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Monday, September 19

The REEL Deals

The Constant Gardner
The Garden of Earthly Delights
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Could you imagine being in City of God director Fernando Meirelles' shoes? How on earth would he able to ever top his breakout film, which went one to become one the finesest and most talked about in the past decade or so (and in retrospect, got so heavily Oscar dissed)? It's a pretty daunting task, kinda like Welles after Kane, if I may be so bold, but 'Nando is certainly up to the task with his follow-up, The Constant Gardner. While it's not fair to compare this work with his last, it is safe to say that since Gardner is so brills it's now a bit easier to say that he is one of the finest filmmakers working today, and wees all will always be eagerly awaiting whatever his next joints is be. While the subject matter may be a complete 180 (slum gangsters in Rio vs corrupt pharmaceutical companies working in Africa), Meirelles still comes through on what he does best: acting as our personal National Geographic photographer, taking us to the outta the way places that we'd rather donate money to than ever dare to visit, as we sit in the safe confines of our local megaplexes. And he's keen on the details too. For example, anyone can film a simple scene in a restaurant where two characters meet, but Meirelles goes the extra mile by fully painting the picture. While most directors may show the viewers the exterior of the restaurant, FM digs deeper, and explores the little nuances behind the scenes, like the chef in the kitchen preparing the meal, the waiter bringing the meal from the kitchen to the tables, and the other people sitting around them, before we even get to our two characters sitting down and chatting. While I've heavily stressed the virtues of the filmmaking itself, I don't want you to think there's nothing else to applaud, cause the rest of the parts that make um this scrumptious sum are purty much as perfect as perfect can get, from the casting (can't go wrong with Ralph Fiennes or Rachel Weisz), to the musical score (nothing with dumbed down English lyrics), to the intriguing and thrilling plotline with a point to share (from a John Le Carré novel), which I won't even bother blabbing about cause I knows yer gonna go see this, right? What if I told you that you'd get to see Weisz' bum as she comes out from a bath? Ooops, did I give too much plot away?

Recommended for those who like: Paul Simon's Graceland, the father who was in the name of, and names like Ndukwe 'ND' Kalu

Possible Porno Name: The Constant Gardner Hoeing His Hos

Unsatisfied with this? I don't knows how you would cause this is a serious Oscar contender alongside Crash, but why donts you Netflix something far inferior like The Interpreter

This Shiz Be The Chronic
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While Gardner will garner a lot of attention, Cronicas is mos certainly not to be overlooked cause it is also a film brewing wit eggsaladness from A to Zed. The only thing that will hold back peeps from seeing this is that it's not in English, and the fact that it's not playing in many theaters. Good thing then than the forces behind this production thought to cast John Leguizamo in his first full Spanish-speaking role (although he does throw a few English werds in from time to time) as Miami-based media whore reporter Manolo Bonilla in search of a child molester and killer in Ecuador. But since many will not be able to see this before DVD land, you'll surely miss the always versatile Leguizamo tossing in one his best and more serious work in years. Along for the ride are his trusted cameraman (Jose Maria Yazpik) and ethical, and most beautiful producer (played by the coma-hottiness of Talk To Her's Leonor Watling... more on her hotness in weeks to come on What starts out as a simple assignment, and a simple plot structure, for the trio keeps pushing them deeper and deeper towards the truth, and in turn we get a deeper and deeper understanding of the world of television journalism. The path I thought I was going down (a hunt for a serial killer on the loose), turns into something much more than a conventional 'whodunit' mystery. And it's results are so much more butter because of it. Need more elbowing in yer ribs to go? It was produced by Alfonso Cuarón (Y tu mamá también) and Guillermo del Toro (The Devil's Backbone). PASS THE CHOCO-TACOS!!!

Recommended for those who like: Geraldo Rivera, Final Cut Pro, and Telemundo

Possible Porno Name: Chupa Me Penga Tu Pero-cas

Unsatisfied with this? Netflix Network

Southern Comfort
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Junebug could easily pass as another 'fish out of water' comedy, but dares to be a bit different, and takes the more dramatic approach. It's kinda like Meet The Parents, cept the ladies are more in the forefront, and the people involved aren't a bunch o' walking stereotypes. In the Ben Stillerish role is Embeth Davidtz, who plays Madeleine, an art gallery head on her way to North Carolina to snatch up the next greatest artist (a great side bit about a racist, yet visionary painter with a few screws loose). While in the neighborhood, she and her husband George (Face/Off's Pollux Troy) decide to drop by and pay a visit on his rural family, whom she has never met. While it's most certainly a culture shock for everyone involved, no one acts in an overly-exaggerated way where you know everyone's going to love each other by the films end. Eager to please from the get go is George's chipper pseudo-sister-in-law Ashely (Amy Adams, in a career defining role) who takes immediate interest in Madeleine's urbaness and silver-spoon upbringing. When they first meet, Ashley refuses to let up in the question department. She's so giddy to ask question after question that she guesses the answers sometimes just so she can get to the next question, 'Did you have a lot of boyfriends? I betcha did!', gives her own answers to her own questions, and also is in such awe of some of Madeleine's answers, like when she tells her she was born in Japan, Ashley goes 'You were not!', in that Southern innocent tone associated with polite Confederates. But the movie isn't juss Ashley asking Madeleine questions galore, it's filled with insights into their relationships with their respective men (The OC's Ryan Atwood drops some great brooding with a mustache as Ashley's baby's daddy and George's brother) and how they all interact with George's feisty mom and dormant dad. There's isn't some huge point to hammer home like our first two movies, but the little sweet and tender moments are more than enough to keep us satisfied throughout.

Recommended for those who like: the Carolina Panthers, woodworking, and Civil War penis art

Possible Porno Name: Poonbug...ger

Unsatisfied with this? Netflix The Daytrippers

Elevator To The Gallows
The Birth of Cool
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They say that this film noir was the birth of French New Wave cinema. Depending on your take on FNW cinema this could be a good thing or it could make you want to slight yer eyes out. Just for yer reference, I don't care too much for FNW cinema. It's all a lil too pretentious and meandernessness and not enuff goodness for my chops, with some eggceptions of course (Band of Outsiders anyone?). But rest assured, whatever your position is, Gallows is a fine piece of work, top ta bottom. It's filled with all sorts of goodies and coolness that you'd eggspect from a highly acclaimed ye olde Frenchie film, like booty-ful B&W cinematography, hottie arsed French mademoiselles, a Mile Davis score, plenty of ciggy smoking, and in this case, a dude trapped in an elevator! OH SNAP! This is an elevator you'll want to ride to the top. Just make sure you hold the 'Door Open' button so others can join you.

Recommended for those who like: watching French chicks walk, German tourists, and Otis

Possible Porno Name: My Elevated Shaft In Your Swallows

Unsatisfied with this? Netflix Rififi

The Exorcism of Emily Rose
Don't You Mean The Court Case of Emily Rose?
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It's only been a week since I've seen this film, but what I remember isn't that memorable. That's not to say that this isn't worth seeing, but if I didn't write any of this down, this flick would surely pass through my memory banks like other decent, yet standard fare as Spy Game, First Knight, and Primary Colors. The marketing is misleading. The people looking for an Exorcist type scarefest are going to be a bit disappointed, unless of course courtroom dramas give you the willies. And that's what we gots here: a based on a true story account of a priest who performed a botched exorcism is being tried for the death of the exorcisee (is that a word?). While the fright level is set to a minimum (all thru flashbacks), and were basically left with a play by play court battle for the priest's life, the movie does try to raise questions about exorcisms and what are we to believe based on our faiths. I'm sorry, where were we? I completely forgot what movie we were talking about...

Recommended for those who like: Campbell Scott avec mustache, knowing that Campbell Scott is George C Scott's son, and KLF's '3AM Eternal' [d-lode]

Possible Porno Name: The Extra Jizzum of Emily Rosey Palms and The Five Fingers

Unsatisfied with this? Netflix Primal Fear

Underscore 1, My Prejudices 0
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I am a prejudice moviegover. There, I said it. But who isn't? Who can go into a movie with no objectivity and let the pictures roll by. I'm no Will Smith fan, so I stayed away from Hitch. Now whether matchmaker met his match is any good or not, I'll never know, but I don't care cause I like to relish in my pre-judging. Enter Cry_Wolf, which looked about as poo-poo as any of the crap-crap coming out of Horrorland USA this past year (Boogeyman, Hide and Seek, The Amityville Horror). Plus it had the audacity to place and underscore in it's title. That's more of a turn off than reading the title Fear Dot Com. BUT ALAS FOLKS, this is more of a woo-whoo and clap-clap horror flick than those mentioned before, and that's kinda saying something for a nay saying something person like meself. Aiiiight, the days of such hotness as the Shining or Rosemary's Baby are mos def dead and done, but this flizz kinda harkens back to the days, and by days I mean the mid to late 90s, when horror movies were actually entertaining us again and not making us wanna run to the next Brandon Fraser romantic comedy. Yeah, the acting is kinda crummy (including you Jon Bon Jovi!), and sure, there aint no nudity or large amount of gore, and fine, there really isn't any reason why I should be championing it so much, but how can you go wrong with a private school setting where all the girls wear skirts and long stockings??? Some say shit on a stick, I say m'YUM. Did I also mention that I LOVED The Island?!!?

Recommended for those who like: AOL IM, EEO casting, and Bill Lumbergh with a British accent

Possible Porno Name: Who's_Afraid_of_Dry_Vagina_Wolf?

Unsatisfied with this? Netflix any Kevin Williamson scripted flick before 2000