It's Better to Jump (NR)
The whole Israel-Palestine debate is far too contentious to get into here, in a short film review. So for me to critique the intriguing documentary It's Better to Jump — which, for all intents and purposes, could be considered propaganda of sorts — I am going to leave out an actual opinion on the tone and message of the movie and leave it at this: Cinematically, it's worth a watch. Filmed in Akka, on the northern coast of Israel, Jump takes a look at the everyday life of the Palestinian citizens who are being forced to relocate, leaving behind the lives they once knew. It's all tied in to a metaphor about jumping from a high wall into the sea, a rite of passage many Akkaites take part in, facing fears with determination and courage. Very well done and very emotional, Jump is a doc that will not sway anyone's opinion on this timely topic, but will at least put a human face on it. — Louis Fowler
Blue Is the Warmest Color (NC-17)
Blue Is the Warmest Color is that rare film capable of absorbing the swirling chaos surrounding it, like cosmic matter transformed into a multicolored nebula of mystique. The film, which concerns the love affair between two women whose unique chemistries clash with their gaps in common interests, was a supernova at last year's Cannes Film Festival. It was unanimously awarded the Palme d'Or — not just to director Abdellatif Kechiche but also, in an unprecedented move, to Léa Seydoux and Adéle Exarchopoulos, the two leads. The jurors thought of the trio as deep collaborators, and that was truer than they might have known. Soon after, the film came under fire when the actresses claimed the on-set atmosphere was inappropriately oppressive. The greatness of the film only furthers the question these charges present: Does great art excuse boorish behavior? Worse, might it be required? — Justin Strout
Anchor Bay Entertainment
Numerous times here, I've referred to Billy Zane as the straight-to-DVD Nic Cage, not as an insult but as a tribute to the brave choices he makes, both in character interpretation and script selection. Zane's latest outing is the sleazeball affair Scorned, co-starring former 90210 it-girl AnnaLynne McCord. McCord, with a hilarious Texas accent, is the scorned woman of the title, a broad who goes psycho after discovering rich boyfriend Zane's salacious texts to her best friend. She ties him up and tortures him, along with her former bestie, along the way letting the audience know that she was locked up in an insane asylum for nearly 18 years — which, coincidentally enough, is under lockdown after the escape of an inmate who's looking for new victims. It's as trashy as a trashy movie can get, and damned if Zane and McCord don't make it twice as fun. — Louis Fowler
The striking colors and textures are reminiscent of Southern Colorado and New Mexico. Lovely work.