LOST WEEKEND IV: Winchester, VA’s Local Film Club Film Festival Slate

Photo by Rachel Mahoney/ Northern Virginian Daily Andy Gyrurisin and Steve Nerangis work with studios to help bring independent, foreign, classic, and cult films to Winchester, VA.

Photo by Rachel Mahoney/ Northern Virginian Daily
Andy Gyurisin and Steve Nerangis work with studios to help bring independent, foreign, classic, and cult films to Winchester, VA.

Lost Weekend IV Film List and Trailers

Several years ago, a man named Andy Gyurisin became tried of the local theater, The Winchester Alamo Drafthouse, of only showing big studio movies or blockbusters and having to travel to DC to see independent or foreign cinema. He met with Steve Nerangis, one of the owners of the Winchester Alamo Drafthouse, about the possibility of bringing independent films to the Alamo. Andy and Steve created Film Club 3.0 which I’m one of +1700 plus members.  The partnership between Film Club 3.0 and the Alamo has blossomed exponentially that independent film studios along with the tent pole studios want to show their films during film club events. Tim League, owner of the Alamo theaters, sent a message to Film Club 3.0 on congratulating the group’s successful first year.

Two years ago, the first film that Film Club 3.0 showed was Metropolis which my mother and I were in attendance for. A few months after that, Universal had an advance screening for About Time with Film 3.0.  It remains one of the best advance screenings that film club has shown. Film Club has seen early screenings of America Hustle, The Maze Runner, Fault in Our Stars, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Spy.  This little known local film club already gained recognition from a few major studios within its first few months of birth. Andy came up with the idea of having a mini film festival at the Winchester Alamo called the Lost Weekend.

The Lost Weekend is Film Club 3.0, the festival’s sponsors, or any member of the film community watch movies all weekend. Lost Weekend 1 had eight films and debuted on Feb 21st-23rd of last year.  It was a success and Lost Weekend 2 was in the works.  Lost Weekend II expanded to 12 films (Oct 3rd-5th 2014) and had Gone Girl in its lineup. Lost Weekend II had 16 films and featured Chappie (feel sorry for you all) which was on March 5th-8th of this year.  Lost Weekend IV will debut Sept 24th-27th and the lineup has been announced.

99 Homes (Sept 24th at 7pm) (Advanced Screening):

Andrew Garfield stars as evicted father working the guy, Michael Shannon, who evicted his family to make money.

1001 Grams (Sept 25th at 11 AM):

Norweign Scientist attends a conference in Paris on the actual weight of a kilogram.

Queen of Earth (12.55 PM):

Watch the trailer and tell me what is it about, please?

The Winding Stream (2:50 PM Advanced Screening):

The documentary tells the story of the families of Country Music.

The Keeping Room (4:45 Advance Screening):

Three Southern women, two sisters and one African-American slave, must fight to defend their home and themselves from two rogue soldiers who have broken off from the fast-approaching Union Army.

Meru (7:30):

Three elite climbers decide to climb Mount Meru in the Himalayan Mountains. The documentary tells their story. (Good Luck to You).

Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl (9:25):

Grey and his friend Earl make parodies of classic movies but their lives are changed when they met a classmate dying of cancer.

Turbo Kid (11:30):

A kid and his sidekick must defeat a evil general played by Michael Ironside!

Saturday 26th Lineup:

Kahlil Gilbert’s The Prophet (11 AM):

Film produced by Salma Hiyak and it looks like a great children’s movie.

Finders Keepers (1 PM):

Trailer explains itself.

Manhattan Shorts (3 PM):

Mojave (6:30 PM Advance Screening):

A suicidal artist goes into the desert, where he finds his doppelgänger, a homicidal drifter.  Written by the guy who wrote the Departed!!!! No trailer yet! Marky Marky has a role in this.

Phoenix (8:30 PM):

A Jewish Signer has survived the Holocaust but has to live with disfigurement.

Cooties (10:30 PM):

Chicken Nuggets turn kids into psychos while their teachers need have to fight for their lives.

Sunday Sept 27th:

Amy (11 AM):

The story of Amy Winehouse in her own words, featuring unseen archival footage and unheard tracks.

A Hard Day (1:45 PM):

After trying to cover up a car accident that left a man dead, a crooked homicide detective is stalked by a mysterious man claiming to have witnessed the event. Korean Film!

People, Places, and Things (4:15 PM):

William Henry (Jemaine Clement) is a single father trying to get though the complexities of life that is thrown at him.

End of the Tour (6:15 PM):

The story of the five-day interview between Rolling Stone reporter (and novelist) David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) and acclaimed novelist David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel), which took place right after the 1996 publication of Wallace’s groundbreaking epic novel, Infinite JestThe story of the five-day interview between Rolling Stone reporter (and novelist) David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) and acclaimed novelist David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel), which took place right after the 1996 publication of Wallace’s groundbreaking epic novel, Infinite Jest.

Now if you were wondering what song plays during the trailers. It’s this classic tune by the Best Alternative Rock Band from 80’s to 2000’s. This song is not listed on soundtrack though.

R.E.M. this critic’s favorite band of all time and the only concert that he has ever gone to!

There is the lost weekend lineup.  Film Club 3.0 has a sister group called Psycho Cinema led by Faye Guerra, who is trying to get me to watch scary movies, that is sponsoring Turbo Kid. (big props to her). I’m really looking forward to attending Lost Weekend because all of the movies look great and there is only 1 that I don’t care for.

My question is to my twitter followers is: which films do you want me to review? Let a comment below and let me know! Or you can tweet or facebook friends spam my wall but (Andy Guyrisin) can’t spam my wall or twitter feed. He wants me to review all 18 films.

Straight Outta Compton (Review)

Straight Outta Compton Directed by: F. Gray Gray Written by: Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff Produced by: Dr. Dre and Ice Cube Starring: O'Shea Jackson as Ice Cube Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E Aldis Hodge as MC Ren Neil Brown as DJ Yella Brandon LaFourche as Arabian Prince Paul Giamatti as Jerry Heller

Straight Outta Compton
Directed by: F. Gray Gray
Written by: Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff
Produced by: Dr. Dre and Ice Cube
Starring:
O’Shea Jackson as Ice Cube
Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre
Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E
Aldis Hodge as MC Ren
Neil Brown as DJ Yella
Brandon LaFourche as Arabian Prince
Paul Giamatti as Jerry Heller

A Film About the Injustices in Society

NWA are considered to be the founders of Gangsta rap.  Straight Outta Compton was their first album and changed hip hop forever.  Straight Outta Compton is a biographical film about the group’s formation, rise to stardom, and fall. It was written by Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff (writer of World Trade Center (2006)).  Universal Studios and Legendary Pictures financed it, and it is being produced by Ice Cube and Dr. Dre.  F. Gary Gray, who directed Friday and a few of NWA’s music videos, directed Straight Outta Compton. The creative team has produced contemporary biopic classic because of the story, tone, cinematography, and the performances of the three lead actors.

Straight Outta Compton begins with Eazy-E (Jason Mitchell) collecting money from the selling of drugs when the Compton police raid the house. Eazy barely escapes and helps him alter his perspective on life.  Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins) is a low level DJ for a club barely making any money when he is kicked out by his mom.  Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson) is in high school and writing lyrics for his own group.  Ice Cube and Dr. Dre are friends and want to rap about the real world in which they live, see, and are apart of everyday in Compton, CA. Dr. Dre and Ice Cube perform at the local and are scolded by the club’s owner for trying to insight a riot. Dr. Dre gets arrested by the police for standing outside the club and is bailed out by Eazy.  Dr. Dre and Eazy formulate a plan to make hardcore rap record, and they along with Ice Cube, MC Ren, DJ Yella, and Arabian Prince form NWA.  They make a single sung by Eazy-E and it becomes a smash hit throughout California. Jerry Heller (Paul Giamatti) approaches Eazy about being the manager of NWA, and the rise of NWA and Gangsta rap begins.

Straight Outta Compton is exceptionally well written and directed.  The film’s story parallels today’s society in suburbia and urban America.  Music fanatic or fans of the group will know how Straight Outta Compton, but the film doesn’t focus on the group aspect like a musical documentary.  It tells the story of the racial profiling that Oakland area and other giant cities are known for.  Ice Cube walks out of a house where the Compton police are inspecting black people for drug. The police force him into submission and pat him down for drugs. The scene is shot so well and the cinematography makes you feel the disgust toward the police force from the citizens. The film also has several scenes about Rodney King riots and there so realistic. Straight Outta Compton creates the perspective why the song “Fuck tha Police” was written and sung with such anger and hostility from the group.  The acting in the movie is also exceptional.

(The clip above shows the personalities of every character and very representative of the real life members of NWA. It also gives you a sense how amazing each actor is in this movie.)

O’Shea Jackson, Corey Hawkins, and Jason Mitchell embody all of the characteristics and qualities of their real life counterparts. Jackson is Ice Cube’s son, and he has that snarl and cold face that his dad is known for throughout the movie.

Hawkins embodied Dr. Dre’s attitude and musical ear. Dr. Dre has always wanted to produce great music with any musical artist, and Hawkins displays that in his scenes with the actor who played Snoop Dog and Tupac. Jason Mitchell plays Eazy-E and the real life man had outgoing attitude.  Mitchell encompasses that attitude, and he’s so enjoyable in the film. Mitchell grabbed the audience’s attention when they first saw him on screen. The three actors along with Neil Brown (played DJ Yella) and Aldis Hodge (played) MC Ren formed such a great dynamic on screen. Hollywood might have the Avengers but this were the musical Avengers who talked about the real problems in society. The actors nailed that aspect of the NWA and made the audience feel like they were part of the group’s chemistry. Paul Giamatti plays Jerry Heller, NWA’s manager.

Overall, Straight Outta Compton is very good movie. It is probably one of my favorite movies of the year. The last thirty minutes really shifts into drama instead a musical biopic which is the biggest weakness. Straight Outta Compton gets 4.5 out of 5.

Fantastic Four (Review) and Five Ways to Fix the Franchise

Fantastic Four Cast list: Milles Teller as Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic Kate Mara as Susan Storm/Invisible Woman Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm/the Human Torch Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm/The Thing

Fantastic Four Cast list:
Milles Teller as Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic
Kate Mara as Susan Storm/Invisible Woman
Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm/the Human Torch
Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm/The Thing

A Marvel Movie so Bad that Stan Lee Didn’t Cameo!

Fantastic Four are superheroes created the possibilities of the 1960’s space race by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. It was also the first Marvel Comics superhero team and their nickname is “Marvel’s first family.”   There have been three live action Fantastic Four features: 1994 never released version, 2005 Fantastic Four, and 2007 Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.  The new Fantastic Four is directed by Josh Trank and it’s a terrible movie.

Reed Richards and Ben Grimm meet as kids and become best friends.  Ben and Reed are at a science fair where Reed successfully teleports a toy plane to alternate dimension.  Dr. Franklin Storm and his daughter Sue Storm see the experiment and offer Reed a scholarship to the Baxter Foundation.  Dr. Storm answers to Harvey Elder, the chief officer of the foundation, where he is growing tired Storm’s failures. Reed and Sue semi-bond before Victor Von Doom is brought in to ultimately help Reed with the design and Dr. Storm’s son, Johnny, helps the trio build it. They successful test the gate and a chimpanzee travels to another dimension, but Elder wants to bring NASA for help. Johnny, Victor, and Reed are pissed that they are not going to be the first people to travel to another dimension. Reed calls Ben and he, Reed, Victor, and Johnny go the alternate Dimension. Victor gets killed in accident (apparently), and Susan trying save the three guys get caught in the accident that allows the four of them to develop powers.

The movie is watchable because it has elements a good Science Fiction movie. However, the movie is completely awful structurally, tone, and plot wise. The first act is enjoyable but the second act it quickly jumps off a cliff and the third act falls into a black hole. The first develops the Ben and Reed relationship solidly but disappears after he goes the Baxter foundation.  The movie goes from being a film about a friend helping his best friend complete his science project to lets explain through dialogue.  There are no action sequences in the movie. Honestly, I couldn’t care about the team or their story. However, I did get pull back into the movie when Ben and Reed had a brotherly dynamics with each other. For example, “You were my best friend” Reed tells Ben. Ben replies, “I am too different now.” The story should have focused on the team.

Fantastic Four is not fantastic. There is no chemistry between the actors. Ben and Reed have a decent relationship. Ben and Johnny have no personality. Milles Teller is really flat in the movie. Sue was somewhat entertaing but she is a flat character too. Dr. Doom is turned into a joke and gains no connection with the audience. He literally shows up and blows people’s heads off with his telekinetic powers during the third act.  His final plan to destroy the world while trying to protect the alternate dimension from human exploitation.  The ending fight doesn’t add any pay off. Iron Man 2 had a better ending fight than the Fantastic Four. The problem with the movie that isn’t fun. It’s not even cheesy fun.

Fantastic Four gets a 1.5 out of 5 for being watchable. There is a sequel scheduled for June 9th, 2017. I do have a list on five ways to fix the franchise.

Five Ways to Fix the Franchise!

  1.  20th Century and Fantastic Four’s creative team need to come a general agreement on the story, tone, budget, and script.
    1. (there were reports surfaced about Fox stepping in and forcible rewriting the script, cutting the budget, and forcing reshoots. There are set reports of Josh Trank being drunk while shooting and in the editing room…now this is only rumor.) I noticed choppy uneven pacing throughout the film. I’m not going to trash anybody or the studio. However for the sequel, the studio and Fantastic Four’s creative needs come to a general agreement about agree where to take the story, the budget, on a spec script, and the tone of the movie. Fantastic Four is a colorful property that does have a fantasy elements in it. The characters such as Ben and Johnny have colorful personalities.  The Lord of the Ring movies were set in a fantasy world and have pretty humorous scenes or dialogue with different characters such as Gimili and Legolas, or Merry and Pippin. These characters added a lot humor to action scenes and exposition that is one of the reasons why Lord of the Rings is beloved.
  2. Bring in Fresh Blood
    1. Marvel Studios has knack for finding a director or writer that brings something new to every film. James Gunn directed a hilarious science action comedy with Guardians of the Galaxy. The first Thor was very Shakespearean and Captain America: Winter Soldier was political spy drama. Fox needs to start getting pitches from directors or writers who can bring life and rejuvenate the characters and story. Fox needs to stick with that direction and give their support to that filmmaker. A independent filmmaker would probably be the best option due to indie films focus on characters.  The characters and the situations they are put into drive the story. The director and the writer need backing of the studio. Let the audience and critics if they will like the movie.
  3. Keep the cast
    1. The actors playing the Fantastic Four are great young actors. It might have been more story and script issues that might prevented chemistry between the actors.  Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm are two of the most dynamic characters in the marvel comics.  A great story will situations or scenes that makes the team will come together and form a bond. The fight with Doctor Doom didn’t nail this but the end scene of dialogue really nailed team dynamic. That’s the movie fans want to see. They want to see that interaction. Fans and Audiences want to see superheroes use their powers to save people because it gives the audience a sense of hopefulness while walking out of the theater.
  4. Bring a villain
    1. Fans and critics don’t need Dr. Doom has a villain again.  Fox needs a writer and director who will search through the comic books and find Fan Four villain that unknown to the public (U-Foes or Thundra vs. the Thing, the Frightful Four anybody). New heroes or villains grab a worldwide audience’s attention. Something new and fresh might equal success. Fox also has collection of characters that could be villains that been made in successful movies.
  5. Bring in the X-Men
    1. Deadpool vs. The Fan Four anybody! Deadpool is a victim of government experiments. He could be going around eliminating anybody involved in his experimentation after his movie or be hired by the government to capture the new Fan Four. Galactus is also a powerful villain in the Fan Four’s history that really does take more than just the team to defeat.  Magneto vs. Galactus anybody? Who doesn’t want to see Johnny Storm sparing with Wolverine or Reed Richards and Professor X have a chess match discussing human evolution.   Magneto and Doctor Doom team up?