Archive for the JAGP Category

Telluride 37: 15 reviews in 2000 words!

Posted in Festival/Event, JAGP, Review with tags , , , , , on September 8, 2010 by Jared Parmenter

I’ve just returned from the 37th annual Telluride Film Festival, held high in the Colorado mountains Sept 3-6th, and damn it was another good year.  As a volunteer usher at the Chuck Jones Cinema for the third year in a row, I once again had a backstage pass to see some of the larger films that premiered and screened at the fest; in this post I’ll give ultrashort reviews of every film I saw, and try to recount a bit of the experience of being there as well, with links updated to more substantial reviews as I write them.  Continue reading

Rob Thomas Getting Another Chance at “Party Down”?

Posted in JAGP, TV (Prime-time) with tags , , , , on August 26, 2010 by Jared Parmenter

Rejoice, Tim!  /Film is reporting that Veronica Mars and Party Down creator Rob Thomas creator is moving to NBC with a new TV project dubbed “Temps.”  It’s revolves around the lives of recent college grads, struggling to find livelihoods in the post-bust economy (a subject I have a special affinity for) and the hilarious, deadpan hijinks that will certainly ensue.

Currently, the pilot has been greenlight by NBC and is in production.  Hopefully, the wider audience, national attention, and critical success of his previous projects will catapult “Temps” into new territory for Thomas – although, as /Film points out, the change from Starz to the more lowest-common-denominator-pandering NBC likely means the rehash will have to lose some of its ascerbic wit… and maybe some of the family-unfriendly drug use.  Let’s hope the ratings meet the acclaim at least halfway, this time around.

Kick-Ass: Should have been titled “Lick-Cock”

Posted in JAGP, Review with tags , on April 24, 2010 by Jared Parmenter

Yep, this is a movie about penises.  No matter what lengths the director goes to misdirect the audience with all the banality (read: derivative, Lifetime-appropriated teenage life narratives), the whole thing boils down to a disappointingly simplistic, pubescent fantasy.  Yes: that’s bold, italics, AND underlines you see there.
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Children of Invention: A Stunning Debut

Posted in JAGP, Review with tags , , on March 19, 2010 by Jared Parmenter


In his first feature film, director Tze Chun weaves a powerful, understated tale about a small Chinese family’s struggles to survive and prosper in suburban Boston. With a keen photographic eye, a provocative script, and a gentle directorial touch, Children of Invention flows effortlessly from hilarious to heartbreaking, and packs a subtle political message about the American Dream that will linger long after its 86 minutes have flown by.
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New Classics: Zardoz

Posted in JAGP, New Classic with tags , , , on January 19, 2010 by Jared Parmenter


Looking back on the past 30 years of his career, it’s hard to imagine Sean Connery actually made this movie. Featuring scantily clad female dictators, giant talking statues flying through space, and a post-scientific hippie burnout theology, I’m sure he looks back on this as the youthful indiscretion of his filmmaking career, much as I regret the time I chugged milk until I threw up or tried to cough up french fries through my sinuses. That being said, Zardoz reflects a paranoia about the End of The World Due to Irresponsible Human Industry that has seen a huge resurgence in popularity these days, as we consider our power to destroy ourselves, and the need to rebuild humanity. Hopefully when it happens we won’t all be forced to don his bikini-brief costume.
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New Classic: Seven

Posted in JAGP, New Classic with tags , on November 19, 2009 by Jared Parmenter


The mid 90’s and early 2000’s were awash in the now cliche, obsessive-detectives-stalking-the-psycho-killer genre. Replete with repetitive story lines, celebrity junkie psychopaths, and the same hard-boiled grimace stamped on the face of every detective with a tender spot for Sam Spade impersonations, the genre surged in popularity during the dark renaissance inspired by the same culture which gave birth to grunge music. David Fincher’s Seven (or, for the typographically anal, Se7en) was certainly not the first, nor was it the last, of this particular niche of crime drama, but within the endlessly recycled mediocrity which has since worked its way almost exclusively onto direct-to-DVD labels, it managed to break new ground with its bold, bleak vision of contemporary culture and an intricate plot so original its twists and turns still resonate today.
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New Classic: Adaptation

Posted in JAGP, New Classic with tags , , , on November 5, 2009 by Jared Parmenter

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I’m a sucker for films that muck around with traditional storytelling motifs. It’s not that I have anything against traditional three-act, beginning-middle-end narratives, but sometimes they can just get so droll and boring. I love a filmmaker / screenwriter who’s willing to take some risks and fool around with the audience’s expectations to produce a plot that breaks outside the bounds of the archetypal Hollywood film. Thank God for Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman.
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New Classics: Videodrome and The Ring

Posted in JAGP, New Classic with tags , , , on October 22, 2009 by Jared Parmenter

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At 17, Videodrome shocked me. In the first few minutes a talk show host asks if violence and stimulation on television are linked to violence in social culture, an idea which gets James Woods’ Max Renn so hot for his co-interviewee that he asks her out on national television.  Nicki brand, played by the surprisingly sublime Debbie “Blondie” Harry, in turn, is turned on by everything from being pierced mid-intercourse to hanging out watching snuff porn while being cut with a knife.  Watching these tender moments of the first fifteen minutes with my father was certainly one of the more uncomfortable experiences of my moviegoing adulthood.
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New Classics: Boogie Nights and The Matrix

Posted in JAGP with tags , , , , on September 24, 2009 by Jared Parmenter

BoogieNights
I love PT Anderson. He hasn’t made a movie yet that I don’t enjoy; Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love, and especially There Will Be Blood are all fantastic films which contain hidden fruits rewarding repeated viewing and discussion. Yet each of these masterpieces (yes, all of his films are masterpieces!) has a hard outer surface, a lattice of desperation and obfuscation which make them slightly inaccessible, at least initially. On the other hand, Boogie Nights, Anderson’s first well-known film (ok, Hard Eight isn’t quite a masterpiece), starts out with a bang, and never lets go, pulling you in from the first notes of the intro until the final money shot.
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Bad Lieutenant: Mashed Up For Your Viewing Pleasure

Posted in Festival/Event, JAGP, Review with tags , , , , on September 13, 2009 by Jared Parmenter

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Taking its name from the 1992 Abel Ferrara film Bad Lieutenant, Werner Herzog’s new film bears almost no resemblance to the original, grungy cop drama. Do not confuse them; where Harvey Keitel plays a gunslinging cop laden with guilt and remorse, in Nick Cage’s hands, the character becomes a self-conscious amalgam of genre-busting policemen, assembled from bits of everything from Police Academy to Miami Vice to Lethal Weapon, with a bit of Bad Boys-parody thrown in for good measure; where Keitel pursued a nun’s rapist, Cage tracks down the murderer of a Senegalese family; where the original was a straightforward crime drama about a drug-addicted “bad cop,” Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans is equal parts a lighthearted reworking of the 90’s police caper, a reflection on the mania of our overstimulated society, and a meditation on coping with catastrophe, that embeds the texture of addiction into every character and point of view. Continue reading

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