Sean Costello

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Stephanie Daley Review


Good
As film subjects go, newborn death and its connections to the abortion debate are about as easy to approach as a pit of bible-carrying vipers. Though its plot comes straight from the Lifetime channel production line, the truth of the situation presented becomes more fleshed out and personal but nevertheless controversial to anyone who has followed similar stories on the nightly news. As one would guess, it's with careful steps that filmmaker Hilary Brougher takes on this subject in her sophomore effort Stephanie Daley.

Stephanie (Amber Tamblyn) was a good ol' religious girl before the whole rigmarole, spending Sunday morning at church looking after little kids while her parents (Jim Gaffigan and Melissa Leo) make small talk with the priest and other parishners. Being a sweet girl, her heart can't help but go out to the soldier-to-be who she meets at a friend's party. Sure enough, their quickie tryst ends with a bun in the oven and the boy nowhere to be found. Ultimately, Stephanie ends up giving birth on a school ski trip in a public toilet. The premature baby dies, leaving the world stunned and with nothing but questions galore.

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How's Your News? Review


Extraordinary
I know what you must be thinking. A film about a group of mentally disabled people on a trip across America would seem to be an odd choice for a documentary. One might be further skeptical to use those individuals to interview total strangers on the street. There's a fine line between mockery and sincerity, after all.

The success of How's Your News? lies in its cunning ability to present various slices of America through the simplistic viewpoints of five mentally disabled individuals interviewing common folks on the streets of New York, Nashville, and Las Vegas. With producers Trey Parker and Matt Stone (of South Park fame) and independent film producer John Pierson's financial backing, the movie's director Arthur Bradford takes the special summer campers at Camp Jabberwocky, loaded them up in a run-down RV with tons of camera equipment, and hit the road as a roving team of news reporters. The result is an often hilarious and engaging road-trip.

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