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    Dexter – The Complete Second Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 26th, 2008

    Man, has television come a long way in just over 50 years. There was once a pretty strict code that applied to television programs. Men and women, even when married, couldn’t be seen to have shared the same bed. Anything stronger than a “golly gee” was strictly forbidden. You couldn’t even show a woman’s belly button. And the good guys always had to win, while the bad guys got their comeuppance in the end. Alfred Hitchcock was one of the first to push those boundaries by telling mystery stories where the bad guys often appeared to get away with their evil deeds.
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    Naked Pursuit

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on October 31st, 2006

    Synopsis

    A student radical, wanted for the murder of a police officer, is also being held for rape. In the interrogation room, the woman he attacked refuses to press charges. Neither speaks. The rest of the film is a flashback. Fleeing custody, the man encounters the suicidal woman on a deserted island. He assaults her repeatedly, but also falls in love with her, and she with him. It’s all very tormenting for the two of them. The end.

    The entire story, such as it is, takes place virtually w…
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    Bazaar Bizarre

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on May 31st, 2006

    Synopsis

    This is an odd fish. It’s a documentary about Bob Berdella, who raped, tortured, killed and dismembered six men in the late 80′s. Director Benjamin Meade combines interviews with the investigators, the prosecutor, a survivor and Berdella himself with gruesome recreations of the crimes, an expectedly hard-boiled narration from James Ellroy, and incongruous performances of songs by the rock band “Demon Dogs.” The result is certainly interesting, but it jumps around so much that it can become h…
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    States of Control

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 28th, 2006

    This is another one of those films that is best suited for the international film festival crowd. I’m not sure, however, if even that group will get this one. Jennifer Van Dyck gives one of the silliest and most wooden performances I’ve ever seen as a woman suddenly constrained by normal life. Under the influence of a messed up play director, she is encouraged to experience life through other eyes. Her use of profanity, sleep deprivation, and depravity are just not interesting to observe. I’ve had bouts of sleep de…
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    White Horse Is Dead, The

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on March 16th, 2006

    Director Pete Red Sky conducts a small, but capable cast in the psychodrama The White Horse Is Dead. Some bits of dialogue hit sour notes, but the cast, which consists of Resmine Atis, Andrew Welsh, and Irina Stemer, hold their own through the rough parts and truly elevate this flawed rendering of an otherwise intriguing – and sordid – tale. Atis plays Naya, daughter to Giselle (a domineering and beautiful hypochondriac), and at the film’s opening, we see she’s the kind of girl, who would do most anything to p…
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    Next Step, The

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on March 2nd, 2006

    Originally released in 1997, The Next Step is one of those coming of age dance films that became so popular in the late 90′s. Usually, that alone would be enough to put me off the film, but as I am a reviewer, I was forced to dig deeper. Unfortunately for me, there really isn’t anywhere deeper to go. The genre pretty much dictates the plot.

    For those who dare to actually be concerned with said plot, I really can’t say it any better than it is already stated on the back of the box. Specifically, this …
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    Sugar

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on January 30th, 2006

    Synopsis

    Summarizing this puppy is a bit of a challenge. But here goes: a nameless young woman (Samara Golden) moves into a dingy apartment located in the middle of an urban hellscape. The place is a mess, with the previous owner’s possessions scattered everywhere. There are plenty of messages on this guy’s answering machine, too, some plenty aggressive (and these messages are the only dialogue in the film). Is the man still alive, and watching her from the ventilation duct? Has she killed him? How m…
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    Zaman: The Man from the Reeds

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on December 17th, 2005

    In the light of today’s world – all the changes that are going on in Iraq, and with hostilities toward America for our involvement being the naturally derivative baggage – I fully expected a piece of anti-American propaganda with Zaman: The Man from the Reeds. However, I was pleasantly surprised upon the discovery that director Amer Alwan, regardless of his political feelings, has instead told a simple, sweet story of love and sacrifice.

    Spirituality does play a part of Zaman’s character, but keep in mind before any rushes to judgment that Zaman’s family is very poor.
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    Picture Perfect

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on December 16th, 2005

    Synopsis

    Pooja (Kirti Reddy) dreams of being a film director, but the old boys at the ad agency she works for are constantly brushing her off. When she meets singer Kabir (Abhishek Bachchan), she thinks she could use his talent, but he is hoping for a more romantic relationship. She, meanwhile, is attracted to her boss’s son, but then things become further complicated when she has to pretend to be engaged to Kabir in order to save her job.

    Why, precisely, the Jennifer Anniston vehicle was c…
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    Rated X: A Journey Through Porn

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on December 4th, 2005

    Synopsis

    Dag Yngvesson sets out to the San Fenando Valley to investigate the way the porn filmmaking world works. His first contact is with veteran actor Bill Marigold, who now sees himself as a sort of den father (to coin a phrase) to other performers. With help from Marigold, our documentarist lands one contact after another, some plenty disturbing, and before he knows it, he is being asked to be cameraman on a porn feature himself. The emotional climax follows returning star Jenna Fine’s struggle …
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    Calamari Wrestler, The

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on August 19th, 2005

    Synopsis

    A championship wrestling match is disrupted when the winner is challenged by a giant squid. The squid wins by using a move that was the distinctive trademark of a vanished former champion. Could there be a connection? The girlfriend of the current champ, old flame of the former, certainly wonders. There is something about the squid that draws her… Meanwhile, the wrestling bosses want a rematch, but also want the squid to throw the match. He refuses. Can he beat the corruption in the sport …
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    Until the Night

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on June 18th, 2005

    Until the Night is a “fly under the radar” movie. You haven’t heard of it, but then you watch it. And you’re quite taken with it. Until the Night is in the tradition of those relationship/talkie movies (indy god Cassavetes comes to mind). Night also has shades of Sex, Lies, and Videotape. Characters talk to a camcorder, and there are some Soderbergh moments of time fracture.

    The plot (to call it one) revolves around a pair of relationships. Elizabeth (played wonderfully by …
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    Knight Errant

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on May 27th, 2005

    

    Synopsis

    Jimmy Wang Yu is trying to scrape together the cash for his sister’s eye operation, but hekeeps getting involved in fights, and the need to pay fines and whatnot is actually pushing thefamily towards bankruptcy. Meanwhile, in Japan, a ferocious grandmother has been training herthree grandsons their entire life to be killing machines intent on taking revenge on the man sheblames for her wartime suicides of her daughter and son-in-law. That man is Jimmy’s father. Thestage is …
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    Yakuza Demon

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on January 9th, 2005

    

    Synopsis

    The Date crime family is unwillingly drawn into a mob war with the much more powerfulTendo group. This war disrupts the happy existence of one small sub-family, consisting of Muto,the boss more interested in his model planes than in crime, and his two loyal soldiers Seiji andYoshifumi. Muto promises to kill a high-ranking Tendo member to prove his worth, but Seijiknows he isn’t up to it. He arranges for Muto to be packed safely off to jail instead, and thenstages an attack …
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    Andromedia

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on January 8th, 2005

    

    Synopsis

    Teenagers Mai and Yu have just become girlfriend and boyfriend when Mai is killed in atraffic accident. Her distraught father uses her digitized physical characteristics and memoriesto create an AI resurrection. The new Mai gradually becomes more and more human and fullysentient (think a digital Pinocchio), and she winds up in the Yu’s laptop. A megalomaniacal CEOwants the technology in order to download his own consciousness into the Net and thereby rulethe world. His mini…
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    Master of the Flying Guillotine

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on January 8th, 2005

    

    Synopsis

    China is under the rule of the Ching dynasty, who send out assassins to kill anyone whochallenges the regime. Greatest of these assassins is the blind master of the flying guillotine. Hesets out to kill the One-Armed Boxer (don’t ask me why all these guys have disabilities). Thecharacters come together at a huge martial arts tournament (this is where Mortal Kombatcomes from, kiddies). The plot is no more developed than that of a typical porno. The film’sreason for be…
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    Gozu

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on December 4th, 2004

    

    Synopsis

    A yakuza is charged with eliminating his violently unstable mentor. On the drive to do thedeed, said mentor is (apparently) accidentally killed. But then his body vanishes from the car ofour hero, who is then charged with finding the corpse and making absolutely sure the man isdead, or else. His search takes place in a town populated entirely of grotesques, from a man whohas the same repetitive phone conversation day after day, to another whose face half plaster-white, to a…
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    Hashish

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on August 27th, 2004

    

    Synopsis

    The focus of this documentary is a small mountain village in Morocco, in an area known asthe Rif. Long a centre of hashish cultivation, the region has recently seen that industry take overeverything. We follow the lives of the villagers, and see the cultivation, preparation and selling ofthe drug. There is no narration, and the camera makes no overt judgment about what we areseeing, but the to-the-camera monologues by the villagers leave one with plenty to thinkabout.


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    Blindness

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on August 25th, 2004

    

    Synopsis

    Pity poor Daniel Hong (Chin Han), a mild-mannered eye surgeon who is buffeted at homeby the war between his wife Natalie (Vivian Wu) and blind mother Mrs. Hong (Lisa Lu). His lifeisn’t going to get any easier, however. This night, while he is called away to the hospital, his oldfriend Patrick (Joe Lando) descends on the house. Patrick has spent the last ten years in prison forthe murder of his parents. He has escaped from custody, and he arrives at the Hong residence,hungry…
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    Sweet Violence (Douce Violence)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on May 16th, 2004

    

    Synopsis

    Welcome to the French Riviera, 1962. The youth are beautiful, aimless, and amoral.Searching for meaning in his life, whiny mope Olivier meets the sweet Barbara. These two mighthave something together, but Olivier must take a wide detour on the way to true love, as he firstfalls in with a pack led by Philippe and Elke (played be, you guessed it, Elke Sommer).

    All sorts of hilarious stabs at decadence ensue, as imagined by director/co-scripter MaxPécas, a very conserv…
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    Monster Club, The

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on April 19th, 2004

    

    Synopsis

    John Carradine, playing real-life author R. Chetwynd-Hayes (on whose book the movie isvery loosely based), is ambushed by vampire Vincent Price. Price drains only a bit of his blood,and upon realizing that he has met his favourite author, invites Carradine for drinks at theMonster Club. Here Price spins a trio of tales: a young woman ill-advisedly plans to steal froma lonely “shadmock” (a creature with a fatal whistle); a family-man vampire is stalked byunpleasantly bureauc…
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    Pleasure Party (Une Partie de Plaisir)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on April 11th, 2004

    

    Synopsis

    Paul (Paul Gegauff) and Esther (Danielle Gegauff) have, on the surface, a fine marriage. Thesurface cracks open for us almost immediately, however, as we see that the reason why thismarriage is “fine” is that Esther submits completely to Paul, and becomes whatever he desires.When he suggests that they sleep with other people, she complies, and begins to forge an identityof her own, one that Paul disapproves of. He reacts first with sarcasm, then with every-increasingmental …
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    M-3D The Movie / The Playmates

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on March 6th, 2004

    

    Synopsis

    M-3D purports to be a parody of MTV, which is hardly likely, given that the film, inits original form, was made in 1976. Actually Lollipop Girls in Hard Candy, this is apainful slog combining aphrodisiac lollipops with extra footage involving ancient Greek soldiersdoing sad Three Stooges routines. No, it makes no sense. No, it isn’t funny. And with obviouscuts to the sex scenes, the waste of your life is complete.

    The Playmates is even more resi…
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    Liability Crisis

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on March 1st, 2004

    Liability Crisis tells the tale of Paul, a man obsessed with Hitler and the Holocaust. This obsession threatens relationships with the women in his life. Sounds like an interesting premise. But art is all in the execution.

    The leads in the film are played by Jim Helsinger and Mirjana Jokovic. Helsinger has the potential to look good on screen, but the bad lighting gives off an unnatural brown pallor to his skin. His performance fluctuates between veracious and just plain awkward. Jokovic, an ac…
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    Naked Jane

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on February 27th, 2004

    

    Synopsis

    Jane (Renee Stahl) drifts through contemporary LA. She wants to be a writer, but is reluctantto share her uncompleted work in her writing class. She makes a living typing up term papers.She has a model boyfriend, who is off doing a shoot in Italy and misses her terribly, but she isn’tsure what she feels about him (if anything at all). Then there’s the memory of a car crash thattorments her. Enter an young artist, with whom she begins an affair…

    This is very much a…
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