CityBeat - Couch Potato http://www.citybeat.com/cincinnati/articles.sec-80-1-couch_potato.html <![CDATA[Safety Last! - (Criterion Collection) 1923, Not Rated]]> There was a time when Harold Lloyd was as famous as Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. Yet it’s not really a surprise that Lloyd’s profile as a comedic master has receded in recent decades.]]> <![CDATA[Black Rock - (Lionsgate) 2012, Rated R]]> Aselton’s latest, Black Rock, raises the stakes yet again. Written by Aselton’s real-life husband Mark Duplass, the narrative opens as three young ladies — Sarah (Kate Bosworth), Abby (Aselton) and Lou (Lake Bell) — embark on a camping trip on a small deserted island off the coast of Maine. ]]> <![CDATA[Medium Cool - (Criterion Collection) 1969, Rated R]]> Writer-director-cameraman Haskell Wexler’s groundbreaking quasi-documentary captures the mood of a nation at high anxiety — a nation increasingly ruptured over an unpopular war and a seemingly radical counter culture that was bleeding into the mainstream. ]]> <![CDATA[The Newsroom - (HBO Home Entertainment) 2012, Not Rated]]> The Newsroom is at once a high-minded critique of what television news divisions have become (ratings-obsessed entities more concerned with the bottom line than with “speaking truth to stupid,” as one character puts it) and a wit-infused comedic drama with myriad romantic subplots (most of which come off as clunky rip-offs of the one that anchored James L. Brooks’ far more successful Broadcast News). ]]> <![CDATA[Sinister (Summit Entertainment) - 2012, R]]> Scott Derrickson’s genuinely creepy Sinister transcends many of the clichéd genre tropes that have sprouted up in recent years.
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<![CDATA[Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare (Lionsgate) - 2012, PG-13]]> Co-directors Matthew Heineman and Susan Froemke’s highly instructive, Sundance-approved documentary attempts to dissect the myriad issues related to healthcare.]]> <![CDATA[Magic Mike - (Warner Home Video) 2012, Rated R]]> Steven Soderbergh, despite threats of an early retirement, continues his relentless pace with the entertaining, sneakily incisive Magic Mike, the 49-year-old director’s 11th effort since 2004 and his third in less than a year following the effective thrillers Contagion and Haywire. (By comparison, his buddy David Fincher has made nine movies since 1992.)
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<![CDATA[Marley - (Magnolia) 2012, Rated PG-13]]> Why does Bob Marley — the man and his music — still resonate more than 30 years after his death? That’s a question director Kevin MacDonald tries to unpack in this straightforwardly rendered, often fascinating documentary about the Reggae legend.
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<![CDATA[Tanner Hall - Anchor Bay, 2009, Rated R]]>

No doubt resuscitated this year for a brief theatrical (and now DVD) release in advance of star Rooney Mara’s high-profile role in David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, this previously undistributed coming-of-age tale follows the melodramatic adventures of four friends on the verge of graduation from an all-girls boarding school in Providence, R.I. 

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<![CDATA[Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - Acorn Media, 1979, Not Rated]]>

In an interview included among this new three-disc set’s bonus material, novelist John le Carre calls Alec Guinness’ portrayal in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy of retired British spy George Smiley as “mystical.” And that’s the perfect word for it in this masterful BBC television mini-series from 1979, based on le Carre’s novel and adapted by director John Irvin. It’s making its DVD debut timed to the release of a new, theatrical version starring Gary Oldman and Colin Firth. 

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<![CDATA[Tabloid - IFC, 2011, Rated R]]>

Errol Morris makes a welcome return to the kind of quirky subject matter that marked his early documentaries. Closer in tone to his lighthearted 1997 film Fast, Cheap and Out of Control than his recent politically driven films (The Fog of War and Standard Operating Procedure), Tabloid explores the life trajectory of former Miss Wyoming Joyce McKinney. 

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<![CDATA[Attack the Block - Sony, 2011, Rated R]]>

Inevitable comparisons with J.J. Abrams’ similarly themed Super 8 favors writer/director Joe Cornish’s seemingly effortless ability to extract laughs and shocks from an alien invasion in urban London. Much of the movie’s success derives from the crackle of comedy that rolls off the Cockney-accented teen antihero thugs who dare to take on an army of pitch-black alien creatures attacking their estate housing tower.

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<![CDATA[Raising Hope: The Complete First Season - Raising Hope: The Complete First Season Review]]>

By now we should have learned that a sitcom needs at least a good half-season to find its legs. It’s easy to dismiss a new show early on in its run, yet history shows that even the greatest sitcoms had mundane starts. Raising Hope might be considered such a sitcom, but, in retrospect, its early episodes are pretty solid, and it has continued to get better. 

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<![CDATA[Music Makes A City - Owsley Brown Presents, 2010, Not Rated]]>

The Louisville Orchestra is in a sad state these days. While it attempts to reorganize after bankruptcy, its musicians are on strike and its fall season canceled. So while waiting and hoping for it all to sort out, it’s a good time to watch this new documentary on the orchestra’s remarkable history. 

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<![CDATA[Win Win - 20th Century Fox, 2011, Rated R]]> Stories about real people dealing with real situations are an endangered species in a contemporary American moviemaking landscape dominated by lowest-common-denominator teen-oriented fare and creativity-deficient sequels. Writer/director Tom McCarthy is doing his best to fight against this development.]]> <![CDATA[Life During Wartime - Criterion Collection, 2010, Rated R]]> Life During Wartime is something of a direct sequel to Solondz's 1998 film, Happiness, with one catch: All the characters are played by different actors. If you haven't watched Happiness in 12 years, it's not such a shock. Otherwise, the effect is disconcerting, like tuning in to your favorite soap only to find everyone has a new face.]]> <![CDATA[Phil Ochs: There But For Forture (Review) - First Run Features, 2011, Not Rated]]> Phil Ochs was Bob Dylan’s chief rival as a Folk-based protest singer in the 1960s — Christopher Hitchens, interviewed in this documentary, maintains Ochs was better, more politically pointed and with a more sarcastic and thought-provoking lyrical bite. But while Dylan went electric and became a Rock & Roll star, Ochs struggled with the transition to Pop, although his first ambitious attempt — a heavily orchestrated album called Pleasures of the Harbor — had astonishing variety and great beauty.]]> <![CDATA[Cedar Rapids (Review) - 20th Century Fox, 2011, Rated R]]> Miguel Arteta’s films have a specific sensibility, a whimsical yet grounded tone and feel that sets them apart from most everything else on the current cinematic landscape. The 45-year-old director’s work — from Chuck & Buck (2000) to Youth in Revolt (2010) — is no doubt informed by his status as a Puerto Rico native who moved to the U.S. to finish his education more than 25 years ago.]]> <![CDATA[Araya - Milestone, 1959, Not Rated]]> In 1959, Venezuelan filmmaker Margot Benacerraf’s Araya shared the International Critics Prize at the Cannes Film Festival with Alain Resnais’ Hiroshima, Mon Amour. Resnais’ film was a sensation heralding a new cinema, a New Wave. Today, it’s widely recognized as a classic of world cinema. But what happened to Araya? It disappeared.]]> <![CDATA[Derailroaded: Inside the Mind of Larry - MVD Visual, 2011, Not Rated]]> Derailroaded, which Josh Rubin and Jeremy Lubin named after a Fischer song and worked on for years as a labor of love, both with and without an often-troubled Fischer’s cooperation, considers whether Zappa insensitively opened a Pandora’s box without understanding the consequences, but it also shows that Fischer’s wild music and good humor — when he was in the right mood — was pretty infectious on those who encountered him.]]>