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JUNE 25TH, 2013

NO // With a dark humor and riveting performance from Gael Garcia Bernal, this Academy Award nominated foreign film from Chile takes a look at blooming democracy during a Chilean dictatorship in the 80’s. Bernal plays an advertising executive, Rene Saavedra who is contacted to help lead the strike campaign in voting YES or NO in keeping the dictator in office, thus starting the debate for a real democracy. The film is shot in a strange aspect ratio and most often looks like a home video, VHS quality format, taking some of the enjoyment out of what should be an escapist media. Instead, you’re focused on the poor quality and not the well told story or spectacular performances. However, the actual commercials and segments that are played are the highlight of the film and throughout the film you anticipate this moments where the commercials are played.

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THE CALL // For being a thriller about a 911 operator sitting in a chair, “The Call” actually builds enough suspense to keep the audience involved. Although most of the situations feel incredulous and uninspired, the overall kitsch of the story is unique enough to keep one interested. Produced by WWE Studios, as one professional wrestler as an extremely small supporting role, the film never falls off the deep end like most of their previously produced endeavors. Halle Berry comes off a tad out of place in her starring role, still the highlight of the film but never able to carry it beyond what it actually is, which is an average thriller with little to no follow through, displaying one of the worst final acts to grace the screen yet this year. Wow, how Abigail Breslin has grown up, displaying a maturity when she’s not screaming incoherently or strapped, topless, to a medical chair. However horrid I was picturing this film to be, I was pleasantly surprised to find it reach the annals of “alright”.

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THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE // Definitely nails the Will Ferrell movie not starring Will Ferrell, which is unfortunate, “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” provides mixed feelings in most regards. Had Will Ferrell taken the leading role instead of Steve Carell (whom I do not really care for anyhow), this would have been a much more tolerable film, as Ferrell’s dead pan delivery and on the mark expressions (or lack thereof) are what makes these ridiculous comedies the bread and butter that they are. However, Carell’s performance comes off as mere imitation rather than genuine and controlled. Most of the film, you dislike Mr. Wonderstone, and even in the final acts of the film, you still hold a bit of resentment. Jim Carey steals the show in this one, as does his character. His return to physical comedy roots are what make the film the gem that it is and though this will never reach classic comedy levels, it will remain one of Carey’s best performances to come out of the last decade or so. Never overly funny, never completely lacking, this film falls smack in the middle of mediocrity, having had huge potential and instead decided to cast Steve Carell in a Will Farrell film.

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UPSIDE DOWN // Often overcomplicated and drawn out, “Upside Down” is ambitious from the start, but loses ground when it tries too hard to be something futuristic and different. The cinematography is outstanding, resembling that of Terrence Malick’s work, with stunning, vast landscapes, and a visual effects presence that is much needed in this science fiction interpretation about love between two very different people. With an amnesia plot device that messes with the film’s pacing and a convoluted story structure of changing rules, it is miraculous this film doesn’t completely fall off the deep end. Instead, it is held wonderfully in check by actors Jim Sturgess and Kirsten Dunst who both prove their statures in their own right. When there actually is a sense of urgency, the film comes together nicely, but when random events occur like men with dogs in the woods, its really a shame the film has to lose such a foothold. Promising and enduring, “Upside Down” is a nice, romantic, science fiction endeavor, but straddles the borders between an above average fantasy piece and a nonsensical substandard sci-fi flick.

New Releases
The Call
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
Into the White 2-denied2
No (2012)
Phantom (2013)
A Place at the Table (2012)
Pusher (2012)
Upside Down

TV Box Set

  • Borgen: Season Two
  • CSI NY: Season Nine
  • Da Vinci’s Demons: Season One
  • Inspector Lewis: Series Six
  • MADtv: Season Three
  • New Tricks: Season Nine
  • Peter Gunn: Season Two
  • Todd and the Book of Pure Evil: Season Two
  • The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Alex

Special Editions/Other Releases

  • As Luck Would Have It
  • Battledogs
  • Birds of a Feather (2013)
  • Black Pond
  • Crawlspace
  • Dead Souls
  • Hangar 18
  • Heebie Jeebies
  • Honest (2007)
  • Keep Your Right Up
  • Lesser Blessed
  • Night Train (2007)
  • Once a Jolly Swagman
  • Shark (1969)
  • Shoah: Criterion
  • Supporting Characters
  • Tanglewood: 75th Anniversary
  • The Fartist
  • Tokyo Urban Legend
  • Venus and Vegas
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