Wednesday, January 28, 2015

That's Sexploitation! (January 31st at the Cleveland Cinematheque)

[THAT'S SEXPLOITATION! screens Saturday January 31st at 9:05 pm at the Cleveland Cinematheque.]

Review by Bob Ignizio

From the earliest days of the medium, there have been those looking to put the “sin” in cinema, and by doing so turn a tidy profit. For much of that time, however, full on hardcore pornography was illegal, and standards could be even stricter depending on what state a given film was exhibited in. Thus was born the sexploitation film, a genre that teased audiences with the promise of sex, never quite delivered, and yet still left the paying customers feeling more or less satisfied. The films were a mixture of innocent fun and carny hucksterism, seldom of very high quality but, at least in hindsight, possessing a certain undeniable charm.

Match (opens in Cleveland January 30th exclusively at the Cedar Lee Theatre)

[MATCH opens in Cleveland on Friday January 30th exclusively at the Cedar Lee Theatre.]

Review by Pamela Zoslov

“Arms loose – we're not making pizza!” barks Tobias Powell at his lithe, leotard-clad students at Juillard, where he is a loved and respected dance professor. Tobi, as he is called, is a retired star dancer who performed with, in his exacting pronunciation, “Ballet Nacional de Ca-raa-cass.” He's cheerful and slightly epicene. He is also a hermit, shunning social invitations to sit alone in his spacious Inwood apartment knitting sweaters and hoarding his fingernail parings in a jar.

Tobi is the centerpiece of Stephen Belber's MATCH, which began life in 2004 as a play and has now been adapted by the playwright for the screen. Frank Langella played Tobi on Broadway; Patrick Stewart (yes, the erstwhile Captain Picard) is the lead in the film.

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BIG HERO 6 is available On Blu-ray Combo Pack February 24.

Match Screening at the Cedar Lee Theatre with Matthew Lillard, Stephen Belber and Matt Ratner

[Press release from Cleveland Cinemas.]
The Cedar Lee Theatre (2163 Lee Rd., Cleveland Hts.)  and IFC Films presents the new film MATCH opening exclusively at the Cedar Lee Theatre starting Friday, January 30th playing at 1:40, 4:00, 7:25 and 9:40 daily through February 5th.
Patrick Stewart gives a captivating performance in this witty, emotionally gripping adaptation of director Stephen Belber’s own Tony Award-nominated play of the same name. Stewart stars as Tobi, an eccentric, pot-smoking Manhattan ballet instructor whose quiet life is interrupted by the arrival of a young couple (Carla Gugino & Matthew Lillard) from Seattle, presumably there to interview him about his colorful life as a dancer in the 1960s. As Tobi spins salacious tales from his former career, an ulterior motive for the couple’s visit emerges, forcing the trio to confront a secret that may connect them all. Driven by Stewart’s tour-de-force performance, MATCH moves masterfully between razor-sharp comic banter and heartrending poignancy.

Two Days, One Night (opens in Cleveland January 30th exclusively at the Cedar Lee Theatre)

[TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT opens in Cleveland on Friday January 30th exclusively at the Cedar Lee Theatre.]

Review by Pamela Zoslov

The Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne are known for writing, producing and directing films that focus on working-class life in their native Belgium. The duo started with documentary films and moved into dramas shot in a naturalistic style. TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT, Belgium's entry for Best Foreign Language Film in this year's Academy Awards, is the first Dardenne film to star a an “A-list” actress, Marion Cotillard, whose performance earned a nomination for Best Actress. "Hiring such a famous actress was an additional challenge for us,” said Luc of Ms. Cotillard, who adopted a Belgian accent for the role.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness (January 29th and February 1st at the Cleveland Cinematheque)

[A SPELL TO WARD OFF THE DARKNESS screens Thursday January 29th at 8:30 pm and Sunday February 1st at 8:05 pm at the Cleveland Cinematheque.]

Review by Bob Ignizio

Right from its opening shots of a nightime sky reflected in the mirror like waters of a lake, there's no denying the artistry of A SPELL TO WARD OFF THE DARKNESS. Indeed “spell” seems an apt description of this film, as whatever else one can say, it is quite hypnotic and fantastical.

SPELL is broken into three segments linked by the presence of a nameless character played by Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe. We first find Lowe hanging around the periphery of a commune where other characters do commune-y things, like have deep philosophical discussions while walking around naked. At one point there's a conversation about a sauna circle jerk where everyone had their fingers up someone else's asshole. No, really, I'm not making this up. If nothing else, it's a memorable bit of discourse.

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Boy Next Door

Review by Bob Ignizio

Rob Cohen's THE BOY NEXT DOOR perfectly replicates the vibe of such nineties “it's not a horror movie” thrillers as UNLAWFUL ENTRY, THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, SWIMFAN, and THE CRUSH in which sexual attraction transforms seemingly nice and normal characters into obsessive stalkers who torment the objects of their affection in increasingly violent and elaborate ways. It's the kind of film that holds its nose in the air thinking its better than schlock like SAW or FRIDAY THE 13TH because of its big name stars and slicker production values, but at the end of the day is just as cheesy and exploitative as any “B” slasher flick.


Review by Milan Paurich

In CAKE, the first thing you notice is Jennifer Aniston’s hair. It’s definitely not The Rachel, the iconic hairdo Aniston popularized while starring as Rachel Green on the beloved NBC sitcom, “Friends.” The most remarkable thing about Aniston’s CAKE ‘do is how truly ghastly it is: you’d swear Claire Simmons (Aniston’s character) hadn’t even picked up a shampoo bottle in months.

The utter lack of vanity evinced by Aniston in Daniel Barnz’s new movie only begins with her hair. Physically and emotionally, Aniston has never been more nakedly, even brutally, exposed than she is playing chronic pain sufferer Claire. Aniston’s performance is remarkable on multiple levels, yet the lack of cosmetic niceties—beginning with, but not limited to said hair—is what initially draws you in. We’re simply not used to seeing one of our most glamorous stars reduced to a ratty housecoat as her principal wardrobe choice.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Search For General Tso (January 23rd and 24th at the Cleveland Cinematheque)

[THE SEARCH FOR GENERAL TSO screens Friday January 23rd at 8:25 pm and Saturday January 24th at 7:05 pm at the Cleveland Cinematheque.]

Review by Bob Ignizio

If you're a fan of what we in America call “Chinese food”, then you are at least aware of a dish called General Tso's Chicken. There's a fairly good chance you've eaten it, too, since it's one of the most popular ethnic foods in this country, just behind pizza according to one subject interviewed in the new documentary THE SEARCH FOR GENERAL TSO. But just who was General Tso and what, if anything, did he have to do with the dish that bears his name? Those are the questions writer/director Ian Cheney sets out to answer with his film.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Win a free Blu Ray combo pack of 'Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day'

Having a rough day? Improve it by entering for the chance to win a Blu-ray Combo Pack of ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY!
This family-friendly film follows the exploits of 11-year-old Alexander as he experiences the most terrible and horrible day of his young life. He soon learns he is not alone when his mom, dad, brother, and sister all find themselves living through their own terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
Available February 10. Click on the link to enter -