Deadgirl Sometimes the best ideas are contained within mediocre films, especially in the recent milieu of indie horror. To wit: In Deadgirl, two high-school virgins skip school to explore an abandoned mental institution and discover a chained-up, naked woman who looks dead but isn't. Appallingly, one of the boys decides to lose his virginity by raping the woman. When he conveys this story to his friend later, he tells how she began fighting back, clawing and biting wildly. He hit her — a lot. A typical indie horror film would end here. Of course he killed her and of course they have to cover it up or face the consequences. The twist? She didn't die, and may in fact be invincible, much to her misfortune considering the abuses she suffers at the hands of these sociopathic teens. It's a delicious turn of story that's unfortunately mostly wasted on the stiff (pardon the pun) performances and meandering ending. It's worth a rental, however, for the guilty thrill of watching them get what's coming to them. (R)
Grace Everything that Deadgirl almost achieves, debut writer-director Paul Solet excels at with this surprisingly tender ode to motherhood boasting a concept worthy of Tales From the Crypt. After an accident, a mother (Jordan Ladd) gives birth to a stillborn baby, but then seems to will it back to life. One problem: The baby doesn't crave mother's milk, but rather blood. By deftly avoiding the pitfalls of schlock — although at times a little black humor would be welcome — Solet turns what could have been a simple Rosemary's Baby-meets-Let the Right One In tale into a twisted tribute to the maternal instinct. (R)
thirtysomething: The Complete First Season Decades before StuffWhitePeopleLike.com came along to poke fun at all things yuppie and shows like Tell Me You Love Me's unblinking eye showed us the genuine horror that is upper-middle-class sex, thirtysomething, which premiered back in the dimming days of Reagan, acted as a cultural barometer-buster. Created by future Oscar hogs Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz and employing many other notables (including Paul Haggis as one of the writers), the soap for the Polo shirt set took a then-daring look at what it meant to balance work with home, aspirations with realistic stability and, of course, getting dressed with moping around in a bathrobe. Despite the dated fashion, music and recreation (weekend-backpacking warriors?), thirtysomething remains relevant. (NR)
Treeless Mountain This festival darling is the hard-to-watch and hard-to-look-away-from story of two young girls from Seoul who are left in the inept hands of their alcoholic aunt in provincial Korea while their mother scours the southern half of the peninsula for their runaway father. Korean-American writer-director Kim So-yong deftly handles the emotional battering the girls take at the hands of their inattentive aunt and through their mother's abandonment, allowing them to find their own way through the suffocating circumstances and eventually breathe on their own. (NR)firstname.lastname@example.org
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