Archive for January, 2010


DVD: Watchmen (Theatrical Cut)

Blu-ray: Watchmen (Director’s Cut)

“…a bit of the old ultra-violence.”
-A Clockwork Orange

Watchmen is a universe unto itself, an alternative history of the 20th century, and an exploration of “human nature” that slices to the bone.

This is not your typical superhero film, and it seeks to be a radical departure from standard comic book fare. Based on the comic books and best-selling graphic novel of the same name, the story of the Watchmen is significant and worth commenting on.

The Watchmen are highly developed characters who fit into the story like precise parts of a well-designed machine. They also explore some very creative territory, with Dr. Manhattan being the most striking, most powerful and most visually stunning member of the team.


AVATAR (2009)

Posted: January 11, 2010 in Joe Giambrone
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Anti-Imperialism Sells

In under a month, Avatar has racked up nearly a billion dollars from outside the USA, bringing its total box office to $1.3 Bn+ at the time of writing. It will be the biggest box office earner of all time. Money talks, especially in Hollywood.

So what is being said, exactly?

One can look at Avatar and see all manner of things: 3-D, computer / human hybrid characters, elaborate worlds, floating rocks, flying lizards, guns and explosions, but that’s not what drives the film. What story is resonating around the world this month?


Please don’t read until you’ve actually seen Avatar for yourself. Continue

Broken Embraces

Sacred Memories: Almodóvar’s Broken Embraces

by Binoy Kampmark

Pedro Almodóvar is a treasure of the screen, supremely sensitive to surfaces, characters, and the workings of the cinema itself. His devotion to the craft is unmistakable, demonstrated by constant hints, persistent allusions to past greats, and the mechanics of filmmaking.

Avatar: The Movie
(New Extended HD Trailer)

Going Native
Hollywood’s Human Terrain Avatars


This week, as James Cameron’s 3D cinematic science fiction saga dominates the American box office, and tie-in products permeate fast food franchises and toy stores, it is worth noting an interesting bit of cultural leakage tying our own real militarized state to Cameron’s virtual world of Avatar.

Avatar is set in a world where the needs of corporate military units align against the interests of indigenous blue humanoids long inhabiting a planet with mineral resources desired by the high tech militarized invaders. The exploitation of native peoples to capture valuable resources is a story obviously older than Hollywood, and much older than the discipline of anthropology itself; though the last century and a half has found anthropologists’ field research used in recurrent instances to make indigenous populations vulnerable to exploitation in ways reminiscent of Avatar.

The Road (2009)

Posted: January 2, 2010 in Kim Nicolini
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The Road

Book: The Road
(DVD not yet available)

by Kim Nicolini

I finally caught John Hillcoat’s adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. This is a movie that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. McCarthy and Hillcoat seem to be the perfect marriage with their mutually bleak and apocalyptic vision of the West. Hillcoat’s The Proposition is by far one of my favorite Westerns of all time, and I read McCarthy’s book The Road twice. I was stunned by the barren, desperate, hardcore, ruthlessly survivalist tone of both these narratives. It seemed to me that Hillcoat was the perfect choice to adapt McCarthy’s poetic and savage view of survival in a post-apocalyptic landscape.

The Cove

Get DVD: The Cove

“You’re either an activist or an in-activist.”

This documentary is receiving Oscar buzz, and it is a must-see. The Cove is an activist film, made by activists for the purpose of inspiring change.