By John Seal
March 4, 2013
From the obscure to the obscurest to the merely overlooked or underappreciated; they all have a home in the TiVoPlex! All times Pacific.
1:15 AM Action Max
Under My Nails (2011 PUR-USA): This bilingual (English and Spanish) drama from Puerto Rico was primarily shot on location during a snowy New York winter and stars newcomer Kisha Burgos as Solimar, a young woman living a hermit-like existence in the Bronx. Orphaned at an early age and raised by her uncle Amalia (Antonio Pantojas), Solimar works at a nail salon, where her only friend is co-worker Rose (Maite Bonilla). The neighbors in the flat next door, however, bring unwanted change to Solimar's life, as she's exposed to their noisy fighting and even noisier sex sessions. The result: a kitchen sink take on the Repulsion meme (albeit one where the sexual themes are more overt), with our heroine sinking deeper into loneliness and depression as she develops an unhealthy obsession with all that noise – and the man responsible for much of it. Burgos - who also wrote the screenplay - is excellent, and though the film's a slow burner, you'll be engaged until the end.
10:40 AM HBO Signature
Todo Lo Que Tu Quieras (2010 ESP): Wanna see a Spanish movie about a young girl whose mother dies, and whose father dresses in drag to masquerade as Mum in order to help his daughter adjust? Here ya go.
5:00 PM Showtime 2
Family Band: The Cowsills Story (2011 USA): The Cowsills have quite a bit to answer for. Besides being the real-life inspiration for The Partridge Family, they were also amongst the first wave of harmony bands setting the stage for what would become known in the 1970s as "soft rock". Six Navy brats who began performing together at an early age, The Cowsills (and yes, that’s their real name) made waves on the late ‘60s variety show circuit and also scored several chart hits, including the Top 10 smasheroo The Rain, The Park, and Other Things. Their squeaky clean image, however, concealed a darker truth: family patriarch and band manager Bud was a hard drinking SOB who deeply disliked some of his kids and made some extremely ill-advised business deals that left the group massively in debt. If you can overlook the fact that most of the group’s music is pretty awful, you’ll find this a fascinating glimpse behind the showbiz curtains.
9:45 PM Starz Citation
Dark City (1998 AUS-USA): It’s been a very long time since Alex Proyas’ disturbing dystopian fantasy has been seen on a premium channel, so I’m pleased to see it resurface on Citation tonight. (Side note: Citation has an opportunity to be what Sundance and IFC used to be; now it just needs to get picked up by more cable and satellite operators.) Rufus Sewell portrays John Murdoch, a resident of the titular city who finds himself being pursued by three mysterious and not very friendly strangers. Also on his trail is Police Inspector Bumstead (William Hurt), who wants to question John about some murders, whilst memories of a forgotten marriage keep forcing their way into his brain. How do you forget being married to Jennifer Connelly? This film marked a stylistic and substantive leap forward for Proyas, but unfortunately his career has since been on a slow downward slope (I Robot, anyone?). Hopefully Dark City will be screening in its original aspect ratio tonight – if not, it’s probably not worth your time.