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Precious Movie Review: Hard-Knock Life 101

Precious Movie Poster

Precious is the story of an overweight, illiterate 16-year-old girl who, pregnant with her second child enrolls at an alternate school to point her life in a new direction. The title character, Precious, played by Gabourey "Gabby" Sidibe in her debut role, leads a troubled life as a teen shackled by sexual, physical and verbal abuse. Her size, teen pregnancy and abusive mother, played to perfection by Mo'Nique, hold her back from reaching her dreams. However, she pushes on... fighting for a better life.

Precious is directed by Lee Daniels, whose directorial debut starred Mo'Nique as a character also called Precious amongst a host of other Hollywood names: Cuba Gooding Jr., Helen Mirren, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Stephen Dorff and Macy Gray. Shadowboxer had a more commercial edge than this little indie drama, however Daniels has managed to extract solid performances in both films with his direction more refined in Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire.

This indie film is bolstered by knock-out character performances from Gabourey Sidibe, Mo'Nique and Paula Patton. It's more Half Nelson than Dangeous Minds when it comes to shock value as director, Lee Daniels introduces us to Precious and her Harlem existence. It's harrowing at times and doesn't try to paint out the kitchen sink when it comes to the hard-hitting reality, in which Precious finds herself. There's no Hollywood filter to beautify or cover-up the ugliness surrounding Precious and Mo'Nique's all-or-nothing performance is always complex, frightening and...continued.

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Alice in Wonderland Movie Review: A Magical Magpie

Alice In Wonderland

Lewis Carroll wrote what some conspiracy theorists believe was a tale about the effects of hallucinogenic drugs. Perhaps the whole who ha started with Go Ask Alice about a teenage girl’s spiral into drugs in the ’60s, coupled with a song called White Rabbit. Whatever… Disney adapted it and they do Alice in Wonderland plays in churches, must be okay.

Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland seems more concerned with Alice’s chastity and transition into womanhood at the age of 19, as she escapes an arranged marriage “proposal” ceremony to return to Neverland Wonderland. Burton revamped Charlie & The Chocolate Factory with his trademark twisted fairy tale flair and Johnny Depp taking cues from Michael Jackson. He does something similar in Alice in Wonderland… which for all intents and purposes is a 3D sequel to the beloved Disney 2D classic.

So in case you’ve never heard about rabbit holes, magic mushrooms and white rabbits, you can either watch The Matrix, read the leather-bound Alice in Wonderland book… or get the nutshell edition here: a young blonde falls down a rabbit hole, has a psychedelic “dream” about cards, cats, caterpillars, hatters, queens, rodents and two fat kids only to emerge with a deeper understanding of her real-life predicament. Burton’s history with Disney, experience in CGI-intensive features and his creepy fairy tale style made him the perfect choice to direct Alice in Wonderland and he shows his true mettle in at least the first hour of this...continued.

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New Rental Releases This Week (01/03/10)

New DVD rental releases at DVBee this week:

Moon, Paranormal Activity, The Damned United and Extreme Movie!



Moon Movie PosterMOON (2009)
Director: Duncan Jones
Starring: Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Age Restriction: 13L

Moon is essentially the perfect blend of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey and Steven Soderbergh's Solaris. This isn't your typical deep space Sci-Fi: there are no alien creatures, abandoned spacecraft or new frontiers... instead you're given a fly-on-the-wall perspective of living conditions on the Moon mining module, where Sam Bell is stationed with an on-board robotic "companion" voiced by Kevin Spacey. Moon commands the eerie feeling of isolation and time/gravity-bending abililty of 2001: A Space Odyssey and swathes it in the surreal texture of Solaris with a career best performance from Rockwell. 

Paranormal Activity Movie PosterPARANORMAL ACTIVITY (2007)
Director: Oren Peli
Starring: Micah Sloat, Katie Featherston
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Age Restriction: 16 LV

What goes bump in the night... an altogether frightening new experience in Paranormal Activity. This low budget indie film is a reality horror/thriller that has taken the world by storm after a slow start! Director and creator, Oren Peli, takes the novelty of The Blair Witch Project and gives the traditional haunted house movie an exercise in taut nightmare-inducing fear over a few weeks with Micah and Katie. Shadows, sounds and slamming doors echo the tricks used by John Carpenter in classics such as The Fog and Halloween.

The Damned United Movie PosterTHE DAMNED UNITED (2009)
Director: Tom Hooper
Starring: Ryan Day, Oliver Stokes, Colm Meaney
Genre: Drama, Sports, Biography
Age Restriction: 13 L

This biographical football drama follows Brian Clough (Sheen), one of England's most infamous managers, as his managerial success with Derby led him to take up residency at Leeds United for a 44-day reign of fire. The lead performances, historical footage and inspiring buddy story all blend together, making this late '60s/early '70s football saga appealing to non-sports fans.

Extreme Movie Movie PosterEXTREME MOVIE (2008)
Director: Adam Jay Epstein, Andrew Jacobson
Starring: Michael Cera, Ryan Pinkston
Genre: Comedy
Age Restriction: 18 LNS

A series of puerile, crass and unfunny sex toy, porn and sex joke vignettes. While Extreme Movie boasts a decent cast, their headline stars only feature momentarily and offer very little to raise the exploits of this infantile parody out of the gutter. Bad language, nudity, simulated sex scenes and general embarrassment galore. Unfortunately, its 18LNS rating bars the majority of its target audience as it limps in at 75 minutes.

Celeb ID #13: Guess Who?

Guess Who?Uma Thurman Photo

The first person to identify this warped celebrity at SPL!NG on Facebook wins a DVD!
Trivia: This former model shares her name with a goddess and was set to star in Lord of the Rings.

Unmodified original image will be posted on right once this Celeb ID game is over.

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