Monday, June 22, 2009

****new release list no.224

Oh Nelly, the summer is finally here! It looks to be a doozy. I love the way the summer just creates a slightly different vibe in the air. I feel a little more open to staying up late, to sleeping in. I am just a bit more likely to say yes when the kids ask for ice cream on a Tuesday night. I don’t really care so much if the ordinary schedule is rocked…in fact, I might rock it just for fun! The summer reminds me of childhood, of that anything-can-happen feeling. It makes me feel like I am seeing everything with new eyes. Summer puts away the jaded, and ushers in the novelty. I appreciate that. But it doesn’t just happen. It’s like any resource; you need to tap it. I am going to tap the summer for all its worth this year. The winter of 2009 was a cold one, both emotionally and physically, so I am going to relax into this summer like a kid into a soft chair, with an ice cream cone in my sticky hands and nothing to do but eat it.

Maybe I’ll watch some movies, too. I caught a few this weekend. I watched WALTZ WITH BASHIR, a new Israeli animated film out this week. It tells the story of a man whose memory of the war in Lebanon in the 1980’s is jarred by his friend’s admission of nightmares based on his own memories. The man realizes he has no memory of the war, and in fact, no memory of a terrible massacre that happened within yards of where he was. What actually happened, he wonders, and what was my part in it? In documentary style, he searches for the answers and for other people who were with him in the hell that was that war (and every war). “Our memories take us only as far as we are capable of going” his fellow veteran tells him. The mind is amazing that way.

Also out this weekend are a few Criterion releases, LAST YEAR IN MARIENBAD, a 1961 French film dealing with infidelity and sexual politics and MY DINNER WITH ANDRE, a 1981 release about two men, Wallace and Andre, having dinner, trading tales and philosophizing about their lives and the nature of existence.

There are two adventure/fantasy movies that might appeal to families out there. First up is PHOEBE IN WONDERLAND, about a little girl struggling with society and eager to escape into her fantasy life. Starring Elle Fanning in a strong performance, this film also features Felicity Huffman and Bill Pullman as her parents and Patricia Clarkson as her teacher. Next we have INKHEART, another fantasy tale also about a little girl whose father tells stories that come to life.

There is also a bunch of strong foreign films (DIARY OF A SUICIDE, ALICE’S HOUSE), some good old American comedy (THE PINK PANTHER 2, CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC) and a big batch of documentaries highlighted by LOUISE BOURGEOIS: THE SPIDER, THE MISTRESS AND THE TANGERINE about the iconic feminist and art innovator.

In non-film news, Four Star Video is now serving the people of Bernal Heights and beyond for all of your desert plant needs with our new retail side-venture SUCCULENCE. We have small and large cactus and succulents, as well as a variety of planters for sale in the back patio. Go take a look. Look for more supplies, such as soils, tools and more plants to be added in the next couple weeks. Wish we had something we don’t? Let us know; we will obtain it. We are open from 11am until dark every day. As of now, we will sometimes have staff out back, and sometimes not, but you can ask for help inside the store at any time.

Alrighty, that’s all folks, hope to see you at the store.

Love and Kisses,

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Links we are super hip on this week:
Beyond Asiaphilia local filmmaker Valerie Soe's excellent blog focusing on Asian/American arts, culture and other related topics.
Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema festival.
Videofest 2009 at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts. Hurry up, the deadline is approaching for these film festivals.
Pal’s Takeaway – Yummy yummy.

Do you have a link Four Star Customers should check out??? Email it to me.

............//NEW RELEASES//............

Drama/Foreign (Portuguese).
Carla Ribas.
Directed by Chico Teixeira.
* The winner of many awards on the independent circuit, this Brazilian film tells the story of Alice, a mother and wife who works in a beauty parlor and lives a relatively quiet and anonymous life. However, as normal as her family seems, beneath the surface lurks secrets and lies which threaten the harmony of their middle-class existence.

Black Comedy/Foreign (Polish).
Bogumil Kobiela/Krystyna Karkowska/Barbara Lass/Roman Polanski.
Directed by Andrzej Munk.
* The first of three new films by Munk, this one is about a middle aged man who is imprisoned and would love to remain there but is forced by the state back into society in 1950’s Poland. A very young Polanski has a bit role as a tutor.

Antonion Banderas/Morgan Freeman/Radha Mitchell.
Directed by Mimi Leder.
* The classic tale of an older thief (Freeman) trying to pull off one last heist to pay off the Russian mobsters he’s in debt with and retire with his life. He brings in a young, up and coming thief (Banderas) to help him with the job.

Isla Fisher/Hugh Dancy/Joan Cusack/John Goodman/John Lithgow/Kristen Scott Thomas.
Directed by P.J. Hogan.
* She has way more than 27 dresses, and she seems like she’s 13 going on 30, and though she’s competitive, she’s not involved in any bride wars. The devil may wear Prada, but that doesn’t mean she has that same sort of blonde ambition. Her new boyfriend is rich rich rich, and that may help feed her shopping addiction, but, she says to herself, it’s can’t buy me love. Why not? Because I said so.

Drama/Fantasy/Foreign (French).
Delphine Seyrig/Sacha Pitoeff/Sami Frey/Marie-France Pisier.
Directed by Stanislav Stanojevic.
* Never released in the US, this 1973 film stars some of the biggest names in French cinema. The story involves a tour group in the Mediterranean and the cat and mouse relationship that emerges with the group’s leader (Frey) and the interpreter (Seyrig), a mysterious woman hidden behind her sunglasses. The fruit of their connection is the stories the leader begins to tell to entertain the interpreter, stories that get more and more unbelievable as they go along. This director made just a few films that are only now (35 years later) making it America. If you like this, try SUBVERSION, which is also on the New Release wall.

Black Comedy/Foreign (Polish).
Edward Dziewonski/Barbara Polomska/Ignacy Machowski/Chris Littenski.
Directed by Andrzej Munk.
* The second of three new films by Munk, EROICA is based on two short stories by J.S. Stawinski about World War II. This film is considered to be Munk’s masterpiece and was one of the cornerstones of the Polish School of film making. The story involves a black marketer who becomes accidentally involved with the Polish Resistance and Polish military prisoners battling boredom and contemplating escape in a prison camp.

Gregory Pakis/Katrina Baylis.
Directed by Gregory Pakis.
* Strange Australian tale of an out of work actor who kidnaps people and forces them to act in his weird film designed to make him super successful and famous. This film actually follows the fictional actor as he convinces a filmmaker to make the story of his life including tidbits of the film he kidnapped his actors to make.

Brendan Fraser/Sienna Guillory/Helen Mirren.
Directed by Iain Softley.
* Fantasy tale of a young girl whose father has the ability to bring characters to life when he reads books aloud. His reading of a medieval tale thrusts them right into the thick of magical beings and their struggle for power and dominance.

Criterion/Drama/Romance/Foreign (French).
Dephine Seyrig/Giorgio Albertazzi/Sacha Pitoeff/Francoise Bertin.
Directed by Alain Resnais.
* This is the tale of X and A, two individuals staying at a huge luxury hotel who may or may not have had an affair last year. X is there to persuade A to run away with him as they had planned last year. A is still married and acts as though she has no recollection of the affair. The film is shot with very stylized portraits of the hotel and the people in it passing the time in that luxurious way that the wealthy have of having little to do and the calming ability to enjoy it. When this film debuted in 1961, it was considered shocking and really changed the way French film was made and perceived.

Drama/Foreign (Polish).
Kazimierz Opalinski/Zygmunt Maciejewski/Roman Klosowski/Rachel Whitesideski.
Directed by Andrzej Munk.
* The third of three new films by Munk, this one compares to CITIZEN KANE in that it is multiple and conflicting versions of the same story as investigators try to determine what happened with a man who is found dead lying on train tracks in the middle of the night.

George Lopez.
Directed by William Dear.
* Eddie (Lopez) is a successful attorney, who hasn’t been very involved with his daughter’s life. He decides to accompany her on an outdoor adventure as the “troop mom” to a bunch of girl scouts.

Wallace Shawn/Andre Gregory.
Directed by Louis Malle
* Life itself is the topic of conversation as Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory sit and eat dinner while discussing their varied philosophies and experiences. What is it that makes their conversation so interesting, and valuable? Perhaps it is the intimacy of being the fly on the wall as two men just discuss their hopes and dreams.

Drama/War/Foreign (Polish).
Marina Andrejewna Aleksandrowa/Daniel Olbrychski/Jerzy Trela.
Directed by Jerzego Hoffmana.
* A story about crime and intrigue in 9th Century Europe regarding Slavic tribes worshipping separate gods.

Felicity Huffman/Patricia Clarkson/Elle Fanning/Bill Pullman.
Directed by Daniel Barnz.
* A little girl (Fanning), at odds with reality and the multiple rules of civilization is increasingly lost in her fantasy world, greatly worrying her mother and father. Her teacher (Clarkson) gives her guidance and tries to help her through her struggles.

Steve Martin/Jean Reno/Emily Mortimer/Andy Garcia/Alfred Molina/John Cleese/Jeremy Irons/Lily Tomlin.
Directed by Harald Zwart.
* The second offering of the remade classics featuring Martin as Inspector Jacques Clouseau, international spy catcher and all around amazing copper who is part of a international team of law enforcement agents who are trying to stop a robber who is stealing historical artifacts.

Drama/Animated/Documentary-ish/Foreign (Hebrew/English).
Ron Ben-Yishai/Ronny Dayag/Ari Folman.
Directed by Ari Folman.
* Nominated for the Best Foreign Film Oscar, and winner of 6 Israeli Film Awards including Best Film, Best Direction, Best Screenplay, Best Soundtrack (fabulous!) and Best Editing, this brilliant film is basically a narrative documentary about an Israeli man in his 40’s trying to remember the events surrounding a terrible massacre of Palestinians in Lebanon during the war in the 1980’s when he was just a young man trying to stay alive. The animation is very interesting, it is somewhat computery, with a strange almost purposefully 2-dimensional quality (yes, I know it is actually 2-dimensional, but you know what I mean). It is flat, and fluid, and somehow the people kind of reminded me strangely of Jar Jar Binks from THE PHANTOM MENACE in the strange bouncy way he had of walking. The film itself is a reminder of how hard people need to work to remember terrible events in our history. Our brain is so amazing at erasing the trauma and enabling us to move forward without being disabled by our experiences. This is not a pleasant film to watch, but it is an important one.


Documentary/Foreign (Japanese).
Directed by Tatsuya Mori.
* The inside workings of Japanese religious cult Aum Shinrikyo, who released sarin gas into Tokyo’s subway system in 1995 are captured on film in this 1998 documentary.

A 2.
Documentary/Foreign (Japanese).
Directed by Tatsuya Mori.
* A sequel to the above referenced A was made in 2001 continuing the documentation of the notorious cult Aum Shinrikyo

Art Documentary.
Directed by Many.
* This is the second volume of a doc series that introduces the audience to magnificent pieces of international art and then explains to us its origins, significance and the culture of the person who made it.

Carroll Pickett/Steve Mills.
Directed by Peter Gilbert and Steve James.
* In 1989, Carlos DeLuna was executed in Texas for a crime that evidence suggests he did not commit. This film looks at the prosecution and questions the judgment of the crime in question as well as capital punishment itself

Narrated by Forest Whitaker.
Directed by Stacy Peralta.
* A look into the history of the Crips and the Bloods, two of the most notorious in American history.

Directed by Jamin Griffiths.
* The sad tale of the wrath Hurricane Charley had on Florida in 2004 and the people who moved into the emergency housing in Charlotte County which became nick named FEMA City. The film documents the difficulties the people of FEMA City have had re-establishing their lives after 18 months of government housing.

The Killers.
* Interviews, archive footage, etc about the rock band The Killers.

Lousie Bougreois/Jean-Louis Bourgeois/Pandora Tabatabai Asbaghi/Guerilla Girls.
Directed by Marion Cajori and Amei Wallach.
* From the IMDB: A journey inside the world of a legend of modern art and an icon of feminism. Onscreen, the nonagenarian Louise Bourgeois is magnetic, mercurial and emotionally raw-an uncompromising artist whose life and work are imbued with her ongoing obsession with the mysteries of childhood. Her process is on full display in this intimate documentary, which features the artist in her studio and with her installations, shedding light on her intentions and inspirations. Louise Bourgeois has for six decades been at the forefront of successive new developments, but always on her own powerfully inventive and disquieting terms. In 1982, at the age of 71, she became the first woman to be honored with a major retrospective at New York's Museum of Modern Art. In the decades since, she has created her most powerful and persuasive work, including her series of massive spider structures that have been installed around the world. Filmed with unparalleled access between 1993 and 2007, Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, the Mistress and the Tangerine is a comprehensive and dramatic documentary of creativity and revelation.


Klaus Maria Brandauer/Frederic Foreest.
Directed by Franco Rossi.
* Nero, Petronius, Marcus Vinicius and the rest of the Roman Gang do what they do best in this six-hour miniseries from the 1980’s about the Roman Empire.


Forrest Whitaker/Patrick Timsit/Vincent Lindon.
Directed by Guillaume Ivernel/Arthur Qwak.

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

Chevy Chase.
Directed by Michael Ritchie.
* 1985 goofball comedy about Fletch, a Los Angeles investigative journalist. We got the blu-ray, so we figured the regular DVD might make sense, too.

............//REPLACEMENT DISCS/............

* It walked, we retrieved.

* New copy of the season.


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