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You’re sitting in your living room when the call comes. It’s a crackle, then a bright tone, then a recorded voice asking if you’ll accept the charges. You agree, and instantly the other end explodes with an angry rasp yelling at you about money and your loved one’s life. If you don’t follow through with the amount they want, they’ll cut off another body part. This is the startling opening to Sequestro, a documentary getting its hands dirty in the big business of disappearances in Brazil. Following the special police force assigned to the epidemic and delivering the heart-shaking details of the families dealing with a father, a mother, a brother, a sister who is in the hands of kidnappers, the film is an insightful look at something nightmarish that exists in everyday life in South America.


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A few months ago, the trailer for The Disappearance of Alice Creed came online and surprised with its stark look at the taking of one young woman. Leave it to a documentary to blow all of that out of the water. Sequestro focuses its cameras on a police force meant to fight kidnapping and retrieve victims in Sao Paulo, Brazil. They shot for four years (or for 386 kidnappings (or for over 1,500 if you count all of Brazil)). Imagine if you were the one who got the phone call.



If there’s one thing I love more than seeing a great movie for the first time, it’s sharing a movie that I find great with someone whom has never seen it before. It might be part of something essential in human nature: a desire to share an experience that one finds profound with those whose opinion you trust and value. Whether it be something intensely moving, shockingly original, incredibly interesting, intellectually challenging, or unprecedentedly hilarious, introducing a valuable cinematic experience to a friend can induce the most rewarding of feelings for the cinephile.


City of God Brazil World Cup Round Four

By making it all the way to the Final Four, these films have proven their supremacy, but only one can survive through to the Championship for a chance at eternal glory (that comes around every four years). Spirited Away is already coming into the round as the giant slayer by taking down Return of the King, but City of God took down a favorite of its own in Pan’s Labyrinth. Two underdogs that have proven victorious. Now, one of them has to go home before the big dance. Who will it be?


City of God World Cup Brazil Round Three

So far, the representative from Spain has bested the films it has gone up against with relative ease – seeing some of the largest margins of defeat in the entire tournament. In this round, Pan’s Labyrinth goes up against a bit tougher competition in the highly acclaimed City of God from Brazil. Both films are imaginative and desperate as dramas, but they are world’s apart in the final product. The wild black market of Movie World Cup betting (which is still illegal in the US) still favors Pan’s Labyrinth, but as we’re learning with the other matches in Round Three – the competition is now completely up in the air.


City of God World Cup Round Two Brazil

Out of the few favorites in this competition, City of God and Os Imortais, despite both being fantastic films from down South America way (that’s a joke) remain underdogs in the overall competition. However, fans of drama and international cinema should rise up in defense of both of them. It’s a tough draw that they see each other in Round Two because one of them will be knocked out, but one will live on to face the big boys in the intensifying battle when only 8 films are left. Which one will it be?


City of God World Cup Brazil

A truly difficult pairing, the critically acclaimed City of God faces the importer’s dream film J.S.A. – which is standing in for North Korea considering the inability of that country to show its films to the rest of the world even when they are clamoring for The Respected Comrade Supreme Commander is Our Destiny. Thus, a film about North Korea will have to do. Besides, it’s technically listed as a country of origin. Semantics aside, this match proves to be the most anticipated of the day because it sees two strong contenders squaring off.



A post-apocalyptic future where the rantings of a divorced cab driver have become the basis for a major religion. Who wouldn’t want to see that on the big screen?



We wanted to get inside the mind of director Sebastian Gutierrez by finding out his Top 5 films, and he somehow managed do so while naming over a dozen other films. From Bunuel to Gilliam, find out who inspires one of the weirder writer/directors out there.


A movie that attracts a near-rabid fan following is a cult movie, that is if or until it “goes public” and finds itself on famous lists like the American Film Institute’s.

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published: 02.01.2015
published: 01.31.2015
published: 01.30.2015
published: 01.30.2015

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