My Mother’s Castle

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Four stars

A picture like a walk on a breezy, sunny day.  Submissive, girl-crazy, young boy, early 20th century, French country summer.  Bittersweet memories, the ghost of your childhood.  A family uses a secret key to shortcut through the canals in the backyards of Marseilles’ wealthy elites.  Most everyone is full of love and help but there are a few dickheads (just like life).  Pages turn to dust, families turn to death.  World War 1 looms, casts a shadow.  Novelists cast a spell.  This movie is a spell.  This movie is sweet, sunny insects buzzing and river water lapping in concrete sluice.

D & W: Yves Robert, More W: Marcel Pagnol & Jérôme Tonnerre, P by: Robert Alazraki, E by: Pierre Gillette, M by: Vladimir Cosma, w/Nathalie Roussel, Phillippe Caubère, Julian Ciamanca, Phillipe Uchan, Didier Paine, Thérèse Liotard, Julie Timmerman, jean Rochefort, etc…98 min, France, 1991

Turbo Kid

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One star

There’s nothing surprising in Turbo Kid, you’ll know going in whether it’s your bag or not.  It’s ambitions are meager and it executes them with aplomb.  A penchant for gore & commercial 80’s youth nostalgia above all will get you into this robot girlfriend movie.  It is tired and thoughtless and niche but it has heart.  It’s somehow both sweet and mean.  It’s unfunny and boring.  Shares DNA with the inferior Hobo with a Shotgun and the superior (slightly) Beyond the Black Rainbow.  I watched it with people who loved it and you might too, I dunno man.  Pffffttt.

D & W by: François Simard, Anouk Whissell, & Yoann-Karl Whissell, M & P by: Jean-Phillipe Bernier, More M: Jean-Nicolas Leupi Le Matos, E by: Luke Haigh, FX by: Eric Thivierge, Olivier Xavier, Jean-Mathieu ‘Jib’ Bérubé, etc… S by: Marcello Bezina, Alex Stines, Jean-Francois Robitaile, etc..w/Munro Chambers, Laurence Leboeuf, Michael Ironside, Aaron Jeffery, Anouk Whissell, Edwin Wright, Romano Ozari, Orphée Ladouceur etc..93 min, Canada, 2015

Strictly Ballroom

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Four stars

Sweet soaring hullabaloo!  For the love of the dance!  An Ugly Duckling picture, an Aussie adventure.  There’s sexy jazzy Cyndi Lauper covers, and scenery chewing caricatures.  I watched this movie and stomped my feet, shook my hips, grabbed the dog and improvised some bossa nova steps.

D & W: Baz Luhrmann, More W: Andrew Bovell & Craig Pearce, P by: Steve Mason, E by: Jill Bilcock, M by: David Hirschfelder, w/Paul Mercurio, Tara Morice, Bill Hunter, Pat Thomson, Barry Hunter, Todd McKenney, John Hanan, Gia Carides, etc…94 min, Australia, 1992

Uzumaki

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Two stars

Dad’s obsessed with spirals.  The camera spirals.  There’re spiral edits and other edits which call attention to themselves.  There’s a murky green filter over everything.  You wait a long time for people to turn into snail monsters.

D & E by: Akihiro Higuchi; W by: Kengo Kaji, Junji Ito, Takao Nitta, & Chika Yasuo; P by: Gen Kobayashi; M by: Tetsuo Kashibuchi & Keiichi Suzuki; w/Eriko Hatsune, Ren Ôsugi, Keiko Takahashi, Taro Suwa, Hinako Saeki, Fhi Fan, Sadao Abe,Masami Horiuchi, etc..90 min, Japan, 2000

Weiner-Dog

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Two stars

Sometimes the loneliness catches up, the void inside.  Your own stupid voice.  You lie down in your fat and blood and wait for the call.  American brand names enter and exit your windshield.  The old lady up the block calls for Cancer.  There are other, funnier Solondz pictures.

D & W by: Todd Solondz, P by: Edward Lachman, E by: Kevin Messman, M by: James Lavino, w/Greta Gerwig, Ellen Burstyn, Danny DeVito, Julie Delpy, Zosia Mamet, Tracy Letts, Kieran Culkin, etc…88 min, USA, 2016

Finding Dory

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Four stars

All the ocean’s fauna (save one squid) rally behind the eponymous blue tang.  When beset by doubt they ask what she would do, “WWDD?”  Dory herself utilizes this trick, the guiding principle larger than the fish it represents.  Larger than the Christ it recalls, though come to think of it he, too, is symbolized by a fish.  Am I saying Ellen DeGeneres is Jesus?  No I am not.

D & W: Andrew Stanton & Angus MacLane, More W: Victoria Strouse & Bob Peterson, A by: Bert Barry, Don Shank, James W. Brown, Catherine Hicks, Kishan Ramjas, Leo Santos, Sikand Srinivas, Tsung-Yin Hsieh, etc..P: Jeremy Lasky, E: Axel Geddes, M: Thomas Newman w/Ellen DeGeneres,  Ed O’Neill, Albert Brooks, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy, Kaitlin Olson, Idris Elba, Sigourney Weaver, etc…97 min, USA, 2016

Slime City

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Four stars

Men’s-Rights-activist, young-Republican, Travis-Bickle-wannabe, motherfucker moves to skid row.  Drinks ghost sludge.  Continues to be whiny,self-righteous asshole.  Murders the downtrodden.  Tries to cheat on his girlfriend.  Morphs into pulsating goop monster.  Finally gets his in gleeful gory glory.  It’s a mean-spirited, right-wing, reactionary romp through exploitation splatter in the vein of Street Trash but played a little more straight.  Charmingly “flawed”, offensive, & original.  There’s a cheapo Ingmar Bergman pastiche.  There’s a squirting vagina-dentata chest wound.  I had a lot of fun hating the protagonist, hooting at the politics, and waiting for the DIY gore FX.  I recommend it.

D,W & E by: Greg Lamberson; P: Peter Clark, M: Robert Tomaro, More E: Briton J. Petrucelly, w/Craig Sabin, Mary Hunter, Bunny Levine, T. Clay Dickinson, Dick Beil, T.J. Merrick, Marylin Oran, Dennis Embry, etc…81 min, USA, 1988