Out of the Furnace is not the movie you expect, it’s not quite the movie you think you want, and it’s certainly not a movie you’ll see coming, but it is one of the best movies of 2013. Petering along a solemn road of America as industrialized hellhole, the jet-black tone and snail’s pace cadence of the film may prove too overbearing for some but those willing to dive into the mire will find a film overflowing with themes of chaotic grace, personal sacrifice, ego death, spiritual deterioration, and unbounded duty. Many similarities to early Kurosawa samurai films and Drive – which itself is largely plotted like a samurai film – emerge and make the film rich with subtext, even though unearthing that subtext is a bit of a harrowing chore. (more…)
Get Shameless with Lissie at the Crocodile
Who: The first time I saw Lissie perform was at Bumbershoot this summer and I was instructed to deck out of Alt-J just a skoch early so as NOT to miss the throaty blonde cover Kid Cudi’s Pursuit of Happiness. Lissie did not disappoint, engaging the crowd with that fierce glass gargling voice and I’m sure I’m not the first to say her live set would give Stevie Nicks a run for her money. Elisabeth “Lissie” (more…)
Continuing a tradition of excellence, Nebraska is Alexander Payne‘s seventh film in 22 years and has all the earmarks of a Payne project. But behind the landmarks that we’ve come to expect from an Alexander Payne film is a script boiling from the page, courtesy of Seattle native Bob Nelson. Perfectly blending melancholic drama and high comedy, Nelson writes Nebraska from his life experiences, here seen through the lens of a middle class family trying to rediscover their pride on a Midwest road trip.
Nebraska starts with the old school painted mountains of the Paramount logo, a veiled reminder of the golden days of the USA, and jumps into an austere black-and-white landscape of Montana as Bruce Dern‘s Woody Grant stumbles down the snowy strip of government manicured grass between some train tracks and a largely vacant highway. Convinced he has won a million dollar prize, Woody’s intent on claiming his winnings in Nebraska even if that means walking the entire eight hundred mile trip on foot. A reminder of how off the tracks his life has veered, Woody sees his not-too-good-to-be-true grand prize as a means to a life he never had – a golden ticket to meaningfulness and utility long lost.
Katniss Everdeen may be the girl on fire and Jennifer Lawrence may be Hollywood hot stuff (du jour), but this second installment of The Hunger Games is only slightly smoldering. In fact, the embers have already started to go cold. All the requisite franchise pieces are there to stoke the billion dollar conflagration this dystopian blockbuster is sure to light, but the overwhelming feeling that there is little spark behind the bark leaves us chilled to all this talk of fire.
Grab your food and liquor for some old school love at the Showbox.
Who: Born and raised in Chicago, IL Wasalu Muhammad, better known as Lupe Fiasco, always struggled with the tug of war he associated with the Food and Liquor marts close to home; the food symbolizing his inner peace with family and friends, and the liquor… well he’s tried to control the liquor. Lupe Fiasco is an artist through and through, never relying on anyone’s opinion to deter his (more…)
Kill Your Darlings provides an origin story for some of the most prolific authors writing this side of the American Renaissance with a bit of a hot-blooded, cold-fingered approach. A burning sense of urgency ignites the passion of the characters onscreen – coiled up and bouncing off the walls, lunatics as they are – but that same urgency is largely absent from the film itself.