weezy's blog

Live Like a Cop, Die Like a Man

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

While director Edgar Wright was working on his fake trailer for Grindhouse (2007), and preparing Hot Fuzz (2007), Quentin Tarantino screened a couple of cop films for him: Stuart Rosenberg's The Laughing Policeman (1973) and Ruggero Deodato's Live Like a Cop, Die Like a Man (1976).

Of the second film, Wright said it was "the most amazing title, ever, apart from Half Past Dead. It's probably the most homoerotic cop film I've ever seen. The cops in it share a bedroom. They have bunks, and they're both real lady killers, but the fact that they share a bedroom -- it's like Bert and Ernie from 'Sesame Street.'"

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Léon Morin, Priest

Reviewer: Jeffrey M Anderson
Rating (out of five): ****

Thanks to a fan club that includes Quentin Tarantino and John Woo (as well making an appearance in Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless), Jean-Pierre Melville is primarily known as a director of cool crime films. In 2006, there was a small revelation with the official U.S. release of Army of Shadows (1969), a cool crime film that took place during WWII and dealt with the French Resistance; it quickly became apparent that this subject was dear to Melville's heart. Now comes Léon Morin, Priest (1961), making its DVD debut via the Criterion Collection. It's a movie without any crime elements at all, and is almost entirely wrapped up in the Occupation and Resistance. And yet it hardly even touches on those things. The story is almost totally boiled down to the interactions between two characters. They talk almost entirely about religion. They barely talk about the war or its effects at all. But in these talks, everything becomes clear.

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Super

Reviewer: Jeffrey M Anderson
Rating (out of five): ****

In last year's Kick-Ass, an ordinary comic book nerd dons a costume and becomes a superhero. Despite his lack of superpowers, he eventually finds himself on a super adventure, with a big, spectacular showdown. James Gunn's Super starts out much the same way, except that this hero (played by Rainn Wilson) doesn't know much about comic books and he's a little less of a role model. In fact, comparisons to Travis Bickle are appropriate.

Frank D'Arbo (Wilson) is the ultimate in schlubby. His clothes and hair are schlubby, he lives in a schlubby town (actually Shreveport, Louisiana), and works as a cook in a schlubby little diner. He has somehow lucked into a beautiful wife, Sarah (Liv Tyler), though she is on the verge of leaving him; she's a recovering addict and is falling off the wagon. When she finally does, it's for a slick, sleazy club owner/drug dealer, Jacques (Kevin Bacon). Frank feels a terrible sense of injustice; he wants to get his wife back, but he also wants to rescue her from that bad influence.

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New and Coming Releases: August 9, 2011.

     

If Wall Street's got you down there's plenty of escapism to be had in this week's batch of new releases, including lots of comedy, foriegn horror (appropriately addressing a sociopathic desire for home ownership), anime, and more, inside!

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New and Coming Releases: August 2, 2011.

   

We've got a small but eclectic offering this week, which includes a 1960's stranded-in-a-desert flick from Olive Films, a new one from Film Movement, and more, inside. 

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We Are What We Are

Reviewer: Craig Phillips
Rating (out of five): ***

Mexican director Jorge Michel Grau's undeniably creepy if tonally uneven We Are What We Are (Somos los que hay) is on the one hand a melancholy dysfunctional family tale, and on the other hand, well... they'd like to eat it.

After their father perishes in a heap on a city sidewalk, the two sons, Alfredo (Francisco Barreiro) and Julian (Alan Chávez*), help their haggard mother (Carmen Beato) with the family finances as well as the family appetite, despite not being especially equipped for either role. The most important thing? Continuing the family "ritual" -- the unpleasant task the patriarch done for them for years. Meanwhile, two curious cops, after seeing the coroner find a finger in the man's stomach, decide to investigate further -- at their own risk.

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New and Coming Releases: July 26, 2011

   

It's a great week to revisit our podcasts, as 2 new DVDs out today have been featured at GreenCine Daily: Heartbeats and Life During Wartime. We've also got some fun summer cult films and docs, sci fi, and more. 

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Hey, Boo: Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird

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

A treasure-trove of fascinating information about media-shy/burned author Harper Lee, her landmark book To Kill a Mockingbird, the fine movie made from it (and much more: even Truman Capote has a major role here), HEY, BOO: Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird should have the billion-odd fans of the book lining up to learn more about it -- and the woman who created it. "Landmark" because it enabled white America, north and south, to begin coming to terms with the country's major social problem, racial prejudice, the book remains a force for understanding and change. Further, it is probably one of the few "modern classics" taught in schools that does not always need to be force-fed.

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The Music Room (Jalsaghar)

Reviewer: Philip Tatler IV
Rating (out of five): * * **

Over the opening credits of Satyajit Ray’s 1958 The Music Room (Jalsaghar), a chandelier drifts out of the darkness, slowly swaying into view like some luminescent deep sea creature. This chandelier, one of several that hang in the titular room, will come to symbolize the flickering (pre-electric) light of a way of life that is quickly disappearing.

The Music Room is a fin de siècle story along the lines of The Leopard or The Magnificent Ambersons, detailing the last member of a feudal dynasty’s slide into obscurity. When we first see Lord Roy (Bengali matinee idol Chhabi Biswas), he is alone on the roof of his decaying palace, lost in thought. A sparse exchange with his servant (Kali Sarkar) reveals that Lord Roy has no idea what month or season it is.<

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Cracks

Reviewer: James Van Maanen
Rating (out of five): * * *

A coming-of-age (but not coming-out) movie that takes us back to a British all-girls school during the 1930s -- complete with requisite lesbianism, nude scenes, and a backward glance at the young ladies, fashions and automobiles of pre-WWII-- Cracks, the first full-length film from Jordan Scott (daughter of Ridley) is a ripe piece of cinema that is, fortunately, still a short distance from going bad. You can bite into its succulent fruit and enjoy the sweet taste, while realizing that, by tomorrow, it will have passed optimum status. But that's tomorrow. Why carp when we still have today?

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