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Couch Trip (7/21/2010)
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Couch Trip (2/24/2010)
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Dark Sky Films
Sex with an attractive girl with no emotional strings attached? Sounds like what dreams are made of for many dudes — just look at Craigslist. If that hot girl was actually more room temperature and discovered bound in the basement of a mental hospital, this might present a problem for some dudes ... but not all. The fact she's actually a zombie might further cull her potential suitors down to a select group.
Luckily, JT (Noah Segan) has no bones about getting a boner for the living dead when they've got a good body and won't talk back. He's all about porking the comely dead girl (Jenny Spain) in any orifice she has, except maybe her hungry, gnashing mouth. His good friend Rickie (Shiloh Fernandez) has a few problems with JT's newfound passion. He's a mite squeamish. Plus, Rickie has his dick in his heart over JoAnne Skinner (Candice Accola), a childhood crush whom he had "lost to puberty" (and a dumb jock boyfriend).
An interesting examination of classism, misogyny and high school cliques along with some blurred boundaries around necrophilia, Deadgirl brims with unpleasant moments that are sure to polarize audiences — either utterly repulsing them or making them laugh with pleasant discomfort. Once the story gets going, it's fairly predictable (for some, the conclusion's visible from miles away) but it's still highly enjoyable to see it play out, especially after a wonderfully creepy opening. Shiloh Fernandez can be fairly grating (no matter how much he looks like Joaquin Phoenix) but Noah Segan picks up the acting slack with his terrific turn as unlovable scamp JT. Sick, twisted and delightful. —Mike White
Pulling Season Two
It's obvious that Pulling co-creators Sharon Horgan and Dennis Kelly had planned for a lot more than two seasons of the uproarious, sophisticated, award-winning sitcom. Watching its second and final season —which is even more uncomfortably lacerating than the first — makes the show's abrupt cancellation seem even more inexplicable. There are loose ends all over the place, the series ending on a number of cliffhangers that leave the viewer, after 172 minutes of television, wanting much, much more. While still as alcoholic and desperate as ever, Karen (Tanya Franks) and Louise (Rebekah Staton) are more fleshed out than in the first season, with both achieving new levels of poignancy in their subplots. The strongest thread remains the bitter break-up of Donna (Horgan) and Karl (Cavan Clerkin), which ebbs and flows in unpredictable directions. Elsewhere, Louise becomes a klepto, Karen learns she may be pregnant and Donna loses faith in humanity when a thief steals her kabob. All lead to big laughs and bigger heartbreak — in that order. Things get messier than ever for these characters, but for the viewer, nothing tops the sting of watching brilliance abbreviated by a network's swift hand. Thanks a lot, BBC. —John Thomason
A blend of Holocaust drama and magical realism, this film redefines the term "hit and miss." At times it's an intriguing yarn that sees Adam Stein (Jeff Goldblum with a vacillating accent), a magician with amazing powers who saves a man's life only to end up serving as his "dog" in a WWII death camp. Adam plays the fool for Commandant Klein (Willem Dafoe) to keep himself alive.
Scenes are crosscut with 1961 Adam in Tel Aviv, where he's confined to a mental institution with other Holocaust survivors. This section shifts from Patch Adams bathos to Awakenings pathos (though Robin Williams is nowhere in sight) with its host of "wacky" psych ward patients and Adam as their savior. The hospital staff loves him — some more carnally than others. Everything changes when Davey, a feral child with whom Adam can relate, is admitted. Adam makes it his mission to save Davey and, by doing so, Adam shall redeem himself.
Not surprisingly, this film's blend of light-hearted spiritualism and ponderous Holocaust drama makes it feel like a schizophrenic in need of some meds to calm the disparate chorus of voices from Noah Stollman's screenplay and Yoram Kaniuk's novel. Adam, Resurrected is better than director Paul Schrader's last few (which isn't saying much). It works best as a drinking game — take a slug whenever any of the major names in the Old Testament are uttered and you'll get one heck of a buzz before Act One is barely over. —Mike White