The Silence

discs graceland

Welcome back to a slightly revamped version of This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Graceland Marlon Villar (Arnold Reyes) is chauffeur to Manuel Chango (Menggie Cobarrubias), a salaciously corrupt politician in the Philippines who expects obedience and loyalty regardless of his actions. The two men have daughters the same age, and one day while Marlon drives the girls to school they’re stopped in an attempt to kidnap the politician’s daughter. Things go terribly awry, and the confused kidnappers take Marlon’s daughter instead having mistaken her for Chango’s child. Now Marlon’s only hope is for the politician to pay the ransom in the belief that his daughter is in peril, but maintaining the lie may lead to an even bigger tragedy. Writer/director Ron Morales‘ fast-moving and vicious little film is a fantastically economical thriller that wastes no time diving into a sleazy world where children are little more than a commodity and money beats morals nearly every time. It’s a dark and nasty world indeed, but one of the joys of the film is seeing Marlon act as well as we can expect given the situation. He never frustrates or annoys even as his self dug grave gets deeper and deeper. Read my full review here. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentary, featurette, deleted scenes, booklet]

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mr smith and mccarthy

This week was shortened, business-wise, by the holiday honoring America’s birthday and independence, but that didn’t stop us. We’re not the lazy side of this nation. We’re the part that truly represents what the Founding Fathers wished for 237 years ago. We were the best we could be. And we gave you readers as much great original content as we might have had it been a full work week. It helped that this was the beginning of the month, so we have Jack’s usual preview of the weeks ahead in recommended releases, and it was also the close of the first half of the year, so we had a couple features looking at the past six months in movies. We’re so positive! We also saw the box office branding of a new movie star,  the return of a genre, the false return of another genre, the inauguration of a new column on movie truth and a look at recent music documentaries and a new fake reality series. And it’s all highlighted below for your recapping, catching up enjoyment. Start your weekend right after the jump.

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10 You May Have Missed 2013

The middle of the year brings a lot of things, but we can probably all agree that the most important of those things are lists. With that in mind, Landon Palmer and I set out to highlight ten of our favorite films of the past six months, but instead of being a straight forward list of the year’s best movies so far we chose to zero in on the great, smaller movies that may have bypassed your radar as they slipped in and out of just a handful of theaters. This factor is most obvious in the absence of Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor from Landon’s selections. The films we’ve chosen run the gamut of genres and countries of origin, but they share a sense of quality sadly missing from the majority of Hollywood films opening wide in theaters these days. (Although if you have to see a wannabe blockbuster choose Roland Emmerich’s White House Down… the damn thing is dumb as dirt but sweet Jesus is it fun.) You may have heard of some of the films below, but all of them are worth seeking out at your local arthouse or VOD provider of choice.

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fo silence

Two men sit in a darkened living room watching an 8mm home movie play on a screen before them. It shows a young girl, terrified and sitting on a bed, while a man in a mask sits beside her and begins to unbutton his shirt. The two men head out into the sunshine of the day, driving aimlessly, until they see a young girl on a bike turn down an off-road path into the woods. They follow. It’s July 8th, 1986, and eleven year old Pia is raped and murdered by Peer (Ulrich Thomsen) while the second man, Timo (Wotan Wilke Möhring), watches with equal parts disgust and arousal. The two dispose of the body and return home, but before Peer’s car has been washed of any evidence Timo has packed and boarded a bus out of town. 23 years later, to the very day, another young girl goes missing with only her bike and bag left behind at the very spot where Pia was abducted so many years ago. Writer/director Baran bo Odar‘s film, The Silence, follows the families, the police and the two men behind the original unsolved case in a story that pairs grief and guilt, obsession and duty. A suspenseful journey through other people’s pain, the film nevertheless finds beauty too through its cinematography, score and performances.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It is a nightly movie news column dedicated to featuring painfully overtread characters from the part of the Marvel universe owned (cinematically, at least) by the 20th Century Fox corporation. It might as well be called X-Men After Dark. Hmm… maybe Fox will buy some sponsorship rights. They need all the help they can get after X-Men Origins: Wolverine. “A good Wolverine film could be an amazing thing.” Duncan Jones said this mere days before he confirmed that he will take a meeting with 20th Century Fox about the possibility of directing The Wolverine, taking a director’s chair left empty by the departure of Darren Aronofsky. As geek cred goes, Jones has perhaps as much as anyone working right now following Moon and Source Code, and he’s smart enough to pull it off. Here’s hoping the project is a good fit and that Fox makes the right call.

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