Zelda Rubinstein Heads into the Light at 76

28 Jan

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Sad news today folks.

Actress Zelda Rubinstein, best known for her role as the clairvoyant Tangina in 1982’s Poltergeist, has passed on at the age of 76. She had been hospitalized in Los Angeles since December after experiencing the failure of 2 major organs. She died yesterday of natural causes at the Barlow Respitory Hospital in Los Angeles.

My thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends. Continue reading

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Bartleby Abroad: Giant Pig takes a ‘Chaw’ out of Korea

26 Jan

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Chaw (NR) Running Time: 121 min. Directed by: Jeong-Won Shin Starring: Tae-Woong Eom, Yoon Jae-Moon, Yu-mi Jeong, Earl Wayne Ording  Cinematography: Barry Stone

3 marias

Before launching into Jeong-Won Shin’s B-movie bonanza Chaw, I believe a word of caution is in order. For those expecting a schlocky horror film like Razorback or possibly a suspenseful creature feature  like The Host, temper your expectations now. And for anyone who only observes star ratings, you might want to really read the review before deciding on this one.

Because, on the level, Chaw is an amazingly buffoonish piece of work. Continue reading

Monday Brew: Supernatural gets a sixth, Buried is exhumed by Lionsgate, Gremlins coming in 3D?

25 Jan

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Monday 25th, 2009–

Sam and Dean to keep fighting the good fight in Season 6 of Supernatural

 

In a bit of news that I suspect will make many Supernatural fans happy, it has been reported by a source over at Cinema Spy that CW is planning on renewing the horror-based series that has been one of the networks tent-pole shows in recent years. Despite show creator Eric Kripke stating that he always envisioned the series as lasting five definitive seasons, it appears now that Sam and Dean will continue their battle against evil for at least one more year. As a recently converted fan of the show (my wife and I just finished the fourth season and are anxious to catch up with the fifth), my main question is where will it go from here? Continue reading

Bartleby’s Best Films of 2009

24 Jan

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Yes sir, I know I’m quite late with this, but this past month has been loaded down with surprises—both good and bad—that have drawn my attention away from the blog. Hopefully, this will be the last bit of procrastination the site sees for awhile. The plan is to get back into a daily posting framework, and if that’s successful, move to a legitimate website sometime in February. Until then, here’s my belated list of  2009’s best films.

I’ve heard many complain that this past year was a weak one cinematically speaking, and in a late scrabble to identify the potential ‘award winners’ for Oscar season many are coming up short with candidates. Well, bah! to that I say. Regarding the medium of film as a whole, I see 2009 as nothing less than a fantastic success.

Continue reading

Now Playing: Denzel is God’s samurai in ‘The Book of Eli’

15 Jan

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The Book of Eli (R) 118 min. Directed by: Albert & Allen Hughes Written by: Gary Whitta Starring: Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, Michael Gambon, Jennifer Beals, Ray Stevenson Cinematography: Don Burgess Original Score: Atticus Ross

3.5 marias

The apocalypse has never looked better or felt sharper than it does in The Book of Eli, the newest end-of-the-world thriller from the previously MIA Hughes Brothers.

Bearing the brunt of the movie’s gritty but hopeful through line comes Denzel Washington, striding through the ashy, barren wastelands of an America gone to permanent ruin. He’s carrying with him what he believes is the hope of humanity. Unfortunately, the opportunistic despot, Carnegie (played by a deviously bloated Gary Oldman) also desires it, and the rest of the picture develops into the modern American equivalent of a samurai movie. You can cite the western if you want, but Eli’s poise, resolve and code of combat suggest the bushido of a wandering ronin. Throw in brutal but fluid action sequences, an interesting and thought provoking spiritual subtext, and you have the best post-apocalyptic thrill ride since The Road WarriorContinue reading

Now Playing: Jackson Rattles ‘The Lovely Bones’

15 Jan

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The Lovely Bones (PG-13) 120 min. Directed by: Peter Jackson Written by: Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Stanley Tucci, Susan Sarandon Cinematography: Andrew Lesnie Original Score: Brian Eno

2 marias

 

Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones is a decidedly creepy and insubstantial adaptation of Alice Sebold’s best-selling novel. Recounting the after-life of young Susie Salmon, a 14-yr old Pennsylvania girl who is raped and murdered by a neighbor, Bones is being sold as a kind of bittersweet fantasy with an eye on family tragedy. Beautifully photographed, with a haunting wistful score by Brian Eno, Jackson and company bring all of their technical expertise to bear on the film and attend to its tricky narrative taboos with a  delicate hand. The acting is mostly very good, with the centerpiece being a thoughtful and sweet performance by Saoirse Ronan, who seems to have a bright cinematic future ahead of her. And yet, for all of this, The Lovely Bones falls flat on its face. Hard. Continue reading

Movie Review: ’44 Inch Chest’ is full of British treasures

15 Jan

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44 Inch Chest (R) 112 min. Directed by: Malcolm Venville Written by: Louis Mellis & David Scinto Starring: Ray Winstone, Ian McShane, John Hurt, Tom Wilkinson, Stephen Dillane, Joanne Whalley Cinematography: Dan Landin Original Score: Angelo Badalamenti

3.5 marias

There are six men in the room. It’s one of those run-down, grimy hotel jobs where the walls haven’t seen a paint roller in centuries, and the furnishings suggests it’s mostly used for taking care of unsavory business best not exposed to the light. Now imagine for a moment, you are the sixth man in the room…who happens to be tied to a chair with a bag over your head, listening to the other five decide your fate. Continue reading