Coming of Age Teen Sex Comedy or Sci-Fi Horror Film?  It’s Your Guess…April 18, 2011


Coming of Age Teen Sex Comedy or Sci-Fi Horror Film?  It’s Your Guess…

Sundance Selects

On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: KABOOM (Sundance Selects).

 

A Tuscan backdrop to a puzzle, a mystery, a moment in time…
By Cynthia Kane
 
KABOOM is a film that’s so absurd, so over the top; the storyline defies all imagination, plus Director Gregg Araki has cast nothing but gorgeous youngsters and a couple gorgeous not-so-young folk, too. KABOOM exists entirely for the moment, in the moment.
 

Greg Araki
 
It’s the Kuchar Brothers mixed with John Waters mixed with early Gregg Araki…which means, it’s not for everyone, but it’s thoroughly entertaining. Just don’t think or look too hard for meaning. In the end, you’ll get it if you let yourself go for the ride.
 
The story: a college freshman, Smith (Thomas Dekker), who is sexually “undecided” arrives at a UCLA–like university with his best high school buddy, Stella (Haley Bennett) who just happens to be a lesbian. His roommate, Thor (Chris Zylka) is a hunky surfer-dude, dumb as a doorpost, who lusts for waves and girls. Their resident advisor is a druggy, older student called The Messiah (James Duvall). Or so it all seems…
 
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ALBATROSS Soars On DemandJanuary 13, 2012


ALBATROSS Soars On Demand

IFC Films

On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: ALBATROSS (IFC Films).


ALBATROSS
By Cynthia Kane

 

I was surprised to discover ALBATROSS is Niall MacCormack’s feature film debut; he’s done so much excellent television work in the UK (“Margaret Thatcher: A Long Walk from Finchley”, “Wallander: Firewall” with Kenneth Branagh) and well, I simply assumed he’d done plenty of UK indie features as well. Not so.

Filmed on the Isle of Man, ALBATROSS is then an assured first feature with a luminous cast including two young women whom I’m certain we will see much more of in the coming years. Jessica Brown Findlay – who’s already been seen this side of the pond as the young suffragette and lefty, Lady Sybil of “Downton Abbey” - plays Emelia Conan Doyle, a local girl, wanna-be writer, convinced that she’s related to Sir Arthur, and who lives with her elderly grandparents after her mother’s suicide.

At 17 and already out of school, she comes to work as a maid in Cliff House, a B&B overlooking the Irish Sea, where she meets Beth (Felicity Jones – CEMETERY JUNCTION, LIKE CRAZY, THE TEMPEST – directed by Julie Taymor with Helen Mirren), daughter of Cliff House’s owners, Jonathan and Joa. Despite the fact that Jonathan’s played by the brilliant German actor Sebastian Koch (THE LIVES OF OTHERS) and the imitable Julia Ormond (MY WEEK WITH MARILYN, THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON) who plays Joa, it’s the two teens that steal the show here.

 


It’s their story, their movie, despite all.

Jonathan’s a writer, or was… successful in writing one great book called Cliff House (and thus the family moved here) and Joa’s a frustrated actress, who’s all but given up her career and has become a kind of stage mother to their youngest daughter. Beth’s in her last year of secondary school, is conscientious and super-studious, overly serious and longing to leave the tense and frustrating world of Cliff House, make her way to Oxford … if she’s accepted. In walks Emelia into their lives one day and nothing is again the same. Beth is entranced, captivated by Emelia’s free spirit, Jonathan is seduced and stirred out of his writer’s block by her working class spunk and beauty, Joa’s immediately angst-ridden about the influence she could have on her daughter about to leave the nest and perhaps jealous of her own youth left behind. And Emelia’s, for once, the certain of attention and thrives on it. Yet the fun, naughtiness and attention don’t last, as what she’s really longing for is a friend, which she finds in Beth.

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Diego Luna’s Directorial Debut: ABELAugust 20, 2012


Diego Luna’s Directorial Debut: ABEL

FilmBuff

On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies on demand and from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: ABEL (FilmBuff).

 

See the latest Independent Movie On Demand (IMOD) Trailers here...

 

ABEL

By Sky McCarthy

 

It is difficult to present a refreshing look at the effects of an absent father on the leftover family unit. The narrative of a struggling mother trying to keep her children together has been played through Hollywood many times. But in ABEL, Diego Luna (Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN) in his directorial debut gives viewers a unique take on an all too common story. And while a rural Mexican town stands in for the backdrop, ABEL’s appeal is universal enough to give new meaning to the term “coming of age.”

 



When we are first introduced to Abel (Christopher Ruiz-Esparza), he is about leave a mental institution yet his original diagnosis remains unclear to the audience. Having not uttered a single word for two years, Abel concerns his doctors and loving mother, yet he is soon released to his family. As the young Abel begins to adjust to life at home with his younger brother and older sister, his troubled mind cannot process the new situation, resulting in sporadic panic-attack like outbursts. Abel then begins to exhibit peculiar behavior- sleeping in his mother’s bed, wearing his absent father’s ring and chastising his siblings.

Defying all rational thought, his family is forced to accept the fact that Abel is dealing with the grief brought on from their father’s absence by assuming his persona. But this physical reverie is shattered when the wandering father returns to their house. The ensuing confusion ultimately forces everyone to confront a very painful reality.

 



The juxtaposition of drama and comedy plays prominently throughout the film. Despite the nervous tension evoked by the young protagonist, it is uniquely comical to see an adorable little boy peruse the local paper, correct his sibling’s homework and question a new boyfriend several years his senior. Luna’s vision is executed very well by his young cast, which tackles a difficult story with maturity in every scene. Arguably, it is the many tender moments between the mother, Cecilia (Karina Gidi) and her son that make this film so believable and touching. All at once, Gidi portrays a strong, caring motherly presence for each of her children while also showing a saddened vulnerability when her husband returns. 

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