Monday, February 18, 2008
****new release list no.154
Happy President’s Day!
Especially to Mr. Bush. Maybe next year he can spend it in jail! Maybe that’s unfair…oh well.
So – movies first, then store news. Lots and lots and lots of movies. Very big titles this week in anticipation of the Oscars, I guess. We have bunches of many of these. The biggest titles are AMERICAN GANGSTER, MICHAEL CLAYTON, IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH and LUST/CAUTION. I saw the first two and they were both excellent. I am not sure if I would give them Oscars, but seeing as how I am not in charge, I guess I don’t have to figure it out. We also have a couple international films from the GLOBAL LENS series (KILOMETRE ZERO, LILI’S APRON) some funky looking indie stuff (THE GOOD HUMOR MAN, INNER LIFE OF MARTIN FROST) some upsetting looking war stuff (RENDITION, REDACTED), action (CHAOS) comedy/drama (MARGOT AT THE WEDDING) new BBC tv (TORCHWOOD) and a 1992 doc also called AMERICAN GANGSTER about famous 20th century gangsters…
We also have a batch of new kids titles, and a bunch of New Additions, including the three RAMBO movies in anticipation of the new one, and ITS PAT, for no comprehendible reason at all.
In store news, we now have three titles available in Blu-ray, which is the hi-def format that appears to be winning the format battle. The titles we have are MICHAEL CLAYTON, IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH, and GONE BABY GONE. If these start renting, I will invest in many many more. Evidently the Blu-ray players also play regular DVD’s, so if you are replacing your player, this might be a good option.
As you know, the Bernal branch of the SF Library has closed for renovations for the next two years. I have been wracking my little brain for the last year wondering how Four Star Video can somehow offer something to the community to replace this piece of our neighborhood. So…last week, we started the Four Star Video Film book library! As of now, it consists of about 50 books that we got from the Criterion film releases. These books range from full novels, to interesting pamphlets full of information. They are wonderful, and you can rent them for free w/o a time-frame for the rental. Please check out these fantastic books. Also, if you would care to donate any film related books, I would love to expand this library. Eventually I would love for it to be 5 or 6 shelves. Also, if you have any locally made (or not, I guess) shorts that you would like available to the public, you can donate them as well, and I will put them in this “free” rental area.
Lastly, I am very seriously considering purchasing new business software that would enable you to have subscription monthly rental plans that would eliminate renewal fees. There is a sign up sheet for those of you interested in this at the store. This is a no-obligation sign up sheet, to just show us how many people are curious, which will help us decide to buy this software. If it sounds good, put your name on the sheet.
Okey-dokey then, see you at the store.
Russell Crowe/Denzel/Cuba Gooding, Jr./Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Directed by Ridley Scott.
* The tale of real life self-made business success story Frank Lucas (Denzel) and the harried and uncorrupt NY cop who brings him down (Crowe). Truth be told, Lucas is a heroin crime-boss, but he is fair and honest within his corrupt system and also dresses impeccably (sounds like our old mayor, minus the heroin part). This is more of an intellectual crime tale then a shoot-em-up type thing, though it has some SERIOUSLY intense scenes reminiscent of SERPICO and other hard-nosed 70’s cop epics; and has received several Oscar nominations (for Art Direction and Ruby Dee as Best Supporting Actress).
Jason Statham/Ryan Phillippe/Wesley Snipes.
Directed by Tony Giglio.
* Twisty cops & robbers tale based in Seattle involving a big bank heist. Snipes!
THE GOOD HUMOR MAN.
Nathan Stevens/Cameron Richardson.
Directed by Tenney Fairchild.
* It’s a high school movie set in the mid-70’s (which is enough to interest me) about a kid who’s life is thrown into turmoil when his best friend gets accused of murdering another kid from a different clique.
IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH. AVAILABLE IN BLU-RAY and DVD
Tommy Lee Jones/James Franco/Charlize Theron/Susan Sarandon.
Directed by Paul Haggis.
* Jones has been nominated for the Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of ex-army Sergeant Hank Deerfield whose son has gone missing after returning stateside from a tour of duty in Iraq. Deerfield is stonewalled by the army in his attempts to find answers to his questions, but his steady pursuit eventually brings some help his way in the form of Detective Emily Sanders (Theron) who is able to push the investigation a little further. Using unconventional clues such as video and images from a cellphone, the pieces come together bit by bit. The true tragedy of this tale regards the thousands of our youth who have been sent to fight a mostly un-winnable battle and the psychologically damaging ways they are changed by the realities of war. Soon we will have a large generation of young men and women back from Iraq and Afghanistan moving fluidly into their adulthoods and trying to reconcile their experiences with the reality of life here in America. Will we damn these kids like the Vietnam vets that came home in the 1970’s? Or will we somehow find a way to learn from this experience and give these young people the help they need?
INNER LIFE OF MARTIN FROST.
David Thewlis/Irene Jacob/Michael Imperioli.
Directed by Paul Auster.
* A tale of unrequited love about a writer (Thewlis) trying to finish a novel in the NYC. Featuring Imperioli in a comedic role as a rural “everyman” (Christopher from the Sopranos!).
Nazmi Kirik/Eyam Ekrem
Directed by Hiner Saleem.
* A tragicomic road trip story set during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980’s.
Directed by Mariano Galperin.
*Not sure, but it looks interesting…Part of the GLOBAL LENS series.
Tony Leung/Tang Wei/Joan Chen.
Directed by Ang Lee.
* Super sexy espionage thriller based on a book by Chinese author Eileen Chang. Ang Lee again proves his amazing versatility as a story-telling director. Seriously, is there anything genre this guy cannot master? In this, a young woman (Wei) gets caught up in a assassination plot during the Japanese occupation of China in WWII.
MARGO AT THE WEDDING.
Nicole Kidman/Jack Black/Jennifer Jason Leigh.
Directed by Noah Baumbach.
* From the writer/director of THE SQUID AND THE WHALE and the writer of THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU comes this tale of a family in turmoil. Margot (Kidman) is in town for her sister’s impending nuptials. Pauline (Leigh) is marrying the shmucky Malcolm (Black) and Margo disapproves.
MICHAEL CLAYTON. AVAILABLE IN BLU-RAY and DVD
George Clooney/Tom Wilkinson/Tilda Swinton/Sydney Pollack.
Directed by Tony Gilroy.
* Garnered nominations for Best Actor (Clooney),Best Supporting Actor (Wilkinson), Best Supporting Actress (Swinton), Best Director (Gilroy), Best Score, Best Picture, Best Writer (Gilroy). Clayton (Clooney) is a “fixer” at a corporate law firm who specializes in cleaning up other people’s messes. His personal life is in a shambles, he is a single dad as a result of a messy divorce, he has debt issues related to a family member, he’s nursing an gambling problem; things aren’t going so great for Michael. When his good friend and colleague suddenly freaks out in the middle of a complicated legal settlement regarding a huge multinational that makes something or other that poisons people in the heartland, Michael gets thrust into a dangerous cat and mouse game where survival is not guaranteed.
Drama /Foreign (Senegal).
Directed by Ousmane Sembene.
* From the 81-year old Senegalese Director Sembene comes this powerful tale of a group of young girls seeking magical help to prevent them from the female circumcision that awaits them at the hands of the village elders.
PIERRE LE FOU.
Jean-Paul Belmondo/Anna Karina.
Directed by Jean-Luc Godard.
* Godard’s 1969 film about a couple being pursued by hit men living a carefree life. Here is a quote of his about the film, which was evidently shot without a script: "it is not really a film, it's an attempt at cinema. Life is the subject, with [Cinema] Scope and color as its attributes...In short, life filling the screen as a tap fills bathtub that is simultaneously emptying at the same rate."
Directed by Brian De Palma.
* Horrifying film about people killing and being killed in the Iraq/US War.
Reese Witherspoon/Jake Gyllenhaal/Meryl Streep/Peter Sarsgaard/Alan Arkin.
Directed by Gavin Hood.
* Here is a synopsis written by the director: When an Egyptian terrorism suspect "disappears" on a flight from Africa to Washington DC, his American wife and a CIA analyst find themselves caught up in a struggle to secure his release from a secret detention facility somewhere outside the US.
TORCHWOOD: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON.
* A spin-off of the popular Doctor Who series, this series stars Captain Jack Harkness who comes back in time from the 51st century and joins up with Torchwood Institute, a criminal investigation unit established to fight supernatural and extra-terrestrial threats.
AMERICAN GANGSTER: 1992.
Directed by Ben Burtt.
* Educational doc about many of the famous bad guys of the 20th century.
THE EASTER BUNNY IS COMING TO TOWN.
Narrated by Fred Astaire.
* 1977 TV special.
JAKERS: TREASURE HUNT ON RALOO FARM.
* Pretty damn funny kids animation show.
LITTLE EINSTEINS: RACE FOR SPACE.
Gary Sweet/Helen Buday.
Directed by Rolf de Heer.
* Freaky revenge tale of a marriage gone terribly bad in suburbia.
Anyone try to rent this movie in the last couple weeks? Aaargh. So we’ve bought another copy. Christian Bale rules, huh?
CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN.
Replacement DVD of this Steve Martin comedy.
FIRST WIVES CLUB.
First DVD of this Diane Keaton/Goldie Hawn/Bette Midler laugher.
It really is. And it is the first time, ahem, we’ve carried this silly title.
First DVD copy of this Rossellini classic.
RAMBO: ULTIMATE COLLECTOR’S EDITION.
First three movies reissued in anticipation of the new one.
Beau Bridges/Kim Delaney.
* Earthquake disaster film.
THE WIRE: COMPLETE 3rd SEASON.
No one can get enough of this freaking tv show!