Sunday, August 26, 2007
Y’all may rent locally (thank you kindly), but this is the week to watch globally. Many new films in the store this week are somehow about, or come from all over, this big blue marble that we call the world – we have two films from Iran (OFFSIDE, SIAVASH), one from Poland (ON THE SILVER GLOVE), China (THE BEAUTIFUL WASHING MASHINE), and Mexico (WHO THE HELL IS JULIETTE?); a documentary about the Arab-Israeli (BLOOD AND TEARS) conflict and another about the reign of Stalin (I WAS STALIN’S BODYGUARD). Then, randomly, we also have two movies that explore the intimate relationship between a human and a dog (THE YEAR OF THE DOG and THE DOG PROBLEM). Very random. Of course, as usual, there is some great Americana to get you laughing without reading subtitles (BLADES OF GLORY, BROKEN ENGLISH, KICKIN’ IT OLD SKOOL).
On to some heavy petting...
FOURPLAY written by John Lucas.
Sometimes I look at the world and I say: has everyone gone crazy, or is it just me? But this week I know the answer... yes, yes, yes! So here are a few fellow crazies to keep you entertained...
A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE A blue-collar worker named Nick (Peter Falk) and his uninhibited wife Mabel (Gena Rowlands) try to maintain a respectable life for their children. As Mabel's behavior grows more unpredictable, Nick's violence tips the scales, and he has her committed to a psychiatric hospital. But she's only half the problem. Written and directed by John Cassavetes (Faces, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, Love Streams...)
VAMPIRE'S KISS Literary agent Peter Loew (Nickolas Cage) has a one-night stand with an enigmatic charmer (Jennifer Beals) that ends in a little lovebite. Now Peter is convinced he's turning into a vampire. Fearing eternal life as the undead, he decides his only hope is to annoy his secretary Alva (Maria Conchita Alonso) so much that she kills him before he completes his transition. An underrated gem directed by Robert Bierman (who has mostly done TV…)
GOTHIKA Halle Berry gives a surprising performance as a psychologist who wakes up as a patient in her own hospital. She's been convicted for killing her husband Doug (Charles Dutton) but things are not what they seem. With Robert Downey Jr. and Penelope Cruz and other beautiful people. Directed by Mathieu Kassovitz (Hate, Cafe Au Lait, The Crimson Rivers...)
BUBBLE A frumpy factory worker named Martha falls for her young co-worker Kyle, and they begin an odd relationship at the doll factory where they work. Things get complicated when Kyle starts seeing the new hire Rose, much to Martha's chagrin. A somewhat experimental film -- shot in HD, without a script, improvised by amateur actors from an outline. Directed by Steven Soderbergh (Traffic, Oceans 11, Sex Lies & Videotape...)
See you at the shop (shoop, shoop),
Ken and Amy
BEAUTIFUL WASHING MACHINE.
Loh Bok Lai/Len Siew Mee.
Directed by James Lee.
* Slow (in the Jarmuschian sense) portrait by up-and-coming digital filmmaker James Lee about a washing machine with a life of its own.
BLADES OF GLORY.
Will Ferrell/Jon Heder.
Directed by Josh Gordon and Will Speck.
* The two rival world class Olympic skaters, Chazz (Ferrell) and Jimmy (Heder) have been banned for life for fighting at the 2002 Olympics. However, a Hollywood sized loophole in the rules enables them to put aside their differences and compete as a team.
Parker Posey/Gena Rowlands/Josh Hamilton/Drea De Matteo.
Directed by Zoe Cassavetes.
* For Nora Wilder (Posey), being in her 30’s, sexy, single, healthy, befriended and with some economic means is not enough. She wants love, and the fact that she fetishizes all the relationships she sees just makes her desires stronger. Posey delivers her usual strong performance in Cassavetes’ second foray into the preferred job of much of her famous family.
THE DOG PROBLEM.
Giovanni Ribisi/Mena Suvari.
Directed by Scott Caan.
* A down on his luck writer gets a dog to battle his loneliness. Unfortunately, the shmucky company he keeps prevents true fulfillment.
KICKIN’ IT OLD SKOOL.
Jamie Kennedy/Maria Menounos/Michael Rosenbaum.
Directed by Harvey Glazer.
* Do you, uh, miss the 80’s? So does Justin Schumacher (Kennedy). Especially upon finding out that he’s spent 20 years in a coma after a freak break dancing accident (that was an awesome phrase to type). Now, faced with his huge medical bills and his bitterest rival’s engagement to his sweetheart (damn, that was a long courtship), he must re-enter the break dancing fray and turn back the hands of time to restore his break dancing dominance.
Sima Mobarak-Shahi/Shayesteh Irani.
Directed by Jafar Panahi.
* In Iran, women are banned from so freaking much. This includes sporting events. This film follows a group of girls who attempt to sneak into a stadium for a huge football (soccer) event dressed like boys.
ON THE SILVER GLOVE.
Directed by Andrzej Zulawski.
* Very wild sounding science fiction tale that was many years in the making about a group of cosmonauts that head for the stars to create a new civilization. Eventually this tale goes the route of so much mythology and breaks down into a messianic story complete with crucifixion.
Hediyeh Tehani/Ali Ghorbanzadeh.
Directed by Saman Moghadam.
* Originally banned in Iran, this film was the directing debut for Moghadam (Café Setareh). It follows a rock musician named Siavash as he is making his way while struggling to deal with the realities of life in Iran in a post Iran-Iraq War world. This 1998 film has only just now found its way to an international DVD release.
YEAR OF THE DOG.
Molly Shannon/Peter Sarsgaard/Regina King/Laura Dern/John C. Reilly.
Directed by Mike White.
* I am not sure what this movie is about. I watched it last night, and there were many strong performances. Molly Shannon is great as a happy dog owner whose life is really shattered by the accidental loss of her dog Pencil. After that, things get weird. She gets involved with a dog rescue program, she lets the dogs destroy her house, she gets slightly psychotic/untrustworthy/homicidal and she finds her life’s path. Amy says it is definitely NOT a vegetarian/animal rights propaganda film, that the characters are not portrayed sympathetically enough. I was not so sure. In retrospect, it was entertaining enough, but I would certainly not let this woman hang out with my kids.
HEROES: SEASON ONE.
Masi Oka/Hayden Panettiere/James Kyson Lee.
* “Save the Cheerleader. Save the World.” Words to live by! This is season one of the freaky series about people discovering superhuman and extraordinary abilities in a world with very dark undertones.
BLOOD AND TEARS.
Directed by Isidore Rosmarin.
* Rosmarin examines both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict from biblical times until the current crisis, trying to peal off the hype to get to the heart of the painful and seemingly irresolvable differences. Many interviews are conducted here with top Israeli, Palestinian and Hamas officials who weigh in along with fanatics and peaceniks on both sides.
I WAS STALIN’S BODYGUARD.
Directed by Semyon Aranovich.
* A frightening day-in-the-life look into the life of Joseph Stalin as seen by a former bodyguard. Mostly the mundane is exposed, although the reviews I have read say that the eyes of the bodyguard are a steely reminder of the terrifying reality of the subject.
WHO THE HELL IS JULIETTE?
Directed by Carlos Marcovich.
* Marcovich is primarily a music video director and cinematographer, and it was in this capacity that he met Yuliet Ortega, a young prostitute from Havana, Cuba. The video he was making when he met Yuliet was starring Fabiola Quiroz. Marcovich loved filming both of these women and neither of them had seen their fathers for a long time. Marcovich kept filming the two women and the result is this film essay on the nature of their lives and the circumstances that brought them together.
TEARS OF THE BLACK TIGER
Monday, August 20, 2007
FOURPLAY is on vacation, and so are we! I write this from a rented vacation house on the Russian River. Ken will be in and out of the shop this week, and all of us Shelves will be back soon, ready to get back to work and school, revived by quiet time with family and lots of good food.
Stop in and say hello to Chris and Jeff, the newest additions to Team Four Star. They are both super great and we are very happy to have them working with us.
See you next week,
............//RELEASE OF THE WEEK//............
THE LIVES OF OTHERS.
Ulrich Mühe /Sebastian Koch/Martina Gedeck.
Directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck.
* Behind the iron curtain, a Stasi (East German Secret Police) captain Gerd Wiesler, (Ulrich Mühe) who is also a wiretapping expert, is assigned to listen in on Georg Dreyman (Sebastian Koch), an seemingly ideologically neutral playwright who lives with his girlfriend Christa-Maria Sieland (Martina Gedeck), a renowned actress who often appears in his plays. The conversations and intimacy that Wiesler overhears awaken something within him—emotionally and otherwise—and he questions his own beliefs and way of life.
This directorial debut by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck won an Academy award for best foreign language film, a golden globe award nomination in the same category, and countless other festival awards. Despite winning film awards at home, too, the film’s subject is—or at least was—a sensitive subject in Germany, some say this is why the director of this now-lauded film was unable to get funding at first, and why the film itself was refused official entry in the Berlin Film Festival in 2005.
There are—according to the author of a book about the Stasi—certain historical inaccuracies in the film, notably that no Stasi would be alone or unwatched enough to experience the personal transformation that we see in Wiesler. Nonetheless, the consensus (including the opinion of the Stasi expert) is that this film is captivating, its characters extremely compelling, and that maybe what is shown by the film, ultimately, is that innate human morality may sometimes triumph, regardless of how far down an immoral path one has gone. Let it be so.
BICKFORD SCHMECKLERS COOL IDEAS.
Patrick Fugit/Olivia Wilde/John Cho/Matthew Lillard
Directed by Scott Lee.
*Follow college freshman Bickford Schmeckler as he tries to recover his stolen great-idea book. As you watch, try to spot hot twins Natalie and Nicole Garza from the Doublemint Gum ads.
Rob Lowe/Judd Nelson/James Caan/Bill Paxton.
Directed by Adam Rifkin.
*Garbage man by day. Hopeful stand-up comic by night. Everything changes when a third arm grows out of his back.
THE FAR SIDE OF JERICHO.
Suzanne Andrews/Lissa Negrin/Judith Burnett/C. Thomas Howell.
Directed by Tim Hunter.
*Three widows, whose now-deceased husbands were in the same outlaw gang, find themselves on the run as bad guys and then more bad guys think they know the location of their husbands’ loot. C. Thomas Howell for kicks.
HOUSE OF GAMES.
Lindsay Crouse/Joe Mantegna/Mike Nussbaum.
Directed by David Mamet.
*Crouse (the wife of writer and director David Mamet when this film was made in 1987) plays a psychiatrist who tries to help her gambling-addicted patient get out of debt. As her professional and personal defenses go down, she gets pulled into the world and minds of con men. Criterion release on DVD.
Laura Dern/Jeremy Irons/Harry Dean Stanton.
Directed by David Lynch.
* Life imitates art imitates life imitates art, etc. in this story of an actress who takes a role in an historically cursed Polish film and the fictional events of the film become, in a way, real.
THE LIVES OF OTHERS.
* See above, Release of The Week.
Paul Frankeur/Laurent Terzieff/Alain Cuny.
Directed by Luis Buñuel.
* In this 1969 film by surrealist great, Buñuel, two tramps go on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, and along the way they meet different Christian heresies, including the Marquis de Sade. Jesus, too, makes a appearance. Buñuel, a life-long atheist, experienced a religious conversion near the end of his life in 1983. Criterion release on DVD.
Andrew Keegan/Lacey Chabert/.
Directed by Jason Carvey.
* Friends. One convinces another to rob a bank, then tries to back out when the sweat starts sweating. With friends like these, who needs friends?
Halle Berry/Bruce Willis.
Directed by James Foley.
* Halle Berry as a journalist going under cover, two-fold, to find out whether Bruce Willis is her best friend’s killer. How far will Bruce go to keep a secret? Not sure I’d want to have to find out. He’s a crazy motherfucker. He’d do it, too.
Amanda Goodwin/Louise Smith/Ellen McElduff.
Directed by Lizzie Borden.
*Slice of life film, but the lives are those of upscale Manhattan prostitutes. Won the special jury prize at Sundance in 1987.
BLOOD IN THE FACE.
Directed by Anne Bohlen/Kevin Rafferty/James Ridgeway.
* An exploration of the various American white supremacist groups. Michael Moore conducts some interviews.
SACCO AND VANZETTI.
All sorts of interesting people such as Henry Fonda/Tony Shalhoub/Arlo Guthrie.
Directed by Peter Miller.
* A doc about the infamous anarchists, also Italian immigrants, who were wrongfully convicted by a Massachusetts jury on charges of murder and armed robbery. As history tells it, they were really convicted for their political beliefs. Be ashamed. Be very ashamed.
DAE JANG GEUM
Yeong-ae Lee/Jin-hee Ji/Ri-na Hong.
Directed by Byoung-houn Lee
* The story is set in Korea under the Joseon Dynasty, in the first half of the 16th century and explores Korean culture through traditions of food and medicine. The main character in this historical fiction is Jang-geum, the real child of fugitives, who made her way into the royal Court to eventually find herself with a place in the Royal Kitchen (apparently a place of great political power) and then becoming the first Female Royal Physician.
THE DOG WHISPERER: SEASON 2.
Created by Cesar Millan.
* These episodes show the “Dr. Phil of dogs” rehabilitating aggressive or otherwise neurotic dogs . . . and their owners.
HOUSE, M.D.: SEASON 3.
Hugh Laurie/Lisa Edelstein.
* Antisocial, maverick Dr. House rocks the diagnostic house. Extra fun for those from Central/South Jersey who can see real things from Camden, Trenton, and Princeton.
UGLY BETTY: SEASON ONE.
* Based on a Columbian novella, Yo Soy Betty La Fea. Betty is sweet, smart and hardworking . . . and not attractive in a classic sense. She gets a job at a fashion magazine because of her lack of good looks. But guess who is beautiful for real, yo.
FIELD OF DREAMS.
Monday, August 13, 2007
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.
Monday, August 6, 2007
We’ve talked before to all of you in cyberspace about the subjectivity of comedy. What is funny? This week’s releases really turn that question on its head—what isn’t funny? Moving to the suburbs (ARE WE DONE YET); monsters in urban waterways (THE HOST); coming out, falling in love and visiting San Francisco ( MANGO KISS), dreams of infidelity (I THINK I LOVE MY WIFE), unaccompanied minors (UNACCOMPANIED MINORS), single parent hairstylists (THE SALON), adolescent vigilantes (TMNT)? All funny! House arrest (DISTURBIA), crack addicts (LIFE SUPPORT), unrequited love in Paris (PRIVATE FEARS IN PUBLIC SPACES)? Not funny, apparently. Well, you’ll just have to see for yourself. If all this gets too confusing, rest assured, some things in life are reliable: THE MUPPET SHOW. THE SIMPSONS. Very, very funny. THOMAS THE TANK ENGINE. Very . . . well . . .
Anyway, we’ve also got some other TV releases that many of you will enjoy (SIMPLE RULES: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON, ROME: THE SECOND SEASON). Plus another music documentary to add to our fabulous collection (FOLLOW MY VOICE: WITH THE MUSIC FROM HEDWIG).
Just remember, the saving grace of humor is that if you fail, no one is laughing at you.
In a world where right and wrong become increasingly indistinguishable -- where good is bad and bad is good, where you've got to be cruel to be kind, and all that Orwellian jazz -- we have to remember that one person's sin is another person's virtue. So this week's Fourplay is a meditation on the life of crime as lead by some master criminals -- well, maybe not exactly, but they're trying!
BOB LE FLAMBEUR
This film noir predates Godard's "Breathless" by four years, and is an oft-overlooked precursor to the French New Wave. Bob is a flashy loser who can't say no to anything especially his young protege and a teenage prostitute friend.When Bob gambles away all his money, he plans a daring robbery of the local casino. But is it really the right caper for a compulsive gambler? Written and directed by Jean-Pierre Melvill (who also did a bunch of relatively obscure films in the 50's and 60's).
A crazy kick-drop into the world of meth addiction. In this twitchy dark comedy, Jason Schwartzman plays a speed freak turned personal driver for meth cook cowboy Mickey Rourke. John Leguizamo, Brittany Murphy and Patrick Fugit round out an all-star cast of m-m-movers and tweakers whose humblest ambitions are far beyond them. First feature directed by Jonas Akerlund (videos for The Prodigy, U2, Madonna, Moby, Smashing Pumpkins, Metallica...).
THE ROAD TO GUANTANAMO
This documentary sounds like a farce: three young Brits go to a friend's wedding in Pakistan, but end up being sent to Gitmo on charges of terrorism. Needless to say, the charges are false, and the misapplication of what some call "jushtish" takes three years to sort through. Archival footage, interviews, and re-enactments paint a harrowing tale of the state-sponsored paranoia we've been handed. Co-directed by Michael Winterbottom (Wonderland, 24 Hour Party People, A Cock and Bull Story...) and Mat Whitecross.
Talk about crime not paying! A wannabe gigolo (Jon Voight) leaves Texas to share his down-home charms with the fine women of New Yawk City. But the hustler becomes the hustled when he runs into a downtrodden gimp (Dustin Hoffman). The gimp turns pimp and together they take on The Big Apple's highs and lows, from the uptown parties to the downtown squats. But can they survive "the life"? Directed by John Schlesinger (Sunday Bloody Sunday, Darling, Pacific Heights...)
Each of the four films of Fourplay is featured on a shelf by the register.
See you at the shop,
Amy and Ken
ARE WE DONE YET?
Ice Cube//Nia Long.
Directed by Steve Carr.
* Sequel to ARE WE THERE YET? this kiddie comedy shows the folly of moving to the burbs for a so-called better life.
Shia LaBeouf/Sarah Roemer/Carrie-Anne Moss/David Morse.
Directed by D.J. Caruso.
* Thriller about a kid whose father dies leaving him in a tailspin that finds him under house arrest. With nothing to do but obsess over his neighbors, he becomes more and more convinced that one of them is a killer.
Gabriela Hegedus/Kellie Jaxson/Birgit Minichmayr.
Directed by Barbara Albert.
* Five old friends meet at a funeral and relieve some memories in trying to understand where they are now in their lives.
FILM CREW: KILLERS FROM SPACE.
Mike Nelson/ Kevin Murphy/ Bill Corbett/Peter Graves (in original film).
* The second release by "The Film Crew", as the trio of Mystery Science Theater alums have dubbed themselves, is the 1954 Sci-Fi film Killers from Space.
Kang-ho Song/Hie-bong Byeon/Hae-il Park/David Joseph Anselmo.
Directed by Joon-ho Bong.
*One day, an unidentified monster rises from the depths of the Han River in Seoul, and panic and death ensue. The story follows a family who attempt to save one of their own who was carried off by the monster.
I THINK I LOVE MY WIFE.
Chris Rock/Kerry Washington.
Directed by Chris Rock.
* A comedic exploration of the tribulations of marriage seen through the eyes of a married man who fantasizes about others.
Queen Latifah/Wendell Pierce.
Directed by Nelson George.
* Personally, I think it is only a matter of time before Queen Latifah wins an Academy Award. Is this her award winning performance? Probably not. But this film allows Latifah to show her depth as an actor. An HBO produced film, LIFE SUPPORT portrays the real-life turn around of a crack-addicted mother into an AIDS activist. Featuring the debut of Rachel Nicks as Latifah’s estranged daughter.
Daniele Ferarro/Michelle Wolff/Sally Kirkland.
Directed by Sascha Rice
*What do you get when ‘wholesome’ lesbians journey to the devil’s playground-aka San Francisco-and “stumble into the wild world of role-playing and non-monogamous S/M dykes?” Comedy, apparently. While the stars of this movie might not be the most well-known, one of the producers—Erin O’Malley—has had her hand in such greats as Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Sarah Silverman Program, and Da Ali G Show.
PRIVATE FEARS IN PUBLIC PLACES.
Sabine Azéma/Lambert Wilson/Andre Dussollier.
Directed by Alain Resnais.
* A bittersweet tale of six whose hopes of love are dashed and smashed in Paris. Won four Cesare Awards in France.
Vivica A. Fox/ Terrance Howard.
Directed by Mark Brown.
* Another comedy in the BARBERSHOP series featuring hijinks centered around a neighborhood center that in disguise as a beauty salon (kinda like we are in disguise as a video store).
Chris Evans/Sarah Michelle Gellar/Kevin Smith/Laurence Fishbourne.
Directed by Kevin Munroe.
*Teenage. Mutant. Ninja. Turtles.
Tyler James Williams/Dyllan Christopher/ Gina Mantegna/Teri Garr.
Directed by Paul Feig.
* A holiday tale of a posse of unaccompanied minors (um’s) stuck in a snowed in airport evading airport security while bonding on their differences. I say family-ish cuz it’s rated PG for “mild rude humor and language”. I think the ratings people are really not on track at all…
8 SIMPLE RULES: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON.
John Ritter/Katey Sagal.
Directed by Basil Gelpke and Ray McCormack and Reto Caduff.
* This was the show that John Ritter was starring in when he died suddenly in 2003 just shy of his 55th birthday. It aired for 3 (2 after Ritter’s death) seasons, and we will keep picking it up if people are into it. It follows a family coping first with their children hitting dating age, and eventually with the passing of the family patriarch.
**** I am not sure if anyone noticed BENSON on the new release wall…seems to not be what anyone desires (though it’s AWESOME!), but I know we all dig the 30-60 minute time commitment of the television stuff, so I am just trying all sorts of things. Let me know if there is something great that is available that we don’t have.
MUPPET SHOW: SEASON TWO.
Kids and Adults Brilliant Weirdo Television.
Created by Jim Henson.
* A short list of guests from this season: Don Knotts, Zero Mostel, Madeline Kahn, Judy Collins, George Burns, Bernadette Peters, Bob Hope, John Cleese, Elton John!!!!
ROME: 2nd SEASON.
* Season two in the historical epic series from HBO.
THE SIMPSONS: THE COMPLETE 10TH SEASON.
Created by Matt Groening.
* You have probably heard about this show by now.
FOLLOW MY VOICE: WITH THE MUSIC FROM HEDWIG.
Directed by Katherine Linton.
* A doc following the making of a tribute album of music from the stupendous rock opera HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH whose proceeds go to a school for kids at risk. The film follows four teens on their quest for maturity and understanding…And they say those were the best years of our lives…
THOMAS AND FRIENDS: CARNIVAL CAPERS.
Directed by Basil Gelpke and Ray McCormack and Reto Caduff.
* Thomas and his buddies will baby-sit your kids for 56 minutes.