January 21, 2012

Filthy Review - Dirty Girl

Dirty Girl (2010)

Review by Jude Felton

I will admit that I had not heard anything about this movie prior to receiving the press release regarding its DVD release. Granted, I don’t really keep my finger on the pulse of upcoming movies outside of the darker side of cinema but I am still surprised I hadn’t heard of this, especially seeing as it premiered in 2010. The good news out of this though is that it really is a hidden gem of a flick.

Set in 1987, the dirty girl of the title is Danielle, played by English actress Juno Temple (although you wouldn’t guess that from her accent here), who lives up the title. Not one to play by the rules she ends up, through her wild behavior, being moved to the remedial class at her school. It’s here that she begrudging befriends closet homosexual Clark (Jeremy Dozier). They both resent their parents for differing reasons; Clarke’s want to send him to military school to rid him of his homosexuality, and Danielle’s mother has herself a new boyfriend who insists forcing his family values upon her.

When things get too much for Danielle she insists that Clarke ups and drives her to California in search of her birth father. So begins a road trip from Oklahoma to the West Coast.

Dirty Girl is a strange beast in that it manages to take clichéd characters and make them seem fresh and funny. It is in turn laugh-out-loud funny, then at times quite harsh to watch, in particular one scene involving Clarke’s father (who is played wonderfully by Dwight Yoakim). Although the film does focus on Danielle and Clarke’s relationship there is plenty of room for an impressive supporting cast. The aforementioned Yoakim is just perfect in his role, but also Mary Steenburgen as Clarke’s timid and repressed mother, Milla Jovovich playing against type as Danielle’s mother and William H. Macy as Danielle’s prospective Stepfather. All are pitch-perfect in their roles and help to take the weight of carrying the film off the youngsters shoulders.

The humor and language is quite often graphic, yet the movie is always charming and thoroughly watchable. If I did have any complaints about the movie, it would be that the end credits start to role at about the 80 minute mark. That being said, the movie doesn’t have a chance to outlive its welcome because of this.

A great cast, cool soundtrack and some really witty dialogue all gel together perfectly, so that even when the movie gets a little predictable you just don’t care.

Dirty Girl really is worth checking out. The homophobics out there probably won’t get much from it, especially during a surreal dance moment late on, but for those that like quirky, and sometimes surreal, teen movies I can’t recommend it enough.

Dirty Girl is available now on DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment.

January 20, 2012

No Room For Rockstars - Vans Warped Documentary

Cinedigm will be releasing the upcoming documentary No Room For Rockstars, which follows the Vans Warped Tour, at select theaters on March 1st. Prior to that it will be premiering at the Slamdance Film Festival this Sunday (Jan 22nd).

Woodland Hills, CA (January 20, 2012) – Cinedigm Entertainment Group, a division of Cinedigm Digital Cinema Corp. (NASDAQ: CIDM), announced today that it will release NO ROOM FOR ROCKSTARS in select theaters across the country in an exclusive engagement on Thursday, March 1, 2012.  Filmmaker Parris Patton’s much-anticipated documentary chronicling the Vans Warped Tour, will have its World Premiere at the 2012 Slamdance Film Festival on Sunday, January 22 in Park City, Utah.

”We are thrilled to bring NO ROOM FOR ROCK STARS to the many avid VANS WARPED TOUR fans across the country,” said Bob Fiorella, COO of Cinedigm Entertainment Group.  “This documentary is theperfect candidate for the extremely targeted and efficient distribution model that digital cinema enables and we are confident that VANS WARPED TOUR fans will flock to theatres to support the exclusive engagement.”

From the team responsible for the acclaimed DOGTOWN AND Z BOYSNO ROOM FOR ROCKSTARS is a film that resonates beyond tour and punk rock fans to anyone seeking out the true stories of rock and roll.   For 17 years, the Vans Warped Tour has been a punk rock juggernaut, a misfit circus crisscrossing North America every summer as a wandering minstrel show for youth culture.  Embracing a powerful, unifying ethic created by its founder Kevin Lyman, the tour has grown and prospered as the music industry itself imploded and continues to sift through the rubble in search of a new way forward. Along the way, Warped has provided a launching pad for a dizzying array of talent, from Green Day and Blink 182 to Ice-T, Eminem and No Doubt, along with perennial punk legends such as Pennywise, All, Bouncing Souls and Bad Religion.

Cinedigm is a leader in transforming movie theaters into digital and networked entertainment centers and has released close to 200 independent films and alternative content events.

With more than 300 hours of film shot during the 2010 tour, NO ROOM FOR ROCKSTARS documents the true stories of modern era rock and roll from every possible angle.  The film is accompanied by a blazing soundtrack of Vans Warped Tour all-time greatest hits.

The film is directed by Parris Patton and produced by Stacy Peralta and Agi Orsi, with Cecy Rangel as co-producer and Doug Palladini as executive producer.  Josh Salzman served as director of photography, and Joshua Altman as editor along with Patton.

The Skin I Live In - Blu-ray and DVD release news

The eagerly awaited Blu-ray/DVD release of Pedro Almodovar's thriller The Skin I Live In is almost upon us. On March 6th the movie, which stars Antonio Banderas, will hit Blu-ray + DVD combo pack from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Having missed it on its theatrical run I am eager to snap this up.

Ever since his wife was burned in a car crash, Dr. Robert Ledgard (Antonio Banderas), an eminent plastic surgeon, has been interested in creating a new skin with which he could have saved her. After twelve years, he manages to cultivate a skin that is a real shield against every assault. In addition to years of study and experimentation, Robert needed three more things: no scruples, an accomplice and a human guinea pig. Scruples were never a problem. Marilia, the woman who looked after him from the day he was born, is his most faithful accomplice. And as for the human guinea pig …

DVD Bonus Features Include:
 “The Making of The Skin I Live In” 7-Part Featurette
 “An Evening with Director Pedro Almodóvar” Q&A
- “On The Red Carpet: New York Premiere” Featurette

Directed by Pedro Almodóvar from his own screenplay, The Skin I Live In was executive produced by Agustín Almodóvar.

The Skin I Live In has a running time of 117 minutes and is rated R for disturbing violent content including sexual assault, strong sexuality, graphic nudity, drug use and language.

Filthy Review - The Whistleblower

The Whistleblower (2010)

Review by Jude Felton

The Whistleblower, which is directed by first time director Larysa Kondracki, is a thriller that is prefaced by the line “inspired by a true story”. To me that means that they have taken the bare bones of a story and then chopped and changed facts to suit the medium of film and to make a more entertaining movie. Regardless, however much of this 2010 film is fact and how much is fiction I do not know. What I do know though is that it was an entertaining film to watch, even if the subject matter, and its depiction, is a little tough to watch at times.

The story which is set in 1999 follows Kathryn Bolkovac, a cop from Nebraska, who is seeking out a transfer in order to be closer to her daughter, with whom her ex-husband has custody. In a strange turn of events she ends up going further away from her, much further. The reason behind this is that Kathryn accepts a $100,000 pay day to go to post-war Bosnia to serve as a UN Peacekeeper. She see’s this as a means to an end, and a chance to be able to afford the move without the transfer.

Upon arriving in Bosnia she is soon transferred to the Gender Office. This department deals in sex crimes and it isn’t too long before she is encounters too young girls; Raya and Luba. Kathryn’s encounter with the two girls leads her to discover a wide-scale sex trafficking operation that runs far deeper than just the country’s war weary natives. Kathryn makes it her mission to blow the whistle on these crimes, regardless of the dangers to herself.

On a technical level The Whistleblower is a well-made and gritty film. Kondracki doesn’t flinch away from the subject matter, and some scenes are incredibly tough to watch. That being said, the focus of the film is very much Kathryn, who is played excellently by Rachel Weisz, and her mission, which subsequently takes the focus away from the victims of the crimes.

There are also good supporting roles by Vanessa Redgrave and Monica Belucci, but far more integral to the plot is a small turn by the ever impressive David Strathairn. In fact the entire cast all do a good job, even when some fall into stereotypical roles and characters.

On the negative side, and this was brought more into focus following a discussion about the film (and this is a film that warrants discussion), is that you would be lead to believe that the horrors of war, and its victims, are all perpetrated by sexy, good-looking folk. This isn’t just a fault of The Whistleblower, as many films and shows are guilty of this, but when dealing with war, its aftermath and crimes as heinous as these, you need to strip away any superfluous gloss and deal with it on a strictly human level.

Overall though I was gripped by the movie and frustrated by the events in equal measures. As I have mentioned before when reviewing other films based on true stories, watch this as a piece of entertainment and you will find a good movie. Don’t watch it as a piece of historical fact; the “inspired by” preface should be warning enough.

The  Whistleblower is a good thriller that takes a serious subject and brings focus to it. That in itself is a good thing, even if the execution is sometimes a little off.

The Whistleblower is released on Blu-ray and DVD on January 24th from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

January 19, 2012

JABB Pictures set to unleash The Collective Volume 3

The folks at JABB Pictures certainly don't hang around. The fine folk that brought us The Collective and The Collective Vol 2, just last November, are already gearing up to bring us the third volume, entitled 10 Minutes To Live. Set to premiere at the Days of the Dead convention in Atlanta on March 9th, Volume 3 will once again feature 10 short movies, which each run to around 10 minutes, all with the same synopsis. Volume 3 has taken a feminine approach with each of the 10 shorts having been either written by or directed by one of the fairer sex. The full line-up can be found below. 

If you have seen either Volume 1 or 2 then you will know that this 3rd volume is something to be excited about. The previous two entries have contained some cracking movies and I don't doubt that we will get treated to more of the good stuff this time around.

Welcome to The Collective V.3

JABB pictures scoured the independent filmmaking scene looking for 10 of the best female writers and directors for this one of a kind collection. Proving that the independent horror genre is not just a boys club, The Collective V.3 features 10 short films all from a different independent female writer or director. Keeping true to The Collective’s winning format, all 10 films in this collection center around the same idea. The theme this time around? 10 Minutes to Live. It was up to each filmmaker to decide what this meant to them. While the stories all center around the same basic premise, they all have their own unique storyline and characters. The films range from tender to terrifying with each filmmaker putting their own unique twist on the idea. With The Collective V.3 the ladies have most definitely shown they are a force to be reckoned with.

Pants Cannon Media (He Who Watches) - pantscannonmedia.tumblr.com 

Diagnosed with an incurable illness, Laura hangs on the edge of life and death as she is
haunted by her recent past - and a mysterious figure.

Karmic Courage Productions (Home Security) - www.Karmiccourge.com

Home Security is the story of a crooked security salesman who is prepping for a big score. The film features Emmanuel Carter as “Robert” and L.E. Bradford as “Mia.” It’s got a nice twist
and a little Tales for the Crypt or Twilight Zone feel to it.

Mysterious Mansion Productions (Conclusion)

‘Conclusion’ directed by Vanessa Romanelli and executive produced by Erica L. Frost staring
Steve Dash (Jason in Friday the 13th Pt 2) and Kevin Van Hentenryck (Basket Case) follows
four strangers who check into a specialized medical treatment center. Little do they know,
once they check in...there is only one way to check out.

Chanemmabelle Productions (The Key)

How far would you go to find out the truth?

JABB Pictures (Pact) - www.jabbpictures.com

An intimate portrait of the love and bond between two young teenagers. Pact is a
stark and cold film that passionately captures the power of loss.

Toetag Pictures (Stay) - www.toetagpictures.com

Fear. Love. Ambivalence. Stay.A female living in fear of the man she loves learns, your last ten minutes can
come at anytime.

One Stepp At A Time Productions (Suffer Well) 

A surreal journey into the life of one obsessed man and his sanity.

Death Hug Films (Snapped) - www.facebook.com/pages/Death-Hug-Films

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

Silence In The Dead Of Light (JOG) - www.facebook.com/silenceinthedeadoflight

'JOG' Is a short film shot in a first person perspective. 'Uni' is routinely going for a jog, but begins to have this eerie feeling that they are being followed. Constantly looking over their shoulder, 'Uni' starts seeing some
bloody, disturbing, walking nightmares every where they go, all the while with the feeling that they are being followed....as the visions become worse and worse 'Uni' has this overwhelming feeling that they are being chased by death.

Spiral Filmworks (Palindromist) - www.facebook.com/pages/Spiral-Filmworks

The world we live in in cyclical. Life begins and ends. Over and over. Often without notice or pause. This film is an artistic view of that process.

New poster for Statham flick Safe

I make no secret of the fact that I am a big fan of Jason Statham's movies, so you know I am excited about the forthcoming Safe. Set to hit theaters on April 27th from Lionsgate, I have the new poster to share with you. Also, you can check out the rather cool trailer below.

Director: Boaz Yakin
Cast: Jason Statham, Catherine Chan, James Hong, Reggie Lee, Robert John Burke
A second-rate cage fighter on the mixed martial arts circuit, Luke Wright lives a numbing life of routine beatings and chump change...until the day he blows a rigged fight. Wanting to make an example of him, the Russian Mafia murders his family and banishes him from his life forever, leaving Luke to wander the streets of New York destitute, haunted by guilt, and tormented by the knowledge that he will always be watched, and anyone he develops a relationship with will also be killed. 

But when he witnesses a frightened twelve-year-old Chinese girl, Mei, being pursued by the same gangsters who killed his wife, Luke impulsively jumps to action...and straight into the heart of a deadly high-stakes war. Mei, he discovers, is no ordinary girl, but an orphaned math prodigy forced to work for the Triads as a "counter." He discovers she holds in her memory a priceless numerical code that the Triads, the Russian mob and a corrupt faction of the NYPD will kill for. 

Realizing he's the only person Mei can trust, Luke tears a swath through the city's brutal underworld to save an innocent girl's life...and perhaps even redeem his own.

Survival thriller Retreat to hit DVD in February

Coming to DVD and Digital Download on February 21st from Sony is the survival thriller Retreat. It stars Jamie Bell, Cillian  Murphy and Thandie Newton and the DVD will include a "Making of" and a photo gallery. I've posted some stills and the trailer below.

Taking an isolated break on an uninhabited island, Martin (Cillian Murphy – The Dark Knight28 Days Later) and Kate (Thandie Newton – 2012RocknRolla) are about to find that their island retreat is about to become a prison of unimaginable terror. When a blood soaked stranger (Jamie Bell – The Adventures of TintinThe Eagle) stumbles through their door claiming an apocalyptic virus is sweeping across Europe, their lives are turned upside down as they face what could be the end of everything they know. Using all means necessary, they must fight to escape the approaching threat. But escape is only the beginning of their terrifying fight for survival …

DVD Bonus Features Include:
- “The Making of Retreat” Featurette
- Photo Gallery

Directed by Carl Tibbetts from a screenplay by Carl Tibbetts and Janice Hallett, Retreat was produced by Gary Sinyor, with James Atherton, Simon Crowe, Sir David Frost, Paul Galbraith, Michael Rosenberg, Dominic Wright, Jan Pace and Jacqueline Kerrin serving as executive producers.

Retreat has a running time of 86 minutes and is rated R for violence and for language throughout.

January 17, 2012

Robin Hardy's The Wicker Tree - Trailer and Stills

Almost 40 years after writer/director Robin Hardy terrified viewers with The Wicker Man, not to be confused with the awful Nicolas Cage remake, he is back again with a companion movie, The Wicker Tree. 

Released by Anchor Bay Films, The Wicker Tree is set to hit theaters on January 27th and stars Graham McTavish and a returning Sir Christopher Lee. You can expect a review, here at The Lair, very soon indeed. In the meantime you can check out stills and the trailer below.

When two young missionaries (Brittania Nicol, Henry Garrett) head to Scotland, they are initially charmed by their engaging baron Sir Lachlan Morrison (Graham McTavish) and agree to become the local Queen of the May and Laddie for the annual Tressock town festival. But the couple is not prepared for the frightening consequences of their decision and the very disturbing secrets they are about to discover about Tressock’s seemingly friendly townspeople.

Written and directed by Robin Hardy as a companion piece to his 1973 classic cult thriller "The Wicker Man," THE WICKER TREE also features Jacqueline Leonard, Honeysuckle Weeks, and Clive Russell, with Christopher Lee, the star of Hardy's original film.  The film is also produced by Peter Snell, who returns as producer from the original, along with Peter Watson-Wood and Alastair Gourlay.

Michelle Yeoh is Luc Besson's The Lady

Director Luc Besson's latest movie, The Lady, is upon us and is set for an April 12th release in theaters. Once again it looks to have a strong female lead, with Michelle Yeoh playing a woman's search for independence during the Burmese democratic revolution. The Lady also stars David Thewlis. Below I have stills and the trailer for you to check out, not to mention the striking poster above.

The Lady is the extraordinary story of Aung San Suu Kyi and her husband, Michael Aris. It is also the epic story of the peaceful quest of the woman who is at the core of Burma's democracy movement. Despite distance, long separations, and a dangerously hostile regime, their love endures until the very end.
A story of devotion and human understanding set against a backdrop of political turmoil that continues today. THE LADY was written over a period of three years by Rebecca Frayn. Interviews with key figures in Aung San Suu Kyi's entourage enabled her to reconstruct for the first time the true story of Burma's national heroine.

Inbred - News and Stills

If you're anything like me then you are pretty excited about director Alex Chandon's latest flick Inbred. Well, now the movie has been picked up by sales agent Darclight Films, whose catalogue also includes Wolf Creek, The Loved Ones, Bereavement and Lake Mungo. There'll be a new full trailer coming soon, and in the meantime I have a load of stills, behind the scenes shots and the above teaser poster to share with you. Inbred will also be screened at the EFM (European Film Market) with hopes to secure a distribution deal.

You can check out the teaser trailers and more at the Official Site.

A disparate group of young urban offenders and their care workers embark on a community service weekend in the strange, remote Yorkshire village of Mortlake, which prides on keeping itself to itself. A minor incident with some local inbred youths rapidly escalates into a blood-soaked, deliriously warped nightmare for all involved. This is a demented horror film with nowt taken out.