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Kinky sex, a Southern beauty queen, kidnapped Mormon missionaries, brainwashing, a high-profile media trial and cloned puppies. In the words of one interview subject in Tabloid, the gob smacking story of Joyce McKinney really does have something for everybody. A former Miss Wyoming contestant, McKinney became the obsession of the notorious British tabloid papers in the late nineteen seventies after she was arrested and put on trial for kidnapping, imprisoning [...]

By on October 4, 2011

Hideously photographed and generically told, but the inherently compelling real-world subject matter of Larysa Kondracki’s The Whistleblower ensures that the film remains somewhat engaging, though largely by default. A grim and grizzly tale of political corruption and human exploitation based on actual events, the film stars Rachel Weisz as a Nebraska cop assigned to the United Nations as part of a peace-keeping force in post-civil war Bosnia who uncovers a [...]

By on September 28, 2011

Headlined by Twilight third-wheeler Taylor Lautner, John Singleton’s Abduction is a laughably humourless adolescent espionage thriller whose sole reason for existing is to cash in on the current popularity of its musclebound teenaged star. Brimming with juvenile angst, the film is formula made for the undiscerning tween-aged masses; a formula that is so brazenly on display that adult viewers (having presumably wandered in [...]

By on September 21, 2011

After the fatal shooting of two North Korean guards by a South Korean soldier at the Demilitarized Border between the two adversarial nations, an independent body of Swiss and Swedish officials are sent in to investigate the crime and contain the potentially explosive political situation. So begins Park Chan-wook’s Joint Security Area [Gongdong gyeongbi guyeok JSA], a 2000 film that combines an intricately assembled mystery with absorbing human drama. Artfully [...]

By on September 20, 2011

South Korea’s A Barefoot Dream [Maen-bal-eui Ggoom] is so saccharine that it almost gave me a toothache. Based (one suspects loosely) on the real life story of a former Korean soccer player who coached the East Timorese children’s team to an unlikely international championship, everything in the film, from the over-the-top performances, cliché-riddled script, made-for-TV direction and syrupy musical accompaniment is so farcically sentimental that it makes you wonder whether [...]

By on September 15, 2011

In the closing credit scroll of writer/director Kevin Smith’s Red State, the cast is listed under three subheadings: sex, religion and politics. It’s not a very subtle way of outlining the themes of the film, but then again, very little is subtle about this ambitious and visceral stylistic departure from a writer/director who, up until now, has confined himself to the realm of raunchy adult comedies in the vein of [...]

By on September 12, 2011

An utterly gripping documentary that transcends its subject matter and the restrictions of the medium to play out like the very best kind of narrative film, Asif Kapadia’s documentary about the life, career and tragic passing of Brazilian Formula One racer Ayerton Senna has been heralded – and rightfully so – as one of the most exhilarating, moving and quite simply best films of 2011.  Chronicling the life and career [...]

By on September 4, 2011

Eurgh. That is my overwhelming reaction to Lisa Dunham’s Tiny Furniture, a directorial debut that I can acknowledge does a lot of things right, but I still found absolutely unbearable to watch. A story about a directionless college graduate who moves back in with her mother and sister, it’s a tale based, one suspects, on Dunham own life experience, even to the point that she casts herself and her family [...]

By on August 31, 2011
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