FilmJerk Favorites

A group of unique directors and the essential works that you've got to see.

||| Andrei Tarkovsky |||
Andrei Tarkovsky

Tarkovsky's contemplative, metaphysical films, more experienced than watched, are perhaps best described in the director's own words: sculptures in time.

In the post-apocalypse, a writer and scientist hire a "stalker" to guide them into The Zone, a mysterious and restricted wasteland with fabled, alien properties. Their journey, captured by Tarkovsky as a succession of incredible images, has, since, been read as political commentary, religious allegory, and Chernobyl prophesized.

Tarkovsky's visionary biography of the 15th-century icon painter is one of cinema's most majestic and solemn experiences. In some way, it will change you.

An adaptation of Stanis?aw Lem's novel of the same name, Tarkovsky's genre-less sci-fi film, which is set mostly aboard a space station hovering off a strange planet, tangles with issues of identity, death and reality in a way that will leave you agape, in the full meaning.

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All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (EdwardHavens)

By EdwardHavens

May 6th, 2009

Neil Young once asked if it was better to burn out than to fade away? In the case of Jonathan Levine's long-delayed feature debut "All the Boys Love Mandy Lane," the answer is crystal clear: fade away, as quietly as possible.

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (EdwardHavens)

First screened at the Toronto Film Festival in the fall of 2006 and delayed from theatrical release once again as of May 6, 2009, "Mandy Lane" is one of those low-budget horror movies that'll become more infamous, not unlike "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation," for having been an early starring role for some of its leads than for anything within the film itself. Not that I am insinuating Amber Heard will become an Oscar-winning actress like Renée Zellweger or Michael Welch will become a rom-com whore like Matthew McConaughey. Heard is a pretty enough girl, but that's all she has going for her, and Welch, to be completely honest, is a lost memory. Not just two and a half years after seeing the movie, but even the very next day. In fact, everything about "Mandy Lane" was so awful -- the acting, the writing, the direction, the camerawork, the sound mix, the costumes, the music and everything else in between -- I have willingly chosen to avoid anything anyone connected to this movie has completed since then. It's going to take something really special to make me change my mind.

As for the plot, it revolves around a group of high school kids who head out to a secluded ranch to party, only to find themselves being knocked off one by one for something that happened during the movie's preface. And being a modern mystery/thriller, "Mandy Lane" can't just be a straightforward treatise. It must have itself a plot twist somewhere that throws the story in a different direction. But what happens when the writer throws that twist in too early in the story, like before the first half of the film is over? Well, you just know it's a fake-out and the real twist is coming later, and you'd be correct. In a nutshell, it's just a bunch of dumb, horny, drunk and drugged-out privileged kids getting some kind of twisted comeuppance for being they are dumb, horny, drunk, drugged-out and privileged.

That's a basic summary: dumb kids doing dumb things for dumb reasons. You might actually see for yourself someday, when it finally makes its belated DVD premiere somewhere down the road, but don't say I didn't warn you.

My rating: F