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87 posts categorized "Movies" Feed

May 18, 2012

Movies You Missed 39: Michael

MichaelThis week in movies you missed: To his friends and coworkers, Michael (Michael Fuith) seems like an average thirtysomething bachelor. He sells insurance. Takes ski trips. Buys Harry Potter books for his nephew. And makes sure to pick up an extra copy for the 10-year-old he keeps locked in his basement.

What You Missed

Five months in the lives of a pedophile and his victim (David Rauchenberger). Before you run away screaming, consider this: Michael is low-key, nongraphic and nonsensationalist. None of the horrible things you may be imagining right now happen on screen — but that is how the film gets under your skin and really disturbs you.

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May 11, 2012

Movies You Missed 38: Tim & Eric's Billion Dollar Movie

Tim-ericThis week in movies you missed: A comedy Roger Ebert hated so much he pretty much just said, "Screw it" and stopped writing his review half way through.

What You Missed

Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim are the creators/stars of the cult sketch-comedy show "Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!" (seen on the Cartoon Network from 2007 to 2010). In their feature film outing, they play themselves, and various famous guest stars who've appeared on their show turn up.

Billion Dollar Movie starts from a premise not dissimilar to the real-life case of Mac Parker — OK, that's pushing it. This premise could never have happened in reality anywhere.

A Hollywood-ized Tim and Eric (pictured) have been given the titular sum to make their first film. They produce a cinematic opus that suggests a 12-year-old boy's idea of Oscar bait, complete with Paris, faux poetry and Johnny Depp. It runs three minutes, and the star turns out to be a Depp impersonator. The rest of the billion was used to retain Tim and Eric's personal guru (too briefly played by a peevish Zach Galifianakis) to the tune of $10K per week.

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May 04, 2012

Movies You Missed 37: Scheherazade, Tell Me a Story

ScheherazadeThis week in movies you missed: In this 2009 Egyptian flick, a journalist becomes an enemy of the state when she tells the stories of ordinary women on the air. That would never happen to Oprah!

What You Missed

Hebba Younes (Mona Zakki) hosts a popular TV talk show that regularly presents fierce criticism of Egypt's rulers. Her husband (Hassan El Raddad), who works at a government-owned newspaper, fears her outspokenness will cost him a promotion to editor-in-chief, so he begs her to devote a few weeks to stories about things "no one can blame on the government" — fluff and lady stuff.

Hebba concedes, but the stories she discovers turn out not to be so fluffy. Nor are they unrelated to the nation's political corruption.

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April 27, 2012

Movies You Missed 36: Pariah

PariahThis week in movies you missed: a lesbian coming-of-age story with broad appeal.

What You Missed

When Meryl Streep accepted her Golden Globe for The Iron Lady last winter, she used her speech to mention some lesser-known actresses she thought deserved recognition, including Adepero Oduye (pictured), star of Pariah. Now audiences everywhere can see what she was talking about.

Oduye plays Alike (pronounced a-LEE-kay), a Brooklyn high school senior who gets straight As, writes poetry and is fine with her sexuality — until she goes home. Then she switches her butch sports jerseys for girlie T-shirts to appease her religious mother (Kim Wayans), who is starting to fear that her oldest daughter is "turning into a man."

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April 20, 2012

Movies You Missed 35: Coonskin, aka Street Fight

Coonskin_(1975)This week in movies you missed: a film about race in America from the great animator Ralph Bakshi that, according to the warning label on an early VHS release, "offends everybody."

What You Missed

We open with a live-action sequence: In a rural prison, Randy (Philip Michael Thomas) and Pappy (Scatman Crothers) wait for Randy's two friends, played by Barry White and Charles Gordone, to come bust them out. To while away the time, Pappy tells a story of three outlaws who he says resemble Randy and his friends: Brother Fox, Brother Bear and Brother Rabbit, who left the South to embark on a series of violent adventures in Harlem.

Bakshi's animation takes over as we watch the exploits of the three brothers (voiced by Thomas, Gordone and White), which include bringing down a corrupt preacher, a cop on the take and, in the climactic sequence, the Mafia.

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April 13, 2012

Movies You Missed 34: Miss Representation

MISS-REPRESENTATION-1This week in movies you missed: What's missing from movies? Positive representations of women, according to this documentary.

What You Missed

Jennifer Siebel Newsom (pictured) is a Hollywood actor married to a politician (California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom). Pregnant with her first daughter, she started worrying about the media climate's effects on girls, which eventually led her to make this documentary. Basically, Miss Representation is a collection of damning clips full of woman portrayed as sex kittens or shrieking harridans, alternating with interviews with familiar faces such as Gloria Steinem, Rachel Maddow, Geena Davis and Margaret Cho.

Its thesis is that today's media are objectifying and demonizing women, perhaps more than ever before, and that this is part of a backlash against feminism. Most revelatory — for a non-cable-news watcher, anyway — was the series of clips with pundits ranting about female political candidates or asking them ridiculous questions ("Did you have breast implants?"). If politics are always a circus these days, this footage represents their most shameful sideshow.

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April 06, 2012

Movies You Missed 33: Tyrannosaur

TyrannosaurThis week in movies you missed: No, not a SyFy film about a raging T. rex. An English film about a raging lower-class widower.

What You Missed

Have you ever seen one of those action movies where the hero has pronounced anger issues? But it's a good thing, because he uses his homicidal rage to go to town on bad guys? Tyrannosaur is not one of those movies.

Joseph (Peter Mullan), an unemployed widower in the north of England, has anger issues, all right. In the film's first scene, he goes ballistic (I think it was over sports scores, but I'm not sure) and kicks his dog to death. And this isn't a dog he hates or didn't want to keep feeding. It's a dog he later refers to, with palpable regret, as "my buddy."

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March 30, 2012

Movies You Missed 32: Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel

Cormans-worldThis week in movies you missed: Celebrate the start of drive-in season (the Sunset is open!) with a documentary about the king of good old bad B-movies.

What You Missed

He gave Jack Nicholson his first screen roles. He gave Ron Howard his first directing gig. He helped Joe Dante, Martin Scorsese, James Cameron and Jonathan Demme get their starts. He produced nearly 400 movies, starting in 1954, and is still working. But if you're young or unversed in film history, you may never have heard of Roger Corman.

So long and colorful is this soft-spoken mogul's career as the "King of the Bs" that someone already made a documentary about him, way back in 1978. But that was before VHS technology ended the golden age of the grindhouse and drive-in, before movies like Corman's started going straight to DVD, before he was finally honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and before he found himself making films like Dinoshark for SyFy.

All those developments are chronicled in Alex Stapleton's Corman's World, which also includes clips from Corman's oeuvre (and their wonderfully salacious trailers) and interviews with the many Hollywood luminaries who got their start with him.

Why You Missed It

Widest U.S. release: two theaters.

Should You Keep Missing It?

Not if the sight of a 1970s MPAA symbol shivering at the end of a trailer fills you with nostalgia, and not if you wish you could have seen X or The Wild Angels or Death Race 2000 at a drive-in.

Continue reading "Movies You Missed 32: Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel" »

March 23, 2012

Movies You Missed 31: The Myth of the American Sleepover

Myth-american-sleepoverThis week in movies you missed: Awkward teenagers doing awkward teenage things the way teenagers actually do, which will not remind you of Project X or American Pie.

What You Missed:

In a Detroit suburb, in an unspecified era (no cellphones or internet, no obvious '70s or '80s gear), it's the last day before school starts. All the kids are headed for parties or sleepovers or just trolling around in the hopes of getting that cute guy/girl to notice them.

Maggie (Claire Sloma, pictured), a lowly freshman, ditches her all-girl sleepover to look for trouble. Claudia (Amanda Bauer) wants to make friends at her new school but finds herself making waves instead. Rob (Marlon Morton), a virgin, can't stop thinking about the blonde he saw at the supermarket. Scott (Brett Jacobsen), a college student just dumped by his long-time girlfriend, tries to recapture his high school prime by seducing a pair of twins.

All these plotlines weave their way through David Robert Mitchell's directorial debut, which screened at Cannes and a bunch of other festivals.

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March 16, 2012

Movies You Missed 30: Miss Bala

Miss-balaThis week in movies you missed: A young woman must endure sparkly dresses, televised interviews and senseless carnage to keep her loved ones from harm. No, The Hunger Games is next week. This movie takes place in present-day Mexico.

What You Missed

Laura (Stephanie Sigman) is 23, lives in Tijuana and wants to be crowned Miss Baja California. (When asked why, she replies simply, "They give her money.") But when she follows her friend from the pageant auditions to a nightclub, things go very wrong.

Armed men — cartel members targeting a DEA agent — pour in and open fire. Laura escapes, but her search for her friend takes her to a cop, who takes her straight back to her original attackers. From there, things just get nastier, as crime kingpin Lino (Noe Hernandez) decides to take a personal interest in Laura and her beauty queen aspirations.

"Bala" means bullet. Believe it or not, this story was loosely based on a real incident involving the arrest of a Mexican beauty queen.

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