Film/Arts/Satire*
(*homocinematically inclined)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Monthly Wallpaper - April 2010: Funny Monsters

Wacky witches, outrageous ogres, mirthful monstrosities and a grim grinning ghost or two ... they are all on display in April's calendar wallpaper salute to the Funny Monsters of the movies.

All you have to do is click on the picture above to enlarge it, then simply right click your mouse and select "Set as Background". (You can also save it to your computer and set it up from there if you prefer.) The size is 1024 x 768, but you can modify it if needed in your own photo-editing program.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Reel Thoughts Interview: Ch-Ch-Ch-Cherry Bomb!


Kristen Stewart trades Bella’s problems with vampires and werewolves in the Twilight movies for a ride on the wild side as Joan Jett in The Runaways. The movie, which also stars Dakota Fanning and Michael Shannon, is about the girl group The Runaways that formed in 1975 and launched the careers of Jett, Cherie Curry and Lita Ford with hits like “Cherry Bomb”.

I recently spoke with The Runaways co-producer David Grace, who has worked on films like American Gun and the lesbian fave What’s Cooking? He was also executive producer on the television show Even Stevens, which launched Shia LeBeouf’s career.

NC: Kristin Stewart's career is on fire. How did her involvement help or hinder the production? How do you feel about her performance as Joan Jett?
DG: Kristen's involvement was a real help to the picture, getting someone of her caliber to play Joan Jett made the project go, and she's amazing in the role. She and Joan spent a lot of time together and I think it really shaped her performance. She really became Joan.

NC: What about Dakota Fanning? How do you feel about her work in The Runaways?
DG: I've worked with a lot of great young actors in my career, but Dakota's in another league. She has such amazing instincts as an actress, she is really remarkable. I think one of the things that makes this movie special is the fact that we have teenagers playing these roles. The Runaways were so young when the band formed, and I think having people who are the same age as they were when it happened makes the story much more powerful. I don't think it would be the same if there were 23-year-olds playing these parts.


NC: As a producer, what kind of thought goes into choosing your projects? What film or films are you most proud of having done?
DG: The most important thing to me is the story, because a film is only as good as the story it tells. That is what drew me to The Runaways. It's amazing what these girls went through as teenagers. The Runaways is certainly one of the movies I'm most proud of, along with What's Cooking? and a little movie called Keith.

NC: What was it like premiering The Runaways at Sundance?
DG: There is nothing like being at Sundance with a movie that has that much buzz going.

NC: What is your favorite thing about The Runaways?
DG: It really has the feel of the period down, it looks great and I think the three leads, Kristen, Dakota and Michael Shannon, are all amazing. I think those performances are what stands out the most for me.

UPDATE: The Runaways is now available on DVD and Blu-ray from Amazon.com.

Interview by Neil Cohen, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and Phoenix's Echo Magazine.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Reverend's Reviews: Scared Sheepless

No one can tell a ghost story quite as effectively as the Irish, and the new supernatural thriller The Eclipse (from Magnolia Pictures, opening today in NYC and southern CA) proves it. Directed and co-written by acclaimed playwright Conor McPherson (The Weir, Shining City) and drawn from a story by co-writer Billy Roche, I guarantee it will both move you and scare the bejeesus out of you.

Michael Farr (Ciarán Hinds) is still grieving the death of his wife two years prior, while trying to raise their son and daughter as a single parent and looking after his late love's elderly father (played by Jim Norton, who recently starred as Finian in the Broadway revival of Finian's Rainbow). Michael is a local school teacher who is also involved in organizing his town's annual, popular literary festival.


As this year's festival looms, Michael begins to see and hear ghostly phenomenon while he becomes simultaneously attracted to a woman for the first time since his wife passed away. The woman who catches Michael's interest is Lena (Danish actress Iben Hjejle), a novelist who happens to write — you guessed it — ghost stories.

Complicating matters even more is another writer in town for the literary festival, Nicholas Holden (a great, surly turn by the usually noble Aidan Quinn; case in point: Quinn played a gay man dying of AIDS in the mid-80's TV classic, An Early Frost). Holden has a crush on Lena bordering on the obsessive, and matters of the heart build to an explosive confrontation between him, the object of his affection, and Michael.

Like the best ghost stories (and I'm thinking most immediately of the classic The Turn of the Screw by Henry James), The Eclipse leads viewers to question whether the spooky visions Michael is experiencing are truly supernatural or figments of his delicate psychological/emotional state. Even though director McPherson occasionally makes the film's scares louder and ickier than they need to be, they are most effective. I jumped in my seat several times.

Hinds is wonderful as the bereaved husband and father questioning his sanity. Usually cast in authoritative and/or villainous roles (Richard III, King Herod in The Nativity Story, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life), Hinds is down-to-earth and sympathetic here. Whether it's a good fright film or a resonant love story you're looking for, The Eclipse satisfies on both counts.


Cut to a different continent and a different genre for another satisfactory movie opening exclusively at the Landmark Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles today, Sweetgrass. This unique documentary about Montana sheepherders and their flock will no doubt evoke memories of Brokeback Mountain for gay viewers, even if none of the cowboys featured here are gay.

Described in the film's press notes as "an unsentimental elegy to the American West," Sweetgrass recounts a final, summer-long pasture drive covering approximately 300 kilometers that occurred in 2003. Beautiful, unspoiled expanses of nature await the shepherds, but so do unpredictable weather, harsh terrain posing risks of injury, and hungry grizzly bears.


Sweetgrass, which was directed and largely photographed — superbly — by Lucien Castaing-Taylor, is mostly wordless and better for it. One shepherd's foul-mouthed tirade late in the film reveals the depths of his frustration, but it also throws off the tonal equilibrium established by that point.

Indeed, Sweetgrass is best when focused on the sheep. At times, they stare silently at the still camera, seemingly daring it to venture deeper beneath their fluffy exteriors. The flock is multi-generational and probably couldn't care less about what the filmmakers are trying to capture: the end of a tradition spanning at least 130 years. The sheep may be more aware than us that life will go on.

UPDATE: The Eclipse is available on DVD and Blu-ray and Sweetgrass is available on DVD now from Amazon.com.

Review by Rev. Chris Carpenter, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and the Orange County and Long Beach Blade.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Toon Talk: The Toys Are Back!

Just in time for their upcoming third big screen adventure, Buzz and Woody and all the gang from Andy's room are making their Blu-ray debuts this week with new Special Editions of the computer animated classics Toy Story and Toy Story 2.

As expected, the toys look mighty mint in high definition.  But that's not all, as there are some fresh surprises in these shiny new toy boxes, not the least of which is some exclusive previews of Toy Story 3, due in theaters June 18.  Director Lee Unkrich takes you behind the scenes of this long awaited "threequel", and introduces you to several new toys on the block, including Lots-O'-Huggin' Bear (voiced by Ned Beatty), Mr. Pricklepants (Timothy Dalton) and Barbie beau Ken (Michael Keaton).

Other new bonus features include footage from Buzz Lightyear's actual mission to the real International Space Station and his debut as a balloon at Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, several "Studio Stories" shorts (animated anecdotes of life at Pixar) and a very special tribute to the late Disney and Pixar story artist Joe Ranft.

Click the following for my original Toon Talk reviews of Toy Story and Toy Story 2.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Toon Talk: Of Frogs and Fireflies

Fresh off of its theatrical run and three Academy Award nominations, Disney’s The Princess and the Frog is poised to become the hit it deserves to be with its debut on Disney Blu-ray and DVD this week.

When The Princess and the Frog was released just three months ago, it was met with critical acclaim (including from me) that hailed it as a worthy addition to Disney’s long line of animated classics. However, in the crowded holiday movie marketplace, this Princess never lived up to its full box office potential. But now that it has been released to home video, those families who were too busy with December festivities will have the chance to discover it for themselves ...

Click here to continue reading my Toon Talk review of the Princess and the Frog Blu-ray at LaughingPlace.com.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Reverend's Reviews: Dysfunction Junction

Two exceptional films opening in limited release today, Kimberly Reed's award-winning, autobiographical documentary Prodigal Sons and Noah Baumbach's Greenberg, help illuminate the often painful experience of people trying to move on from dark personal and family pasts. These families don't quite put the "fun" in dysfunctional, cinematically speaking, but that's a good thing.

Prodigal Sons is the more compelling of the two for GLBT audiences, since Reed is herself transgender and one of her brothers, Todd McKerrow, is gay. As the former high school football-team-captain-turned-filmmaker notes in her director's statement, she started out making a movie about her other, adopted brother's journey. Marc McKerrow is an untrained piano prodigy who, sadly, suffered a life-altering head injury in a car accident when he was 21 years old. Prone to violent mood swings, Marc has since estranged himself from Kim and Todd. When Marc and Kim meet for the first time in ten years at their Helena, Montana high school reunion, the situation inevitably reopens old wounds stemming from their childhood sibling rivalry and Kim's later sex change.


Intent on reconciling with both her older brother and her past life as a young man, Kim extended her time in Helena from one week to over three months. She documented as much as possible on video, so viewers subsequently get glimpses of Marc's rages as well as of the siblings' compassionate mother, Carol, and Kim's dedicated partner, Claire.

We are also privy to the unexpected revelation that Marc was born to Rebecca Welles, the daughter of silver screen legends Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth. Marc does bear an uncanny resemblance to Orson, which is confirmed by the late actor-director's one-time lover, Oja Kodar. As a result of this, Prodigal Sons becomes a multi-generational exposé of family secrets stretching from Hollywood to Montana to New York, with a stop at Kodar's home in Bosnia.


I came away from the film, though, wishing that Kim had spent as much time focusing on her own journey and difficulties as she does on Marc's. As much as their stories are intertwined, Kim's own story is unique and interesting in its own right. While we see vintage home movies of Kim in her prior incarnation as star athlete Paul McKerrow, we don't see or hear much about her actual transition or about her life as an aspiring professional filmmaker. I also would have liked to have heard more from Todd, who seems too often on the sidelines.

Since Prodigal Sons is her first feature-length documentary — and an effective, interesting one at that — I'll cut Kim some slack. It opens today in Los Angeles and Irvine, CA, in Arizona and San Diego on the 26th, and in other US cities come April. No doubt, one will find something to identify with in the McKerrow-Reed family's travails.


Meanwhile, Roger Greenberg, the central character in Baumbach's new movie Greenberg, is in so much denial about his past that he denies his Jewish heritage to friends despite his last name and the fact that his family lives in a predominantly, and obviously, orthodox Jewish neighborhood. He also refuses to own up to the fact that he is an alcoholic (his diet consists almost solely of whiskey and ice cream bars), and that he single-handedly torpedoed his friends' dream that the high school band they formed together would go professional.

Roger's day of reckoning comes when his Vietnam-bound brother (played by Chris Messina, who was Julie/Amy Adams' husband in Julie & Julia) lures him from New York to Los Angeles to house- and dog-sit for a month. While there, he makes a very tentative romantic connection with his brother's personal assistant, Florence (Greta Gerwig, an actress on-the-rise best known to date for the Duplass Brothers' goofy Baghead). Florence is an aspiring singer living a simple life, and is nearly 20 years younger than Roger. While she is attracted to Roger, Florence naturally finds his non-committal nature and periodic, nasty tirades unappealing. Still, something begins to grow between them, and Roger sloooowly starts to grow up.


Ben Stiller plays Roger, thinner than usual and keeping his typical, exuberant schtick in check apart from a scene where he snorts coke with some college students, when wild-eyed mania is appropriate. It's an affecting performance and Stiller's best dramatic turn yet. As Florence, Gerwig is refreshingly — and attractively — naturalistic. I found her character a bit of a cipher and would have liked to know more about Florence's past and what makes her tick, but Gerwig can't be blamed for this. Rhys Ifans (so memorable in Notting Hill, and some readers may recall his pseudo-gay stalker role in Enduring Love) is also quietly effective here as Roger's former best friend.

Writer-director Noah Baumbach was nominated for a Best Original Screenplay Academy Award for his 2005 film, The Squid and the Whale, which focused on the members of a dysfunctional family. He most recently co-adapted the Oscar-nominated Fantastic Mr. Fox with his filmmaking soul mate, Wes Anderson. Greenberg has an even more low budget, indie feel to it than Baumbach's previous works as director, which makes his new film all the more poignant. And poignant it is, especially when it reaches its hopeful finale.

Greenberg is produced by the openly gay Scott Rudin, which should be a strong selling point for GLBT filmgoers if the fact that this is a great film isn't enough. As one of its characters says, "Hurt people hurt people." Those of us from dysfunctional families — which is most of us — have been hurt, and we've all hurt others at times; turns out that there's at least a little bit of Greenberg in all of us.

UPDATE: Greenberg is now available on DVD and Blu-ray and Prodigal Sons is now available on DVD from Amazon.com.

Review by Rev. Chris Carpenter, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and the Orange County and Long Beach Blade.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Reverend's Reviews: A Bisexual Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Prior to meeting Lisbeth Salander, the talented computer hacker at the center of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (scheduled to open in limited release this Friday), a man is warned: “Lisbeth is a pretty odd girl.” Glum, leather-clad, and sporting multiple piercings in addition to the skin art of the title, Lisbeth quickly proves herself not only a startling sight but a force to be reckoned with.

This bracing new film is based on the novel by the late Swedish author Stieg Larsson. Unpublished at the time of his death in 2004, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is the first in what is referred to as Larsson’s Millennium series. The first two books (the second is The Girl Who Played with Fire) have become international bestsellers and the third, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest, is due out in the US later this spring.

The books have sold over 8 million copies worldwide to date. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has been #1 on the Los Angeles Times paperback bestsellers list for the past two months. The film version is the highest-grossing Swedish film in history, and won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at January’s Palm Springs International Film Festival.


Lisbeth Salander is the heart of the series, but she isn’t your typical literary or cinematic heroine. Despite being on probation and under a court-ordered conservator’s care following a crime she committed as a child, Lisbeth is an avenging angel who has zero tolerance for bullies, misogynists and unethical business people. She faces all three, as well as murderous Nazi sympathizers, in this initial mystery-thriller adapted from Larsson’s works.

What’s more, Lisbeth is unapologetically bisexual. She beds men and women, both on the page and on the screen. As played memorably by Noomi Rapace in the film, Lisbeth is physically strong but emotionally fragile. She’s also undeniably sexy. The character’s intellectual and moral superiority make her all the more attractive, and Rapace fully conveys Lisbeth’s complexity. Lisbeth bemoans the male domination of the Internet during a web search by asking, “Why do female names always take you to porn sites?”

In the novels and film, Lisbeth comes to the aid of a crusading financial journalist, Mikael Blomqvist (well played by Swedish superstar Michael Nyqvist). Blomqvist becomes a pariah in the wake of a fraud trial involving a powerful banker. Not only does the tycoon get off, but he also slaps Blomqvist with a libel suit. Suspended by the publication he writes for, Millennium, Blomqvist must find a way to clear his name.


He receives significant assistance from Salander, who is herself locked in a battle of wills with her vile new caretaker. At first, Salander keeps her identity a secret from Blomqvist. Good journalist that he is, though, Blomqvist soon tracks Salander down and discovers her in bed … with another woman.

Despite this, Salander and Blomqvist gradually become sexually involved. Salander is a refreshing character in terms of her refusal to be stereotyped or categorized. As she tells Blomqvist at one point, “You choose who you want to be.” Thus, Salander sums up her approach to life, including her bisexual orientation.

The pair of crusaders eventually become involved with the mysterious Vanger family, a wealthy, secretive clan that recruits Blomqvist to resolve the disappearance of one of their members in the 1960’s. While doing so, Blomqvist and Salander uncover a number of possibly-related serial killings inspired by the biblical book of Leviticus.


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo weaves a dark, complex tale. While it isn’t as gruesome as the 1995 film Seven, to which it is being compared, it has enough sexual and physical violence in it to likely cause viewers to occasionally avert their eyes.

However, it is an engrossing, extremely well-made movie thanks chiefly to the lead performances, Niels Arden Oplev’s direction, Eric Kress’ cinematography and the adapted screenplay by Rasmus Heisterberg and Nikolaj Arcel. The book’s author was reportedly very concerned about anti-democratic, right-wing extremism as well as with efforts to keep women regarded as inferior to men. Although he was only 50 when he died, the Millennium books are proving to be the embodiment of Larsson’s extensive knowledge and work against neo-Nazism and anti-feminism.

Anti-GLBT sentiment would also be of concern to Larsson. While the author is gone, his greatest creation — Lisbeth Salander — is clearly carrying the torch for an end to all forms of oppression.

UPDATE: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is now available on DVD and Blu-ray from Amazon.com.

Review by Rev. Chris Carpenter, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and the Orange County and Long Beach Blade.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Reel Thoughts: Bitch Please

Great exploitation movies straddle the line between tawdry and hilarious, and the new film Bitch Slap (now on DVD) works hard to capture the tarnished magic of such classics as Faster, Pussycat, Kill! Kill! and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. Thanks to a pitch-black sense of humor, truly gorgeous women and a wild backwards/forwards storyline, Bitch Slap is a raucous good time. And yes, it’s just as crass, offensive and sexed-up as it can be, but the fun Behind-the-Scenes documentary helps put the filmmakers’ goals in perspective.

Trixie (Julia Voth), Hel (Erin Cummings) and Camero (America Olivo) are ass-kicking lesbian hellcats who hatch a plan to steal a stash of jewels from a gangster. Shockingly, things do not go as planned. Of course, the fact that no one is who they seem to be has something to do with that. Writer/director Rick Jacobson shot in front of green screens for a majority of the film, which gives the film the requisite cheesy look. Jacobson and co-writer Eric Gruendemann worked on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess, so it’s a welcome surprise to see Kevin Sorbo, Michael Hurst, Renee O’Connor and Lucy Lawless in the cast. Lawless and O’Connor in particular are hysterical as a pair of repressed nuns. Like the Grindhouse films, Bitch Slap is full of over-the-top violence and sex (but no nudity) that might put off more sensitive viewers.


All three lead actresses manage to embrace the ludicrous situations and purposely cheesy dialogue. Campiness isn’t always easy for actresses (drag queens are much better equipped to handle it), but Olivo (wife of Christian Campbell from Trick), in the Tura Satana role, imbues Camero with a Gina Gershon earthiness, while matching the Showgirls star’s work in Bound. Cummings (Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Dante’s Cove), done up in sexy businesswoman drag, really captures Hel’s multiple personas. Voth, as the resident sex kitten, comes across like a sweeter Megan Fox.

Not everyone will be up for a Bitch Slap, but if you like Tarantino, kitschy dialogue and crazy over-the-top plots, not to mention a showgirl parachuting onto the Vegas Strip, do as the DVD cover instructs and assume the position.

Review by Neil Cohen, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and Phoenix's Echo Magazine.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Toon Talk: Through a Looking Glass Darkly

When he first sent a certain young girl down a certain rabbit hole 145 years ago, it is unlikely that author Lewis Carroll had any idea of the longevity of his fantastical creation known as Alice in Wonderland. From movies to stage to television to theme parks to comic books to video games, Alice and the bizarre denizens of Wonderland have endured many, many incarnations over the decades, all of varying degrees of quality and arguably none as iconic as its original literary form.

Director Tim Burton, seemingly a perfect fit for the material, has taken the latest crack at breathing new life into Carroll’s classic creations and the results are, like a lot of his work, mixed. On the one hand, his take on Alice (in theaters now) is a visual treat overflowing with his usual twisty whimsicalness and ironic sense of the absurd. But on the other hand, it has a frustrating lack of focus, characterized by his penchant to be a little too wrapped up in putting his unique imagination on display. If anything, this film’s computer generated landscapes and digitally enhanced characters (plus the added gimmick of 3-D) make this even more obvious.


Promisingly enough, Burton’s Alice is not a direct adaptation of the oft-told tale, but more of a sequel of sorts, a continuation (penned by Beauty and the Beast screenwriter Linda Woolverton) of what would happen if an older Alice returned to Wonderland. Now on the cusp of adulthood, we find our heroine (played by the lovely newcomer Mia Wasikowska) about to be married off to a rich snoot she doesn’t like, let alone love. To escape, she retreats into her childhood fantasies, namely a longtime recurring dream where she visits a fantastic land inhabited by all sorts of curiouser and curiouser beings, from mad hatters to disappearing cats to talking rabbits.

When the latter starts appearing in her reality, Alice once again follows him through the portal to Wonderland, and her adventures there begin again, as she curiously has no memory of ever being there before ...

UPDATE: Alice in Wonderland is now available on DVD and Blu-ray from Amazon.com.

Click here to continue reading my Toon Talk review of Alice in Wonderland at LaughingPlace.com.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Reverend's Reviews: Mother Lode

Most gay men have what we might politely describe as "unique" relationships with our mothers. For some of us, dear old Mom is our biggest fan, while others of us would say Christina Crawford had it easy!

Mother, a new film by the extraordinary, Korean writer-director Bong Joon-ho (whose last production was the great giant-monster-on-the-loose thriller The Host), has its own unique take on the love of a mother for her son. It opens today in LA and NYC courtesy of Magnolia Pictures. Drawing inspiration from equal parts Oedipus Rex and Alfred Hitchcock, Bong weaves an engrossing murder-mystery.


Do-joon (Won Bin) is an immature young man who townspeople frequently refer to as "retarded." At the age of 27, he still lives with — and sleeps with — his doting mother (Kim Hye-ja, who gives a great, award-worthy performance). When a local high school student is murdered and Do-joon becomes the #1 suspect, his mother's protective instincts kick into high gear in an effort to prove him innocent.

There are twists, turns and revelations galore in this well-written, beautifully-shot movie. It also features a fine, suspenseful music score by Lee Byeong-woo that includes appropriate nods to Hitchcock's favorite composer, Bernard Herrmann. Mother will likely receive a gradual, national release, so watch for it. Just think twice about taking your mother to see it if it plays your town!

UPDATE: Mother is now available on DVD and Blu-ray from Amazon.com.

Review by Rev. Chris Carpenter, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and the Orange County and Long Beach Blade.

Reel Thoughts: Ghost Busted

Roman Polanski has crafted a suspenseful thriller with The Ghost Writer, even if the mystery at its heart is somewhat inert. Based on a novel by Robert Harris, the film benefits from recent revelations about Britain’s involvement with CIA terrorist interrogations.

Ewan McGregor plays a professional ghostwriter (never named) who is hired to finish the autobiography of a Tony Blair-like former prime minister. Already over his head, the ghostwriter has no idea how much worse the job will get. Britain’s former golden boy, Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan, in a richly layered performance), is being investigated for “war crimes,” after allegedly having permitted British citizens to be tortured by the CIA. Oh, and the previous ghostwriter was found washed up on the shore after supposedly committing suicide.


The prime minister’s compound on Martha’s Vineyard is a hotbed of intrigue, from a manuscript kept under lock and key, an overly attentive assistant (played by Kim Cattrall) and Lang’s unhappy wife, Ruth (Olivia Williams from The Sixth Sense). It doesn’t take McGregor's character long to uncover conspiracies everywhere. Outside the gates, protesters demand Lang’s head on a platter, while inside, “the ghost” wonders if he’s about to lose his head for uncovering too many secrets. He’s unable to stop digging, though, leading to some cool plot twists and a bang-up ending.

Polanski infuses the film with politics and Alexandre Desplat fills the film with a rich Bernard Hermann-like score that plays up its resemblance to Hitchcock’s best thrillers. You can’t help but notice the parallels between the exiled Lang and the exiled Polanski, both men unrepentant about the crimes they committed. Sadness and fury hang over Lang, and you wonder whether the same hang over Polanski as well.


The cast, including Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Hutton and Eli Wallach, are all great, although casting Cattrall seems odd among all the real Brits (and her accent is just short of working). Williams, McGregor and Brosnan rule the film, and their scenes are riveting.

Strangely, the mystery of “what Lang knew when” regarding Iraqi War detainees left me cold; maybe the fact that Bush, Cheney and company were so much worse makes Lang’s actions seem too tame to care about. Nevertheless, Polanski’s film looks amazing, and it’s hard to believe that it was filmed in Germany rather than in Cape Cod and London. It’s a thriller for adults that almost works.

UPDATE: The Ghost Writer is now available on DVD and Blu-ray from Amazon.com.

Review by Neil Cohen, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and Phoenix's Echo Magazine.
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