Monday, August 13, 2007
**** new release list no. 128
It is about time we saw some SUN. The foggy overcast has been really getting to me. I’ve had to remind myself that there will be days in January when the glorious winter sun again makes San Francisco a beautiful and uplifting place to live. I’ve found myself thinking of Frederick, the main character in the children’s book of the same title by Leo Lionni. Frederick the mouse spends the summer days sitting and thinking in the sun while the other mice are busy at work, storing seeds and grain to eat throughout the long, cold, grey winter. Frederick’s mice friends are tolerant, if somewhat annoyed, martyrs, knowing that if it weren’t for them, Frederick would perish. Winter comes and Frederick and his clan all go into their burrow. The mice posse eats well for a while, but as the winter drags on, their food supply diminishes and their spirits fall. It is then that Frederick’s hard work pays off: he warms his fellow mice by reciting the poems that he has written of summer weather, and as he uses his powerful descriptive skills to bring color and light to the depressed mice so that they may survive the winter’s cold.
As always, at the store this week there are many ways (old and new) to get some well-needed creative nourishment to get you through the cold, grey summer. Read on . . .
FOURPLAY - written by John Lucas.
As summer draws to a close, I can't help wishing I had gone on more vacations. It's just good to get out when you can, travel a bit, take in a change of scenery. Not that there's anything wrong with our fair city, but to paraphrase that great old song, "Sometimes I feel I've got to (bomp bomp) get away..."
The sad and mysterious Travis (Harry Dean Stanton) wanders off in the desert with no memory of what happened or how he got there. His brother Walt (Dean Stockwell) finds him and brings him home, where Travis is awkwardly reunited with his son. As Travis' memory returns, he and his son slowly grow on each other, and decide to seek out the boy's mother, Jane (Nastassja Kinski). Beautifully photographed by Robby Muller (Down By Law, 24 Hour Party People, Dead Man...) and directed by Wim Wenders (Wings of Desire, Buena Vista Social Club, The Million Dollar Hotel...)
THE 39 STEPS
This movie has been made at least three times, so to clarify, I'm talking about the 1935 version. Robert Donat plays an unwitting theater-goer who, framed for a murder, goes on the lam in this twisty-turny espionage caper. International intrigue, secret agents, double- crosses, it's all here, along with a good dose of witty banter between Donat and a very hard-to-get Madeleine Carroll. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock (Psycho, Rear Window, North by Northwest...)
Mahmut is a burned-out photographer living a tired life in Istanbul. When his young cousin Yusuf arrives from the country looking for work, you'd think the change would be uplifting. But the two have little connection, and can't get away from each other in Mahmut's cramped apartment. Distant is a quiet, existential film with some breathtaking shots, including a shot of a barge that is unbelievably stunning. Written and directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Climates, Clouds of May, The Small Town...)
Two high school grads -- quirky loner Enid (Thora Birch) and her morose friend Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson) -- can't seem to escape the strip malls of dullsville. Bored and resentful of the common man, they play a trick on Seymour, a dorky record collector (Steve Buscemi). But as Enid gets to know him, she begins to suspect a richness behind the facade that everyone puts up. Adapted from the comic series by Daniel Clowes. Directed by Terry Zwigoff (Crumb, Bad Santa, Art School Confidential…)
Each of the four films of Fourplay is featured on a shelf by the register.
See you at the shop,
THE AMAZING JOHNATHAN: WRONG ON EVERY LEVEL.
John Edward Szeles.
* Comedy Central Special. Rumor has it that The Amazing Johnathan got his start performing at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. It was only up from there. His live show is supposedly where its at.
AQUA TEEN HUNGER FORCE.
Dana Snyder/Dave Willis/Andy Merrill.
Directed by Matt Maiellaro and Dave Willis.
* The action-packed story of how the Aqua Teen Hunger Force (better known as Master Shake, Frylock, and Meatwad) came together. It involves an immortal piece of exercise equipment threatening galactic peace. Cameos by Neal Peart of Rush, Larry Blackmon, Isaac Hayes III and Schooly D (archive sound voice).
BAM BAM AND CELESTE.
Margaret Cho/Bruce Daniels.
Directed by Lorene Machado.
* This film takes place in a world in which 80’s fashion has NOT made a comeback. The eponymous main characters, total losers in full 80’s regalia, leave their lifelong home of DeKalb, Illinois, to find their cool in New York City. They find all kinds of things and finally tell off the mean bitches from high school.
Geraldine Chaplin/Monica Randall/Ana Torrent.
Directed by Carlos Saura.
* The title of this Criterion release of Saura’s fantastical 1975 film, apparently refers to a Spanish proverb, "Raise ravens, and they will pluck out your eyes." The daughter of a middle class family wades through the childhood trauma of witnessing the ignoble death of her father, at the same time Spain emerges from the period of Fascist rule. Saura is known, in part, for his amazingly evocative flamenco dramas.
Anthony Hopkins/Ryan Gosling.
Directed by Gregory Holbit.
* A thrilling battle of minds between an ambitious attorney and the manipulative criminal he's trying to prosecute.
GRAVEYARD OF HONOR.
Narumi Arimori/Toshiyuki Daishi.
Directed by Takashi Miike.
* From the highly prolific Japanese director, Miike, who is known for his portrayals of violence and bloodshed that are so extreme as to border on cartoonish. This film is a remake, of sorts, of the 1970’s fictionalized bio-pic about a sociopath Yakuza (Japanese organized crime) member who is too ruthless for even the criminal community.
Jeff Daniels/Matthew Goode/Carla Gugino/Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Directed by Scott Frank.
* A brain injury leaves a once promising high school athlete dependent upon a small pocket notebook to remember things. He takes a job as a janitor at a bank, where he ultimately finds himself caught up in a planned heist. He realizes he’s just being used, but then when he tries to back out . . .
Kate Beckinsale/Luke Wilson.
Directed by Nimrod Antal.
* A bickering couple is brought together as they try to escape the isolated hotel where they are being held captive and video taped, it seems, for the latest snuff film of some cult director.
Tim Allen/Martin Lawrence/John Travolta/Ray Liotta//William R. Macy/Marisa Tomei.
Directed by Walt Becker.
* How fun would it be to take a chopper road trip with this cast? Ray Liotta? William R. Macy? It would probably even be fun to hang out with John Travolta, really. Anyway, this is a classic story of you-hit-the-road-looking-for-something-and-you-find-more-than-you-bargained-for. The Wild Hogs are a middle-aged gang of four who head west on their motorcycles from their hometown Cincinnati, only to meet a real motorcycle gang along the way. Their once-in-a-lifetime trip turns out to be just that.
THE FUGITIVE: SEASON ONE.
David Janssen/Barry Morse/William Conrad.
* The much-remade series about a doctor wrongly arrested for killing his wife, who then escapes custody and stays one step ahead of the law as he strives to find the real killer. 760 minutes of excellent suspense.
LESBIAN SEX AND SEXUALITY.
Directed by Katherine Linton.
* Called “hot, funny, and highly informative,” this 6 part docu-series looks at the varying lesbian relationships as it focuses on pioneer lesbian pornographers.
AMERICAN HISTORY X.
Edward Norton/Beverly D’Angelo/Edward Furlong
Directed by Tony Kaye
* Former neo-Nazi skinhead, recently released from jail, tries to stop his younger brother from following his own racist, violent path. Replacement copy.
BACK TO SCHOOL.
Rodney Dangerfield/Robert Downey Jr.
Directed by Alan Metter.
* First DVD copy. With a cameo by the recently deceased writer Kurt Vonnegut. Note: the remake of this classic story of a hot shot father enrolling in college to inspire and motivate his son is in production.
Jim Henson/Frank Oz/Kathryn Mullen
* Directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz.
We just obtained two versions of this classic 80’s fantasy film - the original as a replacement copy, and the 25th Anniversary edition filled with some extras.
Timothy Balme/Diana Penalver.
Directed by Peter Jackson.
* Dude. Mom comes home one day after being bitten by a monkey at the zoo, and she’s now the leader of a zombie movement. Goody two-shoes son has to keep the family embarrassment from going public and has to keep mom from eating him. Serious cult gore-core! Ken and I saw this film on one of our first dates—I loved it and Ken was deeply disturbed. Just goes to show how the same acid can affect two people so differently! Peter Jackson, of recent Lord of the Rings fame, also directed some personal favorites: Heavenly Creatures and Meet The Feebles.
Ice Cube/Chris Tucker.
Directed by F. Gary Gray.
* Replacement copy of the 90’s comedy. Great soundtrack. Chris Tucker didn’t inhale.
Divine/Sonny Bono/Deborah Harry/Ricky Lake.
Directed by John Waters.
* Two replacement copies of this legendary John Waters film. See it before you see the “remake” . . .
THE LAST PICTURE SHOW.
Cybill Shepherd/Jeff Bridges/Timothy Bottoms.
Directed by Peter Bogdanovitch.
* Our first DVD copy of this New Classic. See what Peter Bogdanovich was up to before landing the plum cameo on The Sopranos.
A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN.
Madonna/Geena Davis/Tom Hanks/Rosie O’Donnell.
Directed by Penny Marshall.
* First DVD copy.