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New and Coming Releases: November 9, 2010.

     

A lot of good stuff out today, including a sure-fire future cult item out from Criterion, a great sports doc, the deserves-a-wider-audience Scott Pilgrim, new Sherlock, and more. All this and tons coming soon.

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Radley Metzger's Score

Reviewer: Jeffrey M. Anderson
Rating (out of 5): ***½

Radley Metzger is widely acknowledged as one of America's greatest erotic filmmakers, which basically means that he's more serious than Russ Meyer and his films more artful than most porn. Metzger is perhaps best known for Camille 2000 (1969), The Lickerish Quartet (1970), The Opening of Misty Beethoven (1975), and Score, which has been re-released on DVD in an uncensored version.

Adapted by Jerry Douglas from his own play, Score features four main characters, plus a fifth supporting character. It takes place over a weekend in a fictitious European city. A "swinging" couple, Elvira (Claire Wilbur) and Jack (Gerald Grant) have a running contest to see who can seduce more members of the same sex. They lure other couples over for dinner, and Elvira sleeps with the woman, while Jack sleeps with the man. Their latest victims are newly married Eddie (Casey Donovan) and Betsy (Lynn Lowry), who are already having troubles in bed.

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Eyes Wide Open

Reviewer: James van Maanen
Rating (out of 5): ****

Eyes Wide Open (Eynaim Pekukhot) made its New York debut early this year, as part of the 19th New York Jewish Film Festival, which was quickly followed by a limited theatrical release. This is the first full-length, narrative film from director Haim Tabakman, in which, as a co-writer, he worked with producer Rafael Katz, their “French connection” David Barrot and the film's original screenwriter Merav Doster. Together they’ve come up with a doozy of a movie about Israeli fundamentalist thinking and behaving.

An ugly film to watch (the settings -- workplace, apartment and "shul" -- could hardly be more drab and unappealing), Eyes Wide Open takes place in Israel's ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, in and around a butcher shop in which one of its leading characters, Aaron, labors and which, due to the recent death of his father, he now owns. Into Aaron's life one day comes the transient Ezri, a young man whom Aaron hires to help in the shop. (The only other major character in the film is Rivka, Aaron's wife.) Ezri is gay -- we learn this fact fairly quickly -- and Aaron soon finds himself attracted to the young man.

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The Girl Who Played With Fire

Reviewer:James van Maanen
Rating (out of 5): ***

 

You want more of hacker Lisbeth Salander? Judging by the USA box-office take from the first film in this continuing series -- approaching $12 million, making it by far the most successful foreign-language film of the year -- you do, even if it, too, lacks a certain something.

The Girl Who Played With Fire, number two in the trilogy of adaptations based on Stieg Larrson's best-selling books, has a different director from that of its predecessor, and the difference, while immediately apparent, is not necessarily for the worse. Fire director Daniel Alfredson has worked more in Swedish television (and the screenplay this time is by Swedish TV writer Jonas Frykberg), and this shows. Fire looks, sounds (except for the Swedish, of course) and feels like something that you might stumble upon while surfing cable television and -- if that stumble occurred at the show's beginning -- that you would watch, entranced by its byzantine plot and fine acting, right through to the end.

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New and Coming Releases: November 2, 2010.

    

Vote for your favorite releases both new and coming soon by queuing them up here, and then go to your local polling place to vote there, too!

Continue Reading New and Coming Releases: November 2, 2010.

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A Mother's Courage

Reviewer:Erin Donovan
Rating (out of 5): **

It's difficult to avoid comparisons between A Mother's Courage (originally titled The Sunshine Boy) with The Horse Boy (originally titled Over the Hills and Far Away) another recent autobiographical documentary on the stress put on families dealing with Autism. With Horse Boy, Rupert Isaacson documented his family's trip from their cozy Texas suburb to the far-flung provinces of Mongolia to seek shamanic treatments from reindeer herders. Fridrik Thor Fridriksson's Courage centers on Margret Dagmar Ericsdottirs, an Icelandic women from a similarly privileged family who travels to the States to visit different schools and individual specialists in the field of Autism. Their 8 year old son Kaley has gone through many experimental treatments with little results and has now aged past the point of most effective interventions.

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New and Coming Releases: Oct 26, 2010.

     

Sure, we've said this before, but today really is one helluva releasing day, with 2 from Criterion, several very disparate Euro films, one of the year's best indies (or in general), Alex Cox, Kevorkian and plenty more treats than tricks.

Continue Reading New and Coming Releases: Oct 26, 2010.

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Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl

Reviewer: Steve Dollar
Rating (out of 5): ****

No cinematic moment of 2008 was as remotely satisfying to me as watching the opening sequence of Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl on the big screen at IFC Center two summers ago, where it played as the centerpiece of the New York Asian Film Festival. As cheesy-sleazy keyboard riffs conjured mid-1960s garage rock on the soundtrack, the formidably fiendish Vampire Girl (Yukie Kawamura) laid waste to her schoolgirl nemeses, using her supernatural skills to strip the very flesh from their pretty little noggins, exposing manic, chattering deathheads. The feverish quality of the low-budget (but zesty) CGI and the take-no-prisoners action practically has this grisly-cute confection peaking in its first two minutes, but once they get your attention, directors Yoshihiro Nishimura (Toyko Gore Police) and Naoyuki Tomomatsu never relinquish it.

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Agora

 

Reviewer: James van Maanen
Rating (out of 5): ****½

What a pleasure it is to take in the visuals and verbiage of Agora, Chilean-born Spanish filmmaker Alejandro Amenábar's new film -- and his best yet. The time is past due for an intelligent broadside against religious fundamentalism, and telling the story of Hypatia -- the 4th Century Alexandrian woman who was a teacher, astronomer, philosopher, mathematician and humanist -- proves a wonderful, enriching way to provide it. As soon as someone, anyone, decided to put his faith in the world's first and biggest "imaginary friend," and then started recruiting others to join the club, a stubborn, entrenched faith was born which, in the words of Richard Dawkins, "defies reasoned argument or contradictory evidence." (Call it Jewish, Islamic or -- in the case of the bad boys of Agora -- Christian fundamentalism.)

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Wild Grass DVD Giveaway!

 

prophetTwo strangers indulge in wild impulses and become entangled in an unexpected relationship in Wild Grass, a critically acclaimed, award-winning French film from renowned director Alain Resnais (Hiroshima Mon Amour). "Like its would-be lovers," writes Stephen Holden in NY Times, "Wild Grass chases itself in circles as it scrambles genres, examining seeing, thinking, remembering and imagining with a zany awareness. In Georges's words: "After the cinema nothing surprises you. Everything is possible."And now you have a chance to win the Wild Grass DVD thanks to a giveaway sponsored by GreenCine and Sony Pictures Classics.

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