Monday, July 6, 2009

****new release list no.226

There is a new film night happening in Bernal Heights, thanks to the hard work and excitement of Sabrina Davidson, the Community Development Organizer at the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center. Entitled BERNAL HEIGHTS FILM NIGHTS, the series will begin this Friday night, July 10th at 7pm at the neighborhood center 515 Cortland Ave. The screenings will be free, and the first night, two movies by Xuan Vu will be shown. DREAMCORP is a short fantasy film about someone auditioning for an acting job at the fictional DreamCorp, a company that makes night-time dreams, daydreams, etc. BEHIND STAGE CURTAINS is a “musical narrative documentary” about a group of first through third graders in Massachusets preparing for a big musical stage production. Come support this fun and free night of film in Bernal Heights!

PUSH is a new Sci-fi film out this week. It follows the complicated story of some very powerful young members of a secret organization as they try to avoid the evil government. Also in the somewhat Sci-Fi region is THE UNBORN about a young woman fighting off a ghost. In KNOWING, Nicolas Cage struggles to unwrap “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma” (Winston Churchhill). Can he figure out the secret in time to save himself and the world?

A few more of our Highlighted New Additions have arrived! Another Bollywood film (JODHA AKBAR) as well as a trio of Hong Kong films (ELECTION, BEAST STALKER, BREAKING NEWS). Scroll down to read about them as written by Valerie Soe, a local film educator whose blog BEYOND ASIAPHILIA we have been linking this last month. Thanks for all your help, Valerie!

By the way, I watched MY DINNER WITH ANDRE the other night. What an amazing film. If you haven’t checked it out, you should. Besides being a fascinating voyeuristic glimpse into some people’s lives, it is hysterically funny and also rather poignant. What is ostensibly a story of two men in different periods of their lives, and in different states of comfort with themselves, having dinner and awkwardly discussing reality, is also a debate on the nature of society, and our reactions to the roles of media and economics in our lives.

Thanks everyone who has checked out SUCCULENCE. For anyone reading this for the first time, we now have a desert plant store in the back of Four Star Video filled with all manners of succulent plants and planters of all shapes and sizes. Please take a walk back there and check it out. Succulents make wonderful plant friends. They take very little and give so much!

A quick note of interest about Four Star Video: like so many small businesses, we have been affected by the economic downturn. Starting last September, things got somewhat dire for a while. However, things have been much better each month since around April, when we revamped our KenFlix pricing. This last month, I noticed something very interesting. Compared to the same month last year, we were down about 5% financially, but we actually rented more movies! Another aspect of this is that we charged nearly 23% less late fees, accounting for about half of our reduction in income. My guess is that this is all related to KenFlix. I think most people who sign up for this program get more adventurous than ever with their movie watching. They dig deeper into sections than they have in the past. We think this is just awesome! Obviously, we do not want to have a reduction in income (who does?), but we love happy customers, and we find our KenFlix customers to be amongst the happiest. Do you have a lot of late fees? Perhaps you should find out more…

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 – Three 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:
Beyond Asiaphilia - Local filmmaker Valerie Soe's excellent blog focusing on Asian/American arts, culture and other related topics.
Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema festival.
Pal’s Takeaway – Yummy yummy.

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

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

Barbora Bobulova/Brigitte Boucher/Shirley MacLaine/Malcolm McDowell.
Directed by Christian Duguay.
* Fashion designer Coco Chanel is the subject of this tale. McLaine plays her in the latter portion of her life.

Ryan Phillippe/Laurence Fishbourne/Said Taghmaoui.
Directed by Laurence Malkin.
* An enterprising Dutch foundation worker (Phillippe) is kidnapped by terrorists while in Morocco. He is then tortured into giving information to the terrorists. This classic suspense store kept the message boards kids very active. What actually happened? Would they really do that?

Nicolas Cage/Rose Byrne.
Directed by Alex Proyas.
* A professor (Cage) discovers that a little girl’s scribbled notes from 1958 have predicted every major disaster in the fifty years since. While transcribing the notes, he sees that there are more disasters predicted. Can he avoid them? Can he possibly avert

Drama//Romance/LGBT/Foreign (French).
Alida Valli/Marie-Christine Barrault/Giullemette Grobon.
Directed by Genevieve Lefebvre.
* Lesbian love triangle about a holocaust survivor and two younger women she loves. Starring the wonderful Marie-Christine Barrault who was awesome in my favorite Woody Allen film STARDUST MEMORIES.

Kirk Douglas/Gena Rowlands/Walter Matthau/Michael Kane.
Directed by David Miller.
* 1962 film being released as part of the Universal backlot, this western is about a Jack Burns (Douglas) who gets arrested to help his friend (who is currently incarcerated) break out. When his friend expresses the desire to remain in jail, Burns is on his own in the break-out and heavily pursued by the Sheriff (Matthau).

Leelee Sobieski/Danny Glover/Steve Zahn.
Directed by Brian King.
* Sounds kind of like a variation of the amazing SHALLOW GRAVE. When a passenger on a train is found dead with serious valuables on him, a few passengers and a conductor decide to dump the body and keep the loot. Then they decide they should chop him up a bit, to make him harder to identify. Now, I’m just a video store owner, but I think when you are hanging with people and the decision is made to chop someone up (dead or not) you are probably heading down a path that will lead to problems. Challenging problems. Just saying.

Chris Evans/Camille Belle/Dakota Fanning.
Directed by Paul McGuigan.
* Madcap sci-fi flick about Watchers, Wipers, Bleeders, Stitches and Pushers; people with special telekinetic powers that are a part of a special secret government army.

Odest Yustman/Gary Oldman/Meagan Good/Jane Alexander.
Directed by David S. Goyer.
* According to Wikipedia “In Jewish folklore, a dybbuk is a malicious possessing spirit, believed to be the dislocated soul of a dead person”. This film is about a girl dealing with one of these…


Samuel Alioto/Louis Blackwell.
Directed by Greg Whiteley.
* Rich examination of the high school debate team concept and a thorough look at the racial issues involved.


Colin Baker.
* The subtitle of this release is “The Colin Baker Years: 1984-1986.

* More older Dr. Who.

* Have you seen this? In this show, a movie plays and sitting in the front at the bottom of your screen, as if in a movie theatre, a small group gives running commentary of the movie. It is funny, weird, at times insightful, and quite entertaining. This set includes the films THE ROBOT VS. THE AZTEC MUMMY, THE GIRL IN LOVERS LANE, ZOMBIE NIGHTMARE and RACKET GIRLS.

* It’s COPS on crack.

Coby Bell/Jason Wiles.
* Season two of the show about a group of paramedics, firefighters and police that work the 3-11pm shift.

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


Action/Thriller/Foreign (Cantonese).
Nicolas Tse/Nick Cheung.
Directed by Dante Lam.
* Former teen heartthrob Nicolas Tse is a tough cop haunted by the death of a child hostage he accidentally kills in a chaotic shootout/car crash involving malevolent gangsters, innocent bystanders and much shattered glass. Nick Cheung plays a kidnapper-for-hire in charge of snatching the dead girl’s twin sister whose lawyer mother is involved in prosecuting the crime. Their meshing stories play out in a dizzying spiral of guilt, honor, fate and obligation. This gritty thriller demonstrates that Hong Kong can still turn out unmatched hard-ass crime dramas.

Action/Crime/Thriller/Foreign (Cantonese/Mandarin/English).
Nick Cheung/Kelly Chen/Richie Ren.
Directed by Johnnie To.
* Johnnie To’s sleek, rapid-fire cops and robbers movie movie starts out with a bravura eight-minute single-take crane shot of a heist gone horribly awry, then shifts seamlessly between a crime thriller, a buddy movie and a satire of the manipulation of mass media by cops and criminals alike..

Action/Crime/Thriller/Foreign (Cantonese/Mandarin/English).
Tony Leung/K-Fai/Simon Yam/Nick Cheung.
Directed by Johnnie To.
* Dark, dark film about gangstas in Hong Kong. Expect no glamour or heroism here--brotherhood and honor don't mean much to the /hing dai/ in this film. Nick Cheung plays a crazy triad who, among other things, eats a porcelain spoon on the order of his /dai lo/. Simon Yam stars as a seemingly reasonable triad boss, with Tony Leung (Big Tony) Ka-Fai as his OTT counterpart. Directed by Hong Kong crime film maestro Johnnie To (/Exiled; The Mission; Breaking News/)..

Drama/Romance/Bollywood (Hindi and English and Punjabi).
Hrithik Roshan/Aishwarya Rai.
Directed by Ashutosh Gowariker.
* Dreamy hunk Hrithik Roshan and “the most beautiful woman in the world,” Aishwarya Rai, play Akbar the Great, a Muslim, and his Hindu wife, Jodhaa, in this lavish historical spectacle. 2009 Filmfare Awards Best Film of the Year.


* Awesome two disc set including all the classics such as A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS, CHARLIE BROWN’S ALL-STARS (you should hear my son laugh at this one), YOU’RE IN LOVE CHARLIE BROWN, HE’S YOUR DOG CHARLIE BROWN, IT WAS A SHORT SUMMER, IT’S THE GREAT PUMPKIN and more. Very wonderful.



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