Richmond VA's Whoa is making noise on the Internet. With the release of his first music video Where Ya Paper At feat. Sean Ray from the mix-tape All Work, No Play. Where Ya Paper At received nearly 80k views in two months, so it's not hard to see that Whoa is doing his thang.
After shooting All Work, No Play in Manhattan, Whoa returned to his home-base in VA to shoot his second video, Fortune First. From Midlothian Village to Jackson Ward, Fortune First Makes a high quality visual statement for central VA Hip Hop.
Today at the Byrd, you may have your last opportunity to see Jurassic Park in a theater, and for a good cause.
White Material (2010)
dir: Claire Denis
I get high, ya’ll. On drugs. I wouldn’t consider myself to be one of those “smoke weed every day” types but if I have some weed, I like to smoke it. Every day. I was high when I watched this movie, but I wasn’t high when I bought it without ever having seen it. That’s because, high or no, I’m pretty well-versed in the cinematic world of Claire Denis and I know it’s one that I really like. Her 2001 cannibal ballad Trouble Every Day remains one of the most simultaneously erotic and disturbing films that I’ve ever seen, so it only makes sense that she would eventually team up with the fire-crotched French inferno Isabelle Huppert. Huppert is an astounding actress who has always possessed an undeniable yet perplexing sexual presence on film, which posits her as inarguably worth the sisyphean effort it would require to seduce her, even though by the end of the evening she’d probably just want to cut herself with your steak knife and pee all over you. Peeing on me is fine if you are a 19-23 year-old track runner who only ever drinks cranberry juice and the purest of spring water, but I’d be willing to bet some serious coin that Huppert drinks a TON of red wine with names that I can’t pronounce and prices that I can’t comprehend. Luckily enough for me, then, this film contains none of Denis’s somewhat trademarked sexual tension or deviance, save for the always-hovering spectre of possible rape (bummer). We are still treated to her usual degree of near-uncomfortable filmic intimacy, as she tends to direct an unwavering eye on the flesh of her characters with as much care and obsession as she dedicates to the striking landscapes which they inhabit. This particular landscape is an unnamed African nation in the throes of tumult as the colonialists pull out, a rebel army takes up arms against the ruling powers, and the previously suppressed but eternally brooding resentment of the common people begins to take violent form. It could be easy (for an idiot) to misread the film as a portrayal of one woman’s resiliency and determination against terrifying odds to uphold the life that she has come to see as her own. On the contrary, this is an expertly-crafted attack on the lunacy of colonialist entitlement and the stubborn naivety of once-rich white people self-assuredly planted in a world that they simply cannot understand. As with other Denis films, the violence is sparse and unexpected and all the more horrific because of it. Bonus points for the casting of Christopher Lambert (that’s right, motherfuckers; HIGHLANDER).
More movies after the jump...
It can be a difficult task making it to a midnight film after a long night of drinking whiskey. So congratulations must be given to Gorehound Features for successfully drawing myself and other drunken people with fine taste in cinema to The Byrd on Saturday, April 16. It was indeed a privilege to watch one of the sleaziest films of all time in one of the classiest theatres in the country. So…
Peep this short film put together with an all-star cast to accompany the Beastie's latest album Hot Sauce Committee Part Two.
Whenever a Scream film comes up in conversation, it is generally declared as a guilty pleasure. I must be on the opposite spectrum when it comes to this. I recall seeing the original film with glee, and felt the same with the subsequent sequels. I truly enjoy everything about the Scream franchise. I enjoy the atmosphere of Woodsboro, its characters and its reputation. I still rant and rave about the opening sequence from the original that caught practically every audience off guard. If anything, Jamie Kennedy’s greatest role may have been as the film aficionado Randy Meeks. The third installment may have been riddled with issues, but its conclusion felt incredibly satisfying. When Scream 4 was announced, many emitted groans. I can understand to a degree why this reaction occurs, but I was excited, because they weren’t remaking the original. They were continuing the story in a logical direction that could only happen because they waited ten years to make Scream 4. I definitely think there is more of a silver lining to be found in this fourth installment.
I am sure many of you have already seen this but if you haven't and you like old vintage Star Wars toys, check it out.
The making of his short. Pretty inspirational for anybody looking to do something like this but on a small budget.
Maniac, a 1980 film directed by William Lustig, has gone down in horror movie history as one of the most shockingly violent films of the slasher era. In fact, it was never rated, because the filmmakers, knowing they'd get an X rating, didn't even bother submitting it to the MPAA. Loosely based on the Son Of Sam killings that occurred in New York in the late 70s, its brutal, unflinching depictions of bloody murder have brought it widespread infamy. The Tom Savini-engineered scene in which a young man's head is blown apart by a shotgun in graphic detail is particularly notorious. Depending on who you talk to, Maniac is either a gore classic or an unredeemable piece of trash--and now, you'll get to decide for yourself, as local horror mavens Gorehound Features have teamed up with the Byrd Theatre to present a midnight showing of Maniac on the big screen this Saturday night!
Check out Maniac's original trailer after the jump:
I must admit that I thought the trailers for Sucker Punch looked really cool. I could understand the majority of the criticism directed towards the film--it seemed utterly ridiculous, and I was fine with that. However, after sitting through the entire thing, I'm feeling something else entirely. Sucker Punch may be one of the most brilliant fuck-ups I have ever witnessed. It tries so hard to create an amalgam of past motion pictures like Pan’s Labyrinth and Inception that it never really develops its own voice.
I’m a sucker for a good courtroom drama. Despite a few flaws here and there, The Lincoln Lawyer delivers on this premise. McConaughey plays Mick Haller, a questionable lawyer who defends lowlifes and exonerates the majority of them for their crimes from the back of Lincoln town car. Everything in his life seems to be rolling by smoothly--that is, until he encounters a case involving a young, rich playboy (Ryan Phillippe) who is being accused of sexual assault and battery. Considering the young man’s wealthy background, Haller sees an opportunity to make a fortune by representing him in the upcoming trial. While moral quandaries have never been an issue for Haller, this case forces him to test his values and how far he is willing to go to prove the innocence of an atrocious man.
dir: Atom Egoyan
Relationships are hard. Apparently this is a universal tenet of human social existence, just as true for a debt-ridden cook pushing 30, who lacks any particularly marketable skills or deep desires for self-betterment (me), as it is for a mysteriously well-off gynecologist married to an apparently loved and respected professor of some indeterminate study with whom she shares an impossibly gorgeous home in Canada (the fictional characters in this movie). My girlfriend and I still find ourselves embroiled in week-long standoffs over such deeply unsettling and totally heavy debates as why the Almond Milk tastes weird, whether or not middling pop sensation Rihanna is a physically desirable entity, and the pros and cons of male circumcision at an early age. My views to these issues, in the order presented: 1) it always tastes weird, 2) she looks like a dumb alien and 3) that shit is fucked up, gimme my foreskin back!! My girlfriend’s views: I have no idea. Usually by the third hour I have completely given up on paying attention. Thankfully, though, she and I have attained a level of interpersonal communication and shared trust that allows us to ask the really difficult--but admittedly very simple--question of “Hey, did you fuck that other girl?” instead of hiring an escort to attempt to seduce our creepy husband as proof that maybe he cheated on us. If that previous sentence has confused you, then congratulations: you are now fully aware of the head-scratching conundrums that face us monogamously-inclined suckers every single day of our lives. Of course, it’s usually worth the trouble, as Egoyan himself seems to posit by the end of this admittedly lackluster offering from one of my favorite understated filmmakers of the past 15 years. His movies are always about the power of both advancing technology and simple words to shape both our own minds and our reactions to other people, as well as how we utilize the power of said words to respond to events as varied as legitimate traumatic experiences, or the nagging drive to place judgment upon total strangers. These themes don’t quite present themselves as assuredly in this obviously less personal work as they have in many of his earlier films, although we are treated to an always-welcome appearance by the stunning Julianne Moore’s national geographics. As a better primer to Egoyan’s work, I would recommend 1994’s Exotica (emotional and sexy!) or 1997’s The Sweet Hereafter (so real it’s gonna make ya’ll cry!). This one isn’t bad, but it unfortunately works better as a semi-educated dude’s sexualized ideas about female interaction than it does as Egoyan’s usual ruminations on what exactly makes us “click,” and why.
More movies (y'all) after the jump:
On Sunday, March 6, the Byrd Theatre was nearly filled for the premiere of a new film by two students from VCU’s Photography & Film Making Department. Joey Schihl and Ben Saunders have been working diligently on Blank Street for about a year and have finally had the pleasure of unveiling it to the Richmond scene. The short documentary features people all over Virginia who have felt the effects of poverty in the state. Joey and Ben hopped in their van (Iris) and plotted out a course to learn more and to help educate others on the varying levels of poverty in Virginia and how we can learn and help. The Virginia Interfaith Center helped the students with funding and support as they trekked through the state, filming all the while. The premiere nearly sold out the Byrd, a great sight for any aspiring filmmaker. The characters in the film came to life as we learned of their struggles and ideas on how we can come together to help everyone live equally and positively.
Photos from the premiere:
Blank Street, a documentary film about economic hardships in Virginia and the people living through them, will have its premiere screening this Sunday at the Byrd Theatre. The screening is free, and will be followed by a Q&A with the film's directors, Ben Saunders and Joey Schihl.
More info about the film:
Blank Street, (from the Blank Street Project), is a documentary film about economic struggles in Virginia, the people experiencing them, and the idea of becoming involved in your community. Sponsored by the Virginia Interfaith Center, two VCU Film students traveled the state hearing about hardships from all walks of life. From the homeless to the wealthy, no one is exempt from the possibility of hard times. The overlooked stories of our neighbors are finally told in this 40-minute film. Intended to portray the equality of all humans, Blank Street shows the importance of being aware of those around you and what you can do to help.
Check out the trailer here:
The American (2010)
dir: Anton Corbijn
I was thoroughly impressed by Dutch photographer-cum-filmmaker Anton Corbijn’s appropriately stark Joy Division biopic Control (2007), so I let myself ignore the somewhat mediocre reception that most critics and audiences gave to this Italian-set slow-burner that mysteriously (and probably unnecessarily) stars George Clooney. As I am a totally cool genius, this was inevitably the right decision to make. Of course, I can completely understand why a film like this one would elicit a lukewarm reaction in most viewers, especially considering the fact that it was very briefly advertised as a “pulse-pounding” action-thriller of sorts, a description that would have a hard time distancing itself any further from the truth even if it was blessed with Hermes’s weird ankles. The plot is simple and the pacing almost laboriously deliberate, but the film is saved by a small batch of natural, understated performances, some well-timed injections of paranoid discomfort, the absolutely staggering beauty of the Italian countryside as captured by a man with an obvious talent for photography, and some really cool scenes of gun manipulation. This latter element often brings to mind certain episodes of Golgo 13, which is never a bad thing. Much like that titular Japanese hitman with a love for hookers, a talent for murder and a secret warm spot buried deep within his icy heart, this is a story more concerned with how a professional assassin must live, not so much why. Despite an irritating inability to take George Clooney all that seriously, I really enjoyed it. My girlfriend seemed pretty bored by the whole thing, but I also don’t think that she was quite as fascinated as I was by Violante Placido’s perpetually visible bush. Her loss!
Two RVA guys, Will & Dave took their act to LA almost 3 years ago once they secured some work with Fuel TV producing skits for a show called Stupidface.
The Richmond FilmRoast describes what they do as "carefully select[ing] a classic, culturally significant achievement in cinema history and slowly incinerate it over a fiery pit of microphone-fueled mockery." Which is to say, they make fun of it as if they're sitting on their couch (or in Joel, Crow, and Tom Servo's theatre seats) suffering through it. Only when they do this at the Byrd, they use microphones to bring their heckles to a theatre full of people. That's where you come in! This Friday, they'll be roasting Masters Of The Universe, Gary Goddard's ill-conceived, even more poorly executed film of a debatably classic children's cartoon. The casting of Swedish actor Dolph Lundgren as He-Man was only the most obviously ridiculous move made in the creation of this film, and it now seems incredible to realize that such relatively high-profile actors as Frank Langella and Courteney Cox were in it.
It's a film begging for some serious mockery, so why not come out to the Byrd on Friday night and see it get exactly what it deserves?
Proceeds from the show will be donated to the Byrd Theatre Foundation, a non-profit organization devoted to keeping the Byrd in great shape for years and generations to come. The Byrd needs some new seats, so all of the money raised by this show is going towards fulfilling that need. So if you like heckling bad movies, laughing at other people hecking bad movies, or just want an opportunity to donate to the cause of making the Byrd a nicer place to see second-run films, come out and check out the show!
Produced by DIGICO Shoot | Post | Design (DIGICO), a creative video and motion design firm based in Harrisonburg Virginia, and Jeff Tocci, “Beardo the Movie” was filmed on location in Alaska during the 2009 competition. “Beardo the Movie” talks to first-time and veteran contestants about facial hair in society, the WBMC competition and its aftermath. One-on-one interviews get behind the beards and reveal motivations, passions, dreams and the stigma of living in the modern world with beards and moustaches. Ryan Berry, DP and producer, sits down with RVA TV…
Shaun Irving had an idea to turn a delivery van into a giant camera. A few years later, he bought an old truck off eBay, drilled a hole in the side, got some military surplus lenses, bought light-sensitive photographic paper and set off to document Richmond. Director & Producer Kathryn Johnson sits to talk with us about her short documentary piece showing this weekend...
Bad Timing (1980)
dir: Nicolas Roeg
If you’re lucky enough to be someone who occasionally finds themselves involved in romantic relationships, then chances are that you’re unlucky enough to be someone who also occasionally finds themselves in romantic relationships that suck balls. The oddest and most seemingly unfair aspect of such relationships is that they almost always begin as the best ones. Or, at the very least, the most passionate (and by that I mean “sexy”). As the proverbial saying goes, “It takes two to tango.” So it’s always impossible to place the blame solely on either individual party for letting what was once a dimly-lit, soft-focus, sweaty sex party nosedive into a no-holds-barred, plate-throwing orgy of carefully-planned insults and inappropriately-timed digs at one another’s most secret and shameful weaknesses. Of course, if you’re anything like me, you usually choose to ignore that time-honored saying and feel perfectly comfortable placing all of the blame on someone else. Also if you’re like me (i.e. not a necrophilia-minded rapist), you’ve never managed to find yourself in the crumbling aftermath of a relationship quite as fucked up as the one in this film. Nicolas Roeg is a bit of an underrated mastermind. Dude has two Criterion releases under his belt but still remains a relatively unfamiliar name to film lovers both casual and dedicated. A lot of that probably has to do with his eventual foray into the world of unremarkable softcore trifles, but he certainly had his own unique talents for much of his career, beginning with his spectacular work as a cinematographer. Known for his unusual (to say the least) style of editing and time-displacement, and an uncanny ability to cast strikingly unattractive male weirdos (Donald Sutherland, Mick Jagger, fucking Art Garfunkel!!!) in roles that feature lots of probably unsimulated and surprisingly graphic sex acts, Roeg briefly carved a name for himself with films such as Walkabout (1971), Don’t Look Now (‘73), The Man Who Fell to Earth (‘76), and this one. Controversial upon release, and still shocking by today’s hypocritically sex-obsessed yet morally dogmatic and subtly repressive studio standards, the film does quite a nice job of portraying a relationship that starts out mysterious and exciting, gradually devolves into miscommunication and unmet expectations, and finally explodes with a chilling final revelation that could legitimately creep out Bela Lugosi’s scrotum. Especially worth watching if you’ve ever felt guilty about how a relationship ended. Trust Nicolas Roeg; it could have been a lot worse.
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