America

GRACE discs

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. Grace: The Possession Grace (Alexia Fast) heads off to college unprepared for the pressures of her peers due to a childhood that saw her raised by a strictly religious grandmother (Lin Shaye) after losing her mother during her birth. A rowdy party ends with grandma pulling her from school and bringing her back to their small, religious town, but what no one knows is that a demon is inside Grace just itching to cause some bloody mayhem. The narrative here is mostly straightforward and will feel familiar to viewers who’ve seen any number of possession films, but what makes this one unique — and what makes it highly watchable and impressive — is that the entire movie is POV. (It’s not found footage though, thankfully.) We float into the back of Grace’s head early on and spend the rest of the film seeing through her eyes. It’s a cool idea, but more than that, it’s executed pretty damn flawlessly by director Jeff Chan. It’s like one of the V/H/S/2 shorts — that was the great one in the franchise — get the feature treatment as the POV impresses multiple times. The script and story could have used more polish, but the performances, effects and technical aspects are solid. All that plus Alexis Knapp and Lester (Clarke Peters) from The Wire! [DVD extras: None]

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Dinesh-DSouza-America

There are very good intentions at the core of America: Imagine a World Without Her, Dinesh D’Souza and John Sullivan‘s follow-up to their smash hit 2016: Obama’s America. In focusing much of their attack on Howard Zinn, the filmmakers look to rewrite history again, this time in a more positive manner. That isn’t to say the documentary is out to defend slavery or imperialism or any of the other shameful things spotlighted in “The People’s History of the United States,” but it does concentrate on how the nation has continually gotten on the right path and put its wrongdoings behind. Narrating and appearing on screen as the film’s main driving force, D’Souza implies that America is great because we did have that Civil War and eventually abolished slavery. Basically, he believes we should be celebrating the fact that we no longer treat people like property, not harping on the fact that we once did. What should be an easy bit of spin, though, winds up a terribly argued thesis on why America is the best — which comes down to stating that at least it’s not that bad — with an ultimate agenda to literally demonize Saul Alinsky and of course note the “Lucifer-like” activist’s influence on Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The latter even gets a teenage portrayal in one of the film’s many bland simulations, the worst of which opens America so awkwardly and persistently that it could turn viewers off immediately. Just as with D’Souza and Sullivan’s last documentary (also produced by Schindler’s List Oscar winner Gerald R. Molen), this one stumbles in its judgment of what […]

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World Without America

Did you know that Christopher Columbus didn’t set out to find America? He set out to find a new way to get to India! Crazy! If you knew that already, you’re probably a Rhodes Scholar or you’ve passed 7th grade social studies. Either way, congratulations. As a prize, here’s Dinesh D’Souza slowly explaining what you already know in teaser trailer form. (The absolute best part, is when he shows a picture of Indians and says, “These are the real Indians.” It’s in his inflection. You won’t want to miss it.) D’Souza wrote and directed 2016: Obama’s America, and he’s following up that massive box office success with a new film, simply titled America, that takes a big bold guess as to what life would be like if our fair country had never existed. At this point, it’s unclear whether that means the Chippewa and Pawnee are still running the place or if, as the trailer might suggest, the entire land mass has always been ocean. Either way, it’s probably going to be wildly speculative. Sounds fun! Here’s that teaser:

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Criterion Files

Of the 600+ films in The Criterion Collection, almost 200 are listed as from the United States. While not all of these films are explicitly thematically based  around life in the US, the American selections for the Collection do make up a mosaic of diverse perspectives on life in this country, proving that there is no sustainable solitary understanding of what it means to be an “American,” but there exists instead an array of possibilities for interpreting American identity. What the American films do have in common, though, is provide proof that excellent films have been made in the US for quite some time. So, after exhausting yourself with Independence Day Parades, firecracker-lighting, and Budweiser, settle down with a great American movie. Here are a dozen great titles from the Criterion Collection about “America” and “freedom” in the many senses of those terms.

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Junkfood Cinema

Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema; we will not go quietly into the night. You are about to read one of the worst internet columns in the history of mankind. No longer consumed by our petty need for legitimately good films, we here at Junkfood Cinema are united by our common interest in the utterly schlocky. First we will examine how the chosen film has earned its freedom from the tyranny of nuance and the oppression of critical measures of quality. We will then triumphantly raise our voices to proclaim what it is about the film that allows it to survive total annihilation and win not only the day, but our hearts as well. Finally, we will pair the film with an appropriately themed snack food item in order to prove that our waistlines will not vanish without a fight. Today we celebrate Roland Emmerich’s Independence Day!

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dvdsboughtheader

Rob Hunter loves movies. He also loves training friends and strangers alike in the deadly and mystical way of Jewish martial arts. These two joys come together in the form of cash money payments that he receives every week and immediately uses to buy more DVDs. This week we have Sin Nombre, Good Dick, and Israeli Martial Artists!

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Nicholas Meyer is penning the script for a project on George Washington that will probably focus on his leading America to independence instead of his time-traveling robot past.

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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
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