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Amanda Marie Alvarado

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Haunting the modern romantic-comedy

A great romantic-comedy is like getting a pep-talk on love. Of course some so-called 'chick flicks' function as little more than R-rated versions of fairytales, possibly credited for ruining romances. Still, beneath the delusions of rich princes and gorgeous damsels remains a story communicating the difficulties of relationships.

Affirming our ‘State of Play’

A great thriller elicits more than just emotional tension '- a combination of fear and excitement. The best of the genre thrust their story upon the viewer like a sick type of psycho-therapy, confronting that person in the dark with his most cynical nightmares. The immortal film stands the test of time, haunting the viewer days, months and years after the screening - whether it be a political, supernatural, psychological, spy or crime thriller.

Cleaning biohazard preconceptions

'Sunshine Cleaning' is a movie for losers. It speaks to the loser inside of us as we attempt to live in this world's paradigm with the constant feeling that all we amount to is our financial deficit. In our current society '- as people lose their jobs, homes and selves '- this indie film shows us the possibility of happiness without the Hollywood ending.

Duplicitous plot, unambiguous good time

' Tony Gilroy of the 'Bourne Trilogy' debuts his second director/writer initiative since the Oscar-winning 'Michael Clayton.' As a crime/spy romance, 'Duplicity' deals with Gilroy's trademark theme: the elusiveness of truth. Deceit, a common thread in many romantic-comedies, weaves perfectly with a con story of two corporate spies looking to land the big payoff. 'Duplicity,' the most implausibly honest love story, exudes wit and charm while still imparting Gilroy's notorious third-act surprise.

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A night with John Waters

Like any impressionable or traumatic event, everyone remembers their first John Waters film. Mine was in a film history course at a conservative Indiana college '- Purdue University.

?The Cake Eaters? has layers without substance

Mary Stuart Masterson's directorial debut, 'The Cake Eaters,' misplaces the third act. Possibly Masterson wanted to avoid the Hollywood endings her successful acting career was built upon, or maybe the independent film ran over budget.'

It’s one big tease

'Unauthorized Polanski,' a very seductive title indicating a story told without permission alludes to the notorious man of unsanctioned actions, director Roman Polanski. Obviously, writer/director Damian Chapa, who also stars as Polanski, knew his star-labeled film could entice the hearts of cinephiles and Polanski lovers everywhere.

An awkward goodbye

Joaquin Phoenix retires on an utterly forgetful note in 'Two Lovers.' Based on Fyodor Dostoevsky's short story 'White Nights,' the film portrays the life of Leonard Kraditor.

Manufacturing Love

People watch romances to feel their heart race, a burst of warmth in their cheeks and to smell life's infinite wonder in the air. They even go to experience a hollowness in the chest or an aching that stops one's breath. People attend romantic-comedies to feel giddiness, vulnerability, loss and heartbreak. They go to feel love.

Blood-sucking returns to its roots

As a fan of vampire films, before the unfortunate dawn of 'Twilight', I've learn to expect disappointment 90 percent of the time. What began with classics like 'Nosferatu' often get bled dry to satiate commercial interests (two words: Tom Cruise). Vampire lovers, once lured, encounter an experience with little plot or bite. Thus, the 2003 release of the action-horror film 'Underworld' '- portraying the origin and centuries long war between vampires and Lycans (werewolves) '- shockingly renewed the immortal thirst.