Rachel Kolb

Staff Writer

I love movies, writing, and breaking into song in public. You can follow me on Twitter @rachelekolb or check out more of my work at http://rachelekolb.wordpress.com.

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"Dark Touch" Will Leave An Impression Review

Warning: This review contains spoilers.

If Stephen King had written Matilda instead of Roald Dahl, it might look something like Dark Touch. This bizarre little movie is the creation of writer/director Marina de Van who became infamous after 2002's In My Skin, a film in which the protagonist eats her own flesh. Dark Touch is similarly not for the faint of heart, but for people with similar horror sensibilities, they will get more than they expected from this grade-school Carrie.

After her entire family is brutally murdered, Neve (Marie Missy Keating) goes to live with friends of her parents until a more permanent home can be found. Neve believes that her family's house was haunted and that evil spirits killed her parents and brother, but after leaving the house, unexplainable supernatural events keep happening whenever Neve is upset or frightened. Her foster parents try to be understanding, but they are not prepared to take care of a child as damaged as Neve. Despite their good intentions, they cannot curb the growing darkness in her soul nor the horrifying fate she has in store for them and the entire town.

Feb
19
2014
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If You Keep "Reaching For The Moon", You'll End Up In A Lesbian Love Triangle In Rio. Probably. Review

Reaching for the Moon is based on the real-life romance between poet Elizabeth Bishop (Miranda Otto) and architect Lota de Macedo Soares (Gloria Pires) in Rio de Janeiro in the 1950s. At the start of the film, Elizabeth travels to Rio de Janeiro to visit her best friend from college Mary (Tracy Middendorf) who lives in Brazil's lush paradise with her lover Lota. She only plans on staying for a few days, but circumstances change when Lota and Elizabeth unexpectedly fall for each other.

Feb
18
2014
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"Mary Poppins" Still Steps In Time 50 Years Later Review

Based on P.L. Travers' series of books, Mary Poppins follows the adventures of a magical nanny Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews) as she helps her wards Jane (Karen Dotrice) and Michael (Matthew Garber) and their parents George (David Tomlinson) and Winifred (Glynis Johns) learn how to be a happy family again. When Mary Poppins arrives, George is too wrapped up in his work at the bank to be a father to his children. He also believes that as the head of his household, society expects him to keep his children at arm's length, patting them on the head and sending them off to bed. Winifred is similarly distracted from her family by her activism for women's suffrage. She leaves her children with the nanny to go to rallies and throw eggs at the Prime Minister, and when it comes to parenting, she usually defers to her husband's judgment. Mary Poppins sweeps in, and with a magic, impeccable manners, and a spoon full of sugar, she gives Jane and Michael a new perspective on the world and reveals to George and Winifred the family they have been missing.

Jan
21
2014
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"Lion Of The Desert" Roars On Blu-ray Review

Lion of the Desert is a classic war epic with a capital “E” from a film era before CGI, back when battle scenes were populated by real actors who were all acting with a capital “A.” Everything is big from the action to the performances. There is a large supporting cast with memorable characters. The stakes couldn't be higher with Libyan freedom fighters led by Omar Mukhtar (Anthony Quinn) battling the might of Mussolini for the identity of a country and its people.

Jan
21
2014
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Make 'Em Laugh: Jim Breuer's "And Laughter for All"

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It is incredibly difficult for a comedian to produce a clean, family-friendly show that is still funny, especially if their career and audience up until now have been built on raunchy comedy. Jim Breur opens his new comedy special And Laughter for All with a backstage conversation between Breur and his various alter-egos and impersonations. He lays down the law for them and explains that his new show is about “laughter for all,” comedy that can be enjoyed by fans of his old stand-up and his run on Saturday Night Live as well as families. Having sat through And Laughter for All, I am happy to say he almost entirely succeeds in his goal with only one major misstep and delivers an enjoyable night of comedy, “clean” or otherwise.

Jan
17
2014
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This "Exploding Sun" Fizzles Out Quickly Review

Watching the three-hour disaster min-series Exploding Sun, I was struck with a sudden and unexpected appreciation for the career of Roland Emmerich. Emmerich is best known for directing ridiculous, overblown epic disaster films like Independence Day and 2012. His films are typically panned by critics, but they make a lot of money at the box office because they are cheesy, outrageous, and sometimes really fun. Exploding Sun aspires to be a Roland Emmerich-style mini-series with people from different walks of life brought together by a natural disaster.

Jan
17
2014
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"Wings Of A Warrior" Never Gets Off The Ground Review

Wings of a Warrior: The Jimmy Doolittle Story is a documentary account of the life of Jimmy Doolittle, Medal of Honor winner and famed pilot who led the Doolittle Raid in World War II. The film is narrated by the film's director/writer Gardner Doolittle, a relative of Jimmy Doolittle, and events covered in the film span Jimmy Doolittle's life from his childhood up through school, his achievements in aviation, and his military career. According to the filmmakers, Jimmy Doolittle himself signed off on the documentary.

Jan
06
2014
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"Nazi Mega Weapons" Delivers The Payload Review

Nazi Mega Weapons is a six-part miniseries about the weaponry developed by Nazi Germany in World War II. Each hour-long episode is dedicated to a different weapon. Disc 1 includes the Atlantic Wall, U-Boat Base, and V2 Rocket, and Disc 2 comes with Super Tanks, Jet Fighter Me262, and V2 Fortress Berlin.

Nazi Mega Weapons is a series that could have easily embodied the worst parts of today's programming on A&E, The History Channel, and TLC (formerly The Learning Channel, now home to Here Comes Honey Boo Boo). The title screams of educational entertainment, light on the education and heavy on the flashy production, much like The History Channel's Man, Moment, Machine: Hunting Bonnie and Clyde. Hiding behind this catchphrase Mad Libs title, however, is a series that did its homework and delivered some fascinating episodes on war and technology.

Jan
06
2014
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"Bobby" Shows That Lifetime Has A Prayer After All Review

Prayers for Bobby is based on the true story of Mary Griffith (Sigourney Weaver), a conservative Christian mother whose son Bobby (Ryan Kelley) comes out as a homosexual in his teen years. For years, she tries to change her son's sexuality by praying for him, sending him to gay conversion support groups, and laying immense guilt on him for his sins. After a tragic event, however, Mary is forced to reevaluate her beliefs and how she has treated her son over the years, and she becomes a public advocate for LGBT rights.

Jan
06
2014
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"Two Men" Stroll Onto Blu-ray Review

Moreau (Jean-Pierre Melville), a New York reporter, has been enlisted to quietly track down a missing French United Nations delegate before the wrong people find him, mainly the press. To track down the diplomat, however, he needs the help of an alcoholic press photographer Delmas (Pierre Grasset) who is looking for the perfect scoop, a picture that will bring down a celebrity or politician and make him rich. Their search takes them through classic Old New York, from the backstage of a Broadway play to a burlesque hall and a recording studio. When they finally find the man they have been searching for, they are faced with a moral dilemma with life-changing consequences for their actions. Should they lie and cover up a diplomat's indiscretions to spare his wife and daughter from public shame, or should Delmas expose the truth for entirely selfish reasons?

Dec
19
2013
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The Pay-Off To This Film Has Sadly Been "Abducted" Review

Young lovers Jessica (Tessa Ferrer) and Dave (Trevor Morgan) are on a romantic getaway together when they are kidnapped by a mysterious group wearing hazmat suits and gas masks. They are locked in a cell together, occasionally taken away and returned with rows of stitches or puncture marks. At first, it seems they were targeted because of Jessica's father and his military connections, and maybe they will be returned to their families in exchange for a hefty ransom. When other young couples join them in their cell, however, it becomes clear that this is bigger than Jessica or Dave. Are their kidnappers members of a terrorist group, testing out new biological weapons? Is it the government trying to find the cure to a newly discovered disease and using them as guinea pigs? For that matter, are their kidnappers even human?

Dec
10
2013
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"Kung Fu Panda" Makes You Feel The "Sting" Review

Kung Fu Panda 3 won't be hitting the big screen until 2015, so to keep interest in the franchise alive, DreamWorks Animation produced a Saturday morning cartoon based on the movies. Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness follows the adventures of Po and the Warriors Five after the events of the first movie. The Scorpion Sting is a DVD collection of seven episodes, some of which introduce a new villain Scorpion to the Kung Fu Panda cast of characters.

Dec
10
2013
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Bonnie & Clyde Blast Unevenly Back Onto The Small Screen Review

Next month, A&E will be airing a four-hour miniseries based on the lives and exploits of Bonnie and Clyde, and History Channel, which is also owned by A+E Networks Digital, has released a set of two documentaries about Bonnie and Clyde. The first documentary is Bonnie and Clyde: The Story of Love & Death, and the main focus is on the romance between Bonnie and Clyde as well as their relationships and correspondence with their family. The second documentary is Man, Moment, Machine: Hunting Bonnie and Clyde, and the focus is less on the relationships and more on the authorities pursuing them.

Nov
25
2013
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Move This One Up From "The Way Way Back" Review

2013 was the year for coming-of-age stories with The Spectacular Now, Kings of Summer, and The Way Way Back all coming out in the span of a few months. Despite having some similar themes and very similar oh-buddy protagonists, the three films took on three very different central themes. The Spectacular Now is a young love story. Kings of Summer is a tale of friendship and a father and son learning to live together. The Way Way Back has moments of young love and friendship, but at its core, it is a story about gaining self worth and learning to love oneself, even as the supposed adults are acting really awful.

Nov
24
2013
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Flush Away "Bad Milo" Review

Duncan (Ken Marino) feels like his life is spinning out of control. His evil boss (Patrick Warburton) has reassigned his cubicle to a handicapped bathroom, and now Duncan is in charge of the company's numerous layoffs. He is being pressured by his wife Sarah (Gillian Jacobs) and his sexually-liberated mother (Mary Kay Place) to start a family, but the memory of his absent father (Stephen Root) and uncertainty that he can provide for a child are holding him back. He is under so much pressure that his already temperamental digestive system is getting worse. After a particularly stressful night, Duncan poops out what appears to be an alien monster or a small demon, and one by one, it takes bloody revenge on everything and everyone causing Duncan stress. He names the creature Milo and tries to train it, but when Milo sets its sights on Sarah, Duncan must find a way to stop it.

Nov
20
2013
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This "Internship" Won't Lead To A Full-Time Job Review

Wristwatch salesmen and best friends Billy (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Owen Wilson) are out of work when their boss (John Goodman) suddenly closes down their business and moves to Florida. Without any real prospects or relevant job skills, Billy takes a long shot and gets them an interview for internships with Google, and against all odds or common sense, they land the internships. Getting the internships, however, is just the beginning as the head of the program Mr. Chetty (Aasif Mandvi) is all too eager to set the interns against each other in their battle for a coveted job. Billy and Nick will have to work together with their Google employee leader Lyle (Josh Brener) and a motley crew of geeks, egg heads, and a sexually frustrated cosplayer if they want to survive the internship.

Nov
11
2013
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Not So "Suddenly", Uwe Boll Still Sucks Review

The President of the United States is giving a speech in a small snowy mountain town, and a group of would-be assassins, disguised as Secret Service agents, have taken over a home with the perfect vantage point to take out the unpopular president. The only person standing in their way is a troubled local deputy Todd (Ray Liotta) who has a decorated military past, but his drinking and gambling habits are beginning to affect his work. He will have to stop the assassins before they can carry out their plan and also rescue Ellen (Erin Karpluk) and Pidge (Cole Coker), a mother and son taken captive.

Nov
11
2013
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For Some "American Families", It's The American Family Review

Two American Families is Hoop Dreams, minus the basketball. Frontline followed two blue-collar families living in Milwaukee as they fought over the years to stay in their homes and put food on their tables. One of the couples worked opposite night and day shifts for years, barely seeing each other or their children and growing further apart. The other couple lived paycheck to paycheck and clung to their faith, praying that one day they will dig out of debt and not even daring to dream of retirement.

Nov
11
2013
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NYCC 2013: The Vicious Cycle of White-Washing Geeks

Part 3 of this 3-part series will examine how media coverage of New York Comic Con ignored racial and gender diversity among attendees as well as exploring the implications of this kind of media coverage.

As part of their New York Comic Con coverage, Business Insider published a gallery of 112 pictures of cosplayers. A variety of fandoms and favorite characters were represented including Wonder Woman, Loki, Doctor Who, and Game of Thrones. Unfortunately, that was where their variety ended. In the entire gallery, there were only about 20 people of color featured, only slightly more than one-sixth of the gallery.

Nov
03
2013
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Long Live The "Kings Of Summer" Review

Joe (Nick Robinson) is having a rough summer. His older sister Heather (Alison Brie) has left home, leaving him alone with his widower father (Nick Offerman) who is still struggling to move on from the death of his wife. When a heated game of Monopoly destroys their family game night, Joe decides it is time for him to move out and become his own man. He enlists his best friend Patrick, (Gabriel Basso) who is feeling smothered by his well-meaning but slightly overbearing parents, and odd duck Biaggio (Moises Arias). “What is this kid doing here?” Patrick asks, and Joe replies, “I'm afraid to tell him to leave. I don't know what he's capable of.” Together, they build a ramshackle house out in the woods and take an oath to boil their own water, kill their own food, and learn to be their own man. They hope for an escape from the real world, but the more time they spend in the woods, the more their own dramas and problems come to the surface.

Nov
02
2013
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