of the persons who were involved reveal at least a piece of the story and a great deal about themselves.  It is a reality show that is actually worth watching about good, well meaning, very flawed human beings.  The showing I was at in NY was full.


I know these sound like chick flicks but what better type of movie for a date night.  I know they may not play Wichita but it won’t be long before they’re on Netflix.  Take the time for these SHOULD SEEs.


Posted: 4:18pm 6/03/2013


So the summer is a time for sequels and we’re going to talk about two of them, the first very successful and the second embarrassing.  STAR TREK: INTO DARKNESS is a strong addition to the long series of Star Trek movies.  This one is the very entertaining follow-up to J.J. Abrams’ very savvy rebooting of the series.  I had heard that this was basically a remake of Wrath of Khan but it isn’t.  Abrams takes that iconic character and drops him into the paths of Kirk and Spock.  His smartest  choice here is casting Benedict Cumberbatch, one of England’s best new acting sensations, as the supervillain.  In this installment, Kirk gets to grow up a little, Spock explores his human side, and we all have a good time- a definite SHOULD SEE.

Not so with HANGOVER III.  They apparently realized that after remaking  THE HANGOVER in the second film with a relocation in Bangkok, the same jokes won’t work repeating them again so they don’t even try to be funny.  Zach Galifanikis’ character has been turned from sweet to mean as if that’s a good idea and Ken Jeong’s Mr. Chow becomes the central character of the movie leaving Ed Helms and Bradley Cooper to suffer through just doing reaction shots.  The whole thing is just a coked up crime chase scene that runs way too long in circles.  Please DON’T SEE it or they’ll make a fourth one.

I guess I need to check out FAST & FURIOUS 6 after all.  It’s rated fresh on and it opened bigger than STAR TREK this weekend.

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