Lee Jutton

Staff Writer

Lee attended NYU for Film & TV Production, but she now works mostly in PR. Her primary obsessions in life are Doctor Who, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Arsenal F.C. When not writing about things she's watched, she's running or kickboxing in preparation for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. 

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Terry Fator: Live From Your Comfort Zone Review

Terry Fator is a past winner of America’s Got Talent, and one can’t help but wonder if that was simply because he had the most talents: he is a singer, songwriter, celebrity impressionist and ventriloquist. During Terry Fator: Live in Concert, a DVD release of one of his shows at The Mirage in Las Vegas, he showcases his abilities at all of the above; it’s too bad the schtick he uses these talents for is less than inspiring.

Mar
09
2014
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"White Queen" Not About To Take The Throne Review

I’ve always had an interest in England circa the fifteenth century. It’s likely because I am an incredibly morbid person whose attention span is easily held by a steady stream of beheadings, burnings and warfare. It also has a lot to do with how outrageous these regal characters were, what with their epic parties, international marriage contracts and accusations of witchcraft. They seem as though they could not have actually been real people--and yet history tells us otherwise. This insane juxtaposition between high drama and hard reality is what makes the books of Philippa Gregory so compelling. She takes all of the broken hearts and bones of old England and creates soapy, sexy novels that emphasize the strong female characters of the time. Her series The Cousins’ War chronicles the infamous War of the Roses, in which the Yorks and the Lancasters waged war on the battlefield and in the bedroom in order to see who would rule England. The BBC turned the books into a miniseries called The White Queen, which was broadcast on Starz last year as a kind of B-list successor to Showtime’s The Tudors. Too bad it isn’t as worthy of the throne as its predecessor.

Mar
07
2014
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"Perfect Man", But Far From Perfect Movie Review

A Perfect Man stars a shockingly fresh-faced Jeanne Tripplehorn and Liev Schreiber, but the reason for their youthful faces has nothing to do with plastic surgery, good makeup, warm lighting or soft focus (thought Joost van Gelder’s cinematography is lovely). Rather, it is because the film was shot over a decade ago, in 2000. After the budget on this indie ran dry, the film was left  to gather dust on director Kees van Oostrum’s shelf until 2013, when he screened it for a group of his film students at Drexel University and was inspired by their positive reactions to find a way to finish it. Yet after watching A Perfect Man, I don’t know what the basis of those students’ raves could possibly have been, apart from getting A's in van Oostrum’s class.

Mar
04
2014
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"Moon Man" Is Worth The Trip Review

Despite audiences’ well-established love of Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks, animated movies that haven’t rolled off of the studio conveyor belt are often quite refreshing. Moon Man is no exception. A colorful and quirky film based on the 1967 children’s book by beloved author Tomi Ungerer (who also narrates the movie), it is very German and so occasionally very strange, albeit in the great tradition of strangeness to be found in international animated movies like The Triplets of Belleville. The visual style is not fancy and computer-generated, but startlingly flat and retro, yet it is no less vivid than the average high-budget Hollywood hit. Rather, it manages to bring the charming illustrations of the book to life to tell the story of the titular extraterrestrial and his adventures on Earth.

Mar
04
2014
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Liam Neeson's Career Reinvention Rages Onward "Non-Stop" Review

Once upon a time, Liam Neeson would have been spending the week leading up to the Oscars preparing to attend as a nominee. Today, he is preparing for the release of Non-Stop, the latest installment in a bizarre but awesome career renaissance that began with 2008’s Taken and has continued with films including The A-Team, Unknown and The Grey. At the age of 61, Neeson has succeeding in doing the reverse of what many actors struggle to do: he has made the transition from serious actor to action star. He is clearly having fun in the autumn of his career, and one cannot blame him when the results are as entertaining as Non-Stop, an energetic thriller elevated out of mediocrity by his presence.

Feb
28
2014
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Hell Hath No Fury Like A Lead Actress "Scorned" Review

Don’t you love it when a movie’s title is referenced in a piece of dialogue within the movie itself, and upon hearing it everyone in the theater nudges their companions knowingly and snarks, “Hey, that’s the name of the movie!” as though no one has ever made that remark before? Well, if you do, you’ll love Scorned, in which the title of the movie is shouted by star AnnaLynne McCord so many times throughout that you’ll end up with bruised biceps from being poked repeatedly. However, a few bruises is getting off light when compared to the violence suffered by the characters onscreen in this paint-by-numbers psychosexual thriller.

Feb
24
2014
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"Ninja" Lands The Blow Review

You pretty much know what to expect from a film called Ninja--but what about a sequel to a film called Ninja? Well, as you can imagine, there are no surprises there either. Such is the case with Ninja: Shadow of a Tear, otherwise known as Ninja II. If you are a sucker for flying ninja stars and katana swords slicing through throats, then you will be incredibly satisfied with this movie. However, if you want a little depth, originality or--heaven forbid--some actual acting on the side of your ninja mayhem, then you will need to look elsewhere.

Feb
09
2014
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"Richard The Lionheart" Doesn't Muster Much Of A Roar Review

The story of King Henry II of England, his wife and queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, their brood of scheming, conniving children and their use of Europe as their own personal chessboard is one that has been brought to life onscreen multiple times before, most memorably in The Lion in Winter (1968), which starred the legendary Peter O’Toole and Katharine Hepburn as the warring royal couple. In Richard the Lionheart, the focus is turned to the most famous of their sons, before he became a legendary military leader and monarch. However, despite such intriguing and inherently dramatic source material, the film is, frankly, quite bad.

Feb
09
2014
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"I'm So Excited!" Pedro Almodóvar has Embarked Upon Comedy Once Again Review

When you see “A Film by Almodóvar” in the credits of a movie, you know you’re in for something special. One of the true auteurs of modern cinema, Pedro Almodóvar’s movies are colorful, passionate and often very bizarre odes to life, death and sex. Embracing taboo topics like drugs, bondage and murder, and often with a darkly comic edge, his movies are not terribly accessible to the average moviegoer, but they’re always worth experimenting with if you’re not the type to shy away from subtitles. He is possibly the only person to have won an Oscar for writing a movie that features a man disappearing inside a giant vagina (2002’s beautiful Talk to Her). Always melodramatic and never, ever ordinary, his last film, 2011’s The Skin I Live in, was a dark and disturbing story about a surgeon conducting illegal surgeries on humans to transform their identities. Those who long for the Almodóvar of his earlier, more comic gems got their wish last year with I’m So Excited!, in which the director leaps back into comedy in the biggest, brashest way possible.

Jan
29
2014
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"Fifth Estate" Could Have Used Input From Estates One Through Four Review

Maybe it is just because Masterpiece Mystery has started airing new episodes of Sherlock, and the great detective has a hold on my brain, but while watching The Fifth Estate, I couldn’t help but be distracted by how familiar Julian Assange seemed to me. The antisocial behavior crossed with brainy brilliance, the unsavory ego infatuated with its own cleverness, the necessity of a more level sidekick to keep our anti-hero from crossing the line into total madness, even the loopy hair--Benedict Cumberbatch plays Assange as he does Sherlock Holmes, with the addition of a bucket of bleach and an Australian accent. That is not meant to slight Cumberbatch as an actor; his performance is one of the best things about The Fifth Estate, director Bill Condon’s uneven exploration of the creation of WikiLeaks. Rather, it’s just startling how similar these characters are, despite one being fictional and the other being very real and currently holed up in an Ecuadorian embassy.

Jan
28
2014
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"Ain't Them Bodies Saints" And The Scenery Gorgeous Review

Bob Muldoon (a wild-eyed Casey Affleck) and Ruth Guthrie (Rooney Mara at her most haunting) are a couple of outlaws in love in 1970s Texas. When a heist goes awry and they find themselves in a standoff with the local police, Ruth panics and accidentally shoots a cop. Bob takes the blame and is sentenced to 25 years to life in prison, while Ruth is left pregnant with his baby and alone. As the daughter he’s never met approaches her fourth birthday, Bob escapes from prison and begins doggedly making his way back home, eyes blind to any other purpose in life other than seeing Ruth again. However, with the entire town on red alert for Bob’s arrival, it seems increasingly unlikely that the lovers will ever be reunited, and that if they are, somebody’s blood will end up being spilled.

Jan
22
2014
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The "League" May Be In "Denial", But After This You Won't Be Review

It’s that time of year again. As the Super Bowl appears on the horizon, millions of people across the country are swearing their allegiances to the Seattle Seahawks or the Denver Broncos and gossiping about whether the winter weather in New Jersey will affect the game, or if Bruno Mars will put on a good halftime show, or which commercial will be the most offensive (my money is always on GoDaddy.com). However, amid all of the festive fun with friends deciding who will order the wings and who will bring the beer, Frontline is there to remind you of the darker side of one of America’s favorite pastimes.

Jan
22
2014
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"Superheroes" Are Worth Joining In Their "Never-Ending Battle" Review

For better or for worse, superheroes are a mainstay in pop culture, and aren’t showing any signs of going away anytime soon. From the first issue of Action Comics featuring Superman in 1938, to The Avengers film taking in over a billion dollars worldwide in 2012, the majority of the last one hundred years have been watched over by caped crusaders. However, the road to prominence is rarely ever a smooth one, even for these seemingly unstoppable, super-powered characters. Frontline’s suitably epic, three-part series Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle, chronicles the beginnings of superheroes on the page through to their current domination of the big screen.

Jan
21
2014
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"Hot In Cleveland" Aging Gracefully Into Season Four Review

It is fitting that Hot in Cleveland airs on TV Land, the home of all those classic shows that your parents watched when they were kids (and occasionally, to make you feel old, the ones that you watched as a kid too). The show seems retro, with the old-fashioned atmosphere that automatically comes from being shot in front of a live studio audience, as so few sitcoms are nowadays. The presence of comedy legend Betty White, delivering lines with the same zing that she did back in the days of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, might also convince you that the show you are watching is from long before the twenty-first century. Indeed, the ensemble of four women of a certain age living together and kvetching about age, love, life and everything in between brings to mind another classic show starring White: The Golden Girls.

Jan
21
2014
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This "Share" Is On The Side Of The "Angels" Review

“The angels’ share” is a term used in the distillery world to describe the two percent of a whiskey that evaporates while it spends years aging to perfection in its oaken cask. It’s a lovely, oddly poetic sentiment, and a perfect title for the latest collaboration between director Ken Loach and writer Paul Laverty (The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Looking for Eric). Winner of the 2012 Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize, The Angels’ Share is an uplifting comedy-drama that tells the story of Robbie Emmerson, a young man who has so far wasted his short life fighting in the Glasgow gutters. After his most recent violent scrape earns him a sentence of 300 hours of community service, Robbie decides to finally turn his life around--before it’s too late to do so. He is motivated to succeed by his loving girlfriend and their newborn son, but everyone else who knows Robbie snarls that he’ll never, ever be anything more than a thug.

Jan
20
2014
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"47 Ronin" Overcome Their Weaknesses with Epic Visuals Review

The tale of the forty-seven leaderless samurai, or ronin, who revenged their master’s death, is one of the most famous stories in Japanese history. The determination of the ronin to kill the man they held responsible for their lord being sentenced to death by ritual suicide is considered to be one of the greatest-ever examples of loyalty and honor, and has been told in numerous different mediums and variations since the early 18th century. The latest in this long tradition is 47 Ronin, a Hollywood blockbuster arriving just in time for the holiday season, starring...Keanu Reeves?

Dec
27
2013
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"Intolerance" Remains The Standard Bearer Review

Early films from the silent era can sometimes seem comical even when they are meant to be dramatic. Whether it be in the exaggerated way the performers emote, the jerky movements onscreen due to different film speed, the excessive use of irises to cut between scenes, and other now-extinct qualities, it is clear when watching any silent-era movie that the art and technology of filmmaking has come a long way in a little over a century. Because of this, it can be easy to forget that there are many ambitious films from the early twentieth century that stand out not only as great films of that era, but of all time.

Dec
09
2013
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You've Fought On This "Battle Ground" Before Review

People have been making war movies ever since motion pictures were first invented. Whether it be a historical recreation for cable television, an epic dramatization for theaters designed to win as many Academy Awards as possible, or film shot on the front lines by daring documentarians, war remains one of film’s most recurring and compelling subjects. And it’s no wonder why--after all, it deals with life and death, good versus evil, the trauma of being on the front lines versus the very different trauma experienced by those left at home, among other intensely emotional factors. In real life, war is obviously by no means easy, but when it comes to film, it’s almost too easy of a topic to turn to if one wants to pack your story with as much drama as possible. 

Dec
03
2013
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All's Not Well On The "Homefront", Though Some Of It Is Review

In what may be a startling revelation, Sylvester Stallone appears to be finally coming to terms with the fact that he is old. He has found surprising senior-citizen success with The Expendables franchise, and in the upcoming Grudge Match, he and Jake La Motta himself, Robert DeNiro, face off as a couple of over-the-hill boxers united in the ring one last time; trailers consist of Kevin Hart constantly reminding his two elders that they are, well, old. Stallone also realized that his most recent screenplay was better served not as a vehicle for him to trot out his tired Rambo character one last time (likely on a blood-spattered walker at this point), but as a showcase for a younger actor who could serve as heir apparent to his rough-and-tumble-and-grumble style of action hero. You know, someone who can kick ass without breaking a hip.

Nov
30
2013
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"Hobbit" Is An "Unexpected"-And Satisfying-"Journey" Review

When director Peter Jackson and his co-writers, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, took on the massive task of turning the classic Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien into movies, they knew that as perfect as the books seem to Tolkien’s biggest fans (myself included), it was important to make some changes if the movies were going to be any good. After all, what works on the page doesn’t always translate well to the screen. Characters and content tangential to the main quest were left out in favor of streamlining the story to focus more on the core characters and their journeys (farewell, Tom Bombadil; hello, action-hero Arwen). Even then, the shooting scripts were epically long, and in the edit, much ended up on the cutting room floor--most of it nonessential but fun material that catered to hardcore fans of the books. To give fans a glimpse at this content, as well as the cast and crew’s immensely detailed process of creating it, extended versions of each film in the trilogy were released, each one including approximately a half an hour of bonus scenes edited in as well as two whole discs of appendices exploring every area of production.

Nov
30
2013
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