Most weeks, I review more DVDs than the Indy can fit into print. You can look for extra write-ups here, on the IndyBlog.
I’ve been looking forward to Chillerama for a while now, a comedic genre anthology billed as “the ultimate midnight movie” and featuring segments from such up-n-comers as Adam (Frozen) Green, Joe (Wrong Turn 2) Lynch, Tim (2001 Maniacs) Sullivan and as well as the ever-reliable, always-underrated Adam (Detroit Rock City) Rifkin. Like most anthologies, it’s half of a good movie. Rifkin’s hilariously dirty giant monster take Wadzilla is the best of the lot, with a real eye for what made ’50s monster movies so fun. Green’s The Diary of Anne Frankenstein is a one-note joke that pretty much peters out, but it’s still a good joke. Lynch’s wraparound about zombies at a drive-in is OK for what it is. The worst of the lot is Sullivan’s I Was a Teenage Werebear, which is a dumb gay joke stretched out to 30 minutes, complete with bad musical numbers. Chillerama gets more respect from me for what it’s meant to be than for what it actually does.
The cover for The Art of Getting By says “From the studio that brought you Juno and (500) Days of Summer.” Sorry, but that's not the best way to promote your movie: letting me know that it's going to be filled with emo-teens emoting in front of an indie soundtrack for two hours. That’s essentially what Getting By is, but, thankfully, it’s also the most innocuous of the lot. If anything, it’s a hilarious character study wherein kids talk and act like adults, because the screenwriter has no idea how teens really are. He instead uses idealized recollections of his youth, wherein he was the too-smart, above-it-all artist, and the dream girl who never gave him the time of day because she was too busy screwing jocks actually, eventually, falls for his sensitivity. Might as well be sci-fi.
From the first frame of the indie sci-fi flick Another Earth, you can tell this is going to be one of those movies with an irritatingly ambiguous ending. This made Earth a frustrating movie to watch, because it has a great idea and asks some great questions, but out of some sort of arty bullshit credo, will never do anything with them. One night, a parallel Earth appears in the sky, leading to speculation about what our alternate selves might be like. This question is especially important for Rhoda, who did four years for manslaughter thanks to a brutal DUI. Trying to deal with her guilt and make amends, she’s offered a trip on-board a shuttle to Earth-2. What should be an astounding journey devolves into self-serving pathos. Cue the ambiguous ending and my anger at having wasted 92 minutes. Another Earth could’ve been so much more. Maybe on a parallel Earth, it is.