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The Monster That Ate My Socks (A Perfect Bedtime Story)
The Monster That Ate My Socks (A Perfect Bedtime Story)
Price: $1.25

5.0 out of 5 stars Very Funny, March 4, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I am 6. This book was very funny. This book was very creative. I liked this book because it was interesting.

Female Vampire (with Erotikill): Remastered Edition [Blu-ray]
Female Vampire (with Erotikill): Remastered Edition [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Lina Romay
Price: $18.99
21 used & new from $11.61

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Silly 70s Exploitation Cinema, January 29, 2013
Jess Franco is a filmmaker of great notoriety. His films are all exploitative and include subjects such as women in prison (99 Women and Sadomania) and lesbian vampires (Vampyros Lesbos, She Killed in Ecstasy, and this movie). His films are, at least in my opinion, garbage. This particular film has many different titles but is primarily known as Female Vampire, at least in as far as what I've heard about it. It also goes by The Bare-Breasted Countess, The Dark Countess, Erotikill, and The Swallowers, among others. Many versions of the film exist and the differences primarily revolve around the extent of the adult content, with violence ranging from tame to brutal (and really stupid looking) and nudity ranging from moderate to hardcore. The version I've seen is the one I'm reviewing called Female Vampire and it lacks the violence but includes extensive nudity that falls just short of hardcore.

It really is just a camera fixated on Lina Romay's naked body. Lina eventually became Franco's wife so in some ways it might be interesting in that respect. Obviously, he's attracted to her and who wouldn't be attracted to a mute fair-skinned naked vampire chick with jet-black hair bathing in blood, right? She was a good looking woman actually, but from what I understand she still does work like this and she's got to be in her late 50s or even her 60s, so not to sound judgmental but I can't imagine time has been that good to her.

The film follows Irina Van Karstein (Romay), a mostly naked vampire who needs to feed on her various sexual partners' genitals for sustenance. There's the plot. Sorry my summary paragraph was so darn short.

Female Vampire is not a porn, nor is it really a horror movie. Nothing about it feels in any way cohesive at all. It's a purposeless waste of time, an exercise in Jess Franco's twisted view on the world of filmmaking. I do not understand his films, not because they are too smart for me but because they in no way wish to be understood as more than just trash. In more ways than not, that is not alright with me. However, I find Franco's existence to be fascinating at the very least, much like I do Ed Wood, Jean Rollin (who did make some films I love), and more recently Uwe Boll. Why do some people make movies? What fuels them? Could it really at times just be their most primal drives? The answers do not really matter, nor do the very things that would compel me to ask the questions.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 7, 2015 3:23 PM PST

McCabe & Mrs. Miller
McCabe & Mrs. Miller
DVD ~ Warren Beatty
Offered by Festivus DVD
Price: $32.99
22 used & new from $12.97

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Money and Pain...Pain, Pain, Pain, April 12, 2012
This review is from: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (DVD)
I was once asked what my favorite western is. It is a complex question because it is undeniably an important genre. I grew up enjoying Unforgiven, which is a nearly perfect film but I also understand the appreciation for films like The Searchers and Once Upon a Time in the West. If you want to define There Will Be Blood or El Topo as westerns then they certainly make a case as well. However, the western that hit hardest and seemed most compelling and personal to me is McCabe & Mrs. Miller. The characters are rich, real, and endlessly fascinating, and of course the bonus is that Robert Altman directed it, so that means the depth of the cast goes beyond the primary characters and even beyond the supporting cast, as in any of Altman's movies even the guy chopping wood in the background probably has something more interesting to say than anyone in today's average Hollywood investment. Everything is in its right place in McCabe & Mrs. Miller and watching it is as if the story was happening all along, and then one day Altman and his crew showed up to film John McCabe ride into town with his cards and fancy clothes and then another day they were gone, leaving the cold northwestern town of Presbyterian Church to trudge along toward a more civilized future all by itself. Altman is one of the finest American filmmakers of all time and it is no wonder he creates such a masterful western. It is also no wonder he did so however the hell he wanted. Good for him and he is obviously missed greatly.

Altman makes it clear that the idea of heroism in the west is in all likelihood overplayed but he doesn't take that message to the point where it may offend much of his audience as he had in other films. He shows McCabe's charisma to be his greatest asset above all while his stealth and wit are what guide him in the film's outstanding snowbound climax. His actions would get his hat shot off by Eastwood's Blondie from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, and no matter what character John Wayne's playing he would've referred to McCabe as yellow. There is also a scene in McCabe & Mrs. Miller when a young gunslinger confronts another young man on a bridge. The two are far enough away that their captive audience cannot likely hear what they are saying to each other. The gunslinger doesn't defeat his opponent with his hand speed but instead with his sharp tongue and sheer drive to prove to his watchers that he is a killer not to be trifled with. To us of course, his actions show very little genuine courage and are even outright vile. Altman is right to play down the virtue of courage as commonplace in such an uncivilized and violent domain, and it is one of several reasons this film challenges the many mainstay conventions of the western.

This 1971 film takes place in the very early twentieth century in northwest United States, as clever gambling man John McCabe (Warren Beatty) rides in to make a dollar on a gullible mining town's mostly male population. Beatty is just a few years removed from his performance as Clyde Barrow in Arthur Penn's Bonnie and Clyde and you can see some of Clyde's aggressive nature surface between McCabe's drunken lamentations about having poetry in him. He puts together a brothel but is soon upstaged and assisted greatly by Constance Miller (a dynamic Julie Christie), an English opium addicted alpha-female that becomes McCabe's associate and business partner. Mrs. Miller knows her way around the whoring business. A mining company soon arrives to purchase the town and McCabe denies their offers and sets off a violent chain of events.

Christie's Mrs. Miller is not only the best performance by a female in any western I've ever seen but it is quite possibly the most powerful fictional female character conceived in the genre. This also might be Warren Beatty's best performance. The persistent use of just three simple Leonard Cohen songs in the soundtrack is beautiful in every scene we hear them. And finally, enough cannot be said for Altman's naturalistic storytelling and ability to manage a scene. He did this right after M.A.S.H. and it really is Altman in his prime and most generative phase. This is in so many ways an unconventional western but it still somehow manages to deliver an astounding climatic showdown in the film's final minutes. McCabe and Mrs. Miller is as gorgeous as it is devastating.

Rubber [Blu-ray]
Rubber [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Stephen Spinella
Price: $11.79
22 used & new from $3.95

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars That's Right, a Movie About a Killer Tire is Among the Best of 2010, June 6, 2011
This review is from: Rubber [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
There you have it. I think along with Winter's Bone, 127 Hours, a cute little Norwegian mockumentary about trolls, and Miike's amazing samurai epic 13 Assassins, Rubber is one of the film's that stood out for 2010. This is not just an outstanding satire of less than desirable films that are the result of consumerism, but Rubber manages to skewer all of Hollywood at large. It is both a film-within-film kind of commentary on some of the mediocrity mainstream film-goers will accept as worthy filmmaking, but it also manages to stand as a straightforward entertaining yarn provided you can appreciate absurd dark humor. It is full of appropriate metaphors while also remaining true to the genre it primarily targets. Fans who appreciate horror-comedies and the humor within ridiculous science fiction concepts will understand what Rubber is setting out to do, but in the end Rubber's intentions are even clearer; taking itself seriously would be the biggest violation toward reason of all.

Rubber starts out with a fantastic monologue by Stephen Spinella, who is absolutely on the ball with the film's overall thesis and delivers a remarkably enthusiastic performance. He is apparently telling a story about a murderous tire with psychokinetic powers and he is staging a live performance in front of about twenty or so gluttonous audience members who spectate from the desert with their binoculars. Several lines suggest that they are actually watching a movie. Its obvious mockery will rub some viewers the wrong way, especially while at the same time it is contrasted by a tire blowing people's heads up repeatedly, which of course I found wildly funny. Absurdist work is always polarizing and I'm sure many will not feel compelled to appreciate Rubber's odd narrative, but I sure did.

The film is meticulously handled. Every single character, every single line, every single shot in Rubber is handled as a part of the film, but it is the way in which its title character is humanized that makes Rubber a special film. He is a lost character within the desert that must dust himself off and keep soldiering on. He is ignored and misunderstood by those who would not think twice but throw him onto a pile with others of his ilk and light him ablaze. In the end he is bent on bringing with him the apocalypse aided by his fellow rubber friends and his powerful telekinesis. It is exactly that kind of sternness in Rubber coupled with its genuinely hilarious slapstick in other moments that make it simply unforgettable, but above all else Rubber remains a poignant commentary on movie making in general. Rubber is capable of a lot more than meets the eye and it will no doubt become more widely appreciated in the coming years.

DVD ~ Otto Jespersen
Price: $9.49
39 used & new from $3.89

55 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Entertaining Mokumentary Monster Movie, June 6, 2011
This review is from: TrollHunter (DVD)
The Troll Hunter or Trolljegeren is a Norwegian monster movie portrayed as if it is real recovered footage of a man who hunts trolls and the student journalists who follow him. It is written and directed by André Øvredal, a name to keep an eye on for sure. Here is a film that works with a modest budget and takes an absolutely absurd concept and somehow forces it through as realistic a lens as possible. Sure, it's easy now to just brush off these mokumentary movies as gimmicks, because there have been quite a few of them from Man Bites Dog to The Blair Witch Project and to the more recent Quarantine (or the superior movie [Rec] that it was based on). There have been misses of course with this method but more often than not its use has been effective in making a scenario seem more authentic and the horror of it all the more compelling and enjoyable. I'm past believing the mokumentary set-up is hackneyed now. It seems to me a very legitimate way of making movies seem more real, especially in an age where computerized images dominate big budget Hollywood pictures and unwittingly request that real cinephiles stretch our suspension of disbelief well beyond at least my own comfort zone. So I'm a proponent of the possibilities of the mokumentary horror film after watching this little gem that contains all the elements to make every frame fun and believable. It is particularly highlighted by Otto Jespersen's Hans; the film's title role. His dead pan demeanor and casual actions in bizarrely twisted situations bring a welcome dry humor that had me chuckling regularly as I enjoyed The Troll Hunter. Jespersen offers up a Bill Murray-like performance in a role that is clearly not written for a comedian, but is most definitely and quite potently delivered by one. He is terrific in this movie.

A group of naive student journalists sets out to track down and document a supposed bear poacher. This is Hans (Jespersen) and he is very reluctant to respond to their inquiries about his activities. They follow Hans all over Western Norway until they finally discover what he is really doing. After they figure this out he lets them follow and film him as he goes about his unique occupation. The moment when the students know for sure what Hans is really up to will test your imagination or make you laugh hysterically, or maybe even a little bit of both. At that moment I wasn't really sure what I was watching but I knew one thing; I loved it.

The natural performances by the rest of the cast are not to be overlooked. These are talented young actors that help make the film much more than a simple one trick monster movie. The Troll Hunter should also be commended for being shot on location in the mountains of Western Norway. It couldn't have been an easy shoot for anyone but again it lends itself in an attempt to make an off-the-wall concept filmmable and compelling. I suspect massive international attention for The Troll Hunter soon enough, and it deserves it. This has cult classic written all over it.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 12, 2011 6:31 PM PDT

No Title Available

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing Beyond Words, March 15, 2011
Curiosity has always been my primary reason for discovering, watching, and analyzing unique things; including of course films. I can only think of a few occasions where my curiosity drew me toward something I wish I didn't experience. A Serbian Film is one of those films and probably along with Salò the only actual work of fiction. It troubled me. Something about my mood just wasn't the same a day after watching it. I've seen August Underground's Mordum, Slaughtered Vomit Dolls, Irreversible, Sweet Movie, The Baby of Macon, the Guinea Pig films, Men Behind The Sun, and many more. Those are all hard movies to watch but this was different. This put my mind at intense unease and put an uncomfortable feeling in my gut. It could be akin to viewing such non-fiction atrocities like the Dagestan massacre video at the beginning of the Second Chechnyan War or the Dnepropetrovsk maniacs in the Ukraine who video-taped and photographed their killing spree in 2007 (one video of which made it to the internet). That's how unsettling A Serbian Film was, but in the spirit of William Castle and Wes Craven, remember and repeat; it's only a movie, it's only a movie.

A Serbian Film is also not necessarily out of the realm of possibility despite having scenes that are uncalled for and at times just laughably deranged or absurd. I simply wish I could somehow erase A Serbian Film from my memory. With those kinds of warnings I'm sure many hardcore gore fanatics are now curious while reading this, but I strongly caution that even you absolutely do not want to see A Serbian Film.

Milos is a former porn star with a wife and a young boy. His life has obstacles, most of which is probably his brother who seems to fancy Milos's wife, but it all changes when Milos is given a very high paying job offer for more pornographic work, with a catch that he is not to know what is going to happen as the film is made. The film's director is extreme to say the least and Milos finds himself in a world of child pornography, necrophilia, rape, and even outright snuff films. Needless to say the film's arc lends itself to some shocking images but even with that in mind the film goes far enough that we have to think is it being intentionally controversial and provocative. It wants you to hear someone say its the most horrific film ever made but it is intelligent enough to not only get away with accusations of being gratuitous in some circles, but it is also intelligent enough to enhance its horror with great efficiency. The story itself also plays on the urban legend of snuff films of course, and even though that has been done before, it is done far better here. I've always wondered if there could be a market for sick films like that and this film's very existence and potential for success might make a case that there is. Strangely enough and strictly on a technical level all around, A Serbian Film is actually pretty well done.

There are messages in A Serbian Film that probably have merit. The idea that it reflects a self-deprecating view of its namesake country, the paranoia toward its authorities, and possible general moral decay there are present in the film, but I simply do not buy the idea that its messages warrant this degree of shocking content. I don't find it too surprising that some viewers will find that enough to justify its gore and sexual transgressions, so perhaps you may if you decide to challenge yourself with seeing this movie. But that I can assure you that is a pointless exercise and this kind of shock value is of little to no value at all. Do not see A Serbian Film. Seriously, you will likely regret it.
Comment Comments (16) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 8, 2011 8:02 AM PDT

Monsters Special Edition + Digital Copy [Blu-ray]
Monsters Special Edition + Digital Copy [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Scoot McNairy
Price: $7.99
43 used & new from $2.99

4.0 out of 5 stars An Impressive Little Movie with Very Big Goals, February 22, 2011
Monsters is a slightly misleading title for a film that requires and elicits the imagination more than most of its intended audience might like. It attempts to create real characters in a compelling atmosphere. That atmosphere is partly unique from most films because of the hugely significant land octopi walking about just below the United States border with Mexico. This doesn't dwell on the science fiction or even on the massive chaos these monsters bring to the civilized world on a daily basis, but instead focuses on the journey of its two primary characters. Given that the performances work and the environment was just believable enough, the monsters in Monsters are actually quite frightening. There's something about giant monsters that calls upon feelings of awe and fear instead of just suspense, mystery, gore, and the other mechanics of horror films. Monsters could be a modern King Kong or Godzilla, it might even at times work as well as 2008's Cloverfield or 2006's The Host. However, it is boggled down in making a heavy-handed message that is not only too obvious but by the film's last moments it actually seems to back away from making its point fully, either that or it fumbles in making it effectively. The ending is flawed for a lot reasons, least of which for me was the fact that Monsters doesn't bring enough of its monsters to the screen, but that is important to note for those looking for a fast paced action yarn. I forgive that because the movie is overall pretty well done and the special effects, albeit by no means seamless, make due and then some for its extremely modest budget. The film cost less than $500, 000 to make. To say that effort made up for the lack of funds is an understatement.

A deep space probe from NASA crashes into Mexico and unleashes an army of terrifying alien life forms whose rapid procreation is a major threat to humanity. The military answers with strikes against the monsters. Andrew (Scoot McNairy) is a photojournalist escorting Samantha (Whitney Able), a pretty and seemingly unhappily engaged girl whose father has requested that Andrew get her out of Mexico and home. Their journey is the film's arc and it actually works really well microcosmically, as opposed to the big budget alien invasion films we've seen over the years with stereotypical characters and questionable aliens.

Overall, the special effects are effective but at times imperfect. The performances are very strong and the story works well as a vehicle to make the alien invasion believable. The constant feel of the monsters imminent attacks work for every scene in the movie and make the film unique and memorable. It adds suspense effortlessly. Finally, the film's biggest strength is that it is all shot on location. An amazing feat for its young British director Gareth Edwards. He's actually working to reboot Godzilla for Legendary Pictures and given the movies that they fund I'm sure he'll have an extraordinary budget to work with. If he can use his pennies as wisely as he does here and maintain this effective and appealing style, then monster movie fans may be in for a very special treat in a few years. In the meantime, I'm giving a solid recommendation that you see Monsters.

DVD ~ Hugo Armstrong
Offered by Gavins Happytimes
Price: $48.99
15 used & new from $17.85

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Covering the Thorough Death of Nanking, February 20, 2011
This review is from: Nanking (DVD)
As one of the event survivors attests, Nanking was the Chinese capital. It was wiped out by the Imperial forces of Japan; a brutal multitude of animal warriors viewing their enemies' women as pigs to rape and slaughter, and their dead babies as dolls impaled upon their bayonets. There were video testaments of The Rape of Nanking but they were but a snowflake on the tip of the iceberg in terms of the horror these poor people endured. Still, I would hold out hope that the advent of film, photography, and more recently the internet would mean the end of such war crimes, perhaps like it did when the Chinese stopped cutting people to pieces in public executions thirty years before the events of Nanking. Instead we contend with the Darfur conflict in Sudan, rampant government controlled torture, and of course who really knows about what is happening within the confines of North Korea. We also let an equally horrific tragedy slip through our hands in Kigali, Rwanda during my young life. Nanking, as a film, does place some emphasis on the foreign heroes of the tragedy, much like 2004's Hotel Rwanda rightfully does for Paul Rusesabagina's heroics during that awful tragedy. We have to find hope within our worst moments, even if it is just a flicker of the human spirit among the burned bloodied naked corpses on the banks of the Yangtze.

This is a documentary that compiles video footage of victims during the attack and victims reflecting on the attack today. It interviews Japanese soldiers, both regretful and proud ones, after the attacks. It also has actors play the tragedy's heroes. German actor Jürgen Prochnow plays John Rabe, an unlikely swastika wearing German business man who saves many. Woody Harrelson plays American physician Bob Wilson, one of the only surgeons to remain in the city during and well after the events took place. Minnie Vautrin, an American missionary educator canonized as a kind of Goddess in China, is portrayed by Murial Hemmingway. Each of their stories are told in this documentary through real diaries they wrote and letters they sent as the events worsened chronologically. It's an approach I initially didn't believe would work for the documentary but in the end it turned out to serve the film well.

Covering this event is important for me because I only come across so many people who actually know the extent of the horror, where some do not even know what The Rape of Nanking was. I was told about the horrors of the Holocaust in middle school but didn't know about Nanking until I was in college, where even there I didn't fully understand what Imperial Japan was doing to the Chinese until I began researching it on my own. Even my grandfather's blind hatred for the Japanese (he fought them for four years in the Pacific 60 plus years ago) wasn't much of a cue. The film does work as an informative piece and if I were a history teacher I would show it to the class without reservation. I think it is important for people to know the gravity of what happened there. However, the inclusion of adulating stories for the heroes of Nanking is a welcome respite, and actually makes the film far more rewarding. I definitely recommend a viewing at least once. In addition to that I adamantly support the encouragement of Japanese authorities to allow their people to see this documentary, as its ban there is a disappointing display of pride, denial, and embarrassment. In the end though, Nanking isn't a film that derides Japanese culture and their people, but instead their contemporaneous policies. Generally speaking, it is a powerful indictment of war.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 9, 2014 8:43 PM PDT

Winter's Bone [Blu-ray]
Winter's Bone [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Jennifer Lawrence
Offered by 1dandy1
Price: $9.98
84 used & new from $0.81

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Winter's Bone has Forboding Tones but a Rewarding Story, February 18, 2011
This review is from: Winter's Bone [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
At times this two million dollar Best Picture Oscar nominee is a joyless albeit compelling journey, but for those who know the story that Daniel Woodrell adapted his amazing screenplay on, there is far too much vigor in these characters for it be written off as gloomy and not worth the casual film-goer's time. The mortifying journey's destination is a lively reward indeed.

Winter's Bone is without question one of the year's best movies in what amounts to be a very potent field of candidates. It has been nominated for four Oscars altogether, one additional being the aforementioned adapted screenplay and the others being for performances by its lead Jennifer Lawrence and another for her co-star John Hawkes. Both are worthy, but given the similar subtle cold determination in their characters I can't help but think it is much more than just things that tie these characters together, but the powerful style this film was intentionally created to possess. There are very strong controllers behind the scenes here. Those strengths and many more are directorial ones, and Debra Granik (Down to the Bone) might deserve the most credit of all. She's been snubbed of an Oscar in my opinion. The film's cinematography by Michael McDonaugh (who's also credited as a producer) as well as its editing also deserve tremendous praise.

Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence) is a 17 year old girl growing up in The Ozarks. To say she's experienced a difficult life is an understatement. Her father is arrested and jumps bond. Her mother is likely a catatonic schizophrenic while Ree plays the role of surrogate mother to her two younger siblings. Her father is soon about to cost them their home and he must be found to prevent an already horrible life from getting far worse.

The obvious thing about this movie is the future stardom of Jennifer Lawrence. She's going to be a big deal but in a good way. The 20 year old is talented in ways that no actress of her generation has yet to display. Her quiet and layered performance as Ree may not win her the Oscar but she sure does deserve it. She's so deeply engaged in her character that in scenes where her face maintains a gaze of melancholy bravery, she manages to show us glimpses of what her character is feeling beneath it all. I think of the fleeting look of joy while seeing a small country band at a birthday party play their fiddles and how badly I wanted to see her smile. Her character's emotions are contained but apparent, as even her tears are inhibited before they finally see air. She made Ree among the greatest heroes to appear in film in the last few years. I hope Hollywood doesn't kidnap Lawrence and make her play superheroes but I fear it's too late.

Perhaps the less obvious thing about Winter's Bone is that Debra Granik will go on to create more great movies, but I do suspect with confidence that will happen. This film is certainly not to be missed. Everything about it comes together beautifully to tell a very compelling story. I can't recommend it enough.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 30, 2011 7:27 PM PDT

After.Life [Blu-ray]
After.Life [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Liam Neeson
Offered by Sunday River
Price: $10.00
26 used & new from $2.66

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Disappointingly Average Psychological Thriller, February 7, 2011
This review is from: After.Life [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
After.Life is a horror film directed by Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo; a director who clearly has an understanding of creating atmosphere and a distinct visual style, partially understands handling suspense effectively, but clumsily handles weaving a story within the medium of cinema. She certainly has some talent in some areas so I won't sell her too short, but my thrusts at After.Life as a movie are at targets that are almost all directorial in essence. Besides that what the hell is the deal with the dot between after and life in the film's title anyway?

After.Life follows Anna (Christina Ricci), who dies in a car accident after a fight with her boyfriend Paul (Justin Long). Or does she? Funeral home proprietor Eliot (Liam Neeson) would have her believe that she is dead, but how on Earth can he be a credible source when he's telling her this and she's supposed to be dead? Anyway, Paul freaks out because he can't see her one last time and some twists I won't spoil unfold from there. Suffice to say, the twists are so very predictable that viewers with better imaginations than the writers of After.Life might walk away reading too far into this film, and think something far more clever happened. Well, I'm sorry to say it didn't.

Liam Neeson is great here but he's miscast and equipped with both the film's best dialogue and the film's worst. He pulls off slumming it quite nicely as only truly great actors can. Justin Long is either hit or miss with me and here he stinks, but Celia Weston is great as Anna's cold but grieving mother. Then there is Christina Ricci. I love Christina Ricci. I think she is simply put the very best American actress at turning caricatures we should despise into lovable human beings. She had great roles as a child, teenager, and stunted adolescent in movies like The Addams Family, Pumpkin, Monster, and The Man Who Cried, among others. She was outstanding especially with more recent roles in Black Snake Moan and Penelope, a role that made me think of her once again as a female Johnny Depp. It's a shame but now I'm beginning to think that Ricci might actually be incapable of playing adult characters in serious movies. Her turn as Anna in After.Life simply does not work and the movie relies heavily on her performance. It's crazy because before this movie I would've swooned that she should be playing Catwoman in Nolan's next Batman project instead of Anne Hathaway. Perhaps her next feature will prove that her performance here was more about casting and direction than her acting chops, but Neeson survived so that might be a stretch. Oh well, hey, at least she's naked again.

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