Scott Tobias http://apr.org en In 'Sightseers,' A Killing Spree Gone South http://apr.org/post/sightseers-killing-spree-gone-south Scrub away the gore and the nastier bits of provocation, and Ben Wheatley's <em>Sightseers</em> belongs squarely in the tradition of British classics like <em>Kind Hearts and Coronets</em> and <em>The Ruling Class — </em>satires that transformed simmering class resentment into brittle, nasty dark comedy.<p>The key to these films is a disciplined tone: Whatever contempt the filmmakers have for their characters, or whatever types those characters represent, is harnessed by dry wit and an instinct not to overplay their outrageous premises. Thu, 09 May 2013 21:03:00 +0000 Scott Tobias 30077 at http://apr.org In 'Sightseers,' A Killing Spree Gone South Effects-Heavy 'Oblivion' Pines For An Analog Past http://apr.org/post/effects-heavy-oblivion-pines-analog-past The score for <em>Oblivion</em> was composed by M83, a superb French electronic outfit that derives its name from one of the spectral pinwheels known as spiral galaxies. Thu, 18 Apr 2013 21:03:00 +0000 Scott Tobias 28806 at http://apr.org Effects-Heavy 'Oblivion' Pines For An Analog Past Zany 'It's A Disaster': Anything But http://apr.org/post/zany-its-disaster-anything For all his success as a stand-up comic, as one half of the brilliant HBO sketch comedy <em>Mr. Show</em> W<em>ith Bob & David</em> and as the hapless Tobias on <em>Arrested Development</em>, David Cross has struggled to find his footing in the movies, remaining relegated mainly to forgettable character roles. Thu, 11 Apr 2013 21:03:00 +0000 Scott Tobias 28378 at http://apr.org Zany 'It's A Disaster': Anything But 'Gimme The Loot': The Tagger's Life, Lightly http://apr.org/post/gimme-loot-taggers-life-lightly For the Bronx graffiti artists of <em>Gimme the Loot,</em> Adam Leon's sweet, vibrant debut feature, "Bombing the Apple" is the holy grail of tagging achievements.<p>"The Apple" in question is the protuberance that emerges from behind the center-right wall in Shea Stadium — they refuse to acknowledge the corporate name Citi Field — every time a New York Mets player hits a home run.<p>The thought of seeing their supersized insignia rising to the sky, taunting their Queens rivals, is a delicious fantasy to consider; they're like thieves idly plotting to knock over Fort Knox. Thu, 21 Mar 2013 21:03:00 +0000 Scott Tobias 27156 at http://apr.org 'Gimme The Loot': The Tagger's Life, Lightly '60s Japan, Aglow 'From Up On Poppy Hill' http://apr.org/post/60s-japan-aglow-poppy-hill Of the many wonderful qualities associated with the films of Studio Ghibli — the Japanese animation house co-founded by Hiyao Miyazaki, the visionary director of <em>My Neighbor Totoro</em>, <em>Kiki's Delivery Service</em> and <em>Spirited Away</em> — serenity may be the most key. Ghibli productions offer the stirring adventures and magical creatures of their American counterparts, and often operate by a wondrously mysterious internal logic, but they do so without feeling compelled to grab a young audience by the lapels. Thu, 14 Mar 2013 21:03:00 +0000 Scott Tobias 26719 at http://apr.org '60s Japan, Aglow 'From Up On Poppy Hill' 'Everyman's Journey': Don't Believe Everything You Hear http://apr.org/post/everymans-journey-dont-believe-everything-you-hear Some bands are born of passion and deep camaraderie, a collective desire to rebel against authority — or at least to look cool. Others are born because a major label threatens to drop them if they don't find a lead vocalist.<p>It's possible that Journey started as the former before morphing into the latter. Most people know the band as the hit-making arena rockers responsible for "Don't Stop Believin'," "Open Arms," "Faithfully" and other songs you danced to at your cousin's wedding. Thu, 07 Mar 2013 22:00:00 +0000 Scott Tobias 26314 at http://apr.org 'Everyman's Journey': Don't Believe Everything You Hear Adolescent Angst Turns Deadly In 'Stoker' http://apr.org/post/adolescent-angst-turns-deadly-stoker It's a mark of a great filmmaker when a movie is felt first and understood later, allowing audiences to intuit their way through a fog of mystery and sensuality before finally getting a clear view of the landscape. Thu, 28 Feb 2013 22:12:00 +0000 Scott Tobias 25843 at http://apr.org Adolescent Angst Turns Deadly In 'Stoker' 'Snitch': Johnson And The Rock, At Odds In A Drug Drama http://apr.org/post/snitch-johnson-and-rock-odds-drug-drama "Inspired by true events" — a phrase that implies the greatest possible distance between something that actually happened and what's about to happen on screen<em> — Snitch</em> tries to be two movies at once.<p>One is an earnest social drama about the cruel, arbitrary nature of mandatory minimum sentences for first-time drug offenders. The other is an action movie starring Dwayne Johnson, the sometime wrestler popularly known under his <em>nom de headlock</em>, The Rock. Thu, 21 Feb 2013 22:03:00 +0000 Scott Tobias 25405 at http://apr.org 'Snitch': Johnson And The Rock, At Odds In A Drug Drama A '70s 'Playroom,' Without Much Room For Fun http://apr.org/post/70s-playroom-without-much-room-fun There's a sequence early in the laughable drama <em>The Playroom</em> that epitomizes everything wrong with it: With her parents out of the house, 16-year-old Maggie Cantwell (Olivia Harris), the eldest of four latchkey kids, sneaks into the garage with her boyfriend on a determined quest to lose her virginity. Thu, 07 Feb 2013 22:04:00 +0000 Scott Tobias 24552 at http://apr.org A '70s 'Playroom,' Without Much Room For Fun 'Stand Up Guys' Falls Terminally Flat http://apr.org/post/stand-guys-falls-terminally-flat Intended as a victory lap for three great stars of advancing age, <em>Stand Up Guys</em> is another entry in the "old folks doing stuff" subgenre, which offers comic affirmation that life is not strictly for the young.<p>This is the subgenre that had a retirement-home population necking like teenagers in <em>Cocoon</em>, Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman jumping out of an airplane in <em>The Bucket List</em>, and ancient astronauts repairing an old Soviet satellite in <em>Space Cowboys</em>. Thu, 31 Jan 2013 22:03:00 +0000 Scott Tobias 24120 at http://apr.org 'Stand Up Guys' Falls Terminally Flat The Hard-Earned Liberty Of 'Happy People' http://apr.org/post/hard-earned-liberty-happy-people It's midway through <em>Burden of Dreams</em>, the superb documentary about the making of his glorious 1982 fiasco <em>Fitzcarraldo</em>, and iconoclastic director Werner Herzog has had enough.<p>His dream project, about a Peruvian rubber baron who tries to build an opera house in the middle of the jungle, has been beset by false starts, delays and tragedies — most notoriously his attempt to drag a steamboat up a muddy hill using a primitive pulley system. Thu, 24 Jan 2013 22:03:00 +0000 Scott Tobias 23717 at http://apr.org The Hard-Earned Liberty Of 'Happy People' Spoiler Alert: 'John Dies,' But The Rest? Who Can Tell? http://apr.org/post/spoiler-alert-john-dies-rest-who-can-tell There's a fine line between a genre filmmaker with an offbeat sensibility and a maker of prefab cult movies — someone who appeals too aggressively to a cult audience that doesn't yet exist. Thu, 24 Jan 2013 22:03:00 +0000 Scott Tobias 23715 at http://apr.org Spoiler Alert: 'John Dies,' But The Rest? Who Can Tell? 'Ralph': An 8-Bit Hero With Plenty Of Heart http://apr.org/post/ralph-8-bit-hero-plenty-heart After a very long engagement that began with the original <em>Toy Story</em>, Disney finally made an honest woman out of Pixar in 2006, when it paid the requisite billions to move the computer animation giant into the Magic Kingdom. But Disney's spirited 2010 hit <em>Tangled</em> made it abundantly clear that Pixar had a say in the creative marriage: The story of Rapunzel may be standard Disney princess fare, but the whip-crack pacing and fractured-fairy tale wit felt unmistakably Pixar. From now on, it would seem, Mickey Mouse and Luxo Jr. Thu, 01 Nov 2012 21:03:00 +0000 Scott Tobias 20113 at http://apr.org 'Ralph': An 8-Bit Hero With Plenty Of Heart After The Recession, An American Versailles On Hold http://apr.org/post/after-recession-american-versailles-hold When director Lauren Greenfield started filming <em>The Queen of Versailles</em>, a documentary about 74-year-old David Siegel, a billionaire timeshare magnate from Orlando, and Jackie, a trophy wife 30 years his junior, they had outgrown their 26,000-square-foot home.<p>To consider that unimaginable is to underestimate Jackie's talent for filling it — with eight children, a second family of live-in nannies and housekeepers, pets both domesticated and exotic and enough tacky nouveau riche tchotchkes to inspire an entire season of <em>Hoarders</em>. Thu, 19 Jul 2012 21:43:23 +0000 Scott Tobias 14863 at http://apr.org After The Recession, An American Versailles On Hold