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Explicit Ills

3.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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(Jul 14, 2009)
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Editorial Reviews

In the streets of North Philadelphia, the lives of strangers intersect in a bold and moving semi-autobiographical tale that crosscuts between the many people who struggle in the face of poverty, drugs and the human connection.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Rosario Dawson, Lou Taylor Pucci, Naomie Harris, Paul Dano, Frankie Shaw
  • Directors: Mark Webber
  • Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Peace Arch Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 14, 2009
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0025XUTJM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #181,340 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Roland E. Zwick on August 8, 2009
Format: DVD
Crumbling, hollowed-out buildings, trash-strewn alleyways and weed-infested empty lots provide the backdrop for "Explicit Ills," a low-keyed, understated account of a group of largely unrelated people struggling to make a go of things amidst poverty and urban decay in Philadelphia. Yet, despite the grimness of the setting, the movie offers a basis for renewal and hope through a cast of characters who don`t exactly fit into the stereotypical slum-drama mold - and in the film's commitment to social justice through unity and action.

In terms of form, Mark Webber's film is more a series of vignettes than a conventionally structured narrative, an approach that actually works quite well given the slightly amateurish, rough-around-the-edges nature of the piece. Yet, despite limited financial resources, Webber has fashioned a stylish, sometimes even quite visionary work that clearly cares about its characters and the community to which they belong.

Those characters include a young couple caught up in the web of drug addiction; an aspiring actor who's struggling with depression; a seven-year-old chess player who gets picked on at school; a sweet-natured teenager who's trying hard to impress his girl; a pot-smoking mother who's having to counsel her son to stay away from the drug till he's older; and another mother (played by Rosario Dawson) who's desperate to get some much-needed medicine for her asthmatic child. The characters have little in common with one another except that they happen to live in the same geographical locale and they're all trying to do the best they can with what fate and, in some cases, their own choices and actions have led them to.
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Format: DVD
From the first impressions that I derived from the trailer I was anxious to see what I thought would be a very moving story of reality and poverty right here in America. Sadly, this was a poorly written attempt to convey such reality to others. It simply was.., all over the place with absolutely no continuity of story. Aside from a good cast, I could hardly wait for this one to be over!
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Format: Blu-ray
Before anyone gets too upset, the star rating reflects the product rating, not necessarily the content or film making quality. This is a passion piece with poverty activism as its theme, and understandably the director wants to get his message out there, but the Blu package was not utilized in the slightest.

The story follows twelve people in the heart of Philadelphia living out their lives, good and bad, over the events of one summer (2007). Each story gets an introduction (some longer than others) of what to expect, with the last character being introduced at the 37 minute mark. The Crash-esque style editing mixes urban music, painting art reflecting the characters, an assortment of individual camera work in each story (camera pulls, hand held pans, steady-cams) and slightly interlaced stories. This movie deviates from all of the stories having any connection except for the activism march at the end, so do not expect things to come together otherwise.

I did not care for some of the characters (for what the story was trying to convey about fighting poverty) as they ingest/inhale every drug they come across, are typically in a delusional state in each sequence, but then we are supposed to care that they are marching? There were some excellent performances by the young crowd, but there were too many characters to get enough back story and not enough time given to see the outcomes of any one subplot.

There are no special features whatsoever, except for a few paragraphs about what the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign Outreach is about. The picture quality is DVD level without any upgraded clarity. The sound is fine and the outer channels really only get used with the music mix.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This movie turned out not to be as good as advertised. I received in a timely fashion and it was in great shape though.
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