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Comedy

VOD Spotlight: “Bridesmaids”

Somewhere between the proposal and the honeymoon is the wedding and all the excesses that go with the biggest day of a bride’s life. It can be trying for the happy couple, but often even more so for the bridesmaids who must live with, and help foot the bill for, the excesses. This was perfect fodder for producer Judd Apatow (Knocked Up) to create a chick flick version of The Hangover — the comedy blockbuster Bridesmaids. He drew on the writing and acting talents of Saturday Night Live comedian Kristen Wiig, who also appeared in Knocked Up. “Every time we […]

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Action

VOD Spotlight: Thriller “Hanna” is interpreted by graphic artists

The title character of this adventure thriller, Hanna (played by Academy Award nominee Saoirse Ronan, Atonement), is a teenage girl. Uniquely, she has the strength, the stamina, and the smarts of a soldier; these come from being raised by her father (Eric Bana), an ex-CIA man, in the wilds of Finland. Living a life unlike any other teenager, her upbringing and training have been one and the same, all geared to making her the perfect assassin. The turning point in her adolescence is a sharp one; sent into the world by her father on a mission, Hanna journeys stealthily across […]

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Comedy

VOD Spotlight: “Everything Must Go”

Raymond Carver wrote the story “Why Don’t You Dance?” — on which the Will Ferrell vehicle Everything Must Go is based — more than 30 years ago, but its lessons are possibly truer today than they were at the time of its creation. The story traces the experiences of a down-and-out salesman (Will Ferrell) who loses his job and his wife and ends up with all of his belongings on the front lawn, where he has to learn to start a new life for himself. According to producer Wyck Godfrey, the story’s relevance to today is what he and the […]

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Horror

VOD Spotlight: “Red State”

When you think of great horror films, one name you don’t think of is Kevin Smith. The man who brought us Clerks and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back does have his more caustic side, as seen in 1999’s Dogma, but Smith’s latest effort, Red State, takes everything to menacing heights of horror. Taking aim at the thinking that motivates the notorious Westboro Baptist Church’s protests and that of its pastor, Fred Phelps, Red State is Smith’s own protest. Funded independently and distributed by Smith himself in a 15-date tour, featuring post-screening Q&As with the director, it represents a nervy […]

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Comedy

VOD Spotlight: “Madea’s Big Happy Family”

Ever since Grandma Madea (Tyler Perry) took a chainsaw to her granddaughter’s sofa to claim the woman’s half of her home from her cheating husband, filmgoers have been in love with the comedy and drama of Tyler Perry. In Madea’s Big Happy Family, Madea’s niece receives bad news from her doctor. She wants to break it to her family over dinner, but as can happen with relations, many are feuding, so it is up to Madea to bring them all together. “Comedy is all around me,” Perry says of his work. “Even in some of my greatest sadness, I find […]

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Action

VOD Spotlight: “Priest”

Sometimes the demands of successive film roles can be their own kind of hell. Before playing the title role in Priest, actor Paul Bettany had put on “about 45” pounds to portray Charles Darwin in the film Creation, a bit of bulk he couldn’t afford when it came to doing most of his own stunts in Priest. With plenty of hand-to-hand combat, intricate wire-rig sequences and intense motorcycle scenes, Bettany had to slim back down to fighting physique and then some. He’s glad he went through it all, even if it was difficult and, at times, downright insane. “I was […]

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Comedy

VOD Spotlight: “Something Borrowed”

In this romantic comedy, single gal Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin) always seems to lose out to her more vivacious and flirtatious friend, Darcy (Kate Hudson). But trouble arises when Darcy becomes engaged to Dex, for whom Rachel has had a secret crush since they were both in law school. Since she’s also just hit age 30, in a fit of honesty she confesses her love to Dex and discovers that the crush is mutual. That’s when things get complicated.

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Comedy

VOD Spotlight: “Jumping the Broom”

In African-American weddings, jumping the broom — a tradition that has its roots in African ritual — signifies the merging of two families. In the comedy Jumping the Broom, it may take a lot more than an old ritual to merge the ultra-upper-class family of bride Sabrina (Paula Patton) with the working class family of groom Jason (Laz Alonso), particularly when his mother’s pride surfaces in the first meeting of the in-laws at the bride’s parents estate on Cape Cod. But this is a romantic comedy, one produced by Bishop T.D. Jakes, so it’s no surprise that, with a bit […]

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Action

VOD Spotlight: “Your Highness”

Following her Oscar-winning performance in Black Swan, Natalie Portman was ready to take on something entirely different and signed on for a role in David Gordon Green’s medieval comedy Your Highness. It’s a film also noteworthy for reuniting James Franco and Danny McBride (both of whom appeared in Green’s film Pineapple Express) and putting all of them in a film that combines the slapstick of Monty Python with the high adventure of Dragonslayer and Krull.

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Comedy

VOD Spotlight: “Paul”

In Shaun of the Dead, comic actor Simon Pegg battled zombies. In Paul, he befriends an alien who needs help getting to his mother ship. Beyond the sci-fi premises, the films share another connection. Shaun was shot at a time when the damp British climate was being particularly nasty. Pegg swore he wanted to make a movie shot “somewhere it never rains, like a desert,” and said his next movie should be “a road trip with an alien in the American Southwest” where things were presumably warm and dry. A few years later, as Pegg was finishing Hot Fuzz, producer […]