Tag Archives: Exotic Locations

First They Killed My Father

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Release Date: September 15, 2017
Screened: September 11, 2017 (Toronto International Film Festival)
Runtime: 136 minutes
Rating: NR – equivalent to a strong PG-13
Studio: Netflix
Director: Angelina Jolie
Cast: Sareum Srey Moch; Phoeung Kompheak; Sveng Socheata; Mun Kimhak; Heng Dara; Khoun Sothea; Sarun Nika; Run Malyna; Oun Srey Neang

Angelina Jolie directs the adaptation of Loung Ung’s memoir “First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers” and the results are a film that is experienced rather than enjoyed. Continue reading

Valley of Shadows

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Release Date: October 20, 2017 (Norway)
Screened: September 10, 2017 (Toronto International Film Festival)
Runtime: 91 minutes
Rating: No Rating Yet
Studio: Film Farms; Them Girls Film; Anna Kron Film
Director: Jonas Matzow Gulbrandsen
Cast: Adam Ekeli; Kathrine Fagerland

While there is stuff to admire in Valley of Shadows, this Norwegian import really wasn’t my cup of tea. This is one of those movies that is long on atmosphere, but short on action or dialogue. A very European movie in style and nature, Valley of Shadows will only appeal to filmgoers who are into minimalist exercises in style. Continue reading

Wonder Woman

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Release Date: June 2, 2017
Runtime: 141 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Studio: Warner Bros.
Director: Patty Jenkins
Cast: Gal Gadot; Chris Pine; Connie Nielsen; Robin Wright; Danny Huston; David Thewlis; Saïd Taghmaoui; Ewen Bremner

All hail Wonder Woman!! After decades of development hell, the grand dame of DC Comics finally gets her own standalone movie…and what a movie it is! Easily taking her rightful place alongside (and surpassing, some would argue) the big screen treatments of her Justice League comrades, “Wonder Woman” is a knockout of an action movie, an origin story, and plain, old big budget popcorn entertainment. Continue reading

The 4th Man

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Release Date: March 24, 1983
Runtime: 102 minutes
Rating: Unrated (closer to R)
Studio: International Spectrafilm / Anchor Bay Entertainment
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Cast: Jeroen Krabbé; Renée Soutendijk; Thom Hoffman; Dolf de Vries; Geert de Jong

It’s only fitting that a movie review site called The 4th Reel review a movie called “The 4th Man,” so here goes!

A virtual blueprint for his later, more mainstream potboiler “Basic Instinct,” “The 4th Man” exhibits all of the elements of director Paul Verhoeven’s mode of outrageous storytelling that has made him one of the most audacious film directors working today.

This one is stamped Verhoeven all-around: the icy blonde, the tortured author, the lethal dagger, the bisexuality, the fast cars….there are so many parallels to “Basic Instinct” (one of my all-time favorite movies, by the way) that they’re difficult to count. It’s almost as though he saw in “BI” an opportunity to make an even more outlandish version of “The 4th Man.” I loved it…loved every twisted, depraved minute of it. Continue reading

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

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Release Date: July 22, 2016
Runtime: 90 minutes
Rating: R
Studio: Fox Searchlight
Director: Mandie Fletcher
Cast: Jennifer Saunders; Joanna Lumley; Jane Horrocks; Julia Sawalha; June Whitfield; Chris Colfer; Celia Imrie; Kathy Burke

This movie is a love letter to the fans, plain and simple. While it is possible to enjoy the madness as an “Ab Fab” virgin, the experience will be greatly heightened if you have followed the misadventures of Patsy and Eddie for at least some of their (non-consecutive) seven-year run on television. Continue reading

No Escape

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Release Date: August 26, 2015
Runtime: 103 minutes
Rating: R
Studio: The Weinstein Company
Director: John Erick Dowdle
Cast: Owen Wilson; Lake Bell; Pierce Brosnan; Claire Geare; Sterling Jerins; Sahajak Boonthanakit

This is the kind of movie I feel like they don’t quite make anymore. “No Escape” is something that Charles Bronson or even Sylvester Stallone might have starred in back in their 70s/80s glory days. Basically, it’s a standard “family in peril” movie, albeit a lot (and I do mean a LOT) more violent than others of similar ilk. Continue reading

Naked Lunch

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Release Date: December 27, 1991 (screened June 20, 2014 – 16th Annual Provincetown Film Festival)
Runtime: 115 minutes
Rating: R
Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Director: David Cronenberg
Cast: Peter Weller; Judy Davis; Ian Holm; Julian Sands; Monique Mercure; Roy Scheider

OK, full disclosure: this is one weird fuckin’ movie. David Cronenberg has never been the most mainstream of directors, but this one is truly odd. Talking cockroaches that masquerade as typewriters; horny centipedes; Judy Davis shooting up roach killer…it’s all here. Welcome to “Naked Lunch.” Continue reading

Sorcerer

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Release Date: June 24, 1977
Runtime: 121 minutes
Rating: PG
Studio: Paramount Pictures / Universal Pictures
Director: William Friedkin
Cast: Roy Scheider; Bruno Cremer; Francisco Rabal; Amidou

God bless the Film Forum! If it wasn’t for this extraordinary little theater on W. Houston, special engagements of overlooked movies like “Sorcerer” might never be seen on the big screen again, relegated to not-exactly-the-same laptop viewing.

A reimagining of the classic French thriller “The Wages of Fear,” William Friedkin’s follow up to his groundbreaking and genre-defining “The Exorcist” was an ambitious flop back in 1977. The victim of shifting tastes in popular entertainment at the dawn of the blockbuster era, as well as timing (it opened a weekend before “Star Wars,” the phenomenal success of which immediately shattered any chance it had at success), “Sorcerer” has thankfully enjoyed a resurgence in critical acclaim over the years, and rightfully so. While not a perfect movie, it nonetheless fits very much within Friedkin’s oeuvre of hyper-intense, challenging work. Shit, movies don’t get much more intense than this! Continue reading

Taxi zum Klo

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Release Date: January 9, 1981
Runtime: 98 minutes
Rating: NR – Adults Only
Studio: Exportfilm Bischoff & Company
Director: Frank Ripploh
Cast: Frank Ripploh; Bernd Broaderup; Peter Fahrni

This is an interesting piece for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, it is notable for being a pioneering film for gay cinema. Released in 1981, “Tazi zum Klo” (Take Me to the Toilet” in German…nice), was a fairly mainstream movie, one that could never be made today, at least not without being labeled as out-and-out porn. Secondly, it showcased the sometimes blissful, sometimes complex relationship between two gay men in pre-AIDS, early 80’s West Berlin. One must not forget that at that time, it was somewhat shocking and definitely controversial to show two men, not only in a sexual relationship, but in ANY emotionally binding relationship. Thirdly, the lack of modesty of the main character: writer, director, star, Frank Ripploh. This film is clearly an exorcism of demons for this guy and he holds nothing back in chronicling his life for us. He is unapologetic for his rather hedonistic lifestyle and wants us to join him in this journey. In fact, the first words spoken in the film are, “Do you want to come cruising with me? Good.” Continue reading

Gravity

Gravity

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Release Date: October 4, 2013
Runtime: 91 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Cast: Sandra Bullock; George Clooney; Ed Harris (voice)

This is one spectacular movie! Alfonso Cuarón creates a sort-of “2001: A Space Odyssey” for the 21st century. It is tense, expertly filmed and choreographed, and beautifully acted by both George Clooney and an Oscar-worthy Sandra Bullock. “Gravity” grabs you right from the beginning and carries you along for 90 breathless minutes and when it’s over, believe me, you will need to catch your breath. Continue reading