Monday, April 26, 2010

No Dogs

I feel like barking at traffic this morning, so hope there's something of interest here to warrant your time.

Just ordered an Oppo Blu Ray Multi-Region player because there's a lot of stuff coming out in France and the UK that is being totally ignored by US distributors. Seriously, the US scene is getting lamer and lamer. There is no much international stuff that is not available.

I reviewed the 'Mesrine' films, Killer Instinct and Public Enemy Number 1 almost a year ago on this blog. These brilliant crime flicks are still total no-shows theatrically and on DVD/Blu-Ray in the U.S. Directed by Jean Francois Richet, who also directed the brutal Assault on Precinct 13 remake, and starring Vincent Cassel, these are on par with American classics such as Heat and Goodfellas.

Thank Christ another French crime flick, A Prophet, made it to these shores, and is currently in theatrical release. I urge you to see this terrific crime/prison drama. It is a blistering, realistic genre pic with a number of sensational performances. Nobody is doing this stuff like the French.

This week I was pretty disgusted by Comedy Central's censoring of the second part of a two-parter of South Park in which the prophet Mohammed is referenced and said to be inhabiting a bear costume. A Muslim extremist group, predictably upset by this, said that Trey Parker and Matt Stone would probably end up like Theo Van Gogh for making this episode. Van Gogh, a doco filmmaker, was slain in Amsterdam in 2004 for daring to expose the abuse of Muslim women in Islamic society.

Comedy Central's knee-jerk kow-towing to this group is pathetic, but equally pathetic is how thin-skinned these extremists are. If they honestly feel that their religion can not withstand a bit of satirizing, how strong can it actually be?

Every religion gets satirized on South Park. In this episode alone, Budda snorts coke and Jesus surfs the internet for porn.

I felt that the show's handling of the Mohammed character was extremely sensitive.

Obviously, a few others didn't.

Still thoroughly enjoying A&E's The First 48, easily my favorite reality crime series. This is an exceptional weekly show detailing the first forty-eight hours after a homicide is committed.

Last week's duet of episodes, 'The Stranger', and 'Prince of Darkness', were dark, stark explorations of an embedded crime culture. As usual, I was riveted.

The show is a textbook example of how to make a solid reality show. From the cutting to the graphics to the ace sound design and camera work, every element contributes to an overall sense of suspense and dread. It's important to mention the show's brilliant music contributions, too, from Paul Brill, Justin and Brian Deming, and Don DiNicola. If you've never seen this show, do yourself a big favor.

Belladonna's latest excursion into perversion, No Warning 4, comes with two covers. This one is sure to provoke water cooler conversation.

The flick itself is much tamer than the cover art suggests, but one has to admire Belladonna for not disappointing her fan base.

The alternative wrapper adds a fascinating line of copy to the sell:

"A girl at war with herself."

The psychology of this director's work is what makes it interesting and an indicator of where hardcore, directed by women, is moving.

At the other end of the spectrum, and recommended, is Luc Jacquet's Le Renard Et L'Enfant (The Fox and the Child), a 2007 childhood odyssey from the director of March of the Penguins

Although it is not a documentary, it is close to it, and focuses on a tender relationship between a young girl and a fox. The images of the two interacting are magnificent, and the location work is exemplary.

For some, the film may be a little too manipulative and heavy-handed (there have been such criticisms). As a fan of The Bear, Milo and Otis, The Yearling, The Plague Dogs, Duma, Fly Away Home, Watership Down, and The Painted Hills, I found The Fox and the Child to be a warm and wonderful viewing experience.

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