The 2012 Private Lives of Cold Wild Gentlemen
2012: "Beyond that, there's not a lot else positive to say for 2012 unless you enjoy having your senses assaulted, your brain liquefied, and your bowels throttled with bass. If that's the case, you may walk out blind and stupid with a pant-full of your own defecate, but you'll do so with a big dumb grin on your face, because for nearly a full two hours of the 158 minute run-time, nothing is safe from Emmerich's CGI wrecking ball. The east coast, the west coast, China, Vegas, and the rest of this godforsaken Earth gets completely torched, tossed, shredded, and sliced like the wrists of a teenage Goth girl. Emmerich literally leaves no stone unturned -- he yanks them out of the ground and smashes them into each other in a incoherent, aimless mass of overwrought, over-long, all-encompassing destructive atrociousness." - Dustin Rowles
Cold Souls: "Sophie Barthes' Cold Souls is a beautiful, probing, funny, moving film about everything from the lasting impact of memory to the commodification of the human experience. As a writer-director, Barthes previously explored such territory with her 2007 short Happiness, about a woman factory worker who spots a box labeled "Happiness" in a shop, buys it, and eventually returns it. There's a similar arc to Cold Souls, as the protagonist moves through the requisite stages of denying the essence of self, realizing its importance, and attempting to regain it. But when fleshed out to feature the length the story is truly allowed to flourish, and Barthes invests as much time and effort in the mechanics of the plot as in the creation of honest characters. The film is deliberately paced, but not a frame is wasted. Everything serves the larger emotional journey of the characters and the ultimate point that we're defined as much by what we evoke in others as the images we make of ourselves." - Daniel Carlson
Gentlemen Broncos: "Benjamin Purvis (Michael Angarano) has been writing sci-fi since he was seven years old. After his wildlife ranger father died, he spends his days in the cloying, insane embraces of his lunatic mother Judith (Jennifer Coolidge), a well-meaning clinger who makes strange clothing for cheap retail chains. Benjamin takes a home school field trip to Cletus Fest -- an incredibly low-rent fair dedicated to all things nerd. Benjamin is forced into friendship with quirkstrong Tabitha (Halley Feiffer) and her filmmaking partner Lonnie Donaho (Hector Jimenez). Headlining the conference is science fiction legend Ronald Chevalier (Jemaine Clement), an ego-maniacal creep who published his first trilogy when he was 15. Chevalier's new ideas are failing, so he decides to steal the contest entry submitted by Benjamin, a HarryHausenish blend of Buck Rogers and Dune called Yeast Lords, and makes it his own." - "Brian Prisco
The Private Lives of Pippa Lee: "Very rarely does Hollywood do lady-crazy well. Usually, screenwriters pen female character depth as if everyone is constantly on their period at all times. They assume by having a woman burst into histrionics every five seconds somehow this will earn them an Oscar. Watch every single solitary performance that's won an award over the past decade: either the character stoically attempts not to cry while she gives an impassioned speech, the character hollers like a banshee, or she actually uncorks the waterworks. It's at least 85 percent. But when lady-crazy is done well -- Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Mommy Dearest, even 9 to 5 to a lesser extent -- it's potent and wonderful. The Private Lives of Pippa Lee doesn't contain within it a single solitary stable female character (truth be told, male either). Every scene has the actressin' running the emotional scales like Whitney Houston being car-battery electrocuted by Al Leong for the "American Idol" Halftime Show, but it never feels forced or unnatural. It's a mature and smartly dark coming of middle-age dramedy about a woman trying to rediscover herself. Under any other circumstance, this film would reek of so much Oprahosterone that it would fail a Literary Olympic drug test, but for some reason, it works, even if does so awkwardly." - Brian Prisco
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