In the hope of actually giving a much more thorough trek through my recent viewings, I write mini-reviews/thoughts/etc. of those movies I just don't have the time to devote to writing up as a longer piece. Ladies and gentlement, once again, I give you an installment of "Blurbs":

No one pulls of goofy and sophistcated from role to role quite like George Clooney.  Though it's now a routine comparison, he really is a modern actor capable of Cary Grant-like skill in both comedy and drama.  In THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS he plays an Army vet who tells a reporter on assignment in Iraq about his training in the New World Army, an elite psychic warfare unit that almost changed the course of U.S. military research (really).  He pulls out all the stops to craft a character composed of such sheer lunacy and composed calmness that he could only be real, and yet never quite shows whether he's really capable of astral projection or stopping hearts by concentrating hard enough, or just crazy.  Jeff Bridges is also fantastic as his signature "Dude-ness", and may as well be considered a version of that beloved Coen creation, but this time with goals and ambitions.

This movie kicks ass!  Sure, it's prototypical teen rebellions is now a bit tame, but how awesome is Helen Slater as Billie Jean?  And what other 80's teen flick makes an icon out of Joan of Arc as a model for female empowerment?  Directed by Matthew Robbins, and co-starring a young Christian Slater, THE LEGEND OF BILLIE JEAN chronicles an outlaw group of kids (also including Yeardley Smith) who only want the money to repair a motor scooter damaged by a local sleazeball's kid.  Kick-ass!

DISTRICT B-13 (2004)
A fun piece of French action fluff, this Luc Besson-scripted tale follows a cop and an ex-con as they infiltrate a gang in Mega-dangerous Paris slum B-13, a district so bad it's been walled off from the rest of the ctiy.  The gang has stolen a bomb that's set to go off, and there's a subplot involving the con's sister at play, too.  The duo engage in gun battles, free running, and fistfights aplenty, all in typical Besson style.  Worth a look, as this is also the first collaboration with new Besson favorite Pierre Morel, who directed TAKEN and the upcoming FROM PARIS WITH LOVE.

This may be the apex of the current ultraviolent/monster/body mutilation subgenre of Japanese action/horror.  With sly wit, swimming pools full of blood, and the most fucked-up underground prostitution ring I've ever seen, TOKYO GORE POLICE tells the story of Ruka, an officer in the Tokyo Police Corporation, and top-notch "engineer" killer.  The engineers are a race of human/mutant hybrids that, when wounded, can regrow their felled body parts as deadly weapons - all of which are hilarious, ultra-gory, and usually disturbing in some way.  I can't say I'd recommend it to everybody, but I thought it was fun, and if it sounds like your thing, check it out.

Tobias Schneebaum, an openly gay writer/painter/illustrator/anthropologist from New York's East Village, is the subject of this pretty fantastic documentary.  Throughout his life, Schneebaum sought out "primitive" cultures and lived with them - prominently the Asmat people of New Guinea.  Throughout the film, there runs the current of events that happened in Peru in the mid-Sixties, when Schneebaum disappeared into the Amazon and emerged a year later having participated in one tribe's raid on another, and his subsequent eating of the conquered men's flesh.  The film isn't overly concerned with cannibalism, though it does crop up from time to time, and instead is entirely focused on Schneebaum now, currently a man in his 70s, and his journeys back to the places he loved so much as a younger man.

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