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The New Reviews

“You know how people occasionally come out of epic movies like Malcolm X and The Return of the King and are all, Wow, that didn’t seem like three hours at all? That won’t be the case here — The New World feels every bit of its two hours and 15 minutes (already shortened about 15 minutes from its original cut). It doesn’t feel like time wasted, though. Everything is a visual feast, comparable in spectacle and wonder to any of the CGI fests we’ve seen in the past year. (It’s all the more impressive if you can appreciate how cool it is that most of the film was shot using natural light.) ”

Poke more hontas HERE

Some short takes after the jump

BROOKLYN LOBSTER

For his second dramatic feature, writer-director Kevin Jordan (Smiling Fish and Goat on Fire), once again “presented” by Martin Scorsese, draws on his own experiences in the lobster farming business. Danny Aiello stars as estranged patriarch Frank Giorgio, stuck in a tight spot when his wife (Jane Curtin) decides to move out at the same time as his bank defaults on a loan and forces the business on the auction block. Plus it’s Christmas and the usual family reunion tensions abound. There’s nothing radically unpredictable to the story, but Jordan draws so well on the idiosyncrasies of the family profession that it makes the movie worth watching, even if the “surprise” climax is overly telegraphed. Aiello’s perfectly cast as the gruff but caring grandpa, but lesser known cast members like Daniel Sauli (playing director Jordan, more or less), Heather Burns (as his fiancée) and Henry Yuk (as Aiello’s down-to-Earth, Brooklyn-accented Chinese friend) do strong work alongside him.

END OF THE SPEAR

In the 1950s, a group of missionaries ventured into the rain forests of Ecuador to make contact with the Waodani tribe, an infamously violent group who were on the verge of extinction due to their endless cycles of blood-feuds. The missionaries refused to fight back when cornered, and were killed; but later, their families followed in their footsteps to forgive the killers and live together in peace. Writer-director Jim Hanon has made this movie before, as the documentary Beyond the Gates of Splendor. It was a better film, as the excerpts from it at the end of this one show. There’s some nice photography, and Louie Leonardo makes a strong impression as Chief Mincayani, but the wall-to-wall “inspirational” soundtrack is unnecessary, as is the constant voice-over narration. Non-stop talk works for nonfiction, but for drama, Hanon doesn’t seem to know that less can be more. The true story is a powerful testimony to the wonders of faith and forgiveness; it doesn’t need special-effects visions of angels or giant snakes to “enhance” it.

LIVE FREAKY! DIE FREAKY!

Fans of MTV’s Celebrity Deathmatch — in which claymation replicas of famous people mutilated one another in a wrestling ring — are the most likely audience for this stop-motion puppet feature about the Manson family, starring the voices of Green Day, Rancid, The Transplants, John Doe, Jane Wiedlin, Theo Kogan, and Asia Argento. If you thought the puppet sex in Team America was graphic, this movie makes Trey and Matt’s marionettes look like SpongeBob SquarePants in comparison. The idea is clearly to incense cultural conservatives with non-stop foul language, blasphemy, and puppet snuff porn (and like many postmodern Manson romanticizations, the flick ignores the man’s ugly racism), but it’s all too silly to take seriously; an amusing dirty joke best suited for drunken college kids at midnight. Billy Joe Armstrong is hilariously over the top as “Charlie Hanson,” and Faith No More’s Roddy Bottum has composed some catchy songs. Written and directed by punk scenester John Roecker, it’d be really funny if this qualified for next year’s Best Animated Feature Oscar.

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7 comments to The New Reviews

  • Hm. Nothing catches my eye too much here. I guess maybe The New World…

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  • Ben Boyer

    If you only see one Colin Farrell movie this year… make it his sex tape. It’s some pretty glorious stuff… also shot with natural light, and with an inspired score by Digital Underground and the sounds of an episode of Judge Judy. “Yahr soo fahkin’ seck-see” is the new “You had me at hello.”

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  • fahkin seck see, nice translation. hehe. where can we get his sex tape?

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  • offpat

    just curious Luke – I thought the new times didn’t go for allowing “fucking” as an emphatic adjective in their reviews – is that normal now?

    (I know its normal on here)

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  • LYT

    Why would you think that, Pat? They’ve always been okay with such language — name-calling, finger-pointing, and profanity are part an parcel of its style, with the caveat that there needs to be something substantive beneath it. Certain editors may think it’s excessive in certain contexts, but here I was glad to see there was no issue.

    The New YORK Times is another story.

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  • Chimp

    Love the line about Malick’s “tone poems”… articulately captured.

    And the last line about the fuk’n “Colors of the Wind” song had me in stitches. A girl I was dating made me go see that piece of shite in the theater, and brown was the only color of wind blowing from that screen.

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  • Brainstew

    So, would you say Live Freaky! Die Freaky! is worth buying? I’ve been looking to get it, but want to know before I go to too much trouble. I love Mechanical Man.

    BTW, you spelled Billie Joe’s name wrong. It’s ‘ie’ instead of ‘y’.

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