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A few reviews
Her - 2013 - 7/10

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Near-future yarn that received plenty of ink last year.
Allegory of how humanity plugs in with everyone on the planet, yet grows more disassociated from each other.
Lead character develops relationship with his new OS (operating system) which is more a personal assistant.
Glossy photography (in sunny, fairy-tale Los Angeles) overlays the loneliness of daily existence.
His seemingly well-paid job (writing personal letters) strikes a false note since (1) People increasingly no longer read, and (2) Less and less pay for content.
Enjoyed this - perhaps appreciated would be a better word. Superbly done, though I feel the overall fear of dislocation is possibly wrong. Most people I know seem happier in their virtual world over daily reality.
Miss Bala - 2012 - 6/10

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Mexican film about aspiring beauty contestant getting embroiled with the drug cartel.
Narrative begins plausibly as two girls hurry to the cattle call, and line up for their big break.
That night, they go to a party thrown by police and federal drug agents.
Who in their right mind would attend a DEA shebang?
The main girl gradually gets sucked into a war between gangs and cops,
all the while showing up for her beauty contest appearances!
After awhile, realism gave way to allegory.
One of those “interesting” flicks; worth seeing and recommending, but more arthouse than grindhouse.
Wolf Creek 2 - 2013 - 4/10

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Sequel to the fun grinder that was Wolf Creek.
This opens with lonely encounter with law enforcement grafters,
then succumbs to repetition of earlier themes, unimaginative story lines, whining characters.
Mick Taylor remains a grinning, malevolent force of nature.
Still, the template of trailer trash meets dead teenagers felt like cold leftovers.
Lazy efforts all around. Writers - director - money men.
I R I S - 2009 - 7/10

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Convoluted Korean actioner. 20 interlocking episodes with a cliffhanger or surprise at each one.
Gunfights galore. Lavish production values, sprawled across many global locations.
Unbearable romance elements. (the bane of K-dramas)
Backstory and relationships are established in the first couple of episodes. By #04, the pedal goes down.
Begins as espionage, gradually the existence of I R I S is revealed. Conspiracies and plots spread like weeds.
I thought this ended at Ep 17, but no, there were still plot twists and fresh narrative.
Wildly popular in Asia, spawned two sequels (mixed reviews there).
Kill Your Darlings - 2013 - 7/10

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Drama about hitherto unknown chapter of Beat history, focusing on young Allen, Bill and Jack, before the kiss of fame.
Oh, and Lucien Carr, too, the violent bad boy who broke taboos and laws, and seems a guru to Allen.
Period jazz music woven with current sounds. Hit n miss, though in commentary, director defends the modern choice. The look of the movie, Noirish throughout, added to the uncertainty and air of menace.
I was distracted, however, wondering, 'I never heard of this story. Is this true? This must be fiction.”
The events were accurate, simply forgotten until rather recently.
Gay press has been trumpeting this flick since its release, but don’t be put off if you are squeamish.
Good story, shuttered view of sordid choices by young turks.
The Gatekeepers - 2012 - 7/10

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Documentary interviewing six former heads of Israel’s Shin Bet, and the endless problems stemming from the Palestine occupation.
All calmly, matter of fact, discuss assassination, interrogation, torture.
Refreshing candor and bluntness.
Men express genuine surprise when peace accords were reached in Oslo, only to watch it all unravel.
None hold back on pin-pointing the chief instigators and enablers for war and terror:
Hamas, Islamic Jihad, religious West Bank settlers, gutless Prime Ministers.
Nominated for an Academy Award, lost to the feel-good, crowd pleaser, Sugarman.
Kinda says it all.
Sightseers - 2012 - 6/10

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Black comedy of repressed, middle aged female escaping thumb of domineering mother, who is slipping into dementia.
The female meets a slightly older man, they take off on a roadtrip - holiday - sightseeing tour, leaving Ma in the muddle of her short wired brain.
Straight off, the female realizes her boyfriend has a slight problem with order and rage, though he compensates by stoking her romping appetites.
Creeping body count on this. Each death one was at once grisly and funny.
Litterbugs, PETA members, health enthusiasts, beware all.
The Angel’s Share - 2012 - 6/10

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Likeable Scottish comedy / drama opens with misfits ordered to perform community service for petty crimes or drunken behaviour.
Main character has a steady squeeze who wants him out of a multi generation blood feud.
After a day trip to a distillery, coincidences pile up, stretching disbelief and plausibility quite thin.
As mentioned, the overall good-natured tone carries glosses over this, and you root for their most peculiar caper.
Subtitles an absolute must! Brogue is indecipherable at times, and many phrases sounded like Gaelic.
Resolution - 2012 - 4/10

OK, lemme get this straight.
Nebbish leaves his hot blonde wife (newly pregnant, ole flying circus position gone forever in a few months), so he can spend a week with childhood buddy, who is a meth addict, living in rural oblivion.

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Weird snapshots show up, peepers stare into the house at night, video tapes, odd sounds.
After a day or so, the straight guy starts to wonder if the shack - Indian grounds - may be cursed.
Displaying zero common sense, he stays put, musing aloud, “What is going on?”
I could well point the looking glass at myself, wondering why I select crap like this.
Not to give anything away, but if you’re one of those types who applaud open endings, this has your name on it.

Plenty of sites out there that explain (or try to explain) the ending. Good luck.
Wer - 2013 - 6/10

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Horror yarn of the hairy outsider.
We’re talking serious back hair here, as well as full beard, and shaggy hair.
Don’t even get me started about his king sized hands.
After a happy camping family is mauled (middle of the night, middle of woods, stupid city people), an unscrubbed mountain man - with a Romanian accent - is apprehended.
Interrogations, tests, and each night the moon gets fuller and fuller, until,
Oh, my God! There’s a full moon out! And wer is short for -- aarrggh!

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