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Drinking Games / From the Head

No budget? No problem!


Drama

Rod Lott

For no-budget cinema, the single location is a godsend. Set a movie entirely or mostly in one spot — one room, even — and you jussssst might be able to afford to put your thinly veiled autobiographical story onto film (OK, technically video). Such is the case for two new indie offerings: Drinking Games and From the Head.

 
Thursday, August 15, 2013

Amour

Brace yourself for an unflinchingly honest love story.


Drama

Phil Bacharach
Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke isn't the obvious choice for a movie about love at its weightiest and most profound. In previous works like Funny Games, The Piano Teacher and Caché, he has crafted cinematic nipple twists that tweak audiences while examining humankind at its cruelest.
 
Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Brontë Sisters

Poetry in emotion.


Drama

Aimee Williams
Originally released in 1979, André Téchiné’s The Brontë Sisters takes the previously highly fictionalized story of the Bronte sisters and imposes an auteur’s vision.
 
Saturday, August 10, 2013

To the Wonder

Film buffs run hot-and-cold on Terrence Malick, and his latest may leave them frigid.


Drama

Phil Bacharach
Terrence Malick either inspires or bores. There isn’t much middle ground when it comes to assessing the famously reclusive filmmaker who has made only six features since his 1973 debut, Badlands.
 
Friday, August 9, 2013

Ultimate Gangsters Collection: Classics

Proof that crime does pay!


Drama

Rod Lott
I'm ready to proclaim Ultimate Gangsters Collection: Classics as the set to get for 2013. Both a crash course into the golden age of the cinematic criminal and a time capsule of black-and-white badassery, the five-disc Blu-ray package is infinitely rewarding.
 
Friday, August 9, 2013

The Place Beyond the Pines

The epic crime drama's route runs from great to good.


Drama

Phil Bacharach
Now available on Blu-ray and DVD, The Place Beyond the Pines is two-thirds of a great movie. Director Derek Cianfrance’s follow-up to 2010’s Oscar-nominated Blue Valentine is a tense, powerful crime thriller with some weighty stuff on its mind. It speaks to the filmmaker’s know-how that not even a crazily contrived third act can damper its haunting power.
 
Wednesday, August 7, 2013

On the Road

Hey, Jack Kerouac, they finally made a movie of your classic novel. Now for the tricky part ...


Drama

Aimee Williams
Walter Salles’ On the Road extends a fragmented blip on the map of American poetry — one that doesn’t necessitate resurrection.
 
Wednesday, August 7, 2013

42

A solid hit.


Drama

Phil Bacharach
In chronicling the real-life tale of Jackie Robinson, who broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier in 1947 when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, 42 is schmaltzy, sentimental and shameless. There is no dabbling in highfalutin niceties like subtext or nuance. Writer-director Brian Helgeland, who penned the hardly simplistic L.A. Confidential, keeps his focus simple and is content to let his hero worship fly.
 
Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Naked Jungle

Red and black antennas waving, they all do it the same.


Drama

Rod Lott
Charlton Heston comes second-billed to eventual Sound of Music baroness Eleanor Parker in 1954's The Naked Jungle. Nowhere in the credits is there room to list the true stars — or at least the reason for watching: millions and millions of mean-ass ants.
 
Monday, July 15, 2013

Fred Won’t Move Out

An exploration of a man of constant sorrow.


Drama

Phil Bacharach
Old age, a spouse suffering with dementia, grown children in the position of caring for their parents — these are tough, complicated themes in Fred Won’t Move Out, new to DVD next week.
 
Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Beautiful Creatures

More paranormal activity among teens with romance on their minds.


Drama

Rod Lott
I'm beginning to think that YA stands not for "young adult," but "yet another" — as in yet another book-based, supernatural-tinged teen romance to emerge in Twilight's wake. Beautiful Creatures is one of them. It's much better than Twilight, but hell, what's not?
 
Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Electra Glide in Blue

The best ’70s cult classic you’ve never heard of.


Drama

Rod Lott
James William Guercio has one of the finest track records in cinema history, because each and every film he directed not only has been great, but became a cult classic. It is titled 1973's Electra Glide in Blue.
 
Friday, May 31, 2013

K-11

Bar none, a one-of-a-kind kick.


Drama

Rod Lott
How weird that in its brief theatrical run, K-11 attracted more attention for who the director is (the mother of Twilight starlet Kristen Stewart) than for its outlandish subject matter (transgendered inmates). That oversight is as insane as this movie, which is new to Blu-ray.
 
Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Save the Date

I thee watch?


Drama

Rod Lott
Not yet a household name, Jeffrey Brown long has been one of America's greatest young cartoonists, garnering attention and a following by writing and drawing what he knows best: himself. The indie favorite strays from the autobiographical to the fictional in his screenplay debut, Save the Date. It's a solid first try.
 
Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Zero Dark Thirty

The real torture is its incredible tension.


Drama

Phil Bacharach
Don’t trust the viewers.

Trusting them appears to be the cardinal sin of Zero Dark Thirty, a masterful, absorbing film dramatizing the CIA's 10-year hunt for Osama bin Laden. It has been at the center of controversy for its depiction of U.S. intelligence agents using “enhanced interrogation techniques,” otherwise known as torture.
 
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
 
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