This Week’s Films (08/06/14)

Deep Water

The Bridge (2006)The Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge is an iconic structure; a symbol of San Francisco, the West, freedom – and something more, something spiritual, something words cannot describe. 

The director and crew spent an entire year focusing on the Bridge. Running cameras for almost every daylight minute, they documented nearly two dozen suicides and a great many unrealized attempts. In addition, the director captured nearly 100 hours of incredibly frank, deeply personal, often heart-wrenching interviews with the families and friends of the departed, as well as with several of the attempters themselves. 

THE BRIDGE is a visual and visceral journey into one of life’s gravest taboos, offering glimpses into the darkest, and possibly most impenetrable corners of the human mind.

Verdict: 8/10

The Hunger GamesThe Hunger Games (2012)

Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the Capitol of the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen volunteers in her younger sister’s place and must rely upon her sharp instincts when she’s pitted against highly trained Tributes who have prepared their entire lives. If she’s ever to return home to District 12, Katniss must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

Verdict: 7/10

Best Worst Movie (2009)Best Worst Movie

In 1989, a group of unknown Utah actors starred in what would be crowned the worst movie of all time: Troll 2. Now, after two decades of running from this cinematic disaster, the cast can no longer hide from the legion of followers who celebrate them for their ineptitude.

BEST WORST MOVIE, directed by Troll 2’s once-disgraced child star, Michael Paul Stephenson, unravels the stories of these unforgettable real-life characters and the colorful army of devotees who continue to revel in the film’s perfectly flawed brilliance. At the center of this celebrated documentary is the improbable story of a small-town Alabama dentist-turned-cult-movie-icon, and an Italian filmmaker who comes to terms (or doesn’t) with his internationally revered cinematic failure. 

BEST WORST MOVIE is an affectionate and intoxicatingly fun tribute to the single greatest bad movie ever made and the people responsible for unleashing it on the world. The result is a hilarious and tender offbeat journey that pays homage to lovers of bad movies and the people who make them, while investigating a deeper story about the strange nature of celebrity, the catharsis of redemption and the humanity that exists in making even the worst movie ever made.

Verdict: 7/10

Deep WaterDeep Water (2006)

A documentary about the disastrous 1968 round-the-world yacht race.

Verdict: 9/10

Paris, Texas (1984)Paris, Texas

German New Wave pioneer Wim Wenders (Wings of Desire) brings his keen eye for landscape to the American Southwest in Paris, Texas a profoundly moving character study written by Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright Sam Shepard. Paris, Texas follows the efforts of the mysterious, nearly mute drifter Travis (a magnificent Harry Dean Stanton, whose face is a landscape of its own) to reconnect with his young son, living with his brother (Dean Stockwell) in Los Angeles, and his missing wife (Nastassja Kinski). From this simple setup, Wenders and Shepard produce a powerful statement on codes of masculinity and the myth of the American family, as well as an exquisite visual exploration of a vast, crumbling world of canyons and neon. 

Verdict: 9/10

For the Bible Tells Me SoFor the Bible Tells Me So (2007)

Winner of the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Seattle International Film Festival, Dan Karslake’s provocative, entertaining documentary brilliantly reconciles homosexuality and Biblical scripture, and in the process reveals that Church-sanctioned anti-gay bias is based solely upon a significant (and often malicious) misinterpretation of the Bible. As the film notes, most Christians live their lives today without feeling obliged to kil anyone who works on the Sabbath or eats shrimp. 

Through the experience of five very normal, very Christian , very American families – including those of former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt and Episcopalian Bishop Gene Robinson – we discover how insightful people of faith handle the realization of having a gay child. With commentary by such respected voices as Bishop Desmond Tutu, Harvard’s Peter Gomes, Orthodox Rabbi Steve Greenberg and Reverend Jimmy Creech, For The Bible Tells Me So offers healing, clarity and understanding to anyone caught in the crosshairs of scripture and sexual identity.

Verdict: 8/10

La Collectionneuse (1967)The Collector
 
A womanizing art dealer and a painter find the serenity of their Riviera vacation disturbed by a third guest, a vivacious bohemian woman known for her long list of male conquests.
 
Verdict: 7/10

Bukowski: Born Into ThisBukowski: Born into This (2003)

Documentary on Charles Bukowski, author of ‘Notes of a Dirty Old Man’, ‘Love Is a Dog from Hell’, and the autobiographical novels, ‘Women’, ‘Hollywood’, and ‘Post Office’.

Verdict: 8/10

How I Spent My Summer Vacation / Get the Gringo (2012)Get the Gringo

ACADEMY AWARD Winner Mel Gibson* steals the show – and anything else he can get his hands on – in this explosive, nonstop thrill ride packed with equal parts action and attitude! A career criminal (Gibson) pulls off the heist of a lifetime, but his getaway plans go south of the border when a high-speed car chase lands him in a hard-core Mexican prison community known as “El Pueblito.” Now, in order to survive, he’ll have to fend off corrupt cops, take down ruthless druglords…and team up with a streetwise ten-year-old who has a few secrets of his own!

Verdict: 6/10

Love in ActionThis is What Love in Action Looks Like (2011)

A stirring documentary about a Christian fundamentalist conversion camp and the young people who fought against it. When 16-year-old Zach told his parents that he was gay, they sent him to Love In Action, a religious organization that promises to cure homosexuality. Originally for adults, Love in Action had recently begun a program for teens, many of whom were sent there involuntarily. The camp’s draconian methods for ‘sexual redemption’; prompted filmmaker Jon Morgan Fox to document the ensuing protest against the group. Including interviews with several youths who had been in the program, the then current director of Love in Action (himself a former gay) and many young protesters who were compelled to mobilize against the organization, this documentary is an important look at gay youth, intolerance and skewed religious beliefs. 

Verdict: 6/10

Funny Face (1957)Funny Face

An impromptu fashion shoot at a book store brings about a new fashion model discovery in the shop clerk.

Verdict: 6/10

The Death of Mr LazarescuThe Death of Mr Lazarescu (2005)

Romanian film that won the Un Certain Regard in Cannes, is a true-to-life drama/dark comedy of an elderly man, alone in the world and in search of medical care. Mr. Lazarescu gets shuttled from doctor to doctor, from hospital to hospital, encountering all the good and bad the medical system has to offer. Though it doesn’t sound like a winner, this film rates a very high 8.4 score on the IMDb based on nearly 1,500 votes, with nearly every entry urging readers to see this film. If you have a customer base attuned to foreign films, you might want to give this title a chance.

Verdict: 9/10

Breaking News (2004)Breaking News

When a live TV news crew broadcasts an embarrassing defeat of Hong Kong’s police dept. by just five bank robbers, public opinion of the force plummets and the dept. vows to capture the robbers at any cost. So when Detective Cheung accidentally stumbles upon the five bank robbers hiding out in an abandoned building, Yuen (Richie Jen), the ultra-cool leader of the gang, suddenly finds himself and his partners under siege by thousands of police officers. Sensing an opportunity to restore the public’s faith in the police dept., Inspector Rebecca (Kelly Chen) turns the stakeout into a breaking news show, with live updates beamed out to a transfixed Hong Kong. But she soon discovers how difficult it can be to manage the press when hostages are involved, true identities are unknown, and the building contains not one gang but two…

Verdict: 8/10

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Dave Brown

I was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England and have always been a bookworm and enjoyed creative writing at school. In 1999 I created the Elencheran Chronicles and have been writing ever since. My first novel, Fezariu's Epiphany, was published in May 2011. When not writing I'm a lover of films, games, books and blogging. I live in Barnsley, with my wife, Donna, and our six cats - Kain, Razz, Buggles, Charlie, Bilbo and Frodo.
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