Movie Number 6
TitleGabriel Iglesias: I’m Not Fat…I’m Fluffy (2009)
Running Time– 69 minutes (“Not Rated”)
Director– Manny Rodriguez
Writer– Gabriel Iglesias
Starring– Gabriel Iglesias
Rating– 3 Stars
Date Viewed– January 13, 2011
Format– Blu-ray Disc
CommentsReview Here
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Movie Number 7
TitleAcross the Line: The Exodus of Charlie Wright (2010)
Running Time– 95 minutes (“Not Rated”)
Director– R. Ellis Frazier
Writer– R. Ellis Frazier
Starring– Aidan Quinn, Andy Garcia, Mario Van Peebles, Luke Goss, & Danny Pino
Rating– 2 Stars
Date Viewed– January 16, 2011
Format– DVD
Comments– Review Here
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Movie Number 8
TitleAnd Soon the Darkness (2010)
Running Time– 91 minutes (“R”)
Director– Marcos Efron
Writer– Jennifer Derwingson (screenplay), Marcos Efron (screenplay), Brian Clemens (1970 film “And Soon the Darkness”) & Terry Nation (1970 film “And Soon the Darkness”)
Starring– Amber Heard, Karl Urban & Odette Yustman
Rating– 2 Stars
Date Viewed– January 16, 2011
Format– Blu-ray Disc
Comments– Review Here
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Movie Number 9
TitleBlack Swan (2010)
Running Time– 108 minutes (“R”)
Director– Darren Aronofsky
Writer– Mark Heyman (screenplay), Andres Heinz (screenplay), John J. McLaughlin (screenplay), & Andres Heinz (story)
Starring– Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, & Vincent Cassel
Rating– 4 Stars
Date Viewed– January 17, 2011
Format– Theatres
Comments– Aronofksy’s latest look at art and the human soul has Natalie Portman playing Nina, a ballerina who wins the lead role in Swan Lake. Nina starts out perfect for the white swan, but has to work to be prepared to play the black swan.  Slowly, her mind starts to decay and she finds out how important “perfection” is to her.  The story is haunting, and a stellar example of a psychological thriller.  The score was pitch perfect, helping the movie play out as it’s own opera.  Natalie Portman deserves all the accolades she has been receiving, but the two supporting leads – Mila Kunis and Vincent Cassel – deserve more recognition.  Together, these three deliver one of the most memorable movies of 2010, and the Blu-ray will be in my hands the day it is released.  Black Swan is one of the best movies of its type that shows how far some are willing to go to perfect their art.  Simply stunning.
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Movie Number 10
TitleEasy A (2010)
Running Time– 92 minutes (“PG-13”)
Director– Will Gluck
Writer– Bert V Royal
Starring– Emma Stone, Amanda Bynes, Penn Badgley, Thomas Haden Church, & Alyson Michalka
Rating– 3 Stars
Date Viewed– January 23, 2011
Format– Blu-ray Disc
Comments– Review Here
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Movie Number 11
TitleBuried (2010)
Running Time– 95 minutes (“R”)
Director– Rodrigo Cortes
Writer– Chris Sparling
Starring– Ryan Reynolds
Rating– 1 ½ Stars
Date Viewed– January 23, 2011
Format– Blu-ray Disc
Comments– Review Here
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Movie Number 12
TitleWaking Ned Devine (1998)
Running Time– 91 minutes (“PG”)
Director– Kirk Jones
Writer– Kirk Jones
Starring– Ian Bannen, David Kelly and Fionnula Flanagan
Rating– 3 ½ Stars
Date Viewed– January 20, 2011
Format– DVD
Comments– A man dies of a heart attack after winning the lottery in a small village in Ireland.  Jackie (Ian Bannen) and Michael (David Kelly) find the man, and try to put together a scheme so that the money doesn’t go to waste.  Instead, they want it for themselves.  This top-notch comedy is running on all cylinders.  Bannen and Kelly are hilarious and heartwarming as the two old men trying to scam the lottery of Ireland.  The woman behind the men – Fionnula Flanagan – is sweet, strong, and wonderful.  The acting stands out, but it might take some viewers a few scenes to get accustomed to the heavy Irish dialect.  I found myself missing some of the dialogue early in the film because of this.  Comedy fans will have a blast with Waking Ned Devine.
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Movie Number 13
TitleForgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)
Running Time– 111 minutes (“R”)
Director– Nicholas Stoller
Writer– Jason Segal
Starring– Kristen Bell, Jason Segel, Mila Kunis, and Russell Brand
Rating– 3 Stars
Date Viewed– January 24, 2011
Format– Cable
Comments– Jason Segal writes and stars in this hilarious and surprisingly touching story of a man, Peter, who gets dumped by long-term girlfriend, and television star, Sarah Marshall (Kristin Bell).  Peter is devastated and decides to take a trip to Hawaii to help forget about Sarah.   Unfortunately, Sarah is there, and staying at the same hotel as Peter with her new boyfriend (Russell Brand).  The story borders on absurdism at times, but Segal manages to always find a human side to his character, which has the audience feeling for him all the way through.  Mila Kunis and Kristen Bell are both stunning, and play opposite each other splendidly.  A solid comedy in the vein of Knocked Up.
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Movie Number 14
TitleCropsey (2009)
Running Time– 84 minutes (“Not Rated”)
Director– Barbara Brancaccio, Joshua Zeman
Writer– Joshua Zeman
Starring– None
Rating– 2 Stars
Date Viewed– January 25, 2011
Format– Netflix Instant Queue
Comments– The urban legend of “Cropsey” – a boogeyman who kidnapped children – haunted the children of Staten Island, New York.  Only this urban legend isn’t a legend: it’s real.  Filmmakers Barbara Brancaccio and Joshua Zeman head back to their childhood home to tell the story of “Cropsey”, and try to shed some light on who really killed five children on the island.  This is a fine documentary.  There are some images that stand out as horrific (mostly from a recording of a Maury Povich Show special), but is mostly standard documentary fare.  Tells an interesting story, but never “grabbed” me throughout.  Mild recommendation for those interested in serial killers.
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Movie Number 15
TitleThe King’s Speech (2010)
Running Time– 118 minutes (“R”)
Director– Tom Hooper
Writer– David Seidler
Starring– Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter
Rating– 4 Stars
Date Viewed– January 26, 2011
Format– SAG Screener DVD
Comments– “Bertie” (Colin Firth) has a stammering problem.  He enlists the help of Lionel Logue (Geoffery Rush), a speech therapist, to help him recover.  After his father passes – King George V – and his brother abdicates, George (“Bertie”) takes over the crown, becoming King George VI.  This is the story of the King’s constant battle with his stammer, and how the friendship of one man helps him deal with it.  The King’s Speech is expertly acted all the way around.  Director Tom Hooper makes the most uninteresting events seem like the Super Bowl, or D-Day, and finds tension in seemingly ordinary moments.  Another top choice for 2010, and highly recommended to any young actor’s wondering what it’s like when acting transcends “craft” and becomes art.
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Movie Number 16
TitleVirus X (2011)
Running Time– 85 minutes (“R”)
Director– Ryan Stevens Harris
Writer– Jeremiah Campbell (screenplay), Ryan Stevens Harris (screenplay), and David S. Sterling (story)
Starring– Jai Day, Joe Zaso, Domiziano Arcangeli, Sasha Formoso, Dylan Vox and Sybil Danning
Rating– 1 ½ Stars
Date Viewed– January 26, 2011
Format– DVD
Comments– Review Here
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Movie Number 17
TitleThe Butterfly Effect (2004)
Running Time– 113 minutes (“R”)
Director– Eric Bress, J. Mackye Gruber
Writer– Eric Bress, J. Mackye Gruber
Starring– Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart and Melora Walters
Rating– 2 ½ Stars
Date Viewed– January 29, 2011
Format– DVD
Comments– As a child, Evan (Ashton Kutcher) would black out when something traumatic happened.  Now, a college student, he finds a way to recollect his blacked out memories, and realizes he has the ability to change the past.  Playing God, he tries to makes things perfect for himself, and his group of friends, including the women he loves (Amy Smart).  The story goes on a bit too long for its own good.  If the movie would have stopped a few scenes before it did, this could have been a story of self-sacrifice for the good of the whole, but instead, it is a forgettable film that relies on dumb mistakes by its characters.  Ashton Kutcher delivers a surprisingly strong performance as the lead character, even if some of his standard funny-man mannerisms drop in from time to time.  Amy Smart steals the show even though this isn’t her best performance.  Interesting story, but could have had a better moral.
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Movie Number 18
TitleThe Butterfly Effect 2 (2006)
Running Time– 92 minutes (“R”)
Director– John R. Leonetti
Writer– Michael D. Weiss
Starring– Eric Lively, Erica Durance, Dustin Milligan, and Gina Holden
Rating– 1 Star
Date Viewed– January 30, 2011
Format– DVD
Comments– Nick (Eric Lively) is a victim of an unthinkable tragedy: his girlfriend, Julie (Erica Durance), and his two best friends, Trevor (Dustin Milligan) and Amanda (Gina Holden), are killed in a car accident on Julie’s 24th birthday; Nick was driving the car.  One year later Nick starts looking at the old pictures, and discovers he can travel back in time, change something, and then wake up the next day with a completely different reality.  This sequel is so different from the first in some ways, and then too similar in others.  The plot is glacially slow, and the 92-minute runtime seems like it will never end.  The time traveling is used much differently (in a negative way) than the first film, but some of the dialogue seems directly lifted from its predecessor.  There are two intimate sex scenes, but the lack of nudity is just another odd directorial choice.  Leonetti makes the movie look decent, but not much else.  This makes sense because his directorial experience is low while he has been Director of Photography on a lot of big name films (including The Mask and Piranha 3D).  A disappointing sequel that borders on the nonsensical, and should be skipped.
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Movie Number 19
TitleThe Butterfly Effect 3: Revelations (2009)
Running Time– 90 minutes (“R”)
Director– Seth Grossman
Writer– Holly Brix
Starring– Chris Carmack, Rachel Miner, Kevin Yon, and Lynch Travis
Rating– 2 Stars
Date Viewed– January 31, 2011
Format– Blu-ray Disc
CommentsReview Here
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Movie Number 20
TitleThe Broken (2008)
Running Time– 93 minutes (“R”)
Director– Sean Ellis
Writer– Sean Ellis
Starring– Lena Headey, Richard Jenkins, Melvil Poupaud, Michelle Duncan and Asier Newman
Rating– 2 ½ Stars
Date Viewed– January 31, 2011
Format– Blu-ray Disc
CommentsReview Here
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Branden Chowen
Editor-in-Chief at Cinefessions
Branden has been a film fan since he was young, roaming the halls of Blockbuster Video, trying to find the grossest, scariest looking VHS covers to rent and watch alone in the basement. It wasn't until recently, though, that Branden started seeking out the classics of cinema, and began to develop his true passion for the art form. Branden approaches each film with the unique perspective of having studied the art from the inside, having both a bachelor's and master's degree in acting. He has been a film critic since 2010, and has previously written for Inside Pulse Movies, We Love Cult, and Diehard Gamefan. His biggest achievement as a film critic, to date, has been founding Cinefessions and turning it from a personal blog to a true film website, housing hundreds of film and television reviews, and dozens of podcasts.