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A Film Unfinished





(OUT OF 10)

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This documentary uncovers footage of the Warsaw ghetto during the Holocaust—which is actually a series of outtakes from a Nazi propaganda film. It depicts Jews being forced to enjoy fake dinner parties and comfortable shopping; the Nazis intended to show the world how good life was for people in the ghetto.

The movie shows how the victims were forced to endure multiple takes. In one case, a theater full of people is forced to applaud and laugh all day while watching a show. While they are seen smiling and laughing, they are actually imprisoned and held against their will, unable to even take bathroom breaks.

The film is difficult to watch, but it is essential in further understanding the abomination that was Hitler and Nazi Germany. There's something truly horrifying about seeing a man and woman smiling and eating a meal—and knowing that they will get up from that table, walk out the door and be part of one of history's most horrible undertakings.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Even more shocking is Billy Wilder's Death Mills, an American anti-Nazi short that shows the aftermath of Hitler's camps after Allied forces liberated them. The most striking images show smiling German townspeople being led into the camps to witness the horrors that were happening just a short way from their homes. The entire short is included, along with some film-scholar interviews.

Hatchet II (Blu-ray)





(OUT OF 10)

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AMC was the only major theater chain last year willing to run this film, the sequel to director Adam Green's 2006 slasher pic about a swamp-monster-man dispatching people in gruesome ways.

AMC then pulled the film after just a couple of days. My guess is that somebody from AMC actually decided to watch the movie—and wanted to get it as far away from their establishments as possible.

While the original was almost fun, this follow-up is anything but. Green made a film that tries to be funny and scary, along the lines of Evil Dead 2, but fails miserably. This is sloppy, dispirited horror-movie-making at its worst.

Danielle Harris (the little girl from the Halloween sequels all grown up) replaces Tamara Feldman as Marybeth, the lone survivor of the last film. This one picks up exactly where the last left off, and before the opening credits roll, somebody is getting strangled with their own intestines. Sure, this sort of stuff can be disgusting fun, but Green's direction lacks balance. His film is just depressing.

It's a shame. I had a lot of hope for Green, who also directed last year's Frozen, which was very good. The only connection this film has to Frozen is a cameo or two by actors from that film. (Emma Bell actually plays her character from Frozen in a TV-news report.) Green should've left them out of it. All it does is remind the viewer of his great potential while this dreck unspools, lending to the depression.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Some behind-the-scenes stuff, and it's nothing to get excited about. Trust me.

Bambi: Diamond Edition (Blu-ray+DVD)





(OUT OF 10

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In an effort to cheer myself up after watching those first two films, I decided to take in this Disney classic. Well, I forgot what happens to Bambi's mom.

The film is still charming after all of these years. (Go, Thumper!) Of course, after the initial heart-wrenching life lesson, the film gets a lot happier, and it did manage to cheer me up.

SPECIAL FEATURES: The movie is newly enhanced and digitally restored, and it looks beautiful. The best features are the deleted scenes and song. You also get a feature highlighting a story meeting that Walt Disney conducted while putting the film together.

Memento: 10th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray)





(OUT OF 10)

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Christopher Nolan's masterpiece still manages to screw with heads 11 years after its release. I don't know which one messed me up more ... this one or Inception.

Guy Pearce plays Leonard, a man with memory issues. After some sort of trauma, he's afflicted with a memory that erases itself, forcing him to continually start his life over. He writes himself notes and tattoos clues on his body in an effort to make him remember who murdered his wife.

Pearce is incredible here, as is Joe Pantoliano as his mysterious friend.

SPECIAL FEATURES: A Nolan commentary and interview, a retrospective on the movie, Leonard's tattoo sketches and more.

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