Monday, November 26, 2007
This time of year is madness, dominated by “holidays” that are too fierce to mention by name. While the final weeks of the year are filled with (hopefully) good food and good people, they too often become causes of stress, anxiety and intra/inter-family strife. Just say no! Winter’s beautiful light is a precious commodity, so get it while you can—take a walk, marvel at the beauty that is this city, and be happy just to be.
There is plenty of good entertainment coming into the store this week, old (BRIEF ENCOUNTER, SOY CUBA, KILLER OF SHEEP) and new (BEYOND THE GATES, DAY NIGHT/DAY NIGHT, HOT ROD, THE NAMESAKE,PAPRIKA, VITUS, WAITRESS), if you need to get away from it all.
See you at the shop,
Ken and Amy
I AM CUBA (SOY CUBA).
Drama/Foreign (Cuba/Soviet Union).
Sergio Corrieri/Salvador Wood/Luz Maria Collazo.
Directed by Mikhail Kalatozov.
* Marxist take on Cuba in 1964, told in 4 vignettes.
BEYOND THE GATES (aka SHOOTING DOGS).
John Hurt/Hugh Dancy.
Directed by Michael Caton-Jones.
* A Catholic Priest and an idealistic school teacher try to protect thousands of Tutsi refugees during the first days of the Rwandan genocide.
* Four best friends rise above petty, high school cliques and become their own gang. Bratz. “High school is about to get a make-over.”
Criterion Collection Release.
Celia Johnson/Trevor Howard.
Directed by David Lean.
* Masterful tale of forbidden love between a housewife and the doctor she meets at a railway station. They meet regularly until they decide never to see each other again. Set during WWII.
DAY NIGHT/DAY NIGHT.
Luisa Williams/Josh Phillip Weinstein.
Directed by Julia Loktev.
* A 19 year old woman prepares to be a suicide bomber in Times Square. Her place of origin, reasons, causes are unknown and remain in their most abstracted form as the viewer is plunged into the details of her preparations.
Guy Pearce/Piper Perabo.
Directed by Mark Fergus.
* Sassy salesman sent into a mental tailspin when soothsayer says that his last day will be the first snow. Tense and cold.
KILLER OF SHEEP.
Henry Sanders/Kaycee Moore/James Miles.
Directed by Charles Burnett.
* The rediscovered 1973 film of a UCLA student. Set in the Watts projects in LA during the 70’s, Told through the eyes of a slaughterhouse worked, this is an enigmatic portrayal of life—at times bleak, at times stunningly beautiful.
Andy Samberg/Jorma Taccone.
Directed by Akiva Schaffer.
* SNL peeps, a cameo by Sissy Spacek and motorcycle stunts. Pure fun. Especially after the Chronic- (what?) -cles of Narnia.
I KNOW WHO KILLED ME.
Directed by Chris Sivertson.
* Lohan’s character is abducted and tortured by a sadistic murderer. She manages to escape and is found in the woods two weeks later. She has forgotten her identity, taking on the characters she wrote about in high school. She insists the person everyone says she is remains in mortal danger. You go, girl.
MR BEAN’S HOLIDAY.
Directed by Robin Driscoll/Hannish McColl.
* Mr. Bean in Cannes! Watch out, French Riviera, “Je vais a la plage!”
Kal Penn/Irfan Kahn/Gabriel Byrne/Glenne Headly.
Directed by Mira Nair.
* Based upon the wonderful Jhumpa Lahiri novel by the same name, it follows the growth, into adulthood, of Gogol Ganguli, American born son of Indian immigrants.
(voices of) Megumi Hayshibara/Toru Emori/Katsunosuke Hori.
Directed by Satoshi Kon.
* Anime extravaganza about technology’s final frontier—the human dream.
Fabrizio Borsani/Teo Gheorghiu/Julika Jenkins/Urs Jucker.
Directed by Fredi M. Murer.
* Vitus is a musically gifted child and his parents want him to become a pianist. One day the boy decides that he does not want to go along with his parents plans and has dreams of his own.
Keri Russell/Cheryl Hines.
Directed by Adrienne Shelly.
* Small town waitress makes amazing pies that earn her the admiration of everyone as she plots her escape. Her unplanned pregnancy only affirms her ambitions and unexpectedly leads her to love.
DEMETRI MARTIN. PERSON.
Directed by Jay Karas.
* Demetri Martin’s Comedy Central Special
A VILLAGE ROMANCE.
Directed by Bodis Kristza.
* Two women from a small Hungarian villages fall in love. And their love endures, for as long as it takes for them to be together.
WHY WE SING.
Narrated by Gavin Newsom.
Directed by Lawrence B. Dillon.
* Local filmmaker’s exploration of the Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Chorus movement, documented at the GALA Chorus’s International Festival.
LAND BEFORE TIME: THE WISDOM OF FRIENDS.
* Word up to my prehistoric brothers, yo.
ALL OF ME.
Steve Martin/Lily Tomlin.
Directed by Carl Reiner.
* Now we have this classic story of the dying heiress who has her soul inadvertently transferred into a lawyer’s body (which he hasn’t left) on DVD.
ROBIN HOOD: MEN IN TIGHTS.
Carey Elwes/Richard Lewis.
Directed by Mel Brooks.
* With obligatory cameos by Dom DeLuise, Tracey Ullman, Dick van Patten. Apparently you can order this DVD and it comes with a barbeque book. First DVD copy.
SHIP OF FOOLS.
Vivian Leigh/Simone Signoret/Oskar Werner.
Directed by Stanley Cramer.
* Based on Katherine Anne Porter novel. Passengers on a cruise from Mexico to Europe in the 30’s, the Nazis are coming to power and Europe is changing. First DVD copy.
SPICE WORLD—SPECIAL EDITION.
Geri Halliwell/Melanie Brown/Victoria Adams/Melanie Chisholm/Emma Bunton.
Directed by Bob Spiers.
* Lets make a movie, girls. Lets make it spicy and LETS SING! 10 year anniversary special edition!! You have got to swing it, shake it, move it, make it. Who do you think you are? First DVD copy.
Peter Fonda/Patricia Richardson/Jessica Biel.
Directed by Victor Nunez.
* Reclusive beekeeper tries to save his own family from their version of colony collapse disorder. First DVD copy.
WIZARD OF OZ—SPECIAL EDITION.
Judy Garland/Ray Bolger/Burt Lahr.
Directed by Victor Flemming.
* New DVD copy.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
I think we have 48 titles to offer you this week. An absolute ton of new acquisitions, as well as quite of few new releases, featuring RESCUE DAWN and LIVE FREE OR DIE among many many others.
Remember, we will be closed on Thanksgiving, so get your flicks by Wednesday. We will re-open at the regular time on Friday morning.
To a life of joy and peace,
Ken and Amy
Jamel Debbouze/Rie Rasmussen.
Directed by Luc Besson.
* Two people living in the underworld of Paris survive a suicidal jump off a bridge and help each other regain the will to live.
Fereshteh Sadr Orfani/Parviz Parastoui.
Directed by Kambuzia Partovi.
* When Reyhan (Orfani)’s husband dies, she resolves to turn down his brother’s offer to take her as his 2nd wife and instead decides to run her husband’s failed truck stop restaurant. This marked the directorial debut of Partovi, who has had a successful screenwriting career.
Heather Graham/Jeremy Sisto.
Directed by Alan White.
* A bad night gets worse and worse for Hope (Graham) a Ohio transplant trying to make it in Los Angeles.
Directed by Kazuaki Kiriya.
* Super well-received live-action movie based on a 1973 anime of the same name.
COLMA THE MUSICAL!.
Jake Moreno/H.P. Mendoza/L.A. Renigen.
Directed by Richard Wong.
* Dude! A musical about Colma! That’s so cool. The story revolves around a trio of young friends trying to FIGURE IT ALL OUT.
Directed by Timur Bekmambetov.
* The second in a trilogy (NIGHT WATCH) that evidently CAN be seen out of order, this is one of those films that is described by mentioning the forces of LIGHT and DARK. However, much like CASSHERN, this film has been very critically acclaimed.
Zach Braff/Jason Bateman/Amanda Peet.
Directed by Jesse Peretz.
* AKA, FAST TRACK, this film follows a putzy guy who is trying to succeed so his wife can be a stay-home mommy. Unfortunately, her dad is his new boss, and her ex-boyfriend is her new supervisor. Yikes.
John Travolta/Michelle Pfeifer/Christopher Walken/Amanda Bynes/Queen Latifah.
Directed by Adam Shankman.
* 1962 Baltimore is the setting for this remake of the popular John Waters film from 1988. Hot dancing is the cure for the racial tension in this flick.
Anne Hathaway/Bijou Phillips.
Directed by Barbara Kopple.
* Hathaway and Phillips are rich white kids who want to be hip and down with the East LA latino community until they get waaay too close to the actual gang cultha. This film seems to have really launched Hathaway’s career.
IN BETWEEN DAYS.
Taegu Andy Kang/Bokja Kim/Nathan Rodriguez.
Directed by So Yong Kim.
* The directorial debut of Kim deals with a young Korean immigrant struggling to adapt to a new country.
LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD.
Bruce Willis/Andrew Friedman (though maybe not the one who works here).
Directed by Len Wiseman.
* John McLane takes on the world again, this time in the guise of an internet based terror organization who is systematically shutting down the US grid. I don’t see how he could survive this time.
Michel Blanc/Sandrine Bonnaire.
Directed by Patrice Leconte.
* Remake of Julien Duvivier's film PANIQUE released in 1948. This movie is just making it’s way to DVD from 1990.
Christian Bale/Steve Zahn.
Directed by Werner Herzog.
* Herzog loved this story so much he made it twice. First as a documentary called LITTLE DIETER NEEDS TO FLY, now as this feature film about Dieter Dengler, a US pilot who is shot down over Laos and captured and tortured during the Vietnam War.
Directed by Ron Underwood.
* The tagline of this movie says something about how Mary, Santa’s daughter (McCarthy) has “some big ideas”. The staff has gotten a lot of laughter out of that this week.
SANTA CLAUSE 3: THE ESCAPE CLAUSE.
Tim Allen/Elizabeth Mitchell.
Directed by Michael Lembeck.
* Santa and Jack Frost battling it out.
SAWDUST AND TINSEL.
Directed by Ingmar Bergman.
* Brilliant 1956 tale by the master.
MISS MARPLE: SEASON 3.
Created by Agatha Christie.
* Season three in the mystery series.
PROJECT RUNWAY: SEASON 3.
Directed by Eli Holzman.
* Season three of the show about designers trying to break into the fashion industry.
KATT WILLIAMS: AMERICAN HUSTLE THE MOVIE.
Directed by Britt McAdams.
* I hear Snoop has a cameo.
KYLE CEASE: WEIRDER, BLACKER, DIMPLER.
Directed by Craig Kelly.
* Whoop-whoop! Ask Shila about this new comedy stuff.
A LAWYER WALKS INTO A BAR.
Directed by Eric Chaikin.
* An “interesting but rather odd” documentary about the stress caused by taking the bar exam. I remember when Amy was preparing for the bar. That was super fun!
P by Jennifer Baichwal.
* This doc is about photographer Edward Burtynsky whose work focuses on changes in the world due to manufacturing and industrialism.
NEGATIVLAND: OUR FAVORITE THINGS.
Presented by Negativland.
* Do you know about the band Negativland? They are a very strange and amazing collagist group that you should just go straight to YouTube right now and experience. This is a collection of experimental shorts films that capture the flavor of what the band is trying to accomplish.
THE HISTORY CHANNEL PRESENTS: THE UNIVERSE.
Directed by Douglas Cohen and Laura Verklan
* A more flashy doc-style than the BBC folks, THC gives us THE UNIVERSE. Peppered with images from our space program, and a lot of graphics and speculation, it is quite a visual treat.
CARE BEARS 25th ANNIVERSARY COLLECTION.
MY FRIENDS TIGGER AND POOH: SUPER SLEUTH CHRISTMAS.
First DVD copy.
DEER HUNTER: SPECIAL EDITION.
First DVD of this Denzel Washington film.
THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS.
FIVE EASY PIECES.
First DVD copy of this early Jack Nicholson film.
FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL.
First DVD copy of this Hugh Grant romantic comedy.
GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS.
First DVD copy of this classic real estate hell tale starring everybody!
First DVD copy.
First DVD of this Bruce Willis feature.
KIKI’S DELIVERY SERVICE.
2 new copies of this amazing Miyazaki film.
LIVING OUT LOUD.
First DVD copy another of my favorite films, starring Holly Hunter, Queen Latifah and Danny DeVito.
ME MYSELF I.
First copy of this French comedy from 1999.
MY FAIR LADY.
Maybe our first copy ever of this awesome musical.
MY FAVORITE SEASON.
First DVD copy.
MY FAVORITE YEAR.
I LOVE this 1982 Peter O’Toole flick. This is our first DVD copy.
ROME: SEASON ONE.
First DVD of this teen comedy not starring Lindsay Lohan.
STREETS OF SAN FRANCISCO: SEASON ONE.
* Eight freaking discs of hard edged t.v. drama. This just came out on DVD, and is kind of a new release, but we are putting it on the recent acquisition shelf, cuz we are so inundated with other new releases!
TOY STORY: 10th ANNIVERSARY EDITION.
Kind of a replacement copy, but first time buying the 10th Anniversary edition.
Monday, November 12, 2007
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..
Sunday, November 4, 2007
We have more great films out this week, including the new Pixar feature, RATATOUILLE, as well as Michael Moore’s latest feature, SICKO. I took Huck to see RATATOUILLE in the theatres a few months back. It was his first movie theatre experience. We had a blast. My opinion is that Pixar is really making the most multi-leveled family animation out there. The movies look good, are well written, and have a broad appeal. Personally, I have always preferred the old-school hand-drawn animation of such films like SPIRITED AWAY, however I thoroughly enjoyed Ratatouille, and I imagine you will, too.
In store organizational news, the new kids section is finished being built (though still being cleaned/organized/painted/stylized) and we are getting lots of feedback, most of it great. Please let us know what you think.
Other library moves…The Animation section is over near the kids section where Criterion used to be, and it has been flipped on its heels with the Fantasy/Creature Feature sections up higher and the Animation and Ghibli Studio stuff at the bottom. We are hoping some of the older kids start tapping this section, as there are some great films here that we think would have a broad appeal. Over where the Animation section used to be is now all the Music/Hip-Hop DVD’s with the Musicals, which we thought made sense. Especially considering I didn’t even know there was a difference between these two sections (the tags are both marked with an “M”) the first couple months I was here, until I noticed I couldn’t find any of the Beatles movies in the Musicals section and was finally set straight (or something). Now, if it is music related, it is in one place. Moving the Musicals gave us space to move ALL of the Director’s sections (Cult/Independent/Horror/Other things which I don’t understand what category they were, but were Director’s sections of some variety) onto the Director’s wall. If there is a famous Director you are looking for, chances are they will have a section there. As usual, ask us if you can’t find something.
Is that it? No, not really. We moved the bookshelf that used to hold some Classics and the Noir section around the corner to the Foreign section, but we haven’t populated it yet (as of writing on Sunday morning), however the plan is to add much more to the Foreign section and parse out the categorization. Also, the more long term plan is to empty out the section where the Martial Arts stuff is on one side, and the Nature Docs, etc is on the other side (not get rid of anything, just move it) and create a browsing counter, complete with computers, in order to let you search for stuff on the internet. That’s not too far off, but we don’t have a date for that implementation yet.
We have some stylistic conceptual changes coming soon, involving paint and perhaps even some rhinestones… We’d tell you all about, but we prefer for it to be a surprise.
Hope to see you soon at the shop,
Ken & the whole Four Star Gang
............//RELEASE OF THE WEEK//............
Directed by Brad Bird and Bob Peterson.
* Remy is a rat with unusual tastes; he loves to watch cooking shows, he loves yummy food, he dreams of being a chef in a fancy restaurant. Alas, he’s a rat. However, when his family is washed away from their country home (through the sewers of France – Je vais a la plage!), and he ends up in Paris, right near the famous restaurant of his hero (Ou est le bibliotheque?) his dreams are so near he can taste them (Ferme la bouche!). Once inside the dining establishment, whose owner has died and whose Michelin ranking is sinking, he meets a putzy new kitchen employee (Linguini) who can’t cook to save his life. Together, they form a very strange partnership involving a sort of puppetry and a fantastic rat palette. Ah, but Linguini dreams of being his own chef, and is taught a few things by the local restaurant hottie, Colette (Voulez-vous coucher avec moi? Ce soir?). This film really defines the new style of animated feature, brilliantly funny dialogue, with a nod to the adult audience watching with their children, gorgeous scenery and music, and lots of sharp digs at the competition, in this case Disney, as this is a Pixar feature. Particularly wonderful is the scene when Anton Ego, vicious restaurant critic extraordinaire (voiced by Peter O’Toole) first tastes Remy’s exquisite Ratatouille transporting him back into his country childhood when his Mommy would attend to a scraped knee with a plain and straightforward dish of her very own Ratatouille.
BLAME IT ON FIDEL.
Julie Depardieu/Nina Kervel-Bey/Stefano Accorsi.
Directed by Julie Gavras.
* When 9-year old Anna’s French bourgeois family is visited by the radical leftist agenda, Communism ensues, causing her to lose all her privileges.
DECK THE HALLS.
Matthew Broderick/Danny DeVito.
Directed by John Whitesell.
* Ah, Christmas…bringing out the best in neighbors. In this case, one who wants his house to be so lit up with lights that it will be visible from space, and another who would rather have night occur with the usual darkness.
DENNIS THE MENACE CHRISTMAS.
Robert Wagner/Louise Fletcher/Maxwell Perry Cotton.
* Straight to DVD Dennis the Menace version of A CHRISTMAS CAROL with Mr. Wilson playing Scrooge. Wow, two Christmas movies in the week after Halloween. Ho Ho Ho!
I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU CHUCK AND LARRY.
Adam Sandler/Kevin James/Jessica Biel/Dan Akroyd.
Directed by Dennis Dugan.
* BACKDRAFT meets CHUCK AND BUCK? Well, maybe not quite. Larry and Chuck are New York firemen who are great friends. Chuck owes a favor to Larry and Larry calls in a doozy. It seems that for him to get benefits for his kids (he’s a widower), he needs Chuck to pretend to be his domestic partner. Chuck agrees and they are hopeful they can just file paperwork and be done with it… If only... Eventually some meddling city official becomes suspicious and the hilarity begins.
PIXAR SHORT FILMS COLLECTION: VOLUME ONE.
* 13 Short films by Pixar (mostly) made between the years 1984 and 2007. You may recognize some of these, such as LIFTED about a young alien being taught how to abduct a farmer, who needs to bailed out by his instructor.
Directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner.
* Cotillard plays twin sisters with major issues. Lucie the model has a big personality with a serious dark side and a fresh recording contract, even though she can’t sing. Marie is the opposite of Lucie in almost every respect, including the fact that she does have a nice singing voice. Things spiral terrible down the toilet for these sisters.
See Above – Release of the week.
Jung-woo Ha/Ji-Yeon Park.
Directed by Ki-duk Kim.
* As far as I can tell, this film tells the story of a twisted and demoralized woman who undergoes extensive plastic surgery with the so-called hopes of saving her relationship. It did well on the festival circuit, picking up some awards along the way.
Ximena Ayala/Nancy Gutierrez.
Directed by Marisa Sistach.
* A tale of painful urban tale of sexual assault and adolescent awakening set in Mexico City. Two girls Yessica and Miriam, from differing economic backgrounds, have their lives thrown in to turmoil by an attack on Yessica set up by her brother.
YOU KILL ME.
Ben Kingsley/Tea Leoni/Luke Wilson.
Directed by John Dahl.
* Fucking Frank Falenczyk (Kingsley) is a Polish hitman who loves making hits only slightly less than he loves hitting the drink. When his booze hound ways screw up an important job, he is sent to SF to dry out (that seems funny to me). There (or here as the case may be) he meets Laurel (Leoni) whose lack of boundaries makes her the perfect new partner for Frank as he prepares to go back to Buffalo and face new problems in the family.
............//STAND UP COMEDY//............
DANE COOK: VICIOUS CIRCLE.
* I don’t know a lot about Dane Cook, except that he’s from Boston, and that’s funny.
ELLEN DEGENERES: HERE AND NOW.
Directed by Joel Gallen.
* This isn’t new, but we’ve never had it at the store. Same with the Dane Cook special. Ellen is her usual sassy but cute self. If you like her, you’ll love this.
THE BEST OF THE COLBERT REPORT.
* I just think Stephen Colbert is a genius and actually an American hero. He never breaks character, and although he is lampooning the conservative Fox News style media machine, his questions and wit bring out an insight that is as enlightening as it is funny. If you’ve never seen him, google “colbert at the white house” to see his amazing speech at the White House correspondents dinner in 2006. This guy is totally balls out and completely fearless. Just imagine if real journalists did their job the way this guy does his.
DR. WHO: THE COMPLETE THIRD SERIES.
* The third season in the adventures of the time traveling adventurer who is cruising around with his cockney friend Rose. This show is highly rated and wins many awards.
FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON.
Bret McKenzie/Jermaine Clement/Rhys Darby/Kristen Schaal.
Directed by James Bobin.
* These two New Zealanders are funny funny! I have only seen them on YouTube, but their brilliant music videos for “Mother Ucker” and “Business Time” are amazing. They write songs of every style and their ability to poke gentle fun is terrific. If you are looking for a laugh, you must see this show.
SEINFELD: SEASON 9.
Jerry Seinfeld/Jason Alexander/Julia Louis-Dreyfus/Michael Richards.
* Season 9 in the show about nothing.
AMAZING JOURNEY: THE STORY OF THE WHO.
* New doc about the band featuring footage and interviews with the surviving members Roger Daltrey and Pete Townsend.
Michael Moore/George W. Bush.
Directed by Michael Moore.
* Another brilliant film by the documaster himself. This time it is the American healthcare system that he takes on.
DIGIMON: THE MOVIE.
* My son, Huck, is Digimanaical…actually he is a Pokemonstrosity. It all started with Yugiy-oh-god. Anyway, the kids dig it.
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND.
Richard Dreyfuss/Terr Garr/Francois Truffaut.
Directed by Steven Spielberg.
* Can you believe it has been 30 years since this came out? This is our first DVD copy.
DANCING AT LUGHNASA.
First DVD copy.
JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH.
First DVD copy.