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Puppy (NR)
Dokument Films / Release date: Aug. 26
I'm not really sure what Puppy is trying to be. It's an Australian movie directed by Kieran Galvin that desperately wants to be Misery directed by someone like Vincent Gallo. The wild fluctuations in tone, from dark thriller to dramatic character piece to uncomfortable romance, should enthrall you, but mostly will tire you. A guy who hasn't been taking his meds kidnaps a young woman with a history of stealing and lying to her family, crazily thinking that she's his shrewish, verbally abusive and estranged wife. She tries to get away, but eventually uses her crafty skills to trick him into thinking she's in love with him, only to really fall in love with him. Like I said, it's all uncomfortable, but, even worse, tedious. Even indie film fans will find it derivative, and God knows how easily pleased those folks are. Louis Fowler


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Virgin Territory (NR)
Anchor Bay Entertainment / Release date: Aug. 26
Imagine if famed Polish director Walerian Borowczyk, whom you may know as the genius behind The Beast and Immoral Tales, instead went to Hollywood to direct episodes of The O.C. You would then have Virgin Territory, part of Anchor Bay's new, arousing "Unzipped" collection. It's a tale of debauched ribaldry, barely based on The Decameron and finally bringing together those immovable talents Hayden Christensen and Mischa Barton. In 14th-century Florence, chastity is the big to-do. As the Plague rages on, so does the forced randiness of all the characters involved from a convent of nuns who think Hayden is a sexual angel to a pair of seductive milk-maids that really mishandle a cow's udders. Funnily enough, in Italy this was known as, no joke, Decameron Pie. So there's an idea as to its quality. Louis Fowler


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Surfwise (R)
Magnolia Home Entertainment
The notes for this documentary, directed by Doug Pray, describe it as "the amazing, true odyssey of the Paskowitz Family." But what they don't tell you is that it's amazing for all the wrong reasons. Surfwise is made to look like a whimsical, quirky film about a family that rejected society in favor of surfing, but the further the film delves into the interpersonal relationships, the creepier the whole affair gets. Surfing fanatic Doc refused to let his nine(!) children go to school, instead sticking them all in a small camper, traveling up and down the coasts to various beaches, thinking they'd get a better education surfing. In the crowded camper, his wife and he would also have sex in front of the kids. Unsurprisingly, the kids are pretty much life failures, and the film leaves you with a sick feeling. But it is wholly interesting to watch. Louis Fowler
  • Puppy, Virgin Territory, Surfwise

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