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Old Planet in the Air: A Precious Saints Story

By Genevieve Burgess | DVD Releases | March 9, 2010 |


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Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire: "How much can you handle? That's the central theme of Precious, a Job parable without religious overtones. It's more of a fairy tale, complete with an ogre who will whoop your ass unless she get the welfare. Precious is a child with children of her own, accepting hope not out some naive belief that perseverance will champion the day, but because she literally has absolutely nothing else to hold on to. It's Greek tragedy for BET -- harsh, unyielding, and unwilling to give easy answers or a shiny happy resolution. The story delves into after-school special territory with raw anger -- for every Dangerous Minds aphorism, there's a spit-in-your-face, gouge-out-your-eyes cruel truth. And those aren't even the more scarring moments -- it's the casually carried out horrors that kick you in the gut. You don't watch Precious for the plot; it's just a slightly repackaged version of every harrowing film that blossoms in time for awards season. You watch for the performances, and by God, there is some fine actressin' of the highest degree going on here. Precious easily contains one of the best performances of this decade, but it is little other than a ghastly tale acted at a breathtaking caliber." - Brian Prisco

Old Dogs: "so the old day she finds out she has two kids who are twins from another lady from the time that the old lady went to miamee and had too many funny drimks. and the old day and the dimple man they have to take care fo the kids while the mom is in jail for something i dunno. and then they mix up there pills and ha ha ha ha the old layd hits that cha ching guy in the balls with a golf ball ha ha ha ha ha ha ha haha! and also the dimple man takes some midincine that makes him smile relly big like the joker and it is funny cause he was at a bereevement meeting and he could not stop smiling and he loved ot eat pie! it made my side split open and i think that mite be where my brane stem floated out. ha ha ha ha ha hah ahaha. it looks like conrad!" - Dustin Rowles

Planet 51: "On a lesser yet still rather infuriating note, the filmmakers have not only continued to indulge Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's self-imposed imprisonment within kiddieflickland, but some executive got the bright idea to use him only as "voice talent" instead of crafting his character in Johnson's likeness. So, instead of providing any conciliatory eyecandy, the character that houses Johnson's voice ended up looking like Conan O'Brien on steroids and acting like Buzz Lightyear on quaaludes (a "BuzzLite," if you will), which doesn't exactly encourage a flattering twist of audience panties." - Agent Bedhead

Up in the Air: "While Ryan's job obviously holds depressing consequences for the person sitting at the other end of the desk, it has also taken a toll on Ryan. In order to seemingly make his dirty work tolerable, Ryan has alienated himself from everyone around him. Like Hugh Grant in About a Boy (2002), Ryan relishes being an island, unreachable thanks to a job that puts him on the road and in the air 320 days of the year. In his spare time, Ryan is a motivational speaker who preaches the benefits of this lifestyle choice. As he so eloquently pitches to his audience, "Make no mistake, your relationships are the heaviest components in your life. All those negotiations and arguments and secrets, the compromises. The slower we move the faster we die. Make no mistake, moving is living. Some animals were meant to carry each other, to live symbiotically over a lifetime. Star-crossed lovers, monogamous swans. We are not swans. We are sharks." Imagine his surprise then when he meets Alex (Vera Farmiga), a woman who tells Ryan "I'm just like you but with a vagina." As time passes, their relationship deepens, particularly through a weekend trip to Ryan's younger sister's wedding (the bride and groom are played by Melanie Lynskey and Danny McBride). Yet, the couple must decide if they are capable of putting aside habit and reaching out for a meaningful connection." - Drew Morton

Capitalism: A Love Story: "First, and this criticism goes back to Moore's first film Roger & Me (1989), I sometimes find myself distrustful of Moore's persona and his editorial hand. Specifically, in Roger & Me, Moore rigged his rhetorical deck of cards. As Pauline Kael noted in her review of the film, Moore depicted events out of chronological order, creating a new chain of cause and effect with the hope of producing an emotional response from an event that never actually occurred (specifically Roger Smith's speech is linked to a family being evicted). I find myself distrustful of these techniques and that they ultimately hamper an argument's sway with me. Perhaps this is a matter of personal preference, but I find Moore's arguments best articulated by others beside himself or in evidence that does not directly involve him. In his case, self-reflexivity strikes me as a means of creating a persona. Hence my distaste for a scene in Capitalism in which Moore rents out an armored car and drives up to AIG, calling up to the CEO's office on a bull horn, demanding a citizen's arrest and that federal bailout money be returned to the U.S. Treasury. While I can acknowledge the humor inherent in the situation, I often feel that these antics are the cinematic equivalent to trying to kill a fly with a sledgehammer." - Drew Morton

Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day: "Did you like the rough and tumble, shoot 'em up smart mouth sass of the first Boondock Saints? Then you're in luck. Because Troy Duffy decided to make practically the same film. The decade-long delay shows in the actor's faces, but other than that, you can pretty much place All Saints Day over the first film and trace with a kelly green crayon. Which isn't necessarily a criticism. Fans don't ask much from a Boondock Saints movie. Busting chops then busting heads, then busting more chops, then busting more heads. As much of a douchebag reputation Duffy has built for himself, it says something about him that he made the effort to bring back the entire cast, through flashbacks where necessary, and they all hoisted their pints and toasted him. The sequel is a damn fine nod to the fans of the series, but it's got all the flaws and foibles of the first film. Duffy basically tossed back two shots of Bushmills, cranked the Dropkick Murphys to 11, and drove the family station wagon into the river. It's wild, over-the-top, dumb-as-fuck fun, but it's not a particularly well-assembled film. But Duffy never gave a shit about that, so you can like it or take it somewhere else, fucko." - Brian Prisco


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