Do you ever feel like a barometer for the economy? Up and down, like a merry-go-round. You feel good; you are stressed about the future. You have a job, you don’t have a job. You don’t want to spend money, but life’s not free. It’s an amazing thing! We strive for the middle ground, but things seem so uncertain that it is hard to stay there. When I’m down, I feel useless, empty and lost and it feels as though things will never improve. When I’m up, I’m optimistic, giggly and full of hope and joy.
WHY DO WE LET THE ECONOMY RULE US LIKE THIS?
The funny thing to me is that we have people like the President and the Head of the Fed to blame for everything. A friend recently sent me an article about torture and the current administration’s position on it with the headline: The honeymoon is over. Aaargh. I reacted poorly, as I am wont to do, but really people – can something that was so unexpected and so amazing that brought so many of us joy have a four month shelf life? Not for me. I am not expecting the President to make my life good. I am not expecting the government to create peace within. I am not hoping that anyone will legislate happiness for me. Do we deserve a Presidency that will abolish all forms of torture? YES! But will that help me sleep at night feeling like a good dad and a good partner and a good man? I don’t think so. I think my personal daily decisions are the only thing that will affect those things. I watched a brilliant film last night recommended to me by one of you (thanks Susan!) called CHERRY BLOSSOMS. In it, a woman keeps her husband’s terminal medical diagnosis a secret from him as she convinces him to make some journeys she always wanted them to make. When she dies suddenly, it awakens in him the knowledge of his ignorance, and a realization of how little he actually knew his wife. And it forces him to confront himself and his grown-up children in a new way. He journeys to Japan, where she always wanted to go, and ends up at Mt. Fuji, shy and secretive Mt. Fuji where he experiences the truths that we all live with and ignore to continue living each day. The film was made by Doris Dorrie (ENLIGHTENMENT GUARANTEED) and was quirky and beautiful and when it was over, I remembered for the millionth time how short my time will be on Planet Earth. In fact, this moment is already over. Did the government make it nice for you?
My four-old-daughter asked my wife last week if the government knows about all the people. It’s a good question – for a four-year-old.
This week is a tremendous week of Documentary films released on DVD (MILKING THE RHINO, BIRD BY BIRD WITH ANNIE, H2 WORKER, KIKE LIKE ME, STRANDED, HISTORY OF THE DEVIL, J.R.R. TOLKIEN). If you are a big documentary person, scroll right down and read about all these awesome movies.
In the feature department, we have some soft American cheesefood movies like HOTEL FOR DOGS about some kids (Emma Roberts and Jake Austin) who are trying to save their dog by converting an abandoned neighborhood hotel into a dog palace. Also THE BRIDE WARS, starring Anne Hathaway (RACHEL GETTING MARRIED) and Kate Hudson as two friends who become bitter rivals after they accidentally arrange their wedding to take place on the same day.
If you are an ironic comedy person, you must see JCVD, a borderline reality based action film starring Jean-Claude Van Damme as himself! Seriously, I think it should be watched.
There is also a good batch of new Criterion films, such as IN THE REALM OF THE SENSES (Also on Blu-Ray) and EMPIRE OF PASSION by the Japanese director Nagisa Oshima. Also THE HIT by Stephen Frears, WAGES OF FEAR (only on Blu-Ray) by Henry-Georges Clouzot and SCIENCE IS FICTION: 23 FILMS BY JEAN PAINLEVE.
And there is more, so much more. Scroll down or even better, come on in, and browse our fantastic selection with your bare hands.
Alrighty, that’s all folks, hope to see you at the store.
Love and Kisses,
KenFlix - the only Independent Monthly Subscription Film Renting Service in SF
If you are going to make a monthly commitment, make it a local one.
No due dates. No late fees.
ESUB -One Movie at a time – Two Exchanges a month (3 movies total) – $9.99 + Tax/Month
1SUB - One Movie at a time – Unlimited exchange – $18.99 + Tax/Month
3SUB - Three Movies at a time – Unlimited exchange – $24.99 + Tax/Month
4SUB - Four Movies at a time – Unlimited exchange – $32.99 + Tax/Month
Links we are super hip on this week:
Pal’s Take Away – A uber hip and extra yummy new sandwich shop in the mission opened by a Four Star Customer.
Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema festival.
Videofest 2009 at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts.
Oh by the way, do you like community fairs? Family festivals? This Saturday, May 2nd, at Fairmount Elementary School (65 Chenery - corner of Randall and Chenery) will be the annual fundraiser FIESTAVAL from 12pm to 4pm! There will be super yummy food, games, auctions (both silent and live) and music provided by among others The Conspiracy of Venus, Spoon + 10, and Peein' in the Dark, as well as a capoeira performance and a concert by the Fairmount Choir. Everyone is welcome!
THE BRIDE WARS..****ALSO IN BLU-RAY****
Anne Hathaway/Kate Hudson/Candice Bergen.
Directed by Gary Winick.
* Two splendid friends accidentally make the same wedding date with the same wedding planner. Will one of them change the date because their friendship is so strong that it will overcome all adversity? Uh, no. In fact, all out battle for supremacy occurs causing major distress in the happy land of pre-matrimony.
EMPIRE OF PASSION.
Kazuko Yoshiyuki/Tatsuya Fuji/Takahiro Tamura.
Directed by Nagisa Oshima.
* When Seki (Yoshiyuki) gets the hots for a much much younger man named Toyiji (Fuji) her husband (Tamura) becomes the object of their disdain. Hmmm, why not kill him and dump him in a well? So the generation-crossed lovers dispose of him, or so they think. After three years of clandestine love, the police aren’t the only ones who come sniffing around the couple. In fact, the ghost of the dead husband make the police seem relatively harmless.
THE HIT. ****IN THE STORE ON WEDNESDAY****
Terence Stamp/John Hurt/Tim Roth/Jim Broadbent.
Directed by Stephen Frears.
* A gangster (Stamp), who ten years ago betrayed his family and has been living in exile in Spain, is kidnapped by a couple of hitmen (Hurt and Roth) whose job it is to bring him to Paris to stand trial with the leaders of his old organization. From the director of THE QUEEN, HIGH FIDELITY and DIRTY PRETTY THINGS, among others.
HOTEL FOR DOGS.****ALSO ON BLU-RAY****
Emma Roberts/Lisa Kudrow/Kevin Dillon/Don Cheadle/Jake Austin.
Directed by Thor Freudenthal.
* Andi (Roberts) and Bruce (Austin) are two foster kids who absolutely love their dog. Unfortunately for them (and their mental well-being) dogs are forbidden at their new home by their foster family, the Scudders (Dillon and Kudrow). Luckily, the kids find an abandoned hotel in the neighborhood and transform it, using Bruce’s new found engineering genius, into a wonderland for stray dogs, who come in droves. Will they be able to keep their dog palace secret from the authorities? Watch and see! With Cheadle as Bernie the Social Worker.
IN THE REALM OF THE SENSES.****ALSO ON BLU-RAY****IN THE STORE ON WEDNESDAY****
Tatsuya Fuji/Eiko Matsuda.
Directed by Nagisa Oshima.
* A swirling descent into obsessive and uncontrollable sexual desire and madness.
JCVD.****ALSO ON BLU-RAY****
Jean-Claude Van Damme.
Directed by Mabrouk El Mechri.
* Perhaps Van Damme’s greatest role is playing himself. Here he does that. As an out of work actor plagued by custody and tax problems, and even battling Steven Seagal for crappy action film roles, Van Damme is tired. He is tired of the life he has made, and he is tired of battling the world for autonomy. He returns home to Brussels, the place of his birth for some much needed R&R, but instead, finds himself at the center of a real-life (uh, you know what I mean) hostage situation at a local Post Office. Resorting to his training, JCVD settles into his most comfortable role: hero, protector, negotiator, B-Movie star!
JOHNNY GOT HIS GUN.
Timothy Bottoms/Jason Robards/Donald .
Directed by Dalton Trumbo.
* In this 1971 award winning film, Joe (Bottoms) is hit by a mortar shell on the final day of WWI. He lies in a hospital afterwards, having lost his arms, legs, ears, and much of his face, but with his mental faculties fully intact, struggling to communicate with his caregivers, and struggling to know for certain if he is alive or dead.
RESNAIS ALAIN – DECADE IN FILM (1983-1989).
Geraldine Chaplin/Gerard Depardieu/Fanny Ardant/Ludivine Sagnier/Sabine Azema.
Directed by Alain Resnais.
*Four films from the 1980’s by Resnais; LIFE IS A BED OF ROSES, LOVE ONTO DEATH, MELO and I WANT TO GO HOME. Resnais has been making films since the 1940’s, and was known for being a part of the French New Wave movement of the 1960’s. He is still directing films today, last releasing PRIVATE FEARS IN PUBLIC PLACES in 2006. He has a film in post-production this year.
SCIENCE IS FICTION: 23 FILMS BY JEAN PAINLEVE.
Directed by Jean Painleve.
* From Amazon: Jean Painlevé was a film director, critic, theorist, and animator, yet his interests and studies also extended to mathematics, medicine, and zoology. Amazingly, all these disparate strands came together in a groundbreaking, decades-spanning artistic career. Operating under the credo: Science is fiction, Painlevé forged his own unique cinematic path, creating countless short films for both the viewing public and the scientific community. Moreover, he was also one of the first filmmakers to take his camera underwater. Surreal, otherworldly documents of marine life, these films transformed sea horses, octopi, and mollusks into delicate dancers in their own floating ballets. This anthology features twenty-three of Painlevé's shorts in their original form, as well as Yo La Tengo's ninety-minute original score The Sounds of Science, written in 2001 to accompany eight of the director's films. .
Emily Browning/Elizabeth Banks/Arielle Kebbel.
Directed by Thomas Guard and Charles Guard.
* Ghost, step-mothers and jealous daughters unite in this remake of the 2003 Korean film CHANGHWA HONGRYON. Banks plays the step-mom – rarr!
WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU.
Mark Ruffalo/Ethan Hawke/Amanda Peet/Donnie Wahlberg.
Directed by Brian Goodman.
* Based on the director’s real life, this gritty tale is about two punks from Boston (probably Red Sox fans – sheesh) who can’t seem to shake the life of crime they were born into.
BIRD BY BIRD WITH ANNIE: A FILM PORTRAIT OF WRITER ANNE LAMOTT.
Directed by Freida Lee Mock.
* A portrait of the writer Annie Lamott who wrote a book about writing and life called “Bird by Bird”. Lamott is a fascinating writer whose humorous and compassionate style allows her to touch on pain, loss and addiction without becoming melodramatic.
FIDEL CASTRO: LIDER MAXIMO.
Fidel Castro/Raul Castro.
Directed by Ferruccio Valerio .
* This new documentary on Fidel covers all the ground from the pre-revolutionary days when Fidel made his living as a lawyer all the way through the transfer of power to his brother Raul first temporarily in 2006, then permanently in 2008
Directed by Stephanie Black .
* This is a powerful expose on the Florida sugar cane industry and the Jamaican workers here on their H-2 work visas that are exploited for their cheap labor. See also BURN, a tremendous early Marlo Branon film also about the Caribbean exploitation.
HISTORY OF THE DEVIL.
* A brief history of his badness, the Devil and his historical relevance through our culture.
Directed by Julian Birkett .
* The writer of “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy is the subject of this documentary. Particularly interesting is the descriptions of the West Midlands, where Tolkien grew up, and their influence on the creation of Middle-Earth, the land where so many of his stories took place.
K*KE LIKE ME.
Directed by Jamie Kastner.
* Shalom Chaverim, my brothers and sisters. L’hit-rah-oat. L’hit-rah-oat. Shalom. Shalom! This Hebrew lyric means roughly “Hello, my friends! Hello! May you go in peace until we meet again! In Peace!” Tough times to be Jewish, then again, they’re always tough times to be Jewish, it’s strange that way. This funny and self-effacing documentary watches Jamie travel the earth, from France, through America and eventually to Auschwitz in Poland to try to discover what it means for him to be Jewish, to be a “Jew” in the modern world. Shalom, chaverim! Shalom!
MILKING THE RHINO.****IN THE STORE ON WEDNESDAY****
Directed by David E. Simpson.
* This fascinating documentary shows the flip side of the Conservation culture. It focuses on two cattle-cultures in Africa, the Masai and the Himba, and the losses they have endured at the hands of Caucasian conservation.
Directed by Ganzalo Arijon.
* Did you see ALIVE, the story of the survivors of a plane crash in the Andes? This is the real life story of that catastrophe told in the words of the survivors themselves. The director was a childhood friend of some of the survivors.
ESSENTIAL SPACE COLLECTION.
* There are nearly five hours of space exploration in this series including behind the scenes looks at the 2018 mission to Mars (Whoa – 9 years from now!) and discussions of personal space vehicles and space tourism. Don’t forget to leave it in the same condition as you found it!
DIVE OLLY DIVE: ADVENTURE BEGINS IN THE SEA.
............// NEW BLU-RAY ADDITIONS//............
* New Release from last week starring Academy award winning Kate Winslet.
WAGES OF FEAR.
Directed by Henry-Georges Clouzot.
* Hard hitting 1953 tale of four men who agree to drive a couple trucks filled with nitroglycerine 300 miles through dangerous roads in a completely unsafe environment to make some much-needed coin.
............// NEW ADDITIONS//............
SEARCHING FOR BOBBY FISCHER.
* Beautiful film, first time for us on DVD.
............// REPLACEMENT DISCS//............
MARIA FULL OF GRACE.
* And 62 packets of cocaine in her belly.
SIX FEET UNDER: COMPLETE SERIES.
* Fresh copies of all five seasons of this remarkable show about a family who operates a funeral home.