Monday, March 17, 2008
**** new release list no. 158
About taste: there is just no accounting for it. I have some very significant differences of opinion about what is “good” and what “stinks” with many of my good friends and family. There is just no way around it. Some people loved FORREST GUMP and some would never watch it except on a plane without sound. Some people are so psyched to hear about the American remake of FUNNY GAMES and some people would never watch a movie like that even if paid. Some think KNOCKED UP is one of the funniest movies they saw in 2007 and some feel like it was insensitive and borderline sexist. Some people thought NAPOLEON DYNAMITE was a brilliant indie comedy, and some think it was a sophomoric fluff piece. My point is that art is polarizing. Not everything is for everybody. And that is good. Gives us something to argue about, and helps us define ourselves.
Full disclosure: I never watched FORREST GUMP, would never watch FUNNY GAMES, loved KNOCKED UP and didn't like NAPOLEON DYNAMITE. Doh!
This weekend, I watched three movies that really didn’t do it for me so well, but I could see how others may love them. SOUTHLAND TALES, the latest from the guy who brought us DONNIE DARKO is a super complicated, comedy-ish, tweaky freakathon starring of all people, The Rock and Buffy. Visually, it is somewhat spectacular, and somewhat hard to comprehend. At times, the sets and design were amazing, and looked quite incredible. Other times, the costuming was laughable, and strange. I am not sure what this film is trying to be; maybe a cult film for this generation in the vein of REPO MAN? It also sports the strangest cast of B-Movie actors I have ever seen, including John Larroquette (NIGHT COURT) and the guy who said “What the fuck, Joel, what the fuck – if you can’t say it, you can’t do it” in that first Tom Cruise film RISKY BUSINESS. There is also a large contingent of SNL actors in this flick, which is certainly an indicator of some sort; I won’t speculate further.
Then Saturday night, after an all day family wedding, I tried LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA. What did I learn? I learned that Javier Bardem can be super sexy as well as psychotically frightening. I also learned the lesson I always seem to have to learn: if I loved the book, the movie won’t do me right. That was true with NAMESAKE as well. This book, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, is one of my favorite of all time. It is funny and longing with both sexuality and repression in abundance. Garcia Marquez writes in the style of magic-realism which means we mostly hang out in the world we know, but occasionally take jaunts into slightly a more mystical dimension. Amy suggested this morning that any truly great film of this book would need to be at least four hours long. Logging in at two hours and twenty minutes, this one was missing a lot of the magic of the book. And the makeup was weird.
So last night we watched I AM LEGEND, thinking a fun sci-fi action flick with Will Smith would be a good way to end the weekend. What we didn’t anticipate were the zombies. This movie is a pretty thrilling jaunt through a post-apocalyptic world filled with incredible shots of a mostly uninhabited New York City. However, it is also a bit of a horror movie with angry, somewhat alive, virally infected mutants ruling the night. Not really what we generally watch over at Chez Shelf. However, I did enjoy it, even if Amy did not (sorry, Amy).
Hey, it’s all a matter of taste! Maybe I don’t have any…
Also this week, we have ATONEMENT, which looks to be a nice epic romance starring Keira Knightley and James McAvoy, the new season of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, the new Guy Ritchie flick REVOLVER the polarizing doc about the abortion debate LAKE OF FIRE, the fairy musical ENCHANTED and a host of other films (ROCKAWAY, ALPHA MALE, BLACK AUGUST, THE SEEKER). Hope to see you at the store.
Love and kisses,
Jennifer Ehle/Danny Huston.
Directed by Dan Wilde.
* A story of a family rocked by the passing of its patriarch.
James McAvoy/Keira Knightley.
Directed by Dan Wilde.
* The lies of a jealous younger sister, in pre-WWII England, change the lives of a pair of young lovers. Based on the novel by Ian McEwan, ATONEMENT was nominated for 7 Oscars and won for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures.
Gary Dourdan/Don Williams/Darren Bridgett.
* Gary Dourdan (of CSI fame) plays George Jackson, a young man who’s jailing for a robbery at a gas station at the age of 18 in 1960 would lead to 11 years in prison. This is a very important story and an even more important chapter in American history.
Amy Adams/Patrick Dempsey.
Directed by Kevin Lima.
* So, like, when the evil queen tosses this fairy princess out of fairytown, she ends up in the big bad world of New York City. It is very trying there (as the Yankees haven’t won the World Series in 8 years) but somehow, the fairy princess finds a happily ever after that works for her.
I AM LEGEND. ****ALSO AVAILABLE IN BLU-RAY****
Will Smith/Alice Braga/.
Directed by Francis Lawrence.
* Attn! Will Smith’s blood is immune to disease! As scientist Robert Neville (the lost Neville brother), he is perhaps the last man on planet earth after a human-made virus wipes everyone else out. He is kind of alone in NYC (ostensibly this is before that fairy princess from ENCHANTED has shown up); working hard at finding other people, and a cure to this vicious virus to which he is immune.
LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA.
Javier Bardem/Giovanni Mezzogiomo/Liev Schreiber.
Directed by Mike Newell.
* Based on one of my favorite novels (of the same name) by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (100 Years of Solitude), and starring Academy Award winning actor Javier Bardem, it’s the story of the longest act of waiting for unrequited love you have ever heard of. Florentino (Bardem) loves Fermina (Mezzogiomo), but unfortunately, she spurns his love. He spends the rest of his life staying true to her (in a very special kind of way, like 622 times) and waiting for his opportunity to show her his love.
Jason Statham/Ray Liotta.
Directed by Guy Ritchie.
* Dude, is Jason Statham happening or what? How many movies has he been in that we’ve gotten in 2008 alone? I feel like I am always typing or reading his name. Actually this movie was made a few years ago, but for some reason it is just getting to DVD. Why? Maybe because it is nearly incomprehensible! You wouldn’t believe the plot line if I told you. In short, it is an existential, metaphysical, action flick with crosses, and double-crosses, and maybe imaginary characters. Maybe not!
Directed by Jeff Crook and Josh Crook.
* Brutal revenge tale about a US veteran coming back to Queens to track down his family’s killers.
THE SEEKER: THE DARK IS RISING.
Alexander Ludwig/Ian McShane/Gregory Smith.
Directed by John Hodge.
* Based on a popular fantasy novel, this is the story of a kid who discovers he is the last of a line of warriors whose job it is to fight “the dark”, which is, ahem, once again rising.
Jason Lee/Michael Mann/Dwayne Johnson/Sarah Michelle Gellar/Mandy Moore/Seann William Scott/Justin Timberlake.
Directed by Richard Kelly.
* From the complicated mind of the guy who brought us DONNIE DARKO comes this very crazily complex and bizarre tale centering on three characters in a post apocalyptic USA set in the super duper sci-fi time of 2008. One of the characters (The Rock) is an action movie star who is currently dealing with a little amnesia situation, the second is a former porn-star (Gellar) who is now moving into media as a tv pundit, and the third is a cop (Scott) who may hold the key to the conspiracy. As usual, Justin Timberlake is great. I think the music video scene is the best part of the movie.
BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: SEASON 3.
* Hotties in space with tight uniforms. The third season of this much loved series.
LAKE OF FIRE.
Directed by Tony Kaye.
* Super graphic and intense doc about the abortion debate.
GO DIEGO GO: MOONLIGHT RESCUE.
A PUP NAMED SCOOBY-DOO: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON.
............//FEATURED NEW ADDITIONS//............
GHOST IN THE SHELL SAC: COMPLETE 1st SEASON.
Directed by Kenji Kamiyama.
* Terrorist cells, secret agents, internal security. Another in our new re-vamped anime section. Tell me if you love these shows!
* Replacement DVD of the Woody Allen classic.
EVER AFTER: A CINDERELLA STORY.
* A new addition to what I have been thinking of as the Shila genre.
* Replacement DVD’s of this much requested Sci-Fi flick.
HAROLD AND MAUDE.
* Replacement DVD – dig the amazing Cat Stevens soundtrack.
KING OF KONG: A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS.
* Replacement DVD.
LORD OF THE RINGS: FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING (EXT VER) .
* Replacement DVD.