Elle


Rated: R | Running Time: 130 Minutes
From: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital:  March 14, 2017
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

Isabelle Huppert is Michele in ElleWow, that was a rough movie to watch. Great, but rough.

The movie is “Elle,” it’s directed by Paul Verhoeven, and it stars Isabelle Huppert as Michèle. It starts with the rape of Michèle, and it’s graphic. Then she gets raped again, and it’s still graphic. And there are flashbacks, and they are graphic. Yes, this movie is a hard “R,” and yet the movie is still a really great movie.

I figured I would get that out of the way at the start as that may stop those who are offended, or have no interest in watching any scenes such as that. Yes, the movie at its core is supposed to be about a woman who doesn’t want to be a victim, a woman who is empowered, but wow, it’s a rough watch. It’s also in French with subtitles so if you don’t want to “read” a movie because you don’t know French, heck, that might also be a turn-off. Still, it’s a great movie.

Let’s get to the story… Continue reading Elle

Lost Cat Corona


Rated: Unrated | Running Time: 83 Minutes
From: Virgil Films
Available in Select Theaters: February 24, 2017
Available on VOD & HD Digital: February 28, 2017
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

Ralph Macchio and Paul Sorvino in Lost Cat CoronaI will admit there are times when I get movies to review and I will start the movie at near about the same time I open my laptop. Usually it’s because the movie seems like it will be a “there’s 90 minutes I will never get back” kind of film, so I try to at least keep a few of the minutes to myself as multitasking sometimes becomes the order of the movie-watching. “Lost Cat Corona” started much the same way as the synopsis seemed kind of generic – Man goes out looking for a lost cat and funny ensues, and no offense to Ralph Macchio, but having Ralph Macchio, who hasn’t been really tearing up the silver screen lately, almost made it seem like one of those “He’s trying to make a come-back” films.

Quickly, however, the laptop was closed, and dammit, funny did ensue.

Dominic (Macchio) is married to Connie (the wonderful Gina Gershon). Connie is kind of a pill when it comes to being a wife, and Dominic is kind of a wimp. Continue reading Lost Cat Corona

Blood on the Mountain


Rated: Unrated | Running Time: 93 Minutes
From: Virgil Films and Entertainment
Available on DVD and Digital HD:  February 21, 2017
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

Blood on the Mountain - DocumentaryWell crap. Now I’m depressed. Don’t get me wrong, “Blood on the Mountain” is a fantastic documentary, but damn, the story it tell just sucks.

I’m not sure if that was the end intention of “Blood on the Mountain,” a documentary about the coal industry mostly centered around West Virginia, and I’m sure a lot of it is meant to raise awareness of the corporate and government atrocities associated with everything coal, but even for me there is only so much badness I can take.

“Blood on the Mountain” came pretty damn close to putting me over the edge.

The thing is I knew that the general aspect of coal mining sucked, I just didn’t realize it was this bad, nor how brainwashed most of the people involved seem to be. This hit me in some of the interviews where people would say things like, “We have all of these health issues, but it’s normal, we were in the coal mines.” Continue reading Blood on the Mountain

Rules Don’t Apply


Rated: PG-13 | Running Time: 127 Minutes
From: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Available on Digital HD: February 14, 2017
Available on Blu-ray & DVD: February 28, 2017
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

Lily Collins as Marla in Rules Don't ApplyIs it wrong that I found Lily Collins’ acting refreshing and more enjoyable than that of Warren Beatty’s in “Rules Don’t Apply”? I mean, here’s Warren Beatty, screen legend and not really losing any steps, playing the eccentric Howard Hughes, but Lily was a spitfire as Marla, the wannabe actress looking for her big break in a Hughes’ movie.

All apologies to Warren, but that’s my feelings, and I’m sticking to them.

Let’s get to the movie…

Continue reading Rules Don’t Apply

The Dressmaker


Rated: R | Running Time: 119 Minutes
From: Broad Green Pictures
Available on Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD, and VOD:  December 27, 2016
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

The DressmakerIn terms of some extra weirdness, “The Dressmaker” is right up there with the best of them, especially in the dark comedy genre. I mean, eventually most of the townsfolk women are walking around dressed in “designer” dresses, which wouldn’t seem that odd except it’s the 1950’s in a dirt-road, little town in Australia. Then there is the town Sergeant (Hugo Weaving), traipsing around in all of the flashiness of a matador at a bull fight. Clothes, however, aren’t really what brings Tilly (Kate Winslet in all of her sassiness) back to her hometown. Nope, she has to find out the truth about her past, a past that tarnished her reputation and left her as the town pariah.

As it is Tilly returns to town with a flash, at the rugby game, dressed to the nines which thoroughly distracts the rugby dudes. Enter Teddy (Liam Hemsworth), one of the team members, who tells Tilly she is distracting everyone causing Tilly to change outfits to something even more distracting.

Continue reading The Dressmaker

The Dark Horse


Rated: R | Running Time: 124 Minutes
From: Broadgreen Pictures
Available on DVD, Digital HD, and VOD:  July 12, 2016
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

Sometimes all you need to find is that purpose in life to overcome your personal challenges. Genesis Potini did just that. “The Dark Horse” tells that story.

Based on the true story, “The Dark Horse” weaves the history of Genesis Potini (in the movie played wonderfully by Cliff Curtis), a chess champion in New Zealand battling with mental illness who discovers his passion in teaching others the glory of chess, and in doing so is able to calm many of the demons in his head.

Continue reading The Dark Horse

Back in the Day


Rated: Not Rated | Running Time: 121 Minutes
From: Virgil Films
Available on Blu-ray and DVD: June 28, 2016
Get it via: Amazon | iTunes

Anthony (William Demeo) does it, he finally wins the boxing championship, and his life is now complete. What to do now? Anthony sits down with Larry Merchant (played by Larry Merchant) to tell his life story. His life story is “Back in the Day,” a fictional boxing movie like many others, mixed with overblown mafia stereotypes.

Well, crap, I could give you the story, but that’s really about it, and that’s too bad.

I guess I’ll expand a bit…

Continue reading Back in the Day

Bachelor Games


Rated: Not Rated | Running Time: 87 Minutes
From: Gravitas Ventures / Strike Films
Available on Digital Platforms July 8, 2016

The publicity material for “Bachelor Games” touted the movie as a horror-comedy. I understand the horror part, sort of, but I’m still waiting on the funny.

Let’s get to the basics…

A bunch of dudes get together for a bachelor party. Sounds like a fun time, right? Where are they headed? Vegas? The Bahamas? No, our group is heading to the Andes mountains in Argentina. Yup, they are on their way to a secluded town where they do some drinking, some drugs, and there is even a stripper. There is also local lore about “The Hunter” who protects the land. What are our boys going to do? Go hiking in the land of course!

Continue reading Bachelor Games

Kink

MPAA Rated – Not Rated
It’s 1:20 Long
A Review by:
Andy Labis

Kink
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Peter Acworth, Maitress Madeline, Tomcat, Five Star, John Magnum
MPAA Rated: Not Rated
Released By: Dark Sky Films
Release Date: February 10, 2015
Kiddie Movie: For the love of all things great and small, no. It’s got boobs, penises, bondage, flogging, and all kinds of fun for adults.
Date Movie: If she wants a look into the industry of making BDSM films.
Gratuitous Sex: There really isn’t any sex, except with machines.
Gratuitous Violence: Um, duh.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: Some chuckles.
Memorable Scene: Learning how to step on a dick and not having it hurt too much.
Memorable Quote: My dream is to be a yoga teacher.
Directed By: Christina Voros

I liked “Kink.” There, I said it. Phew.

Now will my friends and relatives who read my site and think things like bondage and discipline, domination and submission, or sadism and masochicm (a.k.a. BDSM) are sick, disgusting, and the devil’s work, well, as one person says in the documentary, “just move on,” because it’s going to be hard to write this review without some risqué terms, and maybe a mention of a penis or boob.

Let’s get to it.

It’s not every documentary that has a line “Give me about five minutes. I’m putting together a glory hole,” but “Kink’ does. In the easiest way to put it this is a documentary about a website, kink.com, and it’s internet business of making movies for the BDSM crowd. As simple as that might be, it’s also a look at the personalities and people involved in the business, the seriousness in which they take their movie-making craft, and also a look into those that enjoy the BDSM lifestyle. It’s kind of like a “day in the life” look at what happens at kink.com, and let me tell you, a lot happens.

Opening up with a look around the offices of kink.com, we learn of its nondescript facade and how the building they took over, with it’s nooks, crannies, and various rooms, is pretty much perfect for all of the filming that goes on, and as we move along we are introduced to various directors, talent coordinators, and actors, or as they call them, models, in various stages of productions. There are the women who like the machines, and I’m not talking your run-of-the-mill vibrators, but picture an industrial type jig-saw fitted with a certain apparatus and set up so the woman can be tied up and, well, you get the picture. Then there are the dudes, looking to be dominated with the director telling the actress-model, “If you want to step on it…”, the dude saying “My dick?”, with the director’s quick retort “Of course.” Then she proceeds to show them both how it doesn’t hurt if you step on his penis a certain way.

The thing is as taboo as the topic of BDSM might be to some people, the documentary does show that this is a lifestyle for the people, one that translates into their business, and they don’t mess around because in the world of BDSM there are rules. You find out that in a twist of a thought the submissive is actually in charge of the dominating person because the “safe” word is the key. You find that there is a lot of coaching and maybe changing things on the fly if some of the models end up uncomfortable with certain scenarios, and even on the business side it’s all about statistics and sales because at their meeting we are finding that gang bang videos sales are up, but the machines are down quite a bit, and they want to figure out why because yes, for kink.com, it is a business and they want to keep their customers coming back.

Most of the scenes didn’t bother me, well, except a scene where I said “Ouch, she’s got his wang tied up in a rope!”, but what did start to turn me off about the movie was that most of the people kept justifying what they did and the lifestyle they enjoy. It seemed to get a little too preachy, and I think it would have been better had they toned that aspect down a bit, keeping most of it to what I mentioned before, “That if it isn’t for you, just move on.”, and get back to the filmmaking side.

If you don’t like seeing dudes with penises, and I’m not talking a lazy, boring, limp penis, but porn penises being teased or stepped on, or naked women, and sure, they might be naked, but they also probably have nipple clamps or are hanging upside-down by their ankles and chained with a collar with giant vibrator between her legs, well, this movie probably isn’t for you. However, if you want a pretty decent documentary about a company dedicated to BDSM movies, may I highly recommend “Kink.” Maybe get Howard Stern to do the on-screen interviews to really find what makes the people tick, and I could see this getting a solid 4 stars at the look into BDSM movie-making, but with too many stock answers of how they are good people and BDSM isn’t bad, I’ve got to drop it to 3 1/2 stars.

That’s it for this one! L8R!!

The Overnighters

MPAA Rated – Not Rated
It’s 1:30 Long
A Review by:
Andy Labis

The Overnighters
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Jay Reinke
MPAA Rated: Not Rated
Released By: Drafthouse Films
Video Release Date: February 3, 2015
Kiddie Movie: Nah, it’s about a lot of down-and-out people.
Date Movie: If she’s interested in a good documentary and not something mushy.
Gratuitous Sex: Some talk of sex offenders, but nothing graphic.
Gratuitous Violence: Just one person trying to get the Reverend off of their property and threatening to shoot him.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: Ehh.
Memorable Scene: The reveal by Rev. Jay of something from his past.
Memorable Quote: “A man with no teeth and living with his daughter calling other people trash.
Directed By: Jesse Moss
Cool things about the DVD: Some of the deleted scenes actually should have been left in the film, and the extended interview with Rev. Jay is actually interesting.

The OvernightersThe stories were out there: Move to North Dakota! There are tons of jobs, waitresses are making $15+ dollars an hour, and you can easily find a job making over $100k a year! While some of this may be true, when stories like this get published what happens? Tens of thousands of people, mostly out of work, consider moving to North Dakota to find work. Here’s the problem. While there are jobs, there aren’t that many, and it’s North Dakota. The fracking boom has come mostly to smaller towns that don’t have the resources to accommodate such a giant influx of folks, many of whom are down on their luck, have questionable pasts, and think that North Dakota, or in the case of the documentary “The Overnighters,” Williston, North Dakota, is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. “The Overnighters” focuses on these people, the ones not getting the jobs, as well as Rev. Jay Reinke, a pastor in Williston who opened his church to those who couldn’t find a place to say, much to the dismay of the town, especially when the questionable pasts of those seeking shelter came to light.

As the documentary opens we see the Reverend waking up the people he has sheltered for the night. Most of them are men, those who came by bus or train are sleeping throughout the complex, in hallways and rooms, while those with cars would sleep in the parking lot, and the documentary begins to key in on a few of them with Rev. Jay, trying to help them through the transition to find a job. He advises them to clean up, cut their hair, get a resume together, and keep trying, but challenges await most of them, especially as background checks reveal criminal records, but more importantly for the documentary, people on the sex offender list.

We see Rev. Jay’s family who is trying to do the Christian thing and help everyone they can, but you can see the strain the situation is placing on them as well. The key to this story is the town of Williston, torn by wanting to be good Christians, yet wanting to keep their small-town feel, worried about crime, and trying to keep their children safe.

Progressing through the documentary we learn that the Reverend is housing men with sex offender pasts, both in the church and in his home, and while some might be a blip on a record that follows them for life, others are not so seemingly insignificant, and when the local paper brings this to light, the blow-back for Reinke is insurmountable, especially as he is harboring some of his own secrets.

What I loved about this documentary was that it really showed the flip side to the stories of the boom of North Dakota. You see the people and some you root for, but many you question because at one instance they seem like people just trying to restart their lives, but then you see them slip into being assholes again. The thing is this even happens with Rev. Jay when one minute he seems like the great-natured guy, just trying to help, but, and sure every story has two sides, from the commentary by some of the people he helps, there are times even his motives seem questionable. There is an extra with a detailed follow-up interview with Reverend Jay when he addresses this, mostly in a manner consistent with his personality shown in the film.

There are a few times the documentary drags, but other than that “The Overnighters” is a fantastic look at the other side of the North Dakota story. Sure, those with a little bit of a better plan than the people just “showing up” and thinking millions await them probably have a decent chance of the good jobs, but it’s this other side people don’t hear about.

This documentary shows people doing a lot of soul-searching, losing even more, like their families, by even coming to North Dakota, and a Reverend who has his own demons that he can’t come to grips with. It’s a great look at the town reaction, those who don’t have it so easy, and the challenges faced when the “boomtown” event happens because not everyone is happy about it. It’s 4 stars out of 5 for “The Overnighters.” I guess I would have liked a few success stories on people who really made it, though there was the one dude who was excited because he was actually going to have someone to supervise. Other than the little blurb of “What is happening now,” a little more follow-up on some of the characters might have been nice. Also there is some “niceness” about the documentary, although one of the outtakes, “I Used to Stay Here,” really shows the flip-side and the volatility that can be there. I think I might have like to have seen a little more of that.

That’s it for this one! L8R!!