Monday, November 30, 2009

****new release list no.245

Have you been in the back of Four Star Video to SUCCULENCE lately? It is a bit insane back there. We have been working so hard to get the internal store component to our already open succulent and supplies store, and it is very chaotic! However, the light is at the end of the tunnel, and very soon, Bernal Heights’ newest retail establishment will be offering you all sorts of interesting life and garden supplies, such as artisan hand crafted coat hangers and key hooks, and living cactus key chains, home wine vinegar making kits and Italian design goods. Add that to our collection of plants, planters, succulent garden books and living frames and you have an idea of where we are heading. We are grateful to Jeff Lester and The New Bernal Journal who published a short article about us in this month’s issue. And we are excited to add to the amazing flavor of Bernal Heights that is even being written about these days in The New York Times!

We noticed that Blockbuster on Mission Street is closing. Wow, Bernal Heights! That is pretty amazing, don’t you think? Many of you ask me at times, how is it going? In this industry? With all the options out there? And I can see in your eyes that you know the answer. And I can tell you honestly that it is scary, it is hard to imagine the future. That is partly why SUCCULENCE exists. But I can also tell you honestly that the present at Four Star Video is okay! Thank you all for supporting your locally owned and operated video store! And to all you new customers making the transition from the big box, welcome! You will find us to be smaller than you are used to, but look around. Maybe there is something else you might like to watch here that you would never have seen at the old joint. And please give us feedback, our service is our main resource, and we are always psyched to hear how we’re doing.

Wha? You don’t wanna hear me blahblahing about non-movie related stuff? It’s kinda been awhile since I just babbled freely, in free form, exercising my freedom of speech. I find myself thinking sometimes during the week in the voice of this blog, speaking to myself, but really speaking to you, the people on the other end of the wire; sitting, standing, walking (driving?) somewhere, in an office, or in your homes (or cars – or car-homes, as it is tough times) and reading my babble to you, wondering what the new movies are this week and wondering when I’m gonna get to them (You can feel free to exercise your freedom right now and just scroll down to the movie list and read about the newest stuff at Four Star Video this week) or if I’m gonna get to them (which this week, I’m not). Truth is, I rarely remember what it is I wanted to say when I finally get to the writing of this weekly digest. I’ll remember a sliver of a moment late at night when I had a “duh-piphany” about something I wanted to share, and I’ll remember the hint of a flavor of the brilliant moment behind the counter when a great truth about life was revealed in the telling of a plot by a long-time customer and friend. But the meat of the tale, I am unable to recall. Such it is with so many aspects of life (and movies!), where the moment is not about the plot, it’s not about what actually going on, it’s about the way we feel while it is happening. And that’s what we take away. And that’s what I hope you take away from this. Just the feeling…that we are sharing a random moment in a random town on a random planet, where, somehow…improbably, life happened.

Don’t forget, Four Star Video has holiday deals: KenFlix packages of 3 months of any service for 10% off – give it as a Gift Certificate, or buy it for yourself! Four Star T-Shirts and Previously Viewed DVDs for $25 total, tax included. This is an 18% discount. Come in for details! We finally got the brown shirts in men’s large and extra large sizes!

Alrighty then, see you down at the store.

Love and Kisses,
Ken

******************************************************************************
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
******************************************************************************

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

A CHRISTMAS TALE.
Criterion/Drama/Foreign (French).
Catherine Deneuve/Mathieu Amalric.
Directed by Arnaud Desplechin.
* Mental health issues, bone marrow transplant necessities, a shopping list of dislikes and historical bickering lead up to a family holiday season to end all family holiday seasons. Deneuve plays the matriarch of the family struggling for the will to both keep everyone together and finesse the desire to stay alive. Criterion is releasing this 2008 film in its first run on DVD.

BETTY BLUE: DIRECTOR’S CUT.
Drama/Foreign (French).
Beatrice Dalle/Jean-Hugues Anglade.
Directed by Jean-Jacque Beineix.
* Classic 1986 Oscar nominated film about a couple’s tormented love affair and a slow slide into insanity for Betty.

DEADLINE .
Thriller/Drama/Horror.
Brittany Murphy/Thora Birch.
Directed by Sean McConville.
* This horror (horrible?) film is about a young frail screenwriter off in a big house in the country to finish her screenplay before the big “deadline”. Did you see SWIMMING POOL by Francois Ozon? It’s not a horror film, but it reminds me of this premise…

DOUBLE .
Action/Comedy/Foreign (Polish).
Chrysk Littnski/Schilansky Evanchaksi/Kenski Shscylfski/Andreezy/Whtsidski/Jffry McMocksk/Kaiya.
Directed by Marcin Ziebinski.
* Madcap Polish comedy crime film – Chris says I should have a “Ken’s Polish Movies” section.

INTO THE STORM.
Comedy/Drama.
Brendan Gleeson.
Directed by Thaddeus O’Sullivan.
* The continuing saga of Winston Churchill focuses on his wartime leadership and his inability to transfer that success into his political career.

THE JAZZ SINGER: 30th ANNIVERSARY EDITION.
Comedy/Drama.
Neil Diamond/Laurence Olivier/Lucy Arnaz.
Directed by Richard Fleischer.
* Not the Oscar-nominated 1927 original starring Al Jolson, and not the Oscar-nominated 1952 re-make starring Peggy Lee; this is the 1980 Golden Globe nominated version with Diamond playing the role of the son of the cantor who must defy his strict father to fulfill his dreams of becoming a singer.

KATT WILLIAMS: PIMPADELIC.
Standup Comedy.
Katt Williams.

NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: BATTLE AT THE SMITHSONIAN.****ALSO ON BLU-RAY****
Comedy.
Ben Stiller/Amy Adams/Robin Williams/Owen Wilson/Hank Azaria/Steve Coogan/Ricky Gervais/Bill Hader/Dick Van Dyke/Thomas Lennon/Alain Chabat/Clint Howard/Jonah Hill.
Directed by Shawn Levy.
* Part two of this very successful series about museum installations who come to life after dark is really pretty darn funny! The plot involves a slightly convoluted series of technologically driven circumstances that sees the museum being packed up to put into storage in Washington. The mysterious tablet that brings them life is not supposed to go with them, but alas, it does, and Napoleon, Al Capone and Ivan the Terrible join up with Kahmunrah in an attempt to take over the world, or the known universe, or maybe just the after hours party at the Smithsonian. Larry Daley, the erstwhile museum guard must go to D.C. and save the day. Luckily for him, Amelia Earhart (Amy Adams) joins forces with him and wears crazy tight pants! There is lots of smacking, prat-falling, posturing, and chasing to keep you and your kids laughing for most of this film.

PAPER HEART.****ALSO ON BLU-RAY****
Comedy/Romance/Drama.
Michael Cera/Charlyne Yi.
Directed by Nicholas Jasenovec.
* It’s kinda of a mumbled jumbled tumbled fox in sox type of a mockumentary about a young woman traveling the country searching for the meaning of love.

TERMINATOR SALVATION.****ALSO ON BLU-RAY****
Intense Action!/Sci-fi.
Christian Bale/Sam Worthington/Bryce Dallas Howard/Anton Yelchin/Linda Hamilton/Helena Bonham Carter.
Directed by Moritz Borman and Derek Anderson and Victor Kubicek.
* It is 2018 and the world has finally crapped out. Guess what? It wasn’t about global warming, it was the IPhone that did us in, but I digress. John Connor (Bale) who has spent his entire life living in another time (much like Johnny Cash) is leading a small group of survivors who are trying to overthrow the terminators and reclaim technology for the humans! This is so what Steve Jobs would be doing if he was there in the future when the robots have killed almost all of us.

VALLEY OF THE HEARTS DELIGHT.
Drama.
Gabriel Mann/Emily Harrison/Pete Postelthwaite.
Directed by Tim Boxell.

............//DOCUMENTARY/............

BURN TO SHINE: VOLUME 5, SEATTLE.
Rock-Doc.
* Awesome music series featuring many bands playing one song each in a house that is condemned and must burn at the end of the day. In house, we have been loving the others in this series.

HORI SMOKU SAILOR JERRY.
Documentary.
Directed by Erich Weiss.
* Super awesome and foul-mouthed look at the history of tattoos in America featuring many of the legendary artists themselves.

NEW WORLD ORDER.
Documentary.
Directed by Luke Meyer and Andrew Neel.
* Pretty interesting expose of conspiracy theorists and the havoc they can wreak with rumors unfounded possibilities and straight out lies.

............//TELEVISION/............

MENTAL: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON.
Television/Cops and Robbers.
Chris Vance/Annabelle Sciorra
* He’s a shrink, but he’s not super stoned like Kevin Spacey in SHRINK, he’s more superfreaky, but not like Rick James, more like Dr House.

SATURDAY NIGHT LIGHT: SEASON FIVE.
Comedy.
* Steve Martin Blondie, Bob Dylan, Chicago, Tom Petty, Martin Sheen, David Bowie, Dr. Pepper, Elliot Gould, The B-52’s, Gary Numan, Chevy Chase, Marianne Faithful, Paul Simon, James Taylor, Burt Reynolds…come on.

............//KIDS/............

BEN 10: ALIEN SWARM.
* According to my 8-year-old consultant, this show is the shizzay. Did I get that right?

FARZZLE’S WORLD: OH FARZZLE TREE.

MY LITTLE PONY: TWINKLE WISH ADVENTURE.

PLASTIC MAN: COMPLETE COLLECTION.

............//NEW ON BLU/............

LOCK STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELLS.
* The movie that launched Mr. Madonna’s career.

THE MASK OF ZORRO.
* Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins and Catherine Zeta-Jones cavorting around on horses and slicing the letter Z into anything that moves.

SNATCH.
* And, Mr. Madonna’s second film – hey he made the new Sherlock Holmes movie too! And by the way, I know I know, he and Ma-donor are old news, divorced, finito. I still like to think of him as Mr. Madonna.

WAYNE’S WORLD.
Comedy.
* Mike Myers and Dana Carvey doing the shtick we love.

............//REPLACEMENT DVD’S/............

DEAD LIKE ME: COMPLETE FIRST SEASON.

MAD MEN: SEASON TWO.

****

Monday, November 23, 2009

****new release list no.244

Turkey Day rolls around again. Or Soy Fritter Day, whatever your preference… It always strikes me as so bizarre when the President grants a turkey a “pardon” each year. We are such a funny race! Wouldn’t it be humbling if there were some beastie out there that somewhat regularly hunted and ate us? Dominion would be such a challenging concept for us. But I digress…

Did you watch any of last week’s releases? I caught a few, most notably HUMPDAY. Wow, that movie was so brilliant! If you liked THE PUFFY CHAIR or any of the Duplass Brothers films, you may like this one. I also saw an Israeli film from last year called JELLYFISH which I was quite enamored with. It is about three women whose lives barely intersect, all struggling to maintain their equilibrium. Somehow it reminded me of MAGNOLIA, without the heavy male energy, and about an hour and a half shorter.

This week’s big titles include the newest from Judd Apatow, FUNNY PEOPLE. Starring Adam Sandler as a dying comedian and Seth Rogen as his personal assistant/lackey/yes man, this film is funny and its sad and it is a lot quieter all around than Apatow’s last bunch of comedic blockbusters. With Jason Schwartzman and Jonah Hill as Rogen’s young actor housemates and a large cast of comic cameos. In ANGELS AND DEMONS, Tom Hanks reprises his role as symbolist Dr. Robert Langdon from THE DA VINCI CODE. Here, Langdon is trying to protect potential papal candidates from the big bad Illuminati in Vatican City. GOMORRAH is just coming to DVD and being released by Criterion in its first go-round (which says a lot about the film). It is a story of organized crime in Naples, with its bleak, small and violent world having international consequences.

In the lighter department, we have the seasonal comedy FOUR CHRISTMASES starring Vince Vaughn and Reece Witherspoon as a married couple living in SF who think they’ve put their past behind them. Unfortunately, fate leads them to abandon their plan to hide for the holidays, and instead causes them to visit all four of their divorced parents and confront themselves while do so. THE MAIDEN HEIST is the story of some museum guards who decide to take some art with them as they are transferred to a new museum. With Morgan Freeman, William H. Macy and Christopher Walken as the guards.

For the kids, we have the newest Robert Rodriguez film, SHORTS, about a magical rock that grants wishes to all who control it, and SANTA BUDDIES, the newest film in the AIR BUD franchise.

From Taiwan we have a gorgeous travel movie called ISLAND ETUDE about a young man bicycling around the island before college graduation; from France we have MOI ET TOI starring Academy-Award winning actress Marion Cotillard and Julie Depardieu as sisters looking for love; and from Turkey we have THREE MONKEYS, a dramatic tale of a family trying impossibly hard to ignore the difficult reality of their lives.

In the television department, we have a ten hour series about wine called MONDOVINO, as well as season two in the UK version of LIFE ON MARS and an amazing criterion release called THE GOLDEN AGE OF TELEVISION featuring nearly 500 minutes of 50’s era live television performances.

Thinking about your holiday shopping already? Don’t forget the Four Star Holiday sales:

KenFlix packages of 3 months of any service for 10% off – give it as a Gift Certificate! And Four Star T-Shirts and Previously Viewed DVDs for $25 total, tax included. This is an 18% discount. Come in for details! We finally got the brown shirts in men’s large and extra large sizes!

Alrighty then, see you down at the store.

Love and Kisses,
Ken

******************************************************************************
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
******************************************************************************

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

ANGELS & DEMONS.****ALSO ON BLU-RAY****
Adventure/Suspense.
Tom Hanks/Ewan McGregor.
Directed by Ron Howard.
* Hanks reprises his role as Robert Langdon (The Da Vinci Code), this time in Italy, working with (or against) the Illuminati (and presumable wearing a #23 uniform under his dark suit), and trying to prevent murder and terrorism at the Vatican.

FOUR CHRISTMASES****ALSO ON BLU-RAY****
Comedy/Romance.
Vince Vaughn/Reece Witherspoon/Robert Duvall/Sissy Spacek/Jon Voigt/Jon Favreau/Mary Steenburgen.
Directed by Seth Gordon.
* This film has such a relatable premise! A married and successful San Francisco couple without kids, who year after year make up lies (You can’t spell lies without families) to avoid seeing their families. Unfortunately, this year, they get busted on live television and must make the pilgrimage to visit all four of their divorced parents one…painful…visit…at…a time! Sounds hilarious doesn’t it? And something tells me that it is…

FUNNY PEOPLE.****ALSO ON BLU-RAY****
Comedy/Drama.
Seth Rogen/Adam Sandler/Leslie Mann/Eric Bana/Jason Schwartzman/Jonah Hill/Sarah Silverman.
Directed by Judd Apatow.
* I think this film might have come off more personally explanative than Apatow might have expected. Funny people? They are sad and lonely and mean and abusive and fucked up. And such as life. For George Simmons (Sandler, somewhat toned down and therefore more believable than usual), a terminal diagnosis causes him to long for a less sad and lonely existence, which leads him to Ira Wright, a struggling young standup comic who worships Simmons. And under his wing he goes, working as George’s personal assistant, which includes such tasks as being insulted, sitting with him while he tries to sleep and keeping the groupies warm while George is otherwise occupied. None of which especially bothers Ira. It seems the entertainment world is brutal, and a thick skin is critical for success, as evidenced by Ira’s relationships with his housemates, Mark (Schwatzman) who is starring in a Disney-style sitcom called YO TEACH, and Leo (Hill), another struggling comic. The three of them share a vicious back and forth relationship where backstabbing and emasculation are just the appetizers. For Ira, the job with George represents a possible break, and he’ll do ‘almost’ anything to keep that job. For George however, he wonders if all the cutthroat decisions he’s made were worth it, now that his life appears to be ending early. All that changes when the experimental treatment he is getting for his illness works and his health fully returns. Featuring many other funny people cameos, such as Silverman, Paul Reiser, Norm MacDonald, Eminem and more.

GOMORRAH.****ALSO ON BLU-RAY****
Criterion/Drama/Crime/Foreign (Italian/Mandarin/French).
Toni Servillo/Gianfelice Imparato/Salvatore Cantalupo/Salvatore Abruzzese.
Directed by Matteo Garrone.
* Five interlocking stories about organized crime in Naples are told in this gripping award winning moralistic film. In the slums of Naples, there is no way to avoid taking sides, you are either with the Camorra or you are with a secessionist gang and therefore the enemy. For Toto, there is no question. As a 13-year-old with no problems with anyone, he jump into gang life by retrieving a gun and a mysterious package he witnesses being tossed aside during a raid by the police. Part of his initiation involves being shot point blank while wearing a bullet-proof vest. The shooter asks him, “Are you scared”? Yes, Toto, answers, honestly, and then takes his bullet like a man. The bleakness of the life is illustrated over and over again. As in the story of Marco and Ciro, two young toughs who steal some guns and then shoot them off shouting and posturing about the stupidity they perceive of the head honchos of the gang. Then, later, after they’ve been beaten and threatened, Ciro just wants to be left alone, accusing Marco of not caring if they grow into adulthood. Which appears at that moment extremely unlikely.

ISLAND ETUDE.
Drama/Foreign (Mandarin/Taiwanese/Lithuanian/English).
Ming-hsiang Tung.
Directed by Huai-en Chen.
* This beautiful little travelogue of a film makes Taiwan look like quite the beautiful place! Ming (Tung) is a young man on the verge of college graduation when he decides to cycle around the island before he begins the next stage of his life. As he travels, he is open to the world, and all of its possibilities, and meets companions nearly everywhere he goes. As a deaf man, his ability to interact with the world is somewhat altered, and we feel and see the world through his eyes and the natural beauty of the water and the mountains prevails. An eclectic soundtrack keeps things moving.

THE MAIDEN HEIST.
Comedy/Crime.
Morgan Freeman/Christopher Walken/William H. Macy/Marcia Gay Harden.
Directed by.
* Don’t you just wish sometimes, when you get a new job, that some of your surroundings from your old job would move along with you? That is how these museum security guards feel, and that is why they decide to steal some of the paintings they’ve grown to love. Fair enough.

SANTA BUDDIES.
Family.
Craig Anton/Andrew Astor/Tom Bosley/Tim Conway.
Directed by Robert Vince.
* I think this is like, number 9 in the AIR BUD series.

SHORTS.
Family.
Jimmy Bennett/Jon Cryer/William H. Macy/Leslie Mann/James Spader.
Directed by Robert Rodriguez.
* In this sardonic suburban kids tale, a boy finds a rock with the power to grant wishes and everyone in his town will stop at nothing to get their hands on it.

THREE MONKEYS.
Drama/Foreign (Turkish).
Yavuz Bingol/Hatice Aslan/Rifat Sungar.
Directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan.
* Bilge Ceylan won the Best Director award at Cannes Film Festival in 2008 for this film, and it was also nominated for the Golden Palm award. It is the story of a family in Turkey, ignoring the reality of what is happening around them with the hopes of just continuing on as a unit despite the obvious chaos and destruction of their situation.

TOI ET MOI.
Comedy/Drama/Romance/Foreign (French).
Marion Cotillard/Julie Depardieu/Jonathan Zaccai.
Directed by Julie Lopes-Curval.
* Romantic comedy about two sisters looking for love, or perhaps avoiding it. One sister is a romance writer, and at times the film has fantasy sequences following her imagination. The other sister is a cellist and the film is filled with string music that gently carries it along. Featuring Oscar-winning actress Marion Cotillard (LA VIE EN ROSE).

............//DOCUMENTARY/............

THEY TURNED OUR DESERT INTO FIRE.
Documentary/Social Commentary.
Directed by Mark Brecke.
* Award-winning filmmaker (and local resident) Brecke has been chronicling world genocide for over a decade. This film gives us an inside look at the tragedy going on in Darfur and offers some explanations as to why it has been allowed to happen.

............//TELEVISION/............

THE GOLDEN AGE OF TELEVISION.
Criterion/Live Television.
* This 485 minute, thee-disc collection is full of live broadcasts of 1950’s era television, featuring the show MARTY (1953), PATTERNS (1955), NO TIME FOR SERGEANTS ( 1955), BANG THE DRUM SLOWLY (1956), REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT (1956) and more. Also featuring performances and directing by such up-and-coming names such as Paul Newman, Mickey Rooney, Rod Steiger, Rod Serling, Mel Torme, Jack Palance, Andy Griffith, Julie Harris, and Piper Laurie.

LIFE ON MARS (UK): SEASON TWO.
Television/Cops and Robbers.
* Continuing to update our collection with Season Two of the original UK version of this show about a cop who wakes up in the 1970’s. The clothes are great.

MONDOVINO: COMPLETE SERIES.
Television/Vino.
Directed by Jonathan Nossiter.
* This ten-hour in-depth wine series features a glimpse inside the globalization of the wine industry, and examines production in many countries around the world. It is chock full of autumn arrays of apricot kernels, cinnamon, peach and horseradish with a buttery bright character and a big finish.

............//KIDS/............

SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS: TWO-DISC COLLECTION.
* Quick, name the dwarfs.

............//NEW ON BLU/............

INK.
Sci-Fi
* Very weird new sci-fi film featuring alternate realities, and more – plus, our copy is a signed copy!

............//REPLACEMENT DVD’S/............

DEATH NOTE 1.
* Ding!

****

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

****new release list no.243


We’ve got our second biggest release day this year at Four Star Video. Serious batches of movies here. The big titles? BRUNO starring Sacha Baron Cohen as the way out fashionista bombshell craving fame and looking for it in all the wrong places…with a wonderful cameo by Ron Paul. STAR TREK (09), the latest offering from the space crew, this time featuring some awesome futuristic footage of San Francisco in a parallel universe story that kind of explains some of the beginnings of the original cast. Then there is the new one from Jim Jarmusch called LIMITS OF CONTROL .Surprisingly, it is the story of a mysterious loner.

We’ve got some indie comedy here, such as THE OPEN ROAD, starring Jeff Bridges and Justin Timberlake about an awkward father-son reunion. Then there’s THE GOODS: LIVE HARD, SELL HARD starring Jeremy Priven as a very successful used car salesmen. Also in store are HUMPDAY and MY EFFORLESS BRILLIANCE, both by emerging comedic director, Lynn Shelton.

IS ANYBODY THERE? is a film about a young boy living in an old folks home who strikes up a friendship with a retired magician played by Michael Caine. WILD CHILD is the newest Emma Roberts film where she plays a snotty teenager who must get sent to boarding school. MY SISTER’S KEEPER is an intense story about a young girl (Abigail Breslin) fighting to gain medical emancipation from her family for whom she only exists to donate her organs to her dying older sister. With Alec Baldwin as her attorney and Cameron Diaz as the zealous mother.

THIRST is the newest from Chan-Wook Park (OLD BOY, SYMPATHY FOR LADY VENGEANCE, I’M A CYBORG, BUT THAT’S OKAY) about a priest who accidently becomes a vampire and then delves hard into his life of sin.

There is also a new live Nirvana concert (NIRVANA: LIVE AT READING), some great stand up (MARGARET CHO: BEAUTIFUL) and some good television including what’s being called the Spanish L Word (GIRL SEEKS GIRL) and a Christmas special from IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA (A VERY SUNNY CHRISTMAS).

There is a bunch of new Blu-Ray titles, as well as some good replacement DVD’s as well. Scroll down for more info.

And don’t forget the Four Star Holiday sales:

KenFlix packages of 3 months of any service for 10% off! Four Star T-Shirts and Previously Viewed DVDs for $25 total, tax included. This is an 18% discount. Come in for details!

Alrighty then, see you down at the store.

Love and Kisses,
Ken

******************************************************************************
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
******************************************************************************

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

BRUNO.****ALSO ON BLU-RAY****
Comedy/Social Commentary.
Sacha Baron Cohen/Gustav Hammarsten/Ron Paul.
Directed by Larry Charles.
* Baron Cohen plays Bruno, an Austrian desperate for fame and full of male sexual energy. In the style of his other work, Baron Cohen works in scripted and unscripted vignette’s frequently with celebrities and otherwise who don’t know they are being set up. His comedy rides the line between brilliant social commentary and cringe worthy bathroom humor. Still, his scenes with Ron Paul and LaToya Jackson make this film worth seeing.

DOWNHILL RACER.
Drama/Criterion.
Robert Redford.
Directed by Michael Ritchie.
* From Criterion: With its thrilling cinematography, kinetic editing, and charismatic star performance from Robert Redford, Michael Ritchie’s Downhill Racer is one of cinema's most critically acclaimed examinations of the life of an athlete, one that Roger Ebert called “the best movie ever made about sports.” Not that audiences noticed at the time: this masterly look at competitive skiing was perhaps too uncompromising in its depiction of the lengths to which an athlete must go to be the best, and too artful in its sensibility, to connect at the box office in 1969. But now this buried treasure is available for the first time on DVD, in a Criterion special edition, and you can see for yourself the state-of-the-art ski photography that has influenced the way we’ve viewed the sport ever since. The release features, among other supplements, an exclusive new interview with Redford, a skiing enthusiast for whom this film was a labor of love..

FRANKLYN.
Drama/Fantasy/Romance/Thriller.
Eva Green/Ryan Phillippe/Sam Riley.
Directed by Gerald McMorrow.
* From Amazon: Four souls bound by fate, romance and tragedy collide in the parallel worlds of London and the futuristic Meanwhile City, where a single bullet will alter the course of their lives forever. A masked detective, a self-destructive art student, a desperate father, and a lovelorn romantic are just a few of the unforgettable characters in this visually stunning fantasy thriller starring Eva Green (Casino Royale), Sam Riley (Control), Ryan Phillippe (Crash), Richard Coyle (Coupling), Bernard Hill (The Lord of the Rings), Art Malik (The Wolf Man), and Susannah York (Superman).

GIGANTIC
Comedy/Romance.
Zooey Deschanel/Paul Dano/John Goodman/Ed Asner.
Directed by Matt Aselton.
* A delusional love story about a mattress salesman and a quirky chick named Happy he meets right as he is applying to adopt a baby from China.

THE GOODS: LIVE HARD, SELL HARD.
Comedy.
Jeremy Priven/Ving Rhames/James Brolin.
Directed by Lance Hammer.
* Priven plays Don Ready, a hard-partying, hard selling used car guru, hired by a sinking auto dealership to move 200 cars in 3 days over July 4th weekend. As much as he wants to sell these cars, he wants the owner of the dealership’s daughter even more. Produced by Will Ferrell.

HUMPDAY.
Comedy.
Mark Duplass/Joshua Leonard.
Directed by Lynn Shelton.
* Two brofriends, reuniting after a short while, find themselves at an artist party where everyone is talking about an amateur porn festival they are getting involved in called Hump Fest. Somehow, these two are goaded into making a porn film starring themselves as two straight men getting it on. Of course their heterosexuality and the fact that one of them is married pose difficulties to actually pulling it off (no pun intended). Will they be able to overcome their phobias (and vows)?

IS ANYBODY THERE?****ALSO ON BLU-RAY****
Drama/Foreign (British).
Michael Caine/Bill Milner.
Directed by John Crowley.
* Bill Milner plays Edward, a curious ten-year-old, living in an old folks home that his parents operate. While there is chaos going on around him, both involving his family and the people who are interned in the home, he is filled with questions, and spends his time interviewing the old folks trying to answer his questions about life, death and beyond. Soon he meets Clarence (Caine), a retired magician who is trying to answer the same questions. Together they form a friendship that provides important answers to both of them.

LIMITS OF CONTROL.
Crime/Drama/Thriller.
Isaach De Bankole/Tilda Swinton/Gael Garcia Bernal/Bill Murray/Hiam Abbass.
Directed by Jim Jarmusch.
* Set in Spain, De Bankole plays a mysterious loner, existing outside the law with a secret objective. In fact, just about everyone in this film appears to play some mysterious archetype with a secret objective. This will be a very polarizing film. There will be many people who want more out of their entertainment who will just not be able to get into this strange, quiet story. I have read some who feel like this is his worst film. However those same people hated STRANGER THAN PARADISE and DOWN BY LAW, which I think were incredibly brilliant films. So there you go, you be the judge.

MARGARET CHO: BEAUTIFUL.
Standup Comedy.
Margaret Cho.
* Margaret Cho shows why she is one of the funniest comics in America.

MY EFFORTLESS BRILLIANCE.
Drama/Comedy.
Basil Harris/Sean Nelson.
Directed by Lynn Shelton.
* From the same director as the aforementioned HUMPDAY, this film is also a sort of buddy film. It is about a couple of brofriends who break up as a result of their constant bickering. Eventually a reconciliation is attempted and the two get a real deeper understanding of their friendship. Have you heard of mumblecore? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mumblecore

MY SISTER’S KEEPER.****ALSO ON BLU-RAY****
Drama.
Cameron Diaz/Abigail Breslin/Alec Baldwin/Jason Patric/Joan Cusack.
Directed by Nick Cassavetes.
* Breslin, the little girl from LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE is getting older. In this she plays Anna, a little girl whose family has basically raised her to be a organ donor for her older sister who is dying of leukemia. She enlists the aid of an attorney (Baldwin) to win medical emancipation from her family so that she can live her life as a normal kid, free from the constant medical tests she is forced to go through to make sure she is a compatible donor. With Cameron Diaz as her obsessed mother.

THE OPEN ROAD.****ALSO ON BLU-RAY****
Comedy/Drama.
Justin Timberlake/Jeff Bridges/Mary Steenburgen/Lyle Lovett/Harry Dean Stanton.
Directed by Michael Meredith.
* Timberlake plays Carlton Garrett, an estranged son getting in contact with his ex-baseball star dad (Bridges). Together with his girlfriend, they embark on a road trip to go see Garrett’s ailing mom.

STAR TREK (09).****ALSO ON BLU-RAY****
Sci-Fi/Action.
Chris Pine/Zachary Quinto/John Cho/Simon Pegg/Eric Bana/Winona/Nimoy.
Directed by J. J. Abrams.
* In this parallel universe prequelish action flick, the origins of the original crew are somewhat explained. Kirk is showed to be a feckless arrogant troublemaker, who bothers nearly everyone he comes in touch with. With huge futuristic special effects and exciting earth footage, this is one of the better movies of the entire franchise, if not the best.

THIRST.
Horror/Foreign (Korean/English/French).
Kang-Ho Song/Ok-Vin Kim.
Directed by Chan-Wook Park.
* From the director of the OLD BOY vengeance trilogy, and I’M A CYBORG, BUT THAT’S OKAY (Awesome film) comes this vampire tale about a priest who volunteers to take test a vaccine. When the test goes bad, and he is near death, he receives a tainted blood transfusion that saves him, but makes him a vampire. Now, as he struggles to maintain his humanity, he finds himself getting deeper and deeper into a sensual relationship with sin.

VAMPIRE PARTY.
Comedy/Horror/Foreign (French).
Patrick Mille/Frederique Bel.
Directed by Stephen Cafiero and Vincent Lobelle.
* The tagline is “This Party Is Gonna Suck. Let’s hope the film doesn’t.

WILD CHILD.
Comedy/Teen.
Emma Roberts/Natasha Richardson.
Directed by Nick Moore.
* Nah, not the Truffaut film, but not similar either. In this teen queen film, Emma Roberts plays a spoiled brat who gets shipped off to boarding school.

WRONG TURN AT TAHOE.
Action/Suspense/Crime.
Cuba Gooding, Jr/Harvey Keitel.
Directed by Franck Khalfoun.
* It’s a real reverse Darwin type film, or maybe like a David and Goliath…You could say Twins-Yankees, but the Yankees won, so maybe not. Anyway, the one bad guy kills the bigger bad guy without realizing that the bigger bad guy works for an even bigger bad guy who now wants to kill the little bad guy.

............//DOCUMENTARY/............

NIRVANA: LIVE AT READING.
Rock!
Kurt/Krist/Dave.
* One of those “must-see” concert movies for true fans. Nirvana was headlining UK’s Reading Festival when this was filmed, Aug 30th, 1992.

............//TELEVISION/............

ART 21: 5th SEASON.
Art Doc.
* From Amazon: Through in-depth profiles and dynamic behind-the-scenes footage featuring artists from around the world, speaking directly about their inspirations and ideas, Season Five shows a broad range of artistic practice, technical innovation, and experimentation, from artists tackling large-scale collaborative projects in hangar-like studios, to those working in the quiet of more intimate studio settings.

GIRL SEEKS GIRL.
Web Television/LGBT.
* It’s a sort of Spanish L WORD, following a group of hot Madrid lesbians in and out of each other’s beds.

IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA: A VERY SUNNY CHRISTMAS.
Comedy.
* The Christmas special.

LIFE ON MARS (UK): SEASON ONE.
Television.
* The original, about a cop who wakes after an accident to find himself 30+ years in the past.

............//KIDS/............

EGON AND DONCI.

............//NEW ON BLU/............

CHASING AMY.
* Can a heterosexual male convert his newest crush from a lipstick lesbian to his beloved? You never know....

CLERKS.
* My very favorite of Kevin Smith’s films; sadly, his first.

LEON THE PROFESSIONAL.
* The Luc Besson film starring Jean Reno, Gary Oldman and a 13-year-old Natalie Portman.

WONDER OF IT ALL.
* Amazing moon footage on BD. We have this on regular DVD and it has rented just once…why? It is really quite beautiful.

............//REPLACEMENT DVD’S/............

ALIENS.
* Not just one.

21 GRAMS.
* New copy, collector’s edition.

THE YES MEN.
* Another copy of this film in anticipation of his new movie THE COLLAPSE. Also by Chris Smith, AMERICAN MOVIE and HOME MOVIE.

****

Monday, November 9, 2009

****new release list no.242

Discounts, Holiday Sales, Holiday Savings, Love and More!

We’ve got action at Four Star Video! I’ve been reading a bit about the outlook for the retail industry during the 2009 Holiday Season. Bleak – but better than last year, they say (those pundits – how does one get a job as a pundit?). Discounts and holiday deals will be heavily in play this season, as businesses try to convince customers to open their pocketbooks and spend. Alrighty then, if it is discounts and holiday deals you want, then that’s what you shall get. Starting right now we are offering a few excellent deals.

First up, we are offering a Four Star T-Shirt and previously viewed DVD combo pack for $25 total. The shirts are usually $20 and the movies are $8. With tax they cost $30.76. But for the next eight weeks they will be $25 for a savings of over 18%! Whoop whoop. For all those of you who have wished we had the brown Four Star Tee’s in Men’s Large and Extra-Large – we have ordered a big batch more of those sizes, which will be in by November 20th.

Next we have Kenflix holiday deals for the first time at Four Star. You can buy these for yourself, or you can buy them for a friend with a Gift Certificate. The deal is 3 months of any subscription for 10% off. So an ESUB (see below for plan details) is usually $29.99 for three months but is now $26.98. The 1SUB is usually 56.97 for three months but is now $51.27. The 3SUB is usually $74.97 but now is $67.47 and the 4SUB, which normally is $98.97, is $89.07. These prices are for a three (3) month subscription and are non-refundable. If you buy them on a Gift Certificate, they will start when the giftee brings in the certificate and activates their subscription. If you buy it for yourself, they are good to go immediately. If you already have KenFlix, this will go into affect the 1st of the following month after you purchase.

These two deals are available now. Look for more holiday sales from us as we approach the holiday season. Thanks for shopping at Four Star Video! You keep us in business and for that we salute you.

There are a couple Hollywood romantic comedies in this week. In THE UGLY TRUTH, Katherine Heigl is the object of her colleagues sociological love experiments. And in THE ACCIDENTAL HUSBAND, Uma Thurman plays a love doctor trying to become unmarried from someone who played a prank on her but discovers feelings for the merry prankster.

UP is out this week. In case you haven’t heard of it, UP is the latest animated feature from Pixar and it is truly amazing. Great for adults, great for kids (especially about 7 years and up, although I know many of you have very advanced movie watching kids).

BALLAST is a highly decorated indie film that won the BEST DIRECTION award at Sundance. It is the story of some people living in rural Mississippi dealing with grief and fear and attempting to reopen their hearts to life. It is highly recommended by the critics.

Also of note, INK is a way weird tripped out looking sci-fi indie film and RETHINKING AFGHANISTAN is the latest from Robert Greenwald (OUTFOXED). Lastly, there are a few more from Andrew’s NEW HIGHLIGHTED ADDITIONS that you should totally check out. Did anyone watch THE WAYWARD CLOUD last week? Whoa!

Alrighty then, see you down at the store.

Love and Kisses,
Ken

******************************************************************************
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
******************************************************************************

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

THE ACCIDENTAL HUSBAND.
Comedy/Romance.
Uma Thurman/Jeffrey Dean Morgan/Colin Firth/Isabella Rossellini/Sam Shepard.
Directed by Griffin Dunne.
* Uma plays Dr. Emma Lloyd, a successful radio host of a love advice program. She appears to have it so together and gives her smug advice out to her listeners, without any fear of her advice biting her in the butt. Alas, when she gives advice to a fireman (Morgan)’s fiancĂ©e that doesn’t sit well with him, he decides to get revenge by somehow marrying her through the internet (huh?). This becomes especially irritating to the good doctor, when she makes the discovery right as she herself is preparing to be married. Can she find her accidental husband and obtain an annulment before her big day? And, in the end, is that actually what she wants? I mean seriously, who wouldn’t want to be married to some big hot fireman!

A WOMAN IN BERLIN.
Drama/War/Foreign (German/Russian).
Nina Hoss.
Directed by Max Farberbock.
* Based on a real diary written in the final days of WWII, the story focuses on the invasion of the Russians in Berlin and the atrocities that occurred there.

BALLAST.****ALSO ON BLU-RAY****
Drama.
Michael J. Smith, Jr./Tarra Riggs/Johnny McPhail/JimMyron Ross.
Directed by Lance Hammer.
* The list of awards this film garnished is impressive, including Best Direction at Sundance. The story is of a single mother, living in a Mississippi delta town and struggling to survive. Made using a similar style as the Dogme 95 film philosophy.

INK.
Sci-Fi/Action/Fantasy.
Chris Kelly/Jessica Duffy/Quinn Hunchar.
Directed by Jamin Winans.
* Dreamy nightmarey good and evil sleepy sci-fi weirdness indie flick with high ratings.

MADE IN FRANCE.
Comedy/Drama/Foreign (French).
Patrick Ligardes/Atmen Kelif.
Directed by Ahmed Bouchaala and Zakia Tahri.

THE UGLY TRUTH.****ALSO ON BLU-RAY****
Comedy/Romance.
Katherine Heigl/Gerard Butler/Cheryl Hines/.
Directed by Robert Luketic.
* Poor Katherine Heigl, first she is accidentally impregnated by Seth Rogen, then she is humiliated by James Marden for wearing too many wedding dresses and now this! She is the test case dummy for a chauvinistic co-worker testing out his relationship theories on her. Wow, if she wasn’t totally rich and beautiful, I’d feel really bad for her.

UP.****ALSO ON BLU-RAY****
Animation/Family/Adventure/Comedy.
Ed Asner/Christopher Plummer/Jordan Nagai.
Directed by Pete Docter and Bob Peterson.
* Pixar’s latest greatest and probably soon-to-be Academy Award winning animation is also one of the more complicated to analyze. Riding the razor-thin line between kid’s film and adult film, UP has many sequences that will appeal directly to adults and many that seem to be more kid-oriented, but not like a normal kids film. Somehow Pixar is able to refine kids palettes and even speed up the maturation process (when it comes to film appreciation) while providing relatively brilliant entertainment. I saw this with a big group of kids and adults, and everyone loved it, and nearly everyone cried. The smaller kids were definitely traumatized by the chase sequences and the very naughty bad guy who was homicidal, psychopathic, and generally not a sweetheart. The adults were traumatized by the aging process, elusive unfulfilled dreams, and a very real fear of death. The opening sequence is one of the more sublime and brilliant ten minutes in any film I have ever seen, as a young boy and a young girl meet, become friends, experience the uninhibited joy of childhood, enter puberty, fall in love with each other, marry, glide through a love-filled though hard working childless adulthood, experience great lows and great highs, get old and eventually suffer through the loss of companionship resulting from one of their deaths. Wow! My sister’s boyfriend and I sat next to each other with tears streaming down our faces in utter awe and amazement at this beautiful and tender story told almost without the use of any dialog. The kids also sat enraptured, not quite understanding what was going on, but being moved emotionally, while being introduced to the main character. The film settles down a bit after that as we have learned what led Carl Frederickson (Asner) to his current state of old, alone and living in a condemned building. Carl is not going quietly to the old-age home; in fact he is rage rage raging against the dying of the light! He ties thousand of balloons to his building and quite soon afterwards he and the film go up, literally, into the sky heading to South American to finally realize his life’s dream. What he doesn’t count on is a stowaway in the form of eight-year old Russell, a young and equally lonely boy trying to get a badge for helping the elderly. He also doesn’t count on meeting a pack of talking dogs nor his encountering his old childhood hero, the afore-mentioned villain, who has spent the better part of his life tracking a super rare bird, who he hopes to kill/stuff/and bring back to civilization to prove its existence. A bit convoluted, yes, but it works, and it works quite well. What we eventually have is a very mismatched but extremely heartfelt buddy movie, where the buddies must rely on each other (and one very loving dog named Dug) to triumph over adversity (and potentially death) in order to get home safely.

............//DOCUMENTARY/............

RETHINK AFGHANISTAN.
Documentary.
Directed by Robert Greenwald.
* This in-depth documentary considers the history of the culture and ethnicity of Afghanistan and explores the current conflict regarding the cause and effects on the people of the country as well as the war cost on the taxpayers of America. Made by the director of OUTFOXED and stunningly, XANADU.

............//TELEVISION/............

THE THREE STOOGES COLLECTION: V07 1952-1954.
Television/Comedy.
Larry/Moe/Curly.

............//KIDS/............

A CHRISTMAS CAROL: SCROOGE’S GHOSTLY TALE.

PIPPI LONGSTOCKING: PIPPI’S CHRISTMAS.

SANTA APPRENTICE.

SESAME STREET: 40 YEARS OF SUNNY DAYS.

SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS: TRUTH OR SQUARE.

TIMOTHY GOES TO SCHOOL.

............//HIGHLIGHTED NEW ADDITIONS FROM ANDREW/............

ALL REVIEWS BY ANDREW F – RESIDENT FILMMAKER

DERSU UZALA.
Adventure/Drama/Foreign (Russian).
Maksim Munzuk/Yuri Solomin.
Directed by Akira Kurosawa.
* Made shortly after Kurosawa's production company went bankrupt (and shortly after Kurosawa's suicide attempt), DERSU UZALA was commissioned by the Russian Soviet government, and gave Kurosawa a chance to get out of Japan and away from the Japanese film industry that had nearly broken him. This film is important both for its significance in this filmmaker’s career and also as an example of uniqueness that comes from international co-productions.

MADADAYO.
Drama/Foreign (Japanese/English).
Tatsuo Matsumura.
Directed by Akira Kurosawa.
* Akira Kurosawa's very last film before dying shortly after its completion. The film's themes meditate on how life changes in its approach to death. A relevant final message from this great artist.

............//NEW ON BLU/............

GODZILLA (1998).
* With Matthew Broderick as the monster.

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE.
* The classic 1946 Jimmy Stewart film about a disconsolate business owner (doh!) shown by an angel what life would be like for his friends and neighbors and family members if he had never existed.

MONSTERS, INC.
* The fourth Pixar feature about monsters who generate power by scaring children (does that sound simplistic?).

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

BARCELONA.
Comedy/Drama/Romance.
Directed by Whit Stillman.
* This 1994 film, by the director of THE LAST DAYS OF DISCO is about (as the tagline says) Americans. Anti-Americans. In Love.

SUPERMAN III.

SUPERMAN IV.

............//REPLACEMENT DVD’S/............

BIG LOVE: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON.
* I finally watched the first two hours of this series last night, and I really enjoyed it. You probably already know it is the tale of a polygamist family with a husband, three wives and a batch of kids, and the struggles they have keeping their affairs in order. Doesn’t it seem like one of the crazy strengths of these HBO shows is that no matter how far-fetched, or fringed the main characters are (mafia, undertakers, polygamists) they are still so amazingly relatable? Somehow these shows make it easy to relate to people living otherwise extraordinarily different lives, instead of magnifying our differences.

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: THE COMPLETE SIXTH SEASON.

GREY’S ANATOMY: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON.

SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE.
* I honestly think the time travel scene where he flies around the planet in the opposite direction of our usual spin to reverse time and get back to where he can save Lois’s life is one of the most tangible time travel methodologies every hypothesized.

SUPERMAN II.

****

Monday, November 2, 2009

****new release list no.241

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,
Ken

******************************************************************************
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
******************************************************************************

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

ALIENS IN THE ATTIC.
Comedy/Sci-Fi/Family.
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****
Comedy/Romance.
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).
Drama.
Angelica Huston.
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.
Noir.
* Movie here include, THE BIG HEAT, 5 AGAINST THE HOUSE, THE LINEUP, MURDER BY CONTRACT, THE SNIPER.

FULL GROWN MEN.****
Comedy/Drama.
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****
Action/Adventure.
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.
Comedy/Romance.
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.
Drama/Foreign (Arabic/Hebrew/French/English).
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.
Comedy.
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.

THE MEN.
Drama.
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****
Suspense/Thriller.
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.

PARAISO TRAVEL.
Drama/Foreign (Spanish).
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****
Action/Suspense.
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.
Comedy/HBO.
Will Ferrell.
Directed by.
* 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.
Criterion/Fantasy/Drama/Romance/Foreign (German/English/French/Turkish/Hebrew/Spanish).
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.

............//DOCUMENTARY/............

BELA FLECK: THROW DOWN YOUR HEART.****IN STORE THURSDAY****
Documentary/Music.
Bela Fleck.
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.

FOOD, INC.
Documentary.
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.

THE MEERKATS.
Nature Doc.
Narrated by Paul Newman.
Directed by James Honeyborne.
* It’s a nature doc about Meerkats narrated by the late Paul Newman.

UNMISTAKEN CHILD.
Documentary/Foreign (English/Tibetan/Hindi/Nepali).
Tenzin Zopa.
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.

............//TELEVISION/............

ART 21: SEASON FIVE.
Documentary.
* 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.
Sci-Fi/Animation/Nostalgia.
* 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.
Adventure/Television.
Guy Williams/Gene Sheldon.
Directed by.
* 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?

............//KIDS/............

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

AKIRA.****BLU-RAY****
Animation/Action/Mystery/Sci-Fi/Thriller/Foreign (Japanese).
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!

ANTONIO GAUDI.
Criterion/Documentary/Foreign (Japanese/Spanish).
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.
Elements/Theories/Stardust.
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.
Drama/Foreign (Japanese).
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.
Musical/Comedy/Drama/Foreign (Mandarin).
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/............

FORREST GUMP.
* 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!

LOVE ACTUALLY.
* 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!

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

TANK GIRL.
* 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?

............//REPLACEMENT DVD’S/............

LE JOUR SE LEVE.

THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING.

****