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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Enduring Rocker Morrissey Gives His Fans Something Special Review

Everyone who came of age circa 2004 remembers that moment in Garden State when Natalie Portman tells Zach Braff, “You gotta hear this one song. It'll change your life, I swear.” The song she is talking about is “New Slang” by The Shins, and while it is a good song, and certainly peaked in popularity after that movie became a cult phenomenon among pretentious young people, I doubt that many people can truly back up Portman’s hyperbolic statement. Nine years have gone by since that movie was released, and how many people are still preaching the gospel of The Shins? 

If you’re looking for an artist who has truly made a mark on many people’s lives, look no further than one Steven Patrick Morrissey. The legendary former frontman of The Smiths is celebrating 25 years as a solo artist with the release of his first authorized film in nine years, Morrissey 25: Live.

Aug
30
2013
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"Blaze You Out" Can't Decide What Kind of Film to be Review

The most impressive thing about Blaze You Out, a Latin-infused drama about one girl’s descent into her town’s drug-addled underworld in order to find her missing sister, is actress Q’Orianka Kilcher’s mohawk. It is less hair than a defiant fin protruding from her head, made out of blue and black needles that look as though they could poke an eye out if someone got too close. Its gravity-defying nature is mesmerizing every time Kilcher is onscreen. I found myself constantly wondering about the time it took to create such a masterpiece atop her head, and whether or not it was difficult to sleep with hair so aggressive-looking. It is a shame that nothing else about this movie is capable of capturing the same attention.

Aug
15
2013
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"The Private Thoughts of Jackie Robinson" Humanize a Baseball Legend Review

There’s no denying that Jackie Robinson is an important and fascinating figure in history. Even if you’re not the biggest fan of America’s favorite pastime, you can appreciate the trails blazed by Robinson in his baseball career, as well as his post-retirement involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. No wonder this summer has seen two DVDs released during the height of baseball season that concern his various accomplishments during his too-short life (he passed at the age of 53 due to complications from heart disease and diabetes). The more prominent of these, 42, was a positively received dramatization of Robinson’s beginnings at the Brooklyn Dodgers as the first African-American to break baseball’s color barrier, starring Chadwick Boseman and Harrison Ford. The other is a little documentary special produced for A&E by Major League Baseball: Letters From Jackie: The Private Thoughts of Jackie Robinson.

Aug
08
2013
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"Twixt" Gives You More to Look at Than to Think About Review

It seems as though one is more likely to see Francis Ford Coppola’s name on a label in a liquor store or a bar than on the marquee of a movie theater as of late; at the age of 74, his career as a winemaker is growing in prominence, while his filmmaking career has become focused on making infrequent independent movies that he can have complete control over. One such film is Twixt, a wispy little supernatural thriller starring Val Kilmer, Bruce Dern and Elle Fanning.

Aug
06
2013
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A Klingon Conflict Dominates the Fourth Season of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" Review

Star Trek: The Next Generation is regarded by many to be the best of the television series set in that universe. Whereas the original series (which will always have a special place in my heart as the one that introduced me to Roddenberry’s realm) was essentially a rollicking ride through space, The Next Generation incorporated more political and cultural drama into the stories, exploring science fiction as allegory rather than as pure adventure. This does not always work, and when it fails, it fails in a big, noticeable way. Yet for the most part, The Next Generation succeeded in showing the more serious side of the Star Trek universe, especially by the time the show reached its fourth season.

Aug
04
2013
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"Redemption" Can't Quite Match "The Best of Both Worlds" in the Grand Scope "Star Trek: The Next Generation" Series Finales Review

Not to throw around four-letter words lightly, but the cliffhanger ending of Star Trek: The Next Generation’s third season finale is up there as one of the most epic in television history. In “The Best of Both Worlds,” Captain Jean-Luc Picard, who embodies everything great and heroic about humans, is captured by the malevolent Borg and incorporated into their hive-mind via super-advanced technology. As the evil Locutus of Borg, Picard’s lengthy and exceptional service in Starfleet and all of the knowledge that comes with it are now in the hands (and minds) of the Borg, to make use of it as they will. And what they will do is attack Earth. The stakes aren’t just high here; they’re stratospheric.

Aug
04
2013
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Fire and Brimstone Fly in the Lively Debate on Hell in "Hellbound?" Review

The documentary Hellbound? forms a distinct new chapter in the many-volume religious debate. Rather than focus on the eternal, unanswerable question of whether or not there is a God, Hellbound? zones in on the differing opinions within Christianity over the existence of hell. Filmmaker Kevin Miller interviews numerous authors, evangelists and religious scholars, most of whom agree that there is a God, but who disagree on whether or not hell is in fact a realm of eternal torment for those who disobey Him.

According to many of the fire-and-brimstone preachers who make their living on scaring sinners into repenting by spreading images of hellfire and horror, to reject a belief in hell is to reject Christianity itself.

Jun
24
2013
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"This Girl is Badass" and All Kinds of Fun Review

The film’s title does not lie: madcap Thai action-comedy This Girl is Badass is indeed about a very badass chick. Her name is Jukkalan, and she makes a living as a very talented bike messenger while mooning over her guitar-playing neighbor and getting frustrated with her awkward Uncle Wang. Jukkalan is badass because she is portrayed by Jeeja Yanin, a pint-sized martial arts star from Bangkok best known for flaunting her mad taekwondo skills in the films Chocolate and Flying Phoenix.

Jun
23
2013
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The Grand Ambitions of "Falling Skies" Don't Always Soar Review

Falling Skies is a television show with a blockbuster concept straight from the mind of one of film and television’s most skilled creators of blockbusters, Steven Spielberg. The TNT drama, whose third season began airing on June 9, chronicles the “second American revolution” that takes place when aliens invade Earth. A small group of survivors forms the 2nd Massachusetts militia and strives to keep resisting the alien threat, especially as their children are kidnapped and “harnessed” by the aliens in a sick form of extraterrestrial possession.

The show’s second season, now out on Blu-ray and DVD, picks up three months after heroic history professor Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) voluntarily boarded an alien spaceship with his eldest son’s former girlfriend, now a harnessed alien servant.

Jun
21
2013
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Frontline's "Economic Meltdown" is a Breath of Fresh Air in the Debt Crisis Debate Review

Thank goodness for public broadcasting. With various forms of highly partisan news media constantly trying to outshout each other and prove each other wrong on every issue, Frontline: The Economic Meltdown is a breath of fresh air. Political figures from both sides of the aisle weigh in on different issues related to the United States economy, as do various economists, reporters and other experts. Containing five hour-long episodes across two discs, The Economic Meltdown strives to lay out the causes and effects of several recent, interconnected economic crises, and discusses what could have been done to prevent them--if anything at all.

Jun
21
2013
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One of the Best "Star Trek" Stories Ever Told Happened on the Small Screen Review

The terrific third season of Star Trek: The Next Generation ended on a high note, with one of television’s greatest-ever cliffhangers in “The Best of Both Worlds: Part 1.” The show’s writers brought back one of the series’ most memorable and terrifying villains, the Borg, and set the stake so high that viewers were left breathless, forced to wait until the show’s return in the fall to find out whether or not the show’s biggest star, Sir Patrick Stewart, would be remaining in the captain’s chair on the Enterprise. The resulting episode, as well as the season four premiere that picked up where the finale left off, have been edited together for this Blu-ray release to create an exciting movie-length drama that shows how surprisingly epic the small screen can be at its best.

May
11
2013
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"Manborg" Practically Writes It Own Them Song Review

Watching Manborg is less like watching a film in 2013 and more like being totally submerged in a violent video game circa 1985. Then again, does one expect any less from a film titled Manborg? Like Tank Girl and Mad Max’s deranged bastard child, with a dash of the devil himself thrown in, Manborg chronicles the adventures of the titular character, a half-human, half-robot warrior bent on saving Earth from the rule of Hell. That’s right, the villains of Manborg are from way down underworld and led by the impossible evil Count Draculon, a demonic despot who seems to enjoy gnawing on human’s throats as much as his nominal forefather.

May
08
2013
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"Pawn" Thrills Despite Moving its Pieces Around Too Much Review

Filmmakers are always looking for ways to make the standard thriller more, well, thrilling. In the case of Pawn, the quest to refresh the standard hostage saga is attempted by shuffling the chronology of the story, as well as the loyalties of the characters, so it is near-impossible for the audience to figure out who to trust throughout the majority of the film. Every time you think you know who the good guys are, something shocking happens that turns everything you know on its head. This kind of topsy-turvy storytelling is exciting, but when not done correctly, somewhat overwhelming.

May
02
2013
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The Season "Star Trek: The Next Generation" Grew Into Its Own Review

Some of the best television programs tend to take awhile to get going. Unfortunately, nowadays network executives seem to be shockingly trigger-happy with the cancellation button. If they had felt that way circa 1989, Star Trek: The Next Generation might not have grown into the phenomenon that it has, one that rivals the original series for fanatical science-fiction loyalty (and, it must be noted, ran four seasons longer than the prematurely canceled original version). I myself am possibly the only child of the Eighties who did not grow up on The Next Generation, my parents being hardcore fans of the Shatner-riffic original series who accepted no substitutes, even if said substitute starred one of the most talented actors ever to grace the small screen in the form of Sir Patrick Stewart.

May
01
2013
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"A Whisper to a Roar" Chronicles the Ordinary Beginnings of Extraordinary Social Movements Review

A Whisper to a Roar focuses on struggles for democracy in five very different nations around the world, where the lack of fair elections and the violent oppression of political rivals by those who should never have been put in charge in the first place is more than enough cause to act. The various countries and cultures that the film showcases are all very different, but the one thing they have in common is a desire for change, even as the government that they rely on to protect their rights seems intent on squashing them underfoot. These people are as heroic as they come without having superpowers.

With smooth narration by actor Alfred Molina and quality direction from filmmaker Ben Moses (best known for producing Good Morning Vietnam), A Whisper to a Roar utilizes news clips, live footage, interviews and even animated sequences to show how powerful people can be when they are united for a good cause.

Apr
29
2013
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Masterpieces Get a Bit Racier Courtesy of "Mr. Selfridge" Review

The gap between seasons of Downton Abbey, the costume drama-slash-soap opera that has become a worldwide phenomenon, is much too long for the majority of the show’s superfans. While one has no choice but to wait nearly a year for eight-episode doses of the classy yet crazy lives of the Crawleys, there are plenty of other Masterpiece Classic offerings to choose from in the meantime if one feels an overwhelming desire for historical drama. Masterpiece has been airing these productions long before Downton was ever a thought in Julian Fellowes’ head, yet the shows they have been promoting as of late have a distinctly different air to them than any that came before.

Apr
24
2013
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Lizzy Caplan Apparently Sent Her Regrets To "Save The Date" Review

Lizzy Caplan has been a very busy bridesmaid onscreen this past year. She was brilliantly funny in Bachelorette as one member of that film’s ensemble of truly crazy, catty ladies; as Gena, she spent her screen time getting high on copious amounts of coke, spouting eerily accurate monologues about sex and loneliness, and reigniting her relationship with the equally charismatic Adam Scott. However, as Sarah in Save the Date, Caplan doesn’t elicit laughs so much as confusion from the audience, mainly because the character is so confused herself.

Apr
19
2013
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"John Dies At The End", But He Doesn't Make Any Sense Review

It is hard to describe John Dies at the End. The film is adapted from the novel of the same time, which took a rather roundabout enough journey to the page before it ever made it to the screen. It was originally published as a free serial online beginning in 2001, before such self-publishing became the force of nature in the industry that it currently is. The story was eventually issued as a published paperback in 2007; from there, its rabid cult following only skyrocketed further. It’s no wonder that someone snapped up the film rights to a story with such a devoted fan base; in this case, it was filmmaker Don Coscarelli, best known for similarly cultish properties like Bubba Ho-Tep and The Beastmaster.

Apr
19
2013
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You'll Feel Like You've Eaten "Bad Meat" Review

Bad Meat brings a whole new dimension to the genre of splatter films, which one usually associates with the splattering of blood and other human viscera as the result of graphic violence. George Romero himself coined the term when describing his classic Dawn of the Dead, and indeed, that film’s fascination with finding new and bizarre ways to mutilate human (or zombie) bodies with fantastically gory results is a prime example of the genre. However, Bad Meat contains less of that kind of splatter and more of a different kind. A vomity kind.

Apr
07
2013
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"Zulu Dawn" Rises On A Stunning Transfer Review

They really don’t make films like Zulu Dawn anymore. The prequel to the 1964 classic Zulu, which featured Michael Caine in his first-ever starring role, was released fifteen years later and given a far less enthusiastic welcome than its predecessor. Zulu Dawn is one of those old historical epics lush with details and destruction, striving to take advantage of the larger-than-life screens the film would be viewed upon. There is something to be said about the sheer glee that filmmakers of this era seemed to take in filling every frame with maximum visual content, but without CGI enhancement. In this case, it is thousands of Zulu warriors and British soldiers, battling across the wide South African landscapes. It’s all very impressive, especially when restored to its correct aspect ratio and remastered for Blu-ray.

Mar
26
2013
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