Banshee Chapter

discs cutie and the boxer

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. Cutie and the Boxer Ushio Shinohara and his wife Noriko have been together for 45 years, but it hasn’t been the easiest of roads. He was a 41 year old art sensation in NYC when the 19-year-old art student met and fell in love with him, and while the time since has seen them struggle and live the life of starving artists, he has always remained at the top of the relationship. This doc looks at the couple, their love and art, and the sacrifices that are sometimes necessary in pursuit of your dreams. Zachary Heinzerling‘s intimate documentary began life focused on Ushio’s life and art, but somewhere along the line, Noriko’s story, both of her art and of her love for her husband, took over the narrative. The result is not only a fascinating look at two artists’ lives but also an incredibly honest exploration of the cost of love, creativity, and persistence. Ushio is a real character, but Noriko is a real person. I’m now in love with a 64-year-old Japanese woman. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Deleted scenes, featurettes]

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review banshee chapter

Just as non-existent video store shelves are overflowing with found-footage horror films, the internet is bursting at the seams with people bitching about them. It’s well deserved as the vast majority of movies utilizing that format are criminally terrible, but they’re cheap to produce, capable of turning our the occasional winner, and aren’t going away anytime soon. Faux-documentary horror movies aren’t nearly as ubiquitous, but the best ones manage to cherry pick elements from the format above while avoiding many of the pitfalls. Banshee Chapter is both found-footage and faux-documentary, and yet it’s also neither. The U.S. government has admitted to various highly unethical tests and experiments performed on unwitting civilians in the early ’60s, and while official apologies have come and gone the details of the incidents have never been fully known. Until now, apparently. Anne Roland (Katia Winter) is a working journalist who begins an investigation when an old friend of hers disappears after experimenting with one of the C.I.A.’s test chemicals. The drug in question, MK-Ultra, appears to stimulate the pineal gland leading to a greater awareness of the world and its less visible inhabitants. But just as H.P. Lovecraft warned in “From Beyond,” the strange beings that the drug’s users are made privy to can also now see them, and anyone could tell you that’s not going to end well.

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