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"The Road Within" Leads Past Some Dark Places
25 August 2015 9:38 PM, PDT
Road trip movies seem to always involve eccentric, unusual characters that would probably drive you crazy if you actually had to spend hours confined inside a tiny vehicle with them; however, in the context of a 90-minute film, these people often come across less annoying and more like charming, manic pixie dream boys and girls. The Road Within, a remake of the 2010 German film Vincent Wants to Sea, takes those tropes a few steps further; its vehicle is filled with dysfunctional characters who aren’t just quirky, but plagued with mental and neurological disorders. (You know, people dealing with actual problems, as opposed to just poetic musings.) Yet despite casting three talented young actors who throw themselves heart and soul into their characters and deliver performances so raw that they’re practically bloody, writer-director Gren Wells’ dark comedy-drama rarely ever veers out of already well-tread territory.
- Lee Jutton
A Lot Was Left Behind In "Vietnam"
25 August 2015 9:37 PM, PDT
A 2015 Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary Feature, Last Days in Vietnam chronicles the turbulent final moments of the Vietnam War as the North Vietnamese Army rolled towards Saigon in spring of 1975. At that time, the United States had essentially withdrawn from the country, leaving behind only a few diplomats and the bare minimum of a military presence. These remaining Americans knew that any South Vietnamese who were known to have worked with them--including their tailors, launderers and cooks--were in grave danger from the impending invasion. In addition, many of them had wives, mistresses and children who were Vietnamese; they did not want to leave their families behind in any potential evacuation. Torn between their duties as soldiers and doing what was right, a small group decided to do whatever possible to get as many South Vietnamese out of the country before it was too late.
- Lee Jutton
Some Things Are Better Left Between "Lovers"
25 August 2015 9:22 PM, PDT
Your path is already chosen.
After spending the 1970's in television, Roland Joffé burst onto the scene with back-to-back critical hits with The Killing Fields (1984) (winning three Oscars from seven nominations) and The Mission (1986) (winning one Oscar from seven nominations)--a sophomore slump anyone might be proud of. Both films set in exotic locals during a periods of socio-political upheaval and both are marvelous. Then things go quiet, critically speaking, with incredible speed. Last I caught up with Joffé was There Be Dragons (2011) set during the Spanish Civil War--seemingly tailor-made for triumph--but failing to provide much of an impression of that little-covered topic because of his dedication to a oft-formulated love story. His latest outing is The Lovers (2015), which IMDb incredibly claims was released theatrically, about an exotic location during a period of socio-political upheaval that is, as the title may suggest, overshadowed by a oft-formulated love story.
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- Jason Ratigan
"Ancient Aliens": Yup, Season 7. You Read That Right.
25 August 2015 8:25 PM, PDT
Ancient astronaut theorists believe...
What damned nonsense is this? One presumes that the lunatics or opportunist hacks who frequent Ancient Aliens (2009-) have so little regard for themselves that their fees are comfortably in budget, allowing for another season to come out on blu ray. One such "expert" was described in subtitle as an Am radio host. I don't know where my anger comes from, possibly outer space--i'm sure we could find an ancient astronaut theorist to confirm it--but it is real. I can't get Roman Holiday (1953) or Gallipoli (1981) on blu ray, but I can get the last three seasons of Ancient Aliens in any assortment of high definition collections. What might you be invited to enjoy in this luckiest of seasons? Could I entice you with a false dichotomy? How about a hasty conclusion? One ancient astronaut theorist talks about Superman with equally un-subjunctive language and demeanor.
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- Jason Ratigan