Focus World’s First Movie On Demand - SUBMARINOSeptember 28, 2011

Focus World’s First Movie On Demand - SUBMARINO

Focus World

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: SUBMARINO (Focus World).

Blessed is he who loves his brother….
By Cynthia Kane


Denmark’s Thomas Vinterberg (THE CELEBRATION (FESTEN), IT’S ALL ABOUT LOVE, DEAR WENDY) is one of the architects of the Dogme 95 film movement. In 1998, he was the hottest new filmmaker internationally; today he’s a much underappreciated talent, and his newest film, SUBMARINO proves this.

Based on the acclaimed novel by Jonas T. Bengtsson, this is a story about three brothers, one, little Martin, who has no chance. So much so that he dies within the first scenes of the film as a baby. Their alcoholic mother could care less. Fast forward twenty years and we meet two brothers who have never found forgiveness and have never forgiven themselves.



Many who have seen this film have criticized it for the realism it portrays. To me, however, it gives hope that Thomas Vinterberg has once again found his voice. Not since THE CELEBRATION, a film that was so unique, in-your-face, a film that made the audience so uncomfortable, but was brutally honest in its portrayal of a very dysfunctional family come together for the 60th birthday celebration of their father.

What THE CELEBRATION had brilliantly that sadly SUBMARINO lacks is the use of humor – dark and twisted perhaps – but while we’re roiling in shock, there is also relief for us in the madness and absurdity of this celebratory weekend.


Yet… where would VInterberg or any filmmaker include the humor in this story? I don’t know, and perhaps the choice to stay clear of it was correct.

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VIPS - An Anti-Hero For Our TimesOctober 13, 2011

VIPS - An Anti-Hero For Our Times

Focus World

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: VIPS (Focus World).

So much larger than life, but it’s all true…an Anti-Hero for our times
By Cynthia Kane


Ever heard of THE ELITE SQUAD or THE ELITE SQUAD 2, two of the most all-time internationally successful films from Brazil? They have little to do with VIPS except for the fact that all three Brazilian films star the indefatigable, charismatic (and adorable) Wagner Moura.


This kid’s career’s going skyward,

just like his character in VIPS,

a film about one of the real-life top con artists of the century,

Marcelo Nascimento da Rocha.


Wagner Moura / VIPS (Focus World)

Moura plays this man, this Marcelo, who at various points in his life has been a police detective, a scout for the Brazilian national football team, a pilot, a pilot and a smuggler, the heir to the national airline, an international ji-hitsu champion, an music industry agent, and more, more, more.


This film focuses on his early years and his rise as a superb impersonator and con-artist. Like Steven Spielberg’s COME FLY WITH ME and like Leonardo di Caprios’s character, Frank Abganale, Jr, VIPS makes you delight in society being fooled, in the underdog getting away with criminal activity, but in a distorted kind of “Robin Hood” way... sort of. Both Moura and DiCaprio have that boyish, winning quality, a smile that makes you melt, a way of making you forgive their outrageous ability to lie and get away with it...most of the time. Both these films deal with bigger-than-life stories, but stories you can’t just make it - and maybe most of us wish we’d have that same chutzpah to get away with something, anything in our dull, everyday lives.


The story sets off when young Marcelo has had it with the torment he’s been taking in school and finds a way to embrace his classmates through impersonation. At night he dreams of his pilot father, a father who may or may not have ever existed or is simply a figment of his vivid fantasy world and energetic imagination. But on his mother’s hairdressing salary, there’s no money to go to flight school. This obviously doesn’t stop Marcelo. He makes it to a small airfield far from home in Sao Paolo where he’s soon bored stiff washing small crop-dusting planes and one day just takes off…flying.

As punishment, he’s dropped near the Brazilian-Paraguayan border where he gets to fly for a real job… and smuggle drugs for a big-time gang member. He takes on the name “Carrera” and becomes a favorite among the contrabandos – and no one seems to mind one bit that he’s got no pilot’s license. When he’s threatened by the cops and refuses to talk, he’s rewarded by the boss and sent home. But while it’s good to see Mom, it’s not the high life and soon Marcelo chomping to reinvent himself once again.

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Focus Premieres Political Documentary GNARR On DemandFebruary 09, 2012

Focus Premieres Political Documentary GNARR On Demand

Focus World

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: GNARR (Focus World).



By Chris Claro


The kabuki theatre of American politics has long drawn performers from outside its world to perform on its stage – and, as anyone who’s watched the 7,000 Republican debates held over the last few months can attest, it most assuredly is a stage, so it’s only natural that personalities successful in other arenas would take a shot at running for office. Though writers and actors and folk singers have all made attempts to be elected – some successful, some not – it seems that comics are the ones who are truly drawn to the absurdity and irony of the political system.

In 1968, deadpan Smothers Brothers regular Pat Paulsen got himself on the presidential ballot in a few states and ran a campaign during one of the most tumultuous years in American history. More recently, Howard Stern made a semi-serious bid for governor of New York, dropping out only when he realized he’d be forced to disclose his earnings. And just this year, Stephen Colbert started his own super PAC and outpaced Jon Huntsman in the South Carolina primary.


Which brings us to Icelandic comic – yes, an Icelandic comic – Jon Gnarr. With a resume of sketch and standup, Gnarr decided he could run the city of Reykjavik more competently than the incumbent mayor and declared himself a candidate, feeling that his possession of a commercial driver’s license and his stint as an attendant in a mental hospital gave him the credentials. That seemingly impossible quest is the subject of GNARR, a new documentary directed by Gaukur Ulfarsson.

To face off against the “kleptocracy,” that had been running Reykjavik, Gnarr started the Best Party. Initially, he told the press he wanted the job of mayor so he could make a nice salary and use the city-owned summerhouse. He also promised to have a number of “broads” on his ticket and promised farmers a free night in a hotel room with one of their animals.


GNARR (Focus World)

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Linda Cardellini In RETURN - DEMAND ITFebruary 28, 2012

Linda Cardellini In RETURN - DEMAND IT

Focus World

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: RETURN (Focus World).



By Chris Claro


RETURN, written and directed by Liza Johnson, opens with a shot of a decidedly unglamorous Linda Cardellini (FREAKS AND GEEKS) as Kelli, in combat fatigues, warily ascending an escalator in an airport. As her husband and daughters greet her, Kelli appears both frightened and exhilarated at the prospect of her homecoming, returning to a familiar situation that has become alien. A National Guardswoman who keeps the goodwill of her friends and family at bay by reminding those close to her that “a lot of people had it worse” than she did, Kelli finds, as many movie soldiers have before her, that


coming home can be even more devastating

than going to war.


Linda Cardellini / RETURN (Focus World)

Johnson keeps Kelli’s story intimate, a finely-wrought character study of the stress imposed on a family when war tears it apart, if only temporarily. Within days of her return Kelli angrily quit her job, begins to suspect her husband of having an affair, and finds herself in rehab to avoid jail. When her behavior puts her kids in danger, her husband has no choice but to leave with them.


John Slattery / RETURN (Focus World)

Cardellini plays Kelli as someone dealing with intense pain, but displacing it and in the process, alienating everyone around her. Cardellini’s portrayal is subtle and nuanced, delineating Kelli’s despair without spelling it out. She foregoes histrionics in favor of suppressed rage as she pushes away friends, family, and employers, finding a kindred spirit only after she’s thrust into rehab, in fellow veteran Bud. Played, in a true departure from his MAD MEN persona, by John Slattery, the shambling, easygoing Bud recognizes the turbulence that plagues Kelli and their scenes together are some of the film’s most affecting.


Linda Cardellini, Michael Shannon / RETURN (Focus World)

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On Demand Weekly Exclusive: WORRIED ABOUT THE BOY Trailer (Focus World)March 22, 2012

Focus World

From Focus Features, the premiere global brand in original and daring cinema, comes Focus World.


Charged with finding the most exciting voices in international and independent film, Focus World is proud to bring you WORRIED ABOUT THE BOY, the incredible life story of 1980’s pop-punk music sensation, Boy George.


Upon finishing high school, George O’Dowd (Douglas Booth, THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH) falls in with the wild members of the budding New Romanticism movement in London. After endless nights out at glitzy clubs alongside musicians, George starts his own band with the dream of stardom. However, with the glamour and drug addiction that accompanies celebrity status, can George find the true happiness he so desperately craves? In this truthful drama from acclaimed British director, Julian Jarrold (BECOMING JANE), Douglas Booth brings a powerful performance to the screen, backed by a stellar cast, including Marc Warren (HUSTLE).

WORRIED ABOUT THE BOY Premieres On Demand April 10, 2012.


See The WORRIED ABOUT THE BOY Trailer Exclusively. Click Below ... 



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EXTRATERRESTRIAL Has Landed On DemandJune 15, 2012


Focus World

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: EXTRATERRESTRIAL (Focus World).



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



By Sky McCarthy


As a movie genre, science fiction is often equated with horror. But in the Spanish film EXTRATERRESTRIAL, directed by Nacho Vigalondo, the entire sci-fi brand is merely used a backdrop to explore deeper emotional themes in human relationships. Very rarely is an audience expected to think profoundly during any plotline that contains elements like flying saucers, but Vigalondo challenges viewers to accept certain truths by placing his characters in the most alien of circumstances.


EXTRATERRESTRIAL opens in a very similar manner to any romantic comedy. Julio (Julian Villagran) suddenly awakens in strange apartment, only to realize that he may have slept with a beautiful girl named Julia (Michelle Jenner). At first, Julio cannot believe his luck but as they awkwardly converse, he realizes there may be a problem. Julia is uneasy and seems anxious for her one night-stand to leave. Before heading out, however, Julio notices that his cell phone reception is dead, the landline is out, and the TV refuses to turn on. The two avoid panicking but search the apartment for the source of so many electronic failures. Soon, after peering from the window, Julio sees a massive space ship and notices the streets are absolutely deserted. Scared for his safety, Julio decides it best to stay inside with Julia, forcing them to confront the night they just shared.

As the hours wane, Julia continues to fret while the audience is led to believe her sole concern may be the foreign visitors lurking just outside her doorway. Soon, however, the truth is revealed when Carlos, Julia’s boyfriend of many years comes by the apartment to check on his beloved. Naively assuming Julio to be a stranded friend, Carlos welcomes his girlfriend’s lover into their world. As the days pass and the threat of an alien attack becomes ever more present, the three form a fragile alliance that would never exist under natural circumstances.


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JUAN OF THE DEAD - New Take On Zombie ApocalypseAugust 17, 2012

JUAN OF THE DEAD - New Take On Zombie Apocalypse

Focus World

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: JUAN OF THE DEAD (Focus World), on demand today and in theaters next month.




We should have vacationed in Maui.

By Kate Asche Wilson

With the recent occurrences of drug induced psychosis and bath salt cannibalism there can be only one possible explanation: Zombie Apocalypse. Now I know the government has cleverly tried to link these outbreaks to drug use and mental instability, but don’t believe them. They are just trying to deny the inevitable. Arm yourselves with zombie specific knives from the home shopping channel, and maybe even a pocket chainsaw. Don’t let them catch you off guard. Your brains depend on it!

Now while your waiting for your weaponry to arrive in the mail why not watch JUAN OF THE DEAD to prepare for the massacre. It’s a campy zombie romp that channels the comedy of SHAUN OF THE DEAD, but with an air of nonchalance and a dash of Fidel Castro. If you don’t like zombie movies you obviously will not like this. I suggest maybe watching another classic Cuban film: DIRTY DANCING: HAVANA NIGHTS. But if you have a specific fondness for the undead and like your films funny and Latin, stay put. JUAN OF THE DEAD is perfect for you.

Written and directed by Alejandro Brugues, JUAN OF THE DEAD premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2011. The film follows protagonist Juan (Alexis Diaz de Villegas) and his gang of unlikely zombie killers as they exploit scared Cuban citizens by charging them for personally disposing of their undead family members. To be fair they do offer discounts for the elderly and children under twelve. Included in Juan’s gang of miscreants is a muscle man with a knock off Mike Tyson tattoo, the runner up to RuPaul’s drag race, and of course the standard fat friend. Together they face the Zombie Apocalypse with apathy and indifference until they discover that in order to save themselves they need to fight back.

Now it’s time to break up this film into The Good, The Bad, and the Surprisingly Political.

The Good:
The camp. I love the camp. To me you can’t have a serious zombie film. Just like all supernatural beings I find them much more entertaining if they have a cheeky attitude and really insulting personal characteristics. I don’t like emo vampires and brooding werewolves as much as I like politically incorrect ones, and that’s why JUAN OF THE DEAD succeeds. If this film wanted to take itself seriously it would, but that’s not why it was made. This film has sodomite insults, a choreographed zombie dance, whack a mole inspired killings, and one really inappropriate stripping scene. The camp is what makes this, and I respect it for that.

The Bad:
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On Demand Weekly Exclusive: 1/2 REVOLUTION Trailer (Focus World)October 01, 2012

On Demand Weekly Exclusive: 1/2 REVOLUTION Trailer (Focus World)

Focus World

Focus World presents, 1/2 REVOLUTION, an action-packed, visually stunning, and unique document of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution. As protestors face increasingly brutal police resistance, filmmakers create a breathtaking, on-the-ground view into history as it unfolds.

Omar, a Danish filmmaker, arrives in Cairo on January 24, 2011 – one day before the history making revolution begins. Staying with a friend and fellow filmmaker near Tahrir Square, the two take to the streets and begin to document the action. As the heavily armed and brutal police move in, the directors and their group of friends, using a combination of stunning HD footage with a variety of other discovered sources, provide a breathtaking lens into the dangers faced by those who partook in the uprising, and create an incredibly gripping and personal story from the Arab Spring.


See The 1/2 REVOLUTION Trailer Exclusively. Click Below...  

1/2 REVOLUTION Premieres On Demand October 9, 2012.

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