JUNE 10TH, 2014

NON-STOP // Flying is nerve-racking enough without someone terrorizing your airplane. However, in the latest entry in the thriller sub-genre taking place on planes (“Flightplan”, “Snakes On A Plane”, etc.), director Jaume Collet-Serra (“Unknown”, “Orphan”) sets up an U.S. federal air marshall (Liam Neeson) as the potential antagonist on this flight. Neeson plays Bill Marks, a troubled, gun and badge carrying frequent flyer, getting on a non-stop flight from New York to London when he begins receiving text messages telling him someone will be die every 20 minutes if money is not transferred into a specific bank account. From there on out, the audience is unaware of who to trust as the twists, turns, and dead bodies cause for an entire rigmarole of events. Hitting the same marks as most of his previous action roles, Neeson is no stranger to filling the role of alpha male in high stress situations. Making him out to be the bad guy, however, is a nice twist on his typecast and the more they sell that possibility, the more refreshing the film feels. Among the rest of the colorful cast is Julianne Moore, Scoot McNairy, and Academy Award winning Lupita Nyong’o playing fellow passengers and attendants alike, all adding to the confusion and whodunnit nature of the film. Continuing to bring suspenseful airplane thrillers to the 21st century, “Non-Stop” is an adequate venture with a thought-provoking end that no one will see coming.

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THE MISSING PICTURE // Cambodia’s foreign film entry “The Missing Picture” is a multi-media exploration of the Kampuchean Revolution in 1975, of which very few images remain. To counteract these “missing pictures”, the filmmaker creates clay models of himself and many of the surrounding Cambodians to reenact the damage done by Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. The real marvel of the film is the inclusion of the archival footage that does remain from that time period and the haunting nature that is evoked from these images. A feeling similarly produced by that of the Holocaust imagery, these men, women, and children are ripped from their homes, forced to work the rice fields, carrying fertilizer barefoot on the hard ground, all while being given very little to eat and being left to sleep in the wilderness. The narrator is extremely articulate and carries you though the documentary with ease. One of the only things working against the film is the constant shuffle between the revolution and the time prior to the interment, leaving the viewer slightly confused as to what is happening when and how they got there. However, the haunting archival footage is worth seeing the film alone. Not a definitive history class topic, “The Missing Picture” covers a particular poignant historical tragedy that is not often spoken of but resonates as a topic that is just as impacting as any high profile history lesson.

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OMAR // Five years ago, I started participating in what I call the Oscar Challenge, where I watch every single film nominated for an Academy Award that year, and it was for films like “Omar” that I started doing it in the first place. A Palestinian love story between a young man and his best friend’s sister, “Omar” was one of the most impressive foreign films to come out of the Academy Awards last year. Divided by an enormous wall that Omar traverses on a daily basis to see Nadia, his love interest, they attempt to keep their relationship a secret from her brother and his childhood best friend, Tarek. But in occupied Palestine, the childhood friends have more going on in their lives than hidden love affairs. Mistreated and humiliated constantly, Omar, Tarek, and their other close friend, Amjad, seek vengeance and kill a soldier to which Omar takes the fall and is tortured. What follows next is Omar stuck between a rock and a hard place, as a detective attempts to use him to flush out the rest of the revolt.

No matter where the narrative leads, the love story is constantly front and center, and never takes the easy way out. After Omar is released from prison, rumors fly around that he is working against the revolt, a rumor that drives a spike in the heart of Omar and Nadia’s relationship. In the ultimate string unraveling the sweater, the lies and twists and turns carry on throughout the entire film, where you are never sure who to trust and people are never what they seem, and there is barely anything left by the end of the film. “Omar” rivals anything coming out of Hollywood these days in terms of political thrillers and even love stories. With most of the actors acting for the first time, there is an understanding and complete grasp of the characters projected by most of the cast, particularly the lead, Adam Bakri and Iyad Hoorani, who plays Tarek. Also, the unbelievably and naturally gorgeous Nadia played by Leem Lubany steals the show. If there is one actor that comes out of this with a bright future in acting, it is her. Had I randomly come across this film without the Oscar Challenge, I may have just looked the other way and continued, but sometimes being forced to watch something produces the best possible outcome and “Omar” definitely lands as a must-see to anyone on the fence.

New Releases
Alan Partridge 2-denied2-small
Devil’s Knot
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
The Missing Picture 06three-stars-GRAY-small
Non-Stop (2014) 08four-stars-GRAY-small
Omar (2013) 10five-stars-GRAY-small
Patrick: Evil Awakens 2-denied2-small
Tim’s Vermeer

TV Box Set
  • The Chisholms: The Complete Series
  • Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey
  • Klondike: The Mini-Series
  • Major Crimes: Season Two
  • Ray Donovan: Season One   
  • Resurrection: Season One
  • Rizzoli & Isles: Season Four
  • Transformers Animated: Season Three
  • True Detective: Season One   
Special Editions/Other Releases
  • The Abominable Crime
  • Adult World   
  • All That Heaven Allows: Criterion
  • The Anonymous People
  • Bigfoot Vs. D.B. Cooper
  • Blood of the Virgins
  • Brawl
  • Bushido Man: Seven Deadly Battles
  • Curse of the Dragon Slayer
  • Dude, Where’s My Dog?
  • Echo Drive
  • Fractured   2-denied2-small
  • Ghost of Goodnight Lane
  • Harpies
  • Haunt   
  • Kill Zombie
  • L’Eclisse: Criterion
  • The Longest Swim
  • Love Will Keep Us Together
  • Midrange
  • Minnesota Clay
  • Mississippi Shakedown
  • Murder 101
  • The Odd Way Home
  • On the Edge
  • Oy Vey! My Son Is Gay!
  • Perfect Sisters   
  • The Redemption of Henry Myers
  • The Secret Lives of Dorks   
  • Sector 4: Extraction
  • The Short Game   
  • A Short History of Decay
  • Slugterra: Ghoul From Beyond
  • Unacceptable Levels
  • Vendetta (2013)
  • Visitors

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