CVIndependent

Wed12132017

Last updateWed, 27 Sep 2017 1pm

DVDs/Home Viewing

13 Dec 2017
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With the release of the Golden Globe nominations comes the yearly opportunity to talk about the stupid, shitty snubs that make the Globes a joke. High atop this year’s WTF? list would be the snubbing of one Jake Gyllenhaal for some of his career-best work in Stronger, the story Jeff Bauman. Bauman lost his legs to the asshats who set off bombs at the Boston Marathon—and he managed to get a glimpse of one of the attackers before the explosion. At the time of the marathon, Bauman was sort-of on hiatus from on-again, off-again girlfriend Erin Hurley (Tatiana Maslany). In an effort to win her back, he promised to show up at the finish line to cheer her on as she completed her great personal journey. What should’ve been a triumphant moment wound up being a terrible tragedy. Directed by David Gordon Green, the film is a story of strength…
06 Dec 2017
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There are actors who are difficult to work with … and then there is Jim Carrey. Carrey took difficulty to otherworldly levels behind the scenes of 1999’s Man on the Moon, the Milos Forman-directed biopic of Andy Kaufman. Carrey, who played Kaufman, decide to go method, and insisted upon remaining in character as Kaufman every second he was on set, or even near the set. The documentary Jim and Andy: The Great Beyond, directed by Chris Smith, features an extensive interview with Carrey, along with long-hidden footage of Carrey’s antics during the production. One of the highlights takes place when Carrey, as Kaufman, spits on wrestler Jerry Lawler. Lawler had a legendary (but staged) feud with Kaufman back in the day, and Carrey tried to build upon that. Carrey also got his ass kicked, which you will see in this movie (along with the aftermath, during which Carrey momentarily insisted…
28 Nov 2017
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Director and co-screenwriter Dee Rees paints a bleak picture of post-World War II Mississippi in Mudbound, a performance powerhouse that showcases the talents of Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Clarke and, most notably, Jason Mitchell (Straight Outta Compton). After the war, a traumatized Jamie McAllan (Hedlund) returns home to stay on a farm with his brother, Henry (Clarke), and Henry’s wife, Laura (Mulligan). Ronsel Jackson (Mitchell) also returns to the farm, but while both men were regarded as heroes overseas, their return is fraught with alcohol abuse for Jamie—and rampant racism toward African-American Ronsel. Henry and Laura have problems of their own as they deal with the troubled Jamie and Henry’s hateful father, Pappy (a sinister Jonathan Banks). This is one of those movies you know won’t end well, and while Rees allows for occasional moments of relief, it is a mostly somber affair with a devastating finish. Mitchell continues…
20 Nov 2017
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Robert Pattinson continues his daring post-Twilight career with his best role yet in Good Time as Connie, a small-time crook who gets his mentally handicapped brother, Nick (Benny Safdie, who co-directed the film with brother Josh), imprisoned on Rikers Island. The movie is a dark and twisted adventure as Connie tries his darndest to free his brother from prison and take him far away from society. His efforts include pulling the wrong guy (Buddy Duress) out of a hospital; Connie thought the guy was his brother, but he’s actually a messed-up dude who jumped out of a moving car while on acid. He turns out to be an unreliable accomplice as they try to recover some lost drugs, intending to sell them and post bond for Connie’s brother. Things don’t go according to plan. The film plays as a nice homage to Martin Scorsese without feeling like a rip-off. The…
07 Nov 2017
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The Stranger Things gang is back—just one year later—for another round of 1980s horror and sci-fi nostalgia, but maybe the producers should’ve taken a little more time to let things settle in. The new season is intermittently enjoyable, but it feels a little stretched out and undercooked at times, with a lot of silly subplots mucking up the works. Will (Noah Schnapp) is still seeing visions of the Upside Down universe, the place in which he spent a good part of Season 1 languishing while his pals searched for him. It turns out Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), after her huge Season 1 sacrifice, came back to our universe almost immediately after she left, and is hiding out with Sheriff Jim Hopper (David Harbour) in a storyline that makes little sense. Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), in a shameless nod to E.T., has captured a creature in his garbage can, although he feeds…
01 Nov 2017
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For the second time in just a month, Netflix has scored again on the Stephen King front (after Gerald’s Game) with 1922, a horrific ghost story starring Thomas Jane—someone who is no stranger to King territory, having starred in Frank Darabont’s The Mist. Jane plays Wilfred James, a farmer who kills his wife, Arlette (Molly Parker), with the help of his lovestruck son, Henry (Dylan Schmid). Of course, Arlette has been murdered in a Stephen King movie—so it goes without saying that her soul will not rest peacefully, and her corpse will be riddled with rather spirited and determined rats. Jane delivers a chilling, complicated character with Wilfred; he’s a terrible man, yet we can watch him for an entire movie and feel some concern for the welfare of him and misguided kid. Wilfred is one of those men who speaks through clenched teeth, and Jane simply disappears into the…
24 Oct 2017
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If you saw Bone Tomahawk a couple of years ago, you saw the directorial debut of S. Craig Zahler (who also wrote the script), a guy who knows how to tell bleak, brutal stories. I thought Tomahawk was nasty, but it’s a tea party with bunny rabbits compared to Zahler’s second feature, Brawl in Cell Block 99. (He penned the script for this one, too.) Vince Vaughn shaves his head and steps into the role of Bradley Thomas, a tow-truck driver who loses his job and discovers his wife (Jennifer Carpenter) is having an affair. After a meltdown in which Bradley destroys a car with his bare hands, he makes a bad career choice and returns to his former life of crime—running drugs to both save his marriage and make some money. Things don’t go well, and Bradley winds up in a couple of prisons—ultimately resulting in the event mentioned…
16 Oct 2017
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Writer-director Noah Baumbach delivers his best movie yet with The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected), his latest story of family dysfunction—which serves as yet another reminder that Adam Sandler can be a knockout actor when he puts his mind to it. Sandler plays Danny, older brother to Matthew (Ben Stiller), father to Eliza (Grace Van Patten) and son of Harold (Dustin Hoffman). Danny is going through hard times, separating from his wife as Eliza prepares for college. His only option is to live with his dad and stepmom (Emma Thompson), a move that drudges up a lot of past difficulties. When Matthew comes to town—looking to sell his parents’ house, much to the chagrin of Danny—tensions grow. Yet despite the tension, there’s a hilarious way in which this family communicates. Even when things get bad, their warmth and desire for better times with each other shine through. While Sandler gets…
10 Oct 2017
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The tired killer-doll franchise gets a slight boost with Cult of Chucky. No, it can’t be called a good movie, but it might just be the best sequel so far to Child’s Play. The film picks up after the last installment, the lousy Curse of Chucky, with Nica (Fiona Dourif, the daughter of Brad Dourif, the voice of Chucky) on her way to an asylum. Also returning is Alex Vincent, who played Andy in the original film and Curse. Andy now has an arsenal—along with a messed-up Chucky head in a safe. It’s stitched together, bloodied and still talking. It’s kind of awesome, actually. Not long after Nica’s arrival, numerous Chucky dolls start showing up, and, of course, people start dying. No doubt: Chucky has never looked cooler than he does in his various incarnations in this movie. The special-effects crew does a great job of animating the little demon.…
03 Oct 2017
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Now Netflix is chipping in on the effort to make us all forget that filmed adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower with this adaptation of King’s Gerald’s Game, a powerhouse acting job for both Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood. They play Jessie and Gerald, a married couple who have hit tough times. They attempt to rekindle their relationship on a holiday excursion which includes her getting handcuffed to the bed. Things go bad—like, really bad—and Jessie winds up in a truly precarious situation that involves starving, dehydrating and hallucinating. The original King novel, of course, finds a way for Gerald to stick around for the whole movie, even after a fatal heart attack, while flashbacks show us additional traumas involving Jessie’s dad (Henry Thomas). The movie is, appropriately, hard to watch at times, as a hungry dog comes by for a visit, and Jessie searches for ways to get…
26 Sep 2017
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Angelina Jolie directs First They Killed My Father, the memoir of Loung Ung (who also co-wrote the screenplay), a Cambodian woman who, as a child, survived the genocide brought upon her country by the Khmer Rouge after the Vietnam War in the mid-1970s. The result is a triumph for Jolie and Ung, who succeed in telling the story through Ung’s eyes as a child. Sareum Srey Moch is a movie miracle as Ung; she is a happy child—until the day the Khmer Rouge arrive in her town. They decide her dad must die and cause her family to flee into the jungle. Jolie keeps the vantage point through the eyes of this child, ingeniously filming the landscape around her as a child would see it—something beautiful being invaded by monsters. Moch is required to deliver every emotion in the role, and she delivers in a way that should be impossible…
19 Sep 2017
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The Limehouse Golem stars Bill Nighy as Inspector Kildare, commissioned by Scotland Yard to find the notorious Golem Killer, a Jack the Ripper-type serial killer. The film is based on a 1994 novel that incorporated actual historical figures like Karl Marx. Juan Carlos Medina’s movie is good-looking, and Nighy is a fun as a cranky Sherlock Holmes-type. Unfortunately, the mystery itself isn’t that absorbing, and a side plot involving the murder trial of a local actress (Olivia Cooke) fails to engage. Granted, it is pretty cool that Medina somehow manages to stage a hypothetical scene in which Karl Marx commits a very bloody murder. There are a few macabre moments, such as that one, that work well—but they’re not enough to make this really worth watching. Cooke labors in the role of Lizzie Cree, a stage actress in a bad marriage who becomes an object of sympathy for Kildare as…

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