Monday, November 12, 2007
****new release list no. 141
As many of you have noticed, we are getting closer and closer to finalizing the changes we’re making to the layout and look of the store. Hopefully many of you are getting a fresh look at the AMAZING Criterion Collection wall, now in the back by the new releases. You can confidently pick anything that Criterion puts out, knowing you will be watching a quality film of serious integrity. Their boxes are so beautiful. Design matters.
Last week our fabulous staff stayed late and painted the sections throughout the middle of the store black. (THANKS!) Things will get even sparklier, we promise. As we painted and bonded and had a good time, we listened to great music, thanks to Jeff, Evan and Andrew, all talented mix-makers. Andrew’s mix contained the Jackson Browne song, “Lives in the Balance.” I can’t say that I haven’t poked much fun at Jackson Browne and his earnestness over the years, as I have, but when I listened to that song, in that meditative painting way, I was blown away. What a sharp and profound protest song. As usual, a few of the releases of the week speak to the themes of that song that have, as the result of my listening to it with new ears, been spinning in my head. Whenever this happens—that thematic convergence of art and culture and life events—my confidence in the power and importance of art is affirmed. It is crucial. So check out AMAZING GRACE, to be reminded of the power of song, or NO END IN SIGHT, to see reiterated, once again, the disconnect between those who lead us to war and those who pay the price for poor leadership. Just like Jackson Browne sings about.
And in this crazy world, as so much is appalling, some things just get better and better. People all over the world are making films about being young and queer (COFFEE DATE, CUT SLEEVE BOYS, GLUE). Hell yeah! We also have films full of great music and about great musicians (LA VIE EN ROSE, EL CANTANTE) – music and musicians that changed people and changed the way music was made. And we’ve obtained a DVD copy of MAN OF LA MANCHA, an amazing musical that was intensely political, as was the centuries old story by Miguel de Cervantes upon which it is based.
Much other fun film watching to be had this week, too – OCEAN’S THIRTEEN, PARIS JE T’AIME, and SHREK THE THIRD (based on the Jewish shtetl legend Schreck –psych!), as well as fresh copies of the first four HARRY POTTER flicks
To a life of joy and peace,
Ken and Amy
Ioan Gruffud/Albert Finney/Romola Garai/Youssou N’Dour.
Directed by Michael Apted.
* The story of 19th Century member of British Parliament, William Wilberforce, and his mentor and minister, John Newton, who is credited with writing the hymn, “Amazing Grace.” Believing in the universal value of human life, Wilberforce sets out to end the British transatlantic slave trade.
Jonathan Silverman/Jonathan Brey/Wilson Cruz.
Directed by Stewart Wade.
* If your friend is gay does that make you gay? If your friend is gay and everyone thinks you are gay ‘cause your friend is gay, does THAT make you gay?
CUT SLEEVE BOYS.
Chowee Leow/Steven Lim/.
Directed by Ray Yeung.
* Two Londoners, both gay men of Chinese descent, react differently to the death of a mutual friend. Self-discovery ensues, thank goodness! According to an IMDB commenter: “This film deserves wider recognition, but the portrayal of a hot 3 way kiss between 3 men may limit its crossover appeal.” Is this true for San Francisco? C’mon all you hetero couples, cross over and check out the HOT 3 way kiss between 3 men and prove the rest of the country wrong!!
FORECAST FOR TOMORROW.
Jerzy Stuhr/Malgorzata Zajaczkowska/Maciej Stuhr.
Directed by Jerzy Stuhr.
* A member of the Solidarity movement abandons his wife and children to join a monastery. 17 years later he is found by his family and kicked out of the monastery as a result. The world is a different place and our protagonist sets out to cure the ills that have befallen his family—sex, drugs, politics, etc.
Nahuel Perez Biscayart/Nahuel Viale/Ines Efron.
Directed by Alexis Dos Santos.
* Growing-up-gay-questioning-teen-rocker story set in the middle of nowhere, Patagonia. The title refers to the glue they sniff. Certain experiences are universal.
Jennifer Lopez/Marc Anthony.
Directed by Leon Ichaso.
* Depending upon who you talk to (or read), J. Lo either offers a stunningly good performance or has talent that is disproportionate to the fame of her booty. This is the story of Hector Lavoe, the Puerto Rican salsa singer who defined a style and brought it to US audiences.
LA VIE EN ROSE.
Marion Cotillard/Pascal Greggory/Gerard Depardieu.
Directed by Olivier Dahan.
* The extraordinary story of the extraordinary life of extraordinary French singer, Edith Piaf. This is the second film starring Cotillard to hit our new release wall in as many weeks.
Brad Pitt/George Clooney/Matt Damon/Elliot Gould/Bernie Mack/Don Cheadle/Al Pacino.
Directed by Steven Soderbergh.
* More satisfying casino drama from this group of fabulous male actors.
PARIS JE T’AIME.
Natalie Portman/Maggie Gyllenhaal/Fanny Ardant/Elijah Wood/Nick Nolte/Bob Hoskins/Juliette Binoche/Rufus Sewell/Gena Rowlands/Miranda Richardson/Steve Buscemi/Willem Dafoe//Gerard Depardieu/Wes Craven.
Directed by Olivier Assayas/Frederic Auburtin/Emmanuel Benbihy/Gurinder Chadha/Sylvain Chomet/Ethan Coen/Joel Coen/Isabel Coixet/Wes Craven/Alfonso Cuaron/Gerard Depardieu/Christopher Doyle/Richard LaGravene.
* Twenty filmmakers show you Paris through their eyes. I must say, Bob Hoskin’s presence on the above list of featured actors whets my appetite. He is such a fabulous actor. We should put together a Bob Hoskins film fest. What a career! One of my early favorites of his was the Dennis Potter TV series, Pennies From Heaven—check it out.
SHREK THE THIRD.
(voices of) Mike Meyers/Eddie Murphy/Cameron Diaz/Julie Andrews/Antonio Banderas.
Directed by Chris Miller and Raman Hui.
*Third time’s a charm. There’s a girl-gang in this one . . .
THINGS THAT HANG FROM TREES.
Deborah Kara Unger/Ray McKinnon.
Directed by Ido Mizrahy.
* 1969 in St. Augustine, Florida. A young boy’s determined wish to see fireworks from atop the city’s lighthouse is the vehicle for a bigger quest in this Southern-Gothic tale.
NO END IN SIGHT.
Directed by Charles Ferguson.
* A look at how the Bush administration’s handling of the Iraq war, and the US occupation of that country, led to the guerilla war and anarchy that dominate the lives of the people in Iraq. An ‘insider’ retelling of the history of the war, this documentary features interviews with high-ranking administration officials (or former officials), as well as Iraqi citizens, US troops and others. Unbelievable.
Directed by Ken Burns.
* A seven-part series looking at the many ways in which World War II impacted the lives of Americans.
William Holden/Barbara Stanwyck/Lee Cobb.
Directed by Rouben Mamoulian.
* William Holden plays Joe Bonaparte, the musical talent who wants a career in boxing. This is the film that is credited with making Holden famous, but Barbara Stanwyck, as Lorna, Joe’s influential love interest, steals the show. This is the first time this 1939 film is hitting DVD.
HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE.
Directed by Chris Columbus.
HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS.
Directed by Chris Columbus.
HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN.
Directed by Alfonso Cuaron.
HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE.
Directed by Mike Newell.
* Bulking up our collection of this amazingly popular series with extra copies. If you want it, we’ve got it for more of you.
MAN OF LA MANCHA.
Peter O’Toole/Sophia Lauren.
Directed by Arthur Hiller.
* Now we have this on DVD. We just saw our niece, Alix Feinsod, perform in an ambitious production of this Broadway musical telling of the story of Don Quixote. The story is framed by a supposed incident in the life of the author, Miguel de Cervantes, who was arrested during the Spanish Inquisition. Man of La Mancha, originally staged in the mid 1960’s, has much to say about society and its perceptions of sanity, and of the experience of perception itself. The music is so amazing. I really wish I had gotten to see the 1992 Broadway revival which starred Raul Julia and Sheena Easton. Seriously, just clear your mind and read these beautiful words sung by Quixote as he is explaining why he does the ridiculous things he does:
To dream the impossible dream,
To fight the unbeatable foe,
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go;
To right the unrightable wrong.
To love, pure and chaste, from afar,
To try, when your arms are too weary,
To reach the unreachable star!
-That’s just beautiful.
Amanda Root/Ciaran Hines.
Directed by Roger Michell.
* 1995 version of the Jane Austen novel. By request.
Brad Pitt/Donald Sutherland/Alan Ford.
Directed by Guy Ritchie.
* Two more DVD copies of this hit..