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Outrage

6 Mar

Outrage
Outrage | 2011 | Director: Takeshi Kitano | Site | IMDB
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The latest film from Takeshi Kitano, a.k.a. Beat Takeshi, Outrage is the story of betrayal and backstabbing within a group of Yakuza families. Reminiscent of Infernal Affairs or The Departed Outrage deals with the leader of a major crime syndicate and his decision to destroy the drug trafficking arm of a competing syndicate. All through his long suffering subordinate. Takeshi Kitano stars in and directs Outrage. He manages however small the part to steal each scene he is in. You believe he is a man capable of anything and ready to explode at any second Continue reading

This is England

3 Mar

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This is England | 2006 | Director: Shane Meadows | Site | IMDB
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This is England is the story of a troubled boy growing up in England. After being bullied he befriends a group of skinheads that become his new best friends. He begins to come into his own, build his confidence, make good friends be it older. When the return of a former skinhead, fresh from jail, throws their group of friends into anarchy. Very well told and believable are the hardships of growing into a man after the loss of his father in the Falklands War. You can feel the ability of this group to mold and shape a young mind right on the cusp of manhood Continue reading

Bronson

10 Feb

Bronson
Bronson | 2008 | Director: Nicolas Winding Refn | Site | IMDB
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Bronson is a semi-biographical film about Great Brittan’s most “violent” prisoner, Michael Peterson a.k.a. Charles Bronson. Michael Peterson was sent to prison in the seventies for robbing a post office of less than fifty dollars and because of his violent, reckless anti-authoritative behavior has spent over 30 years in jail, mostly in solitary confinement. Director, Nicolas Winding Refn (Driver and Valhalla Rising) does an amazing job bringing to life the alter ego of Bronson Continue reading

Girl 27

6 Feb

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Girl 27 | 2007 | Director: David Stenn | Site | IMDB
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Girl 27 is the story of Patricia Douglas, an actress during the 1930s who in 1937 was attacked and raped at an MGM stag party that was disguised as a casting call. Director David Sten came across this story and contacted the reclusive Douglas to get her side of the story. It took numerous attempts over several months until he was finally able to get her to talk. For over seventy years Patricia Douglas never told anyone about the rape and dealt with the issue internally. Sten does a very good job of uncovering the details of the attack and everything MGM did to cover it up. He is successful in getting Douglas to finally come out with her side of what transpired leading up to, during and the years that followed the attack. The documentary was very well done but in my opinion fell just short of greatness. Getting professional opinions and contacting Douglas’ family helped bring her to life and show the type of person she was and ultimately what the attack did to her. However, it just wasn’t enough to push this film into greatness. I never really felt like I got to know Patricia Douglas or her family. It was a big victory in one person’s life and I wish that was explored a little more thoroughly. I really enjoyed this film despite its imperfections.

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Girl 27 tells the story of a movie extra from 1937 and how MGM Studios covered up her rape. Patricia Douglas was a dancer for MGM Studios who in 1937 was invited to and attended what she though was a film shoot. Little did she know it was a stag party for all of the MGM Sales Representatives. She would be brutally raped and blacklisted from Hollywood. MGM Studios made sure Douglas’ face was plastered on the cover of every newspaper and her “false accusations” known to the public. The director David Stenn did a very good job of finding out what really happened to Douglas. She did not tell anyone about that night for over 65 years, including her own daughter. Stenn tried contacting Douglas and at first she was resistant but he never gave up. Eventually she began to open up and her side of the story was heard. It is so unfortunate how the rape and cover up destroyed a woman’s life. Hopefully getting her story out there gave her peace in the end.

Girl 27 Trailer

If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front

5 Feb

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If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front | 2011 |
Directors: Marshall Curry & Sam Cullman | Site | IMDB

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Nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary, If a Tree Falls, is the story of “Eco Terrorist” Daniel McGowen and the creation and destruction of the Earth Liberation Front. Through first hand interviews Daniel tells his story of being an average college kid turned activist to being arrested and labeled an eco terrorist. Very reminiscent of The Weather Underground, this film walks you through the creation of the Earth Liberation Front and through each act of arson and property destruction. Documentaries ride a very thin line of being exceptional, moving and causing awareness. If a Tree Falls manages to effortlessly fall on the right side of this problem. This film is able to bring you to understand both sides of the equation sympathetically. You are left feeling sorry for the businesses that suffered the wrath of the Earth Liberation Front while watching video after video of police and local law enforcement attacking and beating peaceful protestors. The E.L.F.’s issues were important and deserved to be publicly debated; but were swat down at every turn. The hypocrisy of each side has its points shown as well. A great sub-story to this film is the government’s destructive overuse and qualification of terrorism. It has become the government’s golden ticket for ridding the U.S. of anything it deems unlawful or having a strong opposing view. Daniel’s story will move you and rightfully hit you in the pit of your stomach. What do you do when the thing you love is being destroyed?

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This documentary gives you a rare behind the scenes look at the extreme environmental group the Earth Liberation Front. Its focus is on Daniel McGowan, a former member of the E.L.F. McGowen tells the story of what he is going through while possibly facing over two life sentences in prison. I thought this documentary was great because it really opens up the argument on what is considered terrorism and what a person would do to protect something they love and believe in. The Environmental Liberation Front set over ten fires in the American northwest. No deaths ever occurred. They made sure that nobody would be hurt. For all intents and purposes they were only trying to be heard. Due to the fact several other local environmental groups were getting pepper sprayed, beaten and arrested during their non-violent protests. The FBI gave the E.L.F. the label of “Eco-Terrorists” and tricked the members into confessing. Thus bringing the group down and arresting its members roughly 5 years after it had been dismantled. This documentary was well done and gave great insight into a group who was wrongly labeled as terrorists.

If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front Trailer

Drive

31 Jan

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Drive | 2012 | Director: Nicolas Winding Refn | Site | IMDB
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Drive is the story of a stunt driver / getaway driver who accidentally becomes entangled with the mob because of a woman. I loved Drive from the second it began. It was beautifully shot and scored. The art direction was beautiful and Refn’s style lended perfectly to the overall noir feel. Ryan Gosling was perfect in the role of Driver, saying very little but feeling extremely strong and in charge the entire film. It would be obvious in saying the chase scenes were great but that is not why I enjoyed this film. The characters were amazing. From Albert Brooks to Carrie Mulligan you really felt each character had their own story. Although their interactions were brief and not much was said you were still able to believe the intensity of their relationships. The ferocious violence coupled with the angelic electronic score helped to create a truly unique atmosphere in Drive. If I had to sum this film into one word it would be intense. You are constantly on the edge of your seat being teased with beautifully shot scenes unfolding in slow motion.

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Gosling plays a stunt car driver who on the side drives for petty crimes. He ends up falling for a woman (Carey Mulligan) and things begin to fall apart for him. The driving scenes and music in this movie were great. The cast was phenomenal and I was amazed by all the actors that were in this film. The Director, Isaac Refn (Bronson), does an amazing job with creating tension within his scenes and I was on the edge during most of this movie. I feel like the relationship between Driver (Gosling) and Irene (Mulligan) could have been explored a little more given everything he does to protect her. But I feel this was probably just what the director wanted. This is a definite must see.

Drive Trailer

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