Who Made Your Favorite TIM AND ERIC’S BILLION DOLLAR MOVIE Pledge?February 01, 2012


Who Made Your Favorite TIM AND ERIC’S BILLION DOLLAR MOVIE Pledge?

Magnolia Pictures

If you haven't heard by now, Tim and Eric are taking their act from the small screen to the silver screen with their movie TIM AND ERIC'S BILLION DOLLAR MOVIE (Magnolia). It is available in theaters on March 2nd, but is available on demand now.

 

In an effort to make as many people know, Tim and Eric are asking people to take the following pledge.

 

 

They're asking people to:

- see the film with a family member or friend.

- in a theater within 50 miles of their location, or on demand if can't be seen in theater (BTW - it's not in theaters until 3/2/12, but on demand now!).

- tell a minimum of four people about B$M.

- not to Bit Torrent B$M

- and don't see THE LORAX.

 

Kudos to Tim and Eric for a clever way to spread word about the film and has resulted in positives pledges from some notable actors & personalities. Tweet or Facebook us which you like the most.

 

Ben Stiller

 

Paul Rudd

 

Natasha Leggero

 

Elijah Wood

 

Andy Samberg and Rashida Jones

 

Al Yankovic

 


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AFTER FALL, WINTER ON DEMANDFebruary 02, 2012


AFTER FALL, WINTER ON DEMAND

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: AFTER FALL, WINTER (FilmBuff).

 

AFTER FALL, WINTER

By Chris Claro

 

Early in Eric Schaeffer’s overlong and icky AFTER FALL, WINTER, a French woman reminds Schaeffer’s character that “there’s a big difference between you thinking your life is interesting and anyone else thinking it is.” It’s interesting that the guy who wrote that line is as unaware of its stinging truth as Schaeffer is.

A filmmaker who has made a cottage industry of making films that explore his self-perceived interestingness, Schaeffer has spent almost twenty years offering variations on his neurotic, self-obsessed, insufferably narcissistic persona, beginning with the twee MY LIFE’S IN TURNAROUND, to the precious IF LUCY FELL, through the indulgent THEY’RE OUT OF THE BUSINESS. Now it seems that he has topped himself with the truly offensive AFTER FALL, WINTER.

Set in Paris, AFTER FALL, WINTER features the return of Schaffer’s TURNAROUND protagonist, Michael, a one-and-done novelist half a million dollars in debt. Convinced by a friend to shake his depression in Paris, Michael heads to the city of lights where he meets Sophie, a woman who lives a bifurcated life as both a dominatrix and a glorified candy striper. As their relationship progresses, secrets are revealed, lives are changed, and much BDSM is displayed.

Schaeffer’s Michael is a deplorable character, equal parts self-pity and narcissism, and his 130-minute odyssey, which leads to a grossly contrived ending straight out of ROMEO AND JULIET, is crass and unpleasant. Schaeffer wants his audience to think that he’s being “daring” by depicting aberrant sexual practices and full frontal male nudity as signifiers, but what he’s really doing is working out his own neuroses under cover of fiction. The creepy, voyeuristic vibe of AFTER FALL, WINTER is one of its least savory characteristics and keeps the audience from truly connecting with its characters.

A series of prolonged conversations punctuated by “shocking” scenes of sex and bondage, AFTER FALL, WINTER is less a movie than an indulgence, something that is true of almost all of Schaeffer’s work. As writer, director, producer, and star, Schaeffer clearly does not play well with others, eschewing collaboration in favor of shining the light on himself and his character, such as it is. As a result, enduring a Schaeffer film is akin to one of the great guilty pleasures for New Yorkers of the 1970s: watching unctuous, oily talk show host Stanley Siegel engage in therapy sessions on the air. (If you’re outside the tri-state area and haven’t experienced it, do a youtube search for Siegel. You won’t be sorry.)

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LOVELESS - Now On DemandFebruary 08, 2012


LOVELESS - Now On Demand

FilmBuff

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: LOVELESS (FilmBuff).

 

LOVELESS
With this Peter Pan, it’s not his nose that grows when he is lying
By Adam Schartoff

 

Andrew (Andrew von Urtz) is a middle aged single New Yorker with a dead-end job. While never explained, the scenes at work could be out of the OFFICE SPACE handbook. Clearly this is an intelligent, reasonably good looking guy, who has never been especially ambitious about much in his life or, if so not for a long while. To take his mind off that, Andrew continues to try to bed a growing pool of age-inappropriate women while the perfect one, his on-again, off again girlfriend Joanna (Cindy Chastain) is right under his nose. Her only flaw seems to be that she adores Andrew.

 



While Andrew continuously tries to get his screenplay financed —a script that is never explored in this movie— the opportunity of a lifetime literally falls into his lap in the form of the gorgeous Ava (Genevieve Hudson-Price). They meet in a bar late one night after she gets into a brawl with another woman. Andrew pursues Ava for her obvious assets until finally he ends up in her bed. That bed, for better or worse, is in house that Ava shares with her endless supply of swarthy brothers and one painting of their Dad.

 


One of LOVELESS’s running gags is that all the siblings have an active relationship with the late beloved patriarch, constantly seeking his approval though he is long since deceased. Whether the late father approves or disapproves of Andrew is an ongoing issue which resolves itself with Ava commitment to being in Andrew’s movie and financing it with the family money. It turns out that dead Dad was a real estate mogul.

LOVELESS is the product of filmmaker Ramin Serry (2002’s MARYAM) who based his character, Andrew, on his real-life good friend, von Urtz. If there’s an essential problem with LOVELESS, a character study, it’s that its main character, while not holey unlikeable or unsympathetic, is hard to fathom.

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SENNA On DemandFebruary 09, 2012


SENNA On Demand

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: SENNA (FilmBuff).

 

SENNA

By Chris Claro

 

You never know what you’ll get with a sports documentary. Some are overlong and didactic, like HOOP DREAMS or Ken Burns’ BASEBALL. Some, like MURDERBALL and DOGTOWN AND Z-BOYS, take you inside an unknown enclave of sports esoterica. Bud Greenspan’s series of Olympic docs offer viewers dizzyingly close-up views of the danger and precision of elite sports. And Leon Gast’s WHEN WE WERE KINGS brought Ali’s charisma and danger to a new generation.

Where Asif Kapadia’s SENNA excels – pardon the pun – is in showing how one sportsman, Brazilian Formula One driver Ayrton Senna, captivated and united his home country, even as he was derided by fellow drivers for his showmanship and selfishness on the track.

 



SENNA has all the hallmarks of a sports film, including an impossibly handsome, flawed hero at its center. Born of privilege outside Sao Paulo, Senna rose from go-cart racing to winning the F1 championship three times. Throughout his racing career, his fan base grew but he alienated his colleagues, none more so that Alain Prost, with whom Senna would have a rivalry that culminated in a controversial crash during the 1990 Japanese Grand Prix.

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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).

 

GNARR

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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Julie Bowen, Connie Britton And More Star in Tribeca Film’s CONCEPTION - Now On DemandFebruary 24, 2012


Julie Bowen, Connie Britton And More Star in Tribeca Film’s CONCEPTION - Now On Demand

Tibeca 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: CONCEPTION (Tribeca Film).

 

CONCEPTION
By Amy Slotnick

 

Nine romantic couples on the eve of conception. First time, first date. Erotic and neurotic. CONCEPTION shows us vignette-like scenes, immersing its audience into nine separate relationships.

The implications of sex are made relatable and humorous by the a talented cast including Julie Bowen (“Modern Family”),, Sarah Hyland (“Modern Family”), David Arquette (NEVER BEEN KISSED), Connie Britton (“Friday Night Lights”) and Alan Tudyk (DODGEBALL).

 



We follow these couples in various set ups, one on a blind date, another going through fertility treatments. Pairs are shown in long-standing and dysfunctional relationships. Some sex-deprived, others over-sexed. What they have in common is that all are about to conceive, however not intentionally for all.

 


It’s a cute concept, but the film is weakened by the limitations of its many sketch-like scenes that provide a lack of feeling for any one story in the ensemble. As a result you never get fully immersed in the story, which breezes by at a fast pace and light, comic tone.

 

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Tribeca Film’s NEON FLESH Premieres On Demand TodayFebruary 24, 2012


Tribeca Film’s NEON FLESH Premieres On Demand Today

Tibeca 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: NEON FLESH (Tribeca Film).


NEON FLESH
By Joe Charnitski

 

The gritty street drama that shines a bright light into the dark corners of crime and punishment has been a part of cinema since the beginning of movies. Warner Bros. built their studio on bold gangster pictures in the 1920’s and 30’s. Many cinephiles would credit Scorsese’s MEAN STREETS for invigorating the genre and spotlighting the common hoodlum over the mafia don. The 1990’s gave us Tarantino, and his many imitators, and just a few years ago the Italian film GOMORRAH received raves for its brazen depiction of modern Italy and the expendable, low-level thugs running its streets.

NEON FLESH is a new Spanish film that forces its way into the canon of down and dirty, rough and tumble, life on the street pictures. Its protagonist, Ricky, a 20-something hustler who’s only know life in the gutters, defines the film’s philosophy in a very early voice-over, which I’ll paraphrase: there are two kinds of people, those selling flesh and those buying. There’s plenty of flesh being sold in this movie, both literally and figuratively, but who’s buying and who’s not? Well, that’s what makes the story worth telling.

 


Ricky’s mother, Pura, is due to be released from prison any day now. She abandoned Ricky a decade earlier when she was working as a prostitute. Instead of holding a grudge and cursing her name, Ricky anticipates his mother’s release like they’ve always been the best of friends. He even goes to great lengths to save money (earned by selling drugs) and buy her a very special gift: a brothel. Not my first choice on Mother’s Day, but this isn’t your average family.

Ricky recruits his friend Angelito to help him acquire the women, fix up the real estate and get his bar/club/house of ill repute up and running. Angelito warns his young friend that the big boys of the local crime scene aren’t going to be too happy with his attempts to climb out of the gutter and into the upper reaches of perversion for profit. That’s their turf. The kid won’t listen. He’s doing it for Mom after all.

As the plot builds more than one crime boss comes after Ricky and his business, his first encounters with his mother after all of these years are not what he hoped for and he eventually finds himself in the middle of a war of revenge between local police and Chino, an underworld overlord who’s son was killed under suspicious circumstances. By the end, ala PULP FICTION, it’s amazing how everything is connected.

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South Africa’s Sylvia Plath, Ingrid Jonker’s Story Is Told In BLACK BUTTERFLIESFebruary 24, 2012


South Africa’s Sylvia Plath, Ingrid Jonker’s Story Is Told In BLACK BUTTERFLIES

Tibeca Film

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: BLACK BUTTEFLIES (Tribeca Film).


BLACK BUTTERFLIES
The soul-piercing voice of a generation, of a people…Ingrid Jonker
By Cynthia Kane

 

She’s known widely in South Africa, but elsewhere, I’m just not sure. The South Africans refer to her as their “Sylvia Plath”, but her words speak more fully of the human experience, of injustice and touch on the social and political. Not only will BLACK BUTTERLIES attract an art-house audience and perhaps wider – particularly women and a smart crowd who just likes a good story – it may also introduce this poet’s work to a new audience outside her native land.

 

BLACK BUTTERFLIES (Tribeca Film)


To call Ingrid Jonker, the “South African Sylvia Plath” just doesn’t make sense, except they were both women, extraordinary poets, emotionally charged and both died well before their time. I don’t know if Jonker was depressed or mentally ill; this film seems to indicate the circumstances of her life played a huge part in her chaotic behavior, her enormous sensual appetites, her desire to live life fully, her need to attack injustices via her words. Is she so different than any other artist who’s politically, emotionally charged? Was it the times in which she lived that puts that judgment of mental instability on her? Was she unhinged or was her society, this Apartheid-era South Africa the element of actual insanity, and not the woman here?

 


In reality Jonker was far more political, her poems attacking the ugly, racist society she lived in. a nice but maybe not necessary moment at end, includes we hear Nelson Mandela reading her most famous work, "The child (who was shot dead by soldiers at Nyanga)". It would have been less cliché to choose another way of demonstrating her continued popularity in post-Apartheid South Africa; Nelson Mandela does not have to be part of every South African film that comes out internationally.

 

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BRIDESMAIDS: The Top VOD Movie Title Of All TimeFebruary 27, 2012


BRIDESMAIDS: The Top VOD Movie Title Of All Time

Universal

Universal Pictures' comedy film BRIDESMAIDS is now the most-ordered video on demand title of all time, with over 4.8 million rentals in just over four months of release, according to Rentrak's OnDemand Essentials.

 

 

BRIDESMAIDS has grossed over $24 million in VOD revenue since it debuted in September and $40 million domestically with all digital transactions accounted.

 

BRIDESMAIDS was one of Universal’s biggest hits of 2011 and the highest grossing R-rated female comedy of all time. The film grossed over $288 million at the worldwide box office during its theatrical run and continues to dominate the home video charts with over $100 million in Blu-ray and DVD sales in the U.S.
 

What movie on demand is #2? How much money have the rest of the Top 10 most rented movies on demand made? We don't know. It's not available. Now if only the Movie On Demand providers and Rentrak would publish all of the VOD results so we could compare accordingly and not read this in a vacuum.

 

Kudos to Universal for sharing this information.

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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).

 

RETURN

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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VOD Spotlight: Eric Schaeffer (AFTER FALL, WINTER)March 09, 2012


VOD Spotlight: Eric Schaeffer (AFTER FALL, WINTER)

FilmBuff

On Demand Weekly spoke with Eric Schaeffer, writer, director and star of the new movie on demand, AFTER FALL, WINTER (FilmBuff).

 


 

On Demand Weekly (ODW): Your films are known for New York locations. What prompted you to include Paris for AFTER FALL, WINTER?

Eric Schaeffer (ES): I do have deep love for my home town and love filming here. I take it as the highest compliment when people say it feels like New York City is a character in my films. Having said that, I also like to challenge myself with every film I make and I’ve always thought it would be a huge challenge to make a film in a country where I don’t speak the language and while AFTER FALL, WINTERis primarily in English, there is some French spoken in the film and certainly a lot of French spoken in Paris.

I had never even lived outside New York for more than a 3 month stretch in my entire life so living in Paris for the 5 months it took to write and shoot the film was pure magic… and taught me that my love for my city and my country, that was profound before I left, was even more meaningful upon my return.

And lastly, Paris played a part in FALL, the first of the planned quartet of films about Michael Shiver, the main character in both FALL and AFTER FALL, WINTER, so setting it in Paris will make sense to those who have seen Fall but for those who haven’t, the new movie completely stands alone so they won’t feel left out of any important information, character or plot wise at all.

ODW: Could the exploration of loss & pain be explored in any other locale for this story?

ES: Paris certainly is a breathtakingly gorgeous city, replete with imbedded pathos seemingly at every turn so it is a rich and visually impactful place to film a movie about the exploration of pain and loss for sure. But certainly, as we all know, pain and loss are so personal and introspective that they are like a world unto themselves and as such often blur the vision of anything outside is anyway, so our geography in the real world is rendered meaningless and uniform. Unless of course we want to really drive the emotion home by going to a specific place that has significance to the origin of the pain and loss we are feeling. In this movie, Paris is such a place for Michael, but places like that are also places where we hope to get closure on heartache so that we can move on. So this movie could have worked someplace else as well, but I felt it made the most sense to take place in Paris.

ODW: What can you tell potential viewers about what the S&M scenes bring to the plot?

ES: The BDSM (Editor’s Note: derived from the terms bondage and discipline (B&D or B/D), dominance and submission (D&S or D/s), and sadism and masochism) in the film is portrayed more as psychological than physical. While there are a few scenes where BDSM is played out in the physical realm, they are less violent than the punishment doled out by the characters on each other’s hearts and emotions.

All of the BDSM scenes, whether physical or emotional are endemic to a story about people with secrets and people who want intimacy desperately, but are afraid and confused about how to get it.

 

The BDSM scenes

are both metaphorically

and literally crucial to the story

and very powerful visual

and psychological storytellers.

 

ODW: Where did you find the lead actress, Lizzie Brocheré?

ES:
I was casting in Paris with a wonderful casting director and finding it hard to get the perfect actress to play this very complex role. One day I went to lunch and saw this very interesting girl out front of the casting offices and thought, “wow! That girl looks PERFECT! Hopefully she’s coming in to audition after lunch.” When I returned to casting, that girl was gone and she never came in so I sadly figured she much just live on the street or something. I went to get a tea in the kitchen of the casting offices during a break and suddenly, there was THAT girl, sitting at a desk in the back of the office. I went back in to the casting room and said to casting director, “Sylvie, who is that girl in your office?” “What girl? There’s no one here.” Sylvie replied. “THAT GIRL” I pointed out. Sylvie looked more closely. “Oh you mean my daughter?” I was like, “Is she an actress?” “Of course. Since she was 12 years old.” “Well why isn’t she auditioning?” “She’s too young. She’s only 26.” And I was like, “she’s not too young! Get her in here!” And the rest is history. She was amazing.

 



ODW: You have a recurring theme of the word "fall" (or variations of it) in your film titles (FALL, IF LUCY FELL). Could you elaborate on the prevalence of the word?


ES: Honestly, I originally wrote If Lucy Fell for Molly Ringwald to star in and she obviously didn’t end up doing it. One day when we were sitting on a bench in Santa Monica over looking the ocean she came up with the title. I loved it and it stuck.

In my film Fall, it made sense as a title as a double entendre. Falling in love and the season of fall, which for that film seemed like the season the story should be set in. So really, while I do love the word for many reasons, it’s romance and yearning among them, it really was by accident that I used them in both titles.

These questions are a nod to your character in the film...

ODW: What is your greatest fear?

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THE MOTH DIARIES - Vampires, Boarding School StyleMarch 21, 2012


IFC Films

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 MOTH DIARIES (IFC Films).

 

THE MOTH DIARIES

By Sky McCarthy

 

Since the explosive success of vampire culture brought on by the TWILIGHT phenomenon, you may think you’ve seen it all. Vampires seem to be everywhere today but THE MOTH DIARIES explores a new side of the teen horror genre that is more subtle and perhaps more powerful than gnashing fangs and battles with werewolves. Director Mary Harron (AMERICAN PSYCHO) takes viewers into the world of an exclusive all-girls boarding school where the dynamics of adolescent female friendship are pushed to the brink of destruction.

Rebecca (Sarah Bolger) is returning to Brangwyn College after losing her father to a tragic suicide. While her depression is not evident in every scene, Rebecca is deeply consumed by the incident. Her best friend is Lucy (Sarah Gadon), an ethereally beautiful and athletic companion who represents the girl everyone wants to be. While Lucy and Rebecca share an intimate closeness, it is clear that Rebecca has developed a dependence on Lucy to fill the void left in the wake of her fractured family life.

 



The girls share a close circle of friends who gossip about boys and occasionally party after “lights-out” in their dorms. But when a dark and somewhat cryptic new classmate, Ernessa (Lily Cole), enrolls at Brangwyn, mysterious events threaten to crack even the closest relationships. At first sight, Ernessa takes an intense and obsessive liking to Lucy and, as they become closer, Rebecca feels cast aside.

 



As her worst insecurities come out, Rebecca begins to suspect that Ernessa is behind the strange new occurrences but friends cast her suspicions aside as jealousy. With clever storytelling ability, Harron taps into the audiences’ potential doubts as well. We know Ernessa is creepy but, like Rebecca, we are never witness to any of her evil doing. It is later revealed that Ernessa also lost her father to a suicide and the similarities in their lives continue to haunt Rebecca’s dreams. The line between reality and imagination become increasingly blurred as Rebecca’s obsession with catching her new enemy magnifies.

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GOD BLESS AMERICAApril 06, 2012


Magnolia

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: GOD BLESS AMERICA (Magnolia) is available now On Demand before in theaters on May 11, 2012

 

GOD BLESS AMERICA

By Chris Claro

 

Satirizing popular culture becomes an increasingly difficult job as media further saturates the public consciousness. Television and the Web provide a bottomless maw into which product must be shoveled so that consumers and advertisers will cough up time and money – and a little piece of their souls. The problem with the product is that it constantly needs to top itself in outrageousness, thereby edging closer to being parody itself.

Of course, the most piercing and prescient view of how media could literally end up driving people to murder is NETWORK, written by Paddy Chayefsky and directed by Sidney Lumet. With an almost clairvoyant sense of what reality programming and news-as-entertainment would become, NETWORK was pitch-black comedy executed by creators who knew they didn’t have to go too far to show how American media one day would.

In the 36 years since NETWORK, viewers have been assaulted by real-life variations on the insane pitches that Faye Dunaway’s Diana Christensen took from program producers: shows about teen mothers, competitive weight loss, battles over plastic surgery, spousal swapping, consumption of any and all manner of food and non-food products, even fights over the unseen contents of storage lockers; crap that is so broadly drawn and laden with stereotypes that it feels like it jumped off the pages of MAD Magazine. Why satirize anything that’s already doing the job itself?

 



That was the question I asked as I watched Bobcat Goldthwait’s tedious and laugh-free GOD BLESS AMERICA. The story of the divorced, jobless, terminally ill Frank, GOD BLESS AMERICA moves to the insistent beat of the verbal and visual noise that emanates from screens that are seemingly everywhere – homes, offices, restaurants, phones. Driven to the edge by both his circumstances and the noxious narcissism, rudeness, and greed of virtually everyone around him, Frank embarks on a killing spree, picking off those he considers the worst offenders one by one.

 


Frank (Joel Murray, MAD MEN) makes fast friends with Roxy (Tara Lynne Barr, in her feature debut), a hyperverbal teen who resents comparisons to another loquacious adolescent, Juno. (Goldthwait has Roxy go off on a tear about Diablo Cody’s facile characters and shallow stories that sounds like nothing more than a diatribe he overheard from a disgruntled screenwriter at Starbucks) With a relationship both chaste and psychotically inappropriate, Frank and Roxy set off to track down all those they think are ruining society, including reality TV stars, noisy theater patrons, and people who use “literally” when they mean the opposite.

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WE HAVE A POPEApril 19, 2012


IFC Films

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: WE HAVE A POPE (IFC Films).

 

WE HAVE A POPE
Pope of No Where Village
By Sidney Falco

 

WE HAVE A POPE is a film that should be a lot more than what it is: mild entertainment at best – never more and, at times, less. It does have moments of charm and light-hearted touches in the direction, with performances to match, yet the picture never goes beyond the surface. It’s Hollywood-Lite storytelling (and I mean that in the worst way), only in Italian.

The plot: The Pope dies and the Cardinals gather together to pick a new Pope. Cardinal Melville (Michael Piccoli) is chosen against his wishes (never the front runner, according to the Press), and just as he is about to make it official and announce himself to the crowd in St. Peter’s square, he has a breakdown and refuses the job. Uncertain of himself, a Psychiatrist is brought in to find a solution for him, yet the Cardinal does not want to be Pope. Through a series of events, he decides to escape the Vatican and find himself.

 


With two of Italy’s foremost talents behind the camera, director Nanni Moretti and co-writer Francesco Piccolo, one would hope that they would use humor in the film to probe the psychology of Cardinal Melville (there are not 1, but 2 Psychiatrist characters!). Unfortunately, and this is where the picture really fails, the questions asked in the film by the writers about religion, Cardinal Melville’s role as a leader of a religion, along with the humanity that goes with that, never goes deep enough to get to any sort of genuine truth. There is a missed opportunity to make a profound comment about the duality of man, in conjunction with the role of religion in today’s society. All discussions about faith, man’s relation to that faith and oneself, seems to be handled with safety gloves

 



The territory which the filmmakers decided to explore in their story is a tricky one – there is very little humor in religion – it’s an (accepted) belief, no matter what your faith is, regardless of fact. So the question I asked myself when it was over was: what is the point? The film never offends or restores faith; it never scratches the bone. It falls in the middle of nothingness, relying on mild comedy to sustain the drama.

It’s not all bad. There is some appeal in a few scenes in the film, most notably, every scene with the Psychiatrist brought into the Vatican to question the Pop, who just so happens to be played by Moretti. His character brings life into the story, at least for a little while, before the narrative takes over to Cardinal Melville’s journey through the streets of Rome

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Stephen Dorff Is Secret Service Agent Jeremy Reins In BRAKEApril 19, 2012


IFC Films

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: BRAKE (IFC Films).


BRAKE
By Joe Charnitski

 

In Hollywood parlance the “high concept” movie is a film driven by one big idea, a bold concept, as opposed to propelled by character or even plot. For example, the high concept of THE TRUMAN SHOW is “one man’s entire life is a reality tv show, but he doesn’t know it.” “A weatherman is reliving Groundhogs Day over and over again,” is another example of a high concept driving a picture.

There are three requirements for a successful high concept movie: 1) obviously, a strong concept. You need the kind of conceit that elicits “oh, what a great idea for a movie” as a response; 2) the concept has to build, take fresh turns and keep an audience intrigued. Some big ideas are excellent in the first 10 minutes, but if you don’t know where to take the story, you’ve got a big “who cares” on your hands; 3) the payoff, the climax, the big reveal - it’s got to be good, surprising yet satisfying. The high concept poses a question, the end needs to provide an answer.

 


The claustrophobic action flick BRAKE certainly has a high concept: a secret service agent is trapped in a plastic box in the trunk of a car by terrorists intent on killing the President. He has information they want. They have his wife. What should he do? So, the first requirement is met. Unfortunately, it’s less successful with the other two.

Stephen Dorff (SOMEWHERE, PUBLIC ENEMIES) stars as secret service agent Jeremy Reins. He’s the guy stuck in the trunk. He wakes up in this predicament and assumes he’s been placed there because of gambling debts. Soon he discovers the much darker truth. Not only are terrorists trying to use him to assassinate the President. Not only are they threatening his wife. They’ve kidnapped another man, placed him in a separate trunk and kidnapped his family, too. Jeremy can save the lives of all of these people. He only needs to break the most solemn oath he’s taken: to protect the President.

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CITIZEN GANGSTER - The True Story of Edwin Boyd, Toronto’s Most Famous Post-World War II CriminalApril 19, 2012


IFC Films

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: CITIZEN GANGSTER (IFC Films).


CITIZEN GANGSTER
By Joe Charnitski

 

There’s good news and bad news about making a film that’s based on a true story. The bad news is that you are stuck with the events as they happened. Certainly artistic license can be used, but only to a degree. Ultimately, the story is what the story is.

Now, the good news is that, for the most part, you are free from worries about believability. Someone can’t say, “Aw, that would never happen” about a true story, truth being stranger than fiction and all that. It happened. It’s real. Deal with it.

CITIZEN GANGSTER, the debut feature film from Nathan Morlando, is based on the true story of Edwin Boyd, Toronto’s most famous post-World War II criminal (don’t ask me who their most famous pre-World War II criminal is). Boyd served his country in the war and came home to a menial job driving a bus. That job wasn’t going to be enough to feed his family, or, more importantly, Boyd’s insatiable desire for fame and adulation. Soon, he takes a bold move: he robs a bank. And off we go.

CITIZEN GANGSTER gets a lot of forgiveness because it’s based on a true story. For example, the film makes bank robbery appear to be the easiest profession in the world. You run into a bank, hop over the counter, smile at the girl who hands you a bag filled with money and you run, maybe after you deliver a one-liner. Also, Boyd (played by FELICITY alum Scott Speedman) sure takes to it very quickly. We don’t get the sense that he’s ever had anything resembling a criminal past, but he never has a doubt about robbing people for a living. But, I guess that how it happened, right?

 



Of course, the film is also stuck with the events as they occurred, and the way they decide to structure those events in the script doesn’t do the picture any favors. The repetition of heist, arrest, breakout, repeat doesn’t feel like a compelling commentary on the life of a crook. It doesn’t feel like much of anything really. Is Boyd’s wife really going to leave him? Will he reconcile with his father (Brian Cox as a retired cop)? Will Lorne Green offer him a part in his next tv show? All reasonable questions, I just didn’t care enough about the answers.

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The Office’s Jenna Fischer Stars In THE GIANT MECHANICAL MANApril 20, 2012


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 GIANT MECHANICAL MAN (Tribeca Film) .

 

THE GIANT MECHANICAL MAN

By Chris Claro

 

A tissue-thin romance that sags under the weight of its own whimsy, THE GIANT MECHANICAL MAN is a time-filler that looks as if it were assembled by spreadsheet rather than by a filmmaker passionate to tell story – The Giant Mechanical Film.

Lee Kirk’s debut feature as writer/director checks off all the boxes: a TV-star-with-indie-cred lead (Jenna Fisher, who is married to Kirk), a soulful male lead with proven chops (Chris Messina, VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA), a couple of up-and-comers in support (Malin Akerman, WANDERLUST; Rich Sommer, MAD MEN), and a star in a quirky character part (Topher Grace, SPIDER-MAN 3). Throw in a South-by-Southwest-ready “post-rock” soundtrack featuring such performers as El Ten Eleven and shoot in a filmmaker-friendly tax-credit location – Michigan, which is neck-and-neck with Louisiana in the race to see how many of its cities can stand in for Anytown, USA – and boom! You got yourself a little flick.

 


Jenna Fischer / THE GIANT MECHANICAL MAN (Tribeca Film)

Not that there’s anything wrong with little. Slight stories about sad people can be finely wrought, as evidenced in the last year by both ROADIE and MAN ON THE TRAIN, each of which delicately depicted the ravages of loneliness. The issue with THE GIANT MECHANICAL MAN lies in its pallid, listless script which breathes no new life into its subject.

After Fischer’s Janice is axed by her temp agency employer, she is forced to move in with her insufferable sister and brother-in-law, played by Akerman and Sommer. At the same time, Messina’s Tim is dumped by his girlfriend, who’s fed up with his forsaking real work in favor of slathering himself in silver makeup and strapping on stilts to pose in local plazas as the Giant Mechanical Man.

 

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Tribeca Film’s SLEEPLESS NIGHT Is Available On Demand During Film FestivalApril 20, 2012


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: SLEEPLESS NIGHT (Tribeca Film) .

 

SLEEPLESS NIGHT

By Chris Claro

 

Frederic Jardin’s SLEEPLESS NIGHT tells a simple story: A dirty cop steals the mob’s dope and the mob steals the cop’s son. What follow is a jangly, nerve-racking, totally entertaining thriller moves at light speed.

 


SLEEPLESS NIGHT (Tribeca Film)

Set primarily in a packed Paris dance club, SLEEPLESS NIGHT plays almost as a bedroom farce, with a Paris dance club as the nexus of its action. Home base for the local mob boss, Le Tarmac is the in place, it seems, for both partiers and police, and Vincent leads both the cops and the crooks through the joint as he searches for both his son and the drugs.

Jardin stages his action sequences with efficiency, particularly one in which Vincent takes on a fellow cop and makes a holy mess of the club’s kitchen. Utilizing everything from salad bowls to drawers full of utensils, the fight is a clever back-and-forth that has the wit and invention of a Road Runner cartoon.

 

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5 Things You Should Know About HOUSE HUNTINGApril 24, 2012


Phase 4 Films

HOUSE HUNTING: Two families attend an open house in the hopes of finding their dream home. Upon entering, their dream quickly becomes a hellish nightmare when they realize that every attempt to leave takes them right back to the front door. Stuck in this purgatory, the two families are haunted by the deserted home’s former owner with the declaration that only one of the two families will be able to call this house their home.

 

Here are ODW's 5 Things You Should Know About HOUSE HUNTING

 

1. This horror thriller was shot in the filmmakers’ childhood home in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S.A.

 



2. HOUSE HUNTING is Marc Singers’ come back into mainstream media since starring in THE BEASTMASTER in 1983.

3. Features Paul McGill, whose Broadway stardom has landed him roles in feature films such as ‘Fame’.

4. Up and coming actress Emma Rayne Lyle stars in the film I DON’T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT alongside Sarah Jessica Parker.

 



5. Neighbouring the farm where this film was shot is a famous house in Charlottesville, Virginia that is suspected to be haunted.


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MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – GHOST PROTOCOL Is The #1 Movie On DemandApril 30, 2012


MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – GHOST PROTOCOL Is The #1 Movie On Demand

Get the latest information about Movies On Demand from On Demand Weekly. Every week we provide the Week’s Top 10 Movies On Demand (MOD).

 

MOVIES ON DEMAND



The Week's Top 10 Movies On Demand

10. EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE
9.   THE DESCENDANTS
8.   THE SITTER
7.   THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
6.   THE DARKEST HOUR
5.   WAR HORSE
4.   THE IRON LADY
3.   WE BOUGHT A ZOO
2.   ALVIN & THE CHIPMUNKS: CHIPWRECKED
1.   MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – GHOST PROTOCOL - NEW
Source: Rentrak Corporation - OnDemand Essentials (Week Ending April 22, 2012)

 

Trends:

- THE DESCENDANTS has been on the Top 10 Movie On Demand for the last 6 weeks.

- HOP has bounced off the Top 10 movies on demand list.

 

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New Movies On Demand - April  Preview

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