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March 2009

Film Review - Miss March

MISS MARCH still

There was a time when comedy troupes had to earn their fame before setting off on a feature film adventure, running the gauntlet of obscurity before glory. Now all it takes is a mild acknowledgment of unity and the next thing you know, a terrible jokefest isn’t far behind. “Miss March” isn’t technically a Whitest Kids U’ Know motion picture, but it might as well be, showcasing filmmakers Trevor Moore and Zach Cregger as the latest obscure sketch comedy wizards to pull a movie out of their hindquarters. It seems I owe an apology to the Broken Lizard: guys, turns out you are no longer the worst unknown jesters to come around and bore mainstream audiences to tears. Hazzah.

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Film Review - Sunshine Cleaning

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“Sunshine Cleaning” is a motion picture that succeeds entirely because of the prodigious acting labor from stars Amy Adams and Emily Blunt. Without their efforts to force-feed some deep-seated emotional shading into the film, the picture would be a decidedly hollow indie event, defined by a quirky premise and one-dimensional characterization. Because Adams and Blunt bring their best to the roles, the feature carefully avoids the pitfalls of convention, becoming a familiar story executed with unexpected gravitas.

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Film Review - The Edge of Love

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The sizzling embers of forbidden desire cloud the screen in “The Edge of Love,” an overwrought but not entirely unconvincing attempt at a smoldering period romance movie. Blessed with an eager, rightly immodest cast and meticulous production value, “Edge” doesn’t aspire to be anything more than a juicy British wartime soap opera, but when it finds delicious pockets of whispered betrayal, artistic impotency, and cherry-lipped invitation, it adds up to a convincing sit.

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DVD Review - Pegwarmers: The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth

PEGWARMERS - Kho

Pegwarmers, as defined in this documentary, are the action figures nobody wants. They’re the plastic personalities that are left behind to gather dust while their more popular, exclusive brethren are snapped up quickly. It’s a geek term finding an ideal home in this exhaustively geeky movie. Lovingly prepared and quick to charm, “Pegwarmers: The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth” is an affectionate ode to the less esteemed pop culture pursuits, returning some dignity to those brave few who boldly go; individuals who take on sci-fi and fantasy pursuits in the face of disdain, eventually finding a safe haven in the company of other like-minded enthusiasts.

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Film Review - Cherry Blossoms

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Celebrated director Doris Dorrie’s “Cherry Blossoms” concerns the enriching odyssey of life lived after the cruel death of a loved one, tracing that specific psychological abyss for a German man at ease with his habitual life and now confronted with cataclysmic change. Endearing, modestly tear-jerking, and basted with just enough culture shock oddity to keep the cinematic brew tart and curious, “Blossoms” is an emotionally charged pearl of a film.

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Film Review - Watchmen

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For his third motion picture, director Zack Snyder has returned to a formula that’s served him very well: snatch a well-established event in geek culture, slather it in photographic gloss, and call it a “tribute.” Through a remake of “Dawn of the Dead” and a photocopy interpretation of “300,” Snyder has found his niche seizing the work of others and shaping it into crude, chest-puffing cinema, intended to rile the senses and play to undemanding appetites. With the illustrious graphic novel “Watchmen,” Snyder is forced to wield his adaptation sword carefully, for a single flawed stroke is sure to topple the entire endeavor. I give Snyder credit for his tenacious reverence here, but “Watchmen” is an unimaginative attempt to recapture lightning in a bottle, ultimately shadowing a literary franchise that was better left on the page.

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