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See These Dark Comedies Soaring in Theaters Now!

See These Dark Comedies Soaring in Theaters Now!

Generally we have come to learn that studio releases that
hit theaters in the first few months of the year are usually not their best
offers. They use the first trimester as dumping ground for projects that were
never meant to become hits, but with which they hope to make a quick buck. Clichéd
horror flicks, bad romantic comedies, and dismally mediocre animated features
that could never compete with  summer blockbusters. Yet, for all the terrible
films slated by industry giants there is an equal abundance of great
independent and international productions that manage to get a space in the
crowded marketplace.

This year, the films that stood out among these numerous,
smaller options have been mostly dark comedies, which push the boundaries in
all sorts of unique directions for the audience repulsion and delight. Although
the films below have already opened, it’s never too late to let you know about
them in case they slipped through the cracks. Believe me, any of them will
leave you thinking, “What did I just watch?” in the best possible way.

Buzzard

Opened March 6th

Directed by Joel Potrykus

Brace yourself for one of the strangest, most infuriating, hilarious,
and boldest cinematic experiences of the year. Absolute slacker Marty
Jackitansky (He will remind you the last name is not Polish!) survives by
playing the system in any way possible. Cashing other people’s checks,
returning stolen goods from his job for cash, or complaining to the big
corporations in order to get coupons. His petty scheme soon catches up with
him, but with every successful deceit he exposes the dangerous complacency we
all accept. Marty’s other hobbies include manufacturing a glove that resembles
Freddy Krueger’s claws and hanging out with his friend Derek (played by Potrykus
himself) in the “party zone,” which is what the latter has baptize his
basement. It’s as deranged as it sounds, and it’s great.

*Playing in select theaters now and also available on VOD

READ MORE: Interview with Filmmaker Joel Potrykus on “Buzzard”

Maps to the Stars

Opened February 27th

Directed by David Cronenberg

Hollywood is a fickle place and Cronenberg has a brilliantly
maniacal way of portraying this world in his latest work. Recent Oscar-winner Julianne Moore stars
as Havana Segrand, a washed up actress whose only wish is to play the same role
her mother did in a remake of a movie from decades ago. Moore won the Best Actress Award at last year’s Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for a Golden Globe for her work here. In the Canadian
director’s collection of fame-hungry misfits there is also Benjie Weiss (Evan Bird) a
prepubescent, spoiled actor who hasn’t even finished junior high but has
already been to rehab more than once; Jerome (Robert Pattinson), a limousine driver who, of
course, is also an aspiring actor and screenwriter; Dr. Stafford Weiss (John Cusack), a
wellness guru and author with more internal issues than he can help heal; and
Agatha Weiss (Mia Wasikowska), Havana’s disfigured new assistant who has come to Los Angeles
with ulterior motives. The acid humor, unapologetic observations, and its absurdly self-absorbed
characters make of “Maps to the Stars” a spot-on parody of the worst qualities of the film industry.

*Playing in theaters now across the U.S

The Voices

Opened February 6th

Directed by Marjane Satrapi

Playing Jerry, the most charming serial killer you’ll ever
meet, Ryan Reynolds  gives the best performance of his career in Marjane
Satrapi’s wonderfully insane horror comedy. The timid factory worker has a
history of mental health issues that are hidden under a façade of kindness. At
home, Jerry talks to his pets: Mr. Whiskers, a devilishly cheeky cat, and
Bosco, his good-natured dog. What’s particular about the ordeal is that they
talk back and discuss with him his murderous intentions. Adding to his already outstanding
work as the lovable, if unstable young man, Reynolds also voices both of
animals as well. Anna Kendrick, Jacki Weaver, and Gemma Arterton  are among the targets of Jerry’s
madness in a disturbingly comedic fashion. Stay tuned after the film for one of the
most ridiculous credit sequences ever.

*Available on VOD and still playing in a few theaters across the country

READ MORE: Interview: Marjane Satrapi on her murderous comedy “The Voices”

What We Do in the Shadows

Opened February 13th

Directed by Jemaine Clement & Taika Waititi

Get ready to die of laughter with this masterful
mockumentary that capitalizes on the general public’s obsession with reality
shows and the allure of vampirism and its promise of eternal life. Four ancient
bloodsuckers share a house in Wellington, New Zealand and decide to let a crew
film their day-to-day routines as vampires living in the modern world. What
ensues are a series of intelligently written occurrences that transform every
known convention about these creatures of the night into hysterical gags.
Everything from their hunting tactics, to their feuds with the
local pack of werewolves, and even their endearing relationship with a human
they do not wish to devour. “Flight
of the Conchords” creator Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi co-wrote, co-directed, and star in the film as Vladislav and
Viago respectively. This has to be the funniest film of the year hands down.

*Playing in theaters now across the U.S

Wild Tales” (Relatos Salvajes)

Opened February 20th

Directed by Damián Szifrón

In this Argentine deranged and inventive ode to madness we are
confronted with the animal instincts that we so desperately try to hide – until
we can’t. Betrayal, injustice, and even the need to avenge a loved one, drive
Szifron’s characters into losing control. With pitch black comedy that is as
universal as the situations it explores, his film is a hilarious and smart
vehicle for sharp social commentary. Besides being a complete riot that packs
in uproarious humor, the film demonstrates the director’s ability to create a
cohesive film out of diverse vignettes united by the dark side of human nature.
From start to finish “Wild Tales”
is truly a savagely fun trip. The film premiered at the 2014 Cannes Film
Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Foreign Language Film
this yea. 

*Playing in select theaters now across the U.S and expanding in upcoming weeks

READ MORE: Sydney Levine on “Wild Tales,” Business and Pleasure

READ MORE: Interview: Damian Szifron on the Oscar-nominated “Wild Tales”

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