The CBS Home Entertainment June 2, 2020 separate DVD and Blu-ray releases of "Star Trek Short Treks" lets non-subscribers of CBS All Access enjoy these these charming streamisodes of "Star Trek: Discovery." Each of the 9 shorts allows characters great and small a chance to shine. A glaring omission is Lt. Commander Paul Stamets, whom everyone's favorite rent-boy Anthony Rapp seems born to play.
The icing on the cake is the truly special features, which include "making-of" bonuses, with which CBS pairs each short.
All Access awesomely does some of the heavy lifting for this post; it perfectly describes this series as follows. "'Star Trek: Short Treks' are approximately 10-15 minute stand-alone short stories that allow fans to dive deeper into the key themes and characters that fit into Star Trek: Discovery and the expanding Star Trek universe."
The following 2019 ComicCon trailer for "Treks" expertly conveys the strong production values and great underlying humor of these films.
The earlier shorts, which begin with quirky Ensign Tilly in an equally odd story, have strong merits that fully reflect the "Trek" spirit. However, the later ones that jump ship and move to the Enterprise are personal faves.
A favorite among this group is the fantabulous "The Trouble With Edward." Former Enterprise science officer Lynne Lucero is the new captain of a science ship when mad scientist in the truest sense of that term Edward Larkim (H. Jon Benjamin of "Bob's Burgers" and "Archer" fame) commences the trouble with tribbles. The morals this time are that you should not mess with Mother Nature and that over population can be a deadly problem.
Larkin easily has the best of countless memorable moments when he cops an epic "not my problem" 'tude despite being the architect of the threat.
"Q&A" awesomely has Ethan Peck (Spock) and Number One (Rebecca Romijn) pair up as the latter greets the former on his arrival on the Enterprise to commence his service on that vessel. The best is soon to come when the "Treks" writers resort to the old "stuck together in an elevator" trope. Suffice it it to say that emotions do run high.
"Ask Not" is another very strong outing; this one features Captain Pike mercilessly testing an enterprising wannabe. It fully shows how it is determined if someone has the right stuff to serve on that crew.
The bigger picture this time is that "Treks" allows Trekkers, Trekkies, and the unenlightened alike a solid two-hours (plus extras) of stories that each are worthy of full-length episodes.
The must-be-seen-to-be-believed brilliantly remastered Mill Creek Entertainment April 7, 2020 DVD release of the 2000 Matt Damon drama "All the Pretty Horses" follows the MCE April 2020 leitmotif of BDs of films based on novels. This release coincides with the (reviewed) BD release of "Trapped," which is an adaptation of the Greg Iles thriller "24."
The accolades for this movie based on the Cormac McCarthy book of the same title include the 2000 National Board of Review, USA award for Best Screenplay. Each act in "Horses" playing out like a chapter in a book verifies that National Board of Review has chosen wisely.
"Horses" tells the post-war tale of West Texas presumed ranch heir John Grady Cole (Matt Damon), who gets a rude awakening on his grandfather buying the farm setting the stage for his mother to sell the family homestead to an oil company. Rather than packing up the truck and moving to Beverly (Hills that is), John and best buddy (with "Brokeback Mountain" style homoerotic undertones) Lacey Rawlins (Henry Thomas) head out to be cowboys in Mexico.
A fateful encounter early in the journey is a game-changer that shows John that no good deed goes unpunished and that the riding trail to Hell is paved with good intentions. John is much more kind-hearted than Lacey on the pair meeting mid-teens runaway Jimmy Blevins (Lucas Black) on a horse to which he has an arguable claim but that does not technically belong to him.
The excitable boy experiencing intense angst leads to a chain of events that finds him almost naked and afraid and John and Lacey figuratively at the end of their ropes. A spoiler is that past soon coming back to haunt our heroes puts them at risk of literally being at that end of their ropes.
In the interim, John and Lacey obtain gainful employment at a large Mexican ranch. The skill of John at taming horses earns him the favor of the owner; John being Matt Damon earns him the favor of Alejandra (Penelope Cruz), who is the daughter of the owner.
This near saga continues with paternal pride leading to John and Lacey being held accountable for the sins of another; this leads to a Mexican standoff that involves a South-of-the-Border form of frontier justice.
More trauma and drama ensues, leading to a sort of a homecoming on a few levels. The spoiler this time is that this neo-modern western does not guarantee that John will ride off into the sunset in the end.
The Mill Creek Entertainment April 7, 2020 Blu-ray release of the Kevin Bacon 2002 psychological thriller "Trapped" is one of the latest examples of home-video distributors being able to say "Cineplexes?! We don't need no stinkn' cineplexes." Greg Iles, aka the other Southern attorney turned best-selling crime-fiction novelist, masterfully adapts his book "24" to the big screen.
The action in the 1:46 drama mostly occurs over the titular period in the source document. Star anesthesiologist Dr. Will Jennings (Stuart Townsend) and his wife Karen are living the good life with with young daughter Abby (Dakota Fanning).
The nightmare begins within minutes of Karen and Abby going inside after seeing Dad off to a medical convention at which he is the keynote speaker. Karen quickly discovers that Abby is gone, and that serial kidnapper Hickey (Bacon) is an uninvited overnight guest.
The following exposition builds on the opening scenes that occur six months earlier. Hickey provides himself and wife Cheryl (Courtney Love) the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed by snatching the offspring of wealthy families and holding them for ransom for 24 hours. Hickey literally makes himself at home during that period to ensure that the 'rents behave and do not call the po po.
The current role of Karen, who seems tailor-made for the feral persona of Love, in the family business is to keep an eye on Will at the convention. For his part, Hickey is continuing his pattern of unduly taking advantage of the vulnerable mother willing to do "anything" to ensure the safe return of her child. This leads to a memorable scene with a ripped-from-the-headlines moment.
As he does in his novels, Iles expertly builds up the action and the drama on the three fronts of the literal homefront, the hotel, and the cabin in the woods where Abby is being held. These scenes also establish the backgrounds that make Team Hickey the people whom they are today.
All of this climaxes as the power balances shift back-and-forth as to the captors and the captives. The big payoff is a well-choreographed rescue attempt that includes a few nice twists.
The most fun of this enjoyable film relates to seeing typically good-guy Bacon once more allow his dark passenger to take the wheel. Equal entertainment comes from watching Love be Love.
The bigger picture is that "Trapped" shows creating Hollywood fare that appeals to critics and audiences alike does not require a current teen idol name. Michael Bay level pyrotechnics, or even especially lewd and lascivious content. A good story, competent direction, and a cast that understands its characters more than suffices.
The Film Movement DVD release of the 2017 drama "Outrage Coda" wraps up the underworld crime series of movies by Takeshi Kitano. Based merely on this one, it is clear that Quentin Tarantino lacks a monopoly on over-the-top bloody "mob" movies. In this case, the yakuza system is front-and-center. The fault as to not fully following every twist in this fast-paced chess game of a film lies within your not-so-humble reviewer, not with Kitano.
The following Movement trailer for "Coda" showcases the aforementioned wonderfully perverse violence that far exceeds the expectations of the 12 year-old boy in many of us. Another way of thinking about this is that it brings the spirit of "Itchy and Scratchy" into the live-action realm.
Our story begins on a typically deceptive low-key note; South Korean made-man Chang is chatting with a younger guy about fishing; this scene sets the stage for a more violent depiction of the middle-aged man and the sea.
The story fully gets underway when Chang is called in to after yakuza middle-manager Hakuna is caught with his pants down during a tryst with a couple of prostitutes who do not want to play rough. Chang fully puts this blowhard in his place and sends him packing.
Meanwhile back at the ranch, the yakuza boss sees the absence of Hakuna at an all-hands meeting as verification of his "I don't get no respect" attitude. Part of the basis for this is that this CEO has never been a guest of the Emperor or otherwise gotten his hands dirty.
The subsequent intertwined plots revolve around a desire for a management change and an effort to obtain maximum profit as to compensating Team Chang for the offense of Hakuna. The negotiations as to the latter are hilarious in a manner that proves that made men have a great sense of humor.
The better fun comes in the form of mob violence that often is staged to not be as it seems. Such attacks including one in a restaurant and another in a car show that the classics never go out of style.
All of this leads to a highly satisfying climax that provides a perfect conclusion to the film and the "Outrage" series. Hakuna learns a trifecta of lessons in the form of being doomed to repeat history when you do not learn from it, being careful about for what you wish, and the consequences of shooting off you mouth. Meanwhile, the fate of the yakuza boss depicts a fantasy for anyone who ever has had a toxic employer. One easily can say that his team is driven to this extreme.
Movement supplements this with a "making of" documentary and trailers of Takeshi films that Movement has released on DVD and Blu-ray.
The High Octane Pictures DVD of the 2019 gay-themed psychological thriller "Crisis Hotline" (nee "Shadows in Mind") shows that the fact that that it is not safe to go back in the theater is not a problem at all. This one has edgy fun for all ages and gender identities.
The following official trailer for "Hotline" provides a strong sense of both the style and the substance of this tale of an innocent young farmboy who realizes that he is not in Nebraska anymore.
This neo-modern gay soap opera/fable centers around member of The IT Crowd Danny, who gets a series of rude awakening on relocating to Silicon Valley for a dream job that turns out to be another day at the office.
As we learn throughout the almost film-long telephone conversation between Danny and support center staffer Simon, the reality is that the apparent embarrassment of riches as to the tech. job only allows for living in a shamefully shabby studio apartment and commuting an hour each way each day on the company bus.
The trauma that leads to the drama conveyed in the discussion with Simon begins with desperate times leading to Danny varying his method of his desperate measure of taking things into his own hands by going on either Grind'r or a reasonable facsimile thereof in search of Mr. Right.
This effort leads to meeting fellow keyboard kid Kyle. This pair waiting four dates to seal the deal either is a fairy tale (no pun or offense intended) or shows the new normal in the world of gay dating. It is realistic that waiting makes the intimacy more special.
The rest of the unfolding story is that Danny shares his plan for a murder/suicide with Simon.
The spidey sense of viewers is triggered more quickly than that of Danny as to Kyle being cagey regarding his clients who pay him well enough to live a lifestyle to which Danny would like to become accustomed.
A subsequent "meet the parents" scene has Danny as the man who came to dinner with Kyle to meet 30-something gay couple/pornographers Christian and Lance, who pay the rent for their boy Kyle. The evening starts out creepy and takes a darker turn that reasonably causes Danny to feel uneasy.
Danny becoming increasingly aware of the nature of the dirty business in which his highly significant other is involved proportionately prompts him to encourage Kyle to change professions. Anyone who has seen any film even remotely similar to "Crisis" knows that the odds are not forever in the favor of the young lovers as to their great escape plan. At the same time, that is a chance that they have to take.
The predictable last-minute obstacle to a happy ending comes in the unpredictable form of Kyle bringing his work home that is a Cos for concern. This triggers the events that lead to the call announcing plans to pull the trigger.
Writer/producer/director Mark Schwab pulls off the neat trick of pulling a rabbit out of his hat in the form of an 11th-hour plot twist that puts a completely new perspective on the entire film. The bonus is that it is a clever and realistic development that supports the theory that confession is good for the soul.
Thematically, the bigger picture is that the experience of Danny is relatable across the Kinsey Scale. As addressed early in the marathon call, every first love is almost certain to end in tears and recriminations. Further, in the immortal words of Keith Partridge, doesn't somebody wanted to be wanted like me? This is especially true when you are living a solitary existence in a shabby broom closet thousands of miles from home.
The bigger picture as to "Crisis" itself is that Schwab holds true to the modern style of indie filmmaking by keeping things real and having the performances largely be stoic even in the face of heavy turmoil. On a more narrow note, this film that borderline qualifies for a PG-13 rating reflects the rule in gay cinema that the amount of nudity has an inverse relationship with the quality of the film.
The DVD extras include commentary by Schwab and film expert Tim Sika. We also get DVD exclusive interviews with the cast and the crew.
Cinema Libre provides an awesome twofer regarding the April 7, 2020 DVD of the wonderfully edgy 2019 Icelandic drama "From Iceland to Eden." This film shows that quality cinema still exists and that home-video more than compensates for arthouses and cineplexes facing the wrath of COVID-19.
The opening scenes strike the desired balance between exposition and starting the action. Nearly naked 20-something Oliver finds himself in a bathroom with equally compromised peer Loa. He is there on the run from the law, which is in the midst of raiding his supply of assorted illegal drugs; she is there sleeping off a wild night with her host, whom our near-future young lovers find dead from an overdose.
One of several film highlights courtesy of Oliver portaayor Hansel Eagle, whose credits include "Shirtless Dancer" on an episode of "Black Mirror," comes soon after this initial meeting. Oliver casually reciting the increasingly hardcore list of drugs in his inventory triggers Loa remembering him as a well-known drug dealer on the club circuit. An even better moment comes when Oliver expresses displeasure as to having imminently facing a hammer attack at one end and a "cock up my ass" at the other. The performance of the actor playing second-generation drug dealer/"Little Mermaid" fanatic Tumi adds great entertainment value as to that dual threat.
Oliver and Loa soon demonstrate the dual follies of youth and heavy drug use by scheming and dreaming of life in the titular paradise, which is Cuba in this case. This caper commences a development that is relatable to virtually anyone who has had a post-college roommate. Loa convinces her friend to harbor her and Mr. Not Right in the Head for one night despite the opposition of the other guy who shares the place. Of course, this turns into an extended stay.
The daring deeds of our dynamic duo, which including putting Loa at risk of losing what is left of her virtue, quickly escalate, This includes a not-so-bold grab of a stash and cash to a "one last job" plot to be armed and dangerous party crashers at Chez Tumi. Needless to say, things do not go as planned.
All of this culminates in a very surreal ending that both brings things back to the beginning of the film and offers proof that everyone has a soulmate.
The big picture this time is that all of us want a better life, and some of us must work a little harder toward enjoying that desired Utopia.
The Film Movement Classics division of cinephile god Film Movement finds itself at the right place at the right time as to its March 31, 2020 release of "Their Finest Hour" coinciding with most of us entering at least a third week of house arrest; "The Shining" jokes stopped being funny several days ago.
"Hour" supplements a recent series of Classics Blu-ray releases of Ealing Studios comedies from the same era as the five WWII-related films that make up new releases. Posts on the comedies can be found in the Film Movement section of this site.
An important perspective as to "Hour" is comparable to an unfounded bias against westerns; just as tales of cowboys and indians typically are about much more than saloon fights and high noon showdowns, films that center around war-related events offer much more than battles.
The aforementioned cabin fever is a major (no pun intended) factor as to not reading the essay or watching most of the five-hours of special features in "Hour." There can be too much of a good thing when you spend at least eight hours a day watching movies everyday for a few weeks.
Similarly, a desire to not make this post a novella requires striking a happy medium between a 25-words-or-less synopsis of each of the five movies and writing a full review.
The collection begins with the 1958 version of "Dunkirk." Unlike the 2017 Christopher Nolan blockbuster, the Ealing version gives the events leading up to the civilian flotilla rescue of far more that seven stranded castaways on the titular shore roughly equal screen time as that exodus. We also get a much more in-depth look at the homefront aspects of those events than Nolan provides.
The Ealing short "The Young Veteran," which looks at WWII from the perspective of a post-adolescent literally and figuratively in the trenches, and a newsreel on Dunkirk are especially notable bonus features.
Classics tells us that the docudrama "The Dam Busters" (1955) inspires the central mission, aside from rescuing the princess, in the original "Star Wars." This compelling films portrays the efforts of a patriotic British engineer to develop a highly precise bomb to further the war effort; we also see the skilled RAF flyers who must meet very tough and equally specifics to allow the weapon of mass destruction to do its job.
"The Colditz Story" is a wonderful mash-up between "The Great Escape" and the '60s sitcom "Hogan's Heroes," both of which almost certainly take inspiration both from the film and the events that inspire it. The central plot this time is that the Germans convert the titular castle into a POW camp for prisoners who escaped from other places where they had unfortunate incarcerations. A series of intertitles that serve as an epilogue provide good context that an include documentary on the castle enhances.
"Ice Cold in Alex" (1958) follows a traditional action-adventure film format; the titular brew is a "carrot" in much the same way that almost all of us look forward to a meal at our favorite restaurant once our own unfortunate incarcerations end. The reel challenge is driving a run-down Army ambulance across the Nazi-infested scorching North African desert.
"Went the Day Well" (1942) arguably is the "Hour" film that is closest to the Ealing comedies. This film, which is based on Graham Greene story, is about a rural British village that is duped in literally welcoming a group of German soldiers into their homes.
In typical Ealing style. the story commences with the daily lives of the villagers, whose existence is somewhere between the central character (reviewed) "Passport to Pimlico" and (reviewed) "Whiskey Galore." The aforementioned fascists soon arrive disguised as British soldiers.
The web of lies soon unravels, and the real drama unfolds when the Nazis figuratively show their true nature. The clear message is to not f**k with the British.
The Mill Creek Entertainment February 11, 2020 "VHS Retro Style" Blu-ray of the 1986 Richard Gere/Kim Basinger neo-modern noir film "No Mercy" joins the MCE "Retro" catalog of these films that proves that they do not make 'em even like that anymore. The hardish-boiled "Mercy" is at one end of the spectrum as to the February 2020 "Retro" release; the (soon-to-be-reviewed) Cyndi Lauper/Jeff Goldblum comedy "Vibes" is at the other end; the (recently reviewed) Bruce Willis action-comedy "Hudson Hawk" falls in the middle.
"Mercy" is a blatant "homage" to the 1984 Eddie Murphy film "Beverly Hills Cop," that has Murphy playing a loose-cannon Detroit cop going to the titular city on a revenge mission. Not that there is anything wrong with that.
The similarities of "Those '80s Movies" begin with the opening scenes of "Mercy." Chicago detective EDDIE Jillette (Gere) is working undercover as a car wash attendant on his home turf; Ala "Beverly Hills," things soon go comically awry in a manner that (once more) incurs the wrath of the superior officer of Jillette.
An effort to salvage good from the botched operation leads to Gere and his partner meeting with mid-level criminal Losado, who is in the Windy City looking to hire someone to blow away a target. Losado moll Michel Duval (Basinger) is along for the ride.
Any Trekker knows that the partner of Jillette being a upstanding family guy screams for him to wear a red shirt to work every day. Sure enough, things quickly going sideways prompts Jillette to take an unauthorized trip to New Orleans to either put Losado in the pen (pun intended) or the ground.
It does not take Jillette long to run afoul of the local good ole boys or to reunite with Duval. Incurring the wrath of the NOPD takes a little longer. That involves the typical be on the next plane home or else moment that has equally predictable results.
While "Beverly Hills" largely centers around the relationship between Murphy's Axel Foley and Judge Reinhold's junior detective Rosewood, Jillette and Duval are the "Mercy" power couple.
This pair that is certain to become friends with mutual benefits start out with Jillette engaging with Duval by literally shackling her to him and dragging her through the bayou when the heat is on. This leads to discovering a business that is sleazy even by New Orleans standards and that explains the recruiting trip of Losado.
Along the way, Duval reveals the true nature of her relationship with Losado. Of course, things become very personal in a way that reflects that Losado gets angry when someone plays with his toys.
The inevitable extended mano-a-mano showdown between Jillette and Losado puts Popeye and Bluto to shame.
The "retro" appeal of all this is that "Mercy" is a prime example of film noir evolution to a stage that the femme fatale can dish it out and take just as well as the damaged hero who initially is out for her blood before (typically) having a change of heart.
The striking images and related spectacular cinematography in the Breaking Glass Pictures DVD release of the 2018 drama "Holiday" alone justify adding this film to your home-video collection. It also makes one wonder why Breaking does not spring for a Blu-ray release.
The festival love for this entertaining tale of the trophy girlfriend of an abusive drug lord includes numerous top honors. These accolades include Best Picture at the 2018 Austin Fantastic Fest and Best Director at the 2018 Nordic International Film Festival,
The following YouTube clip of a "Holiday" trailer does not do the style of the film justice but does provide a strong sense of the misogynistic elements and the counter-balancing theme of material girls with blonde ambition considering the boy with the cold hard cash to always be Mr. Right despite the cost of the relationship.
Early scenes have our heroine (pun intended) Sascha getting called out on a damsel-in-distress routine on the cusp of the extended titular vacation with aforementioned pusher Michael, This trip is to pimped-out villa in Bodrum on the Turkish Riviera, Their travel companions are the business associates of Michael and the significant others and children of those legitimate businessmen.
Although lounging in the sun, playing games at the arcade, and clubbing is fun, Sascha soon learns the same lesson as her "sisters" that anyone who "marries" for money pays a high price for enjoying the lifestyles of the rich and loathsome. This includes having to put out on demand and dealing with a man whose temper (and temperament) essentially precludes finding someone to stick around out of love.
One of the best and most telling "Holiday" scenes has a bored Michael sitting in the bitch husband chair at a jewelry store while Sascha shops. This kept woman selecting emerald earrings aptly provides her a sense that she is not in Kansas anymore. Another way of looking at this is that it shows the intersection of her grasping greed and the combination of the lust of Michael and his desire to have a status symbol other than a tattoo on his arm.
More drama enters the picture when Sascha strikes up an unsanctioned relationship with a yachting type. Handsome and kind sailor Thomas shares an intimate moment with Sascha, and both of them want more than a one evening stand. This prompts a jealous Michael to lure Thomas to the villa under false pretenses. The feral aspects of that evening show the true natures of both men.
The climax follows when Sascha plays a booty call gone wrong on Thomas; this leads to her becoming a girl interrupted who truly is dazed and confused. This adds to the morality tale aspect of this beautiful and compelling film.
Film Movement fully celebrates the independent spirit of art-house films with the DVD release of the 2017 drama "I Am Not a Witch." Folks who prefer to download this tale of nine year-old Shula being sent to witch camp can do so through the Movement streaming service.
The sweet 16 accolades for "Witch" begin with the 2018 BAFTA award for "Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director, or Producer." Many of the other 15 wins similarly honor the film itself and writer/director Rungano Nyoni.
The following YouTube clip of the Movement trailer for "Witch" casts a spell that compels you to want to see more of the guilty-pleasure absurdity and themes that earn the film so much critical love.
The fun begins with wonderful dual commentary on the nature of tourism and the treatment of the disenfranchised in any society. We see tourons (a.ka. tourists + morons) in Zambia traveling to a witch camp. Of course, a group member balks at the price of the experience.
On arriving at their destination, the visitors treat the not-so-beloved sorceresses like zoo animals. For their part, the women who endure that humiliation do so with supernatural stoicism. The education of the day trippers includes the explanation that tethering the women to white ribbons is intended to prevent them from flying away to go on a killing spree. One spoiler is that at least one witch reaches the end of her rope.
The primary commentary then commences in the village where unaccompanied minor Shula resides; our introduction to her shows the incident that leads to her being accused of witchcraft. That judicial proceeding provides a strong sense of the comparable Salem witch trials.
This leads to government official Mr. Banda bringing the girl to the aforementioned camp. A form of tiger repellent logic is used in convincing Shula that she either can consent to be tethered to a white ribbon or be turned into a goat.
Banda subsequently exploits the perception of an unenthusiastic Shula for fun and profit. This includes making her use her alleged power to catch a thief. We also see her sit quietly by as Banta and his partner-in-crime try to get her to play along with a scheme to show that she can literally be a rainmaker.
Meanwhile, the witches also profit from the perception of Shula. They additionally amusingly go about their lives as the bicker and do what is required of them. We additionally get further proof that people from "civilized" nations are clueless.
All of this shows both that every society has the same basic flaws and that all of us should be ashamed, very ashamed.
Movement supplements "Witch" with the Nyoni short-film "Mwansa the Great." We further get an interview in which Nyoni discusses visiting an actual witch camp.
Breaking Glass Pictures fully lives up to its reputation for edgy dark fare as to its its February 18, 2020 DVD release of the 2019 grindhouse-light film "Feedbacck."
This tale of a night of terror for an aging Chav who can be considered the UK answer to Howard Stern, can be thought of as a Blumhouse remake of the '70s com "WKRP in Cincinnati" about the zany staff at a struggling AM radio station. On a related note, one can only hope that Blumhouse does recreate the "WKRP" episode that revolves around a belief that turkeys can fly.
Outspoken Jarvis Dolan arrives at work bloodied but undeterred in the wake of a beatdown inspired by his strong opinions; his glee on throwing around his star status is short-lived when it soon becomes apparent that tonight is not like every other night. For on this night, some people die and others wish for that fate.
The terror for Jarvis and delight for the warped viewers who enjoy his torture begins with learning that his show has been hijacked and that the culprits are at least one step ahead of him. Things follow the standard course of Jarvis being warned against trying to get any help. He also discovers that he is his own captive audience.
Learning that the current "night in question" involves an earlier "night in question" with heavy shades of "WKRP" is far from the end of the story. Virgin feature-film writer/director Pedro C. Alonso does an excellent job keeping the twists coming in a manner that validates the theory that all memories are subjective.
Jarvis and his sidekick being forced to graphically confess their sins under incredible duress and in a highly public manner greatly contributes to the perverse fun of this one.
Alonso further shows his chops in the obligatory escape attempt scene. This one truly demonstrates sound and fury.
Of course, all this ends with the last men (if any) on both sides of the sadistic antics at the end of their ropes and thoroughly exhausted. The awesome thing this time is that all involved get exactly what they deserve,
Purveyor of awesome guilty-pleasure films Wild Eye Releasing continues stepping up its game with the recent DVD release of the smells like teen angst film "A Million Hits."
This B-movie aptly populated with characters to whom that letter can apply in a related context shines a light on the role of social media on coveted teen popularity. Even those of us whose high-school days predate the Web (dark and otherwise ) can relate to wanting to be one of the cool kids and to a literal or figurative party going out of bounds.
A broader perspective regarding all this is that any individual who hopes to profit from an online presence can relate to the less scrupulous among us using deceitful and/or lascivious means to increase hits. A personal point of pride is never "paying for it" and never sharing my naughty bits or behind-closed-door activities to attract readers. I will state that following @tvdvdguy on Twitter will give you a chance to find a chocolate bunny on your lawn on April 12, 2020.
Our story begins with Queen B Ashley administering a massive beat-down to frienemy Amy while sidekick Jess films the action. This escapade lands all three excitable girls in the office of the principal.
The first bit of humor relates to the school administrator invoking the over-blown terrorist threat policy of many K-12 institutions regarding the punishment for the incident. Watching Ashley play innocent and not-so-subtly bully Amy into verifying a claim that they were merely fooling around is hilarious.
The fallout from all this includes the '90s-era camcorder of Jess getting confiscated, and her abusive mother giving her hell for that allegedly valuable item being taken away. Jess manipulating an AV geek in an effort to recover the device also prompts smiles.
Much of the teen drama relates to Ashley responding true to character in both senses of that term on Jess having leverage over that YouTube star. For her part, Jess fairly simultaneously finds her true calling and her dream boy.
For her part, Amy represents the stereotype of a childhood best friend who is callously thrown aside for not thriving during puberty. The fallout from her sharing a video from the good-old-days is another highlight of "Hits."
All of this climaxes in a manner that solidifies that "Hits" is a neo-modern morality tale. One way of stating this it to paraphrase the Mark Twain quote that it is better to not film your misdeeds and be assumed to be a fool, rather than to post them and remove all doubt.
The IndiePix Films DVD release of the 2016 drama "Agony" is a perfect example of a neo-modern psychological drama; the social commentary on the dystopian existence of Millennials is icing on the cake.
This fact-based tale of two Millennials centers around the quarter-life crises of law student/aspiring judge Christian and recent Army vet./rapper/boxer Alex. The actual collateral damage of the post-teen angst of one of these "we need to talk about" boys is a 20-something woman whose remains get spread all over Vienna.
Alex divides much of his time between training at his gym and hanging out with his best friend with whom he not-so-secretly would like to obtain benefits. Christian studies hard, frequents the local club, and has a girlfriend/chum.
Rookie writer/director David Clay Diaz fairly evenly divides the screen time between these fine young cannibals. The few seconds of blackness between the segments devoted to them provide segues.
Being boomerang kids who essentially have trouble paying the 'rent is a common characteristic of our subjects. The lord and the lady of their respective manors express frustration regarding failing to pull their weight,
Alex has it worse; his father is a cop, who is increasingly frustrated both regarding keeping his son in protein powder and this Peter Pan lacking a viable career path. The former having to literally bail out the latter does not help matters.
For his part, Christian generally is angsty and is contending with an important test. A tense "meet the parents" aspect and his girlfriend being clingy does not help matters.
The dual climaxes of "Agony" revolves around both boys succumbing to the pressures in their lives. One takes a stab at relieving that pressure; the other decides to bag it. Both endings show that the kids are not alright.
The numerous merits of the film begin with the strong relatability regarding this movie about two 20-something guys having difficulty transitioning from being boys to fully manning up. This extends to showing that even Millennials who seem to have their lives together face the same challenges as apparent slackers. This is not to mention the ills associated with being on both sides in a relationship with unrequited love.
The underlying social commentary that includes the concept of "if it bleeds, it leads" and the fact that any similarities between our excitable boys and any persons living or dead is not purely coincidental adds good depth. These elements, along with the production quality of "Agony," elevate the movie above being an "After School Special" or a Lifetime Movie,
Former "The Young and the Restless" hunk/rocker/notable sitcom guest star Michael "Flyman" Damian once more puts his diverse background to good use in producing/writing/directing "High Strung Free Dance." An interview with Michael spouse/partner-in-filmmkaing Janeen Damian on the theater-quality GVN Releasing February 4, 2020 Blu-ray of "Free Dance" shows the extent to which art imitates life. The ONLY "complaints" about this sequel are that it lacks the term "Electric Boogaloo" and does not recreate the awesome violin bow duel from the (reviewed) original.
One can only hope that there is a "High Strung 3" and that the tag line is "this time its personal." It is very clear that Michael, whom the behind-the-scenes BD extra tells us loves to move the camera, is not close to being too old for this "stuff."
On a serious note, Damian also takes advantage of his decades of show business experience by following the general rule of making a sequel more grand than the original, He does buck the trend of a first sequel being horrible only to have the franchise rebound with the third entry. This creates great expectations as to the aforementioned next "High Strung" movie.
Damian (perhaps inadvertently) also reflects the wisdom of the mid-70s Saturday-morning series "The New Scooby-Doo Movies" that a fan base can handle a more mature offering than the series that brings them to the table. The post on "High Strung" notes that it seems to be geared to a tween girl audience but appeals to a broad age group,
The final aside before fully discussing "Free Dance" is that the "cast of 1,000s" listed as producers of this crowdfunded movie shows that it would be cool to see your name on the silver screen. These contributions to indie films that value art over commerce also help talented folks such as Damian continue to "rock on."
The following trailer for "Free Dance" highlights how it is brighter, grander, and more adult than its excellent predecessor.
"Free Dance" takes its name from the epic Broadway show around which the film revolves. The link with "High Strung" is that both films feature Jane Seymour as highly demanding dance instructor (ala Lydia Grant of "Fame" fame) Oksana in both films. One difference this time is that Oksana has a highly personal interest (and rocky relationship) as to central dancer Barlow (Juliet Doherty).
The asides this time are that we know that Seymour is not an ex-wife of Henry VIII but do not know whether Oksana considers Anna Karenina her favorite author.
Damian pays a wonderful homage to the past by bringing the epic '30s musicals back in a much bolder and brighter fashion in the 21st century. This more than justifies the physical-media release opting for Blu-ray.
This ode to yesteryear includes Barlow initially not making the cut as a background dancer for the titular extravaganza of fabled choreographer Zander Raines (Thomas "Harry Hook" Doherty of the "Descendants" franchise). Barlow not taking "no" for an answer puts right what once went wrong.
Our classic tale continues with deli delivery boy/aspiring pianist Charlie (Harry "Vampire Boy" Jarvis) getting his first lucky break in terms of one chance encounter connecting him with a reclusive retired famous pianist. A subsequent series of fortunate (and one seemingly not-so-fortunate) circumstances leads to Charlie getting the gig as the on-stage pianist for the show, Barlow being his muse helps the production while contributing to backstage drama.
Related asides this time are that casting Thomas and Harry reinforce that Michael (who casts "handsome devil "Nicholas Galitizine in the first film) has a good eye for talented British pretty boys and that Jarvis shares in an interview for another outlet that "Free Dance" prompts him to resume his piano studies after a long absence. His exceptional playing proves that he is an apt pupil; his youthful exuberance in the behind-the-scenes feature further reflects the love for his role that his performance conveys.
Much of "Free Dance" centers around the trauma and drama of rehearsing for the show, The vintage-style shifting fortunes of Barlow drive much of the action.
All of this leads to the epic opening night; a twist during this frantic period will cause many viewers of this compelling film to yell out a word that rhymes with "witch" when it seems that nice guys once again finish last.
Damian fully delivers as to the final performances that include an truly grand finale. This fully leading to a classic Hollywood ending removes any doubt that Damian honors the past.
Music videos on the Blu-ray further show the love of the art.
The epilogue to all this is that the post on "High Strung" encourages folks to disregard embarrassment related to seeing a very good film that is geared to tween girls; there is ABSOLUTELY no cause for such concern as to "Free Dance."
'Dad' and 'I'm Not Rappaport' Blu-ray: Jack Lemmon/Walter Matthau Grumpy Old Odd Couple Double Feature
Mill Creek Entertainment further adds to its Blu-ray library of feel-good movies with the January 14, 2020 double feature of the 1989 Jack Lemmon/Ted Danson/Ethan Hawke film "Dad" and the 1996 comedy Walter Matthau/Ossie Davis comedy "I'm Not Rappaport." This coincides with the (reviewed) MCE BD release of the 2002 JLo/Ralph Fiennes romcom "Maid in Manhattan."
As indicated by being one of a handful of '80s and '90s movies (including "Nothing In Common" with Tom Hanks and Jackie Gleason) about an estranged adult son having to contend with his difficult elderly father, "Dad, " which is a Stephen Spielberg joint that Gary David Goldberg ("Family Ties") writes and directs, is the more substantive of the two films.
The figurative 25-words-or-less synopsis of the film is that literal Wall Street yuppie John Tremont (Danson) must return to his childhood middle-class LA suburban home to care for titular parent Jake Tremont (Lemmon) when mom Bette Tremont (Olympia Dukakis) has a heart attack.
Rather than a history of tears and recrimination, John and Jake merely drifted apart due to a combination of the "Cats in the Cradle" syndrome and typical generational differences. Member of "The Greatest Generation" Jake outwardly is content with his career consisting of a daily-grind job at (presumably) the same employer for decades; the career path of Baby Boomer Jake reflects a desire for more material and inner gratification, Gen X grandson Billy Tremont (Ethan Hawke) reflects the arrested development of his peers.
The reveal and impact as to the manner in which Jake has coped with a not very fulfilling adult life arguably is the most interesting aspect of this movie that easily holds the interest of the viewer throughout. This involves a fascinating twist on having a second family.
Everything aptly overall is Jake at the beginning of the film; John is agreeable to his role of temporary caregiver/home ec. instructor while Bette recovers in the hospital. The game-changer of the physical and mental health of Jake rapidly takes a massive turn for the worse is relatable to many folks with elderly parents.
The overall well-presented textbook tale involves John experiencing a mix of deep concern for his father and fully justified disdain for the health-care industry decades before it lowering the bottom to which it has sunk. The "B" story is John trying to understand Billy. This manboy is one of the more interesting characters in that part of him is a cool dude shacking up with a couple of buddies and a chick in Mexico and the other part is a dork who has much more than nothing in common with his grandfather.
The ensuing events that attempt hilarity by having the three generations of Tremont men gleefully act dumb and dumber either are highly entertaining or highly annoying. This is from the perspective of a guy who now gets along with his elderly father but considers family meals the home version of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" and cannot understand why relatives enjoy vacationing together.
"Dad" being a 20th-century Hollywood film by folks who do family-friendly fare right ensures that all concerned better understand each other and have closure by the end.
"I'm Not Rappaport" aptly has more of a live-stage vibe because it is based on the truly hit play of the same name. Playwright Herb Gardner directs and writes the screenplay for this adaptation.
Perfectly cast grouch/grumpy old man Matthau steals the show as Nat "Oscar" Moyer, who takes a daily break from boisterously stirring up trouble as to his advocacy for the little guy to hang out in Central Park with elderly building superintendent Midge "Felix" Carter (Davis), who merely wants to stay "invisible and not rock the boat. This relationship makes one hope that Gardner would have revised his play by making the Carter role one that would have been suitable for Lemmon.
The aforementioned activism of Moyer always involves his adopting a false persona to protect whom he considers the downtrodden; this includes causing a near-riot as the food prices at the grocery store or threatening the president of the tenants' association at the building where Carter works. One such incident has him both speak loudly and carry a big stick.
As is the case regarding friendship among people of every age, most of the interaction between Moyer and Carter involves Moyer going and on either about legendary union organizers or the role of Moyer as to those activities. For his part, Carter mostly keeps calm and carries on.
Much of the fun of Rappaport extends beyond the countless witty quips to relate to seeing Matthau stay true to his persona in a "Mom, Grandpa's doing it again" manner. Heavier substance comes in the form of the portrayal of Matthau of a character who realizes both that he is way past his prime and has not lived the life that he has desired; his coping mechanism as to that is comparable to how Lemmon's Jake has managed his daily routine for decades. Both are fortunate to have the love of a good woman ease their burdens,
The common lesson of both films is that growing old is not for the feint of heart. Carter perfectly describes the relatability of the themes by reminding the middle-aged yuppie that is pushing him out of his long-term job and home that that guy is not immune to old age,
Icarus Films once more shows the immense value of world cinema as to the DVD release of the 2017 Indonesian feminist drama "Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts." This compelling movie with a strong live-stage vibe shows that Quentin Tarantino does not have the monopoly on Amazon warrior revenge films.
The 17 wins and 25 additional nominations for "Marlina" show that director Mouly Surya has all the right stuff; these accolades include numerous honors at the 2018 Film Festival Indonesia and Best Cinematography at the 2018 Asia-Pacific Film Festival.
The following Icarus trailer for "Marlina" clearly shows the Tarantino and classic Western influences on this must-see film.
The titular felon is a relatively recent widow living in relative isolation on her farm; as is typical for good storytelling, the extent of her woes is revealed throughout the film.
The nightmare begins within the first moments of "Marlina." Bad hombre Markus shows at her door and immediately plays cat-and-mouse. The horrible truth is soon shared when the interloper matter-of-factly tells his hostess that his gang is on their way to steal all of her livestock and to rape her if they have time after that theft. He adds insult to those imminent injuries by ordering her to start cooking dinner for the group.
As the film title indicates, things do not go as planned. This leads to the second act that centers around Marlina taking the long journey to the nearest town to report the crimes and her response with extreme prejudice. This trip involves both "persuading" a bus driver to co-operate and an overdue pregnant woman with her own man troubles to join the crusade.
The response of the police is true to factual and fictional patterns; any viewer with a soul will want to smash the typewriter of the cop who takes the statement of Marlina over his head.
The long arm of the law coming up short leads to showing that you sometimes must send a woman to do the job of a man. The even more sad truth as to this is that it demonstrates the limited extent to which the phrase "you've come a long way, Baby" applies.
All of this leads to a climax that brings the action back full circle to the beginning of the film; the sad messages as to this are that things never change and that you often much take matters into your own hands.
The bonus features include behind-the-scenes coverage and an interview with Surya.
The Cinema Libre Studio January 7, 2020 separate DVD and Blu-ray releases of the 2018 Laurence Fishburne drama "Imprisoned" provides equal portions of compelling action and food for thought. This is not to mention showing that revenge is a dish best served cold.
In true modern filmmaking style, the opening scenes of "Imprisoned" begin with the end of the story and lead to 90-or-so minutes that show how we get there.
In this case, former prison warden Daniel Calvin (Fishburne) revisits his old workplace just ahead of the imminent destruction of that structure. Flashbacks to an Attica-caliber riot help fill in part of the picture.
The plot thickens on turning back the clock 20 years; newly instated warden Daniel is at a local coffee shop to learn how to solve a problem like Maria. In this case, the trouble relates to that woman calling attention to questionable practices at the prison. The dual turning points are Daniel becoming infatuated with his new acquaintance and discovering that she is the wife of an ex-con regarding whom Daniel has an (arguably reasonable) enormous chip on his shoulder.
Aforementioned former guest-of-the-state Dylan fills in the rest of the story by telling Maria of the massive impact of his crime on then-prison-guard Daniel.
The reawakening of horrific memories prompts Daniel to plot against Dylan; this leads to a truly nefarious scheme that lands Dylan back in jail and Maria in the bed of Daniel.
These events play a massive role in the aforementioned prison rebellion. This is turn leads to arguably poetic justice.
The captivating appeal of all this is a well-written and acted story that is shot on a pre-Hurricane Maria Puerto Rico. That cinematography alone more than justifies shelling out a few extra bucks for the Blu-ray.
The plethora of bonus features include three deleted scenes, an interview with Edward James Olmos (who shines as the governor of the island), and an apt look at social-impact filmmaking.
Breaking Glass Pictures fully exhibits its love of perverse edge as to its DVD release of the twisted 2016 drama "Motel Mist." Although this tale of freaks and geeks at a "love motel" just outside Bangkok is adequate lurid, it being a variation of the Neil Simon "Love Boat" (complete with A and B List celebrities) '70s-era "Suite" films makes "Mist" that much more of a no-need-to-feel guilty pleasure. It also makes "Mist" more like BBC series "Hotel Babylon" than ABC '80s staple "Hotel."
The following Breaking trailer for "Mist" highlights the atmospheric and kinky tone that makes it an entertaining walk on the wild side from the safety of your own home.
Our rogue's gallery begins with typical outwardly respectable middle-aged Sopol, who maintains a lair at the titular hot-sheets Hilton; his current school girl who works in the oldest profession in the world is Laila. Their intercourse clearly shows that her pain provides his pleasure.
This encounter taking an unexpected turn literally shows Sopol that karma is a bitch in a way that provides the audience particularly dark pleasure before the tables once again turn only to shift once more thanks to an even Stevens development.
The partner-in-crime of Sopol is young hotel employee Tot, whose show business aspirations extend beyond his facilitating the real-life Bob Crane hobby of Sopol. Tot also is adequately unbalanced to fit right in with his guests.
The fictional household name of the group is former child star Tul, whose personal path is textbook for former Disney Channel kidcom stars turned super freaks that you would never consider bringing home to mother. Tul is waiting for his alien friends to beam him up (and likely probe him). His adventures in coveted Room 5 include seeing a blue room and wanting to paint it black. This excitable boy going fully psycho near the end is a film highlight.
Writer/director Prabda Yoon ends all this with an especially stylish sequence that shows that some dreams come true even for the not-so-pure at heart.
Breaking supplements this with a behind-the-scenes feature.
Indiepix Films goes wonderfully old school as to its separate DVD and BD 10th anniversary releases of the 2009 psychological neo-noir thriller "Yesterday Was a Lie." This literally stunning pristine shot-for-shot remastering of this highly stylistic and atmospheric film fully brings back the Golden Age femme fatale films. This homage extends to platinum blonde Hoyle (Kipleigh Brown) going on a mind-bending journey in concurrent searches for the truth and peace of mind.
The numerous accolades for this perfect update of a classic genre aptly includes the Feature Film honor at the 2009 Accolade Competition; the festival love also includes two wins for writer/director James Kerwin.
The inner turmoil of Hoyle relates to confusion regarding her states of consciousness; her outer demons revolve around the search for a reclusive genius, who may be able to help her achieve peace of mind. A strong timey-wimey element and the concept of the window of eternity that involves a form of mind meld introduce strong elements of "Dr. Who."
The partner-in-crime solving of Hoyle is her male peer, who outwardly is Phil Marlowe but channels Dr. Phil. A typical night of hard drinking and tough talk introduces Hoyle to a sultry lounge singer, who also is a mirror image.
This quest brings Hoyle further down the rabbit hole as various realities merge and collide. A strong aspect of this is the regular reappearance of an ex who has trouble reconciling the past despite clearly not being Mr. Right.
The final reveal for the audience is that the 21st century is not entirely devoid of films that honor art and tells an intriguing and thought-provoking story well,
The plethora of extra include an audio commentary in which Brown and Kerwin participate, insightful featurettes and interviews, and the Wondercon panel,
The Film Movement Classics division of art house god Film Movement once again digs into the vault to perfectly restore a cult classic by releasing separate DVD and Blu-ray sets of the Fritz Lang two-part 1959 Indian epic "The Tiger of Eschnapur" and "The Indian Tomb." The Panorama-style cinematography alone justifies buying the Blu-ray set.
One can only hope that Classics follows the family tradition as to "Dad" following up its epic "Sissi Collection," which is the trilogy of docudramas about the titular Austrian empress with massive mother-in-law issues, with the (reviewed) condensed version of those films "Forever, My Love." Watching the Lang films as an uninterrupted whole truly would be epic.
Classics does both Lang films proud by including a booklet with an essay by film historian David Kalat, a documentary on the epic, and a feature of epic (in both senses of the word) star Debra Paget. Your not-so-humble reviewer does readers less proud by sacrificing reading the essay and watching the documentaries in the interest of timely posting a review of the films that Lang makes on returning after a 20-year exile from Germany that relates to an colossal furor.
The aptly titled "Tiger" commences with new kid in town German engineer Harald Berger chivalrously coming to the rescue of the assistant to famed dancer Seetha (Paget). This leads to this trio going on the road to see the Maharaja of Eschnapur (Chandra), the not-so-wonderful Maharaja of Eschnapur. Seetha is going in response to an offer for a command performance that she better not refuse, and Berger is going for the purpose of performing the public good of building schools and hospitals.
The initial spark between Seetha and Berger fully ignites on his coming to her rescue during their journey.
Although Chandra is a victim of the emerald-eye monster when his (for the moment) honored guests arrive; that is the least of his problems. Older brother Ramigani and his cabal are actively plotting to ascend to the throne that Ramigani considers his birthright.
The escalating tensions culminate in a climatic scene in which Chandra seeks to impose poetic justice on his romantic rival; this involving a cat fight adds an extra layer of aptness. This leads to a dramatic run for the border that seems to be the end of the story.
"Tomb" picks up in the immediate aftermath of "Tiger." Berger effectively is out of the picture; his sister Irene and boss/brother-in-law Walter Rhode are newly arrived and not buying the paper-thin explanation for the absence of Berger. Walter is further incensed as to the insistence of Chandra that he design and construct the titular mausoleum. This relates to the person for whom that structure is being built.
For his part, Ramigani is dividing his time between the final amassing of his supporters and manipulating his younger brother.
While all of this "meanwhile back at the ranch drama is unfolding, central fugitives from injustice initially discover that the golden rule trumps the desert code of hospitality. This leads to a walk-of-shame to face final judgment (and jeopardy).
The drama this time culminates in a great escape attempt that does not go as planned. Ultimately, we get a Berlin ending that significantly differs from the conclusion of Hollywood fare.
The irony is not lost on your not-so-humble reviewer in stating that a desire to remain on the Nice List of Santa and a related hope to find an Apple watch under the tree in a couple of weeks is behind the confession that starts this post on the well-produced thought-provoking Virgil Films recent DVD release of the 2017 drama "Walden: Life in the Woods." Merely looking at the site homepage photo, which is roughly 20 collectibles out-of-date, of my home office indicates a love of stuff with no practical worth.
This admission is that, although I LOVE walking around Walden Pond, I HATE HATE HATE HATE the style and related undue complexity of the book "Walden" that Henry David Thoreau writes while in seclusion by that body of water when he does not walk into town to visit friends and family and to restock the provisions in his austere cabin. This is not to mention the unintended humor as to the Boston-area Walden site charging $15 for pahking that also has a gift shop that sells a wide variety of goods with no practical value that extol the simplicity philosophy of Thoreau.
This loathing of the source material is the root of unfounded concern that "Walden" the film would completely consist of the prose that repeatedly ended up scattered all over my 10th-grade dorm room after repeatedly being thrown against the wall of that austere accommodation. This is not to mention reprimands for using "inappropriate language" while reading that book; a certain part of the anatomy of Thoreau would be incurably sore if an oft-repeated command to him was a reality.
The good news extends beyond this solid film saving viewers that fate almost as bad as death. This movie is a relatable fable for our dsytopian times. The laudable message is to not allow the stress of career and a desire for material goods to impair your happiness and ruin your relationships; in simpler terms, do not live above your means or allow your love of material possessions to trump (pun intended) your love of your fellow man.
The following "Walden" trailer highlight both the indie film and source-material philosophy of the movie. At the very least, "Walden" provides almost two hours of intriguing drama and serenity in our highly troubled and divided times.
Our story centers around middle-aged middle-manager Ramirez (Oscar nominee Demian Bichir for "A Better Life"), whose not very good day begins with having to tell his wife that the nursing home where he works has cut both his hours and his benefits. This hits particularly close to home when Ramirez learns that the cost of the medicine that his daughter needs for a chronic condition has significantly risen. His subsequent conversation with an overseas rep. of his insurance company is frustratingly relatable to all of us who regularly are there and do that.
Soon after arriving at his job, Ramirez is confronted by boss Charlie (wonderfully offbeat T.J. Miller), who tasks him with telling the maintenance guy/Ramirez buddy that that guy must become an independent contractor and reduce his hours if he wants to keep his job. The relatability this time is the many occasions that the low person on the totem pole is forced to knowingly put an unconvincing positive spin on a callous corporate policy.
The nursing-home "guests" include Alice, who largely mentally does not live here anymore, Her role in the really rotten not-so-good day of Ramirez is her high-strung grandson Guy, who gives the guy (no pun intended) who is not paid enough to put up with this "stuff" grief about using air freshener in the room of his grandmother.
This visit occurs just as Guy and laid-back boyfriend Luke are headed out for the titular hike/camping trip. Their stress extends beyond the boys disagreeing about how to interact with Alice to Luke arguing that the stress and the greed associated with Guy selling wealthy investors on the profits associated with wind turbines outweighing the social good of helping put those turbines in operation.
The strain on the relationship escalates in the woods and fully comes to a head when Luke springs a radical lifestyle change on his partner,
Meanwhile, the post-work-period of Ramirez that is not devoted to getting his daughter her medication is divided between buying a kitchen sink and convincing a bank to refinance his mortgage. These adventures first cause Ramirez to focus on the prices of the items in the Home Depot where he is shopping and to continue that exercise at home. This is reminiscent of a scene in one of the social-commentary films that Jack Lemmon makes in the '60s. In this one, he plays a top-level executive who calculates the total expenses that he faces simply on waking up each morning.
The impact of the day causes Ramirez to execute his own radical experiment while he is home alone; the scene in which his wife arrives and Ramirez and viewers are equally anxious as to her reaction to his actions aptly ends this film about focusing on the value of the natural world.
Virgil honors the Thoreau spirit by not including special features on the DVD.
The Breaking Glass Pictures DVD release of the 2018 Buenos Aires-based drama "We Are Thr3e" aptly can be considered the non-missing link between the Breaking tradition of releasing (often artfully arousing) gay-themed films and more mainstream world cinema fare. "Thr3e" sensitively (and mildly arousingly) explores the theme of a long-term loving male-male-female relationship. Minimally, it will give anyone near the middle of the Kinsey Scale something about which to think.
One spoiler is that any guy with an interest in having a broamce include benefits is encouraged to show his buddy this film and proceed according to his reaction.
Breaking does an especially good job communicating the theme and the tone of the film in the following trailer. It clearly shows that the cast is well selected and that writer/director Marcelo Briem Stamm is a good spokesperson for relationships that further expand boundaries in an era in which gay couples receive widespread acceptance in much of the US and beyond.
The depicted genesis of the relationship between Russian-born bartender/free-spirit Sebastian, conformist Argentinian Nacho, and divorced girl-next-door Ana reflects the truism that no one can predict when any form of relationship will develop while engaged any form of activity. The rest of this story is that love more often stems from when you are not seeking it than from when you are searching for Mr. or Ms. Right (or Right Now).
Nacho and Ana meet cute at a party; Sebastian literally and figuratively enters the picture when the other two go in search of the bar. Sebastian soon subtly seduces (but does not abandon) the latest objects of his affection. Although Sebastian calls many of the shots and largely directs the course of the relationship, a morning after scene makes it clear that he is not one of the chosen people.
A pivotal (and particularly well-played) scene is a variation of a situation that is very relatable to any dude who has been on either side of this interaction. Sebastian takes an unauthorized break to catch up with a bonding Nacho and Ana. The sense of relatability continues with Sebastian orchestrating things so that Nacho faces the test of (presumably) having his first mano a mano kiss. The hesitancy of Nacho to take this step provides an early in a series of looks at the skill of Sebastian to proceed things at the pace that Nacho and Ana can handle.
Thing fairly quickly proceed to Sebastian presenting logical arguments for the trois to form a long-term loving menage. The point of reference this time is feeling love for someone who is unable to fulfill all of your physical and/or emotional needs. All of this being out in the open at least as to the three willing participants arguably is worth trying.
One thing on which Stamm does not directly touch is the desire for male intimacy that virtually every man directly or indirectly feels as evidenced by previously largely straight Nacho not displaying much resistance as to the advances of Sebastian. This often manifests itself in the form of at least curiosity as to sex with another man regarding whom there is adequate attraction and trust to deal with the physical and emotional aspect of crossing the final frontier. Some acts are enjoyable for some of us only when you love the one with whom you are with.
The theme of love conquering all continues with Nacho especially becoming emboldened as to sharing the nature of his current relationship. The analogy here from the early days of the campaign for equal rights for gay men essentially is that the friends and family of Nacho must process not only that he now likes men but also has someone special in his life.
Stamm and his cast do a good job keeping things seemingly realistic as to the early sense of Nacho and Ana that the absence of Sebastian creates a hole. The same is true regarding Nacho and Ana inadvertently making Sebastian jealous.
We further see the complications as to our trio already contending with the practical issues that arise in any romantic relationship that further are complicated as to the nature of their arrangement. Accountant Nacho raises many of the transactional considerations, such as the law and business institutions only recognizing one spouse in a relationship.
The bigger picture (no pun intended) is to the extent to which the vision of Stamm is prophetic, The next stage as to gay relationships may be the "straight" guys who traditionally use the anonymous cruising methods of the era to be more open by getting everything that he needs at home, including a willing "beard," who actively participates in her two men mutually enjoying intimacy.
Sebastian addresses the female perspective by offering Ana husband material in the form of Nacho and boyfriend material in the form of himself. Many modern women likely would enjoy having her cake and the hunky baker as well.
The DVD bonuses include what must be an insightful interview with the cast and crew. A time constraint when watching "Thr3e" requires delayed gratification as to that feature.
The Film Movement November 19, 2019 DVD release of the 2018 coming-of-age drama "Geneses" (aka "Genesis") proves that adolescent growing pains are both timeless and universal. Movement pairing this release with that of a DVD of (reviewed) "The Demons" (2015) by "Geneses" filmmaker Philippe Lesage further shows that Movement does right by lovers of art-house cinema.
"Demons" focuses on the preadolescence of filmmaker Philippe Lesage in the form of adventures of quirky Felix, who shows moderate gay tendencies. This leads to the "Genese" all-boys private school life of quirky teen Guillaume during a time that he and his half-sister Charlotte are learning the facts of life.
The numerous festival wins for "Genese" include "Best Film" honors at the 2018 Montreal Festival of New Cinema and Locarno International Film Festival.
The following Movement trailer for "Genese" expertly conveys the agony and the ecstasy of adolescence behind the aforementioned impact of this highly notable film. The audio commentary by Lesage most likely shares the extent to which this is live and is Memorex.
As Movement observes in DVD liner notes, "Genese" starts strong with Guillaume on top of his desk leading his classmates in a rousing sing-a-long., His ensuing interactions with classmates, including a stereotypical jock, are equally relatable to anyone who has attended high school around the globe.
Guillaume seems overall average in that he mostly is well-liked and can work and play well with others; he further clearly is the class clown. The only real animosity that he inspires is as to a teacher.
All is going reasonably well with close friend Nicolas until Guillaume acts on a love that dares not speak its name. Most adolescents can relate to having romantic feelings toward a friend and struggling with repressing it, The hope that expressing love will be well received is a major aspect of this.
Nicolas is more sensitive than the average teen boy in rejecting the unwanted advance, Not knowing better than to quit when he is ahead, Guillaume expresses his love for Nicolas in a witty and charming class presentation. The aforementioned reputation for being a joker is a factor regarding the response of the peers of Guillaume.
The auto-biographical relationship between Felix and his older brother plays a role as to a deepening friendship between Guillaume and a younger student/dormmate.
Particularly guys who attend a boarding school can relate to being on both sides of a younger brother/older brother style relationship, The younger guy largely is on his own likely for the first time in his life and is surrounded by bigger and more physically mature male classmates. The older guy can remember his early days and also feels protective toward the sweet and sensitive kid who is not quite in his element.
The sad truth that Lesage shares (and likely has lived) is that ignorant societal attitudes that include homophobia often lead to hasty incorrect judgments that can punish folks for kindness and PROPER love. Suffice it to say that things do not end well for Guillaume.
Lasage repeatedly shifts the narrative between the growing pains of Guillaume with the angst of Charlotte. Her relationship with Maxime is derailed when he suggests out of the blue that they start seeing other people. The confusion as to that includes the assertion of Maxime that he is not presently interested in anyone else.
A highly memorable scene involves Charlotte, who has started dating someone else, rejecting the lustful advances of Maxime. This leads to one of them weeping on the floor only wearing briefs and the other trying to console that person.
Part of the rest of this story is that Charlotte gets her first lesson regarding the universal truth that most men are alike.
The voice of experience for all the Charlottes (and Charles) out reflects the wisdom of the comic strip "Calvin and Hobbes." The "from the mouths of babes and tigers" wisdom is that you are lucky if you can find someone whom you can tolerate and they can stand you in return. The bonus advice is to ask yourself if you would be happier without the other person than you are with him or her.
Similar to "Demons," Lesage ends "Genese" with a vignette that centers around love and a big brother-little brother relationship at a summer camp. This inarguably is the most endearing tale that Lesage tells.
Movement supplements all this with the aptly titled short film "The Lesson." That one has a young woman become enamored with an outwardly desirable male motorcyclist only to learn the awful truth. A hilarious scene has the guy mansplaining only to get massively showed up. The man literally ending up in the bitch seat at the end is highly symbolic.
Olive Signature, which is the exceptional collector's edition division of Olive Films, does the 1945 Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman classic "The Bells of St. Mary's" more than proud as to the November 26, 2019 pristine Blu-ray release of that Oscar-winning classic. The typical sturdy artful sleeve, the comprehensive written essay, and the equally educational and entertaining BD bonus features are pure Signature in a manner that shows that Olive ain't just whistlin' Dixie as to its motto "cinema lives here."
Crosby reunites (and it feels so good) with legendary veteran writer/director/producer Leo McCarey to continue the story of Crosby's Oscar-winning Father Chuck O'Malley from "Going My Way." The Crosby-style charm and wit of that man of the cloth likely provides the Catholic Church with its best propaganda of the '40s. (A BD bonus feature provides copious enlightenment as to the biopic-worthy career of McCarey.)
Our story begins with O'Malley arriving at the titular House of God in his capacity as the new pastor. The circumstances regarding this change-of-command reflect the not-uncommon real-life situation in which a priest well past his prime is a figurehead, and the penguins run the aquarium. This plays a role as to the ready-for-primetime O'Malley sometimes leaving stern but loving Sister Benedict (Bergman) with egg on her face.
The aforementioned Crosby style particularly shines in early scenes in which he inadvertently rings the school bell an hour before the beginning of classes and later shows the students that there is a new Sheriff Taylor in town. Benedict particularly is not amused as to the largess of the new boss but holds her tongue, as she amazingly does throughout the film.
An early highlight is O'Malley being unaware of why the nuns validly are laughing during his introduction of himself to them; one can say that the cat has got the tongues of his audience,
An even more adorable scene come roughly halfway through the film; we see the first-graders rehearsing their version of the Nativity story. Much of this involves a very young Joseph knocking on doors only to be told to take a powder because he does not have any money.
The central conflict between O'Malley and Benedict is highly relatable in this modern era of church closings, The necessity of funds for repairs already has required selling the former playground of the property. Developer Horace P. Bogadus (Henry "Clarence" Travers) is making solid progress with his building on that site and has his eyes on the school as the location of a parking lot.
Laid-back O'Malley is accepting the strong probability that the St. Mary's students will need to be bused to St. Vincent's across town. Benedict has a perish the thought attitude regarding the closure of her home. A "God will get you for that" attitude of O'Malley plays a role.
The response of every viewer with a soul to a shock soon after an apparent resolution to this challenge is a prime example of the impact of this perfect film. You WILL respond as intended to every character and feel his or her pain.
Our leads also clash as to new girl in class Patsy. This girl entering adolescence prompts her single mother to convince O'Malley to give Patsy an education and a "proper" home. Of course, O'Malley responds with exceptional kindness and compassion.
As a BD bonus in the form of an engaging interview with a nun who is a film reviewer states, it is almost certain that the mother either practices the oldest profession in the world or relies on the kindness of strangers. This bride of Christ also shares how her own experience allows her to relate to Patsy. The rest of us will think of a "Facts of Life" episode in which Eve Plumb of "The Brady Bunch" fame plays a young nun who has a profound impact on one of the Eastland girls.
The other primary source of conflict between O'Malley and Benedict is the former making a sacrifice for the good of the latter, who incorrectly thinks that she is being punished for adhering to her principles (rather than to her principal). Once again, the real-life nun speaks for the rest of this as to her response to this.
Every thread of the "St. Mary's" story aptly comes together at the commencement ceremony, which is one of the final times that Benedict shows O'Malley who's the boss, at the end of the film. Everyone ends up where he or she belongs in true Golden Age fashion.
Hopefully as shown above, the blessing and the curse of "St Mary's" is that it reminds us of what movies can be. Neither O'Malley nor Benedict outwardly lose their tempers (or end up in bed together), and there is no violence or shock-and-awe humor.
One must believe that there still are filmmaker like McCarey out there. It is less likely that there are enough Americans who still have a soul to allow another "St. Marys" to return a reasonable profit.
Film Movement provides perfect double-feature fodder by separately releasing DVDs of teen-angst movie "Genese" (2018) and coming-of-age topic du jour "The Demons" (2015) on November 19, 2019, Both movies are semi-auto-biographical as to writer/director Philippe Lesage.
The accolades for "Demons" include a well-deserved "New Director" award for Lesage at the 2016 San Francisco International Film Festival.
The figurative titular malevolent entities plague 10 year-old suburban boy Felix. The experiences of this pre-adolescent provide the perfect context for the quirky teen boy around whom "Genese" revolves. Other numerous parallels as to this film include both opening with classroom scenes of shiny happy students. Additionally, both boys have close friends whose mothers have serious embarrassing issues.
Much of the angst in the life of Felix revolves around his parents having violent fights only to calm down and hug it out with him and his older brother and older sister. This is a factor as to the older brother being loving and protective of Felix. This relationship symbolically plays itself out in "Genese."
Felix having a sensitive nature that manifests itself in aggressive behavior makes his school days challenging. The aforementioned opening moments include a teacher outwardly being cruel by strictly enforcing a rule against lending Felix a pencil; a similar bias plays out in "Genese."
Felix spending much of his time hanging out with his older brother and the teen friends of that sibling puts a boy in the world of a man. This includes playing on his fears as to a rash of local kidnappings and killings of boys of his age. The older guys also speaking critically about one of their peers being gay also causes Felix, who is displaying blatant homosexual tendencies, equally intense angst.
Some gay men and their childhood friends will relate to a play date in which Felix literally has his buddy play the female role. Scenes that revolve around the snatching and the killing of boys will strike a stronger chord with every viewer.
The skill of Lesage as to portraying a boy nearing the cusp of adolescence and another approaching the end of that awkward period is what makes his films Movement worthy and SCREAM for watching them as a double feature. Lesage expertly straddles the line between sensitive and saccharine.
You will feel the agony and the ecstasy of the subjects but never will feel that you are watching either an "After-School Special" or a Greg Berlanti or Ryan Murphy tale of the adolescence of those Millennial gay men idols.