Monday, February 2, 2009
****new release list no.204
Welcome to February 2009. Damn it, my baby daughter turns 4 this month! Being February, we have a new section of Highlighted New Additions – this month crafted by Andrew. His picks are awesome including a MARX BROTHERS BOX SET, SEX LIES AND VIDEOTAPE, the first season of STAR TREK THE NEXT GENERATION, THE SHOWER, THE ENIGMA OF KASPER HAUSER, and more. Scroll down to read his comments about the movies.
We have finally gotten the third film in the Desert Trilogy by Nacer Khemir. BAB’AZIZ: THE PRINCE THAT CONTEMPLATED HIS SOUL looks like another daydreamy desert tale. I can’t wait to see it.
Also out this week is ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO, only guess what? Someone (Walmart perhaps?) made them change the title on the box to ZACK AND MIRI. Isn’t that puritanical? This is another Seth Rogen vehicle swerving madly between the sweet & romantic and the dirty & foulmouthed. He does that so well! In BOTTLE SHOCK, Napa Valley is the main character as America struts its viticultury stuff in an international wine tasting. Michael Cera makes another sweet leap into the celluloid, this time as a high school rocker kid run amuck in the streets of NY with a cute college freshman on his arm in NICK AND NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST.
A couple other noteworthy items are 1000 JOURNALS, a documentary about an SF artist who sent, uh, 1000 journals into the world to see what would happen, and CHRISTMAS ON MARS from the lead singer of THE FLAMING LIPS, which is certain to be a psychedelic ride down an acid lined rainbow. Or something like that.
The kids will be psyched to hear that MADAGASCAR: ESCAPE 2 AFRICA is out and will be available this week – so tell them!
A couple last minute things I wanted to pass on – First up, we have some new stuff happening at Four Star Video. March 9th is the two year anniversary of me and Amy owning this incredible video store, and in celebration we will be implementing some new plans. Some of it is still in the planning stage, however I can tell you that starting next month, we are going to pick a library section of the store and rentals from that section will be $1 all month. We will switch sections each month. This will encourage some delving into the library, and hopefully help you develop some specialized film expertise in the genre of your choice. More about this as the month progresses, but in the meantime, thank you all so much for continuing to shop at Four Star Video! Another thing of note - Some of you may know that Amy is an estate planning attorney. She runs her own practice here in Bernal Heights, and helps people plan for the inevitable…Recently she has come up with an interesting plan to help those who really want to get something in place, but are worried about the financial commitment of a full estate plan. Read about her practice and her PANIC-FREE PLANNING POTLUCKS here.
Love and Kisses,
AN AMERICAN GIRL: CHRISSA STANDS STRONG.
Directed by Martha Coolidge.
* Ugh! Nothing like getting moved from your comfort zone in elementary school (or middle or high school). Chrissa (Hanratty) is in 4th grade when her family leaves Iowa and all her friends for the Minnesota home of her grandmother. Once firmly entrenched in school, she becomes the object of focus for the meanest group of little 4th grade girls you ever saw! But she stands strong. Oh yes, she stands strong.
BAB’AZIZ: THE PRINCE THAT CONTEMPLATED HIS SOUL.
Directed by Nacer Khemir.
* The third in the loosely related trilogy by Khemir (with WANDERERS OF THE DESERT and THE DOVE’S LOST NECKLACE), this one follows Bab’Aziz and his granddaughter Ishtar as they wander through the desert seeking a reunion of dervishes that only occurs once every thirty years. This, like the others, continues the poetic and enchanting fairytale view of the desert and the wide open longing that it can elicit from the heart.
Chris Pine/Alan Rickman/Bill Pullman.
Directed by Randall Miller.
* I think this is Northern California’s answer to SIDEWAYS, the goofy indie wine film that exposed the central valley’s wine acumen. This is basically the store of a 1970’s blind tasting in France that proved that Napa Valley’s wines were among the best in the world. It focuses on a vineyard run by a father (Pullman) who is a SF attorney who has thrown it all away for his dream of making wine (sound familiar anyone?) and his son (Pine) and n’er do well surfer dude who is serious about his wine, but just as serious about surfing and chasing booty. There is a sub plot as well about a Mexican-American who is a brilliant winemaker, but strives to have his own business.
CHRISTMAS ON MARS.
Steven Drozd/Wayne Coyne/Many other people with the last name Coyne.
Directed by Wayne Coyne and Bradley Beesley.
* From the lead singer and creator of the wonderful band THE FLAMING LIPS and acted by many members of the band comes this psychedelic movie about Christmastime, the colonization of Mars, strange aliens, space babies and much much more.
Directed by Zero Chou.
* From the director of SPIDER LILIES comes this new drama about three women struggling to find their places in the world.
GIRL + GIRL: CLASSIC LESBIAN SHORT FILMS.
Directed by Many.
* Emotional and intense short films mostly from the 1990’s.
THE GOOD STUDENT.
Hayden Pannettiere/Tim Daly.
Directed by David Ostry.
* Dark comedy about a kidnapped student and an unpopular teacher who redeems himself.
Angela Bassett/Chloe Bailey/Danny Glover.
Directed by Giancarlo Esposito.
* A multimillion dollar golf course forcing people out of their neighborhood strains race relations in the town of Julia to the breaking point.
Directed by Frank Paur.
* Hulk vs Thor and Hulk vs Wolverine ON THE SAME DISC!
KD LANG: LIVE WITH THE BBC ORCHESTRA.
* Ms. Lang doing her thang with a full orchestra…very lovely.
LOVE COMES LATELY.
Otto Tausig/Olivia Thirlby/Caroline Aaron.
Directed by Jan Schutte.
* Based on short stories by Isaac Bashevis Singer, this is the tale of Max (Tausig) an 80-year old who pursues life, particularly his love life, with the vim and vigor of a much younger man, to the disadvantage of his long time partner, Rachel (Aaron). Also starring Thirlby who you may have seen lately in JUNO, SNOW ANGELS, THE WACKNESS and more…she’s got a good agent.
MADAGASCAR 2: ESCAPE 2 AFRICA. ****AVAILABLE FEB 6TH****
Ben Stiller/Chris Rock/Jada Pinkett Smith/Sasha Baron Cohen/Bernie Mac/Alec Baldwin/David Schwimmer.
Directed by Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath.
* The much anticipated sequel to 2005’s MADAGASCAR, this follows the crew of animals who have been stranded on Madagascar as they attempt to get to mainland Africa.
MAN OF HER DREAMS.
Directed by Clifton Powell.
* Adapted from the Donald Gray play, this is about a woman’s quest to find the perfect husband/father/lover – good luck!
NICK AND NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST.****ALSO IN BLU-RAY****
Michael Cera/Kat Dennings.
Directed by Peter Sollett.
* Nick (Cera) is the only straight member of queercore band The Jerk Offs…he is nursing some heartbreak after being dumped by Tris (Alexis Dziena). But her friend Norah (Dennings) retrieves the 10 mix CD’s he’s made Tris and thinks his music rocks…They both show up at a Jerk Offs show and thus begins a night of travel through NY, through the indie rock scene and more importantly through the gently percolating walls of Nick’s heart. No, I didn’t see it.
NOAH’S ARC: JUMPING THE BROOM.
Directed by Patrik-Ian Polk.
* From the television series comes this feature film about Noah and Wade’s final preparations for their wedding.
RENT: FILMED LIVE ON BROADWAY.
Will Chase/Rodney Hicks.
Directed by Michael Warren.
* The live musical about a group of young artists struggling to stay alive in the midst of the challenges of drug addiction, poverty, AIDS and much more. This play is awesome!
THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES.
Dakota Fanning/Queen Latifah/Jennifer Hudson/Alicia Keys.
Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood.
* Serious tearjerker tale of Lily (Fanning) a young girl in 1964 South Carolina who misses her late mother and ends up moving with her care-giver (Hudson) to a town where she hopes to unravel the mystery of her mother. Latifah plays a beekeeper who may hold the secret to the mystery.
Directed by John Terlesky.
* Kristin (Burns, but doesn’t smoke) joins a elite group of firefighters called Smoke Jumpers to escape from the painful memory of the death of the captain of her original firefighting squad.
Directed by Robert Vince.
* Disney flick about dogs in space.
STARTER FOR 10.
James McAvoy/Joseph Friend/James Gaddas.
Directed by Tom Vaughan.
* Ah, yeah, it’s 1985 and Brian (McAvoy) is going to college at Bristol and getting heavy into the Challenge team, a trivial pursuit of a sort.
ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO.
Seth Rogen/Elizabeth Banks.
Directed by Kevin Smith.
* Wow! That’s almost all I can think of to say about this mostly sweet minded and uberly foul tongued comedy about a couple of broke flatmates who decide to make a porno to make money to turn the utilities back on. It is kind of amazing to me how Seth Rogen appears to be making some seriously dirty stuff pretty darn mainstream. It is turning out that everyone has sex. Who woulda thunk it?
Directed by Andrea Kreuzhage.
* Kreuzhage, an SF based artist who goes by the name Someguy sent out 1000 journals into the world in the summer of 2000 without any rules and without monitoring them. Eventually one came back to him filled out in 2003…this film documents the story of some of the other 999. This project is the subject of an exhibition at the SF MOMA until April – check it out here.
DENNIS THE MENACE: CRUISE CONTROL.
MY FAIR MADELINE.
* Whoopi Goldberg does the voice of Ms. Clavel!
OLIVER AND COMPANY: 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION.
THE PRINCESS: A MODERN FAIRY TALE.
* Not sure, but I think this has something to do with Chris. Ask him. Seriously, its about some guy who goes back to Ithaca to hang out with a college buddy, but then he meets this princess, and guess what, I think there is a mermaid too!
............// HIGHLIGHTED NEW ADDITIONS//............
ALL REVIEW COMMENTS BY ANDREW.
THE BALLAD OF NARAYAMA.
* Given that so much of Japanese culture is devoted to an ideal of human dignity, (values based on restraint and sacrifice) values which are in direct opposition to the animal world, I find it interesting that Japanese director Shohei Imamura devoted his life and work trying to prove the opposite. Imamura uses sex, sensuality and sometimes violence to effectively evoke the animal side of our human condition, reminding us just how much we have in common (for better or worse) with beast and nature.
THE BALLAD OF NARAYAMA is pretty grim and a little disturbing, but also honest and hauntingly poetic. If you like this one, check out his other stuff on our director’s wall including the much lighter film DR. AKAGI which is my personal favorite of his.
THE ENIGMA OF KASPER KAUSER .
* The first film I watched by German filmmaker Werner Herzog and coincidentally my favorite. This film exhibits Herzog’s ability to blur the lines of narrative and documentary styles. Herzog again gravitates to the true and bizarre in “Kasper Hauser” yet presents the story in a way that cuts through to what (Herzog believes to be) an “ecstatic truth”.
For fans of Herzog’s work you will not be disappointed and for people interested in finding out about Herzog, this is one of his more accessible films.
MARX BROTHERS BOX SET.
* The Marx Brothers are not comedians; The Marx Brothers are a force of pure unadulterated anarchy. I can think of no other comedy (shy of Chaplin) which had the ability to so potently ridicule authority, often transcending into the realm of the avant-garde.
Set features: GO WEST, BIG STORE, NIGHT AT THE OPERA, NIGHT IN CASABLANCA, ROOM SERVICE and AT THE CIRCUS.
THE SEVEN FACES OF DR. LAO.
* The first film ever to win an Academy Award for best makeup, this strange film exhibits Tony Randall (the guy from the odd couple) dressing up as seven different characters in an effort to spook simple country folk—need I say more?
Funny sidenote: This was my Father’s favorite movie in his youth. While hosting a mediation conference, he made the unfortunate decision to share this gem of a film with his fellow hippie devotees. They responded with confusion and anger. Later his event planning privileges were revoked.
SEX LIES AND VIDEO TAPE.
* The movie that defined the independent film movement and launched director Steven Soderbergh’s career is amazingly well crafted. This film is a testament to cinema’s power to show, rather than tell.
* A deeply beautiful film that connects and reinforces the human need for community and family. If the election of Obama didn’t do it, -----this film is a great cure for melancholy.
STAR TREK THE NEXT GENERATION: SEASON ONE.
* Imagine a future where humanity learns to overcome its faults and weaknesses, humanity so enlightened it decides to move earth’s capital to San Francisco! Well, welcome to the world of Gene Roddenberry. Admittedly, if you are not a Trekkie it may seem a little campy from the get-go, but even in its beginning campy days it still delves into nuanced themes ranging from the ethical to the philosophical.
............// NEW ADDITIONS//............
FRIDAY THE 13th UNCUT DELUX EDITION.
FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2.
FRIDAY THE 13th PART 3.