Ashlie Atkinson

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Compliance Review


Excellent

If a movie's success is measured by its ability to get under our skin and provoke a reaction, then this might be the film of the year. Designed to make us furious, this drama pushes us to the brink as we shout at the characters for being so naive. But the events depicted are based on actual experiences, and the more we think about this, the more unnerving it becomes. It might be impossible to believe that anyone could be this stupid, but can we really be sure we'd make better decisions?

Award-winning actress Ann Dowd (who also played Channing Tatum's mum in Side Effects) stars as Sandra, manager of a ChickWich fast-food outlet in Ohio. She has the usual issues with her young employees, who think she's out of touch, but is happy because she expects her boyfriend Van (Camp) to propose tonight. Then she gets a phone call from Officer Daniels (Healy) telling her that her young employee Becky (Walker) has stolen cash from a customer. He asks Sandra to detain Becky in the office and search her belongings. Sandra makes sure the assistant manager (Atkinson) is present, but she becomes more hesitant about Daniels' more extreme demands. And over the next few hours, he pushes things much further, getting Becky's young colleague Kevin (Ettinger) involved, as well as Van.

Writer-director Zobel structures the film perfectly to strike a nerve. As outsiders we are naturally more suspicious, wondering how Sandra knows that the man on the phone is actually a cop, especially when be begins to bully her with threats. She just wants to do the right thing, and questions all of Daniels' requests, but for us looking in we can't help but think that what he's saying is so preposterous that she needs to just put a stop to it. Cleverly, each character has a very distinct reaction when they get on the phone with Daniels. But as the situation escalates into something unthinkable, we can't understand why no one becomes a voice of reason.

Continue reading: Compliance Review

Bearcity Review


Good
Combining warm humour with raucous antics, this lively comedy keeps us laughing all the way through. And while the story might be a bit tidy in the end, it's also thoroughly engaging.

Aspiring 21-year-old New York actor Simon (Conti) is afraid to admit to his twinky gay flatmates (Di Dio and White) that he prefers older hairy men. Then one night in a bar, he runs into Fred (Keane), a cameraman he met at an audition. He properly introduces Tyler to the bear scene, including Fred's "husbear" Brent (Guarino) and their friend Michael (Gunter), whose obsession with weight-loss is annoying his partner Carlos (Martinez). But the guy who catches Tyler's eye is Roger (McCullouch), a fiercely single silver fox whose sex parties are legendary.

Continue reading: Bearcity Review

Picture - Ashlie Atkinson New York City, USA, Thursday 11th October 2007

Ashlie Atkinson Thursday 11th October 2007 Opening night post performance photocall for the Broadway revival of 'The Ritz' held at Studio 54 New York City, USA

Ashlie Atkinson

Another Gay Movie Review


Terrible
If one must find something nice to say about Todd Stephens' Another Gay Movie, then it could be that at the very least this is a film that shows gay teens not suffering through identity crises or worrying about coming out but constantly angling for and talking about sex with the same concentration and lack of shame that hetero teens are always depicted. It's a step in the right direction and a sign that, very slowly, films are finally losing the stigma against showing gay characters who are this at peace with who they are. Of course, the film itself is a shockingly incompetent piece of crap, but at least it got one thing right.

After the banal disaster that was his Gypsy 83 - a road movie whose low point where Stevie Nicks-obsessive Sara Rue falls in love with an Amish guy at a rest stop - it's truly mystifying as to how Stephens was able to pull another movie together. And yet, here it is. Since audiences have already suffered through not just one but two grim sequels to American Pie (not to mention the straight-to-video Band Camp), Stephens must have thought there was room for one more; albeit unofficial, and gay.

Continue reading: Another Gay Movie Review

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