My gosh, I missed the blog last week! I am sorry about that. It was two of those weekends all crammed into one. There were great films that came in, highlighted by BLACK DYNAMITE which is a brilliant homage to the blaxsploitation films of yesteryear. Two other films from last week that got a lot of buzz were HUNGER by Steve McQueen about the final weeks of the life of IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands, and GOOD HAIR, a documentary narrated by Chris Rock about African-American hairstyles.
This week we have a myriad of indie films, some big Hollywood films and a nice batch of documentaries as well. The indie films (ALEXANDER (THE LAST), SWEDISH AUTO, LOVE CONQUERS PAUL) tend to be about loner types trying to bridge the gap between desiring love and sharing it. They tend also to be hit or miss, but I watch so many of them looking for that big hit. The jury is out on these.
Matt Damon stars in THE INFORMANT! a new film by Steven Soderbergh. Dark and richly comedic, Damon plays a man cooperating with the FBI on a price-fixing investigation. In MOTHERHOOD, Uma Thurman gives us an example of a challenging parental day. If you are a parent, you may either relate to this as so many days you’ve experienced, or not want to watch someone else’s misery. If you are not a parent – this movie may serve as good birth control! In EVERYBODY’S FINE, everybody is NOT fine. That may be the point, as Robert De Niro finds out.
BLOOD ON THE FLAT TRACKS picks up where WHIP IT left off. This film is a documentary about the renaissance that roller derby is enjoying and tracks its history and the super women who are involved. THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE is a doc about the 2007 September issue of Vogue magazine, and the crazy amount of work that went into it. There are several other fashion related things out this week, such as ELEVEN MINUTES, a doc about a French designer’s first runway show, and PROJECT RUNWAY, the popular television show.
Speaking of television, NURSE JACKIE is here! This is Edie Falco’s (The Soprano’s) new show about a drug addicted nurse in a rundown hospital in New York. Falco is as charismatic as ever. Also out from the small screen is INSPECTOR LEWIS, a new crime series from the UK, as well as SET 14 of THE MIDSOMER MURDERS, and a super freaky weird animated show called SUPERJAIL! that looks like it is only for those of you with very odd taste.
Out in the world, I feel the spring trying to break in, and I am excited! Let your passion for life overwhelm you today! Take a surprising walk for ten minutes, smile at a stranger. All we have is this moment, how weird is that?
Oh, by the way, NOISEPOP 2010 is here, and I am going to see my wife, Amy, play with her choir CONSPIRACY OF VENUS at the Swedish American Music Hall above Café DuNord as the opening act for John Vanderslice this very Friday night. Won’t some of you join me? Buy tix here.
Alrighty then, see you down at the store.
Love and Kisses,
KenFlix - the only Independent Monthly Subscription Film Renting Service in SF
If you are going to make a monthly commitment, make it a local one.
No due dates. No late fees.
ESUB -One Movie at a time – Three movies total – $9.99 + Tax/Month
1SUB - One Movie at a time – Unlimited exchange – $18.99 + Tax/Month
3SUB - Three Movies at a time – Unlimited exchange – $24.99 + Tax/Month
4SUB - Four Movies at a time – Unlimited exchange – $32.99 + Tax/Month
ALEXANDER (THE LAST).
Jess Weixler/Justin Rice/Josh Hamilton.
Directed by Joe Swanberg.
* This indie explores the relationship between a married stage actor and her co-star as they struggle to maintain the line between their imaginary relationship and their real one.
THE BOX (2009).****BD****
Cameron Diaz/James Marsden/Frank Langella.
Directed by Richard Kelly.
* Thriller about a couple who receive a box with the knowledge that if they open it a stranger will die and they will receive a million dollars. What…will…they…do!
BREAKFAST WITH SCOT.
Noah Bernett/Thomas Cavanagh.
Directed by Laurie Lynd.
* Heartwarming film about a gay couple who become the guardian’s for an eleven-year-old boy whose mother has died of an overdose. The guys never wanted kids but fall in love with this little charmer.
THE DAMNED UNITED.****BD****
Michael Sheen/Jim Broadbent/Timothy Spall.
Directed by Tom Hooper.
* This film follows Brian Clough through his 44-day tenure as manager of the Leeds United football team (that’s soccer to you Americans). His time there was marked by one battle after another between Clough and the players and Clough and the management. He came into the job with a chip on his shoulder and a strong feeling of disrespect for the dirty style of play the previous manager had condoned. His hope was to change things up and teach a more technical style of play…
Robert De Niro/Drew Barrymore/Kate Beckinsale/Sam Rockwell/Melissa Leo.
Directed by Kirk Jones.
*When Frank Goode (De Niro) realizes that his wife was the conduit for his relationships with all his children, he sets out on a cross country journey to visit the adult kids and try to connect with them.
Anthony Hopkins/Emma Thompson/Vanessa Redgrave/Helena Bonham Carter.
Directed by James Ivory.
* This 1992 film won 3 Oscars (and was nominated for 6 others). It concerns class relations in England at the turn of the last century. Shot and acted beautifully, this film is one of the classics.
Matt Damon/Scott Bakula/Patten Oswalt.
Directed by Steven Soderbergh.
*A dark comedy about one of the first big whistle-blowing cases in American history It is the tale of Mark Whitacre (Damon, who evidently gained 30+ pounds to play this role), a super educated executive working for a agri-business company who alerts the FBI (at the strong bequest of his wife) about a price –fixing arrangement that his company was taking part in. Whitacre, who was later found to have bi-polar disease, gets very into his job as an informant, and goes way beyond the call of duty, which is a large part of the tragicomedy appeal of this tale.
Directed by Travis Betz.
* Very strange and well-received indie horror film about a couple who are dealing with demon kidnappings, among other challenges.
LOVE CONQUERS PAUL.
Brendan Bradley/Peter Riegert/Elizabeth Wood.
Directed by Colin Bannon.
* Sweet and odd indie about a loner who films people to learn about them and then have an edge when he meets them.
MAKE WAY FOR TOMORROW.
Victor Moore/Beulah Bondi.
Directed by Leo McCarey.
* 1937 film about an elderly couple who loses their house and must move in with their adult children’s families. Unfortunately, they must move into separate houses, as none of their 5 children will take them both.
Uma Thurman/Minnie Driver/Anthony Edwards.
Directed by Katherine Dieckmann.
* A day in the hellish life of an upwardly mobile mother of two in Manhattan on the day of her child’s 6th birthday party. Ha ha!
Juliette Binoche/Romain Duris/Melanie Durant.
Directed by Cedric Klapisch.
* Paris is the link between the lonely people in this tale. Pierre, the main character, is suffering from a heart condition that may kill him. While waiting for his transplant, he spends his time looking out over his beautiful city and watching its beautiful people.
ROAD OF NO RETURN.
Michael Madsen/David Carradine.
Directed by Parviz Saghizadeh.
* Four hitmen are brought together for an operation involving drug trafficking. Will any of them survive? You tell me.
Lukas Haas/January Jones.
Directed by Derek Sieg.
* Another indie out this week about a voyeuristic young man barely taking part in his own life.
THREE BLIND MICE.
Ewen Leslie/Toby Schmitz.
Directed by Matthew Newton.
* Three Australian naval officers have one final night of partying in Sydney before being shipped off to war in the Gulf.
TRAILER PARK BOYS 2: COUNTDOWN TO LIQUOR DAY.
Directed by Mike Clattenburg.
* Breaking the law, breaking the law.
THE VAMPIRE’S ASSISTANT: CIRQUE DU FREAK.****BD****
John C. Reilly/Salma Hayek/Josh Hutcherson/Willem Dafoe.
Directed by Paul Weitz.
* Based on a popular series of kids books by Darren Shan (also the main character’s name) about a teenager who meets a vampire and gets sucked into his reality (yeah, I guess the pun is intended).
BLOOD ON THE FLAT TRACK.
Directed by Lainy Bagwell and Lacey Leavitt.
* Dudes, did you see WHIP IT? I am telling you, the roller derby thing is for real! There are now over 30 leagues around the country, including the Bay Area. This doc gets inside the comeback of roller derby and its broad appeal.
Directed by Michael Selditch and Robert Tate.
* This high-fashion doc follows designer Jay McCarroll as he prepares for his first runway show.
THE END OF THE LINE.
Directed by Rupert Murray.
Narrated by Ted Danson.
* This story examines how overfishing is destroying the ecosystems of our oceans and seas.
Directed by Astra Taylor.
* Engaging doc attempting to make the discussion of philosophy less academic and more about real-life scenarios.
THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE (SPECIAL EDITION).
Directed by R.J. Cutler.
* From the imdb: The September 2007 issue of Vogue magazine weighed nearly five pounds, and was the single largest issue of a magazine ever published. With unprecedented access, this film tells the story of legendary Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour and her larger-than-life team of editors creating the issue and ruling the world of fashion.
INSPECTOR LEWIS: COMPLETE SET PILOT, SERIES 1 & 2.
* Another British crime mystery series. They seem to make these shows so well somehow.
MIDSOMER MURDERS (SET 14).
* More murderous malcontent manslaughtering mayhem in marvelous Midsomer County .
NURSE JACKIE: SEASON ONE.
* Is it me, or does Showtime just poach their favorite stars of HBO shows and set them up with their own thing? In this, Falco (Carmela, from THE SOPRANOS) is Nurse Jackie, a solid nurse in a St. Luke’s style run-down hospital in the NYC. Jackie is best buds with the hottie doctor and the gay nurse and is always there to lend a helpful hand to the sad people who end up visiting the hospital on what she thinks of as “the worst day of their lives”. She is also a pill-popping junkie who takes off her wedding ring every morning to continue to fool the administrator who she sleeps with at the hospital into thinking they are a couple so that he will continue to supply her with drugs. Meanwhile, she has two lovable daughters and a cute husband who is working hard to make his bar a success. The real question is what’s wrong with Nurse Jackie? Why is she such a total liar? Not sure yet, as I’ve seen only the first three episodes, but I’m hooked, just like Jacks.
PROJECT RUNWAY: THE COMPLETE SIXTH SEASON.
* Oooooh, fashion. Heidi ain’t got nothing on David Bowie.
SUPERJAIL! SEASON ONE.
Directed by Christy Karacas.
* Crazy, gory, violent, demented, desensitized, wacked out animation about a psychotic jail filled with thousands of people and a uber freak warden who runs the show.
TAGGART: SET 2.
* Set in Glasgow, I think this is the longest running cop show ever.
JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRISIS ON TWO EARTHS.
LEGO: ADVENTURES OF CLUTCH POWERS.
............//NEW ON BLU/............
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND: 30th ANNIVERSARY ULTIMATE EDITION.
* Steven Spielbergs’s classic starring Richard Dreyfuss and Teri Garr. I watched this again recently and was totally hypnotized by the story.
Directed by York Shackleton..
* First DVD of the story of Ritchie Valen's life and death starring Lou Diamond Phillips.
DEATH TO SMOOCHY.
* Pretty weird and funny dark comedy starring Robin Williams, Edward Norton, Catherine Keener and Jon Stewart and directed by Danny DeVito .
SIGNS (VISTA EDITION).
* Mel Gibson was the star of this M. Night Shyamalan film.
And here is a very large and long list of movies from last week, in alphabetical order with few, if any comments.
****Feature films, domestic, foreign, documentary, etc****
20th CENTURY BOYS 2: THE LAST HOPE.
BLACK DYNAMITE (ALSO ON BD). – Brilliant!!!!
COCO BEFORE CHANEL (ALSO ON BD).
GOOD HAIR (Doc).
HUNGER (Criterion - Doc).
LAW ABIDING CITIZEN (ALSO ON BD).
LOLA MONTES (Criterion).
PROFUMO DI DONNA (Italian).
RAN (BD, Japanese).
REVANCHE (Criterion, German & Russian).
THE SECRET POLICEMAN’S PRIVATE PARTY.
WOMEN IN TROUBLE.
6 TEEN SNOW JOB.
BUGS BUNNY’S EASTER FUNNIES.
THE FIRST EASTER RABBIT.
HOT WHEELS BATTLE FORCE 5.
SCOOBY-DOO! ABRACADABRA – DOO! .
THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER MAN – VOLUME 6.
THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER MAN – VOLUME 7.
WOW WOW WUBBZY – GO FOR GOLD.
ZORRO AND SCARLET WHIP REVEALED!