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Friday, Apr 4, 2014
Even with all its XXX gimmickry, Nymph()maniac remains grounded in character. From someone like Lars von Trier, we'd expect nothing less... and we get a lot more.

When last we left Lars von Trier’s epic exploration of one woman’s unwieldy sexuality and all the perverted permutations of same, our heroine Joe (as an adult, Charlotte Gainsbourg, as a youth, Stacy Martin) had just lost all sensation in her vagina. As she recounts her underage exploits and various home wrecking scenarios, including the sudden loss of sensation while living with the longtime object of her desires, Jerome (Shia LaBeouf), our attentive listener, a bookworm named Seligman (Stellan Skarsgard), links her lust-life to various works of literature and cultural/personal milestones. Before going forward, dealing with her life as an adult, the duo discuss religion, especially the differences between Eastern Orthodoxy and Western Catholicism. For Seligman, it’s a question of Christ’s suffering vs. Christ’s mercy. For Joe, it’s just another nonsensical analogy to her continuing condemnation of self.


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Tuesday, Apr 1, 2014
This is a genuine delight, a smart film without so much of the CG filler these movies can often contain.

In the Avengers’ movie rankings, Iron Man is numero uno. He’s the head honcho, the big box office draw, and the one character Marvel is most concerned about when moving on within their ever-expanding cinematic universe. Thanks to Robert Downey Jr. and his pratfalling playboy performance, this is one superhero who will be sorely missed should his time with the comic book clan come to an end. Next up is Thor, though Norse Gods know why. He’s hunky and cute and all, but is he really the second best option among the mighty protectors of the galaxy? Third place it tricky, however. On the one hand, Hulk has really never gotten a good shot at solo success. Both Ang Lee and Louis Leterrier’s take on the character lacked something when delivering the necessary action spectacle, but within Joss Whedon’s billion dollar baby, the character was golden.


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Friday, Mar 28, 2014
Noah is not a blasphemous anti-God screed. Instead, it's an amazing movie that misses being an all out masterpiece by one autonomous idea.

Free will. It’s either the flaw in God’s design for man or his gift for living outside the strictures of his scripture. It’s the core of organized religion, determination drained of its actual meaning with sin and supplication replacing its otherwise humanistic designs. In his new film, Noah, arcane auteur Darren Aronofsky takes a simple Bible story and blows it up. He turns the cutesy tale of “cats and rats and ele-phants” (but no unicorns, sadly) into a struggle between the individual and an obvious Supreme Being. There is no question of God’s existence in this stunningly ambitious and often flawed masterwork, He is everywhere - in the ground, in the air, in the scarred psyche of the characters. He even provides the film with its major strength, and one of its biggest (albeit, imagined by the filmmaker) problems.


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Friday, Mar 21, 2014
Luckily, Muppets Most Wanted is "almost" as good as the first go around, a rousing entertainment which pales only slightly in comparison to its predecessor.

He was born around 1955. Legend has it he was crafted from a discarded coat and two halves of a ping pong ball. While the inspiration for the name has been a long debated source of contention, one thing remains clear: the minute Kermit the lizard (???) made his first appearance on Jim Henson’s localized Sam and Friends TV show, he became an instant icon. One slight species shift to frog-dom prior to cementing his status as part of Sesame Street and the next thing you know, the world has gone wonky for a simplified green amphibian. Indeed, along with his many Muppet friends, Kermit continues to be a bastion of bravery, a minister of wit, and an intensely popular and easily merchandisable combination of wire armature and felt.


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Tuesday, Mar 18, 2014
Lars von Trier clearly intends to use perversion and the profane to same something quite profound about the human condition and he succeeds.

For nearly three decades now, Lars Von Trier has been stirring the cinematic pot. Be it with his deranged no-frills film foundation Dogme ‘95 or his Hitler “friendly” rants at Cannes, he is good at keeping his name in the press while avoiding any direct critical impact on his films. Indeed, even at his most controversial, he’s managed to make movies as stunning as Breaking the Waves, The Idiots, Antichrist, Dancer in the Dark, and now, Nymphomaniac. While he’s always had a hand in his homeland’s burgeoning porn industry, his latest magnum opus (currently being released in two “volumes” with the first now available at such VOD sources as FlixFling) wants to delve beneath the surface and flesh to find the true meaning in physical copulation. This is beyond biology or instinct. It’s not about titillation or exploitation. Instead, von Trier clearly intends to use perversion and the profane to same something quite profound about the human condition and he succeeds.


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