Most weeks, I review more DVDs than the Indy can fit into print. You can look for extra write-ups here, on the IndyBlog.
Where the hell has Stephen Dorff been these many years? Always regarded as a more masculine Ethan Hawke, he last was in Blade, as far as I remember. And he was fantastic. Well, wherever he’s been, it’s good to have him back. No one plays a dirty scumbag better, and in Carjacked, he is in full-tilt creeper mode. Dorff is Roy, a scuzzy car-jacker who kidnaps a beaten-down single mom (Maria Bello) and her son. Pretty soon, he comes to learn that he’s screwed with the wrong mama as she transforms into a claws-bared lioness exacting total revenge on the bloodthirsty bandit. It’s the most action-packed Lifetime movie ever made, filled with explosions, car chases, shotguns and, most importantly, nerve-wracking suspense. But, even with all that, you can rent it with the knowledge that, for at least one more night, you’re giving Stephen Dorff a warm meal.
From the writers of The Hangover and the director of Stuart Little comes a quirky heist film that is a short and breezy 87 minutes yet still manages to outstay its welcome. I love the idea: Two sets of bank-robbers — a cornpone duo and a high-tech trio — accidentally pull a job at the same bank at the same time. These parts of Flypaper, as well as the whodunit aspects, keep you watching until the end. What constantly keeps your finger hovering over the eject button, however, is the irritating miscasting of the thing. Patrick Dempsey is so out of his element as a deductive mental case that it borders on performance art; he should stick to being hunky and vapid on TV. If that weren’t distracting enough, Ashley Judd shows up as a bank teller. Too bad none of the charisma and likability she was known for a decade ago came with her. This could’ve been a cool heist flick, but in the end, it’s just another bum job.
With the advent of digital cameras and affordable home editing studios, who needs film school anymore? Sure that diploma might look great on your mom’s wall, but really, isn’t the best film school just going out there and making your own damn movie? Lloyd Kaufman, founder of Troma, the longest-running ultra-indie film studio in America, believes so. In this third installment of his Make Your Own Damn Movie series, he (with help from other low-budget filmmakers) offers advice on how to raise money, make the most of available production values and locations, develop business plans, and pre-sell your movie, all filtered through that irrepressibly irreverent Kaufman persona Troma fans have come to love over the years. This series is better than any film school, with more real-world, “learn by doing” applications for those of us who’ll never be in the director’s chair for a big corporate studio. And that’s OK. They’ll only water down your erotic zombie thriller anyway.