Monday, November 17, 2008
****new release list no.193
Happy wintertime to you! I already have that “curl up with some hot apple cider” feeling inside. Except for Friday, when I had that “I am so lucky to live somewhere where it is amazingly warm sometimes in the middle of winter” feeling. Yeah.
Better keep the earth clean and beware of the messages we give our computers according to the somewhat dark moralistic tale that is WALL E. The animation is pretty spectacular, and this is coming from someone who used to hate computer animation. WALL E is a cleanup robot left on an unpopulated earth thousands of years after we abandoned the place to the toxic garbage we left behind. He is a quirky little fellow, with an amazing home full of trippy stuff, kinda reminded me of Maude in HAROLD AND MAUDE a little bit. His lonely existence is rocked when Eve, a little reconnaissance robot, shows up. She mesmerizes him with her lovely blue eyes, and he becomes so attached that he follows her into space so as not to be alone anymore.
In TROPIC THUNDER, we get a somewhat hilarious insider Hollywood take on the business as seen through a tragically run film set on location in some dangerous Southeast Asian country where the local heroin trade is run by a blood-thirsty 12-year old. Add Robert Downey, Jr, as an Oscar-Award winning Australian actor playing an African American soldier and Tom Cruise as a bald, curse-spewing film executive and you have a mind-bending adventure into filmmaking. Don’t try this at home! These are professionals.
Also of interest this week will be SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS 2! Me, I can’t wait for 3, when they all go thrifting together. Moving on.
We have a large stack of documentaries this week, a bunch of them music related (WORKING CLASS ROCK STAR, STARS AND THEIR ELECTRIC GUITARS, NEW YORK CITY BALLET, THE LAST KLEZMER, PARLIAMENT FUNKADELIC: THE MOTHERSHIP CONNECTION LIVE IN 1976) as well as a couple of film powerhouse releases, such as from Werner Herzog ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD and Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney (NO END IN SIGHT, WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR, TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE) brings his new one out, the much awaited GONZO: LIFE AND WORK OF DR. HUNTER S. THOMPSON.
There’s more, there’s more. Scroll on down.
Love and Kisses,
P.S. Skip this part if you don’t wanna hear any pontificating…
Recently, I heard that Noe Valley Video, a video store on 24th street that had long been an institution in Noe has closed their doors. Wow, how many does that make? I never feel that bad when a Blockbuster or Hollywood Video goes down, but when a family-owned independent video store closes its doors it scares me! Then I heard that Streetlight Records was closing its Noe Valley store as well. Wow, that place has been there for 30 years!
All this got me thinking about the concept of local economy as compared to the global village, which got me thinking about my own spending habits. As I have mentioned in this space before, I enjoy purchasing stuff on the internet. It’s fun, and it’s easy. And it’s really simple not to consider the consequences. However, when I think about Bernal Heights, and I hear myself tell people about it who don’t live here, I always hear myself use terms like “village” and “neighborly” and I find myself speaking about Cortland Avenue and how people smile at each other as they stroll down the street, and how so many people know each other’s names, and how unusual that sometimes seems to me.
So, as this holiday season rolls into our lives, and as we are confronted with our individual financial challenges, let’s spend locally. Let’s support our neighbors. Let’s keep our businesses in operation. Let’s keep our community strong. If yer still with me thanks for reading…
Eric Dean/Jayme McCabe.
Directed by Jeff London.
* Two men, twenty years removed from an unmanageable high school crush, find out that it is never too late to find love.
David Deluise/Missy Pyle.
Directed by John Putch.
* A serial bachelor scammer dude finds his powers to charm are diminished when he briefly finds real love.
Directed by Michelle Ehlen.
* Jamie is an out of work actress struggling to get a job. When she decides to audition as herself, she accidently scores a job as a man. This leads to many TOOTSIE-like complications that send her life into a tailspin.
Elizabeth McLaughlin/Ellen Marlow.
Directed by Michael Lembeck.
* Mean girls probably not named Heathers bring it on while Massie (McLaughlin) struggles to stay pretty in pink.
THE DEVIL’S CURSE.
Colin Salmon/MyAnna Buring.
Directed by Alex Wakeford.
* A group of theology students attempt to prove believe enough to go to hell.
FANFAN LA TULIPE.
Directed by Christiane-Jacque.
* 1952 comedy about a young handsome French peasant tricked into joining the army to chase after accolades and royal love.
GAMERS DORKNESS RISING.
Nathan Rice/Brian Lewis.
Directed by Matt Vancil.
* Kind of a goofy slapsticky take on the whole gaming reality.
Vinessa Shaw/Willa Holland.
Directed by Jason Freeland.
* Teenagers being teenagers in one bad situation after another.
Dagney Kerr/Vincent Riverside.
Directed by Kurt Voelker.
* Produced by a Bernal Heights neighbor’s sister, this film follows a dozen offbeat characters as they spend a day in the life in a park in Los Angeles. From nudism to infidelity to suicide, many topics are covered here.
Audrey Tautou/Gad Elmaleh.
Directed by Pierre Salvadori.
* Tautou plays a gold-digger who normally just dates the rich dudes, but eventually finds someone who is not wealthy, but has a real heart proving the axiom that emotional honesty will ruin you.
SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS 2.
Amber Tamblyn/America Ferrera/Blake Lively/Alexis Bledel.
Directed by Sanaa Hamri.
* Movie two about a quartet of young women on the road to adulthood, sharing one pair of pants.
TROPIC THUNDER. ****ALSO ON BLU-RAY****
Ben Stiller/Jack Black/Robert Downey Jr./Nick Nolte/Steve Coogan/Bill Hader/Tom Cruise.
Directed by Ben Stiller.
* Nolte plays a war vet who has written a book about his experiences in Vietnam. Stiller, Black, and Downey, Jr. play some of the guys who are on location shooting the film that has been adapted from the book. Unfortunately, things are not going so well on the shoot, and soon the director aims for a little improvisational acting by dropping them off in the middle of the jungle and having them just act out the scenes without a bunch of obvious cameras around them. Too bad the local heroin production gang is in the same woods and is not so psyched at the perceived DEA infiltration. Soon, the actors are involved in a much more real battle then they realize, but there is no way out, except to fight! This band of brothers that emerge are tougher, and wiser than when they went in. Cruise gives a terrific performance as a tough Hollywood Producer that is prepared to sacrifice the whole bunch of them and cash in on the insurance. Robert Downey Jr.’s character is an Australian so deep into his role as an African American that he has had a skin treatment rendering him black. His character is so weirdly captivating; it helps smooth over the rough patches.
WALL-E. ****ALSO ON BLU-RAY****
Fred Willard/Jeff Garlin/Sigourney Weaver.
Directed by Andrew Stanton.
* A truly amazing film, it manages to be a beautiful children’s story and a dark environmental omen at the same time. Very little dialog marks this latest Pixar release; in fact the two main character’s do not even have mouths (let alone gastro-intestinal systems). Early silent films were studies for the making of this film as they prepared to have so much communicated without the use of words. The film is quite entertaining, it steers clear of the usual scary imagery that many kids and adult movies thrive on, and introduces a melancholy longing to the genre. In essence, WALL E is a lonely robot who finds love in the form of a beautiful probe (not the one Cartmen deals with) named Eve. Dig especially the terrific credits animation sequence at the end where we are treated to a whole array of animation styles.
Directed by Mischa Kamp.
* Winky wants a horse. And, really, who doesn’t?
DR. WHO: COMPLETE 4TH SERIES.
DR. WHO: THE INFINITE QUEST.
Directed by Gary Russell.
* Animated Dr. Who feature following the doc as he races through the universe trying to find the legendary spaceship Infinite before bad guy Balthazar does.
HANNAH MONTANA: 1st SEASON.
* She’s got the best of both worlds, whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean.
PROJECT RUNWAY: SEASON FOUR.
* Right Said Fred said it best:
I'm too sexy for my car too sexy for my car,
Too sexy by far
And I'm too sexy for my hat
Too sexy for my hat what do you think about that.
I'm a model you know what I mean
And I do my little turn on the catwalk
Yeah on the catwalk on the catwalk yeah
I shake my little tush on the catwalk.
ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD.
Directed by Werner Herzog.
* Here, Herzog takes his camera to Antarctica to meet the men and women who have left society to devote themselves to the sciences that are being studied in this hard and treacherous environment.
GONZO: LIFE AND WORK OF DR. HUNTER S. THOMPSON.
Directed by Alex Gibney.
* Home movies, audiotapes, unpublished manuscripts – Alex Gibney mines it all to get to the essence of the man who changed journalism forever and brought mainstream America inside the dark and musty corners of life.
THE LAST KLEZMER.
Directed by Yale Strom.
*A search for a great Klezmer musician living in Poland uncovers truths about the Holocaust while celebrating the spirit of humanity and the amazing place music plays in our lives.
NEW YORK CITY BALLET: BRINGING BALANCHINE BACK.
* Great in-depth look at the NYC Ballet as it travels to St. Petersburg, where one of its founders, George Ballachine, first learned to dance.
102 MINUTES THAT CHANGED AMERICA.
* History Channel doc on the terrible events of September 11, 2001.
PARLIAMENT FUNKADELIC: THE MOTHERSHIP CONNECTION LIVE 1976 .
George Clinton/Bootsy Collins/Bernie Worrell.
Directed by Brian Blum.
* Tear the roof off the muthasucka! Tear the roof off the mutha! Put on your funkiest duds, do your hair up right, pop this DVD in and prepare to be transported to another planet.
STARS AND THEIR GUITARS: HISTORY OF THE ELECTRIC GUITAR.
WORKING CLASS ROCK STAR.
Directed by Justin McConnell.
* The painful tale of touring rock bands these days. This doc follows three bands around and takes an intimate look at an industry that does very little to support its hard working artists.
BEAR SNORES ON AND MORE BEARY TALES.
............//BLU-RAY NEW ADDITIONS//............
* One of the finest films in the teen genre of all time.
............// REPLACEMENT DISCS//............
KILL YOUR IDOLS.
* Awesome doc about the New York rock scene featuring Sonic Youth among others.