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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

32 Great Unscripted Movie Scenes

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fwd: Dave's 2,500 Movies Challenge

We missed with Gore in 2000, so we'll make up for it here. 

Dave's 2,500 Movies Challenge


#1,525. The Loved Ones (2009)

Posted: 19 Oct 2014 08:46 PM PDT


Directed By: Sean Byrne

Starring: Xavier Samuel, Robin McLeavy, Victoria Thaine




Tag line: "You don't have to die to go to hell"

Trivia: Robin McLeavy prepared for the role of Lola by researching the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer







I usually have a high threshold for violence in movies, but there was a point in 2009's The Loved Ones where I'd had enough. Don't get me wrong: it's a tremendous motion picture; a tense, often unsettling film that had me poised at the edge of my seat. Still, the brutality is so relentless, so extreme, that I often had to look away. I admire the hell out of The Loved Ones, but I'm not sure I like it.

It's the last day of school, and Lola Stone (Robin McLeavy) asks classmate Brent (Xavier Samuel) to accompany her to the end-of-year dance. Unfortunately, Brent already has a date: his girlfriend Holly (Victoria Thaine). But Lola isn't about to take "no" for an answer. Knocked unconscious by Lola's doting father (John Brumpton), Brent is dragged off to the Stone homestead, which has been decorated to look like a dance hall. It seems that Lola's father, who'll do anything to make his little girl happy, is hosting his own shindig, and Brent is there to serve as Lola's "date". Continuously tortured and beaten by his captors, Brent tries his damnedest to escape, but the more he struggles to free himself, the harsher his "punishment" gets.

The violence in The Loved Ones is tough to watch, mostly because it's inflicted upon someone who hasn't done anything to deserve it. Not only is Brent an innocent (he wasn't the least bit nasty or condescending when he told Lola he couldn't go with her to the dance), but is something of a victim himself (as the film opens, Brent and his father are out driving. Suddenly, a bloodied young man appears out of nowhere, causing Brent to lose control of the car and crash it into a tree, killing his father instantly). This makes what happens to him all the more tragic, and the torture he's subjected to is, at times, quite awful (at one point, Brent manages to escape, only to be chased down and captured again. To ensure he stays put, Lola's father nails Brent's feet to the floor with a couple of steak knives).

Robin McLeavy turns in a remarkable performance as Lola, a psychotic teen with an adolescent's mentality who's always gotten her way. Also strong is John Brumpton as Lola's dad, an emasculated figure who's nonetheless capable of doing terrible things. The dynamic between these two characters, complete with an underlying sexual tension, is as fascinating as it is grotesque. Equally as impressive is how writer / director Sean Byrne ties everything together before the movie's over; a seemingly unrelated side story in which Brent's pal Jamie (Richard Wilson) , accompanies the distant and strange Mia (Jessica McNamee) to the school dance isn't as random as it first appears. All of these elements blend wonderfully, making The Loved Ones a movie I wouldn't hesitate to recommend. Odds are, I'll probably watch it again myself.

But not right away.







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Monday, October 20, 2014

Dead End (add George Raft)

-

Dave's 2,500 Movies Challenge


#1,515. Dead End (2003)

Posted: 10 Oct 2014 05:48 AM PDT


Directed By: Jean-Baptiste Andrea, Fabrice Canepa

Starring: Ray Wise, Lin Shaye, Mick Cain





Tag line: "Read the signs"

Trivia: Won the Audience Award at the 2003 San Sebastián Horror and Fantasy Film Festival







Dead End, a 2003 horror film from writers / directors Jean-Baptiste Andrea and Fabrice Canepa, is one creepy-ass motion picture.

It's Christmas Eve, and Frank Harrington (Ray Wise) is doing the same thing he does every year: driving his family to visit his mother-in-law. None too happy to be making the trip once again this year, Frank argues with his wife Laura (Lin Shaye), while their two kids: college student Marion (Alexandra Holden) and teenager Richard (Mick Cain), as well as Marion's boyfriend Brad (Billy Asher Rosenfeld), are at each other's throats in the back seat. For a change of pace, Frank takes a different, more out-of-the-way route, and while driving along he accidentally falls asleep at the wheel. As a result, he almost gets into a head-on collision with an oncoming car, but it isn't until Frank picks up a mysterious young girl in white (Amber Smith) that the evening takes a truly horrific turn.

Playing like an extended episode of The Twilight Zone, Dead End has its share of plot twists, all of which do their part to keep things interesting. To be honest, I figured out the main twist early on (before the half-way point), and it's to the film's credit that, despite its failure to protect its most important secret, it still gives you the willies. This is, in part, due to the solid performances of its entire cast. As the tension escalates, each member of the Harrington clan suffers a mental breakdown of sorts. Ray Wise's Frank crawls into a bottle of booze (which, instead of taking his mind off the terrifying situation, only intensifies his feelings of imminent doom), while Lin Shaye's Laura, as the result of a terrible tragedy, loses control entirely (though there might be something to her claim that she sees ghostly figures in the surrounding woods, all of whom re waving at her). The three younger performers have their moments as well (especially Alexandra Holden as Marion), as does Amber Smith as the ominous "Lady in White", but it's Wise and Shaye who shine the brightest.

For a film that's primarily set inside a moving car, Dead End knows how to get under your skin, which is exactly where it stays until the end credits roll.







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Friday, October 17, 2014

New Reviews at RogerEbert.com for the week of October 17, 2014

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Subject: New Reviews at RogerEbert.com for the week of October 17, 2014
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New Reviews at RogerEbert.com for the week of October 17, 2014

Here are reviews of this week's newest movies from RogerEbert.com. For these and more, including blog posts on everything from sci-fi and low-brow comedy to forgotten masterpieces of cinema, please visit our site and join the conversation.

Birdman Poster

Birdman

Review by Christy Lemire

One of the best times you'll have at the movies this year, and possibly the year's best film overall.

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The Tale of Princess Kaguya Poster

The Tale of Princess Kaguya

Review by Glenn Kenny

"The Tale of Princess Kaguya" is both very simple and head-spinningly confounding, a thing of endless visual beauty that seems to partake in a kind of pictorial minimalism but finds staggering possibilities for beautiful variation within its ineluctable modality. It's…

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Diplomacy Poster

Diplomacy

Review by Godfrey Cheshire

Essentially a two-hander even though it contains a number of minor characters, the film proves consistently absorbing thanks in large part to the adept, expertly calibrated work of its leads.

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Fury Poster

Fury

Review by Peter Sobczynski

The trouble with "Fury" is that while stocking up on all the little details, Ayer has failed to provide much of a narrative for them to hang upon.

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The Book of Life Poster

The Book of Life

Review by Susan Wloszczyna

Instead of being gaga for ghoulishness, this Mexican fiesta of animated splendor is packed with visual delights far more sunny than sinister as they burst forth as if flung from an over-packed piñata.

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Listen Up Philip Poster

Listen Up Philip

Review by Glenn Kenny

The terrific cast all delves into the material full-bore, which contributes to its peculiar resonance. Perry may hate everyone and everything, but in making a show of it, he's thoroughly entertaining.

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Dear White People Poster

Dear White People

Review by Steven Boone

You could make a (film geek) party game out of guessing director Justin Simien's influences, but his vision seems to spring directly from what's up with his generation now.

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Housebound Poster

Housebound

Review by Sheila O'Malley

Director Gerald Johnstone's humor seems to come from an acute sense of the absurd, and maintaining a tone of both horror and absurdity is one of his major accomplishments.

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The Best of Me Poster

The Best of Me

Review by Susan Wloszczyna

"The Best of Me," the ninth Sparks-based film, falls squarely in the mediocre category and makes 2004's "The Notebook" seem like "Casablanca."

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Young Ones Poster

Young Ones

Review by Glenn Kenny

Too bland to qualify as a really notable disaster, "Young Ones" finds young Paltrow still trying to find his voice. If he intends to continue on this career path, he'd best accelerate a bit, as he's almost 40.

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Watchers of the Sky Poster

Watchers of the Sky

Review by Sheila O'Malley

While the film is not optimistic, and it does not provide "hope for the future" or anything equally as facile, it is a powerful reminder of the importance of the struggle itself.

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Camp X-Ray Poster

Camp X-Ray

Review by Matt Zoller Seitz

This debut feature by writer-director Peter Sattler has cinematic and moral intelligence.

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I Am Ali Poster

I Am Ali

Review by Matt Zoller Seitz

There's not much new information in this documentary about Muhammad Ali, but the never-before-seen footage and photos make it worth a look for completists.

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Addicted Poster
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