18th Jun2016

Those People (DVD)

by timbaros

VL1_2136Spoiled rich kids on Manhattan’s Upper East side have lots to deal with, including lack of parental guidance, and secret crushes on each other in the gay romance film ‘Those People.’

But it’s Charlie’s story. Played by Jonathan Gordon, Charlie, a painter, is one of five people in his very very tight knit group of friends, which includes two women and two other guys. One of the guys – Sebastian (Jason Ralph) – is who the group revolves around. Every emotion, laugh, anger that is emitted from Charlie has effects on the rest of the group. He’s at the center of everyone’s attention because his hedge fund father has just been sent to prison for swindling money, and it’s up to the gang to rally around Sebastian to make sure he’s protected from the media spotlight (and to perhaps help spend some of his money). And Charlie is at Sebastian’s every beck and call 24 hour seven days a week. When Sebastian asks Charlie to move in with him in his big empty house (poor him!), Charlie does so right away. You see, Charlie, for the past 15 years, has been carrying a torch for Sebastian, and Sebastian has known this but has never let on that he knows. Sebastian gets a kick out of it, without reciprocating back. But when Charlie meets successful pianist Tim (Haaz Sleiman) and slowly starts to fall in love with him is when Sebastian realizes that he might be losing Charlie to Tim. It gets all the more complicated after Sebastian’s father kills himself in prison, and Tim announces that he wants to take Charlie with him to San Francisco where he’s offered a great job. It’s a move that will make Charlie chose between his love for Tim or his loyalty and friendship and more for Sebastian.

‘Those People’ shows us what a group of young, rich, and goodlooking upper east side kids get up to. It’s a life of parties, drama, drinking and secret crushes. It’s a sophisticated, beautifully debut film brought to us by Director, writer and Producer Joey Kuhn. It’s a world he seems to know (he was born and raised in NYC), as he captures the lives of these upper crust young adults very well. And the cast are all respectable and fine. It’s a classy movie without being too snobby.

DVD/VOD release via Wolfe Video

Off
12th Jun2016

Dirty Grandpa (DVD)

by timbaros

dirty_grandpa_136040Robert DeNiro and Zac Effron – what were you thinking?

Both DeNiro and Effron star in the new rude, crude, and obscene film ‘Dirty Grandpa’. We are ‘treated’ to seeing Robert DeNiro (as perverted frisky and unsexed Grandpa Dick Kelly – get it?) masturbate to an interracial pornography video the day after the funeral of his wife who he was with for 40 years. We also get to see Effron’s (James Kelly) brother pouring beer over his dead grandmother’s coffin, Effron wearing a bee thong with his arse out in the open (several times), which at one point comes off causing him to expose himself to a little boy, while simulation with the assumption of oral sex between the two (I’m not kidding here) and an endless, and I mean endless, supply of cock jokes, and cocks (one scene has Effron and DeNiro sharing a bed together in which DeNiro sleeps naked, and the next moment there is a penis in his face supposedly to be Grandpa’s). This is not to mention scenes of Effron in jail with a fellow cellmate feeling him up, the one gay character in the movie being made fun of because he is gay, two inept police officers who all but ignore the town’s drug dealer (Adam Pally) who happens to shoot guns in his tourist a/k/a drug shop, and an extremely horny young woman (Zoey Deutch) who has way too much sex talk with DeNiro.

It all adds up to one dirty, and bad movie. The plot is this: after the death of his wife, Grandpa Kelly wants to head down to his condo in Florida, so he tricks grandson Jason into driving him down there, much to the dismay of Jason’s fiance Meredith (Julianne Hough), who’s he about to marry and with the wedding rehearsal just days away. On the way Grandpa and Grandson run into Grandson’s ex-schoolmate Lenore (Aubrey Plaza), with the aforementioned horny Shadia (Deutch) and the gay camp Tyrone (Brandon Mychal Smith) in tow. Shadia’s got the hot hots for Grandpa (to tick one of her ‘must do’ boxes) and Lenore will realize that she’s got the hots for Jason. It’s a road trip that ends in most of the character’s lives changed, as well as the audiences. You will walk out shaking your head and vow to never see a Zac Effron (and possibly a Robert DeNiro) film ever again. Thanks to Director Dan Mazer (The Dictator) and writer John Phillips for taking Effron and DeNiro to new lows in their careers.

Off
05th Jun2016

Room (DVD)

by timbaros

ROOM_DAY8-0047 (2) (1) copyA mother and her son are trapped in a room and can’t escape in the very dramatic and suspenseful film ‘Room.’

‘Room’ will take your breathe away. It’s one of the most talked about films of the year, deservedly so, with performances that are top notch. It’s an adaptation of a novel called ‘Room’ written by Emma Donoghue, who also wrote the script. And what a script it is. Although the film takes place in just a few locations, it feels like it goes far and wide.

It’s a plot that could be ripped from the headlines: a young teenage girl was kidnapped at the age of 17 by a stranger and is held captive in a shed in his backyard with the young son who was born out of an unwanted sexual relationship with him – they call him ‘Old Nick’ (Sean Bridgers). Brie Larson plays Joy, and Jacob Tremblay is her son Jack, and both are superb. They survive in that shed, with gray concrete walls. it’s a room (or as they simply call it ‘room’), where they are held prisoner. It’s got a skylight, a kitchen, a toilet next to the bed, a closet where Jack sleeps, a plant, and a mouse that pops out every now and then. And five-year Jack knows of no other life than the life he’s led in room. He doesn’t really know anything about the world outside room, and he thinks that what he sees on television is make believe, and not real people acting. When Old Nick pays visits to room for his sexual pleasure with Joy, Jack hides in the closet, and Joy refuses to let Nick touch him, or even to see him. But Joy has an idea that might work to get her son out of room, and when the idea takes place and works, Jack is suddenly thrust out into the world. If you’ve seen the trailer you know that Jack and his mother have escaped room, but it’s the five or so minutes when this happens that is the most suspenseful and compelling five minutes of this film, of perhaps any film, you will have seen for years. But Jack has to adjust to the outside world, a world he’s never been exposed to. This includes being exposed to other people, including his grandparents, the divorced Nancy (Joan Allen) and Robert (William H. Macy), and Nancy’s new husband Doug (Matt Gordon). And Joy has to adjust being out of room as well – it’s an adjustment that’s not an easy one. Told from Jack’s point of view, we see through his very young eyes this brave new world that he knows nothing about, grandparents that he’s meeting for the first time, and more important leaving room where he had lived all of his short life.

‘Room’ is a story about survival, emotions, and the tight relationship between a mother and her young son. It’s masterfully directed by Lenny Abrahamson who is responsible for holding our attention throughout the entire movie. It’s also credit to the actors who bring this story to life. Told from Jack’s perspective who is in every scene, we see his freedom as a rebirth of sorts, with Joy being his world in and out of room. Only seven when he was cast, Tremblay captures, and holds us, in his every scene. It’s incredible that a young boy his age has so much range that he displays in the film. He’s simply incredible. It’s a shame that he didn’t receive a BAFTA, Oscar or Golden Globe nomination for this film, it’s the performance of the year. Larson is excellent as Joy. Larson rose to fame in her award-winning performance in 2013’s Short Term 12. She deservedly won Best Actress at the Oscars and the Golden Globes. But it’s Tremblay who steals the movie. He’s simply just amazing.



Room [DVD] [2016] (DVD)

Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Starring: Brie Larson
Rating: Suitable for 15 years and over

New From: £4.05 GBP In Stock
Used from: £0.14 GBP In Stock

Off
05th Jun2016

Janis: Little Girl Blue (DVD)

by timbaros
5th April 1969:  Rock singer Janis Joplin (1943 - 1970).  (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

5th April 1969: Rock singer Janis Joplin (1943 – 1970). (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

Using interviews with childhood friends, former band members, celebrities and her brother and sister, Oscar nominated filmmaker Amy J. Berg has written and directed a documentary that puts together the pieces of Joplin’s life, and how she became who she was and why she did the drugs that would eventually kill her.

On September 30, 1970, Joplin gave an interview to journalist Howard Smith, an interview that took place just a few days before her death, who asked her why she sings. Her response was: “I get to experience a lot of feelings. You get to feel things in your imagination that aren’t even true. That’s why I like music. It’s creative and creates feelings.” Other snippets of this interview are interspersed in the documentary, where she discusses her life. “Little Girl Blue” also uses Joplins’ actual letters to her family where she expresses lots of hope, and doubts, about her life, even when she was at the pinnacle of her career.

I’m not old enough to remember Joplin. My memories of her involve watching Bette Midler’s astonishing performance in ‘The Rose’ as a Janis Joplin-like character who goes through a series of men and drugs. And ‘The Rose’ was loosely based on Joplin’s life.

Joplin was born in Port Arthur, Texas in 1943. While growing up, she admits to never actually fitting in at school. A childhood friend says that it was a really good town to grow up in, but Joplin never thought so. She was always a rebel, always looked different to the other kids, sort of like a beatnick. And she was voted ‘ugliest man’ in college. She got kicked out of the school choir for not following directions. And while she was younger she never actually thought that she would get older.

But Janis knew she loved to sing, and while in college she knew her voice was special. It was in 1962 in a club in Austin, Texas where she first got up on stage and sang. The following year would see her go to California and her life would never be the same. “A lot freer and you can do what you want to do,” Joplin says of California. But she was in conflict with herself all the time, and started shooting up with fellow musicians. Her drug habit got so bad that all of her friends chipped in to send her back home. But she made a return to San Francisco and hooked up with the Big Brother Holding Company (BBHC) and never looked back. And Joplin was becoming a star – with her Otis Redding-like voice, hanging out with other celebrities including Andy Warhol. Members of BBHC speak of the time they shared with Joplin, the highs and the lows.

A turning point in BBHC was their appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival. Joplin wore gold bell bottom pants, and received a standing ovation, including from Momma Cass who was in the audience. Footage of this performance is in the documentary, and it is riveting. Joplin would find herself on the cover of Newsday shortly thereafter.

Now newly signed to a high profile record deal with Colombia, BBHC’s album Cheap Thrillswent gold in three days. Footage of Joplin and the band in the studio shows Joplin in great form and taking charge during the recordings. The band during this time lived both in San Francisco and in the famous Chelsea Hotel in New York City. Joplin would also often appear on the Dick Cavett television show, with Cavett reminiscing about the interviews and how he can’t remember if they had sex or not.

But Joplin was becoming a bigger star than her band, and soon enough she left them to form her own band. She was still living the rock-n-roll lifestyle – planes, fur coats, and drugs, lots of drugs. The pressure for her to succeed was huge and she was carrying around all this weight. Ultimately, she didn’t know how to manage her new band. But their world tour was a triumph, but it was not enough for Joplin. She was always jealous of the band members who always had women waiting for them after the show to go back home with, but she never had anyone. She made love on stage, and off stage she said that “all you’re left with yourself.” It was her performance at the groundbreaking Woodstock festival in 1969 where there were further signs of drug trouble. She clearly looked out of it, and band members say that she was in the toilet shooting up heroin before her performance.

She tried to kick her drug and alcohol habit by going to Brazil in early 1970. There she met a man who she fell in love with, and they went back to San Francisco together, but he eventually left her after witnessing her shooting drugs. Joplin also attended her 10th high school reunion where actual interviews show her dazed and confused. It’s a wonder no one at that time seemed to do anything about her drug problem, not even the people closest to her.

Joplin died in a Hollywood Hotel on Oct. 4, 1970. She had just finished recording her album Pearl, which would go on to sell 4 million copies and produce her biggest hit “Me and Bobby McGee.”After the funeral, her mother is seen reading letters from fans extolling how Joplin was “the mother of the blues;” it’s poignant and touching. Testimonials from Juliette Lewis, Melissa Etheridge and others discuss their feelings towards Joplin. ‘Little Girl Blue’ tells the story of a singer all of us have heard about but have never actually seen her sing. Janis: Little Girl Bluelets you witness this firsthand. It’s an excellent documentary with amazing footage of interviews and of the woman herself, in good times, and bad times.



Janis: Little Girl Blue [DVD] (DVD)

Director: Amy Berg
Starring: Janis Joplin, Cat Power, Kris Kristofferson, Juliette Lewis
Rating: Suitable for 15 years and over

New From: £5.59 GBP In Stock
Used from: £8.60 GBP In Stock

Off
28th May2016

The Propaganda Game (DVD)

by timbaros

image001Spanish filmmaker Álvaro Longoria was granted access to film in North Korea and he has turned this footage into a documentary called ‘The Propaganda Game.’

Is what he is filming propaganda? Are the people in the streets real or is it all staged? Longoria was granted controlled access by the government of the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) to film in 2014. Him and his team were taken around the country by national officials, and not left alone at any time.
They meet up with Alejandro Cao de Benós, a native of Spain who because of his belief and love of communism ended up living in North Korea and is now one of the mouthpieces for the DPRK and Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un. Benós takes Longoria around the country, where Longoria is ‘allowed’ to speak to the locals who work at the museums. He’s also taken to the gym where Jong-un worked out (just once), and gets to speak to tour guides on the street. He’s even allowed into a Roman Catholic Church (where all the attendees happen to be very good singers).

We are shown North Korean life via Longoria’s camera: woman dancing in a pagoda, a wedding party taking photos of the bride and groom, children skateboarding and laughing – are these people really happy? North Korea is a country of 24 million people, yet has the fourth largest standing army in the world. They are armed with 20 nuclear warheads and have an increasing sophisticated missile defense system. And the country spends 16% of it’s GDP on the military. Yet the regime seeks to dominate every aspect of it’s citizens lives, and also terrorizes them from within. While they are given free housing, free education and free medical care, it is known that there is a severe food crisis, that some of it’s citizens are held in concentration camp-like prisons, and there is absolutely no freedom of expression or speech. It’s a Totalitarianism regime.

But the locals who speak to Longoria all have a mistrust and hatred for the United States. One official says ‘The U.S. tries to stifle and threaten our country.’
The documentary mentions the recent turmoil surrounding the film ‘The Interview’ where Seth Rogen and James Franco are sent on a mission to assassinate a Jong-un-like dictator – it almost led to a war. Longoria is also one of the very people to be taken to the Demilitarized Zone (which in theory it is not) – the line that separates North and South Korea. It’s fascinating to be able to see it and to see the intercut footage of Barack Obama on the South Side and Jong-Un on the North side during one of their separate visits in years past.

We are shown shiny new apartment buildings, new and expensive museums that are shrines to Jong Un and his late father Kim Jong-il (one that was empty on a Sunday), and huge statues and photos of both men in various parts of Pyongyang. Yet where does all the money come from to build this? How does North Korea’s economy work? ’The Propaganda Game’ raises more questions than what it answers. But it’s not at the fault of Longoria, it’s the mystery and secretiveness of a country where the children are practically brainwashed. It’s a fascinating documentary.
‘The Propaganda Game’ is now in UK cinemas and is now available to buy on DVD (See way below)



The Propaganda Game [DVD] (DVD)

Rating: Suitable for 12 years and over

New From: £9.36 GBP In Stock
Used from: £13.27 GBP In Stock

Off
06th May2016

Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party (DVD)

by timbaros

HGBP_cc_21050420.00_40_43_05.Still001It’s Henry Gambles’ birthday and we’re all invited to the party!

It’s the new DVD/VOD release called ‘Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party’ where the viewer is an attendee at Henry’s birthday party – or at least that’s what it feels like while watching the film. Henry Gamble (an excellent Cole Dolman) it turning 17 years old and his family is throwing him a barbecue pool party at their very nice home. Gamble’s family, including his mother Kat (Elizabeth Laidlaw), father Bob (Pat Healy) and collegiate sister Autumn (Nina Ganet), are a religious Christian family where Bob is a pastor and their circle of friends are mostly from the church community, including Henry’s friends.

But it’s Henry’s big day, and lots of people come to the party. But each member of the Gamble family are struggling with issues that may go against their belief in the church. Kat confesses to Nina that she had an affair with a close family friend who was terminally ill, Nina, meanwhile, is having trouble with a guy she likes (and whom she slept with – a no no in her religions’ beliefs), but she’s angry at him for not being in contact. And Henry is not struggling with but accepting the fact that he is gay. So theirs, and lots of other friends’ issues come to the fray during the party. It’s lots of splashing around the pool, with the young lithe teenagers in their skimpy bathing suits offending one of the older female attendees, while the son of the wife of the husband who Kat had an affair with is having a hard time coming to grips with the death of his father. But all these people come together for Henry, he’s the nicest guy around, goodlooking enough so that the girls fancy him and the young men want to be his friend, including closeted young Logan (Daniel Kyri), who likes Logan but has a hard time penetrating into his circle of friends. It makes for a lot of celebration and drama in this 86-minute movie.

‘Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party’ is a coming out story that’s not, forgive the pun, all preachy about being accepted for being gay. It’s a celebration and a masterfully directed film not just about a young man who happens to be coming out of the closet but also about the Evangelical Christian community. And Director Stephen Cone masterfully interweaves several stories going on at the same time that’s not a bit confusing but provides an element of actually being there and eavesdropping on everybody’s conversations. Dolman is a true find at Henry Gamble. His face (and smile) practically lights up the screen – he’s a natural and hopefully will have a very successful acting career in his future. But credit goes to award-winning filmmaker Cone (who also wrote the script) for creating a film that makes it a fun experience to be a part of. Bring your swimsuit.

Off
03rd May2016

In the Heart of the Sea (DVD)

by timbaros

Image 20-12-2015 at 19.40Ron Howard and Chris Hemsworth, director and star of 2013’s hit film ‘Rush,’ have teamed up again to bring us a film that can only be described as the epic action adventure film of the year. It’s ‘In the Heart of the Sea.’

‘Rush’ was the true story of two Formula One racing rivals, and the film had lots of pulse racing car races. ‘In the Heart of the Sea’ does it better by telling the real-life maritime disaster that would inspire Herman Melville’s book ‘Moby Dick,’ – the whale that roamed around in the Pacific ocean and caused the deaths of many shipmen. ‘In the Heart of the Sea’ reveals the aftermath of the ship’s crews disastrous meeting with the whale, how they survived at sea for over 100 days, braved storms, starvation, blazing sun and doing the unthinkable, to survive. It’s a movie that could’ve been sunk by any other director, but Howard, who also directed ‘Apollo 13′ and ‘Beautiful Mind,’ superbly directs this film which is based on Nathaniel Philbrick’s best-selling 2000 book ‘In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex.’

The cast and crew make this film a believable tale of a whaling ship called the ‘Essex’ that goes out to sea in search of whales for oil. It’s led by inexperienced captain George Pollard (Benjamin Walker), but First Mate Owen Chase (Hemsworth) is more qualified than him to be in charge of the ship. Cillian Murphy plays Second Mate Matthew Joy. ‘In the Heart of the Sea’ is told not through the eyes of any of these men but it’s told by seaman Tom Nickerson, who was 14-years old when he was on the crew of the Essex. He relays this epic story to novelist Herman Melville (Ben Whishaw) 30 years later. Melville would go on to write a book about the catastrophic event called ‘Moby Dick.’

While ‘Moby Dick’ is a work of fiction, ‘In the Heart of the Sea’ brings to life the true epic journey that begins in 1820 in New England when the whaling ship Essex leaves it’s port to embark on a journey that would find it sailing to the southernmost tip of South America, where it would encounter a whale the size of enormous proportions. It’s a whale that turns on them, and soon enough the hunters become the hunted. And there’s tension between Pollard and Chase; Chase being the more experienced seaman leads the ship’s crew almost every step of the way, however Pollard’s inexperience causes him to make some bad decisions, decisions which endanger the lives of the crew. It’s up to Second Mate Joy to try and smooth the waters between them. And also on the boat is the young 14-year old Nickerson (played by Tom Holland), experiencing his first whaling expedition, and probably the first time out on his own. He’s witness to the catastrophic unfurling events that take place on the boat, not just the life-threatening encounters with the whale, but also being on a lifeboat, with the other men, on the open seas, and surviving to tell the tale. Thirty years later, as the last survivor of the Essex, he’s reluctant to relive the story, but Melville, in the film’s fictional account, get’s Nickerson to tell his story. And what a story it is.

‘In The Heart of the Sea’ is an incredible journey of survival and and the lengths a man is willing to go to save his own life and the lives of others. We are literally transported to another time and place, and for 121 minutes (which fly by), we are taken on a ride that is very convincing and unforgettable. Hemsworth does a fine job as Chase, rugged good looks notwithstanding. Murphy ups the acting stakes as the loyal and determined Second Mate Joy – he’s loyal and has a strong will to live but luck is not on his side. And the whale; it’s a living presence in the film. It’s always lurking in the background, and it looks very real. But credit goes to Howard for allowing us to be swept up into the drama and action as it’s happening. ‘In the Heart of the Sea’ is one of the best films of the year.

Off
16th Apr2016

Tangerine (DVD)

by timbaros

TangerineTwo transgender prostitutes tear up Santa Monica Boulevard in the brilliant ‘Tangerine’ – one of the best films of 2015.

It is one of the most funny and original films of the year. and stars two transgender actresses in the lead roles, roles that will make them both stars.

Mya Taylor is Alexandra, and Kitana Kiki Rodriquez is Sin-Dee (yes, Sin-Dee), it’s Christmas Eve in Los Angeles, and Sin-Dee has just got out of jail after spending 28 days for holding drugs for her pimp boyfriend Chester (James Ransom). She finds out, from Alexandra, that Chester has been having sex with Dinah (Mickey O’Hagan), so Sin-Dee goes on a mission to find Dinah and then to confront Chester. And Alexandra is having her own drama – she’s performing at a local bar that night and has passed out fliers to everyone she knows. Meanwhile, she’s got one of her regular customers, Razmik (Karren Karaguilian), looking for her. Razmik has problems of his own, he’s attracted to transgender prostitutes, but he’s married with a young daughter at home. He’s also got his nosy mother-in-law visiting for the holidays.

Sin-Dee finds Dinah in a motel room with several other prostitutes and their naked male customers, so she literally kidnaps her and then heads to confront Chester. Alexandra, meanwhile, scuffles with a customer who doesn’t feel like he should pay her because he didn’t come. But she does have sex with Razmik in a brilliant uncut sex scene in a car wash. All these characters converge together at the local Donut Shop as they confront each other about infidelity in a very dramatic and hilarious ending. Tangerine is a Christmas tale not of the typical Christmas kind.

Shot on three iphone 5s’ on a $105,000 budget, Tangerine is not the sort of movie you would expect to be dazzling, funny, dramatic, adventurous and original, but it is. Thanks to the many elements that bring this 88-minute film to fruition which make it so; the guerrilla style filmmaking is excellently created by Director, Editor, Co-Cinematographer and Co-Writer Sean Baker (co-written along with Chris Bergoch). And the actors are fantastic. Baker initially met Taylor at the Los Angeles Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Queer Community Center, and she introduced him to all her friends, including Rodriquez, which is how ‘Tangerine’ came to be, and these two actresses more than carry the movie, they are the movie, you can’t take your eyes off them. The rest of the cast is also brilliant; especially Karaguilian (who is a professional actor) brings sympathy to his role as a man trying to do the right thing but who also harbours a secret, and O’Hagan as the ‘other’ woman who is literally dragged around Los Angeles by Sin-Dee in the search for Chester. The Los Angeles neighborhood where this film is shot feels like another character in the film; the hued and hazzy skies, cheap motels, strange people and very cheap fast food restaurants litter the area. And the music (and script) is cutting edge; pulsating, loud, sharp, a perfect match for a film with characters who are the same, who spew lines such as ‘He just went from half fag to full fag’ to ‘You forget I’ve got a dick too,’ and ‘you don’t have to Chris Brown the bitch’ with copious amounts of the word ‘bitch’ and ‘whore.’ ‘Tangerine is a smorgasbord of wit and sarcasm. It’s also brilliant and must be seen to be believed.

Tangerine is now out on DVD.



Tangerine [DVD] (DVD)

Director: Sean Baker
Starring: Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Mya Taylor, Karren Karagulian, Mickey O'Hagan, James Ransone
Rating: Suitable for 15 years and over

Sean Baker writes and directs this comedy drama about the life of a transgender sex worker in downtown Los Angeles. Having just been released from prison, Sin-Dee Rella (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) discovers that her pimp and boyfriend Chester (James Ransome) has been cheating on her with a white girl called Dinah (Mickey O'Hagan). With nothing but revenge on her mind, Sin-Dee spends the entire night searching the city for the cheating couple.Technical Specs: Languages(s): EnglishInteractive Menu
New From: 0 Out of Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

Off
03rd Apr2016

James White (DVD)

by timbaros

Tim_Baros-11889554_425649970960636_8216815950912637205_nAmazing performances and a very original story make ‘James White’ a must see film.

White, played to perfection by Christopher Abbott, is a young man who’s just lost a father he was never very close to. He’s into drugs, booze, and is confused about which direction his life is going in. His mother, Gail White (played by Cynthia Nixon in her best performance to date), is dying of cancer. So twenty-something James has all this to deal with, along with sorting out his own life.

James lives with his mom in a one-bedroom apartment in New York City. He sleeps on the couch, doesn’t have a job, and is burdened with the role of being his mom’s caretaker. He wants to get away for a while to clear his mind and promises his mom that when he gets back refreshed he will start looking for work. So he heads to Mexico with best friend Nick (Scott Mescudi). While there, he meets Jayne (Makenzie Leigh), who also happens to be from NYC, and they take a liking to each other. While in Mexico, James receives a call saying that his mother is getting sicker and sicker. So he heads back to NYC not knowing that his mom’s doctor recommended hospice care and not hospital care for her, she’s close to death and never really told James the truth about her condition. It’s up to James to deal with his mom’s condition while at the same time struggling to sort his own life out.

Abbott boldly portrays James as a young man in emotional anguish over not only his mother’s ailing health but also his lack of trying to be someone. Abbott, who is known as Charlie in the television show ‘Girls,’ is amazing. He’s poignant and realistic as James, it’s an amazing performance. Nixon is fantastic as James’ dying mother who starts deteriorating right before his eyes, all too quickly. Their relationship is a strong one, and we feel the slow loss of Gail as much as James does.

‘James White’ is Josh Mond’s directorial debut, and it’s an amazing one. He shoots the actors at very close range, enough so that we can see the lines on their faces. It’s a technique that allows the film to feel more emotional and real. James White is inspired by Mond’s own story of caring for his sick mother. The film has done the festival circuit where it’s won a few awards and has been nominated for several independent film awards. It’s an incredibly nuanced film that deserves a look.

‘James White’ is now available to buy on DVD.

Off
02nd Apr2016

The Lobster (DVD)

by timbaros

IMG_0214.CR2Imagine a world where if you can’t find a parter in 45 days you will be changed into the animal of your choice. That’s what ‘The Lobster’ is all about.

Colin Farrell plays David. He looks like he could be an accountant; glasses, a bit overweight, squarish nerd type, and just been dumped by his wife. Him and a few dozen other people check into a hotel. It’s not just any hotel, it’s a hotel where men and women are expected to find a compatible partner during their stay there. They’re deemed compatible if they both have something in common; for instance a favorite color or a favorite pastime. And homosexual couples are also part of the mix in a world in the future where society has changed, and so has it’s requirements.

The hotel manager is played by Olivia Colman – she runs the hotel like it’s a prison. And in way it is. The rules are lengthy, complex and must be adhered to. All those detained are issued uniform clothes to wear so that no one stands out. They also must follow a rigorous schedule that includes eating meals at set times. And of course the one main rule is that the ‘guests’ must find a suitable partner amongst the other hotel guests by the end of their stay.

David instantly makes friends with two other men who are also staying at the hotel; John C. Reilly plays ‘Lisping Man,’ (lots of characters in ‘The Lobster’ don’t have proper names, just adjectives to describe them). He’s overweight and is a schlub. Ben Whishaw plays a character also known for his trait; Limping Man. These men form a friendship of sorts and it’s a bit of a race between them to see who can find a partner before ‘their time is up.’

It’s Limping Man who finds a partner first. She’s got a constant nosebleed (Jessica Barden – Nosebleed Woman). So in order for Nosebleed Woman to fall in love with him, Limping Man causes his nose to bleed by hitting his nose, thereby creating a characteristic trait that makes them both compatible. They get married and are ‘assigned’ a child to make their relationship stronger. Meanwhile, various animals walk around and near the hotel and at some point these animals were human beings who were not able to find a suitable partner.

The Maid of the hotel (Ariane Labed) takes an intense liking to David. Their relationship turns sexual and emotional, and since she can’t leave the hotel, she helps David to escape. He escapes into the woods and is soon in the hands of the renegade Loners. They’ve dedicated their lives to everything that the Hotel isn’t. But this group has rules as well – it’s everyman for himself. There is no coupling of any sort, and actually there’s very little freedom amongst the members of the group – with it’s leader (Lea Seydoux) being very dictatorial, and cruel and cold. David has run away from an authoritarian society to another. And when he falls in love with a fellow Loner member Short Sighted-Woman (Rachel Weisz), the rules that they have to adhere to make it harder for them to live the lives that they want.

The idea for the very unusual script for ‘The Lobster’ came about through discussions with the writer and director and about how people feel like they always needs to be in a relationship; how other people see those who can’t make it; how you’re considered a failure if you can’t be with someone; and the lengths people go to in order to be with someone. Director (and co-writer) Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth), with fellow co-writer Efthimis Filippou, tells a tale of two different worlds; one where couples live, and one where singles (loners) live, it’s a parallel world, one that takes a look at how we are as a people. ‘The Lobster,’ which won the Jury Prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, is a highly unusual film – one with great humor, and with great sadness, and with some violence. It’s unusual and that’s what makes it unique.


Off
02nd Apr2016

The Program (DVD)

by timbaros

the_program_132489Director Stephen Frears brings us the rise, and fall, of cycling champion Lance Armstrong in the new film ‘The Program.’

We all know Armstrong’s story: winner of the Tour De France for a record seven times after surviving what was supposed to be a fatal diagnosis of stage 3 testicular cancer; and suspicion and later a confession by him that yes, he did dope on every tour that he had won. Based on the book called ‘Seven Deadly Sins: My pursuit of Lance Armstrong’ by Sunday Times Journalist David Walsh, ‘The Program’ takes us through Lance’s career highs, and eventually, his very low lows. But for being a cycling film about competition, stamina, drugs, celebrity, and money, its not a very exciting film.

Walsh is played by Chris O’Dowd, and ‘The Program’ is his story told through his eyes and how he uncovered what is the biggest doping scandal in sports history. It’s about how he pursued and investigated Armstrong and was persistent in finding evidence that Armstrong was doping.

‘The Program’ begins in France in 1993 where 21-year old Armstrong (played by a determined Ben Foster) is riding his first Tour de France. He’s young, cocky and confident, but two years later he’s diagnosed with cancer. Determined to come back better than ever, Armstrong pushes himself to the limit, and he fully recovers enough to go back to professional cycling. But he starts taking EPO (Erythropoietin), a drug that makes athletes go faster. It’s a drug that he procured from a French pharmacy and later from French doctor Michele Ferrari (Guillaume Canet). But Armstrong makes one mistake while he’s in the hospital for his cancer treatment; he tells the attending doctor about all the drugs he is taking or taken, including the EPO. His friends, fellow rider Frankie Andreu (Edward Hogg) and his wife Betsy (Elaine Cassidy) overhear this and Betsy questions Andreu who has told her that he as well has taken EPO. During this time a team doctor has been caught with performance enhancing drugs, which leads the police to raid the Tour only to discover that drug use is normal.

Armstrong fully recovers and is asked to be part of the U.S. Postal Tour de France Team. Armstrong, and the rest of team, are blatantly doping. In ‘The Program’ we see deliveries to their trailer, needles put into shoes and, after injected, put into soda cans. Meanwhile, Walsh is hot on the tails of Armstrong. He tries to convince his editor that his instincts are correct, and says “Is it real or is it dope?” At the same time, Armstrong creates a cancer charity called Livestrong, where we see, in the film, him giving speeches to raise money for the charity.

Armstong wins not just one, not just two, not just three, but seven Tour de France championships in a row – the most ever wins in a Tour de France. In the meantime, Dr. Ferrari is arrested by the police for his illegal drug dealings. And Walsh finds a link between Ferrari and Armstrong that makes his case, and story, more credible. Fellow teammate Floyd Landis (Jesse Plemons), who was part of Armstrong’s team and who doped as well, and who wins the Tour de France in 1995, has his blood tests come back positive for testosterone. He’s stripped of his title, and Armstrong doesn’t accept him into the next year’s team, which becomes the catalyst for Landis to confess about the Armstrong, and the rest of team’s dope usage. Meanwhile, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency starts investigating Armstrong. At press conferences, Armstrong vehemently denies doping. But almost everyone in the rooms knows he’s lying. And Eventually Betsy (former rider Frankie Andreu”s wife), and others seek out Walsh to tell him all they know about Armstrong. Insurer Bob Hamman (Dustin Hoffman) has been hearing rumors about Armstrong, and if the rumors are true, will save his company $5 million in payouts to Armstrong for his win. It’s 2009, and Armstrong wants to make a comeback, and Landis ask to be let back onto the team, but Armstrong says no because he got ‘caught’ which becomes the Lloyd’s catalyst for Landis to confess about the rest of team’s (and Armstrong’s) dope usage. Meanwhile, Armstrong takes third place, very bitter that the new star on his team, Alberto Contador, has beat him. And Finally, we see Armstrong, after all these years, and allegations, on the Oprah Winfrey show, in which he tells her, and us, that yes, he’s been doping on every tour that he’s won. And hence his downfall, not just from racing, but from everything. Sponsors drop him right and left and his career, and perhaps his life, is left in tatters.

‘The Program’ follows the meteoric rise and dramatic fall of one of the biggest celebrities in the world of sport. But somehow director Frears misses his mark. Frears, who brought us the fantastic ‘Philomena’ and ‘The Queen,’ – both movies about two determined, strong and powerful women, doesn’t quite know how to grasp the story of a man who is conflicted by his quest for winning versus his choice to dope. His Armstrong is a bit of a cartoon character, a man who seems more possessed and less determined. And the women in his life are non-existant. There is Armstrong’s 2008 marriage to Anna Hansen in the film, but there’s no introduction to his first wife Kristine (with whom he had three children), nor his 2003 relationship with singer Sheryl Crow, nor his 2007 relationship with designer Tory Burch. Foster is fine as Armstrong, if a bit too passionate and overwhelmed, while O’Dowd is his usual self, dramatic and comedic when needed. But screenwriter John Hodge appears to have taken Walsh’s timeline of what’s in the book line by line without creating any dramatic license to make the film a bit more lively. And while there is exciting footage of bike races (and actual footage from the Tour de France), it’s not enough to make ‘The Program’ worth a view as it does not present us with anything new about Armstrong.



The Program [DVD] [2016] (DVD)

Director: Stephen Frears
Starring: Ben Foster, Chris O'Dowd, Lee Pace, Dustin Hoffman, Guillaume Canet
Rating: Suitable for 15 years and over

United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 5.1 ), English ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN (2.35:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Interactive Menu, Scene Access, SYNOPSIS: Ben Foster and Chris O'Dowd star in this sports drama about the Lance Armstrong doping scandal which was the subject of David Walsh's book 'Seven Deadly Sins'. Irish sports journalist David Walsh (O'Dowd) grows suspicious of professional cyclist Lance Armstrong (Foster)'s success, certain that he has been taking performance-enhancing drugs. As Walsh investigates, looking for evidence to prove his theory, Armstrong continues to deny his consumption of banned substances. The cast also includes Lee Pace, Dustin Hoffman and Guillaume Canet. ...The Program (2015)
New From: £5.29 GBP In Stock
Used from: £0.09 GBP In Stock

Off
28th Mar2016

Carol (DVD)

by timbaros

CAROL_Carol and Therese in the store at Christmas time_CA1_3079In the new film ‘Carol’, Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchette play two women who fall in love in a time when it was not accepted and actually frowned upon.

Director Todd Haynes, in his first film since 2007’s ‘I’m Not There,’ has crafted this movie in a style and theme that he’s used before. In ‘Far From Heaven’ Julianne Moore’s housewife faces a marital crisis – her husband is caught kissing another man so she takes comfort in the arms of a black man. Whereas in ‘Carol’ Cate Blanchette’s unhappy housewife falls into the arms of another woman. Both of these films take place in the 1950’s where it’s all dewey and lush and beautiful. And the attention to detail in both films is amazing, capturing the fashion and essence that was the norm of it’s time, where everyone made an effort to dress up, especially the women, even just to go shopping.

Blanchett’s character, Carol Aird, is in a loveless marriage but it’s not because her husband is cheating on her with another man, it’s because Carol is cheating on her husband with another woman. It’s not a mid life crisis that Carol is going through, she’s been linked to Abby Gerhard (Sarah Paulson) in the past, and Abby has always been in the shadows throughout Carol’s marriage to Harge (Kyle Chandler). Harge still loves Carol, he wants to stay married, but Carol insists that the divorce still go ahead, which is very difficult for the both of them because of their young daughter. But one day Carol goes into a department store and is eyed by employee Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara), who suggests to Carol to buy a train set for her daughter. Carol and Therese have chemistry, and the next day Carol invites Therese out for lunch to thank her for helping her out with her purchase. Eventually they start seeing each other more and more, and they fall headstrong into a relationship. Carol, who has the perfect husband and the perfect house, pursues a relationship with Therese, at the risk of losing custody of her daughter. Harge, in utter frustration over Carol’s new found relationship, seeks full custody of their daughter using a morality clause as the reason. And Therese risks her impending marriage to her boyfriend Richard (Jake Lacy) to be with Carol, and her and Carol embark on several trips together. It’s not until New Year’s Eve where they consummate their relationship in a full on one minute lip lock, which leads to a sexual act, again full on, there’s almost nothing left to the imagination. But will Carol’s impending divorce and the threat of losing her daughter and Therese’s burgeoning career as a photographer get in the way of their relationship?

Blanchett is magnificent as Carol, who risks losing her daughter yet has strong feelings for a much younger woman. Mara is even more superb as Therese, her innocence and naivete in full display. Both actresses are excellent, yet it’s Mara who ups Blanchette in the acting arena. The movie basically revolves around Therese and her coming of age not just with her career but with her sexuality as well. It would be a shame if Mara is reduced to supporting actress level as Blanchett does get top billing, they both deserve Best Actress Academy Award nominations but it’s Mara who should be on the podium. Chandler is also excellent as Carols’ husband – he’s got an ideal 1950’s look about him. ‘Carol,’ Based on the novel ‘The Price of Salt’ by Patricia Highsmith, was written at a time when it’s subject was considered scandalous, which Haynes truly captures. ‘Carol’ was filmed with Super 16mm to produce the muted hues of glamour magazines of the era, it’s romantic and dramatic and lovely to watch.


Off
20th Mar2016

Suffragette (DVD)

by timbaros

‘Suffragette’ is the story of the women who battled for equals right in London in the 1910’s, and it’s a must see

The plight of the British women who fought for the right to vote is beautifully told in the excellent film ‘Suffragette.’

‘Suffragette’ is told through the eyes Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan) in London, 1912. She works in a local factory, the Glass House Laundry in Bethnal Green, is married to fellow factory worker Sonny Watts (Ben Whishaw) and they have a young son. Watts has actually been a part of the factory since she was very young: her mother worked in the same factory and would strap her to her back when she went to work. Her mother died when she was four and Maud started working part-time there at the age of 7. At the age of 12, she started working full-time. She’s now a lead washer where she makes 13 schillings a week (compared to the salary a man is paid for the same job – 19 schillings a week). Watts has also been sexually molested by the hard core boss Norman Taylor (Geoff Bell). One day Watts is asked to accompany another women who’s to speak at Parliament about women’s working conditions and a bill to give women the right to vote. Watts wasn’t supposed to speak, but the other woman, Mrs. Violet Miller (Anne-Marie Duff) had been beaten up and didn’t look presentable, so Watts is thrust into giving the preprepared speech. Watts speaks from her heart, and from her experience, ignoring the script that was written. This lights something within Watts and turns her into an activist. She gets more more disgusted at the lack of women’s rights, and even more so when she sees young factory worker Maggie Miller (Grace Stotter), Violet’s daughter, being groped by Taylor in his office. Taylor is a sexual predator who believe women have no rights, and he tells Watts to ‘leave the vote to us.’

But Watts’ pleas to Parliament are not enough. They say that there is not enough evidence to support the bill. The women rebel in front of the Houses of Parliament; many are thrown to the ground by the police with little regard for the women’s safety. Some, including Watts, and fellow protestor Edith Ellyn (Helena Bonham Carter), are sent to jail, where they are humiliatingly stripped naked. But this doesn’t deter them, and this leads to Watts becoming a member of the ever increasing suffragettes – a group of women working full-time to advance the rights of women. The Suffragettes are led by Emmeline Pankhurst (Meryl Streep) – a woman who has given up her life to further the cause. She’s also in hiding for fear of getting arrested for leading the movement (during those times women had very little rights). Determined police inspector Arthur Steed (Brendan Gleeson) puts the women under surveillance – he won’t let them carry on with their protesting and letter box bombings – he wants them all arrested, especially Pankhurst, and calls the women the “East London ladies.” But Pankhurst rallies the women – she tells them at a gathering in a speech from a balcony “We would rather be lawmakers, not lawbreakers.” The women continue their protesting, even resorting to bombing an M.P.’s house, just to get their message across. But Watts eventually loses more than what she bargained for, but she’s more determined than ever to fight for the cause.
‘Suffragette’ tracks the foot soldiers of the early UK feminist movement, working class women who were forced to go into hiding to pursue equality. They were willing to risk, in their fight, their jobs, homes, families, and for some of them, their lives. And it’s a great movie. The film lies heavily on the shoulders of Mulligan’s portrayal of her character, a fictional character but someone who we route for every step of the way. It’s an unflawed performance that hopefully will see Mulligan receive an Academy Award nomination. Streep, who shares top billing, is only in the film for less than five minutes, but her character’s presence is felt all throughout the movie. Carter is perfectly cast as the local pharmacist and fellow activist, with a husband who supports her every step of the way. Carter is actually the great-granddaughter of Herbert Asquith – the Prime Minister during the time this movie takes place. Director Sarah Gavron (Brick Lane), working from a script by Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady), successfully and beautifully blends in actual footage of the real protestors into the film, in a film that effectively uses dark lighting and unglamorous costumes to set the mood of the times. And while the plot may be familiar (the recent Made in Dagenham follows a similar plotline), ‘Suffragette’ is an important film to highlight what women did to get equal rights. And we have to be reminded that they are still fighting, and in some countries around the world (Saudi Arabia), women still have very little or no rights.

‘Suffragette’ is now available on DVD



Suffragette [DVD] [2015] (DVD)

Director: Sarah Gavron
Starring: Carey Mulligan, Meryl Streep, Helena Bonham Carter, Ben Whishaw, Brendan Gleeson
Rating: Suitable for 12 years and over

British drama starring Carey Mulligan, Meryl Streep and Helena Bonham Carter. Maud Lancaster (Mulligan) was born in the Glasshouse laundry in London and knows nothing of the world other than performing her duties as a laundress and as a wife to her possessive husband Sonny (Ben Whishaw). When she hears of a group of women campaigning for the right to vote, she seizes the opportunity to break free from her mundane life and joins the Women's Social and Political Union. Together, the members of the militant organisation attend regular meetings chaired by their leader Emmeline Pankhurst (Streep) and plan their course of action to ensure politicans acquiesce to their requests, by whatever means necessary...Based on: True events Technical Specs: Languages(s): EnglishInteractive Menu
New From: £5.00 GBP In Stock
Used from: £1.97 GBP In Stock

Off
14th Mar2016

The Propaganda Game / Lapse of Honour (Film/DVD)

by timbaros

image001Two new films explore North Korean and Manchester societies

THE PROPAGANDA GAME

Spanish filmmaker Álvaro Longoria was granted access to film in North Korea and he has turned this footage into a documentary called ‘The Propaganda Game.’

Is what he is filming propaganda? Are the people in the streets real or is it all staged? Longoria was granted controlled access by the government of the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) to film in 2014. Him and his team were taken around the country by national officials, and not left alone at any time.
They meet up with Alejandro Cao de Benós, a native of Spain who because of his belief and love of communism ended up living in North Korea and is now one of the mouthpieces for the DPRK and Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un. Benós takes Longoria around the country, where Longoria is ‘allowed’ to speak to the locals who work at the museums. He’s also taken to the gym where Jong-un worked out (just once), and gets to speak to tour guides on the street. He’s even allowed into a Roman Catholic Church (where all the attendees happen to be very good singers).

We are shown North Korean life via Longoria’s camera: woman dancing in a pagoda, a wedding party taking photos of the bride and groom, children skateboarding and laughing – are these people really happy? North Korea is a country of 24 million people, yet has the fourth largest standing army in the world. They are armed with 20 nuclear warheads and have an increasing sophisticated missile defense system. And the country spends 16% of it’s GDP on the military. Yet the regime seeks to dominate every aspect of it’s citizens lives, and also terrorizes them from within. While they are given free housing, free education and free medical care, it is known that there is a severe food crisis, that some of it’s citizens are held in concentration camp-like prisons, and there is absolutely no freedom of expression or speech. It’s a Totalitarianism regime.

But the locals who speak to Longoria all have a mistrust and hatred for the United States. One official says ‘The U.S. tries to stifle and threaten our country.’
The documentary mentions the recent turmoil surrounding the film ‘The Interview’ where Seth Rogen and James Franco are sent on a mission to assassinate a Jong-un-like dictator – it almost led to a war. Longoria is also one of the very people to be taken to the Demilitarized Zone (which in theory it is not) – the line that separates North and South Korea. It’s fascinating to be able to see it and to see the intercut footage of Barack Obama on the South Side and Jong-Un on the North side during one of their separate visits in years past.

We are shown shiny new apartment buildings, new and expensive museums that are shrines to Jong Un and his late father Kim Jong-il (one that was empty on a Sunday), and huge statues and photos of both men in various parts of Pyongyang. Yet where does all the money come from to build this? How does North Korea’s economy work? ’The Propaganda Game’ raises more questions than what it answers. But it’s not at the fault of Longoria, it’s the mystery and secretiveness of a country where the children are practically brainwashed. It’s a fascinating documentary.
‘The Propaganda Game’ is now in UK cinemas and is now available to buy on DVD (See way below)

LAPSE OF HONOUR:

A young couple are in love in a rough Manchester neighborhood where drugs, crime and murder are rife, in the new VOD release ‘Lapse of Honour.’

20

Director and writer Rayna Campell has crafted a very British love story between two teenagers who have lots of obstacles thrown at them in the course of their relationship. It’s a story between Eve (Lady Leshurr) and Tom (Tom Collins). Eve finds herself pregnant and Tom promises to get a job to take care of her and the baby. But Eve has bigger ambitions; she’s determined to become a grime artist, but also wants to attend university. She lives with her miserable mother who doesn’t support Eve in anything she does. Meanwhile, Tom’s life isn’t much different. He lives with his alcoholic father who’s mixed up with a few local dodgy characters. When Tom takes the opportunity to make big money from one of these dodgy characters it’s a decision that has consequences not only for him, but also for Eve and his unborn baby.

‘Lapse of Honour’ is a well-made gritty urban drama by Campbell, who is also an actress known for her work in ‘Casualty’ and ‘Waterloo Road.’ The rest of the cast are no stranger to fame. Collins began his career in ‘Waterloo Road’ while Lady Leshurr is a MOBO-nominated music artist. It’s talent like them that makes this British film a very believable and hard-hitting film. It’s an auspicious debut for Campbell, who also produced the movie. Expect good things from her, both from in front of, and behind, the camera.

‘Lapse of Honour’ is now available on VOD

 



The Propaganda Game [DVD] (DVD)

Rating: Suitable for 12 years and over

New From: £9.36 GBP In Stock
Used from: £13.27 GBP In Stock

Off