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A review of a movie or TV show.

Heavy Rain - What the what!?! A game review???

"Heavy Rain" (2010) (PS3)

What the hell is a game review doing on Bitter Balcony? Well, “Heavy Rain” counts as something more like to an interactive movie than a video game. The controls are non-traditional and the storyline, score, and direction are on par with the few good movies out there.

“Heavy Rain” follows a group of five characters who are all connected by one person, the Origami Killer. Norman Jaydem is an FBI agent sent in with high-tech gear to help police profile the Origami Killer. Shelby is a private detective hired to track down the killer. There is a prostitute who lost a child to the killer and a woman who gets tangled up with Ethan Mars, the closest to a leading man in this tangled web. Mars has already lost one son when his other son is kidnapped. He receives a box from the Origami Killer with a list of challenges he must win in order to save his son. The game feels very much like a cross between “Seven” and “Saw.”



Why So Serious? The Coens answer with "A Serious Man"

A Serious Man

Larry Gopnik’s (Michael Stuhlbarg) mundane life enters the mysteries of the divine in the Coen brothers latest film “A Serious Man." For Gopnik, the head of a Jewish nuclear family during the late '60s, troubles begin when his wife Judith (Sari Lennick) says she has fallen in love with neighbor Sy Ableman(Fred Melamed). Further aggravating things, Larry’s burdensome brother Arthur (Richard Kind) appears to have nested comfortably on his brother’s couch.

Add to Larry’s woes: a petulant daughter Sarah (Jessica McManus) and pot smoking son Danny (Aaron Wolff), who prepares for his upcoming Bar Mitzvah by listening to Jefferson Airplane during Hebrew class. Legal troubles, drug use, and a very foxy nudist neighbor add to Larry's disarray.


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Underrated Cinema Presents: Castaway on the Moon

US title: Castaway on the Moon (2009)
Korean title: Kimssi pyoryugi (2009)

"Castaway on the Moon" begins with a man on the phone who finds out just how hopelessly in debt he is – and he leaps to his fate. But instead of the usual death-by-jumping, the man who leaped is now a castaway on a small island in the center of a large city.

The premise sounds absurd, but it is handled in such a way that you actually accept that Min-hee Hong** is stuck on this island. He tries swimming away. He tries getting attention. He calls for help. But slowly, he warms up to the idea of living away from civilization and goes all Tom Hanks on the tiny island.


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Punisher vs Punisher vs Punisher

"The Punisher" vs. "The Punisher" vs. "The Punisher"

This could be considered a triple-whammy review of each of "The Punisher" films based on the Marvel Comics character (aka Frank Castle). There have been three actors cast in the role, three separate directors and three separate writers. But did any of them know the source material enough to succeed? Let's focus on three main components (Story, Character and Villians) and find out.

Bring out the guns and ammo! This one might get messy.



Sweeney Todd: Flat Ass Musical of Fleet Street

Sweeney Todd (2006)

“Sweeney Todd” gives us yet another opportunity to experience Tim Burton remaking someone else’s crap. This time out, it's a musical. As we said when “Alice in Wonderland” came out: Burton, please stop with the freaking remakes. Your original stuff rocks, but your remakes blow harder than Mt. Saint Helen on a bad day.

Sweeney Todd is the alter ego of a man who was shafted by a prominent figure in order to have his wife snatched out from under him. Todd was originally Benjamin Barker, a barber. He is set up, spend time in jail, and returns for his sweet, sweet revenge. Of course, like any vengeance-obsessed man, he does it with music and a lot of blood. Teaming with Mrs. Lovett he slowly works his way through those whom did him wrong.


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Alice in Snoozerland

Alice in Wonderland, Tim Burton, Bitter Balcony, Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska, Helena Bohnam Carter, Crispin Glover, Alan Rickman, Anne Hathaway, Disney Alice in Wonderland

It's likely you've already heard other reviewers bashing "Alice in Wonderland" for a number of reasons. For Bitter Balcony, the film was an absolute snore – yet that's something we haven't seen mentioned in reviews often enough.

"Alice" begins in our heroine's childhood nightmares about falling down a rabbit hole. Flash forward and now she's a rebel going against the in status quo. No corset? The nerve. Alice spends the entire movie arguing against her battle against the Jabberwocky, only to ultimately fulfill it. Did we just spoil it? No. As with any Disney film, good always triumphs.



What's Up, Doc? The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus review!

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

Terry Gilliam is one unlucky man. The mischievous visionary has run into terrible situations in recent projects, most notably the failed attempt to revive Don Quixote (documented in 2002’s “Lost in La Mancha”) and apparent schedule and budget constraints of 2005’s “The Brothers Grimm.” And then, the tragedy of Heath Ledger’s untimely death threatened to doom Gilliam’s latest film, “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.”

The ingenious director was fortunate to complete the film while keeping most of Ledger’s performance intact. And with friends in high places along the lines of Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell picking up where Ledger left off, Gilliam was able piece together this inspired fantasy, perhaps his best work since “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”


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