I’m writing this while super digging the music of Bela Fleck. Do you know his music? He is an amazing banjo player, and a pretty incredible musical ambassador as well. He has a new film coming out this week on DVD called THROW DOWN YOUR HEART which will be in store by Thursday. The music is putting me in a great mood! I recommend it. Speaking of music, check out this AMAZING subversive take on the Iggy Pop & The Stooges classic song I WANNA BE YOUR DOG made by Georgie Greville and absolutely skewering the fashion industry.
There are a lot of interesting films in store this week, as well as a new HIGHLIGHTED ADDITIONS section, this month curated by Andrew. He focuses on some great Asian directors (Kurosawa, Otomo, Teshigahara and Ming-Liang) as well as a terrific 70’s-80’s PBS series called COSMOS WITH CARL SAGAN. Remember that show? I watched some today, and was surprised to be transported back to that magical land of wonder and interest in space and the unknown. Kudos to Andrew’s picks, and look out for a few more from him in the coming weeks.
Local filmmaking team (and Four Star Customers!) David Munro and Xandra Castleton have a new movie on DVD called FULL GROWN MEN. It is the tale of a couple guys deep into their lives, yet not at peace with their adulthood who go on a quest to rediscover their past and pave their way into the future. Congratulations go to David and Xandra for completing their film and getting it distributed. It is here at the store now, check it out!
Some important docs here this week are FOOD, INC – the muckraking food manufacturing documentary shedding light on the very foul methods of our leading food producers, and UNMISTAKEN CHILD, about a Tibetan monk’s search for the reincarnation of his master.
In the big name category, we have ANSWER MAN starring Jeff Daniels as a reclusive spiritual self-help writer and THE TAKING OF PELHAM 1 2 3 starring John Travolta as the bad guy and Denzel Washington as the good guy (that’s probably enough description, right?). Then we got Channing Tatum and Dennis Quaid in GI JOE: RISE OF THE COBRA.
In the interesting, indie and foreign section, we have from Israel THE LEMON TREE about a battle over a small lemon grove between neighbors who happen to be the Israeli Foreign Minister and a Palestinian widow, and PARAISO TRAVEL, a Columbian film about two teenagers who travel to New York to try to find a better life. THE MEN is a newly issued DVD starring Marlon Brando in his first film role. NORTH BY NORTHWEST has just released its 50th ANNIVERSARY EDITION. WINGS OF DESIRE (Wim Wenders) has a new Criterion release. THE DEAD (John Huston’s last film) has just been reissued.
In the comedy department, Will Ferrell hits George W below the belt one last time in his HBO standup show YOU’RE WELCOME AMERICA – A FINAL NIGHT WITH GEORGE W. BUSH. In THE MARC PEASE EXPERIENCE, Jason Schwartzman stars as a young man living in his high school glory days past and Ben Stiller as his old theatre teacher. I LOVE YOU BETH COOPER is about the consequences of a nerdy high school kid admitting his crush on the school’s most popular beauty.
The Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema season has come to a close. Here is a page where you can read about their annual awards and roundup info about the festival.
One final note – SUCCULENCE is almost ready to open our retail space in the barn behind Four Star. As many of you know, SUCCULENCE is a plant and life and garden supplies store. We have been open for about four months selling beautiful succulents of all varieties, and soon we will be selling a wide variety of other things, ranging from canning supplies, to imported Italian home art, to living cactus key chains! Please keep us on your holiday radar!
Alrighty then, see you down at the store.
Love and Kisses,
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ALIENS IN THE ATTIC.
Ashley Tisdale/Robert Hoffman.
Directed by John Schultz.
* Fun looking kids tale about some knee-high aliens in the attic of a vacation house where the vacationing kids are engaged in the battle of their lives!
THE ANSWER MAN.****ALSO ON BLU-RAY****
Jeff Daniels/Kat Dennings/Olivia Thirlby.
Directed by John Hindman.
* Arlen Faber (Daniels) is the Answer Man, a reclusive writer of the spiritual best-seller “Me and God” which he wrote over twenty years ago. In the ensuing years, he has been a private, secretive and mostly grumpy guy. That all changes when he forms a relationship with an independent bookstore struggling to stay in business and his private life becomes a bit public. Soon, his wisdom (or lack thereof) is put on the line as he encounters a single mom-recovering addict who looks to him for help. Does he have anything to offer? Or is he just a poser banking off people’s need to be helped?
THE DEAD (1987).
Directed by John Huston.
* Reissue of John Huston’s 1987 Oscar-nominated last film written by his son and starring his daughter, Angelica. The story is an adaptation of a James Joyce novella and takes place at the turn of the last century in Ireland at a family Christmas celebration as the members of the family reminisce and recollect their lives and the loves that passed by.
FILM NOIR CLASSICS 1.
* Movie here include, THE BIG HEAT, 5 AGAINST THE HOUSE, THE LINEUP, MURDER BY CONTRACT, THE SNIPER.
FULL GROWN MEN.****
Matt McGrath/Alan Cumming/Deborah Harry/Amy Sedaris.
Directed by David Munro.
* This film was made by Potrero residents and Four Star Video customers David Munro and Xandra Castleton! McGrath plays Alby, a married man with a young child who is a bit stuck in his past. He hasn’t fully developed a concept of himself as a grown-up, and his lifestyle shows it. Together with a childhood friend, he goes on a vision quest to the physical locations of their youth struggling to find meaning in the past that will help him in the future. What he discovers is that better days are ahead!
GI JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA.****ALSO ON BLU-RAY****
Dennis Quaid/Channing Tatum/Sienna Miller.
Directed by Stephen Sommers
* Why don’t we just take a moment and lean back in your chair and watch this short animated video. There really isn’t anything more to say.
I LOVE YOU, BETH COOPER.
Hayden Pannettiere/Paul Rust/Alan Ruck.
Directed by Chris Columbus.
* When geeky valedictorian Denis (Rust) proclaims his love for class hottie Beth (Pannettiere) during his graduation speech, she takes him on a wild night of partying beyond his wildest dreams.
THE LEMON TREE.
Hiam Abbass/Doron Tavory.
Directed by Eran Riklis.
* When the new Israeli Defense Minister moves in next door to a Palestinian widow, the widow’s lovely Lemon grove is threatened to be removed. The Israeli government thinks it is a security concern, and the widow takes the battle all the way to the Supreme Court.
THE MARC PEASE EXPERIENCE.
Jason Schwartzman/Ben Stiller.
Directed by Todd Louiso.
*Marc (Schwartzman) is kind of a loser…ten years out of high school, but still living in the glory days he had as the star of the musicals performed at school. When will he grow up? Will he grow up? Stiller plays Mr. Gribble, the schools theatre production guy and former mentor for Marc.
Marlon Brando/Teresa Wright.
Directed by Fred Zinnemann.
* Marlon’s first feature film (made in 1950, just a year before A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE) about a young paralyzed war veteran perched on the edge of marriage trying to rehabilitate his body and his mind.
NORTH BY NORTHWEST (50th ANNIVERSARY EDITION).****ALSO ON BLU-RAY****
Cary Grant/Eva Marie Saint/Martin Landau/James Mason.
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
* Ah, NORTH BY NORTHWEST, how do I love thee? With your twists and turns and fabulous cinematography, your sexy conspirators, your physical beauty and your ability to entertain even after so many viewings...How could you be 50 years old? Well… you still look good.
Margarita Rosa de Francisco/John Leguizamo.
Directed by Simon Brand.
* This Columbian film was adapted from Jorge Franco’s acclaimed novel and has been breaking box office records in Columbia. It won many festival awards including the Audience award at San Francisco’s own Bay Area International Latino Film festival. It is the story of a Reina, a teenage girl obsessed with her idea of life in New York and her dream of going there. It is also the story Marlon, the young boy who loves Reina and is willing to leave his relatively peaceful life in Medellin to try to make it in NYC with his beloved. Finally it is the story of the hard city and the cruel realities that come with illegally crossing borders and trying to make it in a city without money and without a safety net.
THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123 (09).****ALSO ON BLU-RAY****
John Travolta/Denzel Washington/James Gandolfini/John Turturro.
Directed by Tony Scott.
* Travolta plays a crook with a quick trigger-finger and a taste for excitement and a seemingly lack of concern for his fellow man, who takes a train hostage with a tidy demand for ten million bucks. Denzel is the compromised city worker who gets deeply and emotionally involved as the go-to negotiator. Gandolfini is relatively amusing as the mayor of New York. And there’s a twist! And rock music! And explosions! And good old-fashioned escapism!
WILL FERRELL: YOU’RE WELCOME AMERICA – A FINAL NIGHT WITH GEORGE W. BUSH.
* Will gives us one final taste of his immaculate George Bush impersonation with this stand-up night of political hilarity. Almost makes you miss W. – I did say almost.
WINGS OF DESIRE.
Bruno Ganz/Solveig Dommartin/Peter Falk.
Directed by Wim Wenders.
* Probably one of the greatest films made, about an angel who wishes to be mortal.
BELA FLECK: THROW DOWN YOUR HEART.****IN STORE THURSDAY****
Directed by Sascha Paladino.
* Banjo master Bela Fleck goes to Africa and learns about the origins of his instrument in this fun documentary featuring terrific music.
Michael Pollan/Eric Schlosser.
Directed by Robert Kenner.
* This food expose may change your eating habits for life. It is a very in-depth view of the mega-corporate food production business, and how it is sacrificing many of our important needs (environmental, nutritional…spiritual) for expediency, quantity and conformity. This film might not make you a vegetarian, but it may make you think hard about the meat you eat and how you can do better for yourself – unless, that is, you like the bleach they add to your hamburger filler to counteract the other poisons in the patty.
Narrated by Paul Newman.
Directed by James Honeyborne.
* It’s a nature doc about Meerkats narrated by the late Paul Newman.
Directed by Nati Baratz.
* This film, which did quite well on the festival circuit winning multiple awards, is about a young Buddhist Monk’s quest to find the reincarnation of his spiritual leader who died in 2001 at age 84. It has always been one of my life’s biggest mysteries that I was never discovered as the reincarnation of Brad Pitt. It could be that he hasn’t died yet.
ART 21: SEASON FIVE.
* Season five in the finely made series about artists working with a variety of mediums in varying milieu.
STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS: THE COMPLETE SEASON ONE.
* Have you seen this animated action series? It takes place between the 2nd and 3rd movies and features Anakin and the Jedi posse fighting the “New Droid Army of the Separatists”, which now that I think of it sounds like a great name for a band!
ZORRO: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON 1957-1958.
Guy Williams/Gene Sheldon.
* As he rides his horses Tornado and Phantom through his double life as dandy by day and fighter of corruption in Spanish California at night, Don Diego de la Vega aka Zorro sets the tone for adventure television in the early days. I remember many Sunday’s watching Zorro in the afternoon and being carried away by the excitement. Who will play Zorro today? And fight the corruption of American California??? Powerboy Bass?
DORA THE EXPLORER: DORA’S CHRISTMAS CAROL.
FRAGGLE ROCK: A MERRY FRAGGLE HOLIDAY.
MICKEY’S MAGICAL CHRISTMAS: SNOWED IN AT THE HOUSE OF MOUSE.
* Better than the house of louse, like many school age kids are dealing with right now.
SCRUFF: A CHRISTMAS TALE.
* Gee, I guess it’s Christmas season…all four of these are Christmas movies!
............//HIGHLIGHTED NEW ADDITIONS FROM ANDREW//............
ALL REVIEWS BY ANDREW F – RESIDENT FILMMAKER
Directed by Katsuhiro Otomo.
* See the film that is still held as the standard for Animation and Anime in the way it was meant to be seen... IN HD BABY!
Directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara.
* One of the greatest artists of architecture Antonio Gaudi, is presented by one of the greatest artists of cinema Hiroshi Teshigahara... need I say more?
COSMOS WITH CARL SAGAN.****BLU-RAY****
Documentary/Nature/Television/Restoration of Excitement.
Directed by Adrian Malone.
* Time and space is presented through the profound intellect of the author of the book "Contact." Cosmos was an award winning PBS series of the 1980s and shows how far PBS has fallen since then... I wonder if we could have a show today that so eloquently advocates for skeptical inquiry, secular humanism, and the scientific method.
RHAPSODY IN AUGUST.
Sachiko Murase/Hisashi Igawa.
Directed by Akira Kurosawa.
* Another beautiful color film by Akira Kurosawa, which deals with post war Japan through Kurosawa humanistic lens. This film received a lot of criticism for its depiction of the atomic bombing as a war crime. In Kurosawa's defense he maintained that "wars are fought between governments not people."
THE WAYWARD CLOUD.
Kang-Sheng Lee/Shiang-Chyi Chen.
Directed by Tsai Ming-Liang.
* An unflinching and profoundly creative vision from Taiwanese new-wave director Tsai Ming-Liang. Sensual, visual, and playful; There are several scenes in this film that are exactly right,--- provoking that "ahhhh" feeling.
............//NEW ON BLU/............
* There are lovers and haters about nearly everything, right? From what I understand, there are actual people who read this film blog who hate the New York Yankees! I know, I know, that is really hard to understand, but that’s what I’m saying. That is my whole point here. Some they lovers and some they haters. In this particular case, with reference to the film here, my whole meandering point is that we now have it on Blu-Ray and THAT’S ALL I’M SAYING!
* Christmas in London, with 8 frantic couples trying to keep it all in order – yeah good luck with that! Starring Keira Knightley, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson, Bill Nighy, Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Laura Linney, Elisha Cuthbert (should I go on?), January Jones, Rowan Atkinson, Billy Bob Thornton, Alan Rickman, Sienna Guillory, Shannon Elizabeth, Denise Richards, Claudia Schiffer, Bill Moody…geez, the budget on this one!
* Lori Petty, Ice-T and Naomi Watts star in this 1995 comic book adaptation about a punk hero fighting to save the world’s water from an evil corporation! This film takes place in 2033, in about 23+ years…hmmm, could it be prophetic?
LE JOUR SE LEVE.
THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING.