Author Archive for Matt Cohen

Director Jeff Nichols on Fugazi, Southern Literature, and Mud

Jeff Nichols isn’t the type of director to make a light film. His first feature, 2007’s Shotgun Stories, a terse family drama about a blood feud between two sets of half brothers in rural Arkansas, became one of the most talked-about films of the year and established him as a fresh new voice in the [...]

Filmmaker Shane Carruth: “I Want My Work to Be Relevant in the Future”

For a while, fans weren’t sure if they’d ever hear from Shane Carruth again. In 2004, the young, unknown director premiered a film at Sundance called Primer—a scrappy, dense, mind-melting treatise on time travel made on a microbudget. Primer went on to win the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance that year, and Carruth instantly become [...]

Evil Dead, Reviewed

According to legend, Sam Raimi’s original Evil Dead used so many gallons of fake blood that the crew had to cart a corn syrup-drenched Bruce Campbell home from the set each day in the back of a pickup truck. It's that kind of absurdity, coupled with Raimi's understanding of horror's underpinnings, that helped his scrappy 1981 film—along [...]

Park Chan-wook Talks Stoker and the Origins of Evil

Korean director Park Chan-wook’s films aren't for wusses. His canon, which includes the cult classic revenge thriller Oldboy, usually revolves around highly stylized visuals, extremely graphic violence, and often brutal subject matter. So the director's oeuvre doesn’t make him the most likely candidate for the mainstream studio system. But in Hollywood, he found an unexpected [...]

D.C. Independent Film Festival: More Films, Reviewed

Short reviews of films showing at the D.C. Independent Film Festival, which runs March 7-10.
Hard Shoulder
If the painful, shamelessly drawn out Saw franchise wasn’t enough of an indication that the “torture porn” subgenre has overstayed its welcome, Nicholas David Lean’s Hard Shoulder should serve nicely as a stark reminder. Like a hackneyed Devil’s Rejects knockoff, the [...]

D.C. Independent Film Festival: Meth Head, Reviewed

Short reviews of films showing at the D.C. Independent Film Festival, which runs March 7-10.
Jane Clark’s feature film debut, Meth Head, is about—you guessed it—a meth head. It tells the story of how the titular character (Luke Haas) got started on the stuff, and what an oh-so-irritatingly silly and emotionally manipulative story it is.
Haas plays [...]

D.C. Independent Film Festival: The First Winter, Reviewed

Short reviews of films showing at the D.C. Independent Film Festival, which runs March 6-10.
In Ryan McKenna’s stark, quirky The First Winter, a Portuguese DJ named Robert makes a pilgrimage to Winnipeg after he learns that the Canadian tourist he recently bedded is pregnant. That plot description may sound bare, but The First Winter is [...]

One Track Mind: Monument

Standout Track: The fist-pumper “Sophisticated Liars,” Monument’s contribution to a recent four-way split 7-inch with Dikembe, Hightide Hotel, and Jet Set Sail. On this track, the typically long-winded post-emo rockers opt for a concise, energetic ditty with a mid-’90s pop-punk feel. “We are sophisticated liars/whoh-oh-oh!/we’ve got you buying every line,” sings Gabe Marquez. But while [...]

The Sleigher: Heartless Bastards, “Blue Christmas”

HO HO WHO: Twangy Ohio rockers Heartless Bastards deliver the kind of melancholy ditty you'd usually find buried on a Saddle Creek sampler circa 2004. So that makes the band a fightin' candidate for Hear Music/Concord Music Group’s Holidays Rule compilation, a collection of somewhat gloomy holiday standards performed by an all-star lineup of folky Americana acts, [...]

RZA on The Man With the Iron Fists and Learning From Quentin Tarantino

As the leader and producer of hip-hop legends Wu-Tang Clan, RZA wears many hats. So it shouldn't be much of a surprise that the actor, author, producer, and musician Bobby Diggs decided to try his hand at directing movies, too.
RZA's directorial debut, The Man With the Iron Fists, opens in the D.C. area tomorrow. He [...]