Mark Damon

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The Pretty Reckless performing at the O2 Academy Glasgow

The Pretty Reckless, Taylor Momsen, Ben Phillips, Mark Damon and Jamie Perkins - The Pretty Reckless performing at the O2 Academy Glasgow at O2 Academy - Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom - Thursday 20th November 2014

The Pretty Reckless and Taylor Momsen
The Pretty Reckless, Taylor Momsen, Ben Phillips, Mark Damon and Jamie Perkins
The Pretty Reckless, Taylor Momsen, Ben Phillips, Mark Damon and Jamie Perkins
The Pretty Reckless, Taylor Momsen, Ben Phillips, Mark Damon and Jamie Perkins
The Pretty Reckless and Taylor Momsen

Captivity Review


Grim
Strapped to a rusty medical chair, Elisha Cuthbert's performance in Roland Joffe's Captivity doesn't work as either performance piece or dramatic bling. Cuthbert gets the Versace knocked out of her while being mentally tortured like Eli Roth's 115th dream, and that's not even the stuff that will bring the cringes out. Amongst the visual ipecac, there's an acid bath featuring a young model, a shake made of eyeballs and intestines, and a blown-apart puppy that is just slightly reminiscent of the mongrel that Paris Hilton stuffs in her purse.

Captivity has no special place in the newfound lineage of post-modern torture flicks: It still hates women (although the heroine factor is anted-up) and the methods of dispatch are still rather lacking in passion (although they're a bit more innovative here). Usually, a film like this would pass under the radar, pick up a few bucks, and eventually spawn a straight-to-DVD sequel starring run-offs from Laguna Beach. This squeamish squirm has a few differences in its DNA, however.

Continue reading: Captivity Review

Monster (2003) Review


OK
Thank God that Monster, the fictionalized story of serial killer Aileen Wuornos, wasn't made back in the 1990s, when filmmakers just couldn't fetishize mass murder enough. Wuornos's story would have been "loosely adapted" so that they could have cast someone attractive in the role, there would have been a slick grunge soundtrack and plenty of hipster humor amidst the bloodletting. That's not to say that movies haven't stopped their love affair with the serial killer, but Monster shows that it is possible to make a gripping, yet still dispassionate and non-exploitative film on the subject.

Wuornos is famous not just for the fact that she killed seven men in Florida in 1989 and 1990, but for being pretty much the only female serial killer of note in recent American history. A troubled girl who had been on her own since she was 13 and had survived by prostitution, Wuornos claimed, up until her execution in 2002, that she had acted in self-defense each time. Writer/director Patty Jenkins's script manages to show how self-serving and untrue this story ultimately became while at the same time acknowledging how Wuornos's past and profession led to her killing spree. There's a wonderful moment in a dingy biker bar where a self-pitying Wuornos is consoled by her friend Thomas (Bruce Dern), a Vietnam veteran; they take turns volleying variations on "What choice did I have?" back and forth in an attempt to escape culpability for any of their actions.

Continue reading: Monster (2003) Review

The Upside of Anger Review


Excellent
There's an upside to Mike Binder's intelligent film about the torrent of anger one woman feels toward life. And depending on who you ask, you're likely to get a different response on exactly what that upside is. Easily characterized as a "chick-flick," The Upside of Anger deals mostly in the complicated world of relationships. My wife found it powerful and enlightening; I found it tedious and long. She yearned for more Joan Allen; I prayed for more Kevin Costner. And yet, despite our differences, the one thing we could agree on is that Anger packs an undeniably genuine, emotional punch.

In yet another robust female role, Allen plays Terry Wolfmeyer, a mother of four grown daughters who is consumed with anger after her husband mysteriously abandons his family. Terry's convinced that he's left her for his younger, more beautiful Swedish secretary. Paralyzed by her outrage, the only way Terry is able to deal with the situation is by drinking. Each day, from the time she takes her morning shower to the time goes to bed, Terry has a glass of vodka in her hand ready to drown her sorrows.

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House of Usher Review


OK
Good old haunted-house horror from frequent collaborators Roger Corman and Vincent Price. Mark Damon's hapless visitor to the titular house finds a brother (Price) and sister (Myrna Fahey) in failing health, all while the house seems to crumble around them. It's hot gruel all around as Damon tries to nurse the girl -- his wannabe bride -- back to health, but the cursed house will have none of it. Filled with ineffective fright gags (shock cut to... an empty bed!), the Poe-inspired source material occasionally rises above the Corman-fueled production.

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Litlle Mother Review


Terrible
"Inspired by Evita!" it says on the poster. I'll say. Little Mother is an Evita clone all the way down to the costumes -- just with a few orgies thrown in here and there -- and it's just as awful.

The "Little Mother" is Christiane Kr├╝ger's Marina Pinares, a mournful woman looking back on her life after becoming the wife of a South American dictator and -- egomaniacally -- hoping to be deified by the Pope. The film comprises mostly those recollections, as Marina remembers her early life as a hooker and a maneater, clawing her way through orgies and torture chambers all the way to the top.

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Love & Sex Review


OK
The good news: Movie is called Love & Sex.

The bad news: Director of Love & Sex is a woman.

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The I Inside Review


Grim
A hipster-wannabe ripoff of Jacob's Ladder with a terrible title, this senseless thriller has little going for it beyond the beautiful people that inhabit its hospital corridors. Not even Sarah Polley and Piper Perabo (reinventing herself as a femme fatale) can make this story of an amnesiac car-crash victim (Ryan Phillippe) worth sitting through. Of special note: The movie is based on a play with a much different title, one that actually gives away the surprise ending.

Monster Review


OK
Thank God that Monster, the fictionalized story of serial killer Aileen Wuornos, wasn't made back in the 1990s, when filmmakers just couldn't fetishize mass murder enough. Wuornos's story would have been "loosely adapted" so that they could have cast someone attractive in the role, there would have been a slick grunge soundtrack and plenty of hipster humor amidst the bloodletting. That's not to say that movies haven't stopped their love affair with the serial killer, but Monster shows that it is possible to make a gripping, yet still dispassionate and non-exploitative film on the subject.

Wuornos is famous not just for the fact that she killed seven men in Florida in 1989 and 1990, but for being pretty much the only female serial killer of note in recent American history. A troubled girl who had been on her own since she was 13 and had survived by prostitution, Wuornos claimed, up until her execution in 2002, that she had acted in self-defense each time. Writer/director Patty Jenkins's script manages to show how self-serving and untrue this story ultimately became while at the same time acknowledging how Wuornos's past and profession led to her killing spree. There's a wonderful moment in a dingy biker bar where a self-pitying Wuornos is consoled by her friend Thomas (Bruce Dern), a Vietnam veteran; they take turns volleying variations on "What choice did I have?" back and forth in an attempt to escape culpability for any of their actions.

Continue reading: Monster Review

Mark Damon

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