Scene Stealers

'Hell Town' directors pick favorite horror flicks

Eric Melin

Who is the Letter-Jacket Killer? **"Hell Town,"** a soap-opera style slasher flick, will answer that question when it plays one night only at [Liberty Hall][1] on Oct. 16. Set up like three different TV episodes, this campy gorefest could be viewed as a midseason movie-length Netflix binge. The killer targets ...

'Sleeping with Other People' a true-to-life rom-com

Eric Melin

The biggest curse of modern romantic comedies is that they can be too clean. No, I don’t mean the absence of rough language and nudity. I’m talking about how nice and tidy — and full of crap — rom-com screenplays can be when they follow the formula but leave out ...

Lawrence musician brings film noir festival back to KC

Eric Melin

When The Latenight Callers were formed in 2008, Lawrence drummer/keyboardist Nick Combs didn’t know that much about film noir. The band calls its style “noir-a-go-go,” and its music sounds like something you might hear in a smoky Prohibition-era jazz club of the future. It’s three guys playing vintage gear, dressed ...

Hit or miss? Fall movies have promise, potential pitfalls

Eric Melin

http://www.lawrence.com/photos/2015/sep/10/296474/ This autumn is littered with the usual mix of prestige pictures, Oscar hopefuls and indie dramas, all vying for attention in the season of “serious” movies. Amidst the original entities, some familiar — and already well-publicized fare — is being released as well: Joe Wright’s “Pan,” reimagines an origin ...

The contradictory comedy of 'Mistress America'

Eric Melin

“She opens her mouth to speak and/ What comes out's a mystery/ Thought about, not understood/ She's achin' to be.” The Replacements song [“Achin' to Be”][1] should be the theme song of **Noah Baumbach**’s tough and funny new movie **“Mistress America,”** now showing at [Liberty Hall][2]. For one, despite modern ...

'The Look of Silence' a fascinating, must-see documentary

Eric Melin

http://www.lawrence.com/photos/2015/aug/20/295634/ A companion piece to the best documentary of the last 10 years is playing at the [Alamo Drafthouse][1] in Kansas City, and it sheds more disturbing light on the darkest depths of men’s souls, but for the first time offers a sort of catharsis as well. **“The Look of ...

Retro spy thriller falls flat; Sundance sensation at Liberty Hall

Eric Melin

http://www.lawrence.com/photos/2015/aug/13/295365/ The spy thriller **“The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”** has a couple of underdog qualities that had me rooting for it from the get-go. First, I love the idea that rather then merely stealing the name of the mid-'60s TV show and updating it to the present day (as has been ...

Will Rogers and Okie prank calls come to life in roadshow documentaries

Eric Melin

http://www.lawrence.com/users/photos/2015/aug/05/295061/ Three Oklahoma filmmakers are going on a road trip throughout the Midwest to screen their newest projects, and they are making a stop at the Lawrence Arts Center. The Free State Fest Film Society presents an encore performance of Free State Fest short-film favorite **“Calls to Okies: The Park ...

Latest 'Mission Impossible' weaves old-school suspense, modern-day action

Eric Melin

http://www.lawrence.com/photos/2015/jul/30/294847/ After four “Mission: Impossible” films where superspy Ethan Hunt (**Tom Cruise**) has risked his life and sacrificed any chance of future happiness for his country while wiggling out of the most unlikely tight spots ever devised, how is it that the fifth installment, **“Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation,”** is ...

Boxing cliches spring eternal in 'Southpaw'

Eric Melin

Most boxing movies are rags-to-riches stories but “Southpaw,” starring a bulked-up **Jake Gyllenhaal**, is a riches-to-rags story. This reversal of the traditional structure doesn’t mean that the film isn’t riddled with other cliches, however. Writer **Kurt Sutter** (“Sons of Anarchy”) and director **Antoine Fuqua** (“Training Day”) understands those cliches and ...

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