Monday, April 14, 2008

**** new release list no. 162

Our next screening is scheduled for this coming Sunday, April 20th, and it is going to be pretty freaking funny. Chris, this screening’s curator, had been planning on showing HAROLD AND KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE on 4/20, which to those in the know is kind of a stoner monument of sorts. 4/20 is code to some, and to those who don’t know, we suggest GOOGLE. So plug that in there and see what you get. Anyway, so Chris was planning on showing this film until we heard about another movie called SUPER HIGH ME that is opening on a wide scale with over 700 screenings planned all over the country in a variety of venues, none charging admission! In this fascinating documentary, Doug Benson, a stand-up comic fascinated by the vision of SUPER SIZE ME, decides to consume as much marijuana as he can over a 30 day period and documents the affects that it has on his every day life. You can read about this film here: SUPER HIGH ME. We are excited to be taking part in this national screening release party, and we hope you will join us at the store. We will show the movie at 10:00 on Sunday night, April 20th in our outdoor patio at back. Entrance is free, and we will have candy and soda for sale. Please dress very warmly and bring blankets. If you aren’t familiar yet with our screenings, we have a nice projector, about 45 folding chairs, a couple heating lamps and a whole lot of fun. Please join us!

This week we have a couple huge movies as well as a bunch of other interesting sounding stuff. The big titles of the week are BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU'RE DEAD (Philip Seymour-Hoffman, Ethan Hawke) and JUNO (Ellen Page, Michael Cera). These films couldn’t be more different; however they are both examples of terrific acting and stories that hit their mark terrifically. Also we have a potpourri of other great looking films from around the world, as well as a posse of hard hitting documentary films.

Hope to see you down at the shop!

Love and kisses,
Ken

............//CO-RELEASES OF THE WEEK//............

BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU'RE DEAD. DVD and BLU-RAY****
Drama/Suspense.
Philip Seymour Hoffman/Ethan Hawke/Albert Finney/Marisa Tomei.
Directed by Sydney Lumet.
* Sydney Lumet has been directing since the 1940’s. Think about how amazing that is! He’s made a ton of films, and a bunch of them have been terrific (Dog Day Afternoon, Serpico, The Verdict, Network, 12 Angry Men). Many of his films have been full of New York imagery, and this one is no different. The film actually opens in Rio with Andy Hanson (Hoffman) and his wife Gina (Tomei) having hot vacation sex. A hint or two are dropped about their problems back home, but for the most part, we get an arousing and hopeful couple moment in bed. That’s it for the happy times, folks. The rest of the movie zig-zags around New York and New Jersey, and in and out of time sequence. We get Andy leading his pathetic little brother Hank (Hawke in a tremendous performance) into a terrible scheme. We get their father Charles (Finney) mourning the murder of his wife in an attempted robbery at their little strip-mall jewelry store and determined to find the killer. We get Gina in and out of her clothing, mostly as eye-candy for the men in her life, but wishing she could be more involved. We see Hank struggling to hold the respect of his teenage daughter, while his reputation is ravaged by his own stupid decision making. We see both brothers, drowning in their own increasingly serious problems. We see greed, hate, drugs the bonds that hold together a family disintegrating before our eyes. At the heart, this is a tense, crime-gone-bad story about a man trying to extract his due from a family that he feels wronged him, and the bill that comes due as a result of his actions.

JUNO. DVD and BLU-RAY****
Comedy/Drama.
Ellen Page/Michael Cera/Jason Bateman/Jennifer Garner.
Directed by Jason Reitman.
* How do you make a great film about teen-pregnancy that features a full-on birth scene and have it still seem wholesome? Pop some orange-flavored one-calorie tic-tacs in your mouth and watch. Juno (Page, in what should be a break-through role) is sixteen. She is a foul-mouthed, cynical, smart-ass kid, and a pretty funny one at that. The kind of kid that you wish you hung out with back in the meat-grinder that’s called High School. She’s got a good buddy, a great friend actually named Bleeker (Cera) who for one fateful night becomes about as good a friend as one can have (is that a male opinion? Fine...).
Unfortunately for Juno and Bleek, that night they skip all the great sex education they teach kids in school these days, and Junski ends up preggers. Well, well. That’s where the fun begins. For a minute, it seems like she will take care of the pregnancy with an abortion, but the relatively contrived and mostly not believable scene in the abortion clinic ends that possibility. No, Juno decides to have the baby and give it up for adoption, a decision that she knows will have some socially awkward and physically challenging realities, but she is a kid with fortitude and so it goes. Garner and Bateman play the strangely matched couple who await the child. I really loved the Bateman character, who was maybe kind of a putz, and certainly struggled with emotionally honesty, and perhaps was struggling letting go with his rock star dreams even as he entered his middle-age, and maybe those were all the things I loved about him. Garner is too thin, but seemed well equipped to play her role, and there were moments when her frail openness mixed with her inner fortitude struck very true to me as motherly qualities. All in all, though the writing wasn’t stupendous, the story struck a chord that was very relatable in today’s world. Guess what people, the kids are having sex! And some of them get pregnant. What happens next is up to everyone involved. Juno’s father suggests that hard drugs, school expulsion, or perhaps a DWI would be better than pregnancy. I gotta beg to differ.

............//NEW TITLES//............

ALIEN VS. PREDATOR: REQUIEM.
Horrorish/Sci-Fi.
Reiko Aylesworth/Steven Pasquale.
Directed by Colin Strause and Greg Strause.
* A wittle bitty town in Colorado becomes the battleground for the now classic interplanetary struggle between the alien Facehuggers and the Predators. I think the Predators just have too much offense; I can’t see the Aliens really pulling it out. Then again, it’s hard to predict, that’s why they play the games.

BAMAKO.
Drama/ Foreign (French/Bambara).
Aissa Maiga.
Directed by Abderrahmane Sissako.
* In this trial, the World Bank itself is accused of atrocities against the world with the background of a young bar singer (Maiga) and her out of work husband struggling to stay together.

BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOUR DEAD.
See Co-Release of the Week.

BLAST OF SILENCE.
Drama/Criterion.
Allen Baron/Molly McCarthy/Larry Tucker.
Directed by Allen Baron.
* 1961 film about a professional killer returning after an absence to NY for one last hit.

I WANT SOMEONE TO EAT CHEESE WITH.
Comedy/Romance.
Sarah Silverman/Jeff Garlin.
Directed by Jeff Garlin.
* A sort of “Confederacy of Dunces” type tale about a big ol’ fella who is living with his mom and having a kind of depressing existence and longs for some companionship to share a nice lump of cheese with.

INSIDE.
Horror/Foreign (French).
Beatrice Dalle/Alysson Paradis.
Directed by Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury.
* Super gore-fest about a pregnant woman being terrorized by another woman in her house. See Also: HIGH TENSION.

IN THE NAME OF THE KING.
Action/Fantasy.
Jason Statham/Leelee Sobieski/Ray Liotta/Claire Forlani/Burt Reynolds.
Directed by Uwe Boll.
* Krugs, the evil Gallian, a kidnapped wife, revenge, beasties…you get the picture.

JUNO.
See Co-Release of the Week.

LARS AND THE REAL GIRL.
Comedy/Drama.
Ryan Gosling/Emily Mortimer/Patricia Clarckson.
Directed by Craig Gillespie.
* Pretty awesome sounding tale of a quirky, delusional young man who falls in love with a blow up sex doll he orders on the internet. Cue that great Police tune “Won’t you be my girl, won’t you be my girl, won’t you be my, be my, be my girl…”

............//DOCUMENTARY//............

THE PIED PIPER OF HUTZOVINA.
Roc-Doc/Drama/Foreign (English/Russian/Ukranian).
Euguene Hutz.
Directed by Pavla Fleischer.
* Do you know the band Gogol Bordello? Trust me; they are a very great band. This is essentially a road movie with the lead singer of this band and the filmmaker who loves him as they travel through his native land of Ukraine.

WAR DANCE.
Documentary.
Directed by Sean Fine and Andrea Nix.
* Oscar nominated film about three children living in a displacement camp in Northern Uganda who find purpose and meaning by taking part in the national music and dance festival.

............//NEW ADDITIONS//............

IN DEBT WE TRUST.
Documentary.
Directed by Danny Schecter.
* A powerful doc exploring consumer debt and the credit cards we are addicted to.

THIS DIVIDED STATE.
Documentary.
Directed by Steven Greenstreet.
* A doc following the controversy that ensued when the Utah Valley State College invited Michael Moore to speak on campus, and the political battles that ensued between liberals and conservatives regarding his freedom of speech.

RADIO CAPE COD.
Drama.
Directed by Andrew Silver.
* A quartet of love stories directed by the brother of one of our customers.

WAR MADE EASY.
Drama.
Directed by Loretta Alper and Jeremy Earp.
* Narrated by Sean Penn, this film explores the brilliant Orwellian deception that governments everywhere (but in this case, our government) employ to justify the expense and loss of life of wars that it wishes to pursue.

****

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