SHELF LIFE: Is the Bob and Doug McKenzie comedy 'Strange Brew' past its expiration date?
Credit: Warner Bros. Home Video

SHELF LIFE: Is the Bob and Doug McKenzie comedy 'Strange Brew' past its expiration date?

This one might be primarily for fans and the nostalgic

What is Shelf Life? I recently moved into a new apartment, which means I had to box my entire movie collection. Now I’m trying to figure out how much of my physical media actually fits here.

Each and every title is now up for grabs, new or old, and it’s time to decide what goes on the shelf and what just plain goes.

TITLE: Strange Brew
YEAR: 1983
DIRECTOR: Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas
SCREENWRITER: Rick Moranis & Dave Thomas and Steven De Jarnatt
FORMAT: Blu-ray
PURCHASED OR SENT: Purchased

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Review: 'Pete's Dragon' is a beautiful fable for anyone who has ever loved a pet
Credit: Walt Disney Pictures
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Review: 'Pete's Dragon' is a beautiful fable for anyone who has ever loved a pet

Stop calling this one a remake, because it's a brand new animal

One of the things you have to do if you’re going to be a film critic who wants to consistently weigh in on films of every genre and style is meet films on their own terms, and while that sounds easy, it feels like more often than ever before, I see critics who just plain reject entire styles of storytelling.

How many times have you read a variation on “I hate horror films” or “I hate superhero movies” or “I hate Westerns” from critics? I don’t understand that because I love film as a whole, and I would hate to do this professionally if I was filled with dread at every single example of a type of film that I had to see frequently. Sure, there are plenty of disappointments that stack up over the course of a year, but unless you walk in wide open to every film, you’re shutting yourself off to the thing that has kept me heading back into theaters year after year after year, movie after movie after movie: the joy of being surprised. Yet I see plenty of people opt out of treating “children’s films” seriously.

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SHELF LIFE: Nicolas Cage and Elijah Wood surprise in sly thriller 'The Trust'
Credit: Saban Films

SHELF LIFE: Nicolas Cage and Elijah Wood surprise in sly thriller 'The Trust'

A new column kicks off with a direct-to-video gem

What is Shelf Life? I recently moved into a new apartment, which means I had to box my entire movie collection. Now I’m trying to figure out how much of my physical media actually fits here.

Each and every title is now up for grabs, new or old, and it’s time to decide what goes on the shelf and what just plain goes.

TITLE: The Trust
YEAR: 2016
DIRECTOR: Alex Brewer and Benjamin Brewer
SCREENWRITER: Adam Hirsch and Benjamin Brewer
FORMAT: Blu-ray/DVD/digital copy
PURCHASED OR SENT: Sent

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Meet the reason 'Vice Principals' doesn't sound like any other comedy on TV
Credit: HBO

Meet the reason 'Vice Principals' doesn't sound like any other comedy on TV

It seems obvious now, but what a great choice

Have you been watching Vice Principals on HBO so far?

If not, you’re missing a completely deranged new comedy that is only going to get more deranged as it goes. This should not be a surprise since it’s the brainchild of Rough House Pictures, the partnership between Jody Hill, Danny McBride, and David Gordon Green, and it’s their first HBO show since Eastbound & Down went off the air. While many of the same people are working in all departments on Vice Principals, as it unfolds from week to week, it’s clear that they’re not just rehashing the same sort of thing they’ve already done, and that judging this show from its pilot is impossible, because it’s not the same show even now that it was a month ago.

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Director David Lowery explains why his 'Pete's Dragon' is so intentionally gentle
Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Director David Lowery explains why his 'Pete's Dragon' is so intentionally gentle

Plus he explains how he got Robert Redford to show up in New Zealand

It seems very strange to me that it took until 2016 for me to meet David Lowery face to face.

Not because I expect I should meet every single working filmmaker. That’s just silly. I’ve met a staggering number of writers, directors, actors, and people working at every other level in film and television over the years, but there are are plenty of people I’ve never run into, and I’m fine with that. With David, though, I have a history. You see, he used to be a spy for me.

More accurately, he was a regular reviewer at Ain’t It Cool under the name “ghostboy,” and his beat was the festival circuit. I edited dozens and dozens of his pieces over the years, and I came to rely on him as a guy with a very strong sense of what he does or doesn’t like, and a real fondness for quiet, thoughtful filmmaking.

But that entire time, I never actually met him. And in the time since he released his first feature, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, we still hadn’t crossed paths, which made my recent interview with him extra-strange as I walked into the room.

“Hello, strange person I have never met or spoken to in any capacity,” I said, prompting a very confused look from the publicist who walked in with me.

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Will lightning strike twice? The 'Bad Santa 2' trailer wants us to think so
Credit: Miramax

Will lightning strike twice? The 'Bad Santa 2' trailer wants us to think so

This is going to be a tough one to get right

Well, it’s going to be dirty, that much is for sure.

Here’s one of those films I genuinely thought would never happen, no matter how many times they announced it. The original Bad Santa, directed by Terry Zwigoff, was manhandled so much during post-production and even after release that it’s one of those accidental hits. It wasn’t released by Miramax as much as it was abandoned to its fate.

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Review: 'Sausage Party' destroys the idea that American animation has to be for kids
Credit: Sony Pictures/Anapurna
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Review: 'Sausage Party' destroys the idea that American animation has to be for kids

Is it fair to call a cartoon about a talking hot dog the new 'Blazing Saddles'?

Sausage Party is obviously the product of diseased minds, and I love it.

One of the things I think works best about this profoundly R-rated comedy is that it represents a very real attempt to expand the definition of what an animated studio film can be, and any time that happens, I’m interested. There have been plenty of attempts that have failed over the years, but this one is fairly sly about it. A cursory glance at the film might leave you thinking it’s just another in the endless parade of kid’s films about the inner lives of toys or pets or bugs or cars. I suspect there will be numerous parents who make the mistake of taking their kids to the film because they don’t pay attention, and I look forward to hearing the furious accounts of what happens when they realize that the hot dog reeeeeeeeeally likes to say “f**k.” By making this look like the sort of film that studios think of when they think of animation, but subverting the very nature of those movies, Sausage Party is more than funny. It’s downright revolutionary.

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'Ask Drew' features an almost impossible 'Movie God' question this week
Credit: Marvel Studios

'Ask Drew' features an almost impossible 'Movie God' question this week

As always, you guys are great at putting me on the spot

The Marvel vs DC rivalry curdled this year in a major way, and the stink of it has ruined 2016 as a film year for me. I enjoyed Captain America: Civil War, and I enjoyed Suicide Squad, and the mere fact that I was able to enjoy both seems to mark me as some kind of weirdo if you listen to the very loud, but thankfully very small, vocal minority who seem determined to prove to the world that if you like comic book movies, you are likely a sociopath with poor people skills.

I believe better of the vast majority of you, though. I meet plenty of ardent fans who remind me every day that fandom is a community, I would love to sit out all further conversation about the topic, but I think that’s the coward’s way out. I refuse to let anyone dictate what I can or can’t talk about simply because they’ll yell at me if I don’t do it the exact way they want. The great thing about the format for Ask Drew is that it gives you a chance to ask for what you do want, as opposed to the way so many online interactions happen now. If someone wants to know what I think of the future of Marvel, I’m happy to answer, and in doing so, I’m not throwing shade at anything else. I want to reward your enthusiasm with my own, and knowing that you guys take the time to think about what you want to ask means I want to encourage your interest with my own in return.

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Writer/director Joe Begos makes the case for his wild horror film 'The Mind's Eye'
Credit: HitFix

Writer/director Joe Begos makes the case for his wild horror film 'The Mind's Eye'

We have fun talking about blowing up heads

One of the things that happens if you do this job for a long time (and at this point, I have objectively been doing this for a long time) is you start to see the same people over and over at different events. You meet a filmmaker at a festival, for example, and if that film is on the festival circuit for a while, then you end up seeing that same filmmaker several times over the next year.

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Christopher Nolan's next film 'Dunkirk' has an intriguing teaser trailer now
Credit: Warner Bros

Christopher Nolan's next film 'Dunkirk' has an intriguing teaser trailer now

Yep, that sure does look like a war movie

Christopher Nolan is making a war movie.

That’s pretty much all you can truly gather from our first look at Dunkirk, but it’s still a very effective announcement trailer, and it’s our first glimpse at the next film from one of the biggest marquee names in filmmaking right now.

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