Joseph Cross and Sarah Roemer - Joseph Cross, Sarah Roemer Washington DC, USA - Celebrities attend a press conference to educate Americans about the epidemic related to all forms of brain disease, held at the Rayburn House Office Building Thursday 22nd May 2008
And awful it is. In a desperate bid to glom on to the Internet's evergreen supposed hipness, the script (a lifeless accumulation of the expected by a trio of writers who really should know better) puts us inside an FBI cyber-crime unit where flint-eyed but tender-hearted agent Jennifer Marsh (Diane Lane) tracks down the worst of the online worst. Stirring from her bank of computer monitors only to get coffee or crack wise with fellow agent Griffin Dowd (Colin Hanks), Marsh is your prototypical wounded female cop with a young daughter and fretful mother at home, and a dead husband in her memory. (If her character had been male they'd have given her a bad temper and a drinking problem, but at least the sarcastic partner bit is gender neutral.) She gets put on the kind of case that (literally) only exists in the movies. Some psycho sets up a website called "Kill With Me" whose hook is that the more people view it, the quicker the subject on camera dies by some fiendish means. The first time out, it's a kitten; after that a person, and then another, and then another...
Continue reading: Untraceable Review
The film opens in 1972, showing a young Augusten as an audience of one for his mother Deirdre's in-home poetry reading, microphone and all. The bilious, self-aggrandizing manner with which Deirdre (Annette Bening) gives her reading tells you pretty much all you need to know about the opinion she holds as to her place in the world and any who may disagree. Any remaining questions about her fitfulness as a mother are answered when the film jumps to its primary setting in the late '70s, where Deirdre has become a whirling dervish of arrogant fury and spite. Her obsessive belief that she is an important poet being kept from her rightful place at the center of the literary firmament drives away first Augusten's father (Alec Baldwin, lightly soused) and then Augusten, whom she decides would be better off living with her exceedingly unorthodox psychiatrist, Dr. Finch (Brian Cox). A devout and at least partially mad Freudian of the most unrecondite sort, Finch keeps a special room next to his doctor's office which he calls The Masturbatorium and divines the future from the shape of his bowel movements. Seemingly he's not much of a father figure.
Continue reading: Running With Scissors Review
Amy Sedaris' Comedy Central series Strangers with Candy was an absurdist deconstruction of after school special conventions, following the wacky travails of 46-year-old ex-junkie, ex-con, ex-prostitute Jerri Blank (Sedaris) as she reentered high school as a freshman student. A potent cocktail of vulgarity, farcicality, and switchblade-sharp wordplay, the show was a mild cult hit for the then-fledging cable channel (as well as its first original live-action program), running for three brief seasons and eventually launching the career of Stephen Colbert (The Colbert Report). Unceremoniously cancelled in 2000 just as it was hitting its ludicrous stride, Strangers with Candy seemed destined to become another footnote in television history, consigned to the same overlooked fate as Chris Elliot's Get a Life and Fox's recently canned Arrested Development. Until, that is, Sedaris and co-creators Colbert and Paul Dinello somehow convinced David Letterman's Worldwide Pants Inc. to produce a feature-length version of the disregarded pseudo-sitcom, which now arrives in theaters like a giant middle finger to every inspirational Hollywood melodrama that tries to argue that people can transform themselves for the better, hard work is rewarded, and heroin is bad.
Unfortunately, however, the cinematic Strangers with Candy - directed by Dinello, who also reprises his role as idiotic, effeminate art teacher Geoffrey Jellineck - only maintains its antagonistic inappropriateness long enough to fill out its first 45 minutes; after that, the tank runs pretty dry and the proceedings become akin to a mediocre TV episode in which plot, rather than scatological silliness, is the main focus. Its story is a prequel of sorts to the Comedy Central series. The film kicks off with a credit montage of Jerri's hilarious exploits in prison (murdering a fellow inmate, enjoying a shower with a naked female) before following her home, where she discovers her dad (Dan Hedaya) is in a coma, mom is dead and replaced by hateful stepmonster Sara (Deborah Rush), and she now has a loathsome jock half-brother named Derrick (Joseph Cross). When the family physician (played by Ian Holm!) suggests that Jerri might cure her father by trying to undo the past thirty-two years-worth of depraved behavior, she decides to enroll at Flatpoint High, where she finds herself both tussling with barely-in-the-closet science teacher Chuck Noblet (Colbert) and blissfully moronic principal Blackman (Gregory Holliman), and hanging out with friends Megawatti Sukharnabhoutri (Carlo Alban) and Iris Puffybush (Dolores Duffy).
Continue reading: Strangers With Candy Review
In The Spring (tagline: "Live spelled backwards is evil.") Kyle MacLachlan stars as a hapless widower who, through an incredible series of unfortunate coincidences, ends up stranded in a town that just so happens to harbor a fountain of youth. Only all the residents agree to never leave the town and commit suicide on their 100th birthdays. The point of the youth serum is thus rendered irrelevant -- why live forever if it's not forever and it's in the podunkest town in the country?
Continue reading: The Spring Review