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Underrated Films: Big Fan

Bitter, Bitter Balcony, Movie Review, Big Fan 2009Robert D. SiegelRobert D. SiegelPatton Oswalt, Kevin Corrigan Bitter,Bitterometer,meter Big Fan(2009)
 

American Football is back, and perhaps no film depicts the gridiron aficionado’s passion better than Robert D. Siegel’s wryly disturbing “Big Fan.” The indie stars comedian Patton Oswalt (of “Ratatouille” fame) as Paul, a gnome-like 36 year old parking lot attendant from Staten Island. Paul, who lives at home with his overbearing mother (Marcia Jean Kurtz), is belittled by the achievements of his brother Jeff (Gino Cafarelli) who practices law and lives in a Mansion with surgically enhanced wife.

The obvious dud in the family, Paul does have one true calling in life, to revere his beloved New York Football Giants. Paul roots for the G-Men, watching the game on a portable T.V set with his best friend Sal (Kevin Corrigan) from the outside of Giants Stadium in the cold of a New Jersey Sunday afternoon. Paul also spends his free time writing rants for a late Sports talk radio show, countering the harsh words of Philadelphia Phil (Michael Rapaport) and his own fanaticism for The Giants chief rival, The Philadelphia Eagles.

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Underrated Films Presents: Strange Days (1995)

Bitter, Bitter Balcony, Movie Review, Strange Days 1995James Cameron, Jay CocksKathryn BigelowRalph Fiennes,Angela Bassett,Juliette Lewis,Tom Sizemore,Michael Wincott,Vincent D'Onofrio,Glenn PlummerJames Cameron Strange Days(1995)
 

Years before karma gave Kathryn Bigelow the academy award over giving it to James Cameron the two were wed. No seriously. The two rivaling directors were married before they were out back at the Oscars dueling to the death*. Thankfully, this union gave us the gem that is “Strange Days.”

Lenny Nero (Ralph Fiennes) is a dealer of a different, and futuristic, sort. Nero deals “clips.” The drug of choice for those who want to live it up as a lesbian, bank robber or even someone who has legs, in the case they don’t. Lenny Nero is obsessed with his ex-girlfriend, Faith (Juliette Lewis) who is on her slow rise to stardom. Thanks to a “clip” their friend recorded Nero must enlist the help of Mace (Angela Bassett) and Max (Tom Sizemore) to figure out what to do with this clip before the fit hits the shan and cause riots on the eve of New Years 2000.

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Underrated Films presents: Matinee

Bitter, Bitter Balcony, Movie Review, Matinee 1993Charles S. Haas   Joe DanteJohn Goodman, Cathy Moriarty Bitter,Bitterometer,meter Matinee(1993)
 

“Matinee” is a fun Joe Dante movie that captures the magic of film during perilous times. Set and shot in Key West, Florida, "Matinee" follows Gene (Simon Felton) a teenager whose family is stationed the military base. Gene’s father is in a ship heading towards Cuba in 1962 in the mist of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Gene's constant moving has left him hesitant to make friends, the only company being his kid brother Dennis (Jesse Lee Soffer). But there is one refuge for which the young man can always count on, the wild, audacious films of maverick filmmaker Lawrence Woolsey (John Goodman).

Woolsey, who is on the cusp of bankruptcy, takes his cinema on the road with his partner and main star Ruth (Cathy Moriarty). A constant optimist and innate gambler, Woolsey lands on the Southernmost point, and make his newest horror extravaganza "Mant" into the town's hottest ticket. As Woolsey rolls the dice with this latest movie, his best fan Gene has a transformative bond with the producer, and along the way discovers love and forges friendships.

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Underrated Films presents: The Chocolate War

Bitter, Bitter Balcony, Movie Review, The Chocolate War 1988Keith GordonKeith GordonJohn Glover, Ilan Mitchell-Smith Robert Cormier Bitter,Bitterometer,meter The Chocolate War(1988)
 

The teenage years are a tumultuous period where defiance is met by the humiliation of peers. “The Chocolate War” was a controversial 1970’s youth novel by the late Robert Cormier, a study of the institutionalize pack mentality and the price those who defy it pay. In 1988, first time director Keith Gordon (the scrawny actor famous for his “Christine” lead) took Cormier’s book and made an understated, artistically ambitious yet faulty film version that gathered a lukewarm reception. While the film couldn’t quite reach out to a generation that grew in front of John Hughes’ spectacles, “The Chocolate War” found late fanfare driven by Eighties’ nostalgia. A small gem, Keith Gordon’s surrealistic view of adolescent pain, like the characters it follows, perhaps needed time to grow up.

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Underrated Films presents: Radio Bikini

Bitter, Bitter Balcony, Movie Review, Radio Bikini 1988Robert StoneRobert StoneJohn Smitherman, Kilon Bauno Bitter,Bitterometer,meter Radio Bikini(1988)
 

Bikini Atoll is a small, lost paradise in the waters of the South Pacific. In 1946, the island would be the site of the 20th century’s most horrible arsenal on display, sadly procured by our own country. Operation Crossroads was conducted by the U.S. Navy as an experiment to study the repercussions of a nuclear attack. Bikini Atoll was used as the base for the tests, driving the aborigines from their homes while service men and women could reside there during the length of the mission. “Radio Bikini” is a documentary of the events; a compilation of stock footage intertwined with testimonials by Bikini native Kilon Bauno and Navy veteran John Smitherman.

“Radio Bikini ” is perhaps a biased account of the controversial operation, one that places the American government as a self-righteous power that toys with the lives of its soldiers. While historians could debate the consequences or justification for such tests (and the film could be accused of lacking counterpoints), we were disturbed by the surreal nature of career documentarian Robert Stone’s first feature.

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Underrated Films presents: Bronson

Bitter, Bitter Balcony, Movie Review, Bronson 2008Nicolas Winding RefnNicolas Winding RefnTom Hardy, Matt KingMichael Gordon Peterson Bitter,Bitterometer,meter Bronson(2008)
 

Bitter Balcony has found an actor we can rally around and his name is: Ben Affleck!!! A shrewd master of disguise, superbly emotive, and with loads of screen presence to spare, Affleck’s thespian gifts make us spill a tear and dry it with a gentle touch of a silk handkerchief...

…OK, now that we did our best Ben Lyons impersonation, we can actually herald talent. Right now we are showing cinematic props for the chameleon-like Tom Hardy. His popularity has grown since his impressive performance as a clever forger in “Inception.” Hardy is on the brink of stardom, and with the Max Rockatansky role he inherited from Mel Gibson; soon the young Englishman will join previous imports such as Clive Owen and Daniel Craig in ranks of Jolly Cool. And, like Owen’s poker face in “Croupier” and Craig’s wits in “Layer Cake,” Hardy has his own buried treasure in 2008’s “Bronson.”

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Underrated Films Presents: Triangle (2009)

 
Triangle (2009),Bitter Balcony, review, movie revieww, movie, bitterTriangle (2009)

It’s hard to write about "The Triangle" without ruining it – so this will be vague and short.

The premise: Jess (Melissa George), Tommy and friends get together on a small yacht for a day at sea. Jess arrives on the dock with something, possibly serious, going on in her world, but chooses to go on the trip anyway. After a nap, she wakes to try to enjoy the day with Tommy and his friends, but a freak storm overturns their yacht. While adrift they are crossed by a ship that appears to be deserted. With little choice, they board and find that there's someone aboard ship and this someone begins to dispatch them one by one. Jess must do what she can to survive and help her friends the best she can. But there is something more she must find: a secret terror lying in the shadows.

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