This is the second of what I am loosely hoping will be a monthly look into films (and television) good for entire families to watch together.
Parents looking for good things to watch with their kiddos need only turn back the clock for some epic programming from their youths. Shows like ELECTRIC COMPANY and THE MUPPET SHOW feature brilliant actors and musicians, hysterical physical comedy and totally watchable shtick. They stand the test of time, and in fact make a lot of kids programming today look pretty shoddy by comparison.
Continuing though the Miyazaki catalogue, I highly recommend KIKI’S DELIVERY SERVICE. Kiki, a young witch, must leave her happy and quite suburban seeming home to live for a year on her own in what must currently be a witchless city as a rite of passage, sort of a year-long Bat Mitzvah or some such something. She is young, maybe twelve or thirteen, and though brave and strong, also scared and lonely. She is full of bravado, and approaches her life and her role very professionally, while still being a cute kid. She is lucky to have her sarcastic and comedic cat with her, who helps her feel less alone. Somewhat randomly, Kiki forms a delivery service and thus finds her place in the town. She has adventures, meets a nice young boy who has a crush on her, meets a hippy artist living in the woods, loses her powers, regains her powers and has a lot of other adventures. KIKI’S DELIVERY SERVICE, like many of Miyazaki’s films, is filled with heart, excitement and so much life. It is a great movie, and if you or your kids haven’t watched it, you should right away.
ENCHANTED is excellent, as it slips from animation to live action and occasionally dips back It is the story of Giselle, acted by the truly excellent Amy Adams. Giselle is in love with life and all the little critters in it, and is an animated princess looking for a prince. Just when she finds one, his evil step-mother unceremoniously dumps Giselle out of cartoon-land and into the nastiest place she can think of, New York City. There, a number of adventures are had, as Giselle meets friendly people in NY and is pursued by the Prince and other creatures from cartoon-land. It is full of music, and humor, and the discerning viewer will be impressed with Adams’ portrayal of a cartoon character as a real person.
Do you have great ideas for movies a whole family can enjoy? Please email them to me so that I can share them with the Four Star community.
We have tons of stuff this week. Again, no blockbusters, but many many interesting documentary’s (FOR ALL MANKIND, WELCOME TO MACINTOSH, UNWINKING GAZE, LIPSTICK & DYNAMITE: THE FIRST LADIES OF WRESTING, WILD PACIFIC, DEPECHE MODE) lots of television (MAD MEN: SEASON 2, ARAB LABOR, WIRE IN THE BLOOD: SIXTH SEASON, and more), a brazillion new additions (SWINGERS, THE HISTORY OF O, WHEN HARRY MET SALLY, CAPE FEAR, THE WIZ, MICHAEL JACKSON – VIDEO GREATEST HITS), some older newly released films (BYE-BYE MONKEY, DON’T TOUCH THE WHITE WOMAN, MENAGE), horror (THE HAUNTING OF CONNECTICUT, REC), indie (DAKOTA SKYE), an Oscar nominated foreign film (12), some films for the kids and a bunch of replacement DVD’s.
To read more about the films, including snarky comments by moi, scroll down.
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:
The finest Michael Jackson tribute ever. It is an eternal moonwalk, using video footage sent in from fans all over the world.
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.
Gerard Depardieu/Marcello Mastoianni.
Directed by Marco Ferreri.
* This 1978 film just being re-released on DVD is a total bizarre-fest. It features the corpse of King Kong, a strange wax museum and other strangeness. It won the Grand Prize of the Jury at Cannes Film Festival and is lauded for its wild imagery. It is one of two older films by Ferreri being released this week.
Eileen April Boylan/Ian Nelson.
Directed by John Humber.
* Dakota is cursed with the super power of being able to tell when anyone is lying to her. In this little coming-of-age indie film, her increasingly disillusioned world is turned upside down by the arrival in town of a stranger (Nelson) who always seems to tell the truth.
DON’T TOUCH THE WHITE WOMAN.
Catherine Deneuve/Marcelo Mastroianni.
Directed by Marco Ferreri.
* Ferreri’s surreal take on General Custer’s last stand was released in 1974 to moderate acclaim. Mastroianni stars as Custer and Deneuve is the object of his affection (and nearly everyone else at the time).
THE EDGE OF LOVE.
Matthew Rhys/Keira Knightley/Sienna Miller/Cillian Murphy.
Directed by John Maybury.
* This film tells a loosely accurate story about the poet Dylan Thomas as seen through the eyes of two women he loves. Knightley plays an old girlfriend of Thomas’ who still holds a flame for him, while Miller plays his current wife.
THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT.
Virginia Madsen/Kyle Gallner.
Directed by Peter Cornwell.
* It says based on true events…not sure if it has anything to do with the guitar player in my band. He’s a Red Sox fan, so I figure SOMETHING happened to him. Not sure if it was ghost related, certainly horrific in some way. Anyway.
I COULD NEVER BE YOUR WOMAN.
Michelle Pfeiffer/Paul Rudd/Fred Willard/Jon Lovitz/Tracey Ullman.
Directed by Amy Heckerling.
* From the director of FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH, CLUELESS and JOHNNY DANGEROUSLY comes this romantic comedy about a mother and a daughter both falling in love; the mother with a much younger man, and the daughter for the very first time.
Gerard Depardieu/Michel Blanc/Miou-Miou.
Directed by Bertrand Blier.
* This older film (1987) just hitting DVD for the first time is about Bob (Depardieu) a petty thief who seduces a couple and turns them into (ahem) a well-oiled thieving machine.
Manuela Velasco/Ferran Terraza/Pablo Rosso.
Directed by Paco Plaza and Jaume Balaguero.
* This is the film that QUARANTINE was based on about a newswoman and her cameraman who begin by filming a strange house where screams are being heard and ends with the extreme involvement in the action of the journallists.
Sergei Makovetsky/Sergey Garmash.
Directed by Nikita Mikhalkov.
* Nominated for the Best Foreign Film Oscar in 2008 (won by THE COUNTERFEITERS), this film is a loose remake of 12 ANGRY MEN about a Chechen teenager in a school in Russia who has allegedly killed his step-father and about the twelve jurors who must decide his fate. This film was received very well around the world and won other film awards besides its Oscar nomination.
DEPECHE MODE: MINISTRY OF SOUND.
* Rare footage, interviews, photos etc of the excellent electronic band that has been making music since the 1980’s (a long, long time ago).
FOR ALL MANKIND****ALSO IN BLU-RAY****
Many many astronauts.
Directed by Al Reinert.
* Commemorating the 40th anniversary of my birth – oops, I mean the moon landing in 1969, this doc features mind-boggling footage, interviews and mission control recordings with many of the astronauts involved with the Apollo Missions and a sound-track by Brian Eno. It is lush and dreamy and will help even the most jaded mind relax into the wondrous exploration of outer space.
LIPSTICK & DYNAMITE: THE FIRST LADIES OF WRESTLING
The Moolah/The Great Mae Young.
Directed by Ruth Leitman.
* Very fascinating and highly rated doc about professional female wresting in the 1940’s and 50’s and the super tough women who put it all on the line in their matches.
Directed by Lauren Greenfield.
* This doc focuses on the very scary and dangerous reality of eating disorders and the specific illnesses of bulimia and anorexia that many people suffer from.
Directed by Joshua Dugdale.
* This documentary is a behind the scenes look into the life of Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet. When you watch this, you may learn what a High Lama is, which I thought was just what you called a Llama after someone blew pot smoke in its face.
WELCOME TO MACINTOSH.
Directed by Robert Baca and Josh Rizzo.
* A look at the history of the Apple company and the innovative people who have helped turn technology on its head throughout the entire tech era.
WILD PACIFIC.****ALSO IN BLU-RAY****
The Pacific Ocean and its Inhabitants.
* Another brilliant look into our planet from the people who brought us the PLANET EARTH series. This examines the gigantic Pacific Ocean and all the amazing creatures in it.
ARAB LABOR: 1st SEASON.
Directed by Ron Ninio.
* Totally irreverent Israeli comedy about Amjad, a journalist in Israel. Amjad is an Israeli citizen, working for a Jerusalem based newspaper, and dealing with all the humiliations that Palestinians deal with living in Israel. On the one hand he “passes” at work and with his Jewish friends, and on the other hand he is filled with angst, anger and frustration at his situation. This show is a huge hit in Israel and the SF Chronicle called Amjad “The Palestinian Seinfeld”.
LEVERAGE: SEASON ONE.
Timothy Hutton/Christian Kane.
* This new show is about a group of techies who attempt to use their skills to steal from the wealthy and corrupt.
MAD MEN: SEASON TWO.
Jon Hamm/January Jones/John Slattery/Christina Hendricks
* Don Draper is a Madison man, working at one of the more prestigious ad agency in NY in the 1960’s. Smoky, grey, and mysterious, this show was a surprise hit in its first season. As Don would say, "What do you want me to say?"
PEYTON PLACE: PART 2.
Mia Farrow/Ryan O’Neal.
* Thirty-three more episodes! .
THE STATE: THE COMPLETE SERIES.
Thomas Lennon/David Wain/Robert Ben Garant.
* Early 90’s sketch comedy featuring many young comedians that have had success since then. Some say the funniest show on tv back in 1993.
WIRE IN THE BLOOD: THE COMPLETE 6th SEASON.
* Dark yet witty series about Dr. Tony Hill, a psychological profiler working on gnarly murder cases.
BABY BOOST NURSERY RHYMES.
BABY BOOST SING-A-LONG.
WITCHES IN STITCHES.
* Our first DVD copy of the Scorsese remake of the thriller starring Nick Nolte, Roberto De Niro, Jessica Lange, Juliette Lewis and featuring cameos by Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum, the stars of the 1961 original.
MICHAEL JACKSON – VIDEO GREATEST HITS .
* You knew we weren’t gonna miss this opportunity. This is the first of a batch of MJ films that will be here soon.
THE STORY OF O.
* We’ve got the VHS; we’ve got the Blu-Ray; now we have it on DVD, too. This is a tweaky sex drama about O, a beautiful woman who is forcibly trained in the arts of bondage and sexual perversity.
* Our first DVD of the Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn comedy about two wannabe’s in LA living a nightmare version of the dream. Written by Favreau.
WHEN HARRY MET SALLY.
* Best. Billy Crystal. Movie. Ever.
THE WIZ (30th ANNIVERSARY ISSUE).
* Directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Richard Pryor and more, this take on the Wizard of Oz is a must-see for anyone struggling to understand Michael’s cultural significance in the wake of his death. I still remember going to see this film with my dad and my sisters and dancing and singing our way out of the theatre.
BACK TO THE FUTURE.
FUTURAMA: VOLUME 2.
HELEN OF TROY.
* Tim Burton goes to town in outer space.
POINT BREAK (PURE ADRENALINE EDITION).
* My favorite Woody Allen film.
* Not wooden, not brick.