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    Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on February 3rd, 2009

    In America, he is wanted. In France, he is desired. Worldwide, his films are praised for their ethereal, disturbing, and sometimes humorous qualities. But his life overshadows his accomplishments. He survived a concentration camp. His parents did not. He found Hollywood success with films such as Rosemary’s Baby, The Tenant, Repulsion, and The Fearless Vampire Killers. His marriage to wife Sharon Tate ended in a brutal homicide that took both her life and the life of their unborn child.
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    The Insatiable

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on April 10th, 2008

    Sean Patrick Flanery is Harry Balbo, an introverted nobody at a nothing job where he constantly mocked by the unfunny office clown. One night, on his way home from the convenience store, he sees a female vampire rip off a homeless man’s head. No one believes him, and his feelings move from frustration to terror when, a couple of nights later, he sees her at work again, and she scratches his face, marking him. He turns to crippled vampire investigator Michael Biehn for help, and eventually captures the vampire. Unable to bring himself to kill her, he is torn between sacrificing himself or others to her bloodlust.
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    Gag

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on November 6th, 2007

    Hmm. A vision of elaborate torture in washed-out tones on the cover. A three-letter title. Gee, could Gag be inspired by Saw? Perhaps, but fortunately not in any slavish way, limiting its connections to the idea of extended torture, and that’s hardly something Saw invented. As opposed to the Saw franchise’s increasingly risible plot convolutions, Gag keeps its setup simple: a pair a burglars break into a house where they first discover a man chained to a bed, and then are captured themselves by the resident nutjob. The ensuing drama is a claustrophobic one, with the main characters trapped in the torture room at the mercy of a lunatic who has a definite, if mysterious, goal.
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    Bloodlines

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on September 11th, 2007

    It’s good taste time once again, as we follow the unfortunate Amber (Grace Johnston) as she falls into the clutches of your usual gang of inbred hillbillies. These psychos have kidnapped a number of women. They then force them to fight to the death, with the idea that the winner will get to carry on the clan’s bloodline. Charming.
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    Live Free or Die

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on July 27th, 2007

    Although I was never really motivated to check this movie out on my own, I had just recently heard of it and thought it could be fun. It doesn’t have any A list stars in it, but rather has a nice collection of well enough known actors and actresses including Zooey Deschanel, Michael Rappaport, Aaron Stanford, and Paul Schneider. Already I’ve heard this film to be a cross between Bottle Rocket and Fargo, well I don’t know if those statements have any warrant, I can only hope they do and Live Free or Die turns out to be a hit. Writers Gregg Kavet and Andy Robin did some writing on Seinfeld so I can only hope a bit of that can rub off on this one.
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    Life and Hard Times of Guy Terrifico, The

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 28th, 2007

    I’ll admit it. I was taken in by The Life and Hard Times of Guy Terrifico, for about five minutes. I’m not a follower of the country music scene, so it didn’t really bother me that I had never heard of Guy Terrifico before. The box art explained he came and went in the early 70’s, when I was just a kid myself, so none of this was the least bit suspicious to me at all. The film opens believably enough with Kris Kristofferson on stage dedicating his next song to this Guy Terrifico. When we get to that first interview…
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    Glastonbury

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on June 25th, 2007

    Perhaps Woodstock is the best known music festival, but only one has kept strong for several decades and still going – Glastonbury. A small town in the southeast of England is the host to a sizeable music festival that spans for several days and attracts in excess of 150,000 people. Like a lot of you I’m sure, I had never heard of this music festival and after watching this once I’ll probably never get wind of it again.

    The first disc of Glastonbury is a documentary on the festival it is not in chron…
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    Three Bad Men

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 6th, 2007

    I should have known I was in trouble from the opening credits. The graphics are accompanied by some really cheap sounding synthesizer music. It sounds like they sprung for the $39 Casio. Beyond the crappy sound, the melody, if you can call it that, didn’t fit the western I was unfortunately about to see. Let’s keep this simple, shall we? If you pick this baby up at your local video store, I’m going to advise you to put it down and back away from the shelf. Now you owe me. I gave you back 2 hours of your life you we…
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    Life of the Party

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on May 30th, 2007

    Life of the Party is little known movie which was released in 2005 where it has since gone mostly unnoticed. I know the first time I’d heard of it was just a few days ago where I first saw it in my hands. It didn’t look half bad, a few cast members were recognizable, and as the movie actually went on I saw quite a few familiar supporting faces.

    Michael Elgin (Eion Bailey, Band of Brothers) is a functioning alcoholic with a close-knit group of friends and a loving wife Phoebe (Ellen Pompeo, Old Scho…
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    Bunny Whipped

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on May 30th, 2007

    I think it’s safe to say that most or all of you have never heard of this movie, neither had I. Instead of my typical synopsis and critique I will spare most of you the trouble, this movie is pretty weak, and if that isn’t enough for you, then continue reading too find out why.

    Bunny Whipped is ultimately a romantic comedy with the look of a low budget TV movie from the early 90’s. There is no solid storyline and the editing consists of a bunch of randomly placed scenes that seem too follow some sort …
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    Off the Black

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on May 6th, 2007

    Synopsis

    Hey lookee here, in this movie called Off the Black, there are two Oscar nominees and one Oscar winner! So with this pedigree of talent, you’d expect to be a gangbusters piece of dramatic storytelling, right? Well, not exactly.

    Written and directed by James Ponsoldt (Junebug and Hurricane), Ray (Nick Nolte, Blue Chips is a high school umpire in his spare time, when he normally works at an auto yard. He makes a controversial call in a game and later that night, some pl…
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    .45

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 4th, 2007

    Gary Lennon is a first time writer/director and it shows with .45. Milla Jovovich is the obvious centerpiece of this misguided drama. We know we’re in for a long haul from the opening shots of Kat (Jovovich). Talking about the sexual prowess of Big Al, her abusive boyfriend. Big Al is played quite single dimensionally by Angus MacFayden). It’s not that the actor’s don’t have the skills or the desire it’s that they are severely limited by the script. The only entertaining moments occur when the film heads more into …
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    Candy

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on April 22nd, 2007

    Synopsis

    Who would have thought that after an amazing performance in Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain that Heath Ledger would return to his native Australia and do an independent film? Well for those who did and put long odds on it, you get the prize in the pool. I just wish that after things like Trainspotting, Half Nelson and similar films, this one would have a little more impact than it does.

    Candy is written by Luke Davies, and adapted from his book and directed by Ne…
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    Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on April 9th, 2007

    In many ways, slasher films are like porno movies. Chief among them is that many times you just want to skip to the good parts. There may be a plot, but it’s so poorly constructed, the dialog is downright embarrassing and the direction leaves a lot to be desired. But the one thing they get right is all that matters. After all, there’s only one reasons we watch.

    Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film is a documentary which does just this. It features some of the most gruesome and fam…
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    Farce of the Penguins

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on March 13th, 2007

    Penguins are “in” right now. They March and they dance with those adorably Happy Feet. So, I guess it was only a matter of time before someone decided there was money to be made by turning in a penguin farce. Unfortunately for us, that someone turned out to be Bob Saget. I admit to knowing very little about Saget outside of his family sitcom and home movies shows. This is a side of him I wish I’d never seen. This film is absolutely unfit for the kiddies. Now let me first say that I’m certainly not one of those folks that gets easily offended.
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    Shortbus

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on March 9th, 2007

    In a New York forever conscious of the shadow of 9/11, we follow the sex lives and tribulations of a group of gay and straight characters. There’s the gay couple whose relationship is hitting a rocky patch. There’s the professional dominatrix who is finding it more and more difficult to face her work. And there’s the sex therapist who’s never had an orgasm. Her quest for same brings her into contact with the other characters, and to Shortbus, an eccentric sex club.


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    Tideland

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on February 27th, 2007

    If you’ve seen any of Terry Gilliam’s other films, you can probably guess that this one is pretty bizarre. Based on the novel of the same name by Mitch Cullen, Tideland is an eccentric, grotesque and imaginative tale of a child’s resilience.

    I’m going to say right off the top, I wanted to like Tideland, and for two reasons. One, Gilliam has made some incredible films in his career, from Monty Python and the Holy Grail to Twelve Monkeys and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
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    Little Athens

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on November 27th, 2006

    I�m never up on the film festival scene, so it�s no surprise to me that I�ve only just discovered Tom Zuber�s Little Athens, even though it was an official selection of the Toronto Film Festival back in 2005.

    My three favourite things about this movie are its strong cast, solid story and the unique cinematography. Actually, make it four things, because the soundtrack is also pretty excellent.

    First, the cast. Little Athens is definitely an ensemble film, and every actor in this one is solid.
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    Strangers With Candy

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on November 25th, 2006

    Synopsis

    Back when it first aired on Comedy Central in a previous incarnation as a television series, Strangers With Candy was an interesting enough premise. Take a menopausally challenged, recently released prisoner named Jerri Blank (Amy Sedaris, Elf) who decides to return home for the first time in over three decades to try and get a new start and throw her into high school. Now, not knowing how good or bad the show did, it must have had some sort of following, because there’s a movie out …
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    Looking For Kitty

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on November 1st, 2006

    Looking For Kitty is an interesting, witty and somewhat slow-moving film. I enjoyed the understated story up until the last 20 minutes, when I lost interest because I thought the film should have been over.

    The story is straightforward. A sad-sack little league baseball coach, Abe Fiannico (David Krumholtz), hires Jack Stanton (Edward Burns), a down-on-his-luck private investigator, to find his missing wife, Kitty (Ari Meyers). Working together, they look for Kitty, who has apparently run off with a moderately successful rock singer named Ron Stewart (Max Baker)
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    Down in the Valley

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on October 10th, 2006

    Synopsis

    In the soulless wasteland of the San Fernando Valley, feeling-her-oats teen Evan Rachel Wood meets cowboy (or something) Edward Norton at a filling station. Despite the creepy age difference, friendship becomes romance, but Wood’s father (David Morse) is understandably less than keen about the relationship. He orders an end to it. Neither of the lovers is happy with that, and the situation is all the more explosive since Norton is far from being right in the head.

    The performances …
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    The King

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on October 8th, 2006

    A letter from the filmmakers included with this disc reads, ”I guess some people will find… The King pretty extreme.” I had barely heard of this indy film going in, so I had few presuppositions to influence my experience. But before hitting play I read the letter, and that statement stuck with me as I watched. I wanted to know whether I was one of those people.

    It turned out that I was. Sort of. There are aspects to this story that are so dark and twisted that I often found myself squirming as the scenes unfolded.
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    Zodiac, The

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on September 20th, 2006

    Synopsis

    1968. In a Northern California town, teenagers parking at night are being killed. The police do their best to sell the first attack as a botched robbery, but then another murder happens, and the killer, dubbing himself the Zodiac, turns out to be very media-savvy. Charged with tracking him down is Justin Chambers, and his frustration with the case spills into his home life, straining his relationship with his wife (Robin Tunney) and worshipful son (Rory Culkin).

    The murders are for…
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    10th & Wolf

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on September 14th, 2006

    Synopsis

    James Marsden plays Tommy, who broke away from his mob-connected family to join the marines. Something goes wrong during the Gulf War, and he lands in the brig. He’s given a second chance by the authorities if he heads back to his old neighbourhood undercover. As he heads back to hook up with his slow brother and violent cousin (Giovanni Ribisi), we also get flashbacks to their youth in these families.

    It’s hard to make a mob movie unentertaining, and this is certainly not dull. Bu…
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    Boys of Baraka, The

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on July 9th, 2006

    Something really extraordinary seems to be happening as a side effect of the recent rise in popularity of documentary films. While many films still illuminate problems in our society, some of these films have begin to become agents for change themselves. There is no denying the important role that films like The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till play in our society, but I am really moved by films like The Boys of Baraka. Show me injustice, and I am outraged. Show me programs that are righting injustices…
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