Monday, February 25, 2008
Well it’s Monday, and tomorrow the new releases are put on the shelves, and guess what? None of them were nominated for an Academy award. That seems sad to me. So many of 2007’s lauded films are not out on DVD yet, but when they come, we will have them in bulk. And some of them we will have on Blu-ray. Does anyone own a Blu-ray player? I got the discs, yo.
Some random thoughts I had last night while watching:
* John Stewart has better writers on THE DAILY SHOW.
* Katherine Heigl should stick to the silver screen.
* I should have gotten a babysitter for my kids.
* Marion Cotillard is awesome!
* For some of the winners, this will change their entire lives.
* Some of these guys are so jaded it is sickening.
* Johnny Depp is really, really cute.
* Ditto for Cate Blanchett.
* Was that a hefty bag that Tilda Swinton was wearing?
* Classy move to bring Marketa Irglova (ONCE) back on after they cut her off.
* Although I don’t really like Russell Crowe, shouldn’t he have been nominated for something this year? I think he was fantastic in 3:10 TO YUMA.
* SURF’S UP got robbed by the hype machine of RATATOUILLE, and if you don’t believe me, you should see it. It is funnier, has better music, and has amazing surfing footage. `
* When are these wild looking foreign films going to become available?
* The Coen brothers are truly artists and I hope they continue to “play in their corner of the sandbox” for a lot longer.
* If you don’t think it is tremendously meaningful for these huge stars to win these awards, just look at the frozen faces of the losers as they applaud the winners.
I had THE DARJEELING LIMITED as release of the week before I saw it. Then, I dropped it into the pack. It is not that it stinks. Not that at all. With the writers, director and actors involved in the project, that would seem impossible. It’s just that the story was lacking that special something that provides, meaning provokes thought and establishes itself in your mind. The shots, the colors, the music, the wardrobe, all the Wes Anderson milieu that you’d expect is present, but somehow the narrative feels more like a sketch than a story and you never reach too far into the minds of the characters. Owen Wilson has perhaps the biggest role in the film, and maybe that is the problem. He’s clearly skilled and frequently a brilliant comic foil, but I am not sure it is within his skill set to play a dominant dramatic role. Adrien Brody, however, is a revelation. In fact for me, as someone who is not very familiar with his work, his performance was fascinating. I plan on dotting the i’s and re-discovering his earlier work which I imagine to be dynamic.
I also watched DEATH AT A FUNERAL this weekend, with a small role (no pun intended) acted by the inimitable Peter Dinklage (THE STATION AGENT). This is no Academy award winning film, but it is a movie that knows what it is: a little goofy, snarky comedy. If you are looking for some mindless humor, that will make you laugh, but not make you think, this may be the film for you.
Some short store news: The D Skin experiment is over for the time being. Aaargh. I really hoped these things would be fabulous for everyone. To clarify, I couldn’t care less about “saving money” – my sole hope for these things was BETTER VIEWING OF OLDER MOVIES! However, mostly what we heard was stressful difficulty in playing the DVD’s with the D Skin on. So, we listened and we stopped putting them on, effective immediately. I am leaving the ones on that were already put on, to see in 4 months if the films are still in good shape. So, if they don’t work for you, take them off when you rent those films and place them in the box when you return the movie. To everyone that was frustrated by these things we extend our heartfelt apology. Just please recognize we tried them for the greater good. Ah well, not everything that sounds good works. Take for example, democracy. We will continue to try stuff that sounds promising; you cannot achieve change without brave attempts at new things.
A quick final note – we are revamping our Animation section in a major way, adding many new titles. They will be appearing in the New Additions section each week. Let us know what you think!
Flowery lovemuffins to you all,
Ray Winstone/Anthony Hopkins/John Malkovich/Robin Wright/Angelina Jolie/Dominic Keating/Crispin Glover (!)/Alison Lohman.
Directed by Robert Zemeckis.
* Beowulf the warrior dukes it out with Grendel, Grendel’s mommy, and many more in this re-telling of England’s oldest tale.
THE BIG BRAWL.
Directed by Jan Lomnicki
* Rise and fall of a famous Polish crook in the 1990’s.
THE DARJEELING LIMITED.
Owen Wilson/Adrien Brody/Jason Schwartzman/Angelica Huston/Bill Murray/Irfan Khan.
Directed by Wes Anderson.
* Tale of three brothers and their attempts to reconnect while traveling through India together.
DEATH AT A FUNERAL.
Matthew MacFadyen/Rupert Graves/Alan Tudyk.
Directed by Frank Oz.
* Family behaving quite poorly at a funeral.
Natalie Portman/Javier Bardem/Stellan Skarsgard.
Directed by Milos Forman.
* Aha, an appearance by newly crowned Academy award winning actor Javier Bardem! In this, he plays a monk causing trouble for the painter Goya during the Spanish Inquisition.
THE LAST EMPEROR.
John Lone/Joan Chen/Peter O’Toole.
Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci.
* Amazing 4 disc set of the 1987 film about the spectacular life of Pu Yi, the last Emperor of China.
POOR BOYS GAME.
Directed by Clement Virgo.
* Tale of racial tension involving a man who goes to jail for attacking someone in a hate-crime, and the unlikely bond that he forms with his victim’s father upon his release from jail. Then there is the boxing…
Michael Pitt/Keira Knightley.
Directed by Francois Gerard.
* A silkworm smuggler, 19th Century France and Japan, concubines, worms, obsessions, soft sexy clothing.
Anthony Hopkins/Christian Slater/John Turturro.
Directed by Anthony Hopkins.
* One of them tales about a writer whose characters start to appear in his real life. If there can be a real life of a character in a movie.
30 DAYS OF NIGHT.
Josh Hartnett/Ben Foster/Danny Huston.
Directed by David Slade.
* Vampires and shit, in Alaska. Ask Shila, she’s seen it like 30 times.
Ed Harris/Richard Masur.
Directed by Alex Cox.
* This one’s about mercenaries invading Nicaragua in the 19th century to install a new government and being financed by an American millionaire with a financial interest in the country! Gee, nothing changes…
HOTEL BABYLON: SEASON ONE.
* Sexy dark humor about life in a high-end hotel in the U.K.
THE SMURFS: SEASON ONE, VOLUME ONE.
* Ah, the Smurfs are here. With their smurfy smurfs that truly smurf the smurfing smurf. The smurfiness of this series, especially for adults, is that it will truly smurf you right in the smurf. And I mean that.
STATE OF PLAY.
* Mini-series, political thriller about bad stuff happening in London. Won major tv awards, and many of them.
Directed by Louise Osmond and Jerry Rothwell.
* In 1968, Donald Crowhurst, an inexperienced sailor, took part in an around-the-world yacht race. This is one side of the story of what went terribly, terribly wrong.
IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON.
Directed by David Sington.
* NASA’s surviving astronauts of the Apollo space missions tell their story. Featuring stupendous footage.
LIFE AFTER TOMORROW.
Danielle Brisebois/Martha Byrne/Sarah Jessica Parker.
Directed by Gil, Jr. and Julie Stevens.
* A tale of the girls who acted in the musical ANNIE and the effect that had on their lives and careers.
THE BACKYARDIGANS: TALE OF THE MIGHTY KNIGHTS.
CAILLOU: CAILLOU’S FAMILY FAVORITES.
* Kids animated entertainment.
MAX AND RUBY: BERRY BUNNY ADVENTURES.
* Max and Ruby come from the truly wonderful books of Rosemary Wells. She specializes in fantastical allegorical tales for children. My kids love her books.
............//FEATURED NEW ADDITIONS//............
THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF A MAJOR OVERHAUL OF OUR ANIMATION SECTION. PLEASE LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK!
COWBOY BEBOP: VOLUME ONE.
* Wild space western anime series following the adventures of a bounty hunter and his cohorts.
FULL METAL ALCHEMIST: SEASON ONE, VOLUMES ONE AND TWO.
* The main deal here is the rules of Alchemy, there can be no gain with something of equal value lost. In this case, a couple boys who try to bring their mother back from the dead using alchemy fail miserable and end each losing vital aspects of their lives (one of them loses an arm, and the other his entire body). They then begin their quest to find the Philospher’s Stone which may hold the key to the recovery of their selves.
THE GIRL WHO LEAPT THROUGH TIME.
* Super, tripped out time-travel animation story that won the first ever BEST ANIMATION award from the Japanese Academy.
THE OFFICE: SEASON 2 (USA VERSION).
Monday, February 18, 2008
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!
Monday, February 11, 2008
Lots of stuff again this week…a lot of movies with big names and some interesting no name action as well. Big titles this week include GONE BABY GONE, WE OWN THE NIGHT, NO RESERVATIONS and BECOMING JANE. There’s also bunches of other stuff, including another musical (ROMANCE & CIGARETTES), this one starring (get this) James Gandolfini, Susan Sarandon, Aida Turturro, Kate Winslet, Steve Buscemi and more…Wacky, huh? I didn’t see it, so I cannot give it any more than your basic recommendation. Go figure, huh? Musicals are hot.
I saw 12:08 EAST OF BUCHAREST, which we finally got in this weekend. It is a little Romanian comedy which has been highly touted by the critics. The central storyline is regarding whether or not the revolution in Romania happened before 12:08pm (when the dictatorship fell) or afterwards in the little city where the story takes place. There are no fancy plot twists and you won’t be overwhelmed by the narrative. It is however a beautiful little film about people, streetlights, and the things we argue about that maybe don’t really matter much. Take it to heart!
Is everyone out there as into the construction on Cortland as I am? I love it! It is so fun, and loud and smelly and wonderful!!!! I hope it goes on and on forever! (There, I got that off my chest).
Three quick store notes: 1) Blu-rays will be here starting next week. We will just have two titles to begin with (MICHAEL CLAYTON and IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH). Please let us know what you think, so that we can continue to add to this new collection here at the store. There is a rumor we will purchase a new HD set for the store to preview these flicks, but at this point it’s just a rumor. 2) We are gonna move some more stuff around soon. Criterion is going to splitsky out of the back and we are going to be moving the New Additions section onto the wall where Criterion is. Why? Because most of those New Additions are titles we are adding to the store for the very first time, and in order to be cost effective we are going to rent them out for the New Release price for a couple months before they enter the library. That won’t count for movies we are just replacing in the library. I hope everyone understands…Ask me if you don’t! 3) and Lastly) Regarding the D Skins, I have been talking to many people with many comments about these things. Please keep telling me about them. There have been some mixed reviews, but all in all, we are very happy about these things. I am altering the policy a little bit. If it isn’t working, please feel free to take it off and watch the movie unprotected (there’s a joke in here somewhere). Leave the D Skin off, but return it in the box with the movie. If you do not return it, you will be charged the $1 fee. I think as the next months roll by, we will all be psyched as a community that these things are on the discs.
Alrighty then, on to the cinema…
Jeff Bridges/Tim Blake Nelson/Ted Danson.
Directed by Michael Traeger.
* There ain’t no mid-life crisis, than the kind that inspires you to make your riches by convincing the co-habitants of the small town you live in to band together and make a good old fashioned porn film! Jeff Bridges plays the motivator.
Anne Hathaway/James Cromwell/James McAvoy/Maggie Smith.
Directed by Julian Jarrold.
* A character study of Jane Austen (Hathaway) portraying an early moment in her life when a romance with an equally young and less well-off Irishman named Tom Lefroy (McAvoy) threatens to change the course of her life, and becomes a formative experience.
Breckin Meyer/Anna Paquin.
Directed by Marshall Lewy.
* Okay, truthfully, how many of you threatened to move to Canada if Bush won? I remember hearing a lot of people talk about it, and I think there may have been a moment or two when it seemed to me like a pretty great idea. This film sees a disgruntled politik (Meyer) forced by his friends to make good on his threat to move north. There’s jolly good Bush-bashing all through this Indie flick.
Ohad Knoller/Yousef Sweid.
Directed by Eytan Fox.
* Life through the eyes of a group of Israeli’s in Tel Aviv. Three friends, straight and gay, living together in Tel Aviv have their lives altered by the arrival of a young Palestinian. The filmmakers suggest that this movie is as much of a love story, as it is a love song to the city of Tel Aviv.
ESL: ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE.
Kuno Becker/Danielle Camastra.
Directed by A.Y. Delara.
* Starring one of the actors from the recently released SEX AND BREAKFAST (Becker), this film follows a young man who has crossed the border from Mexico
into California, and the hardships and challenges he discovers as he tries to assimilate.
Ash Christian/Ashley Fink
Directed by Ash Christian.
* A coming out tale of a sort about a Texas theatre loving teenager (Christian) and the isolation he feels in his town.
GONE BABY GONE.
Casey Affleck/Morgan Freeman/Michelle Monaghan/Ed Harris.
Directed by Ben Affleck.
* Intense and thought provoking thriller about a kidnapped 4 year old girl in a tough neighborhood in Boston and the two detectives that are hired to find her. In the end, the discoveries they make will tear many lives apart, including their own. Wow, that sounded right off the movie box, but I swear it wasn’t! Props to Ben Affleck, hopefully he will stay on that side of the camera. As far as his brother Casey goes, I think the guy has an exciting career ahead of him.
HAVE SWORD WILL TRAVEL.
Ching Lee/Lung Ti.
Directed by Cheh Chang.
* Complicated tale of a couple of young fighters transporting a fortune of silver.
INTRODUCING THE DWIGHTS.
Brenda Blethyn/Emma Booth/Khan Chittenden.
Directed by Cherie Nowlan.
* The story of a shy adult son (Chittenden) of an aging Comedienne (Blethyn) and the challenges they face. With scenes of Blethyn’s character doing stand up comedy.
John Cusack/Bobby Coleman/Amanda Peet/Joan Cusack.
Directed by Menno Meyjes.
* Is he from Mars? That is the question that everyone is asking. The kid (Coleman) says he is, and eventually the recently widowed Sci-Fi writer who takes him in (Cusack) starts wondering if maybe he’s telling the truth.
Catherine Zeta-Jones/Abigail Breslin/Aaron Eckhart
Directed by Scott Hicks.
* Probably completely different, but reminds me of GAMEPLAN the Rock movie recently out on DVD. In this, Zeta-Jones is a very skilled and successful chef at a top restaurant whose life is thrown into turmoil when her dead sister’s 9-year-old daughter comes to live with her.
ROMANCE AND CIGARETTES.
James Gandolfini/Susan Sarandon/Kate Winslet/Christopher Walken/Aida Turturro/Steve Buscemi/Eddie Izzard/Amy Sedaris.
Directed by John Turturro.
* Nick (Gandolfini) is married to Kitty (Sarandon) but having an affair with Tula (Winslet) while trying to raise his three daughters. And everyone is singing and dancing! Report: The musical is BACK!
12:08 EAST OF BUCHAREST.
Mircea Andreescu/Teodor Corban.
Directed by Corneliu Porumboiu.
* Lovely little comedy about a small town in Romania debating their place in the 1989 revolution.
VENGEANCE IS A GOLDEN BLADE.
Hsiung Chiao/Ping Chin.
Directed by Meng Hua Ho.
* Father-daughter tale of a crippled hero who has been perfecting a blade to counter the Golden Blade that was long-ago stolen from him, and his daughter who will wield the new weapon.
THE WANDERING SWORDSMAN.
Directed by Shi-Hyeon Kim.
* It’s a Robin Hood story about a swordsman who helps the poor.
THE WATER MARGIN.
David Chiang/Lung Ti.
Directed by many.
* Based on an epic novel, this is the tale of a group of mountain rebels who defeated a great army to avenge the murder of their leader.
WE OWN THE NIGHT.
Joaquin Phoenix/Mark Wahlberg/Eva Mendes/Robert Duvall.
Directed by James Gray.
* Phoenix is a night club manager in a family of cops. When a Russian Mafioso starts hanging out in the club, he is pulled into an increasingly dangerous standoff between the criminal and his brother and father (Wahlberg and Duvall) who are police officers.
WHY DID I GET MARRIED?
Tyler Perry/Janet Jackson.
Directed by Tyler Perry.
* Adaptation of the stage play of the same name. This follows four couples as they struggle to find meaning in their marriages.
THE 4400: THE COMPLETE 1st SEASON.
* Freaky sci-fi show about the re-appearance of 4400 people who have been gone a wide range of time, and now have come back mysteriously, without having aged.
SIGUR ROS: HEIMA.
* I don’t know this band SIGUR ROS, but this film documents them returning to their native Iceland in the summer of 2006 and playing a series of free concerts all over the country.
First DVD of this awesome 1973 film.
AMITYVILLE HORROR (05).
Replacement DVD copy.
Diane Kruger/Ed Harris/Ralph Riach.
Directed by Agnieszka Holland.
* A fictionalized tableau of the last year of Ludwig van Beethoven’s life.
Directed by Carlos Saura.
* Someone ran off with this fantastic film, so we bought another copy.
DUNE: EXTENDED EDITION.
Replacement copy of this epic sci-fi tale featuring a great cameo by Sting. (I will kill him!)
Directed by Anne Bancroft.
* First any type of copy of this classic DeLuise flick about a large fellow having to choose between his girlfriend and the yummy other things he likes to eat.
FRIED GREEN TOMATOES.
First DVD of the Kathy Bates film of 1991.
First DVD copy of this awesome Bond flick.
* Why did I get this? I don’t know…cuz I am pathetic I guess. It’s about giant mutant insects looking for food in a sorority house. I wanted to see it, okay? I never went to college…maybe this is the closest I will ever get to sorority girls.
KATT WILLIAMS: THE PIMP CHRONICLES PT. 1.
First any type of copy of this funny dude’s film.
THE POWER OF ONE.
* One of you out there in videostoreland asked me to get this Morgan Freeman film (that marks Daniel Craigs film debut) about a little English kiddo who wants to change the world.
PRINCESS OF THIEVES.
* First DVD copy of this movie featuring Keira Knightley as Robin Hood’s daughter Gwyn. Seriously.
THE SEA INSIDE.
STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE.
First DVD copy of the original Star Trek feature film.
Gabriel Byrne/Joanna Whalley.
Directed by Peter Markle.
* The simple story of a girl and her horse.
THE WIRE: COMPLETE 2nd SEASON.
Another copy of this insta-classic tv show.
Monday, February 4, 2008
The process to cleanse the white house begins for Californians today. I know it’s not cool to be political, but we here at Four Star Video strongly urge you to exercise your right to vote in the primary on Tuesday, Feb 5th. Every opinion counts.
In movie land, we have a huge bunch to release this week. I believe there are 35 titles when you include the new acquisitions at the bottom. Probably the biggest three releases are THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSIE JAMES (starring Brad Pitt), THE BRAVE ONE (Jodie Foster), and ELIZABETH THE GOLDEN AGE (Cate Blanchett), but there are also a plethora of Indie comedies (BLIND DATING, FLOGGING MARGARET, GREAT WORLD OF SOUND, AMERICANIZING SHELLEY, NIAGARA MOTEL, WEIRDSVILLE), some larger budget drama (THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB, FEAST OF LOVE, FIERCE PEOPLE, 2 DAYS IN PARIS), foreign flicks (DRESDEN, ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, ROMEO AND JULIET GET MARRIED), bunches of TV (THIRD WATCH, STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL, WIRE IN THE BLOOD: SEASON 4, BEST OF COMEDY CENTRAL PRESENTS) a couple documentaries (9 STAR HOTEL, THE MONASTARY: MR VIG & THE NUN), kids stuff (GO DIEGO GO, CHARLIE AND LOLA V.7, SNOW BUDDIES, another MADELINE title) and a bunch of older stuff including THE MOSQUITO COAST, THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA, BILL AND TED’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE and more!
All the new movies have the D Skins on them now. Again, please do not remove these, and make sure that you return the film with the D Skin.
Also, Blu-Rays are coming soon. Are you psyched about this? Don’t care? Either way, let me know what you think.
Love and Kisses,
ACROSS THE UNIVERSE.
Evan Rachel Wood/Jim Sturgess/Eddie Izzard.
Directed by Julie Taymor.
* Love story musical based on the Beatles songs with over 30 of them woven into the story, which is set around anti-war protest, civil rights, sex, drugs and rock and roll.
Namrata Gujral/Beau Bridges.
Directed by Lorraine Senna.
* Beau Bridges is Gary Gordon, a Hollywood guy trying to “Americanize” a Himalayan woman (Gujral). What next? AMERICANIZING PLANET EARTH. If a Republican wins, maybe.
THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD.
Brad Pitt/Casey Affleck/Sam Shepard/Sam Rockwell/Robert Duvall/Zooey Deschanel.
Directed by Andrew Dominik.
* Oscar nominated film about the gradual disintegration of the idol worship that Robert Ford had for Jesse James. In this portrayal, it is more of a classic Jesus/Judas relationship that emerges, with Ford being handed the gun and offered the target. It is probably slower than most westerns (not sure, cuz I don’t know the genre very well), but I thought the acting was great, and it kind of reminded me of a different era of Hollywood when the cast was so clearly having fun making the movie that it shined through onscreen.
SIDE NOTE: If you like Zooey Deshanel, you may be interested to hear that she and song-writer and producer M. Ward are headlining the closing night of Noisepop this year. Noisepop is one of the 5 or 6 annual huge indie-music festivals that happen in the US, and this one is based in SF. Also interesting is that my band, The Dont’s is also playing Noisepop this year. Ask me when…
Chris Pine/Anjali Jay.
Directed by James Keach.
* Hmmm, I sense a trend here. In this film, Danny (Pine) is a blind man who is in love with an Indian woman (Jay). Cultural differences challenge their relationship.
THE BRAVE ONE.
Jodie Foster/Terrance Howard.
Directed by Neil Jordan.
* Fascinating portray of Erica Bain (Foster) a NY radio personality at the top of her world. When senseless tragedy strikes, she and her partner are brutally attacked and her partner killed, Erica is traumatized to the point of paralysis. Her fear leads her to get a gun, and soon after she begins exacting brutal revenge on bad guys around the city. Howard plays an NYPD detective who is trying to track down the vigilante killer.
John Light/Benjamin Sadler/Felicitas Woll.
Directed by Roland Richter.
* A tragic love triangle set against one of the most lethal bombings in all the sad human history of warfare.
ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE.
The Wonderful Cate Blanchett/Clive Owen/Samantha Morton
Directed by Shekhar Kapur.
* A historical (but maybe not as much as you’d wish) exploration of Elizabeth I (Blanchett) and her relationship with Sir Walter Raleigh (Owen) among other things.
FEAST OF LOVE.
Morgan Freeman/Greg Kinnear/Radha Mitchell.
Directed by Robert Benton.
* A treatise on love and it many incarnations set in Oregon.
Donald Sutherland/Diane Lane/Kristen Stewart.
Directed by Griffin Dunne.
* Lane plays a drug addicted mom trying to get her life on track. She has implicated her teenage son in a drug purchase, ruining his opportunity to go study a South American tribe in the jungle with his anthropologist father. Instead they live among the mega-rich on Ogden C. Osbourne (Sutherland)’s property. There they discover that they are studying an equally wild and dangerous tribe – the uber-wealthy..
Directed by Oliver Assiran.
* Indie revenge comedy about post college kids. Seriously, when I finished watching this clunker, I felt like flogging myself.
GREAT WORLD OF SOUND.
Directed by Craig Zobel.
* Another Indie comedy, this one blurring the lines between Narrative Fiction and Documentary. It is a tale of a guy who is training to be a record producer. In the filming of the movie, they have real musical artists being filmed (unbeknownst to them) interacting with this training producer. I loved this film, it was weird and tweaky and beautiful.
THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB.
Maria Bello/Emily Blunt/Kathy Baker/Lynn Redgrave.
Directed by Robin Swicord.
* The stories of Jane Austen are mimicked by the real lives of a group of people who have formed a book club to discuss Ms. Austen’s works.
Anna Friel/Craig Ferguson/Kevin Pollak.
Directed by Gary Yates.
* A low-budget hotel is the setting of this tale of a bunch of very down-on-their luck people who’s lives on teetering on the edge.
ROMEO AND JULIET GET MARRIED.
Luana Piovani/Luis Gustavo/Marco Ricca.
Directed by Bruno Barreto.
* The fanaticism of soccer (football) fans in Brazil is portrayed in this comedy about fans of different teams falling in love.
2 DAYS IN PARIS.
Julie Delpy/Adam Goldberg.
Directed by Jeffrey Blitz.
* A couple (Delpy and Goldberg) end their European vacation in Paris, still attempting to rekindle their love. Their stay with her parents (played by Delpy’s real life mom and dad, who are evidently awesome) is fraught with misunderstandings and visits from ex-boyfriends which stresses their relationship tremendously.
Wes Bentley/Scott Speedman.
Directed by Allan Moyle.
* Very dark sounding comedy, here is a quote from a reviewer on IMDB.com “Royce and Dexter are two slackers who live in the strange little town of Weedsville. When Royce's girlfriend Matilda overdose's on their stash and dies, they decide to bury her in an abandoned Drive-In theater. Things get out of control when they discover Satanists performing a ritual sacrifice right where they were going to bury the body”. Oh yeah.
THE BEST OF COMEDY CENTRAL PRESENTS.
* The very best of the show that presents all manner of stand up comedy.
STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL: COMPLETE SERIES.
* Super quirky show about a former cop turned sex therapist and all the freaky crime and otherwise stuff that happen in Leeds where her practice is.
THIRD WATCH: COMPLETE 1st SEASON.
Coby Bell/Molly Price.
* Multiple Emmy Award winning show about the cops/firefighters/etc serving the peeps of the fictional 55th Precinct of New York City.
WIRE IN THE BLOOD: COMPLETE 4th SEASON .
* Season four in the crime show following a clinical psychologist doing part time work for the local police.
THE MONASTARY: MR VIG & THE NUN.
Directed by Pernille Gronkjaer.
* The true story of Jørgen Lauersen Vig, who bought a castle in the Danish countryside 50 years ago, with the hopes of turning it into a monastery.
9 STAR HOTEL.
Directed by Ido Haar.
* Intense doc about Palestinian illegal workers in Israel living very difficult and complicated lives. This is less a movie about the middle East conflict and more a movie about the strength of the human spirit.
ALVIN & THE CHIPMUNKS: CHIPMUNK ADVENTURE.
CHARLIE AND LOLA: VOLUME 7.
* This is the cream of the crop of kids shows.
GO DIEGO GO: DIEGO’S MAGICAL MISSIONS.
MADELINE: MEET ME IN PARIS.
BILL & TED’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE.
Keanu Reeves/Alex Winter/George Carlin.
* First DVD copy of this movie that never appears to have been in the system, but that can’t be true, can it? I kind of hate Keanu, but this movie is awesome, dude!
Ashley Judd/Kevin Kline.
* Replacement DVD.
PAUL MOONEY: KNOW YOUR HISTORY, JESUS WAS BLACK.
* First DVD copy of this stand up comedy performance.
Harrison Ford/River Phoenix/Helen Mirren.
* First DVD copy of classic 80’s flick.
Charlie Sheen/Michael Biehn.
* First DVD copy of this movie featuring a machine gun wielding Sheen on the cover.
THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA.
* First DVD of this classic.
WHEN NIGHT IS FALLING.
Pascale Bussieres/Rachael Crawford.
Directed by Patricia Rozema.
* First DVD of this film.
WISH UPON A STAR.
* First copy of this early flick starring Heigl who would achieve huge fame in Knocked Up. Shila’s already watched this film four times in the store. Rent it before we have to watch it again!