Author: Ryan Dewerth


Directed by: Jay and Mark Duplass, 2008 Cast: Ross Partridge, Steve Zissis, Greta Gerwig, and Elise Muller Runtime: 84 Minutes Rated R for language, some sexual content and nudity. Directors and brothers, Jay and Mark Duplass, were asking each other and some friends what the scariest thing they could think of was. Someone said “a man with a paper bag over his head following you.” The group laughed at first but one of them awoke from a nightmare of that exact scenario. That’s what’s great about this movie; the concept is just so ridiculous until you actually become a part of the situation. Baghead features four thirty-something friends who go to a secluded cabin one night in order to write a film. Instead, they get distracted with jokes, alcohol, and various cases of flirting. One of the women tells of a nightmare she had of a man with a bag over his head outside of her room. Soon, this becomes real and our friends are left to fend off against the mysterious baghead in the middle of the...

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August Underground’s Mordum

Directed by: Killjoy, 2003 Cast: Fred Vogel, Christie Whiles, and Michael Schneider Runtime: 77 minutes Unrated A commenter on IMDb said, ” If snuff movies can be considered art, this is the genre’s Mona Lisa.”. I guess in order to understand what this movie aims for, one would have to understand what exactly a ‘snuff’ film is. According to a pornographic film that shows an actual murder of one of the performers, as at the end of a sadistic act. Having just heard of the August Underground trilogy, I decided to search for it and eventually found the second one online. I downloaded it and watched bits and pieces of it right after it finished. I was left with a slight sickening feeling in me that hasn’t really happened before. Mordum is shot as a ‘home video’ with a handheld camera. It documents the lives of three friends as they go around raping and murdering various victims. If the only thing was rape / murder, it’d be much better than what they have done. They take their acts to the most extreme measures you can think of. I really hate to give away any of the scenes but it really is such an obscure film and if you do happen to find it, there’ll be plenty of other stuff to shock you. Here’s an example of what you...

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Automaton Transfusion

Directed by: Steven Miller Cast: Garrett Jones, William Howard Bowman, and Rowan Bousaid Runtime: 75 minutes Rated R I’ve had this one in my collection for at least a year now. Being a lover of zombie movies, I’m surprised it lasted that long without a single viewing. Also, being a strong supporter of low-budget, independent films, I was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. Although it’s very far off from 28 Days Later, Zombi 2, or Dawn of the Dead, it still delivers the gore, if not much else. Automaton Transfusion uses the setting of a typical high school and involves a group of cliched teenagers (clearly played by late 20-somethings). Three friends get out of school and head to a neighboring town to go see a show of some crappy band. Actually, most of the music in the movie is rather annoying, but it was a pleasant surprise when they played a track of of the first Escape the Fate EP. They’re new stuff isn’t all that great, but I’m getting off track. Anyway, they get to the venue only to be chased into the building by a swarm of zombies. After contemplating their situation, they head back to their hometown to a party in order to rescue some of their other friends / girlfriends. The script, acting, and plot seriously lacked but it had...

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Seven Pounds

Director: Gabriele Muccino, 2008 Genre: Drama Language: English Runtime: 118 minutes Links: IMDb, Trailer. By Ryan Dewerth. When I first saw the trailer, I must say, I wasn’t too impressed with it. It didn’t really feel like a movie that I would be moved by despite its overt advertising as a moving film. I then watched an interview with Will Smith on Jay Leno and from the way they were talking, it really seemed like they were onto something here. Now, I’m not sure if it was that which finally pushed me to see this, me wanting to see as many 2008 films as I can in order to create a ‘Best of’ year end list, or the fact that I’ve been listening to DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince’s album, Homebase, almost every morning for the past week. (Man, that’s such a great album.) Whatever it was, I went into it with neither high nor low expectations. We enter the film with a shot of Ben Thomas, played by Will Smith, on the phone with 911. He calls for an ambulance and reports a suicide. When the paramedic asks who the victim is, he says in a crisp, decisive voice, “I am.” We then cut to a scene where Thomas gets into contact with a blind meat salesman, Woody Harelson, and pretty much verbally assaults him in...

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Synecdoche, New York

Director: Charlie Kaufman Genre: Drama Language: English Runtime: 124 minutes Rating: R for language and some sexual content/nudity. Links: Trailer, IMDb. By Ryan Dewerth I’ve sat here for a while now trying to think about how I’m going to begin this review. I have concluded that there really isn’t any conventional way to do such a thing. I suppose the best thing to do is just to lay out my thoughts and emotions exactly as they occurred. What happened that night wasn’t merely a viewing of a film, but rather a complete experience. To be able to write a proper review of the film itself, I have to go beyond that and share that experience. On November 21st. four friends and I spent three hours and took four different buses to get to the Oriental Movie Theater in downtown Milwaukee. It shouldn’t have taken that long but our route got messed up and we were left boarding buses and not quite sure if it was the right one. It was the most work we’ve ever done to get to a movie, and as luck would have it, it would also be the most rewarding. After dinner at a charming organic restaurant, we walked around the area for a bit and entered the theater. The five of us took the front-row, center seats as means of receiving the image before...

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