Disconnect

disCONNECT short film

Why Watch? If you’ve never thought about deleting your Facebook account, you either don’t have a Facebook account or you’re a grandmother who just joined last week. (Mothers who joined last week to check up on children have already thought about deleting dozens of times.) This short film from J. Buckner takes a semi-surreal look at cutting the chord by following a man as he struggles with a single mouse click. It’s an appropriately dark carnival ride through a man’s mental state — one that both personifies and prods social media into a destructive force that cajoles and holds hostage anyone thinking of stepping back from the virtual edge. What’s most impressive is the balance between the initial desire and the sheer size of the extortion that takes place. Here, a living, breathing social network all but pulls out the waterboarding bench to convince our hero that a reprieve from connectivity is actually a life sentence for isolation. Things go from zero to scary very quickly, and it’s all held together by off-center photography and an increasingly “real” villain. disCONNECT captures an ominous tone and matches perfectly the raw feeling of loss that comes from our conflicted relationship with relationship sites. Remember to click “Like.”

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2013review_missed (1)

The 13 movies below range from the very good to the great (while the 6.5 that follow are just mostly bad), but the one thing they all share is that they each failed to find an audience during their theatrical run for one reason or another. At least one of those reasons is you of course, but instead of berating you for failing to support the films while they were in theaters and needed your help, we’re hoping to point you in their direction now to atone for your sins. But first, a few qualifications. I’ve excluded movies that played in fewer than 75 theaters since that’s the distributor’s fault, I’m not featuring films that made over $30m, and I’m not including subtitled foreign releases which the masses avoid in general. These are only films that could have had a real chance of making a lot more money than they did, so while I wish more people saw the Jared Leto-led Mr. Nobody, I’m not surprised that it only made $3,600. Finally, I’m also sharing the wealth a bit by skipping movies that will be making our Best Films of the Year list next week. So here are 13 great movies that failed to catch on at the box office but should be sought out immediately on Blu-ray/DVD, streaming, whatever… and 6.5 relatively terrible flicks that you were right to avoid.

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discs day of the dead

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Day of the Dead The zombie apocalypse continues to ravage the Earth, and one of the last pockets of survivors makes their home in an abandoned missile silo. The group is divided unevenly between civilians and soldiers, but as the days pass and the undead keep coming, the tension among the living rises to dangerous levels. George Romero‘s Dead films currently number six, and while his most recent three are mostly forgettable, the original trilogy remains a classic both collectively and individually. And this is where I admit that I find Day to be the best of the bunch. Tom Savini‘s effects are the most gorily effective of the series, and while it lacks the previous films’ allegory and metaphor, it manages a self-contained story complete with good guys, bad guys, and entertaining set pieces. And hell, even John Harrison‘s score is fantastic. Scream Factory’s new Blu-ray gives the film the treatment it deserves complete with original artwork, a new HD transfer, and a load of extras including a documentary almost as long as the movie itself. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Documentary, commentaries, featurettes, galleries, trailer]

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review disconnect

Discourse on the growing disconnect between us due to the overwhelming presence of technology in our daily lives is nothing new. How many friends we have on Facebook becomes more important than how our real friends are doing. We fall in love with online confidants whom we’ve never even met in real life. Cell phones are omnipresent at dinner tables and movie theaters or even behind the wheel of a moving car. It seems the more connected we are with our online, virtual or electronic personas the less necessary our real ones become. Disconnect takes an intimate, sad and occasionally heartbreaking look at the phenomenon through multiple stories woven together into a whole. The immediate comparison most people will make is to Crash (much like I did in this review’s title), but that’s only because that film is the most high profile and recent example of this kind of shifting narrative. I include that disclaimer because most folks hate the ever loving hell out of Crash, and it would be a shame to imply the level of quality and sincerity on display between them is comparable. The three main stories spill into each other and outward to form additional smaller stories, but they almost all work to make their point with an honesty humanity towards their characters. It’s sometimes too honest in fact as the film can occasionally feel overly bleak and uncompromising even at its most hopeful. It’s almost enough to make a person want to go off the […]

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Disconnect

Considering that you’re reading this article on the Internet right now, it doesn’t seem likely that you’re afraid of the world wide web but, if documentary director Henry Alex Rubin‘s feature debut has anything to say about that, you soon will be. In Rubin’s Disconnect, the technological world is a nefarious one, swarming with bad people trying to do bad things. Some people just like playing Bejeweled and reading Gawker on the interwebs but, sure, there are plenty of people to be feared just a chat window away. The film is also one of those interconnected affairs, tracking a a group of people who are all loosely linked via their Internet activities – Jason Bateman‘s kid is being catfished by Frank Grillo‘s kid, while Grillo’s cop character is helping out a couple (Alexander Skarsgard and Paula Patton) who appear to have had their identities stolen online and so on and so forth. If something bad can happen to you on the Internet, it looks like Disconnect will address it in one of the film’s many plotlines. Unplug now! If you’re still Interneting about, check out the trailer for Disconnect after the break.

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