Author Archives | Nick Petrick

Lars von Trier’s “Nymphomaniac: Vol. I”

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Lars von Trier is a director that is seemingly constantly pushing audiences into feeling as uncomfortable as possible. So, when I got the chance to check out his newest film I jumped at it. I figured if nothing else it will be like nothing I’ve ever seen before. On that front I was disappointed, but as a whole the film is quite enjoyable.

When you go see a film called Nymphomaniac by a director who notoriously shows plenty of on screen sex and violence you expect it to be taken to a whole new level. I was pleasantly surprised  to find that the sex scenes were not horribly graphic and awkward but also mostly short and humorous.  I found myself laughing during most parts of the film. even with the film’s dark subject matter, I never felt it was being too serious.  Part of this is due to the fact that the main character is not very well-rounded, and our glimpses into her life tend to just be the highlights (or lowlights). We don’t really feel connected to her as a human. If we did, the story would be much more of a tragedy and I have a sneaking suspicion that Part II will quickly descend into this very dark place. Read More…

20 Great Horror Films For This Halloween

NosferatuWith Halloween coming up it only seems right to snuggle up and get some screams coming out of the TV screen. But if you’re like me you get a little tired of watching the same slasher sequels year after year.  I wanted to make a list of Halloween films that are not only more obscure but also better than almost everything you’ll find playing on TV this year. I also wanted to make a list of films that had something for everyone. So, whether you like sick and twisted films that make you look away from the screen or atmospheric horror with no gore at all, we have got something for you. Read More…

Alfonso Cuarón’s “Gravity” Review and Trailer

Gravity-Image-2two-stars1Gravity is visually spectacular, a great concept, and a complete failure at being anything other than a mindless popcorn flick. It’s a space movie produced by lifetime and directed by Michael Bay.

Let’s start with the good. The concept of the film is something I love like no other: Floating in space, completely isolated, trying to figure out how to survive. That’s all the foreplay I need. Ticket sold, let’s get started.

The visuals are stunning and this is the first film I’ve truly enjoyed watching in 3D. Watching space shrapnel zing by at super sonic speed is intense, but what makes the movie an experience is the way it transports you into a space setting that only a lucky few ever get to experience. Director Alfonso Cuarón is, without a doubt, a master of cinematic visuals.

Now the bad. Read More…

SFIFF2013: “Nights with Theodore”, “Il Futuro” and “Helsinki, Forever” – Capsule Reviews and Trailers

Nights with Theodore

Nights_With_Theodore_02three-stars15Part documentary and part narrative, Nights with Theodore is an exploration of Buttes-Chaumont Park in Paris, France. To be more specific, the film delves into the mystical history of the park and then quite effectively builds a fantasy narrative around it. We follow a couple, who, after spending the night in the park, are drawn back to it every night by an almost supernatural force, and while they enjoy their time in the park it is not without consequences.

Personally, Nights with Theodore filled me with nostalgia. It reminded me of those dreamlike nights where you connect with someone new and time seems to distort. You wander the streets talking and exploring without any real goal or destination, just wanting the moment to last as long as it can. It’s not everyday that a film strikes such a connection with me, and while it might not be one of my top films come the end of the year it will be a film that I’m forever glad I saw.

Showtimes for Nights with Theodore: Sun, Apr 28th – 6:45pm (Kabuki)

Mon, Apr 29th – 3:30pm (Kabuki)

Sun, May 5th – 9:30pm (Kabuki) Read More…

Nick’s Review of Chan-wook Park’s Stoker

Stoker_2one-star2Stoker ends up feeling like M. Night Shyamalan and Wes Anderson got together in the bathroom and forged a massive turd then charged admission to go see it. How Chan-wook Park managed to channel the worse parts of two sometimes competent directors eludes me, but in Stoker he has done just that. I guess I should explain…

Characters clad in charmingly old fashion thrift store clothing delivering lines with indifference might be a staple of hipster culture and Wes Anderson films, but at a certain point this retro daydream shit has to stop. For fucks sake, Wes! You made a film about foxes and you still dressed them out of a vintage Banana Republic catalog. It’s not cute anymore and it’s spawning a whole little sub genre of films that already has a mile long list of clichés. Unfortunately this Wes-en-scène, if you will, slithered into the brain of Park and found a lovely little home in Stoker. It manifests itself not only in the wardrobes and art design but also in the overly blunt symbolism which makes you feel like you’re watching a film with training wheels. Read More…

SF IndieFest 2013: “Berberian Sound Studio”, “Funeral Kings” and “Wrong”

Berberian Sound Studio

BerberianSoundStudio_courtesyIFCfour-stars4It is as if David Lynch directed a film about an introverted British man getting hired as Dario Argento‘s sound editor circa 1977. While every film geek in the world is now running to get tickets, the rest of you might need some more convincing. This brilliant movie explores the relationship of sound in film, art in life, and what happens when all of those things get thrown together in a nightmare blender full of rotten produce. To put it simply, Berberian Sound Studio is a must see film. Read More…

Filmbalaya’s top 15 Films of 2012

mask2012 in film was all over the place.  Films we wanted to love left us heartbroken and films we wanted nothing to do with ended up holding a spot in our hearts.  I hate to say it was a disappointing year for film, but that seems to be the word that keeps popping into our heads.  There were bright spots though – Paul Thomas Anderson made another masterpiece, foreign directors continued to challenge Hollywood style and content, and William Friedkin (The Exorcist) exploded back onto the radar. With the amazing slate of films lined up for 2013 we may eventually look back at 2012 as the calm before the storm, but as we take shelter inside our boats and sail into that storm, these are the films we’re bringing with us.

The list is presented in alphabetical order. Read More…

Newly Restored: Ted Kotcheff’s Wake in Fright Review and Trailer

Director Ted Kotcheff‘s (known for First Blood) masterpiece Wake In Fright was almost lost forever. After poor turnouts in theaters across Australia and a pathetic two night NYC opening (there was a blizzard) investors got fed up and pulled the film from US theaters. The film then ran very successfully in France before disappearing. This was in 1971.

30 years later a producer of the film spent two years tracking it down. He finally found the last print of Wake In Fright in a United Artists storage bin marked for destruction. If he had waited one more week the film would have been lost forever. Good thing he didn’t because Wake In Fright, after much restoration, has made a triumphant return to theaters. It became only the second film in history to screen at Cannes Film Festival twice and then headed to the SFIFF2010, which is where I first saw it… Read More…

Filmbalaya Double Feature @ Lost Weekend Video’s Cinecave!

This Thursday Come support your local video store by joining Filmbalaya at Lost Weekend’s Cinecave for a French language double feature! We start off at 7pm with Godard’s hip romantic gangster classic and follow it up at 9pm with Kieślowski’s beautifully haunting drama.  Free fedoras for the first 20 people in the door.  See ya there.

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