Winter Movie Guide: January 2012 – Week 1



Written by Gerald Cuesta & Michael Cuesta

Directed by Michael Cuesta

Starring Ron Eldard, Bobby Canavale, & Jim Hennessy

“After 20 years on the road with Blue Oyster Cult, Jimmy Testagros returns to his hometown to life with his ailing mother. Complications arise when he falls for an old friend, who is now married to his longtime nemesis.”

Director Michael Cuesta has made a name for himself the past few years in the world of premium television, honing his skills on Six Feet Under, Dexter, and Homeland since his first film L.I.E.  Now, he returns with another feature film, the drama Roadie, about a roadie for Blue Oyster Cult that comes home to take care of his sick mother.  Things get complicated when his feelings for an old friend stir up the rivalry he once had back at home.

Cuesta is a great producer/director, and while I still haven’t seen L.I.E. it remains often recommended to me.  Roadie looks interesting, and it has the pedigree of being released by Magnolia Pictures, the arthouse mother studio to the wildly popular Magnet Releasing.  Roadie looks like one of those human dramas that is simply about the people involved, and how what we see on screen with impact their lives.  There is nothing big or flashy about this film, and it doesn’t need it.  It’s a simple story for those that just want to watch a human story when they sit down for a movie.  Probably not for those into giant, warring robots.

In the Land of Blood and Honey

Written & Directed by Angelina Jolie

Starring A Serbian Cast

“During the Bosnian War, Danijel, a soldier fighting for the Serbs, re-encounters Ajla, a Bosnian who’s now a captive in his camp he oversees. Their once promising connection has become ambiguous as their motives have changed.”

Angelina Jolie’s bleeding heart has finally found transference beyond her acting roles, so this time she has decided to direct a film, about the Bosnian War, starring Serbian actors.  If there could be a more pretentious film made this year, I’d like to see it.  (Nevermind, I won’t want to see Madonna’s W/E)  If you watch Oprah, you love Jolie, and you can’t stop worrying about people far, far away (especially while you sit on piles and piles of money), then this film is probably for you.  Opens in limited theaters today.


The Devil Inside

Written by Matthew Peterson & William Brent Bell

Directed by William Brent Bell

Starring Fernanda Andrade, Simon Quarterman, & Evan Helmuth

“In Italy, a woman becomes involved in a series of unauthorized exorcisms during her mission to discover what happened to her mother, who allegedly murdered three people during her own exorcism.”

The first film from Paramount Insurge, their “micro-budget” division that was started last year.  Made for little money, they have put more than 10 times the original production budget into advertising alone.  Which isn’t a bad thing, it’s a new platform for low budget movies to be seen by wider audiences, and in the long run, it’s cheaper than the studio making a few mid-range budget films and not being able to properly promote them.

Of course, since it’s low budget, we’re back into familiar territory, centering on a woman who is trying to investigate what happened to her mother, who allegedly killed 3 people while being exorcised.  Now, she has teamed up with a rogue priest who does underground exorcisms without the permission of the church.  I suspect that from there, things go wrong, as they always do in exorcism movies.  This one doesn’t need to be remembered, or even need longevity, two good weeks at the box office and they’ve made their money.  Don’t like the genre?  Vote with your dollars, and don’t give this movie any.

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