The Bitter Buddha – Eddie Pepitone is what people call “a comic’s comic”. In short, he is very good, but is not very successful. There are a variety of reasons why some people simply don’t break through. Why was Jerry Seinfeld so popular? Why did it take Louis C.K. so long to drop the act and find his voice? Why is Eddie Pepitone still struggling out there? There has been an incredible renaissance with stand-up comedy in the past five years, partly helped by the advent of podcasting, Twitter, and YouTube, and partly because there are some many strong and unique voices out there. Pepitone is one of them, and just look at this slew of comics that come out for the documentary to sing his praises, and rib him a little. Directed by Steven Feinartz and out in limited release from Syndctd Entertainment.
Escape From Planet Earth 3D – Scorch Supernova and his little brother Gary are the two greatest explorers from the planet Beeb. They land on Earth and instead of that whole “Take me to your leader,” nonsense Scorch mistakes one of those inflatable, wacky, arm waving men that you usually see outside car dealerships for an Earthling. The brothers are caught and imprisoned at Area 51, where they meet a slew of other aliens all being kept secret. I suppose some kids will really like this movie. I suppose some kids are stupid. Vocal talents from Brendan Fraser, Rob Corddry, Ricky Gervais, Jessica Alba, Sofía Vergara, and William Shatner. Script by Callan Brunker, Bob Barlen with Brunker acting as director as well. In wide release from The Weinstein Company.
Like Someone in Love – Abbas Kiarostami is one of Iran’s greatest directors, and he has left his native land for his last two pictures, and it’s impressive how well he can adapt to other traditions and customs. Maybe that is why they call him a master. Akiko (Rin Takanashi) a student who picks up a few extra bucks moonlighting as a call girl when she runs into Takashi (Tadashi Okuno), an eighty-one year old widower who pulls a Holden Caulfield and wants to talk instead of have sex. Akiko falls asleep and the next day, her violent boyfriend, Noriaki (Ryo Kase) finds her at Takashi’s place and assumes that he is the grandfather. Takashi accepts the role and becomes the father figure that Akiko needs to navigate her life. Kiarostami writes and directs and IFC releases the movie in limited theaters this Friday and On Demand. My review here.
No – Just say “No” to drugs and dictators. In 1988, Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was pressured by the international community to allow for a vote for his tenure. This is the story of the political faction that started an ad campaign to remove Pinochet from power by getting people to vote no. Last year, we had another movie based on a true story about the rise of capitalism, democracy, and advertisement in Russia post Cold War, Generation P. Democracy, advertisement, and consumerism go hand in hand. If only you were free and had a Coke in your hand, then you would be happy. This is Chile’s official selection and one of the five Foreign Films nominated for this month’s Oscars. Starring Gael Garcia Bernal, written by Pedro Peirano, directed by Pablo Larrain, in limited release from Sony Picture Classics.
The Package – We had Schwarzenegger’s return to action, then we had a Stallone action films, there was one with Jason Statham, and yesterday was a new Bruce Willis shoot ‘em up, so I guess we are now starting to trickle down to the Lesser Expendables. Steve Austin and Dolph Lundgren play good guy and bad guy in this one, and man is there an awful lot of action scenes. This one even incorporates some old fashion wrestling moves, less martial arts, more slug-fests and a whole lot of one-liners. Austin plays a bouncer and enforcer who is hired to deliver a package to Lundgren and things don’t go well. Little did Lundgren’s people know whom they were dealing with. Directed by Jesse V. Johnson and out in limited release from Anchor Bay Films this Friday and on DVD next Tuesday.
The Power of Few – They are often called “hyperlink movies”, ones where several different stories converge on one key moment. They typically play with our concept of time and action and reaction, which is exactly what this movie proposes. One aspect involves the burial garments of Jesus Christ being transported, another aspect involves religious fervor to use the DNA from the garments to clone Christ, but the garments are desired by many, so criminals are involved, and there is also typical low-level street crime going on in this very complicated day. Leone Marucci writes and directs this low-budget independent cast of Christopher Walker, Larry King, Moon Bloodgood, Anthony Anderson, Christian Slater, and Nicky Whelan. Out in limited release from Steelyard Pictures.
Saving Lincoln – Schmidt reminds us, “Every American thinks about Lincoln at least once a day.” Two films about Abraham Lincoln last year, this is the first Lincoln film of 2013, there might be some truth to what Schmidt tells us. Or his birthday might have been this past Tuesday. Saving Lincoln is the story of Lincoln’s bodyguard, U.S. Marshal Ward Hill Lamon (Lea Coco) and his attempts to ward off the apparent many assassination attempts on Lincoln’s life during the Civil War. This is a movie that simply could not have been made prior to the digital era. Directed by Salvador Litvak who co-wrote the script with Nina Davidovich Litvak. Limited release from Independent Pictures.