“You are probably going to be a very successful computer person. But you're going to go through life thinking that girls don't like you because you're a nerd. And I want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, that that won't be true. It'll be because you're an asshole.” - The Social Network
#442 | May 22, 2012
RETRO ACTIVE: It's Alive (1974)
In honor of the star-studded babies-'a-poppin' rom-com What to Expect When You're Expecting, Nick Schager looks back at this retro gem. "Never has a movie made having children seem less appealing than It's Alive, Larry Cohen's terrifying examination of personal and parental anxieties. Cohen's genre gem is unquestionably a horror film, but its mutant-monster terror is its least scary element, not to mention the one Cohen cares least about, a fact made plain from a prolonged introduction sequence in which Lenore (Sharon Farrell) awakens in the middle of the night to inform husband Frank (John Ryan) that the baby is ready to go. Read more >>
In This Dispatch:
  • What's New: The Woman in Black, Mutant Girls Squad, The Secret World of Arrietty, and more.  
  • What We're Watching: ¡Alambrista!, Perfect Sense.
  • Explore: Film of the Week: Elena.   
Daniel Radcliffe steps out of the wizard's cloak and into the shoes of a mild-mannered, grief-stricken widowed lawyer dispatched to an isolated English town to settle the estate of a deceased recluse. An old-fashioned ghost story by the recently revived Hammer label and directed by James Watkins (Eden Lake), "It is a work that transcends the genre whilst not skimping on any of the skin-crawling thrills that the premise promises to deliver," writes Screen-Space's Simon Foster, also noting that Radcliff "makes for a compelling, sympathetic presence in a film that asks him to project sadness, maturity, desperation and longing."
You know the drill by now. Foxy Japanese women with all manner of weaponry dule it out in the craziest, goriest ways that these three directors, famous within this genre (Iguchi Noboru of Machine Girl, Nishimura Yoshihiro of Tokyo Gore Police and Sakaguchi Tak of Yakuza Weapon) can imagine. This version features, among other curiosities, "breast swords, fire spitting wounds...and of course, an ass chainsaw," reports Beyond Hollywood's James Mudge. “Mutant Girls Squad really is a simple recommendation – for fans of the form, it’s an absolute must see, and is definitely one of the best, not to mention the wildest, Japanese splatter-fests of the last few years."
Studio Ghibli adapts the beloved children's book by Mary Norton, The Borrowers, for its latest effort, featuring voice work by Amy Poehler, Carol Burnett, Will Arnett, and others and its signature impressionistic, watercolored style. Carrie Rickey notes, "As lovingly written as it is beautifully rendered, this delicate but suspenseful film observes the budding relationship between the frail human boy and the vital miniature girl about the size of a thumb drive... the film is immersive and allusive in the way of fairy tales." Also on Blu-Ray
What We're Watching

Robert M. Young’s ¡Alambrista! was released in America as The Illegal but an actual translation of the Spanish title is Tightrope Walker!, a much more evocative description of the film’s central drama. In this case, the “tightrope” is the US-Mexican border and the “walker” is young Roberto (Domingo Ambriz). The film opens with Roberto working the soil on a failing farm in Mexico. A few scenes later, after celebrating the birth of his first daughter, Roberto turns to his wife and calmly intones: “I’m thinking of crossing the border and going north. We can’t make ends meet." Read more >>

Perfect Sense
Scottish director David Mackenzie's first feature to see American release was 2003's love triangle/murder drama Young Adam; unfortunately, critical attention dilated not on his strong visual sense but Ewan McGregor's penis. Silly but true: Sony Pictures Classics was about to cut his member out of the film for the sake of an R rating when the actor mocked them, leading to an NC-17 release. The takeaway image wasn't genitalia but one of the first shots, a swan's dirty belly shot from underneath the water’s surface, an arresting/original widescreen composition far more important than debates about sexual graphicness. Read more >>
More like this  Children of Men Blindness

Elena is didactic filmmaking and in interviews, director Andrei Zvyagintsev hasn't been shy in explicitly stating his fundamental criticism of the contemporary Russian underclass. "This is how they will behave," he noted in an interview conducted at the film's Cannes premiere. "At one point we considered calling the film The Invasion of the Barbarians." Vadim Rizov reviews this dark Soviet-block film now playing at Film Forum.  more >>

Giddy for Ghibli


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