Check It Out Category: Picks by John

John’s Pick: The Storm Riders

John Staff Pick photoAdapted from the underground comic, The Storm Riders follows two young men, each possessed of superhuman fighting skills, who are forcibly apprenticed to a ruthless master following the murder of their parents. Cloud and Wind encounter an enormous cast of fellow warriors and navigate a number of dense soap-opera subplots before turning upon their nemesis for a dazzling climax of effects-laden combat, offering enough hypnotic visuals and virtuosic fight sequences for even the most jaded action fan.

John’s Pick: The Long Goodbye

Picture of JohnRobert Altman’s pastel-noir subversion of the hard-boiled detective genre, The Long Goodbye, replaces Bogart’s iconic version of Philip Marlowe with a mumbling, likably disheveled portrayal by Elliott Gould. The film’s labyrinthine plot duels a loose, improvisational tone against a backdrop of playful details – until things suddenly get less playful…

John’s Pick: The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye by Sonny Liew

Picture of JohnSonny Liew’s intricately invented graphic history traces the career of fictional comic artist Chan Hock Chye, with the sociopolitical history of Singapore cleverly mirroring the evolution of the comics medium as depicted via a dazzling series of pastiches. Spanning eight decades, The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye finds bittersweet parallels between artistic ambition and political idealism.

Staff Pick: The Young Girls of Rochefort

Picture of JohnPossibly one of the most gorgeous motion pictures ever made (and a major inspiration for La La Land), Jacques Demy’s The Young Girls of Rochefort takes the conventional musical off the studio set and envigorates it with colorful sunlit location shooting. Vibrant, occasionally silly, and about as charming a film as you’re ever likely to see, this picture seems to capture the very essence of springtime.

Staff Pick: 24 Hour Party People

Picture of JohnLike any number of films “based on a true story,” the docu-comedy 24 Hour Party People frequently exaggerates, distorts, fabricates and otherwise obfuscates the historical truth of its subject matter (in this case, the Manchester music scene of the 80s and 90s).  The difference is, this picture does so openly, amusingly, and with a cheerful wink to its audience.

Staff Pick: The Time by The Time (a side project by Prince)

Picture of JohnRumor has it that The Time’s eponymous debut album is effectively a Prince solo side project:  written, produced and performed by the legendarily prolific artist, with Morris Day’s vocals the only other contribution.  True or false, this slice of outstanding pop-funk can easily stand alongside the Purple One’s Dirty Mind/Controversy-era peak.

Staff Pick: The Disaster Artist by Greg Sestero

Disaster Artist Book CoverGreg Sestero’s memoir The Disaster Artist details his time as a reluctant star of the modern cult classic movie The Room, exploring his awkward friendship with the film’s bizarre writer-director-star Tommy Wiseau.  Sestero’s narration of the audiobook allows him to show off his uncanny Wiseau impression across a series of hilarious anecdotes.

Staff Pick: Dead Alive

Picture of JohnPeter Jackson’s Dead Alive reigns undisputed as the messiest zombie movie ever made. In Jackson’s gleefully over-the-top, relentlessly gory, black comedy, Lionel’s overbearing mother receives a bite of an evil Sumatran “rat monkey”. Soon she’s snacking on the neighbors, who rapidly zombify – and then things escalate (watch for the lawnmower).

 

Staff Pick: Jodorowsky’s Dune

Picture of JohnThe documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune chronicles the cult filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky’s mid-70’s attempt to mount an adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic SF novel Dune.  Jodorowsky is a magnetic raconteur, detailing plans (A score by Pink Floyd!  Designs by Moebius!  Casting Salvador Dali and Mick Jagger in roles!) that suggest a fascinating divergence from the eventual 1984 David Lynch film.