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Friday, Jun 27, 2014
This is a terrific, dark dystopian nightmare mixed with flashes of Terry Gilliam-esque absurdity and the filmmaker's own fractured frame of reference.

The story behind Bong Joon-Ho‘s Snowpiercer is almost as exhilarating and as nail-biting as the movie itself. By now, the details are legend: the film was highly touted as the first major mainstream English language effort from the man responsible for Memories of Murder, Mother, and perhaps best known of all, the giant monster movie The Host. Adapted from a French graphic novel series Le Transperceneige, Oldboy‘s Park Chan-wook secured the rights to the property and gave it to his friend to direct.

After making a splash on the festival circuit, the Weinstein Company stepped in to distribute the movie in the West…and soon the trouble started. Scissorhanded suit Harvey Weinstein wanted a good “20 minutes” removed from the movie. He also demanded title cards, narration, and other ways to help an American audience “understand” the thriller. For him, it   just didn’t “play in Peoria”. Bong balked, and thus began a publicity war which saw both sides dig their heels in for a long battle.

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Monday, Jun 23, 2014
Fast and loose, with dialogue driving almost every moment, Giuseppe Andrews became the new Godard of trailer park, hotel and apartment tales.

Garbanzo Gas is either the most brilliant pro-vegetarian film ever made, or the most maddening deconstruction of meat’s magical allure since the Sawyer clan discovered the value in human hamburger. Centering on the mythical, mouthwatering promise of steak (and a fully dressed baked potato side dish), and using the actual source of such succulence as the pro/con catalyst, (Giuseppe) Andrews expands outward, taking on suicidal tendencies, homicidal madness, insanity, and fixation. Overflowing with the filmmaker’s trademark deranged dialogue, and incorporating a tender performance from Andrews’ staple Vietnam Ron, this well-meaning message movie is far more effective than a perverse PETA rally in reiterating the value of animal life, and the uselessness of human existence.”

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Friday, Jun 20, 2014
Think Like a Man Too may be nothing more than a sketchbook for (the cast's) specialness, but while it lasts, it's a legitimate comedy contender.

Michael Ealy. Meagan Good. Terrence J. Taraji P. Henson. Romany Malco. Gabrielle Union. La La Anthony. Kevin Hart. These are quality names. These are very talented actors. These are performers who should be superstars, recognizable marquee faces not basic bit players.

Do you want to know how good they are? Do you want to see how ability trumps creative artifice? Look no further than this week’s proposed comedy of couples errors, Think Like a Man Too. Gone are the feel-fairly-good sentiments of Steve Harvey and his oddly popular self help book. In its place is a “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” Hangover-lite approach which, while not new, is enlivened by a cast capable of turning bat guano into Batman.

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Friday, Jun 13, 2014
22 Jump Street makes its superfluousness clear. We laugh because we recognize ourselves in the viewership mocked by this movie.

Welcome to the A-list, Channing Tatum. If you weren’t already there (and we can debate this concept for as long as you like), you will certainly be among the biggies come the release of 22 Jump Street. In the nine years since you’ve been in the movie (yes, you’re a relative short-timer in the industry) you’ve gone from “that buff dancing dude” in films like Step Up and its sequel, to wannabe action hero in such efforts as G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, The Eagle, and White House Down.

Oddly enough, it won’t be your hoofing and huffing that get you in good with the studio suits. No, it will be your ability to mock your own machismo, be it as part of the excessively profitable Magic Mike movies (there’s a sequel to the male stripper epic in the works) or the equally enjoyable Jump Street films.

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Friday, Jun 6, 2014
The entire first half of this film feels frivolous and unimportant. That is, until Gene Jones shows up.

We all remember the shocking photos, bodies bloating in the hot African sun, lost lives staggered like rails in a forgotten lumber yard. Next to them lay Dixie Cups of death, a Kool-aid (or Flavor-Aid, actually) potion poisoned to prevent the real world from learning the truth about its cloistered cult beliefs. It was here in Northern Guyana were the Reverend Jim Jones, an expatriate preacher from San Francisco who decided to move his impressionable parish lock, stock, and secretive barrels halfway across the globe in order to find peace and tranquility.

But when Congressman Leo Ryan arrived in November of 1978 to gather information as part of a fact finding tour, he was initially met with open arms. Later, Jones’ guards would open fire, killing the House member along with four others. When outsiders finally stormed the compound, they found the corpses of 909 church members. Jones was dead as well, an allegedly self-inflicted bullet wound to the head.

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