Trailer: Gimme Shelter


This film, which features Vanessa Hudgens in a change-of-pace role, looks good and life-affirming.  However, there are two reasons for concern.

First off, the movie is being released in January, which is traditionally the time of year that all of the really bad movies are released.

Secondly, the trailer features three quotes praising the film but they’re all from the same review.

Hopefully, Gimme Shelter will beat the odds.

44 Days of Paranoia #11: Police, Adjective (dir by Corneliu Porumboiu)

For today’s entry in the 44 Days of Paranoia, I want to take a look at Police, Adjective, a Romanian film from 2009.

Alex (Alexandru Sabadac) is a teenager who has recently been accused of being a drug dealer by a police informant.  Burned-out detective Cristi (Dragos Bucur) is assigned to follow Alex and keep him under surveillance and, ultimately, gather enough evidence to send Alex to prison.

However, Cristi quickly realizes that Alex is just a bored kid who likes to smoke weed with his friends.  Cristi realizes that Alex isn’t a threat to anyone and, that by doing his job, Critsi will essentially be ruining Alex’s life.  As well, Cristi feels that the informant is a bigger threat than Alex but he’s told that the informant is the son of a powerful man and therefore, won’t be prosecuted.

After spending the majority of the film watching Alex and dealing with the drudgery of the never-ending police bureaucracy, Cristi has a meeting with his superior, Anglehache (played, with a subtle brilliance, by Vlad Ivanov).  Cristi argues that there’s no reason to arrest Alex and send him to prison for seven years.  Anglehache responds by opening a dictionary, forcing Cristi to read the definition of the word “police,” and then explaining why the law must be rigidly enforced regardless of logic.  It’s now up to Cristi to decide what’s more important, his conscience or the demands of the state.

I can still remember the Saturday afternoon that I spent watching Police, Adjective.  My reason for wanting to see the film was simple: I had never seen a Romanian film before and, living in Texas, there was a pretty good chance that Police, Adjective would be my only opportunity to do so.  I approached all of my friends and every member of my family and I said, “We have to see this movie!  It’s from Romania!”  I could tell by their reactions that they weren’t quite as enthusiastic as I was.  “Fine!” I declared, “I’ll see it by myself!”  And that’s exactly what I did.  Early in the morning,  I went down to the Dallas Angelika and I saw Police, Adjective.

When the film started, there were 7 other people sitting in theater.  The first two walked out after 15 minutes.  The next one left at the 30 minute mark.  As the rest of the film played out, I was aware of the other four viewers getting frustrated.  I could hear them impatiently rattling their popcorn bags.  I could hear a few of them demanding, under their breath, to know how The Dallas Morning News could have possibly given this film a good review.  I could hear them as, one-by-one, they stood up and walked out of the theater.  By then end of the movie, I was the only one left.

Now, you should understand that Police, Adjective features no violence, no profanity, no nudity, and no mention of religion.  In short, the audience didn’t leave because it was offended by anything it had seen.  Instead, they left because Police, Adjective is quite literally one of the slowest films ever made.  It’s a police film that features no action but instead emphasizes the drudgery of both the work and existence in general.  For 90 minutes, we watch as Cristi secretly follows and observes Alex.  During that time, Alex pretty much does nothing.  Then eventually, Cristi goes back to a depressingly shoddy-looking police station, questions whether the law is worth enforcing, and gets a lecture from a guy with a dictionary.

Exciting stuff, no?

Well, in its own way, it is.  Police, Adjective is a film about ideas and, despite what some filmmakers seem to believe, ideas can very exciting.  By emphasizing the drudgery of Cristi’s job and rejecting the clichés that audiences have been conditioned to expect when it comes to police films, Police, Adjective invites the viewer to consider their own attitude towards the law.  Why do we have laws and do we really need them?  Cristi is forced to consider whether his superior’s attitude — that the law must be obeyed just because of the fact that is the law — is correct or if it’s just another excuse to justify the power of the state at the expense of the rights of the individual.

Not only is it a good question but it’s a question that not many films have the courage to ask.

Fortunately, Police, Adjective does.


12 Random Things That I Am Thankful For In 2013


Happy Thanksgiving!

Traditionally here in the States, Thanksgiving is the forgotten holiday that sits between Halloween and Christmas.  This is the time of year that those of us in the States are supposed to think about what we are thankful for.  According to the people in Washington, this year we’re also supposed to talk to all of the members of our family about politics.  They’ve even made talking points available, just in case you have a relative who isn’t crazy about your personal ideology.  To me, though, that seems kind of foolish.  Why would you ruin a perfectly good Thanksgiving with politics when you could spend your time thinking, talking, and arguing about movies and television?

After all, Presidents are only around for, at the most, eight years.  Movies are forever.

With that in mind, here are twelve random things that I am thankful for in 2013.

1) I’m thankful that there are still visionaries like Shane Carruth who can make films like Upstream Color.

2) I’m thankful for actors, like Robert Downey, Jr., who are capable of making mainstream films, like Iron Man 3, memorable.

3) I’m thankful that a show like Breaking Bad got a chance to remind us of just how good television can be.

4) I’m thankful for Blue Is The Warmest Color.

5) I’m thankful that at least some people understand that The Counselor is one of the best films of 2013.

6) I’m thankful that this October was this site’s most succesful horror month yet!

7) I’m thankful that, in 2013, we can still watch movies like The Passion of Joan of Arc.

8) I’m thankful that I actually saw Tyler Perry’s Temptation because, otherwise, I would not believe that such an inept and deeply offensive film could have been made.

9) I am thankful for Icona Pop’s I Love It, which is currently my favorite song to play while I’m dancing around the house in my underwear.

10) I am thankful that the series finale of The Office was everything that it should have been.

11) I am thankful that Dexter finally ended because, seriously, the show was getting so bad that it was running the risk of overshadowing how good the first few seasons actually were.

12) Finally, and most importantly, I am thankful for our readers and for our subscribers.  Y’all are the ones who make all of this worthwhile.  Thank you!