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Absentia (as seen at MIFFF)

Bitter, Bitter Balcony, Movie Review, Absentia 2011Mike FlanaganMike FlanaganKatie Parker,Courtney Bell Bitter,Bitterometer,meter Absentia(2011)
 

"Absentia" is a hard film to review. I shouldn't reveal too much since the surprises and twists are the best part, but it's also my job (OK, not really, but I want it to be) to get you to go see a film if it's good and this one is a gem. I was able to see it on the big screen thanks to MIFFF and I'm glad I did. Continue reading for the best I could offer as a spoiler free/tantalizing review.

The story is of a woman whose us and disappeared suddenly and has been gone without a trace for seven years. It also involves her sister who returns to help while they file a "Death in Absentia" certificate and get life back on track. Once the paperwork is filed the sisters begin to experience odd supernatural things and this ghost story begins to take shape. To tell you anymore about the film would mean filling this review to the brim with all the great twists and turns the film takes. I firmly believe that having not known them when I walked in to see this film was one of the reasons I enjoyed it as much as I did.

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Lookout: Another Earth

Another Earth(2011)
 

There are times when independent film comes along that you know will promise something grander, but may not deliver. While it won’t deliver in something “out there” it does have the opportunity to deliver a strong human story.

Granted all we have seen from “Another Earth” is a trailer, but it is a strong one that could prove to tell a very human tale about loss and love; two elements, which can be pretty powerful when combined with the right cast and screenplay.

This film is playing at SIFF and I plan to attend, time permitting, perhaps you should too.

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Tarsem is at it again with "Immortals"

 

Tarsem is quite the director. He has works like "The Fall," which told a touching tale that was lush in it's visuals, plentiful in heart and high on entertainment. He has a. Particular vision that can turn a movie with as weak a script as "The Cell" around... Not completely, but still. Now he plans on entertiaining us with the "Immortals.". The film looks lush, a per usual, but some scenes really feel like they are missing the umph required. On the whole though we are sure that mixing one part Tarsem and one part 300 can't be a bad thing. Watch the trailer below and see for yourself.

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Lookout: Can the Coens outduel John Wayne with their True Grit redux?

Bitter, Bitter Balcony, Movie Review, True Grit 2010Ethan & Joel CoenEthan & Joel CoenJeff Bridges, Matt DamonCharles Portis True Grit(2010)
 

Bitter Balcony is looking forward to the Coen bros. homage to the Duke himself, John Wayne, with a remake of his 1969 classic "True Grit." Based on the novel by Charles Portis, the story centers around a young girl convincing a rough U.S Marshall to track down her father's murderer. Jeff Bridges, whose highly anticipated "Tron: Legacy" is coming out soon, will take over the role of Cogburn, one that won Wayne an Oscar in 1970. Matt Damon will play his partner, Josh Brolin as the man they pursue, and newcomer Hailee Steinfeld as the girl they must abide to (we had to throw a Dude reference in there). Anyways, the movie looks badass and we know that if anybody delivers on understated violence and irony, it's the Coens.

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Lookout: Cashback - You won't want it back because this one is a good one!

Bitter, Bitter Balcony, Movie Review, Cashback 2006Sean EllisSean Ellis Cashback(2006)
 

There is something about an introspective film that reaches feelings we store in ourselves: regret, love, love lost. "Cashback" grazes over those feelings without disturbing them and lets us connect to the film’s protagonist all with one stroke. But the film isn't all drama and sadness. Romantic and comic moments help lighten the load and "Cashback" never ventures into the Overbearing Zone.

Sean Ellis originally wrote this as a short film and won an Academy Award for it to boot. When approached to make a new film, he decided he wanted to take a week to add to the short film’s script, so he could turn it into a feature-length film, using the footage from the short. This is a brilliant move because the time to complete the film was shortened considerably as was the
budget. He was also able to keep the great cast from the short film - and all make each scene worth watching.

The star of the show, Ben (Sean Biggerstaff) is an art-school student. When his girlfriend, played by Suzy (Michelle Ryan), dumps him he becomes an insomniac who can't overcome his

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Lookout: La Horde = Angry zombies, baby!

 
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La Horde (2009) - US limited theatrical release August 2010

Zombies have been around for a long time. Every once in awhile we get a refreshing twist on the zombie genre in the way of a deeper story or making them move faster. “La Horde” manages to touch on something new: This is the angriest zombie movie this author has ever seen.

Whenever the apocalypse begins in a zombie movie, the cast is thrown into a situation that defies reality, confuses, confounds and horrifies those who survive the first round of destruction. “La Horde” gives us an angry group of survivors, cops and criminals, who beat the shit out of the undead that threaten their lives. Some techniques prove better than others, but creativity is never far behind. One character starts off administering a fair beating, but nothing says “I love you” like a dropping a refrigerator on someone.

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Los Zombies vuelven a joder la vida en Rec 2 (Hey, things sound sexier in español!)

Rec 2(2009)
 
Rec 2 Lookout,Bitter Balcony, review, movie revieww, movie, bitter
Rec 2 Lookout

Spanish horror directors Paco Plaza and Jaume Balagueró return to the scene of the crime in “Rec 2” the continuation to their 2007 hit “Rec”(remade as “Quarantine” in 2008). “Rec” was a turbulent house of horrors, a real time video nightmare that gets under your skin. So for the second film, why just not pick up where the last one left off?

That’s were we find a new cast of desperate SWAT officers trying to make sense of the carnage they face in the unholy infested Barcelonan condominium. Good luck with that, or buena suerte, since by the looks of it, these guys will end up munching on each other much like the ill-fated protagonists from the first film. However, in one of the trailers we get a peak at Ángela Vidal (Manuela Velasco), the original film’s intrepid journalist. This time, instead of carrying a microphone, she holds a shotgun. Oh, nothing like a zombie onslaught to change a person!

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