Tag Archives: Three Reels

I Love You, Daddy

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Release Date: September 9, 2017 (Toronto International Film Festival)
Screened: September 9, 2017 (Toronto International Film Festival)
Runtime: 123 minutes
Rating: No Rating Yet (it will be R for language, I’m willing to bet)
Studio: None (self-financed by Louis C.K.)
Director: Louis C.K.
Cast: Louis C.K.; Chloë Grace Moretz; Charlie Day; John Malkovich; Rose Byrne; Edie Falco; Pamela Adlon; Helen Hunt; Ebonee Noel

Louis C.K. produces and films a movie under the cloak of secrecy from Hollywood and it proves to be a big, fun, surprisingly poignant treatise on the modern relationship between parent and child. Continue reading

A Simple Plan

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Release Date: January 22, 1999
Runtime: 121 minutes
Rating: R
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Director: Sam Raimi
Cast: Bill Paxton; Billy Bob Thornton; Bridget Fonda; Brent Briscoe; Gary Cole; Chelcie Ross; Becky Ann Baker; Jack Walsh

This is one of those “What would you do?” movies (another example would be Indecent Proposal, though this one is vastly superior). You know the setup: a group of seemingly simple and moral individuals are confronted with a pot of gold/pile of money/Pandora’s Box…choose your temptation, and must make a fateful decision that will test their characters. Of course, things do not go as planned, as they tend not to do in movies like this. Continue reading

Let’s Scare Jessica to Death

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Release Date: August 27, 1971
Runtime: 89 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Director: John Hancock
Cast: Zohra Lampert; Barton Heyman; Kevin O’Connor; Gretchen Corbett; Alan Manson; Mariclare Costello

This low-key quickie hearkens back to a sort of golden age for low-budget chillers. While not as gruesome as some of its contemporaries (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Hills Have Eyes), this film makes tremendous use of its spooky old house and outdoor locations. Despite a horrendous title, Let’s Scare Jessica To Death is an effective little creeper: high on atmosphere and long on style. Continue reading

Elle

Screened at the New York Film Festival – October 15, 2016

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Release Date: November 11, 2016 (US)
Runtime: 130 minutes
Rating: R
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Cast: Isabelle Huppert; Laurent Lafitte; Anne Consigny; Charles Berling; Virginie Efira; Judith Magre; Christian Berkel; Jonas Bloquet

Paul Verhoeven’s first feature in 10 years is a complex work. The director of “Basic Instinct” and “Showgirls” is in fine form stylistically, yet provides much more depth of meaning into this piece than we’ve seen in his previous films as he examines the aftermath of a brutal assault. “Elle” is definitely not for everyone (like most of Verhoeven’s films) and will likely not sit well with those moviegoers who lean more towards the politically correct. However, for those of us who have admired the director’s work in the past and understand his general approach to cinema, there is much to recommend here. 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

King Cobra

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Release Date: Screened April 18, 2016 – Tribeca Film Festival
Runtime: 91 minutes
Rating: Not Yet Rated (but let’s be real..it’ll be R)
Studio: Yale Productions/SSS Entertainment/Digital Ignition Entertainment/RabbitBandini Productions
Director: Justin Kelly
Cast: James Franco; Garrett Clayton; Christian Slater; Molly Ringwald; Keegan Allen; Alicia Silverstone

A movie as salacious and lurid as the story it’s telling, “King Cobra” has its flaws, but is generally an effective, lean, and very mean piece of “ripped-from-the-headlines” cinema. Boasting a cast including James Franco, Molly Ringwald, Alicia Silverstone, Keegan Allen, a hasn’t-been-this-good-in-years Christian Slater, and former teenybopper Garrett Clayton, ejecting himself from tweendom straight into the tighty-whities of grown-up films, “King Cobra” offers a stylish though straightforward, yet not uncompelling, dramatization of this tawdry tale of murder and sex. Continue reading

Marjoe

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Release Date: July 24, 1972
Runtime: 88 minutes
Rating: PG
Studio: Cinema 5 Distributing
Director: Howard Smith; Sarah Kernochan
Cast: Marjoe Gortner

It might be tempting to call Marjoe Gortner a con man. He was a noted evangelist in the days before Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, “saving” people in exchange for them forking over money to his ministry, money that sometimes people couldn’t really afford to give. He moved from town to town like a one-man travelling sideshow, preaching the gospel of Jesus to those willing and needing to believe it. He was a consummate showman. The interesting thing is, even he would agree with that. Continue reading

Compared to What: The Improbable Journey of Barney Frank

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Director Sheila Canavan, Barney Frank, Jim Ready

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Release Date: Screened June 20, 2014 – 16th Annual Provincetown Film Festival
Runtime: 87 minutes
Rating: NR
Studio: Pack Creek Productions
Director: Sheila Canavan, Michael Chandler
Cast: Barney Frank; Jim Ready; Neil Barofsky; Dustin Lance Black; Eliot Spitzer

Controversial. Witty. Acerbic. Straightforward. No bullshit. These are all words that can describe the former US Congressman from Massachusetts, Barney Frank. His voyage from local politician to the national stage is documented in Sheila Canavan and Michael Chandler’s “Compared to What: The Improbably Journey of Barney Frank,” which screened last night at the 16th Annual Provincetown Film Festival. 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