Schubert. On Film.

THIS TRAILER BLOWS: The Losers

Posted in this trailer blows by schubertonfilm on March 28, 2010

It’s trying so hard to be cool but just winds up looking like a second-rate version of your average big budget action blockbuster. Let’s put no-name actors next to slow-motion action, make sure to include an awful one-liner in between every explosion and you have a movie that will make no money because no one cares about these actors: Jeffrey Dean Morgan (so you were in the Watchmen. Nobody cares about that movie either), Jason Patric ( I love you but you’re taking a paycheck you sunofabitch) and ESPECIALLY the upcoming “Captain America” – Chris Evans. Who actually likes this guy? He’s obnoxious. I guess people care about Avatar’s Zoe Saldana so maybe someone will go see it, but it’s easy as pie to see The Losers is a second-rate studio quickie for the mentally challenged filmgoer.

“Pink Slip For A Porscha” – A Tribute To Corey Haim

Posted in Corey Haim, Tributes by schubertonfilm on March 22, 2010

To most he was a joke. He was usually referred to as a dumb child actor who got into drugs and became a target for mean jokes and cruel treatment. To me, Corey Haim was not a joke at all. Sure, everything after The Dream Machine is terrible and not worth watching. But for those few good years, Corey Haim made some great throwaway classics. I grew up on Lucas, The Lost Boys, License to Drive and The Dream Machine. I lived my teenage years vicariously through him. While other teens my age were listening to Korn, I was imagining I was Les Anderson taking Heather Graham out in my Grandpa’s Caddy. While people I knew were doing drugs, bottoming out in the depths of the suburbs, I was doing drugs and watching The Dream Machine; imagining that, for just one day, I could magically transport myself back in time, to the only place a boy like me could be happy: the Golden Age of the Teenage Movie. I could hang out with Corey Feldman. Be Jason Patric’s gay kid brother. Or maybe vie for the affections of Kerri Green with Charlie Sheen. He was one of my idols. And now he’s dead.

When I got the early morning text messages informing me of his demise, I didn’t know what to say. I kind of expected it,  I  guess. We all knew Feldman was going to make it out alive. But Haim was in too bad of shape; anyone who attempted to watch The Two Coreys knew that. Hearing about the final moments of his death – his mom seeing him stumble around the bedroom until finally crashing onto the ground – gave me the chills and haunts me to this day. He was only 38 years old but so many years of prescription drug abuse can take its toll. And now people tweet and blog “R.I.P. Corey Haim” like they give a shit. These people didn’t give a shit when he was alive. He was a joke to them; “That kid from ‘The Lost Boys’ who did drugs, right?” Well fuck you. He was a legend to me.

The one thing that bothers me the most is that people think he was always as stupid as he was when he was a full-grown adult. I’ll admit: past 21, he probably became pretty stupid, to the point he was at when he died; unable to act in character and coming off as a meth-addict. But when he was young, before he lost his mind, he was smart, really smart. As “Lucas”, he wasn’t playing himself. He was playing “Lucas” and he was a goddamn revelation in the part. Nobody could have played that part like Haim and he was only 14 years old. In The Lost Boys, he was a comedic genius; my favorite part in the movie. Everyone talks about the Frog Brothers. What about metrosexual Sam? The only kid in all of Santa Carla with the homosexual Rob Lowe poster on his wall? He’s a walking, talking 80’s icon. His Grandpa doesn’t have television; he wants his MTV, goddamnit! His timing is impeccable and he’s undisputedly the heart of the whole movie. He successfully off-sets Kiefer Sutherland and Jason Patric’s dark vampire characterizations with a lively and fun comedic performance. He owned the role.

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DAN’S TOP TEN OF 2009

Posted in best of 2009 by schubertonfilm on February 16, 2010

It took me a while to get down to the business of this. Finding even ten movies that you really loved in today’s age is a tough task. I like a lot of a movies. But I rarely love a movie. These ten movies I loved:

10.  We Live In Public (Ondi Timoner)

Examining the effect of the Internet on modern society, Dig! director Ondi Timoner strikes gold again, documenting the exploits of Internet entrepreneur Josh Harris from the “fun” explosion of the Internet in the late 90’s to the sad state it’s in today. Technology addiction is a particularly fascinating subject for me and this film hit me right where it hurts. The more technologically “in touch” we are, the less the connection means. We Live In Public explains that point in shocking fashion and your eyes will not leave the screen for a moment.

9.  Big Fan (Robert D. Siegel)

Another performance that proves that, more often than not, comedic actors have more range than so-called  “dramatic” ones. Patton Oswalt is this movie. Kevin Corrigan, Michael Rapaport and the rest of the supporting cast are great, but Oswalt owns the film. Showing the depth of a veteran dramatic actor, Oswalt emotes with the best of them, pulling you into the sad mind of New York Giants mega-fan Paul Aufiero and simultaneously creating the most interesting silver screen loner since Travis Bickle turned on his cab light in 1976.

8.  The Informant! (Steven Soderbergh)

This movie is a great time. It isn’t overly heavy, it’s neither low budget or high budget, it’s just right. It’s the kind of mid-sized comedy Hollywood used to make until Dane Cook and Ashton Kutcher started butt-fucking the multiplexes. And again, it’s a one-man show: Matt Damon. He is pitch-perfect in the role of serial liar Mark Whitacre. I always knew Damon could be funny, but I never thought he could pull off a role like this. Another smart casting trick Soderbergh used was surrounding Damon with comedic actors in serious roles: Joel McHale, Tom Wilson, Scott Adsit, Tony Hale, Patton Oswalt, Dick Smothers. Scorsese used this idea in Casino as well with Don Rickles, Kevin Pollak and Smothers. Like I mentioned in the review for Big Fan, comedians have a lot to offer and it’s a shame that so few directors put them to good use.

7.  A Single Man (Tom Ford)


Is style really such a naughty word? It gets a bad rap when people say “style over substance”. I believe there is such a thing as style triumphing over substance and there’s a difference. When the style is so damn good and the visuals are as beautifully composed and appealing as they are in 1960’s-set A Single Man, it can make you forgive any shortcomings in its source material. But that’s not to say the screenplay for A Single Man is poor because it’s actually quite witty, even when it comes off as cold and distant. But it’s the look of the film that gets you and the amazing performance by Colin Firth. He won’t get it, but in my opinion, he deserves that Best Actor Oscar. And to think this is Tom Ford’s first film. Unbelievable.

6.  Drag Me To Hell (Sam Raimi)

A throwback to his classic style, Raimi brings it all back home with Drag Me To Hell. Seeing this movie was a relief. I both love and hate Sam Raimi; he can be an infuriating figure. He’ll give you campy brilliance with the Evil Dead trilogy and bring you a thoughtful, carefully-made moralistic drama like A Simple Plan. But then the bad Raimi can turn around and give you Spider-Man movies and For The Love of the Game. This time out Raimi hits an absolute home run. It’s a fun movie with no bullshit and no emotions. It tells its ghost story from A-Z and doesn’t let up from the first frame, thankfully using minimal CGI and, instead, installing the visual trickery that most horror movies utilized until computers took over the world. Thank you Sam Raimi for restoring my faith in you and, may I say, thanks in advance for not making Spider-Man 4.

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Review – Z CHANNEL: A MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION

Posted in 2000s, Reviews by schubertonfilm on February 5, 2010

Z CHANNEL: A MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION (2004)  ****

Directed by: XAN CASSAVETES

Interviewed: F.X. FEENEY, ROBERT ALTMAN, JAMES WOODS, QUENTIN TARANTINO, STUART COOPER, JIM JARMUSCH, ALEXANDER PAYNE

Before I viewed this documentary, I had no clue what Z Channel was. It was on television so long before my time I could never have known. Z Channel was one of the first cable subscription movie channels, predating both HBO and Showtime, but available only in Los Angeles and its surrounding areas. But the fact it was only available in Los Angeles did not hinder Z Channel’s success. It actually boosted its profile, as all of the film industry juggernauts watched Z Channel and scouted for talent. The groundbreaking and original thing about Z Channel was that it was the first of its kind to play uncut versions of its movies, some of which had never been shown in public before. And the other groundbreaking thing was that the majority of the programming was not done by market research or a team of programmers, but the brainchild of one, some might say crazy, film lover by the name of Jerry Harvey.

Harvey was a struggling screenwriter with the right connections. A friend of filmmakers like Sam Peckinpah, he was a well-known movie nut when asked to head up programming for the fledgling Z Channel. He made it his mandate to seek out unknown, underground films that were under appreciated, barely seen and/or mostly ignored. He saved movies from extinction. He was the first to show the box office flop Heaven’s Gate in its full, uncut 4 hour glory and the first to play the studio-chopped version of Sergio Leone’s Once Upon A Time In America on a double bill alongside it’s newly found 4 hour director’s cut. In this documentary, James Woods states that Oliver Stone’s 1986 film Salvador would never have received the Oscar nominations it did if not for Z Channel stirring up attention. Robert Altman gives Harvey full credit for rescuing lost gems like McCabe & Mrs. Miller and Images. It’s easy to forget that in the early 80’s, VHS rental stores were uncommon and the only way of seeing movies like these uncut were cable channels like Z.

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The Brendan Ross Special

Posted in The Brendan Ross Special by schubertonfilm on February 5, 2010

Schubert. On Film is proud to present Peacock-award winning writer Brendan Ross. Take it away Brendan!

The Top 10 Movies of 2009 According to Me,

Brendan Ross!

10. Thirst (Chan-wook Park)

Yeah the whole vampire trend is getting out of hand, but it’s good to know that neat things can still be done with the genre.  My favourite movie of 2008 was Let the Right One In, and although this isn’t nearly as polished as that it is still one of the most unique and visually interesting horror films I’ve seen in some time.  I heard someone say Chan-wook Park is like a Korean David Fincher and I would say that’s pretty spot on.

9. District 9 (Neill Blomkamp)

I will admit I thought the movie lost some of it’s momentum towards the end, but this is still an incredibly smart and focused summer movie.  The effects were fantastic not even considering that the budget was only $40 million.  And considering that the budget was only $40 million, well, the effects were an even more enthusiastic synonym.  It would be so great to see this movie snatch up the technical Oscars over Avatar but, sigh, who am I kidding?

8. Moon (Duncan Jones)

I didn’t think this kind of science fiction filmmaking even existed anymore.  A complex and intricate plot that’s surprisingly easy to follow thanks to great storytelling, a classic directing style that uses models and practical effects, and a great lead performance holding it all together.  Sam Rockwell, who I’ve always thought is incredibly likeable, pulls in my second favourite performance of the year in what is essentially a one-man (two-man?) show.  The mere fact that he hasn’t gotten any recognition for this really proves the fact that the Oscars and especially the Golden Globes are a joke.

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Review – WILD COMBINATION: A PORTRAIT OF ARTHUR RUSSELL

Posted in 2000s, Reviews by schubertonfilm on February 3, 2010

WILD COMBINATION: A PORTRAIT OF ARTHUR RUSSELL (2008)  ***1/2

Directed by: MATT WOLF

Interviewed: PHILIP GLASS, TOM LEE, ERNIE BROOKS, CHUCK RUSSELL, EMILY RUSSELL, ALLEN GINSBURG

Arthur Russell lived out his life as a virtual unknown. A staple of the underground 70’s and 80’s NYC scene, he released few albums and even fewer under his real name. He wrote some disco hits in the late 70’s, but his true genius came in the 80’s, when he began bridging the gap between classical and popular music, creating atmospheric and experimental tunes with his prized cello. His albums were barely released and only now, with the advent of the web, is he experiencing the kind of popularity he so richly deserved.

In Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell, director Matt Wolf mostly chooses to concentrate on Russell’s complex personal life and eccentricities rather than his music, which is fine because he is such a fascinating character. Interviews with his normal, straight-laced parents plot out his beginnings, an Iowa farmboy who moves to the city and hooks up with luminaries like Philip Glass and Allen Ginsburg, who are both interviewed here. He jammed with the Modern Lovers and the Talking Heads before getting caught up in the whirlwind of disco, writing and producing songs under the guises Dinosaur L and Indian Ocean, before finally going under his own name in the mid eighties. Though critically acclaimed, his albums did not sell well, a result of being ahead misunderstood and ahead of his time. He spent most of his life in virtual obscurity until his tragic death of AIDS in 1992.

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THIS TRAILER BLOWS: Valentine’s Day

Posted in this trailer blows by schubertonfilm on February 2, 2010

Julia’s back!!! Yay!!!

Gotta love that Garry Marshall. For almost three generations now, he’s brought the world the most derivative Hollywood romantic comedies one can dream up. And “Valentine’s Day” looks like the cream of the crop. When He’s Just Not That Into You came out, one would assume that was as star-packed as a romantic comedy could be. Boy was I wrong. Leave it to Garry to get every amazing method actor into the same movie: Ashton Kutcher, Jessica Alba, Taylor Swift, Julia Roberts, George Lopez, Jennifer Garner. With so many actors I want dead in the same movie, maybe I’ll just show up at the premiere and Grassy Knoll that sunofabitch.

KILLER 80’s 3-PEATS: Curtis Armstrong

Posted in Killer 80s 3-Peats by schubertonfilm on February 2, 2010

A candid moment with Curtis

In the “Killer 80’s 3-Peats” series, I examine 80’s actors that made three classic characters and/or movies in a row.

In the inaugural edition of Killer 80’s 3-Peats, we discuss the amazing three movie streak of Curtis Armstrong.  The casual movie viewer will know him, of course, as Booger in the Revenge of the Nerds series. But to the 80’s stalwart, he is a character actor on par with a Malkovich or a Tobolowsky. Armstrong has made a ton of movies and TV shows in his long and successful career, but in the early to mid 80’s he reached cult status when he made three classic teen comedies in a row: Risky Business, Revenge of the Nerds and Better Off Dead.

Sometimes you just gotta say ‘What The Fuck’.

1983 – RISKY BUSINESS

Miles: Joel, you wanna know something? Every now and then say, “What the fuck.” “What the fuck” gives you freedom. Freedom brings opportunity. Opportunity makes your future.

Risky Business is an interesting creature. I did not see it until around 1998, when I was 14, and, even though I purchased it on VHS, I hated it. With a passion. 80’s teen movies were my main thing, but this was not an 80’s teen movie in my books. I had heard so much about this “classic sex comedy” but all I saw was a slow-moving, unfunny movie with a terrible synth score by Tangerine Dream. Then a strange thing happened. I gave it another chance and I liked it a little more. Then I watched it again and I liked it even more. Finally, on the fourth viewing, I realized how wrong I was. This movie is an absolute classic. It’s an adult teen movie; mature, observational and patient. This is not some stupid Porky’s-esque gross-out sex comedy where every possible joke is made in total disregard for plot. This is a clearly thought out story of one kid’s rebellion against the man and it took me four tries to be totally blown away by it. And funnily enough, I now count Tangerine Dream’s score as one of my favorite film scores of all time. It’s slow, it’s dreamy and it’s perfect.

The entire cast is great, from Tom Cruise to Rebecca De Mornay, Bronson Pinchot and the always-reliable Joe Pantoliano. But one character always sticks out in my mind: Cruise’s best friend Miles, played by Armstrong. It’s hard to believe this was Armstrong’s debut performance with the amount of comic-timing and confidence it contains. His point in the movie is to push Cruise to say “What the fuck?” and question society’s standards. All Cruise wants to do is get good grades and get into a good university. But Miles pushes on, urging him to order prostitutes and live life on the edge. Easier for him to say, Cruise tells him, he’s already on his way to Stanford. When we hear this line of dialogue, it’s laughable that someone as scrubby looking and rebellious as Miles would be accepted into any university, never mind Stanford. But Armstrong pulls it off and simultaneously makes the movie that much better. It’s the kind of sarcastic/sardonic character that gets me every time, usually played best by the likes of Bill Murray and Jason Lee.

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