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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cinebanter # 113 - PROMETHEUS

The mp3 of this show is here.

In this episode, Michael and Tassoula yet again disagree, as they review PROMETHEUS. In the Last Five®, Michael tells a story about childhood and Tassoula shares a recent travel adventure. Tassoula also shares her Top 3 films and experiences from the 38th Annual Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). The breakdown is as follows:

• 00:00 Intro
• 00:32 Discussion of PROMETHEUS
• Break
• 13:23 To Sum It Up
• Break
• 14:11 The Last Five®
• Break
• 42:27 Tassoula's SIFF Recap
• 56:13 Credits and Outtakes


Want to contribute to the show and help with production costs and server fees? Click on the "Make a Donation" button to the left of this blog.

Special thanks to Brad Daane, Mark Cummins and Vincent Do for providing the original music in this episode.

Tassoula has reviews, musings and movie-related product links at Tassoula's Movie Review Blog.

Reviews and/or notes of movies Michael sees can be found at his MichaelVox website.

Feedback is always welcome - you may leave comments here or e-mail the hosts at

We hope you enjoy the show!

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Saturday, June 09, 2012

SIFF Sighting: A CHECKOUT GIRL'S BIG ADVENTURES (Romantic Comedy, France)

Solweig (Déborah François) was unable to pursue her dream of being a teacher because her father had an accident that left him in a coma. Faced with the reality that he may never wake up, she takes a job as a checkout girl to support herself and her ten-year-old brother.

To vent her frustrations about how she's treated by her superiors and the customers, she starts an anonymous blog, which becomes nationally known and prompts her employer to conduct a witch hunt to find the writer. Meanwhile, Solweig is busy accidentally falling in love with a stranger who came to her rescue on a cold, snowy night.

In this lighthearted comedy, which is based on a memoir, we experience a slice of life with folks we can't help but know—grocery store clerks. They work hard each day doing the same thing over and over again and frankly aren't treated so well. Toss in the added twist of an ill family member and the responsibility of caring for another and we have a very sympathetic situation.

Our heroine here keeps a chin up despite the drama and keeps us rooting for her in life and love.

Though terribly predictable and formulaic, the characters are very well-drawn (and for the most part, likeable) and the story is a sweet one to witness.

A CHECKOUT GIRL'S BIG ADVENTURES screened at the 38th Annual Seattle International Film Festival.

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Thursday, June 07, 2012

Tassoula on the SIFF Red Carpet with Sissy Spacek

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Monday, June 04, 2012

SIFF Sighting: ETHEL (Documentary, USA)

Everyone knows about JFK; most people also remember his brother, RFK, but what about Robert's widow, Ethel?

Ethel Skakel married Robert Kennedy when she was just 22, and together they produced 11 children. Their love was true, and as she tells it, happened at first sight.

In this amazingly intimate documentary by Ethel's youngest child Rory, Ethel herself—along with many of her children—tells the audience about her years on this earth from start to finish.

From her idyllic childhood in a (strictly Republican) Irish Catholic household to her absolute love for her husband and his service to America, to raising 11 children mostly on her own, Ethel has lived quite a life.

The stories her children tell here are nothing short of hilarious (she once brought home a seal to have as a pet; she once stole horses from a neighboring property to feed them). Her spunk, her smile and her spirit even now shine bright and are presented beautifully here in this funny yet moving portrait.

The Kennedy men will always be remembered for their contributions to our society. This film reminds us that the women in their lives had a lot to do with their efforts.

ETHEL screened at the 38th Annual Seattle International Film Festival.

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Saturday, June 02, 2012

SIFF Sighting: THE REVISIONARIES (Documentary, USA)

What happens when a volunteer school board gets to decide what textbooks public schools should use in their curriculum?

This horror—er, documentary—film tells us just that as the Texas Board of Education meets to determine what will and will not make the cut content-wise in textbooks for the next 10 years.

What's frightening? Many of the board members have less education (or at least less relevant areas of study) than the teachers who will be using them and also have no regard for the separation of church and state. So, their proposals include removing scientific explanations for evolution with creationist theories, and deleting musical genres such as hip-hop from the offerings.

Leading the brigade is a dentist named Don McLeroy (pictured above) who believes the earth is much younger than science has proven, yet also somehow reconciles that dinosaurs allegedly rode on Noah's Ark. It's all very frightening considering the size of Texas, and the power they have over publishing companies to determine what textbooks will be printed for schools all around the country.

Director Scott Thurman takes a clear stance here, but if you're a rational-thinking viewer, that shouldn't bother you. The school board meetings and debates would be entertaining if they weren't such a blatant example of the deterioration of our respect for the Constitution.

THE REVISIONARIES screened at the 38th Annual Seattle International Film Festival.

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