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JANUARY 7TH, 2014

THANKS FOR SHARING // Sex addiction is often misunderstood or simply stated, unrelatable. However, in the directorial debut of writer Stuart Blumberg (“The Kids Are All Right”), “Thanks For Sharing”, Mark Ruffalo takes front and center as our protagonist Adam, a sex addict that has been clean for five years. Similar to Alcoholic Anonymous meetings, sex addicts share in groups and thrive in the buddy system to help one another kick their temptations. These people’s jobs, health, social status, and self esteem are on the line, and the idea of sex addiction becomes real as you feel for each and everyone of these characters, Ruffalo offers a perfect performance in the film, as he struggles to stay “sober” while facing a new, and very sexual relationship with Gwyneth Paltrow, who has never looked better. Following the normal romantic comedy story arc, complete with lying, finding out, and reconciliation, the film reaches some dark moments and benefits from every single one. Tim Robbins and Josh Gad offer up the film’s intersecting story-lines, both recovering sex addicts dealing with different parts of the addiction spectrum. Robbins’ character is a huge support system for addicts, mentoring many different people, but skipping some duties as husband and former-deadbeat dad. Patrick Fugit, as Robbins’ son, offers up one of the most powerful performances and even though his arc delves into the melodramatic, his outbursts and reactions are the highlights of his scenes. Josh Gad then plays the immature sex addict, not ready to take responsibility for his actions, but facing the loss of dream job as a doctor, he is forced to face himself as well as a fellow addict, played by Alicia Moore (Pink). Although this often feels like the lower tier storyline, there’s plenty of emotions to be felt, as well as some much needed comic relief. The relationships in the film feel real and come from a very natural place. Very similar to the writing of “The Kids Are All Right”, the dialogue reads very natural and cohesive, never wasting a breath and developing the characters through and through. “Thanks For Sharing” tackles the world of sex addiction from a straightforward standpoint and spells out the distinction of what this “disease” really is. Marked with several outstanding performances and an emotional connection to the characters and the material, the film accomplishes so many things without adhering to either the dark world of addiction like in “Shame” or to the hokey romantic comedy side of film, but straddles a line in between that is entertaining from beginning to end.

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CLOSED CIRCUIT // With all the makings of a pithy and memorable thriller, “Closed Circuit” takes its flashy and topical subject matter of a government cover-up and squanders it with a less than impressive delivery. Saved mostly by the acting chops of the wonderful Rebecca Hall and an expected yet captivating performance from Eric Bana, what the film lacks in production and screenplay quality, it makes up for, not only with in-your-face lead performances, but with genre-bending supporting performances from Jim Broadbent, Ciarán Hinds, and Riz Ahmed as well. Constantly jumping forward through time, the action often loses steam by taking giant leaps away from its driving force. For example, with a giant hook of an intro, involving a terrorist attack in a public outdoor market, the film instantly jumps six months into the future and, in the process, loses any anticipation built following the explosion. Taking some liberties and stepping away from the expectations placed on films coming out of Hollywood, Crowley’s British sub-thriller is able to deliver a few surprises as well as an unpredictable ending that may fall off a bit too quickly but strays from the norm. An action-thriller taking place mostly behind closed doors rather than in exterior chase scenes, the film touts a big, suspenseful game, but when it finally comes down to it, without its strong cast, “Closed Circuit” would be just another “us versus them” incarnation.

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RUNNER RUNNER // Even if “Runner Runner” straddles the line between stale and refreshing, the ensemble cast alone is enough to get people in their seats, even if their deliveries aren’t necessarily the best of their career. What originally drew me to the film was the villainous performance from Ben Affleck, which we are not privy to in most of his showings. But as Ivan Block, he’s allowed to be the likable bad guy; the bad guy that even when in the throws of performing evil, is still completely captivating. Although his performance, too, straddles a line, mostly between too much and too little, his character is displayed more on his time worn face than in his words or actions. To balance this, Justin Timberlake is tossed in as resident good guy, baby-faced and dough-eyed, given the keys to the castle, but always kept at arms length, which can be said for his performance as well. Whenever Timberlake is tossed in the lead role of an action movie or thriller, he runs the gambit of being too inexperienced and too flashy, begging the question whether someone else would be better positioned in the same role. Say “Wanted” for example, with lead James McAvoy; I completely buy him in the role of nobody turned professional killer, but Timberlake in “Runner Runner” is never quite convincing. Gemma Arterton is phenomenally gorgeous and even her assets are squandered, left to play the female ping pong between Affleck and Timberlake, with no real motives or direction. Anthony Mackie as overly aggressive FBI agent Shavers is fresh in his role, and perhaps plays his part too well, surrounded by too many people not quite giving it their all. “Runner Runner” is an interesting concept that delivers in small doses and never takes the full plunge.

New Releases
The Act of Killing
Big Ass Spider! 2-denied2
Closed Circuit
I’m So Excited 2-denied2
Inequality For All
Runner Runner
Thanks for Sharing
We Are What We Are (2013)

TV Box Set

  • Archer: Season Four   
  • Being Human (US): Season Three
  • Copper: Season Two
  • Duck Dynasty: Seasons One to Four
  • The Following: Season One   
  • House Of Lies: Season Two   
  • Legit: Season One
  • Star Trek Enterprise: Season Three
  • Top of the Lake

Special Editions/Other Releases

  • 12 Disasters
  • 3 Wicked Witches
  • American Joyride
  • Amityville Asylum
  • An Ordinary Hero
  • Badges of Fury
  • The Bates Haunting
  • Birth of the Living Dead
  • Bloodline
  • Brutalization
  • The Cat (2014)
  • Dead of the Nite
  • Eclipse Series 40 – Late Ray: Criterion
  • Gone Dark
  • Hail Mary
  • The Happy House
  • The Hunters
  • Hidden Away
  • Judy + The Night Hustlers
  • Key of Life
  • Kiss the Water
  • Linsanity
  • Living By the Gun
  • Many Wars Ago
  • Paper Mask
  • The Power (1984)
  • Robin Roy: Resurrection
  • Tiger Eyes   
  • UFC Presents Ronda Rousey: Breaking Ground
  • The Underneath (2013)
  • Wedding Palace
  • The Woodsman (2014)
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