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Square Grouper Reviews Are In

Well, the reviews are in. Square Grouper, the new documentary about South Florida's wild pot-smuggling history -- the movie features Robert Platshorn, the man who served the longest pot-related prison term in U.S. history for his part in a the Black Tuna gang -- premiered last week in Austin at SXSW, and created quite a buzz. (See that drug joke there?) One critic said of the movie, the latest from Billy Corben and the minds who brought you Cocaine Cowboys and The U, this is "Corben's most impressive effort to date."

To read some of Corben's thoughts the night before the debut, click here.

Some more reviews:

The Film Stage wrote: "Corben's style serves the film well; his subjects are effective, permitted to speak although mediated for the purposes of telling a story. The filmmaker has again found a way to allow the story to be told in an engaging and entertaining style that isn't distracting."

Miami Beach 411: "Rakontur keeps the audience's attention while not-so-subtly getting its message across. A lot of people did a lot of time because of marijuana. And maybe, just maybe, it wasn't all that necessary."

Moving Pictures Network: "The facts and footage are incredible, and while it lacks the more dangerous nature of the cocaine trade, the film feels more entertaining as a result and is, naturally, accessible to a wider audience."

The Austin Chronicle: "Corben's band provides some of the appropriately lulling Alan Jackson/Jimmy Buffett-y tunage as the film mimics the effects of the herb it profiles - unchallenging yet lovely cinematography enhances narrative delivered by talking head after talking head (and photos and mainstream news broadcasts) which curiously ... ummm, what was I saying?"

Miami New Times: "Never overtly political, Corben through his breezy exploration, questions a system that makes Federal criminals out of gregarious, loving individuals, and in turn, scores his biggest triumph.

The movie is still touring the country, and will be available on DVD (and On-Demand) in April, right around the 20th.

If you haven't seen it yet, check out the trailer:

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Michael J. Mooney

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