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COCKUMENTARY ASKS ‘DOES SIZE REALLY MATTER?’
(BREAKING GLASS PICTURES…84 MIN…UNRATED)
Growing up, there are a few playground rules kids learn; lines you can’t cross that will definitely start trouble. Mama jokes can lead to fights; shots to girls’ boobs and guys’ penises are dirty pool; and later, it becomes apparent that guys are sensitive to comments about penis size.
So imagine the embarrassment and horror that befell comic Patrick Moote when he proposed to his then girlfriend on the Jumbotron at a UCLA basketball game. He sheepishly asked her to marry him. She looked on in shock and then ran away leaving him alone not knowing what to do but follow her out of the arena. If things weren’t bad enough, that little episode went viral, tallying 10 million YouTube hits in four days. And to make matters worse, (yes, it gets worse), the girlfriend told Patrick one of the reasons she could never have a happily ever after with him was because of his small penis (ouch!).
And with that bruise to his ego and manhood, Patrick Moote decided to make a cockumentary (if you will) to see if size really matters. His film, Unhung Hero(directed by Brian Spitz), is playing this week at the Arena Cinema in Hollywood and is available for purchase on homevideo.
The film follows the affable Moote on a worldwide journey interviewing former girlfriends, activists, sexperts, and porn stars to find out if size matters. Filmmaker and documentary hero Michael Moore is a fan, telling director Spitz: "I love your film!"
Luckily, the doc comes off as more than just one long dick joke, as Moote does a good job of leading the viewer on his journey; it’s obvious he’s insecure about his size or lack thereof, a urologist even told him his size is “low normal,” and from there he began a series of remedies (pills, contraptions, exercises) to get bigger and even considered a shady multi penis injection treatment in Papua New Guinea, and penis enlargement surgery in Korea.
An actor with tons of commercial work on his resume, Moote knows he took a chance exposing himself as a man with small goods.
“I still wonder how it’s going to work out,” Moote explained during a recent walk through at the Size Really Does Matterexhibit at Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery at Barnsdall Art Center (on display through January 5, 2014). “Really, there hasn’t been that much interest in me as an actor, which is OK because that’s not why I did this and I think the message behind it is so much bigger than me or my career. I understand that this industry can be fairly fickle but it will workout one way or the other. I still consider myself first and foremost a filmmaker. I love acting, it’s why I moved here, but part of the reason I love acting is because I love film. I love the medium.”
Feeling somewhat dwarfed in a gallery full of larger than life artwork, Moote confessed he was somewhat surprised to find out that to some, size does matter.
“I think the way society looks at it, more women would say they don’t care, but I know from doing the man-on-the-street interviews, I expected all women to say size doesn’t matter, whether they meant it or not, but there were tons of women who said, it matters.” Moote said. “Some said, ‘I’ve broken up with people because of it.’ Of course, usually they don’t say that because women realize what a shot that is. Now, average isn’t good enough, and below average isn’t good enough. Half of everyone is and too small is relative. How is being like everyone else a bad thing? The sad thing is guy’s that are normal and feel less than that.”
Now, Motte admits that his then relationship wasn’t perfect and that he would often rationalize quick fixes or justifications to save it.
“I’ll get a new job, a new car, a new apartment, a new penis, wait, what? That you can’t fix. I went from being quietly insecure about something to hearing about it from someone and then being wildly insecure about it—to the point where I wanted to make this movie.
Unhung Hero plays this week at the Arena Cinema, located at 1625 N. Las Palmas in Hollywood, and is also available for purchase.
Magnolia Pictures—Rated R—111 min—Danish with English subtitles
With a solid buzz for his biting portrayal of Hannibal Lecter on NBC’s Hannibal, Danish star Mads Mikkelsen, also known for his role as the Bond villain in Casino Royale, picked the perfect time to release a foreign film and strike while he’s hot. Starring in The Hunt, Mikkelsen plays an elementary school teacher who loses his job when a rumor spreads that he may have molested a student. As news spreads, he is forced to fight a lonely fight for his life and dignity.
From award-winning Danish writer/director Thomas Vinterberg, The Hunt is a very powerfully dramatic film that is aided by a solid performance from its leading man. Mikkelsen won Best Actor at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival for his performance in the film. The film also won Best Screenwriter at the 2012 European Film Awards, and was nominated for prizes in a number of other categories, including Best Film, Director and Actor.
The Hunt offers a disturbing depiction of how a lie becomes the truth when gossip, doubt and malice are allowed to flourish and ignite a witch-hunt that soon threatens to destroy an innocent man’s life. The drama is tense and Mikkelsen’s performance really draws you in and makes you care what happens in the film. While summertime is often loaded with over-the-top blockbuster movies, “little” movies like and Fruitvale Station are more engaging and rewarding than most major studio films out now.
The Hunt is in theaters July 12 at Laemmle’s Royal Theatre in West Los Angeles and Laemmle’s Playhouse in Pasadena and expand on July 19 at Edwards Theatres’ Westpark 8 in Irvine.
THE HUNGER GAMES TRAILER NOW AVAILABLE!
Watch Katniss's journey from District 12 to the Capitol leading up to her entrance into the arena of the 74th Hunger Games where she must fight to survive. Based on the best-selling epic novel by Suzanne Collins, THE HUNGER GAMES opens in theaters everywhere March 23, 2012.
About THE HUNGER GAMES
Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the evil Capitol of the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games. A twisted punishment for a past uprising and an ongoing government intimidation tactic, The Hunger Games are a nationally televised event in which Tributes? must fight with one another until one survivor remains.
Pitted against highly-trained Tributes who have prepared for these Games their entire lives, Katniss is forced to rely upon her sharp instincts as well as the mentorship of drunken former victor Haymitch Abernathy. If she's ever to return home to District 12, Katniss must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
THE HUNGER GAMES is directed by Gary Ross, and produced by Nina Jacobsons Color Force in tandem with producer Jon Kilik. Suzanne Collins best-selling novel, the first in a trilogy published by Scholastic that has over 16 million copies in print in the United States alone, has developed a massive global following.
Lionsgate will release THE HUNGER GAMES on March 23, 2012.
Official Website: http://www.thehungergamesmovie.com/
(Music Box Films…Rated PG-13…94min…In French with English Subtitles)
A foreign film favorite, Monsieur Lazhar is a provocative film about an Algerian immigrant substitute teacher who takes over a Montreal middle school class after their teacher commits suicide. A poignant social drama from Canadian filmmaker Philippe Falardeau, recently included on Variety’s 2012 list of 10 Directors to Watch, the film was a 2011 Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film and the winner of multiple 2011 Genie Awards (Canadian Oscar).
According to Monsieur Lazhar’s director, the film, which begins when the body of a teacher that has just committed suicide is found, is “not a film about mourning, but rather a film about the complex organic entity that is a school.”
The film features wonderful performances by leading actor Fellag, who only goes by the one name ala Sting and Madonna, and the child actors who play Mr. Lazhar’s young students coping with grief and learning to heal. A little film with heart, this is a great alternative to the big blockbusters with big stunts, explosions and kids fighting to the death. Instead, get lost in a powerful and complex stories loaded with strong performances.
Monsieur Lazhar opens April 13 at The Landmark in West Los Angeles, the Laemmle Town Center in Encino and the Laemmle Playhouse in Pasadena, as well as in Orange County at the Regency South Coast Village in Santa Ana, and the Regency Rancho Niguel in Laguna Niguel and in Camarillo at the Regency Paseo Camarillo.
‘HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2’ TRAILER AVAILABLE
One of the most reviled films in recent memory has dared to release a sequel. Run for cover because IFC Films’ Human Centipede 2 will hit theaters this fall. Boasting that it’s 100% medically inaccurate, moviegoers will no doubt be in for a one-of-a-kind ride.
Watch at your own risk.
READ REVIEW FOR THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE (FIRST SEQUENCE) BELOW
THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE (FIRST SEQUENCE)
(IFC Films – 90 min) Not Rated
Never Go Ass-to-Mouth
In Theaters and On Demand Now
As writer/director Kevin Smith so aptly put it in Clerks II, you “never go ass-to-mouth.” Truer words have never been spoken, but apparently Dutch filmmaker Tom Six never received got the memo because his latest film, the disturbing and provocative Human Centipede tells the tale of a mad scientist obsessed with creating his very own human centipede, surgically stitching three people together, ass-to-mouth.
The controversial international horror film has already racked awards taking home Best Horror Feature, and Best Horror Actor at Fantastic Fest 2009, as well as Best Picture at Screamfest 2009. If Freddy Krueger is too tame for you, and you want more chills then pay close attention.
The story is simple enough, during a stopover in Germany in the middle of a carefree road trip through Europe, two American girls find themselves alone at night when their car breaks down in the woods. Searching for help they stumble upon an isolated villa where the mysterious owner, Dr. Heiter, takes them, drugs them and soon begins with his demented and diabolic plans.
“For my first international horror film,” director Tom Six explains, “I wanted to create a film that was really horrible and horrific. For me, the best horror films are the films that could actually happen in real life. So it could happen to the audience watching the film. The idea of the human centipede, started all very simple from a sick joke I told friends. When we saw somebody evil, a child molester or something, on TV, I said they should stitch his mouth to the ass of a fat truck driver, that would be the right punishment for him.”
Director Six disturbingly assures that his film is 100% medically accurate. And in his horror film, there is no serial killer on the loose with an axe, here you have a demented surgeon with a scalpel and a perverse imagination. The Human Centipede is nowhere near as graphic or gory as you’d think it would be. Episodes of “Nip/Tuck” and some of the show’s surgeries will make you turn away more times that here. A lot of the disturbing images are actually off screen and played for you to imagine them for yourself.
But don’t get me wrong, The Human Centipede is not for the squeamish. It’s sick and twisted and film festival audiences have walked out on it, but if you like your cinema compelling and edgy, then you may have just found something that will test your limits.
Word has it the sequel is already in the works, this time look out for a 12-person human centipede!
Click here to see The Human Centipede trailer.
HOW TO LIVE FOREVER
Variance Films – 94 Minutes – Not Rated
Does the idea of living forever sound tempting? Some people say ‘yes’ and some say ‘no’. Personally, if you’re going to live forever as an aged person, then no thanks. But filmmaker Mark Wexler embarked around the globe to look into exactly what it means to grow old and what it could mean to really live forever.
Along the way, Wexler talks to an interesting bunch of the silver-haired set, including comedian Phyllis Diller, Ms ThighMaster herself Suzanne Somers, author Ray Bradbury, a then 94-year-old Jack LaLane, the fitness guru would helped start the exercise craze, and Baxter, a UK 101-year-old chain-smoking, beer-drinking marathon runner. Both Jack LaLane and Buster have since passed away. For Wexler, the process evolves into a thought-provoking examination of what truly gives life meaning.
“I have always been drawn to stories of the human connections that define us, an interest reflected in my work both as a photojournalist and a documentary filmmaker,” Wexler said. “The death of my mother and the arrival of my AARP card led me to examine the most fundamental human connection of all – to life itself. Somewhere between the hyperbaric chamber and the cryonic pod, I began to fully appreciate he complexity of the issue.”
While the documentary holds an interesting premise, and features some fascinating people, it does get old fast. Examining the benefits of yoga, laughter and even elder porn, How to Live Forever aims to be fun and provocative but, like the aging process, losses steam before crossing the finish line.
Click here to see the trailer for How to Live Forever.
NOW PLAYING EVERYWHERE
(Warner Bros. – 148 min) Rated PG-13
Writer/director Christopher Nolan doesn’t make simple, cookie cutter movies, instead he’s known for making films that make you think and keep you on your toes. The man who brought you Memento and Prestige (a brilliant and often overlooked film) is at it once again with Inception.
Personally, I was more excited about seeing the next Nolan film than I was about its star Leonardo DiCaprio, whose last film Shutter Island left a lot to be desired. And since Nolan has proved beyond a doubt with his Batman films that he can direct blockbuster studios fare, and still keep them dark and edgy, I was really amped about Inception.
The epic sci-fi flick tells the story of a team of thieves that can enter someone’s subconscious and extract valuable information while in a dream state. The one last job that can set everything right for DiCaprio’s Dom Cobb character (isn’t it always that “one last job” that creates all sorts of mayhem?) involves breaking into someone’s dream and implanting a thought in his head, thus leading to the perfect crime once the mark wakes up.
With a formidable cast, including DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (500 Days of Summer), Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai), Oscar winner Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose), Ellen Page (Juno), Cillian Murphy (Batman Begins), and two-time Oscar winner Michael Caine, also a regular in Nolan’s Batman films, Inception is something the filmmaker began working on almost a decade ago.
“About ten years ago, I became fascinated with the subject of dreams, about the relationship of our waking life to our dreaming life,” Nolan points out. “I’ve always found it to be an interesting paradox that everything within a dream—whether frightening, or happy, or fantastic—is being produced by your own mind as it happens, and what that says about the potential of the imagination is quite extraordinary. I started thinking how that could be applied to a grand-scale action movie with a very human dimension.”
While engrossing, the film does run long and at times gets a bit tedious. At least here, the dream within a dream ploy doesn’t annoy, as is often the case when that strategy is used in movies. And the look, style and effects of the film are first-rate, it’s just the story itself that falls a bit flat.
Click here to watch the Inception trailer.
THE KING’S SPEECH
The Weinstein Company – 111 min; Rated R
Now Playing ArcLight Hollywood
Based on a fascinating true story, this engaging drama follows England’s King George VI, who suffered from a severe stutter, and his relationship with his eccentric speech therapist.
After the death of his father King George V and the scandalous abdication of King Edward VIII, Bertie (played brilliantly by Colin Firth), who has suffered from a debilitating speech impediment all his life, is suddenly crowned King George VI of England. With his country on the brink of war and in desperate need of a leader, his wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), the future Queen Mother, arranges for her husband to see an eccentric speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). After a rough start, the two delve into an unorthodox course of treatment and eventually form an unbreakable bond. With the support of Logue, his family, his government and Winston Churchill (Timothy Spall), the King will overcome his stammer and deliver a radio-address that inspires his people and unites them in battle. Based on the true story of King George VI, The King’s Speech follows the Royal Monarch's quest to find his voice.
Thanks to wonderful performances from Firth and Geoffrey Rush, the film is already being talked about as an Oscar contender, and definitely its two leading men should be shoe-ins for nominations. For fans of a good drama, this one is a must-see.
Click here to watch The King’s Speech trailer.
I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE
Anchor Bay Films…106 min…Unrated
NOW PLAYING EVERYWHERE
You might ask yourself, do we really need a remake of I Spit On Your Grave, the controversial 1978 thriller about a young woman who becomes the subject of degradation, rape and violence at the hands of numerous men? Chances are we don’t, but this new version is brutal and empowering as a lovely writer is left for dead but soon begins trapping her attackers, and one by one the pissed survivor exacts her unrelenting and ferocious vengeance.
The original film was censored in America and banned around the world. Film critic Roger Ebert walked out of a screening, writing in his review: “This movie is an expression of the most diseased and perverted darker human natures. I walked out of the theater quickly, feeling unclean, ashamed and depressed.”
Opting to release the remake as Unrated, it will definitely shock and upset some moviegoers, as did the original as critics, feminists, churches and even international governments screamed their condemnation and contempt. But there are undeniable moments that are extremely powerful and poignant. Newcomer Sarah Butler delivers a knockout performance as the film’s unrelenting and vengeful leading lady.
With plenty of gruesome onscreen carnage, this film is definitely not for everyone as there are moments where you’re watching some of the victim’s harrowing scenes as a fly on the wall and all you can do is overt your eyes, but as victim becomes victor you’re supposed to find a sense of catharsis and redemption. You just have to ask yourself if that destination is worth the journey.
Click here to watch the I Spit On Your Grave trailer.
GANGSTER’S PARADISE: JERUSALEMA
(Anchor Bay Films – 118 min) Rated R
IN THEATERS NOW
Inspired by a true story, Gangster’s Paradise: Jerusalema is an unflinching examination of the crime, corruption and the transgressions that plague the crime-ridden urban streets of Hillbrow in Johannesburg.
The film follows Lucky Kunene, poised to go to college but can’t afford the tuition, goes from petty criminal, stealing food for his family, to more aggressive crimes such as armed robbery and carjacking. With a dream to escape the city slums to a home by the sea, Lucky decides to rob slumlords of their dilapidated buildings and hold rent hostage while making it seem he has the best interest of the poor tenants. This of course leads to conflict with the strong-armed local police as well as rival gangs and the local drug lord.
The third feature film by writer/director Ralph Ziman, the film’s title is a play on words, describing a fictional city that locals would all love to escape to. Zeman’s gangster tale may somewhat be reminiscent to City of God, but it does tell its own story with a unique attempt by one crafty criminal, desperate for a better life, to become the next slumdog millionaire.
Gangster’s Paradise: Jerusalema is now playing at Laemmle Sunset 5 Theatre at
8000 W Sunset Blvd in West Hollywood, as well as at Laemmle's Playhouse 7 at 673 East Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena.
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET
Freddy Is Back…Revamped & Re-imagined
(New Line – 95min) Rated R
For fans of horror, Freddy Krueger is an icon, along the lines of Jason and Michael Meyers, just like Dracula and Frankenstein before them. It’s been more than 25 years since the original Nightmare and now, the new A Nightmare on Elm Street is ready to rev up a whole new generation of moviegoers.
The story remains the same, the children of Elm Street, whose vigilante parents killed child predator Fred Krueger years before. Now the kids are afraid to sleep, knowing if they do, Freddy, the burned monster with knives for fingers, will kill them.
Stepping into Freddy’s burnt shoes is Oscar nominee Jackie Earle Haley (Little Children, Watchmen) who delivers an admirable performance replacing horror legend Robert Englund who personified one of the screen’s ultimate villains.
“Jackie embodied everything that we wanted for this role,” director Sam Fuller states. “The fans were aware of him, and he’s a brilliant actor. We knew we wanted to make a seriously scary movie, and it would be impossible to tell this story without an actor of Jackie’s caliber. We’re not trying to replicate what was done in the past. Jackie made Freddy Krueger his own.”
As in the original Nightmare, there are most thrills and chills than the gags and one-liners that the series became known in subsequent sequels. Making his feature film debut, Fuller, best known for directing Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” music video, creates a stylish film that allows the onscreen mayhem really come to life.
For anyone too young to have seen the original Elm Street this is a must if you like a good jolt in your seat. For fans of the grizzly series, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by this new rendition. And even though it’s hard to imagine anyone else but Robert Englund as the maniacal Freddy Krueger, Jackie Earle Haley definitely makes the character all his own. Bring on the sequels! The franchise that Freddy built is definitely back in business.
Click here to see the A Nightmare on Elm Street trailer.
(Mister Lister – 88 min)
It’s often said ‘write what you know,’ well, indie filmmakers Daryl Wein and Zoe Lister-Jones took that mantra to heart with their endearing and quirky film Breaking Upwards. The film follows the real-life young New York couple in a fictional narrative loosely based on their own open relationship.
We find Daryl and Zoe stifled after four years together. Because they’re just too smart for their own good, they stage their own breakup and schedule break where during certain days of the week they’re “off” and not allowed to see or speak to one another.
Based on an actual experiment in real-life devised by the duo, the film follows a year in their lives exploring alternatives to monogamy, and the craziness the ensues. They deliver an unabashed examination at 20-something love, lust and the pains of codependency.
I’m not sure if this is a “date film” as who wants to see a film about a break up if you’re in a new relationship. This definitely isn’t a guy’s night out film, and it’s a lot better and more substantial than a “chick flick.” This is a sweet, quirky indie film that should find an audience with those that lift forward-thinking cinema.
IN THEATERS NOW
(Overture Films – 101 min) Rated R
Ever get that feeling you’re going a little crazy? You know, just having one of those days? It seems everyone in a small Midwestern town if having a bout with The Crazies and result is all the town’s people turning into mindless killers.
A remake of the 1973 George A. Romero film of the same name, The Crazies is a fun, bloody, violent romp where all hell breaks loose and the carnage goes to overdrive. Once again, the film’s story centers around a military conspiracy where a manmade combat virus is being tested on an unsuspecting town causing bouts of insanity among the townsfolk leading to murder and riot. That is until the Army shows and things really get crazy.
The original Crazies was heralded for being unsettling in a very realistic way, and this new version definitely stays true to form. Starring Timothy Olyphant and Radha Mitchell as husband and wife and the town’s sheriff and doctor, they try to save the town from both crazed maniacs and a ruthless government conspiracy.
The Crazies plays like an exciting and disturbing adventure. Timid moviegoers beware, there are gruesome and bloody moments but it’s a great alternative to a film like Shutter Island that pretends to be scary but isn’t. Great for a guys night out or for some intense moments where you can hold on tight to your date.
Watch The Crazies Trailer here.
— Jose Martinez
(Anchor Bay Films, 94 minutes)
Culled from the “worst case scenario” category, Frozen is about three unfortunate skiers stranded overnight on a chairlift forced to make some tough life-or-death decisions even more perilous than staying put and freezing to death.
Considering most the film takes place with actors sitting side by side on a chairlift you would think not much could possibly happen onscreen but boy would you be wrong. Kudos to writer/director Adam Green for putting together a powerful little film.
Extremely gripping, I don’t know if I’d call this a horror movie as much as an intense thriller. There are several moments of suspense and gore that’ll make some want to turn away as all the action plays out so very realistic. What would you do if you were stranded overnight high above the ground unprepared for the freezing elements?
Reminiscent of Open Water, the 2003 movie based on the true story of two scuba divers accidentally stranded in shark infested waters after their tour boat left them behind, you can’t help but put yourself in these characters’ situation and wonder how you would handle things.
I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say take a date to Frozen but then again there are those moments when you’ll have the opportunity to clutch one another so I say adventurous moviegoers go for it, there will definitely be a lot to talk about afterwards.
Watch the Frozen trailer here.
— Jose Martinez
NOW SHOWING IN THEATRES NATIONWIDE
THE BOOK OF ELI READS LIKE A WINNER
(Warner Bros. – 118 minutes)
Hollywood seems awash in post apocalyptic entertainment these days. Recently we had Zombieland, a high octane romp amidst zombies roaming the world, 2012, an oversized throwback to disaster movies of the ‘70s, Daybreakers, a vampires have taken over scenario, The Road, a bleak tale of a father and son desperate to survive by any means necessary, and now The Book of Eli, a post apocalypse yarn about a man on a mission with the last copy of the Bible in his possession.
Starring Denzel Washington as Eli, a mysterious, lone road warrior carrying the world’s only remaining Bible who has been walking the wasteland for 30 years heading west after the “last war.” Think Mad Max with a bigger purpose.
Directed by the Hughes Brothers (Menace II Society, Dead Presidents), The Book of Eli comes across as a gritty, bloodthirsty version of story you might hear at Sunday school. Indeed there are overt religious undertones to the story. Eli is clearly a man of faith on his way to do God’s will armed with the Bible, as well as a machete, bow and arrow, and rifle. And Gary Oldman’s sinister “Carnegie” is a self-appointed dictator of a makeshift town, all to familiar with the power of the written Word and he’s determined to use the Bible to win over converts so he can rule.
Shot using saturated, washed out colors, the film has a look of desolation that only adds to the stark environment we find ourselves in for two hours. Eli isn’t as unrelenting as Passion of the Christ but it is nonetheless an action-packed, thrilling ride with a message.
Some people may not want to mix religion with their entertainment while others may not care for a story with a Christian as its hero, but the fact is that Eli is a compelling, inspiring film with a knockout performance from Washington. Well worth seeing.
Watch The Book of Eli Trailer
— Jose Martinez