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    The Jungle Book 2 (Special Edition)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 17th, 2008

    The voices aren’t the same. The animation has lost that classic charm. The story is completely contrived. What remains is a dim reflection of a few beloved characters from a bygone year of vintage Disney magic. This sequel of the classic Disney telling of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book looks more like a direct to video knockoff. I was actually quite amazed to note the film did have a box office run.
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    Slither

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

    Synopsis

    A meteor lands in your typical SF/horror movie Small Town (and it could well be the same meteor that brought the original Blob to town). Bullet-headed mug Michael Rooker stumbles over it one drunken night, and promptly becomes infected with carniverous slug-parasites from outer space. He sets about spreading the good news, as it were, and before long the entire town is a chaos of slithering nastiness and zombiefied townspeople.

    After scripting the slick but soulless remake of Da…
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    Osama

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

    

    Synopsis

    We are in the midst of the Taliban’s brutal rule of Afghanistan. The total suppression of allwomen’s rights means that a widow is on the brink of desperation. She cannot work, or evenleave the house without fearing retribution, as there is no male relative to accompany her. Hermother hits upon a solution born of desperation: the 12-year-old daughter will have her hearshorn, will wear male clothing, and so become “Osama,” a young boy. The subterfuge works. Atfirst.

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    Together

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on November 18th, 2003

    

    Synopsis

    Liu Cheng will do anything for his son, 13-year-old violinist Xiaochun. They leave theirprovincial town and travel to Beijing to seek more opportunities for Xiaochun. Liu Cheng packshis entire fortune into his hat, and cheerfully puts up with all kinds of humiliation for the good ofhis son. Xiaochun’s encounter with the city include a flighty, gold-digging young woman in thesame apartment block, and the very different characters of his teachers. At the centre of the fi…
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    St. Andrew’s Girls

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on November 11th, 2003

    

    Synopsis

    We open with Jennifer in the process of taking her own life. Flashback to how this came tobe, as she falls in with the wrong crowd (and extremely rebellious trio) of girls at St. Andrew’sCatholic High School. All sorts of cynical blackness ensues, involving drugs, sex, violence andthe like. Undeniably energetic, the film turns its amp to 11 and keeps it there. This lack of tonalvariation may explain why I found the viewing experience somehow flat.

    Audio


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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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    Solas

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on September 9th, 2003

    

    Synopsis

    Maria is at war with the world, and one can hardly blame her, given her life. Her mother,Rosa, arrives in the city, accompanying her abusive husband, who is undergoing surgery. Mariaunenthusiastically puts Rosa up at her dingy apartment. Maria’s life continues to get worse,thanks to a relationship with a cruel truck driver, but her mother’s quiet dignity and absolutegoodness gradually begins to win her over. Then there is the Maria’s older neighbour, who isthe first kind ma…
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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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    Me Without You

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on June 4th, 2003

    We first meet Holly and Michelle in the 70s, when they are 13 and already inseparable friends. They are very different already, though. Holly is bookish and shy. Michelle is beautiful and wild. Over the years, their relationship is tested as they clash, support and sabotage each other. The significant male characters are Kyle Maclachlan as a professor they both have an affair with, and Michelle’s brother, for whom Holly carries a torch through the years.


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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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    Black Swan

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 22nd, 2003

    

    Synopsis

    Hopeville isn’t terribly well named. The population is dwindling, and those who remainappear to have precious little hope. Chief among them is Helen (Melanie Doane), who woulddo anything to leave town. One can hardly blame her, given that her boyfriend is disagreeableloser Carl (Michael Riley), who, it seems, might well be responsible for the murder of the localgrocer. The film is loaded with quirky characters, but none of them are especially likeable, andthe plot meanders …
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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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    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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