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The House I Live In

Kevin Ott had already been imprisoned for 14 years of his life sentence when Eugene Jarecki visited him while making his hard-hitting documentary The House I Live In. That sentence was imposed for the sale of three ounces of methamphetamine, an amount that would easily fit into a small envelope. Ott had been guilty of two prior relatively low-level felony convictions, and his drastic sentence was indicated by sentencing guidelines. His only way out will be death, or perhaps improbable executive commutation. This “three strikes, you’re out” criminal justice regime was triumphantly acclaimed by President Bill Clinton, as Jarecki shows us. Clinton presumably never met Ott’s grieving mother, who has lost another child in an auto accident, but we do in this movie.

Iron Man 3

If Michael Bay were to remake one of the Roger Moore James Bond movies from the early 1980s, it would probably look like this opening salvo in Hollywood’s annual summertime war against film lovers. Notice is hereby served that for the next three months the multiplexes will contain pretty much nothing of interest for you as they cater to the jaded sensibilities of out-of-school kids whose ticket dollars can only be pried out of their grubby hands with product that is louder and faster than what they get from their game consoles.

The Angels' Share

Even Robbie Ellison is hard put to slough off the severe judgment about him of his girlfriend’s father: “A waste of space.” Young Robbie (the resourceful Paul Brannigan) is already an ex-con and he’s just barely escaped another jail term for a savage assault on a man because his lawyer convinced a skeptical judge that her client has a new-found sense of responsibility from his relationship with the expectant Leonie (Siobhan Reilly). He’s without money, any real prospects, he’s crashing with friends, has no family support, and is trying to escape the brutal wrath of a young man pursuing Robbie in a family blood feud. He’s beginning to feel remorse but he also feels checkmated as he surveys his closed-off little world.


I don’t know what the French equivalent for “fuck-up” is, but David Wozniak has probably been called it a lot. In his 40-some years in Montreal, he’s been a failure at pretty much everything. His pregnant girlfriend would rather raise their baby alone than have to depend on him for anything. He’s deep in debt, and not with the kind of loans that you can renegotiate. He thinks a sound business investment is paying $500 for a Hall and Oates guitar pick. He only has a job because his father owns a successful butcher shop.

Nancy, Please

The debut feature of Andrew Semans is a horror movie for academics. I don’t mean that it’s the kind of deep, intricate film art that will provoke coffeehouse discussions and term papers. I mean that it is a film that will strike terror into the hearts of academics, as well as anyone else in a job that depends on self-motivation.

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