TRESPASS - Starring Nicholas Cage and Nicole Kidman Premieres Today On DemandOctober 13, 2011

TRESPASS - Starring Nicholas Cage and Nicole Kidman Premieres Today On Demand

Millennium Entertainment

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: TRESPASS (Millennium Entertainment).

Click Here For On Demand Weekly's Exclusive Interview With Director Joel Schumacher


TRESPASS - Starring Nicholas Cage and Nicole Kidman Premieres On Demand
By Chris Claro


This thing we call VOD is a strange beast. Populated mostly with smaller-budget independent films of a particular pedigree, video on demand has, in its relatively brief existence, encouraged the discovery of actors, writers, and directors who fly below the radar. It has offered a space to esoteric documentaries and earnest, star-free features shot in the hinterlands on a shoestring.

But every once in a while, it seems, a real live Hollywood-type movie premieres on VOD. Maybe a distribution deal falls through. Maybe there’s no marketing budget. Or maybe the director and his two Oscar-winning stars have holes in their schedules and villa payments to make.

Whatever the reason, TRESPASS, the new film directed by Joel Schumacher (THE LOST BOYS) and starring Nicolas Cage (LEAVING LAS VEGAS) and Nicole Kidman (THE HOURS) appears to be just such a movie. Released by Millennium, TRESPASS will have a day-and-date premiere “in theaters or order it with your remote,” as the breathless promos bark.


So now there are two venues in which to experience this turgid home-invasion thriller that starts at ridiculous, wends its way toward outlandish, and settles, in its third act, into total presposterousness. Cage plays Kyle Miller, a diamond broker whose go-go career has Kidman, the missus, feeling ignored. Aside from their issues, the couple has to contend with a typically self-obsessed and selfish teenage daughter. When a quartet of sadistic villains violates the Miller sleek sanctuary in pursuit of stones, cash, and maybe a kidney, the contrivances run amok, piling atop one another until they can’t do anything but topple over.


The bad guys, led by a genuinely scary Ben Mendelsohn (ANIMAL KINGDOM), have agendas, and the schematic script by Karl Gadjusek gives each member of the foursome his or her big scene to explain why they’re not really that bad, just misunderstood. Whether one is trying to recover his lost drug dough, regain custody of her daughter, or just express his psychopathic love for the ravishing Mrs. Miller, the crooks are each given paint-by-number colors that Gadjusek fills in dutifully.

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Joel Schumacher Brings His Talents To On DemandOctober 14, 2011

Joel Schumacher Brings His Talents To On Demand

Millennium Entertainment

On Demand Weekly's VOD Spotlight highlights stories from the On Demand industry. Chris Claro interviews director Joel Schumacher about TRESPASS (Millennium Entertainment).). Read our review of the film here.


Joel Schumacher Brings His Talents To On Demand
The director talks with On Demand Weekly’s Chris Claro about his home-invasion thriller, TRESPASS starring Nicholas Cage and Nicole Kidman


A Hollywood mainstay for almost forty years, Joel Schumacher’s career has been memorable as much for zeitgeist icons like ST. ELMO’S FIRE and FALLING DOWN as for his notorious entry in the Caped Crusader saga, BATMAN AND ROBIN. Throughout his time as a designer, writer, and director, he’s worked with everybody from Corey Feldman to Colin Farrell to Jim Carrey (twice).

Schumacher is back on both VOD and in theaters with his new thriller, TRESPASS. Starring Nicolas Cage, who Schumacher directed in 8MM, and Nicole Kidman, who worked with the director on BATMAN FOREVER, TRESPASS is a tightly-wound home invasion thriller set almost completely in the sleek waterfront domicile of the Millers.


Though the film is limited to almost a single location, Schumacher was determined to make TRESPASS more than just a filmed play. “It has to be very cinematic,” the director says. “You have to make sure that you’re not shooting it like an action movie, rather than a play. But you never know if it’s going to work.”

This isn’t the first time that Schumacher has backed himself – and his characters – into a tight spot. In 2002, the director made PHONE BOOTH, starring Farrell as a man whose survival depends on his staying on the phone. The similarities between that film and TRESPASS were not lost on Schumacher, who considers each a “concept” movie.

“A guy in a phone booth and voice on the other end says ‘if you hang up, I’ll kill you,’” says Schumacher. “What if four people invade your house and you, your wife, and your daughter are in jeopardy? Both good ideas, but then you wonder ‘what’s going to happen for the next 90 minutes?’”


PHONE BOOTH / Courtesy 20th Century Fox

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On Demand Enters The VINYL FRONTIER. Are You A Completist?October 18, 2011

On Demand Enters The VINYL FRONTIER. Are You A Completist?


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: THE VINYL FRONTIER (FilmBuff).

A babe in toyland
By Kris Scheifele


I live in Manhattan and if I wanted to, I could spend morning, noon, and night attending art events. One day, I was on 23rd Street in Chelsea on my way into I-20 gallery when a woman stopped to ask me, "Can anyone go in there?" I let her know that yes, the galleries are open to the public, but her impression of exclusivity really bothered me.

The vinyl toy movement is less intimidating, as portrayed by the documentary THE VINYL FRONTIER. For what you might spend on a dinner out, you can take home a limited edition toy/sculpture. Because these vinyl toys sit at the intersection between urban aesthetics—skateboarding, hip-hop, and graffiti—and cartoons, many are both menacing and cute—fanged bunnies, doughy skull-faced sprites, etc. While there are those who argue the fine art status of vinyl toys, many of the people creating these items have traditional mediums—painting, drawing, and/or printmaking—at the core of their practice.

The vinyl toy movement is populist in another regard: it plays out Joseph Beuys' assertion, "Everyone is an artist." Generic toys are sold, which allows toy enthusiasts to draw on blank white surfaces. There are even workshop-type gatherings where you can sit at a table covered with arts and crafts supplies to take part in the collective frenzy of personalization.

All this accessibility creates a bit of an addiction. It gives people the fever for collecting, which can compel some to stand in line for hours just to get a slight variation on a figure already on display at home. The film explains that these folks are called "completists," and they will collect everything by a particular toy artist—first the toy (or toys), then the skateboard, T-shirt, print, and whatever else. In other words, the purchase of a $7 toy can initiate the purchase of a $2000 painting—a definitively fine art purchase that might otherwise never have been contemplated.

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So You Think You Can JIG?October 18, 2011

So You Think You Can JIG?

Screen Media

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


JIG - On Demand

By Jean Tait


Ever since SPELLBOUND turned out to be a sleeper hit, documentary filmmakers have tried to replicate its success with stories of nerdy, but precociously talented kids in competition. JIG takes us into the world of Irish Dancing, that strange style of dance that blossomed as “Riverdance,” “Lord of the Dance” and the other Michael Flatley-inspired shows took over the world. Along with spreading the Celtic music and dance craze, these shows included tap dance and flamenco as well, so you could see how they influenced and inspired each other.


Sue Bourne, Director./ JIG (Screen Media)

As cheesy as these shows got, they certainly showcased some amazing dancers. I love dance. I love watching dancers do incredible things with apparent ease. However, I just don’t get Irish Dancing. I don’t understand the point of the stiff, expressionless upper body. I realize that as a style grows in popularity, certain traits get emphasized. It’s just like pure-bred dogs. And just as too much in-breeding leads to unhealthy traits like smooshed sinuses, too much in-breeding in a dance style can also become a strangely stylized attribute (probably just as unhealthy!).


And then there are the wigs, looking like Marie Antoinette met Dolly Parton and Shirley Temple on a humid day. At least some of the parents in JIG agree with me about the wigs. It must be terrifying to have your child become obsessed with something as strange as this. The parents in JIG, lord bless ‘em, are totally committed to supporting their children no matter how little they understand of the art form. My favorite part of the film is watching the parents and teachers watching the kids dance, almost dancing along, the way one pushes one’s foot down on an invisible brake when in a car with someone driving too fast!

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Kevin Kline in QUEEN TO PLAYOctober 21, 2011

Kevin Kline in QUEEN TO PLAY

Zeitgeist 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: QUEEN TO PLAY (Zeitgest Films).

A feminist fairy tale with powerhouse performances….

By Cynthia Kane


QUEEN TO PLAY (also known by its original French title JOUEUSE, meaning the “player”) is an effervescent tale about regaining something that’s special in life. After seeing it for the first time, I kept thinking by simply switching “y” for the “u”, JOUEUSE would become JOYEUSE, meaning “joyful” or “joyous” in the feminine form in the French language, which also made a lot of sense to me – there’s a joyous sense of play and finding the lost self in this film. The player, Héléne (Sandrine Bonnaire) finds enormous joy in learning to play chess, in challenging her mind, in finding a part of herself long locked away, in discovering a friend and mentor in the American Dr. Kröger (Kevin Kline).


With lesser known actors, this still would have been a delightful, thoughtfully subtle ruse on middle-age and “it’s never too late”, but screenwriter/director Caroline Bottaro, in her feature film début, smartly cast Sandrine Bonnaire (INTIMATE STRANGERS, LA CÉRÉMONIE, MONSIEUR HIRE, VAGABOND are probably best known to a U.S. audience) and Kevin Kline (A FISH CALLED WANDA, THE ICE STORM, DESPERATELY MAYBE)– in his first French-speaking role – which would serve to draw a bigger and an international audience.

Based on the novel, “La Joueuse d’echecs” by German writer, Bertina Henrichs, QUEEN TO PLAY tells a story about Héléne, a femme de ménage, in other words, a maid, who works at a local upscale hotel in a Corsican village and who takes on other cleaning jobs, such as the villa of Dr. Kröger, an American, living virtually as a “shut-in” since the suicide of his wife some years before.

One morning as Héléne cleans the room of a middle-aged, yet vibrant American couple (cameos by Jennifer Beals and Dominic Gould), she spies them in a seductively played game of chess on the terrace and becomes intrigued. Something clicks. Does she see it as a dynamic she’s lost over the years with her husband, Ange (Francis Renaud), a handsome construction worker she moved to Corsica to be with? Does she see it as an intellectual stimulation she’s lost touch with living her quiet life she chose in this remote and beautiful place? We’ll never quite know, but palpable and brilliant performer Sandrine Bonnaire makes you consider all these things as we take the journey with her.


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Film Movement

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: THE HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGER (Film Movement).

There’s a reason why it’s a long journey home...

By Cynthia Kane


Based on a celebrated Israeli novel by A. B. Yehoshua, “A Woman in Jerusalem”, THE HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGER – or as the title is known in Hebrew, THE MISSION OF THE HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGER - is an intricately woven, absurdist, tragic-comedy that feels as equally Israeli in its dark humor as it does Eastern European, tying the past to the present and then more.

One feels the historical connection what once was - although this and the Arab-Israeli conflict that propels the film’s beginning is never discussed or mentioned. Yet it adds to the allegorical essence of this “small” but significant film by Israeli filmmaker, Eran Riklis (LEMON TREE, THE SYRIAN BRIDE). To be honest, I do not know Riklis’ other films, but after watching this, I will seek them out on (on Netflix… or, Film Movement or wherever they may be available…)

The story is simple, and it’s not. The year is 2002. An immigrant worker, a Christian woman from an unnamed Eastern European country (it becomes clear via the language that it’s Romania – and indeed a good deal of the film was shot there in the Carpathian Mountains) has been killed in a suicide bombing on a bus in Jerusalem. Her name is Yulia Petracke and the authorities find a paycheck on the body, the only identity she has, then track her to a large, industrial, family-owned bakery.


When a angry punk journalist (Guri Alfi) from a tabloid writes a scathing article about the bakery connecting it to her death and the abandonment of the body, the Human Resources Manager (Mark Ivanir) is given the grueling task to find out exactly why no one has noticed her absence and why no one has claimed her body at the morgue. It seems she hadn’t even been working for some weeks at the bakery, but the night shift supervisor, in love with her and had to fire her when his wife discovered their affair , had agreed to keep her on the payroll until she found something else.

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Who done it? Amber 1, 2 or 3?October 21, 2011

Who done it? Amber 1, 2 or 3?


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: AMBER LAKE (FilmBuff).

Who done it? Amber 1, 2 or 3?

By Cynthia Kane


What kind of jerk would father three girls, by three different mothers, name each them after his favorite small lake, abandon them all, then expect each to want to meet him and their 2 half-sisters for the first time when he discovers he’s dying?


Meet Ambers’ father.

Amber Thomas (Polly Cole), Amber Hannold (Mekenna Melvin best known from the tv series CHUCK and LIE TO ME) and Amber Allen (Natalie Smyka) venture out of perhaps morbid curiosity, the need to belong, who knows quite what, after each receives a letter from their birth father (Carmen Argenziano) wanting to connect with them for the first and last time – he’s dying and wants to create a reunion of sorts at his home on Amber Lake.

Oh yes, this father is a psychiatrist – hmmm… maybe a little cliché, but then again, this is a first feature for this young filmmaker. Perhaps we can be somewhat forgiving. To make any film is extremely difficult; to make a half-way decent film at anytime, rare and exceptional; to make a brilliant film, first time out, next to impossible.

But this is not where we or where the film starts… a body is found on the shore of Amber Lake, and a local sheriff (Thomas V. Murphy) investigates, questioning these three women who have discovered their father floating face down and dead. In a Rashomon structured style, each Amber gives their own account, each varying in detail of what happened, each suggesting a sister may have been responsible for the death. Was it murder? An accident? The journey of this twisted (and very fun) film is the journey to the truth. Or so we think…


Written, directed and edited by emerging filmmaker Joe Robert Cole, this darkly psychological thriller with distinct comic elements was made on a shoestring budget, but while it feels very indie, harkening back to the early days of the Sundance Film Festival when indie was really indie, it comes off as a solid and professional piece of work – and certainly makes Cole a filmmaker to watch.


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ROMANTICS ANONYMOUS (Tribeca Film) - On DemandOctober 26, 2011

ROMANTICS ANONYMOUS (Tribeca Film) - On Demand

Tribeca Film

On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home.  ROMANTICS ANONYMOUS / Les émotifs anonymes (Tribeca Film). 

Chocolate Is Nothing To Be Afraid Of

By Kris Scheifele


Variety is the spice of life, unless it—along with most everything else—scares the living daylights out of you. The latter is the case for the two lead characters, Angélique (Isabelle Carré) and Jean-René (Benoît Poelvoorde), in ROMANTICS ANONYMOUS.

In France, this romantic comedy is called LES EMOTIFS ANONYMES, a title which doesn't really translate properly into English. In French, an émotif is not a romantic, but rather someone who has emotional issues, particularly a fear of other people. Plagued with anxieties, an émotif is deeply perturbed by mundane social situations, especially intimate ones. In France, they even have an Alcoholics Anonymous-type support group for émotifs to come out, so to speak, of the closets they literally hide in. It was as a member of this group that director, co-writer, and émotif himself, Jean-Pierre Améris, found his inspiration.

The plot is simple. Without knowing they share the same affliction, Angélique, émotif, goes to work for Jean-René, émotif, in Jean-René's ailing artisanal chocolate factory. Almost immediately, he asks his new hire out on a date. Not nearly as twee as the 2001 film, AMÉLIE, everything is super adorable and old-fashiony, but the story seems to be happening now which makes it hard not to think about the legal tinder box on which the film's premise rests. Eventually, this looming spectre fades as the two jittery lovebirds faint, sweat, and stutter through interactions fraught with self-perpetuated panic.

Obviously, variety, change, and mixing it up are definitely not the spice of life for Jean-René. Variety, however, will not be denied and spice literally saves the day. It just so happens Angélique is a brilliant, avant-garde chocolate chef, which she conceals for fear of the spotlight. Pink peppercorns, paprika, and Porcini breathe life into the unevolved, run-of-the-mill chocolates that have been both the safe staple and downfall of the business.

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MAN ON THE TRAIN - Starring Donald Sutherand & U2’s Larry Mullen Jr.October 26, 2011

MAN ON THE TRAIN - Starring Donald Sutherand & U2’s Larry Mullen Jr.

Tribeca Film

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: MAN ON THE TRAIN (Tribeca Film).


By Chris Claro


In the opening scene of Mary McGuckian’s MAN ON THE TRAIN, a steely-eyed loner steps into a pharmacy in search of pills for a migraine. When the pharmacist denies him the medicine, a gregarious older customer is only too happy to share his pain relievers with the stranger. Undaunted by the younger man’s taciturn reserve and mildly threatening demeanor, the older man invites him back to his house for water to wash down the pills.

So begins one of the most surprising and affecting films of the year, an exploration of two solitary lives and the ways in which they converge. With an understated grace, McGuckian offers a character study of a thief and a professor – each character is nameless – and the impact each has on the other. Slight of story but richly textured, MAN ON THE TRAIN is a mood piece, one that stealthily doles out its characters’ revelations at a deliberate, unhurried pace.


In his first acting role, U2 drummer Larry Mullen, Jr. is the eponymous railroader, rolling into town to set up a bank job with his mates. Mullen is tough to read as an actor; it’s hard to tell whether his quiet, buttoned-up portrait of the solitary thief is based on acting skills or lack thereof. Either way, he acquits himself and does justice to the character as he slowly reveals the layers beneath his reticent deportment.


And then there’s Donald Sutherland. For over fifty years, Sutherland has brought his enigmatic persona to films both great – ORDINARY PEOPLE, DON’T LOOK NOW – and not so – S*P*Y*S, SPACE COWBOYS – etching characters that are often inscrutable and off-putting. But in MAN ON THE TRAIN, Sutherland makes use of his physical stature and booming basso to imbue the professor with a verbose joviality that belies his profound loneliness. Living alone in a shambling old house that seems populated by the spirits of generations past, the sociable academic is thrilled at the idea of having a houseguest, criminal or not. With his piano, his conservatory, and his four empty bedrooms, the professor rattles about the house, tending to his guest’s needs with the enthusiasm of a man welcoming family for a holiday visit.

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THE LAST RITES OF JOE MAY With Dennis FarinaOctober 26, 2011


Tribeca Film

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: THE LAST RITES OF JOE MAY (Tribeca Film).


Click Here For On Demand Weekly's Exclusive Interview With Dennis Farina


By Sidney Falco


There are certain films, grand in scope (and budget) that aim for greatness and ultimately fail on an emotional level. And then there are films, smaller in scope (and budget), that aim for a similar greatness, but end up with mild emotional results. THE LAST RITES OF JOE MAY is one of these films; it is a straight-forward narrative tale about an over-the-hill hustler, played by the talented Dennis Farina, who wants to have one last shot at redemption.


Dennis Farina / THE LAST RITES OF JOE MAY (Tribeca Film)

Written and directed with simplicity by Joe Maggio, the film is reminiscent of films such as Vittorio DeSica’s UMBERTO D, and Louis Malle’s ATLANTIC CITY, most notably the latter film (which it never comes close to on a character or story level). Simplicity is the film’s strength; it is also its weakness. The script never really transcends the story – there is very little subtext in the film – what you see is what you get – and what you don’t know, eventually you find out.

Farina, a very complete actor in demeanor, makes all the right choices: he never over-sells himself as someone flashier (though you want him too). It’s a measured performance. Yet, the film, as well as Farina’s performance, lack any type of humor or dark comedy – a missed opportunity by the filmmaker – to counter the bleak setting, cold weather and dreary tone of the film. Granted, one could argue that this is not that type of film, but it’s gritty urban setting and shades of grey characters are nothing but tragic. The film’s a downer, and not in a good way.

There is nothing in the dialogue, nor the direction, that give Joe that extra bravado that we, the audience, long for. Dennis Farina’s face has the history, and his body language the rhythms (and the voice – no one can curse like Farina), but what comes out of his mouth is static and clunky (an attempt to hustle a slab of beef is meant, I think, to serve as a mild attempt at humor and characterization).


Dennis Farina / THE LAST RITES OF JOE MAY (Tribeca Film)

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Mark Pellington - Director’s Statement: I MELT WITH YOUNovember 07, 2011

Mark Pellington - Director’s Statement: I MELT WITH YOU

Mark Pellington

Earlier this year Lars Von Trier wrote a "Director's Statement" for his new film MELANCHOLIA (Magnolia Pictures). On Demand Weekly published it upon the movie's video on demand release and commented more director's should do this.


Well lo and behold, Mark Pellington (GOING ALL THE WAY) has written one for his new film, I MELT WITH YOU, released last week on demand a full month before it will hit theaters.




Mark Pellington


I MELT WITH YOU was designed and conceived as an allegory about male friendship and failure, set inside the powerful bonds of memory and promise. I was interested in exploring how middle aged men become far different creatures than they imagined they would be, and how they deal with it.

It's the story of four men searching inside themselves and finding emptiness. The film was super low budget and driven by commitment and passion from all involved, and we shot it in 18 days in Big Sur. I worked on the script with its creator, the writer Glenn Porter, and we received input and support from executive producer Neil Labute.

The movie has aesthetic influences in 80's new wave/punk rock, and the aggressive cut up poetics of William Burroughs. It was inspired by the likes of Cassavetes' Husbands and Mike Leigh’s Naked. It is quasi-experimental, intense, and personal film for me, a 180 degree turn from my last work. We were all a team, a small band of actors and crew who took our collective influences and life experience and threw it into a harrowing experimental blender, exploring the vagaries of friendship, regret, shame, failure, greed, and the desperate search for hope.

It is a film that loves music and understands the role it plays in the highs and lows of life. It is a tale, on the surface, of old friends being confronted by their youthful promise, and shifts into an exploration of the dark side, the weakness of the male psyche and men who ultimately hide from themselves and their responsibilities.


Thomas Jane & Mark Pellington / I MELT WITH YOU (Magnolia)

At the end of the day I MELT WITH YOU is just a movie. However, it is not for the squeamish. It's the type of film that is going to generate controversy and garner deeply felt polarized reactions. I very much look forward to yours.


- Mark Pellington



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VOD Spotlight: Mark Pellington (I MELT WITH YOU)November 08, 2011

VOD Spotlight: Mark Pellington (I MELT WITH YOU)

Magnolia Pictures

On Demand Weekly spoke with Mark Pellington, director of the new movie on demand, I MELT WITH YOU, starring Thomas Jane, Rob Lowe, Jeremy Piven, Christian McKay and Carla Cugino.

Frustrated by the often long process that comes with getting movies made today, Mark Pellington (GOING ALL THE WAY, ARLINGTON ROAD) resumed shooting music videos and began looking to, as he says, “take the creative process back to a more intuitive place of directorial freedom, and get out and shoot something down and dirty, yet meaningful— quickly.”

“I was looking to make a raw, visceral, music-driven film that expressed where I was in my life,” said Pellington.


Mark Pellington

He returned to a script (inspired by LA GRANDE BOUFFE (THE BIG FEAST)) from a lifelong friend, Glenn Porter, about men who had made an idealistic pact in college in their early twenties, and who are forced to confront the promise they made 25 years later.

“We are both 48, and found ourselves asking where our generation's version of Cassavetes’ HUSBANDS is…

where is the film about

our life experience?”

Pellington says.


Together, they embraced the punk rock spirit of making the film their way and said “fuck it, let’s just do it ourselves,” Pellington recalls.

What transpires is a very dark, raw film. “Rather than provide answers,” offers Pellington, “The film asks a lot of questions about the real life experiences of males. I MELT WITH YOU is about self-examination and connecting with the human soul. It could be from an email. I got an email from a friend I hadn’t heard from in 20 years who saw the film.”

I MELT WITH YOU has a very recognizable cast. It started with Thomas Jane as Richard the teacher and former novelist. The film opens on Jane in the classroom with the “Uncover & Real” lesson written on the chalkboard. Pellington explains writing is the thing Richard can’t do in his life


Thomas Jane & Mark Pellington / I MELT WITH YOU (Magnolia)

They then cast Rob Lowe, Jeremy Piven and Christian McKay in the remaining three lead roles. “I needed male actors who had the courage to dig pretty deep, and Rob, Tom, Jeremy, Christian— they just went for it,” said Pellington. As the beginning of film continues, we see the remaining three characters leave their daily lives to embark on their annual reunion.

Thomas Jane, Rob Lowe & Jeremy Piven / I MELT WITH YOU (Magnolia)


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IFC films Brings Bertrand Bonello’s HOUSE OF PLEASURES To On DemandNovember 09, 2011

IFC films Brings Bertrand Bonello’s HOUSE OF PLEASURES To 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: HOUSE OF PLEASURS (IFC Films).

When times get tough, liberal acceptance and tolerance take the first hit…
By Cynthia Kane


What is it that attracts us to the 19th century romanticist notion that whorehouses were more than just that… that they were houses of pleasure, houses of love, places where notorious acts of the flesh could, if only, turn into quixotic love?


In this gorgeously and sensuously photographed film directed by Bertrand Bonello, there’s honesty and brutality amidst the beauty of the women who live and work here… in this so-called “house of pleasure”. Yet there is no real pleasure for these women who are little more than slaves, no house of romantic notions except for the men who come incessantly to satisfy their needs from these young – and some barely pubescent - women. In the end it’s only a place that takes and takes and takes from these young prostitutes, from the men who come to be serviced and the madam who attempts to make her fortune.

HOUSE OF PLEASURES is a complex, a dreamlike journey descending into hell. A metaphor one thinks of the romantic dream of the 19th century turning into the genocidal, bloodthirsty and dehumanizing century of the 20th. It’s as if we’re sucked into a sumptuous, deliriously gorgeous nightmare from which we’ll only awaken 2 hours+ later, when the film thrusts us back into the Parisian streets of the 21st century. Thrust into cold contemporary reality only to be haunted by the previous images we’ve absorbed...

I wonder if this is closer to the film

Stanley Kubrick wanted to make

when he directed EYES WIDE SHUT?


Released by IFC FILMS in the U.S. as HOUSE OF PLEASURES (also known as HOUSE OF TOLERANCE in the UK and L’APOLLONIDE: SOUVENIRS DE LA MAISON CLOSE, its title in competition at Cannes), this is a film that will stay with you long after like a hallucinatory trip that we at once long to never escape and wish to God we’d never took. This is a director with much to say, but never directly. He’s an illusory poet leaving us to figure it out. He seems to want us to long for and repulse from all of it at once.

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What Happened To Larry Hillblom, Billionaire And founder Of DHL?November 16, 2011

What Happened To Larry Hillblom, Billionaire And founder Of DHL?

Gravitas Ventures

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: BILLIONAIRE (Gravitas).



Larry Hillblom, billionaire and founder of DHL, dies in plane crash off his Micronesian island home, and dozens of would be heirs seek to lay claim to his billions.
By Sidney Falco


We’ve all been in the supermarket, glancing at the tabloids and wondering if perhaps, some odd story is remotely true. One of these stories that could have been ripped from the tabloids, yet is true, is the death Larry Hillblom, one of the Founders of DHL. Hillblom died in 1995 in a plane crash off the Micronesian Islands in the Pacific Ocean, near his home, on the island of Saipan. His body was lost at sea and his death was a mystery to some residents of Saipan. That is the simple part of the story. As Journalist Peter Manso (who covered what transpired after Hillblom’s death) says in the film, “That’s where the trouble starts.” After he died, dozens of would be heirs came forward to lay claim to Hillblom’s fortune.


BILLIONAIRE, directed by Alexis Spraic, is a fascinating story of a Man and his Fortune – I can see why the filmmaker was attracted to such material. Truth is stranger than fiction and this cliché proves true this time around. The film is part documentary, part mystery, and all entertaining. The mystery aspect centers mostly on whether or not a 10-year-old Filipino boy named Larry Jr. is the son of Larry Hillblom. Without getting too deep into the narrative (and some of the various legal complexities), all the elements are there for a ripe Hollywood drama: rich, greedy corporate men taking advantage of the poor; a local, small time Lawyer taking on a big corporation; tampering and destroying of DNA evidence; illicit and questionable sex, all for none other than a few billion dollars.

“Did Larry father Larry Jr.? Why was his Will never updated? And why did he have such an affinity for female virgin prostitutes? Some of those questions, and many others, you will get answers to while watching BILLIONAIRE, but the question I asked myself after the film was over was, who was the real Larry Hillblom? Frankly, you don’t know and I do not think the filmmakers know either. While a truly fascinating story, there is very little humanity in the Larry Hillblom portrayed in BILLIONAIRE, especially once the film’s narrative veers towards the mystery aspect of whether or not he fathered a child (a simple internet search will give you your answer if you do not want to see the film).


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SLEEPING BEAUTY - Now On DemandNovember 16, 2011


IFC Films

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


By Amy Slotnick


Beautiful and broke, Lucy (Emily Browning) is a student looking for extra work to make ends meet. Like many before her, she finds the money made in sex work too great to resist. However, this work is atypical, even for a prostitute. The service she works for caters to a wealthy and senior clientele, white haired men who want to fondle her while she is drugged into a deep sleep. Penetration is forbidden, but abuse is not. When Lucy awakes, she remembers nothing, and it seems, at least initially, that she is able to avoid any emotional penetration as well.


The wide shots of Lucy’s slim, naked and limp body being groped by elderly men are soundless and long shots, making the dark urges being enacted seem even more disturbing. Lucy instinctively knows this is unhealthy for her, but her double life continues, while she wonders what is being done while she sleeps. It is the audience who knows more about the horrific details of her life than she does, and it is no fairy tale. We get glimpses of her life outside this job, but none of it is more fulfilling for her. She has a mysterious bond with an alcoholic she calls Birdman, but it is never clear what they mean to each other.


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5 Compelling Items About FILMS OF FURY: THE KUNG FU MOVIE MOVIENovember 18, 2011


Phase 4 Films

FILMS OF FURY: THE KUNG FU MOVIE MOVIE (Phase 4 Films) premiered on demand November 1st.  Here are 5 Compelling Items About FILMS OF FURY: THE KUNG FU MOVIE MOVIE



1. The action-packed martial arts documentary is written by Ric Meyers, who has been inducted into five international Martial Arts Halls of Fame for his extensive body of work in Kung Fu.

2. FILMS OF FURY: THE KUNG FU MOVIE MOVIE premiered at the San Diego Comic Con Superhero Kung Fu Extravaganza, which was also hosted by the film’s writer.

3. This film is based Rick Meyers’ book FILMS OF FURY: THE KUNG FU MOVIE BOOK

4. FILMS OF FURY: THE KUNG FU MOVIE MOVIE includes scenes from over two hundred of the greatest martial arts movies ever made

5. This documentary features Kung Fu legends Bruce Lee (Enter the Dragon, Fist of Fury), Jackie Chan (Rush Hour, The Spy Next Door, The Karate Kid, The Forbidden Kingdom), Jet Li (The Expendables, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, The Forbidden Kingdom), and Chuck Norris (“Walker, Texas Ranger)


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ULTRASUEDE: IN SEARCH OF HALTSON Now On DemandDecember 27, 2011


Tribeca Film

On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of movies on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: ULTRASUEDE: IN SEARCH OF HALTSON (Tribeca Film).


By Amy Slotnick


Halston was America’s first celebrity designer, dressing the country’s most glamorous performers and first ladies, and was the first to become a household name. Known for this love of excessiveness and glamour, Halston epitomized the 1970’s. After designing Jacqueline Kennedy’s iconic inaugural pillbox hat, Halston launched his own line of clothing. Known for its casual chic and modern, fluid lines, his clothes flattered women in the signature fabrics, jersey and ultrasuede.


Halston was a central figure of New York City’s nightlife

and his clothes became ubiquitous amongst an elite circle,

which included Liza Minelli, Truman Capote, Andy Warhol and Bianca Jagger.


The new documentary, ULTRASUEDE: IN SEARCH OF HALSTON, follows a string of successful documentaries about fashion greats such as Valentino, Vogue’s September Issue and photographer Bill Cunnigham. Director Whitney Sudler Smith leads his investigation on camera, interviewing many of Halston’s famous friends, muses and critics. The most interesting characters uncovered are those not as well known, such as Halston’s boyfriend, artist Victor Hugo, and the Dupont twins, revelers at Studio 54 who are candid about the drug abuse of the period.

Halston was also a leader in the licensing trend, lending his name to a wide range of products, including carpet, housewares and frangrances. He attempted to democratize fashion and dress America when he made a $1 billion contract with JC Penny to create a line of affordable Halston designs. Although today designers from Versace to Alexander McQueen have succeeded with mass-produced lines for Target and H&M, at the time the move tainted his brand.


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VOD Spotlight: U2’s Larry Mullen Jr.January 07, 2012

VOD Spotlight: U2’s Larry Mullen Jr.

Tribeca Film

On Demand Weekly's VOD Spotlight highlights stories from the On Demand industry. Chris Claro interviews U2 drummer turned actor, Larry Mullen Jr. about MAN ON A TRAIN (Tribeca Film). Read our review of the film here.


Larry Mullen Jr. Drums Up Interest On Demand
The drummer from an iconic band talks with On Demand Weekly’s Chris Claro about his cinematic acting debut.


At 50, Larry Mullen, Jr. would appear to have precious few mountains left to scale. Founding member of the internationally acclaimed, universally respected, still-together U2, Mullen has provided the band his steady backbeat for over thirty years. He and his mates have sold over 150 million records, won 22 Grammy Awards, and are esteemed not only for their continued relevance, but their ability to bring light to the world’s ills. But even with all that, Larry Mullen, Jr. had the desire to do something new. The cliché goes that all actors want to be rock stars and all rock stars want to be actors, so just as Elvis, Bowie and Mick did before him, Mullen decided to take a shot at another kind of performance.


The film he chose as his debut, MAN ON THE TRAIN. It’s a remake of the French original, co-starring Donald Sutherland as a lonely professor who befriends a mysterious and taciturn stranger. The two men have a profound effect on each other and the film is an engaging, if obtuse, look at their offbeat friendship. Mullen’s involvement in the project came out of a meeting he had with his friend, the director of the film, Mary McGuckian. Though she encouraged him, Mullen was initially reticent, as he felt acting was “kind of a lead singer thing to do.”

“It’s not a dream a drummer is supposed to have,” Mullen explains. But McGuckian asked Mullen to watch the original MAN ON THE TRAIN, which starred Johnny Halliday, who was considered by some to be the French Elvis. “And he does this film and it’s a hit all over the world,” says Mullen. Halliday’s success acting in the film made Mullen less hesitant about taking the plunge into acting. “I was watching how somebody in your business actually can make that transition without too much embarrassment,” Mullen says.

Mullen was impressed that a novice such as Halliday could score onscreen, and jumped at the opportunity to take a stab at the same role, undaunted by his own lack of training. In fact, Mullen felt that his lack of professional acting skills made performing in the film easier for him. “Having no knowledge or training gave me a get-out-of-jail-free card,” he says, “I couldn’t fall back on technique if I had a problem. I just had to get up and do it again, which I did. Since I didn’t know any better, I wasn’t embarrassed in front of Donald Sutherland.”


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Bernard Rose’s MR. NICE - the story of the drug smuggler Howard MarksJanuary 18, 2012

Bernard Rose’s MR. NICE - the story of the drug smuggler Howard Marks


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: MR. NICE (Filmbuff).



By Chris Claro


Bernard Rose’s MR. NICE is the fact-based story of the titular drug smuggler – real name Howard Marks – who tangled not only with police MI6 and the CIA, but developed a dangerously close relationship with the IRA through one of its busiest arms dealers, Jim McCann. Written, directed, edited and photographed by Rose (IMMORTAL BELOVED), MR. NICE eschews the horrors of MIDNIGHT EXPRESS and lacks the self-assured bounce of BLOW, though it tells a similar story of the rise and fall of one of the most notorious dope peddlers of the 20th century.

Rhys Ifans (ANONYMOUS) stars as Marks, who spends his childhood dodging school and bullies, but makes it to an elite university, where he is turned on to the power of hashish as both a narcotic and a source of income. Savvy enough to grasp that he’ll need allies on both sides of the law Marks forms a partnership with the violent McCann (David Thewlis, WAR HORSE) even as he assures his buddy MI6 contact McMillan (Christian McKay, TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY) that he will spy on McCann and report back on his activities.

Though MR. NICE features numerous staples of the drug-smuggling flick, including exotic locales, a charismatic lead, and a stand-by-your-man wife (Chloe Sevigny, BOYS DON’T CRY), the film is curiously flat. It’s an uninspired biopic that tells its story in a disappointingly conventional linear format. Not that every crime flick needs a disjointed timeline or a period-appropriate score to give it some zip, but drug smuggling has been a cinematic staple for so long that revisiting it requires a filmmaker to bring something new to the genre.


Sporting a wig that may be historically accurate but makes him look like the lead in a Jeff Beck cover band, Ifans plays Marks as a devoted family man who just happens to move millions of dollars worth of dope for a living. Motivated by the cash, Marks is almost smart enough to avoid getting caught, but expanding his empire to the US proves to be his undoing. Ifans makes the character a charming rogue but little more.

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3 Things You Should Know About DONNER PASSJanuary 25, 2012

3 Things You Should Know About DONNER PASS

Freestyle Digital Media

DONNER PASS tells the story of settlers in 1846 that became snowbound in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and had to resort to cannibalism to survive. Some 150 years later, a group of teens on a snowboard trip discover that the curse of the Donner Party still haunts those mountains when members of their group start turning up not only dead, but half-eaten. Nothing - and no one - is what it seems and history doesn't always stay in the past.


1. Based on a true story – In the winter of 1846, George Donner and his Donner Party were stranded in the snow and were forced to resort to cannibalism to survive.

2. The film is directed by Elise Robertson; it is her first feature and she is on a small list of female horror film directors.

3. Horror icon John Kassir, best known for voicing the Crypt Keeper on Tales from the Crypt, has a role in the film.



- Britt Bensen

Britt is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-founder of On Demand Weekly. He is the former head of Affiliate Marketing and VOD for Sundance Channel. Prior to Sundance Chanel, Britt worked for Miramax Films and BMI. He also on the Advisory Board of the Palo Alto Intl Film Festival.

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