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Showing posts from February 2, 2014

Review: The ABCs of Death

“A is for Apocalypse”: (writer/director Nacho Vigalondo) The world is about to end, and a housewife is finally given the excuse to kill her husband. “B is for Bigfoot”: (writer/director Adrian Garcia Bogliano) A babysitter tells her charge a story about a monster that kills children who aren’t in bed by 8PM, just so she and her boyfriend can have uninterrupted sex. Gee, I wonder who comes knocking? “C is for Cycle”: (Writer/director Ernesto Diaz Espinoza) Looking into strange holes in the background leave a man beside himself. I thought C is for Cookie? That’s good enough for me, at any rate. “D is for Dogfight”: (Writer/director Marcel Sarmiento) An underground fight between a man and a dog. “E is for Exterminate”: (Director Angela Bettis) A man with spider removal problems. “F is for Fart”: (Writer/director Noboru Iguchi) A student with an extremely bizarre and extremely gaseous same-sex attraction to her teacher. “G is for Gravity”: (Writer/director Andrew Traucki) It’s about a sur…

Review: Gaslight

Ingrid Bergman marries pianist Charles Boyer and they move into the London home formerly occupied by her Aunt, who was murdered several years ago. Things seem to be going well until Bergman starts to slowly lose her mind...but is someone giving her a helping hand? Angela Lansbury (in perhaps a forerunner to her role in “Kind Lady” 6 years later) plays the couple’s young, floozy maid, who has little sympathy for the lady of the house. Joseph Cotten plays a Scotland Yard policeman (about as British as Col. Freakin’ Sanders!), who suspects something is not quite right with the couple, whilst Dame May Whitty plays a nosy but friendly neighbour called Bessie.

The basic plot might’ve become a staple of TV movies in recent years (not to mention I’d wager author V.C. Andrews is a fan), and some would argue that the 1940 film version is the better one, but this 1944 George Cukor (“Little Women”, “The Women”, “The Philadelphia Story”, “Adam’s Rib”) psychodrama is still a rock-solid display of s…

Review: The Master

RIP Philip Seymour Hoffman. I have no words...but I’ve decided to bump up this review (written a few weeks ago, for full disclosure) as perhaps a tribute (or a big pageview earner, if you want to be cynical about it). He will be missed.

I don’t know how he does it, but writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson (“Boogie Nights”, “Magnolia”, “Punch-Drunk Love”, “There Will Be Blood”) has yet to make a dud, and this strong, if unusual film from 2012 is no exception. Allegedly based on the early days of Dianetics (i.e. Scientology), it’s a shattering story of a disturbed WWII veteran and alcoholic drifter Freddie (Joaquin Phoenix- perfect casting) taken under the wing of a charismatic cult leader fantastically named Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman). This Dodd is part PT Barnum, part author (sci-fi?), part would-be philosophical thinker, and a bunch of other things wrapped into one avuncular (maybe even paternal) whole. Dodd’s movement, The Cause, is still in its infancy, and before long,…

Review: Rise of the Guardians

The title characters are a band of all your childhood favourite *cough* imaginary *cough* characters; North AKA Santa (voiced by Alec Baldwin), the Easter Bunny (voiced by Hugh Jackman), the Tooth Fairy (voiced by Isla Fisher), The Sandman (who is mute), and Jack Frost (voiced by Chris Pine). Jack has a bit of a chip on his shoulder and feels like he has been overlooked in favour of the other guardians (who were all created by the Man in the Moon, by the way), because he is invisible to humans (Um, so are the others, aren’t they? No, that foul-smelling department store Santa doesn’t count). So he has shunned them for a somewhat lonely, invisible existence. Anyway, when darkness appears to be on the horizon in the form of the evil Pitch (voiced by Jude Law), the Guardians seek the counsel of Da Man in Da Moon, who insists that the key to destroying Pitch’s dark influence over the world is to bring Jack into the fold before Pitch has children the world over forgetting all about the Guar…