Snowpiercer (2013)

SnowpiercerIt’s 2031 and Earth is frozen over. The powers that be have introduced a chemical agent into the atmosphere to counteract global warming and the results were less than amenable to the levels needed to support life on the planet. Fear not! There is a super train, that’s right, a locomotive that is both ever moving forward and self-sustaining in it’s annual journey around our globe. What is also more than fortunate is the fact that all of civilization now resides within it’s multi-car class-system that, you guessed it, has the lowest of the low (evidently comprised of multiple faceless white people, a number of Asians and one black woman and her kid) forced to reside in the caboose! (more…)

Posted by on July 5th, 2014
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Code Black (2014)

code_blackThis is not a popcorn movie. Don’t plan on munching on bits of buttered kernel goodness while watching this graphic doc about the ER at LA County Hospital. Do not fret though, Ryan McGarry, Senior Resident Physician and writer/director of this very film, makes up for the ghastly factor of sutures and massive chest cracking trauma with his dreamy qualities. McGarry and his counterparts walk us through the ins and outs of the busiest ER in the world where more people have lost their lives per square foot than anywhere in the US and where the same can be said as for lives saved. Words cannot describe the chaos that abounds in this birthplace of the modern day Emergency Room . Moving images are needed to illustrate the true nature of the turmoil and lucky for us, Code Black provides just that, as well as a fascinating look at the history of this storied County Hospital. (more…)

Posted by on July 2nd, 2014
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Blue Ruin (2013)

Blue RuinA revenge flick of the highest order. The story is straight forward and to the point, but that’s not evident until after the first few scenes unfold with a severe lack of dialogue and a mounting cache of visual hints that draw you in. Ultimately and not long after these beautifully shot establishing scenes does it become apparent that this a Appalachian Mountain/Virginia family vengeance tale, that is to say, an ugly and violent dispute that will not end until one or both sides have paid a violent and bloody price. (more…)

Posted by on June 27th, 2014
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Chef (2014)

Chef3Been meaning to get to this one for awhile, but dread the thought of bitching about a movie with so much going for it. Short, sweet and to the point is the my aim for this write up. Short, sweet and to the point also describes the second half of John Favreau’s follow up to Cowboys and Aliens, with an emphasis on the sweet and not enough on the short. The first half of the film is a beautiful thing. Favreau plays the head chef in an upscale bistro. There is strife and (more…)

Posted by on June 25th, 2014
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Million Dollar Arm (2014)

MillionDollarArmIf you’re anything like me, live action movies that are slathered in the Disney brand are a huge red flag. Especially when sports are involved. You don’t need to look farther than Miracle  (a great story, but a soft delivery) or Invincible (good story, no punch) to find prime examples of where my concern derives from. If Disney live action sports movies where a race of people, I’d be a proud bigot. (more…)

Posted by on June 9th, 2014
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Dog Pound (2010) Now on Instant

Dog PoundAll the words you’d hope to find in a description of a movie about a juvenile detention center. Gritty, raw and incredibly well defined characters make this an intense viewing experience if not an enjoyable one. Can’t remember the last time I felt so invigorated by an onscreen beat down as I did here. A modern day Bad Boys. The Sean Penn one, not the Michael Bay one.

Should Watch

4 0f 5 (Watch at your own risk and you should know that prison rape is not avoided.)  (more…)

Posted by on June 9th, 2014
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The Dirties (2013) On Instant

TheDirtiesWe’ve got a good one here. It’s been too long since a truly independent film has come along and been so inspirational. Written, directed by and staring an actual film student in Matt Johnson, The Dirties takes cues from found footage flicks as well as faux docs such as Man Bites Dog and does so with absurd effectiveness. It’s easy to say “You’ve never seen a film like this”, but to actually mean it is rare. (more…)

Posted by on May 31st, 2014
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Narco Cultura (2013) On Instant

Narco CulturaHad this simply been a documentary about the violence and hell on earth conditions that have become the norm in the city of Juarez, Mexico it would’ve been eye opening. If the film only examined the drug trafficking violence in this city which sits flush on the border of El Paso, Texas it would have garnered attention. What Israeli documentary filmmaker Shaul Schwarz does instead is split the story in two and the results are more insightful if not disgusting and terrifying than would be otherwise. (more…)

Posted by on April 21st, 2014
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Under The Skin (2014)

UndertheSkinPosterWe’ve waited a decade for this. Ten years have passed since Jonathan Glazer’s Birth, and evidently more time is necessary for what might be the most talented director working today (Paul Thomas Andersson excluded of course)  to deliver a film worthy of ranting about. Take in Sexy Beast, Birth and Glazer’s impressive body of commercial and music video work and it becomes more than apparent that he is capable of challenging the aforementioned PTA, but Under The Skin won’t do. It’s just not good enough.  (more…)

Posted by on April 11th, 2014
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Let the Fire Burn (2013)

LetTheFireBurnRiveting. Let the Fire Burn is not only the best documentary of 2013, but one of the best period. Not a single frame was shot, nor a single word recorded for the purposes of this production and it works on a level that is rarely seen on screen. Assistant professor turned first time director, Jason Osder chronicles the short lived and nearly forgotten MOVE organization. Nonpartisan and even keel at every step, Osder cohesively unravels the demise of this cultish, anti-technology, gun touting hippie group that resided in Philadelphia from the lat 70′s to mid 80′s. (more…)

Posted by on April 10th, 2014
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