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Jake Cashill's
Oral Fixation
Opens October 13, 2009 on DVD

Written By: Jake Cashill
Starring: Emily Parker; Kerry Aissa; Aidan Sullivan; Chris Kies; Tempany Deckert; and Logan Kulick

LifeSize Entertainment
Reviewed for New York Cool by Harvey Karten

Oral Fixation is watchable enough, but it’s not much more than a soap opera which is deservedly being released on DVD. It is a poor man’s Fatal Attraction with a lame script featuring a lead male actor who looks like he came out of a daytime tv casting office.

Although the film is filled with masochism, thwarted love, spousal suspicions of infidelity, murder, psychosis, mayhem, wrongful convictions and identity crisis, the film may actually evoke unintended laughter at Emily Parker's off-the-wall acting as she plays Rachel Marks, a woman who is unmarried and childless. Things are so bad for Rachel that she passionately looks forward to appointments with her dentist, Paul McNeil (Kerry Aissa). She is enamored of her dentist, even though he is happily married to an assistant district attorney, Molly (Aidan Sullivan). Given the clever ways that Rachel sets up the dentist in his office, determined to be drilled in ways that do not require expensive machinery, we doubt wife Molly is convinced when her husband says “It’s not what you think.” But that quote does serve as metaphor for the film’s clichés.

This picture could find some life in the midnight cult circuit, particularly for fans who love to see a tooth gouged out slowly with a straight razor, a knife plunged into the heart of a man determined to rid the planet of a psycho, a knife that had already masochistically seen the blood of the perpetrator’s foot.

Rated R. 90 minutes. © 2009 by Harvey Karten Member: NY Film Critics Online

Evan Rachel Wood with Director Woody Allen

Woody Allen’s
Whatever Works

Reviewed by Frank J. Avella

I am a huge fan of Woody Allen. I always will be. He is a filmmaker that speaks to me in ways that are profound—whether it be Mickey’s search for meaning in the world by constantly and hilariously switching religions (Hannah and Her Sisters) or Alvy Singer’s quest to stay in New York City at all costs (Annie Hall) or Isaac’s grandiose writing revisions (Manhattan) or Harry Block trying to exorcise his literary demons (Deconstructing Harry). Come to think of it, all these roles were also played by Woody.

Recently, with his journeying to Europe, Woody has experienced a renaissance of sorts, making exciting new films like Match Point, Cassandra’s Dream and Vicky Cristina Barcelona. None of these films feature Allen in them.

This past year, Sony Pictures Classics released Whatever Works. The screenplay was written decades ago and recently updated by Woody. It concerns a crotchety, persnickety, misanthropic old codger named Boris who—through a situation ONLY Woody Allen could write-- finds himself falling for a naïve young Southern gal.

Perhaps Woody assessed that he is a bit too old to play out a romantic comedy. His choice of Larry David to fill his shoes is at first, disconcerting, but actually proves to ultimately be a nice fit.

There is nothing new here. But why do we keep looking for new? Is it funny? On occasion, yes. Is it well acted. Definitely. (Woody’s casting is still impeccable). Is it thought-provoking. Mildly. Is it The Curse of the Jade Scorpion? Thankfully, no!

As has been the case since his Diane Keaton years, Allen is a pro at eliciting terrific performances from his female actors. This is no exception. Evan Rachel Wood is thoroughly engaging as Melody, the seemingly stupid vagrant who lands on Boris’ doorstep. Watching her emulate Boris and then blossom into her own is a joy. And Patricia Clarkson nearly steals the film as Melody’s mother, Marietta. Even when Larry David annoys (and he does) and the Allen self-appropriation piles on (only Fred Astaire film’s seem to calm Boris), Whatever Works stays grounded because of these two actresses.

And even Allen’s revisited-ad-nauseum theme of taking life as it happens seems to have a more accepting feel to it.

For Allen fans, Whatever Works is a must-see. For others, you may just find yourself smiling for 90 minutes.

The AVC encoded visual image (1.78:1 aspect ratio) is exceptionally sharp and the NYC locales seem to pop off the screen. Like many Allen films, this is a Valentine to the city and the Blu-Ray transfer shows Manhattan off beautifully.

The 5.1 DTS-MA audio event is simple yet effective.

Only extra is the theatrical trailer. When is Woody going to start sharing more with is eager fans????




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