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Friday, Apr 20, 2012

“I’m sick and tired of worrying about gas prices every six months, I’m sick and tired of these failed wars in the Middle East,” says Gavin Newsom. “I’m sick and tired of breathing the air that we’re breathing.” One of the several celebrity talking heads in Revenge of the Electric Car, Chris Paine’s follow-up to Who Killed the Electric Car? (2006), the California Lieutenant Governor lays out the most obvious reasons electric cars are a good idea. Taking such rationale as pretty much self-evident (Danny DeVito on his now-extinct EV1: “I wasn’t gunking up the air, it was a fantastic ride”), the new documentary follows independent entrepreneurs like Gadget Abbott (who refits a gas-fueled Triumph Spitfire and a GT6 to take electricity) and Tesla CEO Elon Musk (whom Jon Favreau describes as “The closest you’re going to get in real life to Tony Stark”), as well as mainstream bosses like GM’s Bob Lutz (who presses for the Chevy Volt) and Nissan’s Carlos Ghosn (the Leaf). They all want to make the world better and also make money. Narrator Tim Robbins introduces turns in the story with colorful, if simplifying, phrases (“Elon’s coup was just what Bob needed to drag GM back into the race”), and the film briefly recalls the 2008 auto hearings (with a shot of a corporate jet to emphasize the Big Three automakers’ tone-deafness) as well as the subsequent bailout. These efforts to bring back electric cars help to structure a seemingly linear adventure, as the documentary accepts and even celebrates the ways that money drives the process of revolution. Where the first film railed against conspiring corporations and government, this one insists they need to be part of the solution.

Revenge of the Electric Car premieres this week on Independent Lens.

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Monday, Apr 16, 2012
"Here is a glimmer of hope, that you will find your answer."

“In 1997, I was fixing a plate of food in the kitchen,” says Master Sgt. Jerry Ensminger, “Getting ready for the evening news.” What he heard on the TV changed everything: a scientific report linked birth defects and childhood cancers to water contamination at Camp Lejeune, where he and his family had lived. “I dropped my plate, right there. I mean, it was like God was saying to me, ‘Here is a glimmer of hope, that you will find your answer.’” Ensminger’s question concerned the death of his nine-year-old daughter, Janey, some 14 years earlier. She’d had leukemia, and throughout her illness and after her passing, he wondered why.

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Monday, Apr 9, 2012
by PopMatters Staff
The action-packed alien invasion film The Darkest Hour starring Emile Hirsch, Max Minghella, and Olivia Thirlby releases on DVD this April 10th.

POPMATTERS SPONSOR—The action-packed alien invasion film The Darkest Hour starring Emile Hirsch, Max Minghella, and Olivia Thirlby releases on DVD this April 10th. This sci-fi thriller will be available in multiple formats, including spectacular 3D Blu-ray which best highlights the film’s mind-blowing special effects, as well as the standard DVD and Blu-ray options. The movie is directed by Chris Gorak, who earned previous credits as art director for Fight Club and Minority Report. The new DVD is packed with loads of great extras, including a mini-documentary “The Darkest Hour: Visualizing an Invasion”, a bevy of deleted and extended scenes, and a short film all about how the fight will continue in the upcoming movie Survivors.

Check out the trailer below and head on over to Amazon to snag a copy of the DVD.

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Tuesday, Apr 3, 2012

“Nothing about this case was ever believable. It was always the twilight zone in the Madoff case, because every time you saw something, it never made sense.” Set against an abstracting black background and addressing the camera, Harry Markopolos looks like he’s had experience in that zone. Even as Markopolos went repeatedly over 10 years to the SEC with evidence that Bernie Madoff was stealing from people, no one took notice: papers were filed and ignored. Based on Markopolos’ book, No One Would Listen, Jeff Prosserman’s smart, weird, provocative documentary makes its subjectivity a virtue. Chasing Madoff shows Markopolos’ self-certainty (bolstered by his colleagues at Rampart Investment Management, who did believe him) and also his growing paranoia; the film not only shows it, but lets you feel a bit of it too, because, in Markopolos’ world, it makes too much sense. When he reenacts his concerns in deep shadows cocking a gun and glowering, the scenes are at once sensational, nutty, and strangely affecting. Markopolos’ outrage is also supported by interviews with Madoff’s victims, identified here by their Madoff numbered accounts. Along with Markopolos, they voice the film’s underlying argument: Madoff was not deviant, he was exemplary. His system depends on silence, on insularity, and on repeated looks the other way. The film insists that you look, that you feel uncomfortable, that you worry.

See PopMattersreview.

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Wednesday, Feb 29, 2012
Nicolas Cage and Robin Hardy won't give up the ghost. The Loch Parry Players threaten to roast. The Wicker Man is still on fire in 2012.

The biggest news to emerge from a recent Empire web chat with Nicolas Cage is that Cage has not given up on The Wicker Man. The actor starred in Neil LaBute’s 2006 remake of Robin Hardy’s classic 1973 horror film, and the result was an endlessly rewarding misfire, earning the film cult status and generating wildly popular Internet memes.

The Wicker Man (2006) Trailer:

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