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August 28, 2013

Identity Thief

Mild-mannered businessman Sandy Patterson travels from Denver to Miami to confront the deceptively harmless-looking woman who has been living it up after stealing Sandy's identity.

A fun film with the message, protect your identity. Jason Bateman is great as the straight man and Melissa McCarthy is, as always outrageous. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 60700-D Released in 2013
Unrated version (121 min.) theatrical version (112 min.)

Posted by mcmike at 11:00 AM | Comments (0)

John Dies at the End

It's all about the Soy Sauce, a drug that promises an out-of-body experience with each hit. But some who come back are no longer human. Suddenly a silent otherworldly invasion is underway, and mankind needs a hero. What it gets instead is John and David, a pair of college dropouts who can barely hold down jobs. Can these two stop the oncoming horror in time to save humanity?

This is a funny and quirky film with some unexpected twists. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 60709-D Released in 2012 99 minutes

Posted by mcmike at 10:57 AM | Comments (0)

August 27, 2013

The Hand

Jon Lansdale is a comic book artist whose life comes apart at the seams when his drawing hand is severed in a car accident. Slowly, painfully, he tries to adjust, but a terrifying evil creeps into his consciousness. One by one, the people who stand in his way begin to die.

The Great Michael Caine, what else can be said. He did not hold back while acting this part. He certainly made the film the psychological study that it is. One of two horror films Oliver Stone did. He uses some nice effects and occasional black and white footage. If you've only seen this on Saturday afternoon or late night television, please check out the DVD. The film was made before digital special effects and the hand looks great. Special features have a commentary by Oliver Stone. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 60609-D Released in 1981 105 minutes

Posted by mcmike at 01:34 PM | Comments (0)

Sorcerer and the White Snake (Bai she chuan shuo)

A master monk tries to protect a naive young physician from a thousand-year-old snake demon. A contest of psychic powers results in mayhem. -IMDB

This is a beautiful action fantasy. Jet Li is outstanding as always. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 58327 (blu-ray) Released in 2011 103 minutes

Posted by mcmike at 11:59 AM | Comments (0)

Shakespeare High

Shakespeare High is [a] ... documentary that follows a diverse group of California high school students as they prepare for and compete in the 90th Drama Teachers Association of Southern California Shakespeare Festival. Through their passion and working together toward a common goal that reflects and transcends their ethnic and socioeconomic divides, the dedicated teens manage to overcome their own personal hurdles and history. The film focuses primarily on under-privileged teens and highlights the life-changing effects drama programs such [as] this can have on young people. The film follows a compelling group of teens with moving and dramatic personal stories.

This looks to be a great program to allow high school students to express themselves and to escape the possible frustration of troubled home life. It is not just for disadvantaged students it is for everyone to participate in. It's a very good program and a pleasure to watch. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 59032-D Released in 2012 90 minutes

Posted by mcmike at 11:52 AM | Comments (0)

Grissom Gang

Set in 1930s Kansas City, the story follows the Grissom family's kidnapping of a wealthy woman and the subsequent attraction of the violent younger Grissom for his victim.

Even though the plot is disturbing the acting is outstanding. Kim Darby is a true professional. Kim's part is a very tough part to play. She did what few actors can do and that is to hold the movie together from one room. The rest of the cast were outstanding in their own way. We certainly would not have felt the terror Kim experienced if it wasn't for their quality. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 50559-D Released in 1971 128 minutes

Posted by mcmike at 11:40 AM | Comments (0)

Richard Phillips Bigger than Life

"Seen is Richard Phillips' 2012 exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery in New York. Included are paintings and films with Lindsay Lohan, Sasha Grey and Adriana Lima. An interview with the artist is included. Gianni Jetzer, curator and director of the Swiss Institute in New York and art critic Linda Yablonsky discuss Phillips' work." http://www.artnewyork.org/store/66.html

Amazing and large the paintings are inspired by fashion. There is something a little perverse, something slightly off about the paintings. The paintings offer a large view of smaller fashion advertisements however while inviting you in they mock you and your lack of access. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 60410-D Released 2013 37 minutes

Posted by mcmike at 11:33 AM | Comments (0)

Babette's Feast

At once a rousing paean to artistic creation, a delicate evocation of divine grace, and the ultimate film about food, the Oscar-winning Babette's Feast is a layered tale of a French housekeeper with a mysterious past who brings quiet revolution in the form of one exquisite meal to a circle of starkly pious villagers in late nineteenth-century Denmark.

A wonderul story and beautifully shot. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 60328-D (63239-B blu-ray) Released in 1987 103 minutes

Posted by mcmike at 11:28 AM | Comments (0)

August 26, 2013

Jealous of the Birds

After WWII some 15,000 survivors of the Holocaust remained in Germany, despite the tension and paranoia of living in the society of their persecutors. Among them were my grandparents. How could they stay?

"Jealous of the Birds reminds us that the choices of the past create legacies that play out across families, nations, cultures and generations."

This film speaks not only to the Holocaust survivors and German citizens, hard to say without getting upset. Survivors are in most cases citizens of Germany and thousands returned to live in Germany for various reasons after leaving the camps. This film speaks to reconciliation, forgiveness, regret and also the opposite; no forgiveness, no reconciliation. It leads to an understanding of the point of view of the victims and that most German citizens will never overcome the shame and dishonor they participated in or are beneficiaries of. The atrocities will last generations. In most cases they will not be forgotten or forgiven.
This is very poignant while in American society the white population tries to understand and make better the lives of those enslaved and those whose land was stolen. After many generations most white Americans cannot fathom the issue of slavery and certainly cannot understand the continuing pain of the African American community. This film offers some insight to the persistence of pain. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 60618-D Released in 2011 78 minutes

Posted by mcmike at 04:47 PM | Comments (0)

August 21, 2013

Idiots & Angels

Angel, a selfish, abusive, morally bankrupt man, hangs out at his local bar, berating the other patrons. One day, Angel mysteriously wakes up with a pair of wings on his back. The wings make him do good deeds, contrary to his nature. He desperately tries to rid himself of the good wings, but eventually finds himself fighting those who view the wings as their ticket to fame and fortune.

Bill Plympton has a long history of amazing animation. If you are a fan this will not disappoint. If you are just discovering Plympton's work this is a nice introduction. Beyond that it is a great story. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 55195-D Released in 2008 78 minutes

Posted by mcmike at 03:30 PM | Comments (0)

In Praise of Love (Égloge de l'amour)

Lyrical meditation on love, and the role history and memory play in shaping human consciousness, past and present. Structured in two parts, the first part of the film, shot on 35 mm black-and-white film, a filmmaker named Edgar (Bruno Putzulu) is in the midst of a casting session with his producers, looking for the leading lady for his next film. More interested in discussing philosophy than in the nuts and bolts of the character, Edgar speaks with a number of actresses before he encounters Elle (Cecile Camp); he's fascinated by her, and is certain he's met her somewhere before, but can't tell where or when. Eventually, Edgar decides Elle is the right person for the role, but he then discovers she has died. In the second part of the film, produced using color digital video equipment, Edgar flashes back to the moment when he first met Elle he's meeting with an elderly couple who survived the Holocaust and have sold their life story to a Hollywood movie producer. While meeting the couple as a guest of an old friend and historian (Jean Lacouture) interested in their story, he's introduced to the couple's granddaughter, a law student who has offered to take a look at their contract.

What else can I say except, Outstanding! ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 60602-D Released in 2001 98 minutes

Posted by mcmike at 03:24 PM | Comments (0)

August 20, 2013

Bruce Lee Legendary Collection (Li Xiaolong)

Martial arts films featuring Bruce Lee. The rare footage of the international kung fu icon sheds light on some lesser-known aspects of Bruce Lee's life. Issued as a boxed set: 6 Blu-rays with 2 DVD.

Discs are loaned individually
Tangshan da xiong = The big boss (100 min.)
Jing wu men = Fist of fury (106 min.)
Meng long guo jiang = The way of the dragon (99 min.)
Long zheng hu dou = Enter the dragon (103 min.)
Si wang you xi = Game of death (100 min.)
Si wang ta = Tower of death (96 min.)
Li Xiaolong : sheng yu si = Bruce Lee, the legend (168 min.)
Li Xiaolong si wang you xi zhi lü = Bruce Lee: a warrior's journey (100 min.)
Unfortunately the DVDs are region 3.

Outstanding! I have not seen these films on DVD and only on television. The blu-ray version is just amazing. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 58375-B Films released between 1971-1981

Posted by mcmike at 12:18 PM | Comments (0)

A Thousand Years of Good Prayers (Chinese/American)

A Chinese man who travels to America to see his divorced daughter remarry cannot complete his journey when he realizes a generational and geographical divide has developed between them.

The film looks into some of the family struggles during the cultural revolution. Henry O as always gives an outstanding performance. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 58581-D Released in 2007 88 minutes

Posted by mcmike at 11:50 AM | Comments (0)

The X from Outer Space (Uchū daikaijū Girara)

When a crew of scientists return from Mars with a sample of the space spores that contaminated their ship, they inadvertently bring about a nightmarish Earth invasion.

Guilarium is needed to kill Guilara! This is a Criterion release and it is a beautifully restored version. I used to watch this film on fuzzy UHF, seeing it now I realize how much fun it must have been to watch these monster movies in the theater. If you are a fan this will certainly rekindle your love for these movies. We recently received all of the Godzilla movies on DVD.

Askwith Media Library 60851-D Released in 1967 88 minutes

Posted by mcmike at 11:39 AM | Comments (0)

Spitting Game (The College Hookup Culture)

Through interviews with students and experts, the filmmaker examines the "hook up" habits of college students in which risky sexual behavior is fueled by alcohol use.

Drugs and alcohol use are a large part of the hook up culture. The abuse of substances and the act of sex while abusing the subastances has been going on for a very long time. The behavior is, as it should be a concern for parents and some students. Watching the video will provide awareness and hopefully insight for the viewer and allow him or her to avoid these types of situations. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 59957-D Released in 2009 Total running time: 65 min. (full length); 35 min. (abridged)


Posted by mcmike at 10:09 AM | Comments (0)

August 19, 2013

Evangelion : 1.01, 1.11 and 2.22

A catastrophe of unparalled scale and magnitude overwhelmed the entire globe, causing half the population of the Earth to perish, leaving behind vivid remnants of devastation at numerous locations around the world. 14 year old Shinji Ikari was called out to Tokyo 3 by his father whom he has not met for a long time. At Tokyo 3, he is driven to the headquarters of the special government agency NERV to meet his father, who immediately orders Shinji to pilot Evangelion Unit One and fight against the Angel which is destroying the city. While Shinji resisted at first, the sight of an injured female pilot - Rei Ayanami is enough to make him decide he would not run away from this challenge and agrees to engage the enemy at hand. With the fate of the world resting on his shoulders, how will the 14 year old boy Shinji fight?

We purchased this 4 discs. Three movies 1.01, 1.11, 2.02 and a special features disc. I do enjoy this series and the feature length are much more indepth. As with many Japanese post-apocalyptic animations the young adults must save the world. Oh the burdens they must carry. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 60173-D (98 minutes), 60174-D (100 minutes) and 60175-D (112 minutes) Released in 2007

Posted by mcmike at 04:16 PM | Comments (0)

The Americanization of Emily

A cynical American naval officer (Garner) is assigned a lovely young English widow (Andrews) as his driver in this comedy set in London during World War II. Despite their differences they fall in love, but his superiors seem to have nasty plans for him involving D-day!

An interesting look at the conflict between Americans and Brits while preparing for D-Day. Also a "mod" (I use mod because James Coburn is in the film) anti-war film. Shot in the 1960s it is in black and white. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 40126-D Released in 1964 115 minutes

Posted by mcmike at 03:34 PM | Comments (0)

The Electric Valley

Tennessee Valley Authority -- TVA -- was a project like no other, and after more than a half-century, continues to shape life in the South. The Electric Valley is the first independent film to tell the story of TVA, a tale of one of the most interesting, controversial federal agencies ever created. In 1933 TVA was given the broadest possible mission: to tame the forces of nature, create cheap energy, and produce a lasting prosperity in the Depression-wracked Tennessee Valley, a region the size of Great Britain. For better or worse, it touched peoples' lives in innumerable ways. The film is both political parable and human drama, a narrative journey through fifty years of American history with this controversial institution as its focus. It explores both the issues and the people who give these issues power and poignancy. Indeed, The Electric Valley puts a human face on one of the most remarkable institutions of our time.

A very indepth look at the Tennessee Valley Authority's start up and operation. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 54459-D Released in 1983 90 minutes

Posted by mcmike at 03:31 PM | Comments (0)

August 15, 2013

Silver Fleet (The)

Set during the occupation of Holland during World War II, the owner of a Dutch shipyard pretends to collaborate with the Nazis in order to protect his employees and his family.

The Silver Fleet is a great film by "The Archers" Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. This is an inspirational film. Using the famous name of scientist Piet Hein to rally the Danish shipyard workers to fight the Nazi occupation, this film conveys a strong message.

Askwith Media Library 57610-D Released in 1943 88 minutes

Posted by mcmike at 03:46 PM | Comments (0)

August 14, 2013

Ministry of Fear

En route to London after being released from a mental institution, Stephen Neale stops at a seemingly innocent village fair, after which he finds himself caught in the web of a sinister underworld with possible Nazi connections.

A Fritz Lang masterpiece. Sometimes it is almost impossible to prove your innocence. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 60355-D (blu-ray 60354-B) Released in 1944 87 minutes

Posted by mcmike at 10:41 AM | Comments (0)

Paprika

A beautiful scientist turns into a dream warrior named Paprika at night, in this psychedelic sci-fi anime adventure, that will take both versions of the woman to save the world.

Askwith Media Library 46311-D Released in 2007 90 minutes

Posted by mcmike at 10:17 AM | Comments (0)

Halo legends

This anthology contains seven episodes, 10-15 minutes each, exploring the origin and historical events of the Halo universe and various characters inhabiting the world. Each episode was created by a separate prominent Japanese anime director.

For non Halo gamers like me this was a fine introduction to the game and back story of the Halo Universe. I think it will be appreciated by fans also. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 53265-D Released in 2010 109 minutes

Posted by mcmike at 10:05 AM | Comments (0)

Alive Day Memories

A look at the physical and emotional cost of war through soldiers' memories of their "alive day," the day they narrowly escaped death in Iraq. Actor James Gandolfini interviews ten soldiers about their memories, their feelings on their future, and more.

Heartbreaking and inspirational. A must see film. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 60599-D Released in 2007 57 minutes

Posted by mcmike at 09:49 AM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2013

The Kids are All Right

Nic and Jules are in a long term, committed, loving but by no means perfect relationship. Nic, a physician, needs to wield what she believes is control, whereas Jules, under that control, is less self-assured. They have two teen-aged children, Joni, who is Nic's biological child, and Laser, who is Jules' biological child. A big-hearted, sexy and uproariously funny movie that combines comedic surprise with poignant emotional truth.

It's listed as a comedy but I don't think it is. It's a very good film about a lesbian couple and the situations that arise when their children decide to contact their biological father. In some ways the film doesn't provide much depth about the donor. Since he has such a large impact in the film he could have been fleshed out a little more. However there are some very basic messages about love and commitment which are driven home in this film. I liked it but there are some serious weak points.
~Mike

Askwith Media Library 53201-D (Blu-ray 55115-B) Released 2010 107 minutes

Posted by mcmike at 10:59 AM | Comments (0)

The life and death of Colonel Blimp

It is considered by many to be the finest British film ever made. A stirring masterpiece like no other. The indelible General Clive Candy barely survives four decades of tumultuous British history (1902 to 1942), only to see the world change irrevocably before his eyes. Blimp is both moving and slyly satirical, an incomparable film about war, love, and aging.

Askwith Media Library 60339-D Released in 1943 163 minutes

Posted by mcmike at 10:33 AM | Comments (0)

The rest of my life is for sale

"A 23-year-old girl opens an online shop selling 'the rest of her life.' In her own words posted on the Website: 'It's your right to arrange my life, and it's my duty to serve you. I'll fulfill your wishes. I'll take pictures of the process and put them on my Website so all people will know how I live with your arrangements.' The price for her life? $1 US for 8 minutes, $3 US for an hour, and $15 US for a day. ... She undertakes a myriad of requests, from bringing cat food to an old woman who takes care of 200 vagrant cats, to collecting 100 pictures of 100 smiling men for a girl's birthday. From the day she opened shop, this girl has been living 2 separate lives, one is her reality, the other, her virtual world."

Askwith Media Library 60060-D Released in 2010 52 minutes

Posted by mcmike at 10:30 AM | Comments (0)

Pina Dance, dance otherwise we are lost

Originally conceived as a collaboration between filmmaker Wim Wenders and choreographer Pina Bausch, Pina ultimately turned into a tribute to Bausch following her death in 2009. Consists primarily of performances of Bausch's works by Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch with brief interviews with Bausch and members of the dance group.

One of the best documentaries I have seen in a long time. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 60388-D Released in 2011 103 minutes

Posted by mcmike at 10:16 AM | Comments (0)

Bush Mechaics (The Original)

Yuendumu men travel about the bush by car and rely on sheer ingenuity and resourcefulness to fix up their many mechanical problems.

Outstanding and some great ideas on ways to make your car run with very limited resources. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 60237-D Released in 1998 30 minutes

Posted by mcmike at 10:13 AM | Comments (0)