Cinema

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Cinema Clips: Into the Forest

Posted By on Tue, Aug 2, 2016 at 2:30 PM


A couple of great actresses make a fair script movie-worthy in this apocalyptic thriller from writer-director Patricia Rozema.

Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood star as Nell and Eva, two sisters living with their dad (Callum Rennie) in their home deep in the forest. One routine evening, they are enjoying the luxuries of modern civilization when, for some unknown reason, all of the power goes out. They react as people usually do to a power outage at first, busting out the flashlights and planning a trip for supplies. A mishap involving a car battery delays their trip, and when they finally make it into town, they discover the city has been swept of food and gasoline, with no end to the power outage in sight. Situations develop that lead to the girls living on their own, learning how to hunt for their own food, and fending for themselves.

Page and Wood, two actresses who haven’t gotten many roles to match their talents lately, rip into this movie with everything they’ve got. Their work here is a major triumph, even though the movie feels a little routine at times.

(Available for download and rent on iTunes and Amazon.com during a limited theatrical run)

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Monday, August 1, 2016

Cinema Clips: The Innocents

Posted By on Mon, Aug 1, 2016 at 9:00 AM


Writer-director Anne Fontaine (Adore, Coco Before Chanel) delivers her best film yet with this haunting story about a Polish convent in 1945, dealing with the savage after effects of WWII.

Lou de Laage is Mathilde, a French Red Cross doc who is taking care of German concentration camp survivors. When a nun comes begging for help with a dying friend, Mathilde discovers that the nun’s convent has many pregnant nuns. They’re in this state after Russian soldiers took advantage of them, and now they are dealing with spiritual and physical repercussions of unplanned and unwanted pregnancies.

The movie addresses many issues involving religion and faith, and goes down some very dark and disturbing paths. Even so, there’s a distinct hope and joy at the film’s core, and the results are often far from bleak. The performances, especially Laage’s, are excellent.

Fontaine’s film looks and feels authentic, thanks to wonderful cinematography and costuming. The movie will stick in your craw long after you see it. 

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Friday, July 29, 2016

Casa Video Top 10

Posted By on Fri, Jul 29, 2016 at 10:00 AM

I am obsessed with how perfectly this frog(?) fits in his chair. - BIGSTOCK
  • BigStock
  • I am obsessed with how perfectly this frog(?) fits in his chair.

Well, I know you've got a busy weekend ahead of you. If you find some time to rent a movie, these are probably the ones you're going to want. 

  1. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Continue reading »

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Cinema Clips: Lights Out

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 11:00 AM


Three years ago, director David F. Sandberg made a great short about a woman home alone at night, noticing a dark figure when she switched the light off. The payoff was both hilarious and scary as shit. So, of course, producer James Wan got a hold of Sandberg and now there’s a full length feature film based on that light-switch premise.

Writer Eric Heisserer takes the idea, fleshes it out, and comes up with a pretty good story to go with Sandberg’s strong horror directing abilities. Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) is an angry woman with mommy and commitment issues. Her mom, Sophie (Maria Bello), recently lost her husband and has fallen into a depression where she is talking to herself. Her son, and Sophie’s brother, Martin (Gabriel Bateman) is seeing a strange dark figure when the lights go out. It all leads up to a finale where flashlights are very valuable and potential victims behave like idiots.

Sandberg repeats the same jolt scare over and over again, and makes it all work nicely. The film is genuinely scary in the moments it’s trying to be. The background story is a little on the flaccid side, but Palmer and Bello are good in their roles, and Bateman plays a scared kid with major aplomb. It’s a serviceable horror film that will give genre fans a reasonably good time.

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Review: Hillary’s America: the Secret History of the Democratic Party

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 8:59 AM

hillarys_america_documentary_film_poster.png
Author and film maker Dinesh D’Souza’s latest film opened nationwide last Thursday. It is a history lesson in two parts.

It starts with a short and somewhat creepy sequence of swirling cartoon representations of different Democrat politicians to the tune of “Happy Days are Here Again”. The movie then begins with a re-enactment of the sentencing phase of D’Souza’s trial for violation of campaign finance laws. This was the beginning of part one.

Yes, it’s true, Dinesh D’Souza had a friend who was running for office to whom he donated $20k. So far, so good, but he then had a third party donate another $20k which was reimbursed by D’Souza. He was charged with a felony. His lawyer said that this sort of case is common and that nobody suffers a felony and that he would get it reduced for him. After some time, his lawyer told him that the court was not budging, he could not get the charge reduced, and that somebody must really want to get him. This took place after the D’Souza movie 2016: Obama’s America which was critical of the president. He pleaded guilty to the felony and was sentenced to five years probation, eight months in a "community confinement center," eight hours a week of community service during the probation, and a thirty thousand dollar fine. It was sort of a “Lite” version of G.Gordon Liddy’s sentence of 20 years in prison (commuted to eight years by President Carter) for a first offense breaking and entering where nothing was stolen—his punishment for not co-operating with Democrats after the Watergate fiasco.

After the courtroom scene, there was a humorous sequence showing his induction to the "community confinement center" and getting used to the company of hardened criminals. He began to learn about the criminal subculture which had been totally foreign to him. Through speaking with his fellow inmates, he distilled the four major aspects of the criminal enterprise: 1, Develop a plan; 2, Recruit; 3, Make the pitch; 4, If caught, always deny, never give up the con. He uses his newfound understanding of criminality as a framework for explaining the success and ultimate goal of the Democrat Party.

D’Souza dived back in history to the presidency of Andrew Jackson, the Democrat president who drove Native Americans off their land onto reservations, then sold the land cheaply to buy votes. The Republicans fought against the plan, but the Democrats got it passed. He proceeds through history to the Civil War, Reconstruction, the Ku Klux Klan, lynching, big city political machines, Margaret Sanger, and finally debunking the claim that Republicans under Nixon decided to appeal to Southern racists and that is why black people turned to the Democrats after the racists in the party became Republicans. It was given the term, “The Southern Strategy.”

Continue reading »

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Cinema Clips: Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words

Posted By on Wed, Jul 27, 2016 at 10:30 AM


While it’s been over twenty years since the great Frank Zappa left the planet, there’s been surprisingly little in the media about his life and times.

Director Thorsten Schutte finds a nice way of getting Frank back in the public eye, through a solid documentary featuring Zappa interviews, concert footage and appearances. Like The Beatles Anthology before it, Eat That Question tells the artist’s story by using his own words.

I’m a big fan, so I’ve seen some of the footage Schutte utilizes, like Zappa playing bicycle with Steve Allen and Frank’s final interview before dying from cancer. Thankfully, Schutte (with help from the Zappa Family Trust) has unearthed a lot of rare footage, footage even the most ardent fan might not be familiar with.

This isn’t a concert film, but it does have some great concert moments, enough so that fans of his music will be satisfied. The fact that Zappa was a brilliant philosopher and extremely wise man was sometimes lost in the controversy he could cause with his lyrics, especially in the late seventies.

Schutte’s film gives us plenty of Zappa talking, and he’s simply one of the most engaging speakers who ever walked the planet. It’s also quite the kick to see this gathering of interviews and interviewees, some of whom Frank didn’t exactly hit it off with. If he didn’t like the interviewer, he still made the session interesting. I found myself missing the man very much when the movie was over. 

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Monday, July 25, 2016

Cinema Clips: Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Posted By on Mon, Jul 25, 2016 at 9:00 AM


Ricky (Julian Dennison) and his foster parent Hec (Sam Neill) escape into the New Zealand bush after the death of Hec’s wife Bella (Rima Te Wiata) earns Ricky a ticket back to juvenile hall. They don’t like each other all that much at first. Actually, Hec simply doesn’t like Ricky, but they warm up to each other as the film plays out, and it’s a lot of fun to watch.

Directed by Taika Waititi, who made one very funny vampire movie with What We Do in the Shadows (and makes a very funny appearance in this one), it’s proof that Waititi has more than laughs up his sleeves. This film has genuine warmth, great performances and, yes, some good laughs.

Neill, unrecognizable at first under his big grey beard, delivers perhaps the best performance of his career as an old codger who has a bigger heart than he realized. Dennison is good fun as the unhappy kid who just wants to be happy and will find a way to be happy, thank you very much. The always great Rhys Darby shows up as Psycho Sam, and I will give away no further details about his work in the film.

It’s a great movie about survival, being buddies, and the importance of a good dog on your trip. Waititi is filming the next Thor movie. Yep, he’s making a Marvel movie. This should be interesting. 

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Friday, July 22, 2016

Take 10 Minutes to Enjoy Jon Stewart's Visit to the Late Show

Posted By on Fri, Jul 22, 2016 at 11:50 AM

Nation, it's our first presidential election in a while without constant commentary from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Maybe you're satisfied by the plethora of politically savvy late night television hosts on the air, maybe you're happy to take on this election without watching any of this kind of nonsense. But I'm not.

Luckily we got a taste of classic Colbert earlier this week with The Word making it's debut on the late show—it was truthiness v. Trumpiness and it was beautiful. 

Then, last night, Stewart took over Colbert's desk for a full 10 minutes. Watch here for a dose of old school Comedy Central:


He even got an Arby's jab in there. We miss you, Jon. See ya election night? 

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