Attack of the Nerds: Fanboys Makes a Joyride out of Looking Forward to Star Wars

The Fanboys eagerly await the opening of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
The Fanboys eagerly await the opening of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

Remember when, back in 1999, the Star Wars hype was almost as huge, if not even bigger, than this year? After an absence of more than a decade and a half, the saga was about to return with Episode I: The Phantom Menace, and expectations were through the roof. Fanboys, a 2009 comedy by director Kyle Newman, feeds to the frenzy of that time. As the title suggests, you might be in for a wild ride if you belong to the eponymous group. Does the film satisfy in that regard, however, and – on top of that – is it also a movie that’s fun to watch for non-Fanboys?

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A Little Bit of Finger: Chicken and Other Assorted Goodies in The Bone Man

Brenner (Josef Hader, right) and his new lover Birgit (Birgit Minichmayr, left).

Austrian films have been the secret stars of the German-speaking landscape in recent years, not just because of the eccentric Michael Haneke and his Oscar-winning drama Amour. In artistic terms, many of these usually indie pictures have outperformed the more expensive productions from the bigger neighboring country. Lately, one of the mainstays of Austrian cinema has been the Brenner comedy mysteries by director Wolfgang Murnberger. Based on the novels by bestselling author Wolf Haas, these movies impress with their quirky mixture of grotesque crimes and typical Austrian humor. As the third installment of the series, The Bone Man has been one of the most successful movies made in the Alpine Republic. In other parts of the world, however, the film has largely flown under the radar.

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Sweet Temptation: The Collapse of Relationships in Atom Egoyan’s Chloe

Chloe (Amanda Seyfried, left) and Catherine (Julianne Moore, right) play a dangerous game.

‘I think with all directors there are ideas that recur, at least for the ones that have creative control of their films,’ controversial Canadian director Atom Egoyan once remarked. As one of the selected few in the movie industry who don’t need their products to turn a profit, the four-time winner at Cannes and two-time Oscar nominee is privileged to choose his own topics without commercial restraints.

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Castaway On The Moon

The protagonist.

Castaway On The Moon is a brilliant new take on the ‘castaway’ theme.

Imagine your life is in the dumps. I don’t mean that you broke a nail or your dog ran away; I mean you lost all of your money, you’re in foreclosure, and everything else in your life is simply going all down the tube. Some people step up and deal with it vis-à-vis, others jump off bridges to put a quick end to the suffering.

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Merantau

Movie poster

Could somebody call Tony Jaa and let him know that his Indonesian replacement has arrived?

Iko Uwais, an up-and-comer Indonesian martial arts star blasts onto the screen with a humble look, a calm gait and an unstoppable kick, in his first widely publicized film, Merantau.

The story in Merantau is not much different from the majority of martial arts films, with the typical ‘martial arts master goes to the city, not looking for trouble, finds it and then saves the girl, rescues the kid.’ It’s strange that these martial arts masters are never looking for trouble, but they certainly always somehow find it.

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The Analytical Mind: Comparing Sherlock Holmes, Then and Now

Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey jr., left) and Doctor Watson (Jude Law, right) on the hunt for criminals.

Arthur Conan Doyle’s great detective, Sherlock Holmes, is one of English literature’s most recognizable and enduring characters. As such, he has made more than 200 movies appearances since the inception of cinema. The master snoop had been portrayed by such luminaries as Basil Rathbone, Jeremy Brett, Christopher Plummer, Patrick Macnee, Jonathan Pryce, Christopher Lee and Charlton Heston. When Madonna’s former husband, British director Guy Ritchie, announced his plans to create a new version of Sherlock Holmes for the big screen, his choice for the part seemed rather curious to a lot of people. The filmmaker went with American actor Robert Downey jr. in the eponym’s role. The oft-troubled performer from ‘the other side of the pond,’ although talented, was a much-criticized selection due to the fact that he was battling drug addiction and legal problems for the better part of the 1990s and, more importantly, because he is no Englishman. Would he be capable of a convincing performance worthy of the legendary mantle?

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The World Needs a Hero: Vadim Sokolovsky’s The Book Of Masters as a Modern Russian Fairy Tale

Ivan (Maksim Loktionov) and Katya (Maria Andreeva) reunited at the end

The Walt Disney Company has been really active in Russia in recent years. Last year, it bought 49% of the shares of 7TV and launched its own television channel in the country. Yet Disney’s attempts to enter the Russian market did not begin with that event. With The Book Of Masters, the company had already fully financed a film for Russian audiences exclusively in 2009. On paper, the partnership sounds like a match made in heaven. Russia possesses a rich tradition in folk and fairy tales, after all, and who would be better suited to make use of it than Disney, which has long been known for its adaptation of exactly such stories?

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The Odd Couple: Dysfunctional Russian Lives in Boris Khlebnikov’s Help Gone Mad

Help Gone Mad
Engineer (left) and Zhenya (right) on one of their adventures

What would happen if you transferred Miguel de Cervantes’s peculiar twosome of Don Quixote and Sancho Pansa or Samuel Beckett’s equally eccentric pairing of Vladimir and Estragon from Waiting for Godot to the Moscow of the 21st century? This is exactly the experiment Help Gone Mad, an interesting Russian independent film by Boris Khlebnikov, seems to conduct. It is anything but an ‘ordinary’ movie, although the outline is pretty straightforward.

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