Daily Archives: March 2, 2014

                                       Excision

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It might test your tolerance for gross-out visuals, and I thought the ending was lame, but the witty horror-comedy Excision is also an amusing battle of wills between teenage social outcast Pauline (AnnaLynne McCord) and her mother, the uber-controlling Phyllis (Traci Lords).  Marlee Matlin, Ray Wise, Malcolm McDowell and John Waters lend support.  Release:  2012  Grade:  B

 
*****

 

Page One

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A real treat for journalism junkies, but as a documentary about the New York Times, Page One crams an awful lot of material into a 90-minute slot.  We get: 1) the demise of print media, 2) the rise of new media, 3) highlights of the Times’s illustrious past, and 4) a mini-biography of colorful media reporter David Carr.  But if you are a journalism junkie, it’s all newsworthy stuff.  Release:  2011   Grade:  B+

 

*****

 
                                   A Hijacking

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As I watched A Hijacking, a Danish thriller about Somali pirates who confiscate a cargo ship and its crew, I kept thinking, “That’s believable … yeah, I buy that.”  The hostage-taking and subsequent ransom negotiations with the head of the company that owns the ship were super-realistic – but that’s a problem for the movie:  Watching stone-faced businessmen conduct hostage talks as if they are mulling stock options does not make for gripping drama.  Release:  2012   Grade:  B-

 

*****

 

Nude Nuns with Big Guns

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Sometimes movies like this can be campy good fun.  Other times, you should just read the title and run.  Nude Nuns with Big Guns – you decide.  As for me, I am obviously spending too much time on Netflix.   Release:  2010  Grade:  D

 

*****

 

                               Inequality for All

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Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, all 4 feet 10 inches of him, makes the case that there is indeed class warfare in the United States, but it’s being waged on the middle class, not by it.  Skyrocketing income inequality is territory already covered in other films like 2012’s Park Avenue, but if you’re new to the issue, Reich is an engaging messenger – even if the message he bears is maddening.  Release:  2013  Grade:  B+

 

*****

 

                        The Wolf of Wall Street

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Watching the misbehaving clods in The Wolf of Wall Street is a bit like being the only sober person surrounded by drunks at a bar:  Everyone but you is having a good time.  Martin Scorsese’s biography of con artist Jordan Belfort is voyeuristically entertaining, in a Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous kind of way, but it’s also too long and the lesson – crime doesn’t pay – isn’t exactly big news.  Less than an hour into this sex-and-drug-fueled marathon, I pretty much wanted everyone on screen to go to prison.  There is, however, one great scene in which Leonardo DiCaprio learns what happens when you ignore the instructions on a bottle of pills.  Release:  2013  Grade:  B-

 

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