Metro Times Goes to Sundance
Our movie reviewer on the indie marketplace.
Published: February 5, 2014
The Raid 2: Berandal — The convoluted plot is borderline incompetent, but Gareth Evans' follow-up to his hit Indonesian: The Raid pushes the envelope for what is possible in an action film. Hyperviolent and jaw-dropping in its audacity, the sequel features the most batshit crazy car chase, gun duels, and martial arts brawls ever burned into the big screen. An epic prison-yard riot set in a gigantic mud pit features dozens of pugilists snapping bones and gouging eyes. A brother-and-deaf sister team of assassins has one wielding a baseball and bat and the other slashing and pounding victims with a pair of hammers. The car chase must be seen to be believed. The movie is two-and-a-half hours long, half of which is an adrenaline junkie’s wet dream, the other half a snooze-inducing bore. With some judicious pruning, the plot and writing wouldn’t get any better, but at least the breaks between blow-your-mind stunt sequences would be shortened. Oh, and did I mention that the budget was a mere $4 million?
What We Do in the Shadows — It’s The Real World set in Wellington, New Zealand, with four vampires who are flatmates. Taika Waititi (Boy, Eagle Vs Shark) and Jemaine Clement (The Flight of the Conchords) write, star and direct, and the results are damn funny. Comedy is, of course, subjective and some didn’t cop to the duo’s mockumentary approach. But I found the movie frequently clever and occasionally hilarious.
Dear White People — Finally, someone confidently steps into Spike Lee’s domain and makes it his own. First-time feature director Justin Simien presents a clever, nuanced and, most importantly, funny look at race relations on an upscale college campus. Though the pace could use some tightening and his narrative sense is loose, his characters, dialogue and comic timing are whip-smart. It’s the perfect vehicle for discussions about race, gender and identity in post-Obama America, and its takedown of Tyler Perry movies is worth the price of admission alone.
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