In concept, the 1970 endeavor to enable Japanese daredevil skier Yuchiro Miura to become the first athlete in his sport to descend Mount Everest seemed like an expensive folly: a $3 million budget that initially involved 850 men and 27 tons of equipment. And documentary footage covering this adventure seemed destined to become a standard-issue travelogue, at least in its initial journeys through too-picturesque stretches Nepal.
Director Amy Grappell digs deep in to her childhood and touches upon a part of her young life that normally might hurt others or inspire discomfort. In 1969, Amy Grappell moves from Brooklyn to Long Island with her mother and further. Both parents were struggling with their own marriage and were working hard to stay together. After meeting another couple at a local beach club, both her mother and father Paul and Deanna eventually found kindred spirits in Eleanor and Robert, both of whom were also struggling with their own marriage at the time.
I can’t help but appreciate the inherent ambition behind the production of “Pitchfork.” Director and Writer Glenn Douglas Packard delivers a slasher film that offers the classic tropes, while also feeling like something completely different. He also manages to concoct a premise that’s actually original and doesn’t feature the same old idiot teenagers looking to party who get stranded or whatnot. He actually sets out to deliver a unique premise, and gives our characters their own motivations. It’s also not often we get slasher movies with final boys, but “Pitchfork” creates one who is not only genuinely heroic, and selfless, but facing his own dilemma when we meet him.
Emiliano Rocha Minter’s “We Are The Flesh” is arthouse, horror, fantasy, surrealism, experimental. It’s also droning, boring, and at barely eighty minutes goes on way too long. “We are the Flesh” begins as something of a post apocalyptic tale where two wandering Mexican teenagers find a demented older man living by himself in isolation as a hermit in a humongous building. Everyday he forages for resources, and makes new resources which he trades for food by some unseen entity behind a wall. The minute the pair finds him, they’re taken in to his bosom, and are dropped in to demented world that is either Eden or Damnation. Quite clearly, Emiliano Rocha Minter seeks to take all kinds of imagery and use it as a sense of multipurpose provocative metaphor and symbolism, and pretty much all of it is a chore to sit through.
While “Puppet Master 3” was a prequel to “Puppet Master” parts one and two, “Retro Puppet Master” is a prequel to the entire series. Rather than being chased by the Nazis, a young Toulon is facing off against mysterious undead agents working for a demonic force that wants his life serum. In “Retro Puppet Master,” the writers pay tribute to the original movies by re-casting Guy Rolfe as Toulon. Still running from Nazis, he camps out for the night in a cabin and regales his puppets with how he originally began his journey.
It’s Friday the 13th and once again I thought it’d be fun to take another look at one of the most widely derided and mocked entry in to the iconic horror series “Friday the 13th.” In 1989 Paramount promised Jason would be visiting New York, and promoted it heavily as a stand out entry in the series. I fondly remember the teaser blowing me away when my dad took my brother and me to see “Weekend at Bernie’s.” Sadly the studio cut most of the film’s budget big time, and in a one hundred minute movie, Jason is only in New York for a grand total of fifteen minutes. And a majority of that time Canada blatantly doubles for New York. Because, you know, New York has a ton of Hockey billboards around the city. In either case, here are five things the deliciously terrible “Jason Takes Manhattan” taught me.
Director Joseph Bennett and Charles Huettner’s short “Scavengers” originally premiered on cable television and is admittedly at home in the Adult Swim studio library. The studio that thrives on creating different entertainment, “Scavengers” is an ambitious and thought provoking animated film with no dialogue, but incredible sound design. The experience of “Scavengers” hinges on every sound we hear in this new environment, and we’re thrust in to a new world without having characters over explain and hold our hands through what we’re watching.
Alex Glustrom’s documentary focuses on New Orleans’ Charity Hospital, a healthcare landmark that fell victim to political machinations in the post-Katrina period.
Founded in 1736, Charity Hospital was located at different locations over the years before the 1939 opening of its massive 2,680-bed facility. Originally operated by the Daughters of Charity religious order and celebrating for providing high quality medical care to patients of all races and economic conditions, the hospital was administered by the Louisiana State University (LSU) System in 1997. LSU advocated for a new medical facility in the early 2000s but was unable to obtain state funding. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005 – when the rescue effort to evacuate patients and medical staff was uncommonly lethargic – LSU abruptly shut down Charity Hospital even though the facility had been restored to functioning ability by the U.S. Army.