Sunday, July 29, 2007

**** new release list no.126


Another monster week and we mean monster! Human monsters! The biggest two releases of the week are probably HOT FUZZ, the latest from the group who brought you SHAUN OF THE DEAD, and 300, a war film of epic proportion.

There is also quirky indie tales (THE DARWIN AWARDS, NOVEL ROMANCE, EVERYTHING’S GONE GREEN) some foreign films (YELLOW, PLAYED, IVAN’S CHILDHOOD (Criterion)), a family tale (FIREHOUSE DOG) as well as some docs (ROVING MARS, REQUIEM FOR BILLY THE KID, CRUDE AWAKENING) and some tight dramas (LONELY HEARTS, THE SITUATION).

Time to squeeze the charmin.

FOURPLAY
****
Last week's Fourplay was all about big dumb fun. To interject a little balance into the celluloid universe, this week's Fourplay is all about, as one of the protagonists put it, "the life of the mind." And man, does it get weird in there. To make things even weirder, all of the following were written and directed by brothers, some of them identical twins. Split brains. Weird.

NORTHFORK
The construction of a dam outside of Northfork, Montana, threatens to flood a handful of townspeople who refuse to leave, so a group of nefarious salesmen (lead by James Woods) are sent to evacuate them. The story drifts in and out of the fevered dreams of an ill child who is watched over by a soul-searching priest (Nick Nolte) and a group of unusual angels (including Darryl Hannah). Written and directed by Mark and Michael Polish (Twin Falls Idaho, Jackpot, The Astronaut Farmer).

BARTON FINK
A nervous New York playwright (John Turturro) goes to LA to write a wrestling movie. He stays in a strange hotel run by a strange bellboy (Steve Buscemi), and meets his even stranger neighbor (John Goodman) and is soon thrust into the midst of a bizarre murder. As things heat up, Barton suffers from writer's block, and dives deeper and deeper into "the life of the mind." Written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen (Raising Arizona, Fargo, O Brother Where Art Thou...)

THE BROTHERS QUAY COLLECTION
This collection of bizarre animated shorts features the best of the Brothers Quay, identical twins from Pennsylvania who take the style of Jan Svankmajer and push it into the deep end. Highlights include "Street of Crocodiles," "The Comb," and the complete "Stille Nacht" series. Dreamy, textural, bizarre -- you've never seen anything like this. Written and directed by Stephen and Timothy Quay (Institute Benjamenta, The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes, tons of animated shorts...).

BOUND
Raquel Welch once said, "the mind is an erogenous zone," and who am I to quibble? This steamy love-triangle-gone-bad features a gangster (Joe Pantoliano), his moll (Jennifer Tilly), and their plumber (Gena Gershon). The girls have an affair and run off with the mobster's money, but he's hot on their tail, uh, I mean, trail. Trashy, sexy, and highly stylized, this one puts the R in noir. The first film written and directed by Andy and Larry Wachowski (the Matrix series).
****
Each of the four films of Fourplay is featured on a shelf by the register.
See you at the shop,

Ken
............//RELEASE OF THE WEEK//............

HOT FUZZ.
Comedy.
Simon Pegg/Nick Frost.
Directed by Edgar Wright.
* Amazing sound design, 21st century comic sensibility, great timing and a hooded and homicidal neighborhood watch committee. Put it together you have Wright and Pegg’s amazing and hysterical script. From the guys who brought you SHAUN OF THE DEAD comes this wild ride in the life of Nicholas Angel, a cop who is so productive at his job that he is showing up the rest of the force in London. After being forcibly relocated to the sticks, he discovers that the sleepy little no-crime town that is patrolling is hiding a demented and evil secret. It’s up to him and the police chief’s slacker son to stop the violence.

............//NEW TITLES//............

THE DARWIN AWARDS.
Comedy/Drama.
Joseph Fiennes/Winona Ryder.
Directed by Finn Taylor.
* Fiennes is a detective and Ryder an insurance investigator who together are checking into a potential Darwin Award winner, which are given posthumously to those who kill themselves in especially stupid ways.

EVERYTHING’S GONE GREEN.
Comedy.
Paulo Coastanzo/Steph Song.
Directed by Paul Fox.
* A sweet slacker dude gets involved with a money laundering scheme…not sure where the marijuana comes in, but the cover images definitely imply there is some THC propagation somewhere in this film.

FIREHOUSE DOG.
Comedy/Family.
Josh Hutcherson/Bree Turner.
Directed by Todd Holland.
* Hollywood’s top canine, the strangely named Rexxx (Triple-X?) gets lost and eventually adopted by a firehouse in disrepair.

HOT FUZZ.
Release of the week.

LONELY HEARTS.
Drama/Suspense.
John Travolta/James Gandolfini/Salma Hayek/Jared Leto.
Directed by Todd Robinson.
* The sick and true story of Martha Beck and Raymond Fernandez the so-called "Lonely Hearts Killers” who lured elderly widows through the personals, stole their hearts/savings and then viciously killed them. Travolta and Gandolfini play the detectives who track them down. It should be kinda fun to see Tony Soprano (Gandolfini) playing a cop.

NOVEL ROMANCE.
Comedy.
Traci Lords/Paul Johanson/Sherilyn Fenn.
Directed by Emily Skopov.
* You have got to hand it to Traci Lords, she just keeps re-inventing herself! In this, she plays a powerful editor who wants to have a baby, but wants to be a single mom.

PATHFINDER.
Action/Adventure.
Karl Urban/ Jay Tavare.
Directed by Marcus Nispel.
* This is an action film about a Viking kid who gets left in the “New World” after his people fight with some Native Americans. He is then raised by the tribe his family fought.

PLAYED.
Suspense.
Mick Rossi/Gabriel Byrne/ Vinnie Jones/Val Kilmer.
Directed by Sean Stanek.
* A grim tale of revenge in the crime world of London.

THE SITUATION.
Drama.
Connie Nielsen/Damian Lewis.
Directed by Philip Haas.
* One of the first features to depict life in wartime Iraq, the situation concerns a love triangle with an Iraqi photographer, an American journalist and a member of the CIA.

YELLOW.
Drama
Roselyn Sanchez/D.B. Sweeney.
Directed by Alfredo De Villa.
* A classically trained dancer becomes a stripper when she moves to the city. The plot twist that you couldn’t see coming is when she falls in love with one of the club’s best customers.

300.
Action/War.
Gerald Butler/Lena Heady.
Directed by Zack Snyder.
* 300 Spartans for Democracy versus Xerxes and a tremendous Persian army. 300 is based on the Frank Miller graphic novel by the same name and stays true to its roots. A bloody joyride.

............//DOCUMENTARY//............

CRUDE AWAKENING: OIL CRASH.
Documentary.
Directed by Basil Gelpke and Ray McCormack and Reto Caduff.
* A very thorough, visual and emotionally honest look at the oil situation on planet Earth.

REQUIEM FOR BILLY THE KID.
Documentary.
Kris Kristofferson.
Directed by Anne Feinsilber.
* An investigation into the life of Billy the Kid and his death at the hands of Pat Garrett in 1881.

ROVING MARS.
Documentary.
Martians (Not really).
Directed by George Butler.
* Spectacular imagery from two robots sent to Mars.
As someone on IMDB wrote “Your Tax Dollars Actually Not Being Used to Kill People”. That’s nice, huh?

............//RECENT ACQUISITIONS//............

CARNIVALE: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON.
Replacement copy of the popular series.

CECIL B. DEMENTED.
Comedy.
Eric Roberts/Ricki Lake.
Directed by John Waters.
First DVD copy.

IVAN’S CHILDHOOD.
Criterion/Foreign (Russian).
Nikolai Burlyayev.
Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky.
*Tarkovsky’s 1962 debut about a 12 year-old boy fighting on the front lines against the German invasion in WWII.


****

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