New reviews: ‘Over Her Dead Body’ and ‘Nanking’

I got the short straw in the review department at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer this week: Over Her Dead Body, a real DOA comedy with an utterly dead performance by Eva Longoria Parker (of Desperate Housewives) as the jealous spirit of Paul Rudd’s dead fiancee.

A stumbling romantic lark about a bubbly psychic who throws down with the shrill ghost of her boyfriend’s former fiancee, “Over Her Dead Body” is a stiff of a supernatural comedy.

Lake Bell is a sunny medium and part-time caterer (or maybe it’s the other way around — her business plan is pretty vague) who gets a visit from a skeptical widower of sorts (Paul Rudd) still grieving over the death of his would-be bride on their wedding day.

That would be “Desperate Housewives” siren Eva Longoria Parker. Given what little we see of her self-involved, high-strung mortal coil, it’s a puzzle what our easygoing hero ever saw in this petty siren beyond her runway figure. As a comically vengeful spirit, she’s as glibly self-involved as she is woefully unimaginative.

Read the complete review here.

Also this week I review Nanking, a documentary about the 1937 Japanese invasion of China and the atrocities committed in the attack upon and occupation of Nanking.

Directors Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman frame their documentary around the selfless acts of a handful of Westerners — American missionaries, doctors, even a Nazi businessman — who remained behind and created a “safety zone” to shelter thousands of Chinese civilians. The Japanese government refused to recognize the zone.

The presentation of the story creates the unintended consequence of shifting the focus away from the hundreds of thousands of Chinese victims. It becomes the story of 15 Western heroes. Yet their actions are beyond politics and nationalism and the tale of how a few individuals can make a difference in the face of such atrocities is inspiring.

Read the entire review here.

Author: seanax

I write the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website ( I'm a contributing writer for Turner Classic Movies Online, Keyframe, Independent Lens, and Cinephiled, and the editor of Parallax View ( I've written for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Seattle Weekly,, Senses of Cinema, Asian Cult Cinema, and Psychotronic Video, among other publications, and I am a contributing editor to Parallax View. I currently live and work in Seattle, Washington, with my two cats, Hammet and Chandler.

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