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Reviews for March 21st, 2014


Directed by Joycelyn Engle and Arno Malarone


*****Full review coming soon*****

Number of times I checked my watch: 5
Released by Supernova Media, Inc.
Opens at Quad Cinema.


Directed by Josh C. Waller

      David Morse stars as Eugene “Mack” McCanick, a Philadelphia police detective who tries to hunt down Simon Weeks (Cory Monteith), a criminal recently released from prison. The Chief of Police (Ciaran Hinds) refuses to give him permission to persue Weeks, though, but McCanick ignores his order and joins his parter (Mike Vogel) in search of him. Why McCanick wants to find Weeks is slowly revealed via flashbacks as more and more details (and some dark secrets) emerge from McCanick's past.

      McCanick is essentially a ho-hum B-movie with an A-list cast. David Morse and the under-used Ciaran Hinds, both immensely talented actors who add gravitas, deserve much better material. They're overqualified for such an unimaginative and banal screenplay. The primary sensation you'll feel while watching this film in monotony and tedium. None of the flashbacks work particularly well---they're used excessively and become a rather lazy device. Besides the solid performances, McCanick offers nothing else to hold your interest.

Number of times I checked my watch: 3
Released by Well Go USA.
Opens at Village East Cinema.

Muppets Most Wanted

Directed by James Bobin


*****Full review coming soon*****

Number of times I checked my watch: 2
Released by Walt Disney Pictures.
Opens nationwide.

Nymphomaniac: Volume I

Directed by Lars Von Trier

      Seligman (Stellan Skarsgård) finds Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) laying bruised and battered in a dark alley, and decides to carry her up to his apartment to tend to her wounds. She tells him that she's a bad person and explains why through a series of recollections from her past sexual adventures. As a teenager, Joe (now played by Stacy Martin) and her friend B (Sophie Kennedy Clark) compete with each other to see who can have sex with the most number of strangers on a train----the winner gets a bag of candy. Who took Joe's virginity? None other than Jerôme (Shia LaBeouf), a mechanic who she ends up meeting again 10 or so years later when she applies for a job. He just so happens to be in charge of hiring, and soon she seduces him all over again while she works for him. She has random sex with other guys throughout the years--even an orderly at the hospital that her dying father (Christian Slater). Who caused Joe's current physically injuries and why? Those answers aren't revealed in Volume 1; you'll have to wait until the next volume to find out about that?

      Leave it to writer/director Lars Von Trier to weave a story about a nymphomaniac with references to the Fibonacci sequence, finger-nail cutting, classical music, fly-fishing and other tangents that somehow relate back to Joe's nymphomania. Nymphomaniac does have its fair share of graphic sex scenes and, although Joe does discuss her sex life, the film isn't fundamentally about sex; it's about loneliness, emptiness, and the need to feel alive/human. Sex is merely a way that Joe feels alive and less empty inside. Von Trier goes back and forth between the scenes with Seligman and the flashbacks to Joe's sexual adventures. Both the present and past scenes compliment each other quite well---a less talented director would make the transitions between the two awkward, distracting and clunky. Seligman's observations about Joe are quite provocative and surprisingly funny at times although they might seem crazy and random at first, but expect to have few epiphanies once you let some of the observations sink in.

      Sigmund Freud would probably love this film tremendously, and the same could be said for anyone who's open-minded and intellectual. Like in his past films, Antichrist, Von Trier trusts the audience's intelligence and doesn't dumb anything down. He's the kind of director that boldly and unflinchingly goes where very few film directors choose to go: into the state of human nature that's primal. Sure, it's dark territory, but it's balanced with a healthy dosage of levity and wit so you're not left with a bad aftertaste. By the time the end credits of Volume 1 roll, you'll be hungry for Nymphomaniac: Volume 2.

Number of times I checked my watch: 1
Released by Magnolia Pictures.
Opens at Landmark Sunshine Cinema and Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center.
Questions? Comments? Please click here.

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