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    Passchendaele

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on May 9th, 2010

    We are in the midst of the Great War. Michael Dunne (Paul Gross) is a Canadian solider recovering from physical and psychological wounds. He falls in love with his nurse (Carline Dhavernas), and when her asthmatic brother enlists, Dunne heads back to the trenches to protect him, and the two men wind up at the gigantic, murderous battle that gives the film its name.
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    Deranged

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on October 1st, 2003

    

    Synopsis

    JoBeth Williams plays radio host Dr. Rose. Turfed from her radio show, she moves fromsmall-town Eureka to LA (taking with her a mannequin with whom she has involvedconversations). She lands a new job at a small college, and starts making a name for herself.Unfortunately, she has no real qualifications, and is (as Williams twitchy performance makesclear from the opening seconds on) completely off her nut. When a skeptical student starts raisingquestions about her, Dr. Rose w…
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    Expiration

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on September 26th, 2003

    Synopsis

    Gavin Heffernan is told by best pal Erin Simkin that she is pregnant, and that the child is his.Convinced that he hears destiny calling, Heffernan drives Simkin to Montreal for an evening out,intending to propose. He’s right about destiny being just around the corner, but it doesn’ttake the form he thought. Stopping in a convenience store to pick up some stomach medicine forSimkin, he gets caught by a robbery, and his engagement ring is stolen. So is a bag that belongsto Janet Lane…
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    The Pianist (3-Disc)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on June 23rd, 2003

    In 1939 Warsaw is invaded by Nazi Germany, Wladyslaw Szpilman is performing live on a radio station as it is dive bombed by the Luftwaffe. He continues to play until he is almost killed. This opening scene sets the tone for the story of a man so driven by his passion for music even in the face of adversary. As the film continues we watch the establishment of the Warsaw ghetto and the beginning of the reign of hate towards the Jews by Nazi Germany.

    The Warsaw ghetto is full of stark contrasts we watch as people die in the streets from hunger and others prosper by bribing guards and importing goods, we see Germans helping Jews escape from the ghetto and Jews who join the ghetto police in an attempt to save themselves.
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    Basil

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on June 22nd, 2003

    Jared Leto plays Basil, youngest son of the tyrannical Derek Jacobi. Traumatized by the death of his mother when he was young, the exile of his brother (who dallied with a young woman beneath his station), and oppressed by a father for whom class consciousness is the be-all and end-all, Basil is barely equipped to deal with the outside world. He has no friends, and only the most naive notions of romance. Into his life comes Christian Slater, whose worldly ways inspire Leto, and …
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    Better Than Sex

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on May 30th, 2003

    

    Synopsis

    Josh (David Wenham) is going to leave Australia in three days. He meets Cin (Susie Porter)at a party. The two share a cab, and Cin thinks that three days might be just right for a fun fling.This is what happens, and most of the film takes place in Cin’s apartment. There is some prettywitty, breezy stuff here, but there is also much familiar material about how men and women aredifferent, and did we really need yet another romantic comedy with asides where the characters,inte…
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    Brotherhood of the Wolf (3-Disc)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on October 5th, 2002

    

    Synopsis

    In eighteenth-century France, a mysterious beast is terrorizing the countryside. Sent toinvestigate is naturalist Gregoire de Fronsac, who arrives with Mani, his Native Americansidekick (who is a dab hand at martial arts, among other useful skills). The film is completelynuts and completely silly, and its racial politics are a postcolonial theorist’s wet dream, but it isalso hugely entertaining.

    Audio

    Absolutely flabbergasting. At the level of volum…
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    Intimacy

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on May 11th, 2002

    The film may take place in London, and feature English actors, and be shot in English, but this is definitely French cinema. How do we know? Because the sex scenes hit hardcore explicitness, and none of the characters are particularly happy about any of the proceedings.

    Synopsis

    Jay is a former musician, now bartender, and left his family some years ago, in a fit of what appears to have been existential ennui/sexual angst. Now he lives in a run-down house, and is visited every Wednesday by woman with whom he has sex.
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    Belphegor – Phantom of the Louvre

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 9th, 2002

    Another recent big-budget French production to hit these shores, this, along with Brotherhood of the Wolves, makes for an interesting comparison with American blockbusters.

    Synopsis

    A sinister mummy case is discovered in a disused vault of the Louvre. The expedition that originally found the mummy was decimated, and now the mysterious deaths begin again. Living across the street from the Louvre is Sophie Marceau (most recently seen by North American audiences in The World Is Not Enough), wh…
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    Baise-Moi

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on January 22nd, 2002

    In 1993, Virginie Despentes burst onto the French literary scene with Baise-Moi (“F**k Me”), a snarling novel who’s unblinking, deadpan, yet philosophically pointed excess places it in the tradition of Sade. In 2000, Despentes and Coralie Trinh Thi co-directed and scripted this adaptation, which has already forced the French government to re-evaluate its ratings rules.

    Synopsis

    Nadine (Karen Bach) is a prostitute. Manu (Raffaela Anderson) has done porn films, and has just been raped (in a t…
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    Taboo (Gohatto)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on December 26th, 2001

    Intro

    A recent effort from director Nagisa Oshima, perhaps best known for In the Realm of the Sense, Taboo continues his elegant exploration of sexuality and dangerous passions.

    Synopsis

    Imagine a samurai version of Death in Venice, and you have some sense of Taboo. The year is 1865, and a militia has two new recruits. One of them, Kano, is decidedly adrogynous, and the other recruit, Tashiro, promptly falls in love with him. As time goes on, more and more members of the militia fall u…
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    Ginger Snaps

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on November 7th, 2001

    Intro

    From the haunting soundtrack to the career-making performances from the Robin Cook’s superb cast, Ginger Snaps defines what a modern horror film should be: its artfully crafted reality skirts the edge of the mundane while maintaining an edge of surrealism through progressive applications of noire, violence, and the supernatural. The movie thoroughly involves the audience in a gruesome mockery of teenage evolution. Ginger (Katharine…
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