"Young And Beautiful" Just Another Pretty Face Review

There really shouldn’t be much mystery why film directors should feel compelled to explore the world of prostitution; after all, most of them are men. Attempting to find self-empowerment in the world’s oldest profession can be a difficult task, but even though it feels like that’s what Francois Ozon is after in Young and Beautiful. In fact, it can be difficult to determine what he’s after at all. Despite a striking lead performance by Marine Vacth, Young keeps the audience at a constant arm’s length, which wouldn’t be so frustrating were the material itself not so provocative, and were the rest of the creative not seemingly up for any challenge the director was able to throw at them.

Oct
19
2014
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"Cowabunga Classics" Presents A Solid Case For Marijuana Legalization Review

Animated children’s shows of the late 80s/90s all had their bizarre moments when viewed from an aged distance (Thundercats, anyone?), but if any one of them could claim to be plausibly produced by and for people under the influence of hallucinogens, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is the clear favorite. Its appeal to children is obvious, but its potential as a cult classic still feels largely untapped, as demonstrated in Cowabunga Classics.

Oct
19
2014
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"All Cheerleaders Die", But They Don't All Make It To Heaven Review

It's not a horror film itself, but a case could be made that the blood shed in Heathers flows as freely through the genre today as does that of the Dead trilogy or Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It's certainly splattered all over All Cheerleaders Die, a vision of the high school pecking order as bitter as the 1989 pre-Columbine bloodbath, but significantly less witty or humane. All cheerleaders may die, but they don't all leave much behind when they go.

After watching her friend Alexis (Felisha Cooper) killed in a cheerleading stunt gone wrong, Maddy (Caitlin Stasey) tries out for the squad when the new school year begins-and to the surprise of all involved, makes it on. She quickly befriends Tracy (Brooke Butler), who has already started dating Alexis’s old boyfriend team captain Terry (Tom Williamson), much to the chagrin of Maddy’s old girlfriend Leena (Sianoa Smit-McPhee). But Maddy has ulterior motives, which are only laid bare in the wake of another terrible tragedy. And, for good measure, Leena’s a witch.

Oct
19
2014
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"The Rover" Will Satisfy Those Who Find "Walking Dead" Too Cheery Review

You must really love that car, darling.

Well, if he doesn't, then he must be very bored. That said, there doesn't seem to be much to do in Australia ten years after "the collapse". Everyone in The Rover (2014), from writer-director David Michôd, just seems to survive (until they don't). There's money--America's monetary supremacy survives the collapse, fear not--but nothing to spend it on out there in the boonies where the film takes place. So, when a man (Guy Pearce) gets his car stolen by some bank robbers, he goes after them. He wants his car back. Then, when he loses track of these robbers, fate brings Rey (Robert Pattinson), brother of one of the thieves, into our hero's hands. I say hero. When he shoots the fellow selling him a gun, even the word "protagonist" loses its aptitude. Lesson #1: Don't sell someone a gun with ammunition inside it.

Oct
15
2014
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The Same Stuff Is Still "Happenning!!" Review

Where did he get a name like Rerun anyway?

I used to think the "situation" in situation comedy was the show's setting or premise--the taxi pen, the witch, the crotchety old racist--but now I think that the situation is actually the varied conundra the main characters blunder through. The sitcom form has so dominated television comedy since the late 70's and the death of variety shows that premise has become the only differentiating element. Only lately has sketch comedy gotten out from the shadow of Saturday Night Live. A classic like What's Happening!!, its first two seasons now available on DVD together, is particularly situational with simple characters getting themselves into a pickle that is resolved with awe-shucks charm. Mayberry in L.A. The gears clank along with the same rough formula in every episode, distinguishable from Saved By the Bell only by skin color and wit. What's Happening!! being darker in both respects.

Oct
15
2014
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"Quiet Ones" Speaks Largely In Cliches Review

Horror films come in all shapes and sizes: popular scary ones, popular funny ones, indie ones that had no right being made, but worst of all are the boring ones. “Inspired by actual events,” The Quiet Ones is a historical horror film about a professor’s attempts to disprove the existence of the supernatural (sound familiar?). Of course, it is far harder to disprove the existence of something than you might think, and some bizarre things begin to happen during the experiments.

Oct
15
2014
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"The Sacrament" An Effective Sunday School Lesson Review

Ti West has a pretty good racket going. With The House of the Devil and The Innkeepers, he established himself as both a devotee of horror's past and a prognosticator of its future, spurting blood when necessary but only after spending fully half his run-time building atmosphere to the point where you might wonder (were it not for the poster) if things were really going to go wrong after all. While The Sacrament isn't strictly a horror film, it's still feels like only a slight variation on a formula (and something of a commercial for Vice).

Oct
15
2014
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"Son" Tries To Value Both God And Money Review

Back in 2013, Roma Downey and Mark Burnett produced The Bible mini-series for the History Channel, and the series brought in big ratings and three Emmy Awards. In hopes of making more money off of the series, segments of the mini-series about the life and death of Jesus were edited together into a new film, Son of God, and there is no better way to create a heartfelt film about one of the most influential men who ever lived than a blatant cash-grab.

Son of God is an abbreviated retelling of the life of Jesus Christ. The focus is mainly on his ministry years of preaching and gathering disciples and then on his crucifixion and resurrection. It is a simple story that has been told and re-told countless times in passion plays and films throughout the years, but what makes Son of God fascinating is where the director and screenwriter choose to place their focus.

Oct
15
2014
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There's Not Much To See In "The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty" Review

Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) always dreamed of adventure. He works in the photography department at Life Magazine, developing the incredible pictures taken by acclaimed photographer Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn) and working up the courage to talk to his lovely new co-worker Cheryl Melhoff (Kristen Wiig). When Life Magazine is bought out and print issues discontinued, however, his job might soon be obsolete. To make matters worse, his latest roll of film from Sean O’Connell is missing one picture which Sean has called his “best ever, the quintessence of life.” Walter’s cruel new boss Ted (Adam Scott) wants the picture for the final cover of Life Magazine, so Walter flies across the world to find Sean, retrieve the missing picture, and see the world as he always wanted.

Oct
14
2014
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An Awful Lot Of Lint In "God's Pocket" Review

You're the only one who knows what it's like down here in the Pocket.

People don't know their neighbors anymore. Isn't that a shame? The breakdown of society one block at a time. Crime is down but kids don't play outside. They don't know how to have fun anymore or, at least, don't know how to get out from under their paranoid parents. One or the other. Terrible. In New York, you look around and nobody knows nobody. If they do, it's probably shady. If, God forbid, you drop down dead in your apartment, it's probably a couple days before your roommates even notice. Then again, you're more likely to be killed by someone you know, so maybe this is a good thing. You see a movie like God's Pocket (2014), and the good ol' neighborhood down in Philly and you begin to understand that statistical anomaly. Because people are assholes and it's better that you don't know too many.

Oct
08
2014
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