Saturday, February 27, 2016

New on Amazon Prime: March 2016

March 1
Ghostbusters: Starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Sigourney Weaver. Three former parapsychology professors set up shop as a unique ghost removal service.

Ghostbusters II: Starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. The discovery of a massive river of ectoplasm and a resurgence of spectral activity allows the staff of Ghostbusters to revive the business.

American Psycho: Starring Christian Bale, Jared Leto and Justin Theroux. A wealthy New York investment banking executive hides his alternate psychopathic ego from his co-workers and friends as he escalates deeper into his violent, hedonistic fantasies.

The Diary of Anne Frank: Starring Millie Perkins, Shelley Winters and Joseph Schildkraut. Harrowing story of a young Jewish girl who, with her family and their friends, is forced into hiding in an attic in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam.

The Seven Year Itch: Starring Marilyn Monroe, Tom Ewell and Evelyn Keyes. When his family goes away for the summer, a so far faithful husband is tempted by a beautiful neighbor.

The Rules Of Attraction: Starring James Van Der Beek, Ian Somerhalder and Shannyn Sossamon. The incredibly spoiled and overprivileged students of Camden College are a backdrop for an unusual love triangle between a drug dealer, a virgin and a bisexual classmate.

The Story Of Ruth: Starring Stuart Whitman, Tom Tryon and Peggy Wood. Inspired by the scriptural tale. Moabitess priestess Ruth is drawn both to a Judean man and to his talk of a forgiving God. After tragedy strikes, she begins a new life in Bethlehem.

The Gunfighter: Starring Gregory Peck, Helen Westcott and Millard Mitchell. Notorious gunfighter Jimmy Ringo rides into town to find his true love, who doesn’t want to see him. He hasn’t come looking for trouble, but trouble finds him around every corner.

The Blue Angel: Starring Emil Jannings, Marlene Dietrich and Kurt Gerron. An elderly professor’s ordered life spins dangerously out of control when he falls for a nightclub singer.

American Psycho 2: Starring Mila Kunis, William Shatner and Robin Dunne. A girl named Rachael Newman has developed a taste for murder and will stop at nothing to become a college professor’s assistant.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari: Starring Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt and Friedrich Feher. Dr. Caligari’s somnambulist, Cesare, and his deadly predictions.

Raw Deal: Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kathryn Harrold and Sam Wanamaker. A former FBI agent turned small-town sheriff agrees to help the FBI chief infiltrate the Chicago mafia when the FBI chief’s son is killed by them.

Attila, Il Flagello Di Dio: Starring Diego Abatantuono, Angelo Infanti and Mauro Di Francesco. The misadventures of Attila and his band of barbarians as they take up arms against the Roman Empire in their native Milano.

Black Magic: Starring Orson Welles, Nancy Guild and Akim Tamiroff. Hypnotist uses his powers for revenge against King Louis XV’s court.

Love Play: Starring Jean Seberg, Christian Marquand and Francoise Provost. A young American girl at a French boarding school develops a crush on an egotistical sculptor living next door. One night, driving in a drunken stupor, he runs over and kills a man, and she witnesses it.

The Courage Of Black Beauty: Starring Johnny Crawford, Mimi Gibson and John Bryant. After some hesitation, 10-year-old Bobby accepts the gift of a magnificent black foal from his severe, thoughtless and overprotective father.

Josephine and Men: Starring Glynis Johns, Jack Buchanan and Donald Sinden. The trouble with Josephine is that her ever-loving and over-sympathetic nature leads her to switch from needful men to even more needful men…

The March Hare: Starring Peggy Cummins, Terence Morgan and Martita Hunt. Sir Charles Hare, a young Irish baronet, gambles his all on one of his horses at Ascot. But the horse is ‘pulled’, and Sir Charles is forced to sell his Irish estate. His aunt, however, has some surprises in store for him.

The Golden Stallion: Starring Roy Rogers, Trigger and Dale Evans. Roy takes the blame when his horse is accused of smuggling diamonds for thieves.

I, Mobster: Starring Steve Cochran, Lita Milan and Robert Strauss. The rise and fall of gang lord Joe Sante.

Affair In Havana: Starring John Cassavetes, Raymond Burr and Sara Shane. Songwriter falls in love with a crippled man’s wife.

Now and Forever: Starring Janette Scott, Vernon Gray and Kay Walsh. A rich young society girl falls in love with a car mechanic. Her family is appalled and stops her seeing him. The girl attempts to commit suicide and then decides to elope.

March 3
The End of the Tour: Starring Jason Segel, Jesse Eisenberg and Anna Chlumsky. The story of the five-day interview between Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky and acclaimed novelist David Foster Wallace, which took place right after the 1996 publication of Wallace’s groundbreaking epic novel, Infinite Jest.

Gattaca: Starring Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman and Jude Law. A genetically inferior man assumes the identity of a superior one in order to pursue his lifelong dream of space travel.

Marc Maron: More Later: The comedian and podcast host’s latest standup special.

March 4
Louie Season 5: Starring Louis C.K., Ursula Parker and Pamela Adlon. The life of Louis CK, a divorced comedian with two kids living in New York.

March 5
Deet N Bax Save Th’ World: Starring Jason Mewes, Weston Cage and Craig Michaelson. Lovable losers Deet and Bax, best friends and struggling “weedpreneurs,” unknowingly help Amanda, an undercover agent, infiltrate a South American drug cartel and cross paths with an eccentric billionaire.

Regression: Starring Ethan Hawke, Emma Watson and David Thewlis. A detective and a psychoanalyst uncover evidence of a satanic cult while investigating the rape of a young woman.

March 7
Seven Wonders Of Brazil: Journey into the heart of Brazil with host Robert Beckford to explore the incredible spiritual diversity of Brazil. Travel to the country’s seven wonders of Brazilian Christianity, from the spectacular and iconic Christ the Redeemer to the samba beat of Carnival. The religion has existed for over 500 years and is a melting pot of African beliefs, indigenous Indian rituals, and the folk Catholicism of the southern Europeans.

March 11
Bosch Season 2: Starring Titus Welliver, Jamie Hector and Amy Aquino. An LAPD homicide detective works to solve the murder of a 13-year-old boy while standing trial in federal court for the murder of a serial killer.

March 12
Earth: The Inside Story: Earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and extreme weather. Has Earth always been this way? Featuring footage of top geologic hot spots on every continent, the film traces the scientifically-based story of the 4.5 billion-year-old Earth, from the core to the crust and up into the atmosphere.

March 15
Prevertere: Starring Joey Capone, James Duval and Dennis Fanning. A pervert’s quest for love.

March 20
Beyond The Reach: Starring Michael Douglas, Jeremy Irvine and Martin Palmer. A high-rolling corporate shark and his impoverished young guide play the most dangerous game during a hunting trip in the Mojave Desert.

Arthur & George Season 1: Starring Martin Clunes, Arsher Ali and Charles Edwards. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle recaptures his zest for life by pursuing and challenging a notorious miscarriage of justice.

March 22
Mojave: Starring Oscar Isaac, Garrett Hedlund and Mark Wahlberg. A suicidal artist goes into the desert, where he finds his doppelgänger, a homicidal drifter.

March 27
71: Starring Jack O’Connell, Sam Reid and Sean Harris. In 1971, a young and disorientated British soldier is accidentally abandoned by his unit following a riot on the deadly streets of Belfast.

Orphan Black Season 3: Starring Tatiana Maslany, Jordan Gavaris and Dylan Bruce. A streetwise hustler is pulled into a compelling conspiracy after witnessing the suicide of a girl who looks just like her.

March 28
A Single Shot: Starring Sam Rockwell, Jeffrey Wright and Kelly Reilly. The tragic death of a beautiful young girl starts a tense and atmospheric game of cat and mouse between hunter John Moon and the hardened backwater criminals out for his blood.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

After The Wedding Turns 10

After The Wedding, Susanne Bier’s Best Foreign Film Oscar nominee from 2006, is a complex and riveting story with numerous dense layers that unpeel like an onion. The narrative comprises so many surprising - yet ultimately logical - twists that it’s difficult to provide even a cursory synopsis without giving away vital secrets. Suffice to say that if you enjoy mystery, suspense and emotional intensity, you will find After The Wedding a highly satisfying watch.

The cast, at the time largely unknown outside of Denmark, are in tiptop form. Mads Mikkelsen and Rolf Lassgard, playing polar opposites, have a fascinating chemistry, and their slow simmering conflict will have profound effects half a world away. Sidse Babett Knudsen, who would find stardom in the TV series Borgen, is the film’s keeper of secrets, and serves as the story’s fulcrum. But equally impressive is Stine Fischer Christensen as the newlywed daughter who, just as she about to begin her life, finds its underpinnings swept away. Christensen is capable of transmitting deep emotion with a minimum of physical technique, and here’s hoping she lands a breakout role soon.

If After The Wedding can be said to have a weakness, it would have to be Bier’s unnecessary epilogue, which ties everything up a tad too neatly. The film’s aftermath had been clearly foreshadowed in the final act, and it seems Bier lost a little faith in the sophistication of her audience. In recent films, Bier also appears to have lost her artistic mojo with the dreadful Love Is All You Need (2012) and the troubled Serena (2014) failing to find any traction with audiences. She is currently directing the miniseries The Night Manager, a spy thriller premiering on AMC this April. Let’s hope Susanne Bier finds her way out of this winter of mediocrity, and returns to the elegant, clever storytelling of After The Wedding.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

New on Netflix: March 2016

Adult Beginners (2015) 
When what was to be a major business coup turns into a financial disaster, penniless entrepreneur Jake decamps from Manhattan and lands on his sister’s doorstep in suburbia — where he ends up as nanny to his 3-year-old nephew.
Ahora o Nunca (2015)
Álex and Eva are a happy couple who, after years of relationship, have decided to marry in the English countryside village where they met each other. However, an unexpected problem occurs: everything that can go wrong does.
Aldnoah.Zero: Season 2
An assassination plot rekindles a war between Earth and the settlers of a mysterious, high-tech Martian empire in this action-packed anime series.
American Pie Presents: Beta House (2007)
Dwight Stifler (Steve Talley) and his cousin Erik (John White) are back for another piece of the pie in this epic battle of the frats, which pits the beloved Beta house against the rival GEKs in a contest for social supremacy. The two houses square off in the long-banned competition known as the Games. Eugene Levy returns as Mr. Levenstein and Meghan Heffern co-stars as Erik’s new love, a nice girl who isn’t down with the fraternity high jinks.
American Pie Presents: The Naked Mile (2006)
This offshoot of the raunchy American Pie imprint stars John White as Erik Stifler, the virginal cousin and polar opposite of Matt and Steve Stifler, who decides to abstain from sex with his girlfriend until they’re ready. Adam’s outlook on life changes, however, when he and his friends participate in a naked run across campus sponsored by his cousin’s (Steve Talley) university, prompting Adam to come out of his prude shell.
Before We Go (2015)
When Brooke Dalton is mugged and misses the last train back to Boston, she’s by herself in the predatory darkness of New York City. After busker Nick Vaughan comes to her aid, the two forge a connection — which brings complications in the morning.
Blue Mountain State: The Rise of Thadland (2016)
When a new school dean threatens to clean up the Blue Mountain State image by auctioning off the infamous Goat House, Alex, Sammy and the boys must find a way to convince star football alum Thad Castle to get involved. There is one small favor that Thad needs done before he saves the day: the biggest booze-and-sloot fest in BMS history.
El Desconocido (2015)
A bank executive receives an anonymous phone call informing him he has just a few hours to obtain a large amount of money or a bomb under his seat will explode.
Fresh Meat: Series 2
This comedy series follows six young individuals embarking on the most exciting journey of their lives so far: university.
Frog Kingdom (2013)
When her father offers her hand in marriage as the prize for the Froglypics, the frog princess runs off and tries to turn the tables on him.
Good Burger (1997) — NETFLIX EXCLUSIVE
Two L.A. teens with summer jobs at Good Burger try to save their small restaurant when a corporate giant burger franchise moves in across the street. Will their special secret sauce save Good Burger and their jobs?
Groundhog Day (1993)
Sent to cover the annual appearance of world-famous groundhog Punxsutawney Phil, a self-centered TV weatherman unleashes his bitterness — and soon realizes he’s doomed to repeat Groundhog Day until he learns that his actions can affect the outcome.

Heaven Knows What (2015)
Based on Arielle Holmes’ memoir of life in New York City’s drug underground, this harrowing drama follows a 19-year-old heroin addict and her mercurial, obsessive relationship with an abusive junkie boyfriend.
Hot Sugar’s Cold World (2015)
Cameras follow musical innovator Nick Koenig, aka Hot Sugar, as he captures the noises of Paris and transforms them into one-of-a-kind soundscapes.
Midsomer Murders: Series 17 — NETFLIX EXCLUSIVE
In this detective drama, a police inspector and his sergeant crack hard-to-solve crimes in the fictional English county of Midsomer.
Narcopolis (2015)
In a futuristic world where recreational drugs are legal and provided by a giant corporation, a murder pushes a gritty detective to expose corruption.
Road Trip: Beer Pong (2009)
When three college pals hit the road to compete in a big-time beer pong tournament, their trip morphs into an epic highway odyssey involving a gun-wielding hitchhiker babe, three lovely strippers and a busload of other busty beauties.
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)
Kevin Costner stars as Sherwood Forest’s outlaw hero in this 1991 version of the classic tale of intrigue, romance and pageantry. When the dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham (Alan Rickman) murders Robin’s father, the legendary archer vows vengeance. To accomplish his mission, Robin joins forces with a band of exiled villagers (and comely Maid Marian), and together they battle to end the evil sheriff’s reign of terror.
Scarface (1983)
Brian De Palma’s crime drama stars Al Pacino as Cuban refugee Tony Montana, who becomes a drug kingpin in 1980s Miami but makes the fatal mistake of getting high on his own cocaine supply.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
This first Star Trek film reunites the U.S.S. Enterprise’s original crew from the 1960s television show. Capt. James T. Kirk (William Shatner) — now an admiral — and his former crew must save humanity from a giant alien ship steadily approaching Earth. There’s conflict on the ship as well as in the universe, as displaced Cmdr. Decker (Stephen Collins), the Enterprise’s new captain, becomes Kirk’s assistant. Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley co-star.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
To escape his desk job, Adm. James T. Kirk (William Shatner) returns to the USS Enterprise, assisting Spock (Leonard Nimoy) in a training mission for Starfleet cadets. But the inexperienced crew is put to the test when escaped villain Khan (Ricardo Montalban) steals a powerful weapon and comes after the admiral seeking revenge. Now, Kirk must use all his wiles and whip the cadets into shape if they hope to defeat Khan’s deadly traps.
The Young Kieslowski (2014)
A gawky Bible student and a nerdy physics geeks spend one alcohol-fueled night of lust, which leaves the ill-equipped teens expecting a set of twins.
For Grace (2015)
As chef Curtis Duffy oversees every aspect of opening his own restaurant, Grace, he recalls his turbulent childhood and difficult adult relationships.

House of Cards: Season 4 (2016) — NETFLIX ORIGINAL
A ruthless politician will stop at nothing to conquer Washington, D.C., in this Emmy and Golden Globe- winning political drama.
Lab Rats: Season 4
When high schooler Leo moves into his stepfather’s home, he’s surprised to learn he has three stepsiblings — each with bionic powers.
LEGO Friends: The Power of Friendship (2016) — NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Five best friends face adventures side by side in their hometown. Zany antics, love and missteps are better with friends!
LEGO: Bionicle: The Journey to One: Season 1 (2016) — NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Six legendary heroes find themselves on an epic quest as they harness the power of nature’s elements to defeat the forces of evil.
Louie: Season 5
Louis C.K. plays a fictional version of himself in this Emmy-winning series that follows the comedian through the lows of being an awkward single dad.
Hell & Back (2015)
When best friends break a blood oath, one of them is cast away to hell, and the other two must save him from the misfits of the underworld.
Cuckoo: Seasons 1-2 — NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Rachel shocks her proper British parents when she marries an American hippie, but it’s just the first in a series of surprises for the family.
Halo: The Fall of Reach (2015)
In the future, a colonized universe lives under a tyrannical regime, and one hero must help humans keep a super squad from annihilating all rebels.
Sin Filtro (2016)
Pía is on the verge of a nervous breakdown: Her boss humiliates her, her husband ignores her, her stepson does not respect her, and her best friend does not listen to her. Pía has a strong chest pain and decides to undergo an acupuncture treatment. The Chinese doctor discovers that Pía’s pain is caused by repressed feelings and with an ancient technique he removes her emotional filter. Pía realizes that the only way to heal is to say everything she thinks… which will not bring good results.
Digimon Fusion: Season 2 — NETFLIX EXCLUSIVE
A human boy is transported into the Digital World, along with his two best friends, where he is charged with saving the Digimon against annihilation.
The Returned: Season 1 — NETFLIX EXCLUSIVE
People from a small town, long presumed dead, suddenly re-emerge as they were before they left, to the joy and confusion of their loved ones. But as the resurrected try to assimilate, some question whether they’re who they claim to be.
Comedy Bang! Bang!: Season 4, part 3
Scott Aukerman brings his popular podcast Comedy Bang! Bang! to television, along with his co-host and bandleader, Reggie Watts.
Hateship Loveship (2013)
Hired to look after an elderly man and his teenage granddaughter, a dowdy caretaker finds herself drawn to the girl’s ne’er-do-well father, never realizing that the subversive teen has been sending her tender e- mails in her father’s name.
Dinotrux: Season 2 — NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Half dinosaur, half construction truck, full-on fun! Watch giant Ty Rux, his little buddy Revvit and the crew come face-to-face with evil D-Structs.
Flaked: Season 1 — NETFLIX ORIGINAL
In the insular world of Venice, California, Chip does his honest best to stay one step ahead of the lies that prop up his image and his sobriety.
Netflix Presents: The Characters: Season 1 — NETFLIX ORIGINAL
One show. Eight comedians. Multiple personalities. In Netflix Presents: The Characters, the next generation of comedians get the opportunity to create their own 30-minute episodes and do whatever they want. No rules. No limits. Each comedian writes and appears in his/her episode, presenting a series of sketches that veer wildly from Bachelor parodies, to music videos, to biblical spoofs… all in the name of outlaw comedy.
Popples: Season 2 — NETFLIX ORIGINAL
The adorable Best Popple Pals love helping their friends and neighbors, but every time they do it seems to backfire in hilarious ways.

Shelter (2015)
Set on the mean streets of New York City, this moving drama follows two homeless souls — a heroin junkie and a Nigerian immigrant — who join forces for survival and soon fall in love. But secrets from the past threaten to derail the relationship.
10,000 Saints (2015)
After a friend overdoses, 17-year-old Jude is uprooted from his Vermont home and sent to live with his father in New York City. Amid a social scene awash in drugs and alcohol, Jude unexpectedly finds kinship with a group of straight-edge abstainers.
4GOT10 (2015)
Brian Barnes wakes up in the desert wounded and with no memory and no idea why he’s surrounded by eight bodies, a van with four million in cash and a van full of cocaine. Brian is pursued by not only notorious drug lord Danny Perez who desperately want his money back, and DEA Agent Rooker, but also a by the corrupt Sheriff Olson who will stop at nothing to get his hand on the new found fortune.
The Falling (2015)
After a conservative English boarding school suffers a tragic and mysterious death, 16-year-old best friends Lydia and Abbie begin exhibiting disturbing swooning fits. Soon the inexplicable affliction spreads en masse to the other students.
Final Girl (2015)
When Veronica enrolls in a new high school, she doesn’t know that a sadistic pack of teens has been luring girls into the forest, then hunting and killing them. But when the gang targets Veronica, she puts her covert assassination skills to work.
Finders Keepers (2015) – NETFLIX EXCLUSIVE
In an episode amplified and enabled by the media, Shannon Whisnant finds an amputated leg in the grill he purchased at an auction. Sucked into a mass-media whirlpool, Whisnant decides to make the most of his moment — but then the limb’s owner shows up.
Power Rangers Dino Charge: Season 1, part 2
In the time of dinosaurs, the ancient and powerful Energems were lost on Earth, and now the evil bounty hunter Sledge has returned to find them.
War Pigs (2015)
Dispatched on a vital mission against Nazi forces during World War II, a scruffy band of misfit soldiers penetrates enemy lines to try and capture a colossal super-cannon that could turn the tide of the entire war.
Are You Here (2014)
When bipolar man-child Ben learns his estranged father has died, he and his womanizing best friend head to the family farm, which has been bequeathed to Ben. But will his resentful sister block the inheritance and all the opportunity it represents?
Charlie St. Cloud (2010)
As the caretaker of the cemetery where his brother Sam is buried, Charlie has lots of time to commune with the dead. But when Charlie meets a mysterious young woman, he must decide whether to move forward or remain trapped in the past.
Gridiron Gang (2006)
In this moving drama, a probation officer at a detention camp for juvenile delinquents hopes to mold teen inmates into a successful football team — but his superiors have their doubts. With a spirited co-worker’s help, he just may prove them wrong.

Happy Valley: Season 2 — NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Yorkshire police sergeant Catherine Cawood pursues the man who assaulted her late daughter, unaware he is now part of a secret kidnapping plot.
Larry Crowne (2011)
After he’s laid off from his longtime job at a soulless retail giant, average middle-aged guy Larry Crowne decides it’s time to change his life by heading back to college, where he finds a new perspective — and a new romance with a professor.
Promised Land (2012)
Taking advantage of hard economic times, two salespeople for a natural gas company come to a small town to buy drilling rights from the residents. To their surprise, a local schoolteacher mobilizes a campaign aimed at blocking the company’s plans.

Marvel’s Daredevil: Season 2 — NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Blinded as a young boy, Matt Murdock fights injustice by day as a lawyer and by night as the Super Hero Daredevil in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City

He Never Died (2015) Cursed with immortality and a hunger for human flesh, Jack lives a cloistered life, feeding his appetite by purchasing blood from a hospital intern. But Jack’s life is upended when some gangland thugs and his long-lost daughter enter the picture.
Jimmy Carr: Funny Business (2016) — NETFLIX ORIGINAL
British comedian Jimmy Carr unleashes his deadpan delivery and wickedly funny one-liners to a sold-out audience at the UK’s Hammersmith Apollo

The Mr. Peabody and Sherman Show: Season 2 — NETFLIX ORIGINAL
In their new show, Mr. Peabody and Sherman host a zany late-night comedy show from a swanky penthouse, with time-traveling guests and a live audience!
My Beautiful Broken Brain (2016) — NETFLIX ORIGINALAfter suffering a stroke at the age of 34, filmmaker Lotje Sodderland struggles to live an independent life and regain the ability to communicate.
Pee-wee’s Big Holiday (2016) — NETFLIX ORIGINAL
A chance encounter with a mysterious stranger (Joe Manganiello) points Pee-wee toward his destiny — and his first-ever holiday!
The Art of Organized Noize (2016) — NETFLIX EXCLUSIVE
As pioneers of the Dirty South music movement, Organized Noize is responsible for Outkast, CeeLo, the Goodie Mob and the Dungeon Family. Their production shaped the landscape of hip-hop with their own distinctive sound, created in the confines of a dungeon. Featuring interviews with Andre 3000, Big Boi, Puff Daddy, Future, Ludacris, L.A. Reid, 2 Chainz, CeeLo and more, this is the story of the rise and fall of music’s most prolific unsung heroes. From Flavor Unit and the producers of Lil Wayne’s “The Carter” documentary, this is the Art of Organized Noize.
The Ouija Experiment 2: Theatre of Death (2015)
A group of unsuspecting theatre goers are trapped, after a ravenous spirit is resurrected and released from a Ouija board.
The Forbidden Kingdom (2008)
Kung fu legends Jackie Chan and Jet Li star in this rousing adventure about a martial arts movie fanatic who finds himself transported to war-torn ancient China after discovering a mystical staff in a pawnshop.

A Promise (2013)
Hired on to assist a wealthy German industrialist with his affairs, a dutiful young protege promptly falls in love with his employer’s beautiful wife.
VeggieTales in the House: Season 3 — NETFLIX ORIGINAL
The exciting new adventures of Bob the Tomato, Larry the Cucumber, and all their Veggie friends as you’ve never seen them before: in the house!
Trailer Park Boys: Season 10 — NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Follow the booze-fueled misadventures of three longtime pals and petty serial criminals who run scams from their Nova Scotia trailer park.
Bachelor Party 2: The Last Temptation (2007)
Ron (Josh Cooke) is ready to settle down and get married, but first, he must survive his out-of-control bachelor party. With his best buds shoving booze, women and more booze in his face, Ron is going to have a tough time fighting temptation. Stripper fights, a sex addicts’ convention and male nudity all lead to solid laughs in this outrageous sequel to the 1984 comedy hit Bachelor Party.
Fright Night 2 (2013)
Studying abroad in Romania, high schoolers Charley and Ed must stop a sexy vampire’s chilling plan to bathe in the blood of a “new moon virgin” — who happens to be Charley’s ex-girlfriend. The guys enlist the help of a vampire-hunting TV show host.
Murder Rap: Inside the Biggie and Tupac Murders (2015)
This documentary examines the murders of rap stars Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls, killings that have elicited countless conspiracy theories.
Sunshine Superman (2015)
Obsessed with skydiving since childhood, Carl Boenish pioneered foot-launched human flight — aka BASE jumping — as chronicled in this fascinating documentary. Footage of Boenish’s earliest feats includes his famed leap from Yosemite’s El Capitan.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Bonds Beyond Time (2011)
In a post-apocalyptic future, Yugi and his crew travel to the past to keep Paradox from wiping out his timeline and wreaking ruin on civilization.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal: Seasons 1-2
The near-future story revolves around Yuma Tukumo, a 13 year-old rookie duelist honing his skills with help from Astral, the mysterious life-form from a parallel world who suddenly appears before Yuma.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Griff the Invisible (2010) ✭✭½

Griff the Invisible is a moderately entertaining attempt to graft a superhero movie onto a quirky romantic indie – a sort of 500 Days of Batman. But as the film rolls along it seems to lose confidence in its own conceits and, after an intriguing and lively beginning, writer/director Leon Ford decides to impose logic in the later reels and ends up sabotaging the film’s slight and fragile charms. The movie works awfully hard to arrive at an empty and obvious allegory, and Ford’s desire to resolve his story in a neat, shiny package feels like glib manipulation. To top it off, Griff the Invisible breaks one of the cardinal rules of scripting: its assortment of odd characters gets less interesting the more we learn about them.

Dreamy, doe-eyed Ryan Kwanten – who you may remember from HBO’s True Blood – stars as the title character; a meek numbers-cruncher lost in a vast sea of gray cubicles atop a skyscraper in Sydney’s bustling downtown. Among Griff’s battery of coworkers – this particular corporate hole seems as overstaffed as NBC’s The Office - is a vainglorious jackass called Tony (Toby Schmitz), who badgers Griff with a constant barrage of demeaning practical jokes and enough falsetto-voce gay innuendo to justify legal action in the real world.

But Griff offers little protest to Tony’s catcalls, for he has a dark secret that must be shielded from the world’s prying eyes. When darkness descends on the mean streets of Sydney, and the criminal detritus of humanity emerge from their squalid lairs, Griff dons the mysterious, skin tight union suit favored by masked vigilantes. From a computerized command center hidden within his modest flat, Griff keeps a steely eye on the city’s miscreants and its seemingly endless supply of young women who think going for a solitary stroll down a dark alley at midnight is a fine, healthy pastime. When one of these plum lasses finds herself in a pickle – a common occurrence – the mighty Griff springs into action and, before long, gangs of would-be muggers and rapists are scattered about the pavement in forlorn, crumpled heaps. Without breaking a sweat, Griff has beaten the snot out of them, and disappeared into Sydney’s inky ether before the hapless, but eternally grateful, victims ever had a chance to thank him.

Providing the film’s romantic counterpoint is a willowy strawberry blond named Melody (Maeve Dermody), nominally the girlfriend of Griff’s beleaguered brother Tim (Patrick Brammall), who finds herself increasingly drawn to Griff’s sullen and secretive nature. A sort of unemployed slacker scientist, Melody is engaged in her own furtive hobbies, including an ongoing attempt to realign her molecules and temporarily dematerialize.  However, Griff finds Melody’s molecules sheer perfection in their current order, but dare not indulge his feelings for her because of that old romantic conundrum that eternally plagues superheroes; the babe-alicius must be resisted at all costs, for they will surely become targets of Sydney’s evil empire.

Ford assembles a reasonably good simulation of the visual stylistics of franchise superhero fare, rendered with amusing, low rent tongue-in-cheekness. The raw material for Griff’s utility belt of crime fighting gadgets is chiefly limited to what he can find at the corner hardware store, but our hero achieves impressive results from rustic ingredients. But the film loses its way when Griff becomes obsessed with the idea adding invisibility to his arsenal, and Ford ultimately opts to explain his script’s flights of fancy with a tired, mealy mouthed plot device. A similar rationalization was used in Gerald McMorrow’s underrated Franklyn from 2008, but in that film the gimmick felt organic and revelatory, but in Griff the Invisible it all seems like a cheat.

Having declared much of his previous construction inoperative, Ford proceeds with the rom-com portion of the projection, which is overworked to the point of weary, drained emptiness. Kwanten and the charming Dermody bravely soldier on, and Griff and Melody go through a wide array of emotional changes – the bulk of them at a rushed pace during the film’s closing minutes – but the film has given us little reason to actually care. As the world’s soaring divorce rate attests, romantic comedies have become as unmoored from reality as swashbuckling superhero epics. Yet, in this film, Griff’s costumed heroics require leaps of blind faith while burgeoning love affairs can exist only in the world of the blandly familiar. Perhaps a more accurate title would be Griff the Miscalculated, since this film underestimates both its hero and its audience.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

News and Notes: February 2016

Attention cinematography geeks! Check out this roundtable discussion with Robert Richardson (The Hateful Eight), Alwin Kuchler (Steve Jobs), Danny Cohen (The Danish Girl, Room), Linus Sandgren (Joy), Masanobu Takayanagi (Black Mass, Spotlight) and Mandy Walker (Truth). Show your love for the unsung heroes of cinema.

Check out the director of Room Lenny Abramson's 10 Favorite Films. He must have good taste, because his list is similar to mine!

Netflix and Amazon wrote a lot of checks this year at Sundance.  Get all the new films and distribution deals here.

And finally, here's a guy in Sydney who proves you don't need a big, expensive drum kit to pound out a glorious rhythm. Watch his right hand about 1:10.  It's amazing.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Today in Bunched History: Freud and Dali and Hitchcock, Oh My!!

Originally posted February 11, 2012

Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound is an aptly named motion picture. Recently released on blu-ray by Fox, this David O. Selznick produced thriller features twists and turns aplenty, and audiences will find themselves entranced by the time all is said and done. From the crisp formality of its acting, to the famous Salvador Dali designed dream sequence, Spellbound often seems to exist in a dimension other than our own. While the rational mind attempts to impose order on Hitchcock’s tantalizing clues and fragments, the narrative quietly expands to surprising proportions and pursues unexpected avenues, creating a sense of the hypnotically surreal.

But today’s viewers will not be mesmerized to the point of overlooking the story’s issues and inconsistencies, and there are a lot of them. Spellbound is at heart an amnesia melodrama, and we all know how dicey those can be, especially circa 1945, when screenwriters were besotted by the narrative possibilities of pop psychology. The film opens at an idyllic country hospital, where a beautiful young psychiatrist (Ingrid Bergman) spends her days attending to a variety of deeply troubled, but well groomed and fashionably dressed, schizophrenics.

The hospital is abuzz with anticipation; its new director (Gregory Peck), a respected leader in the field of mental disorders, is due to arrive for an inspection. But soon – the minute he walks through the door, in fact – it becomes clear the new honcho has a couple of loose screws himself, and Bergman’s casual description of a new swimming pool sends Peck into a near frenzy. Despite a strong physical attraction, Bergman begins to suspect her new boss is either an imposter or insane, possibly both, and eventually the pair embark on an adventure to solve the mystery. Along the way they’re branded as fugitives, pursued by the police, hide out in Rochester and go on a ski holiday complete with laughably unconvincing process shots.

It’s a testament to Hitchcock’s skill that he could hold the film together despite these overwrought and overplotted impediments. Fortunately, he assembled a gifted supporting cast, well versed in classical technique, and they approach their roles with total conviction. John Emery, a prolific character actor who died relatively young and has been forgotten by history, shines as the wolfish Dr. Fleurot, a psychiatrist whose practice consists mainly of looking down Ingrid Bergman’s lab coat. Rhonda Fleming, as a patient with what passed in 1945 as a nymphomania, is cleverly and effectively used early in the film to establish Bergman’s empathy and the hospital’s overall legitimacy. The quiet command of the great Leo G. Carroll enhances a pivotal role with dark and intriguing plasticity, while Michael Chekov, who received one of the film’s six Oscar nominations as Bergman’s eccentric mentor, provides heroism and comic relief in equal measure.

These superb performances make Spellbound an enjoyable film to watch, providing one can tolerate its frequent stretches of implausibility. Somehow, Bergman and Peck are able to avoid detection by New York’s Finest even though, among Grand Central Station’s squalid masses, they are the most beautiful couple to ever walk the Earth. The disastrous skiing sequence, in which the pair swoosh down an expert slope clad in elegant eveningwear, is intended as a dramatic, climactic epiphany, but it’s simply ridiculous. When an unseen character, introduced late in the film, takes on critical importance there’s a feeling of unfairness and rushed conclusion, as though even Hitch was getting a little fed up with the proceedings. But the gorgeous dream sequence, in which a Dali painting comes to life, is truly worth the price of admission, and ultimately prevents the film’s complete fall from grace.

Bergman and Peck try mightily, but the script gives them little to work with but platitudes and thankless situations. This is a standard trait of Hitchcock thrillers; his leads tend to be cluelessly uncynical, appalled that humanity or, in the case of The Birds, nature could be so cruel to them. Their shock causes them to be several beats behind the unfolding nefarious events, and the rest of the film is a game of catch up. Bergman appears much more comfortable in this scenario than Peck; his chiseled man-of-action persona counter intuitive to the role a confused victim. Much of the dramatic weight defaulted to Ingrid’s sublime shoulders and, fortunately for viewers, she put this fragile film on her back and carried it.

Despite its narrative convolutions and conveniences, Spellbound remains a worthwhile entertainment due to strong performances and some imaginative imagery. Fans of the golden age of Hollywood will find the film a textbook example of the aesthetics of a bygone era, while those interested in the art of visual storytelling will marvel at Alfred Hitchcock’s controlled and deliberate execution. Casual viewers will likely find the film intolerably hokey and frankly, that’s wholly understandable. Spellbound ultimately receives a guarded recommendation, geared toward enthusiasts of Peck, Bergman and Hitchcock. If you liked the film in standard def, you’ll love it in blu.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Taxi Driver Turns 40

Essay by David L. Wilkins

From the first frame and first bar, one thing I find most effective about ‘Taxi Driver’ is the Bernard Hermann score. Like columns of steam rising from the street, bog of urban humidity and scenes of decay, the score gives form to a desperate and nullified world. Equal to Scorsese’s filmmaking, Hermann opens a door to the world of Travis Bickle and leaves it ajar for a couple of hours. Relief is offered by walking away afterward, and few of us would linger in the depicted world if given the option.

Travis is revealed during the interval, as the central and most urgent character: the taxi driver, estranged from society, and wishing for little more than to leave his mark as he exits. The embodiment of Travis is a singular triumph on the part of Robert De Niro, and his personal creation is every bit equal to the character as written by Paul Schrader. Other characters exist on the periphery and offer dimension, but they, their actors, even most of the scenarios, are easily replaceable. The only character with enough gravitas to hold the stage with De Niro is a fellow taxi driver named Wizard, portrayed by Peter Boyle. But that’s okay, because the general story, the power of De Niro’s performance, and filmmaking atmospherics by Scorsese and team were enough to craft one of the most legendary works in cinema.

Scorsese brought in Albert Brooks, an actor primarily known for comedic roles, to play a straight role, sprinkling in a few lighter hearted moments to help offset the script as written, which was void of humor to the point of oppression. Screenwriter Paul Schrader revealed that the genesis of the story was his own bleak existence at the time, having separated from his wife, and literally living in his car. He spent endless nights driving and walking the streets of New York, and encountered an obviously underage prostitute.

Sometimes desolation and peering over the precipice can lead to something worthwhile. When the array of images formed in Schrader’s head, he worked feverishly, completing what was for the most part ‘Taxi Driver’ as we know it, within ten days.