Be prepared. That’s the boy scouts solemn vow! And this week, I am more prepared than usual, because somehow I have watched five movies since Friday. How did I do this, you ask? With a special and certain combination of good parenting, bad parenting and dubious decision making! A ha ha!
I’m probably embellishing the tale a bit, actually. I watched WONDERFUL WORLD starring Matthew Broderick, while huddling under a blanket working at Succulence on Friday in the rain. Oh, I cannot wait for our new door to arrive this week. That was a sweet well-intentioned indie film about a bitter man sharing his bitterness with the world. Not great, but worth it if you are a Broderick fan (which I am). On Saturday night, I watched BROKEN EMBRACES from Pedro Almodovar and starring Penelope Cruz. I knew this film would be awesome when one of the characters was pumping one of my favorite Can songs (Vitamin C) at a DJ gig he was working. And it didn’t disappoint. With a failed romance at the center of the story, and flashing back and forth in time, Almodovar again shows why he is one of the greatest living directors of film.
Sunday was somehow a movie marathon. It began with a cashed in gift from Hanukah of a “movie date with Papa” from my son. We went and got a slice of the best east coast pizza in SF (Arinell’s, of course) and then went to see THE LIGHTNING THIEF, the first adaptation of the popular kids series about Percy Jackson, the half-god child of Poseidon, the god of the Sea. We’ll talk more about this film when it comes to DVD, but I will say that it was very enjoyable, though that might have been cuz I was just out with my boy watching a movie.
Later that evening, I decided what the hell, and let my kids watch THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG, the Oscar-nominated animation film about a young woman accidentally turned into a frog by…kissing a prince who’d been turned into a frog by an evil voodoo man. We all really enjoyed this film, but it really got me thinking about film ratings and how seemingly arbitrary they are. The film is rated G, unlike so many other kids movies these days, but it contained some pretty scary images of the shadow villains who were in cahoots with the voodude. Chrudy (five years of age) was relatively traumatized by those images and left the room running, hid under a desk and generally panicked every time they made their appearance on screen. I guess that was character building for her. Thanks Hollywood!
The last film we watched this weekend was the directorial debut of THE OFFICE’s John Krasinski called BRIEF INTERVIEWS WITH HIDEOUS MEN. For those of you not paying attention, Krasinski is on a major roll, and I expect we’ll see him blossom into quite a movie star over this decade. He hasn’t tackled any major roles yet, but was funny in some football movie with George Clooney, and was pretty good in the romantic comedy AWAY WE GO last year. This film was an adaptation of a David Foster Wallace story about a woman conducting interviews with men in order to come to some conclusion about the effects of feminism on our gender relations. The film wasn’t a sterling success, though I did enjoy it a bunch. It struggled to maintain a focus, and its point was challenging to hone in on. I doubt it will keep Krasinski away from directing (and I hope it doesn’t), but perhaps he will continue to make his mark as an actor before straying to that side of the camera again.
Other releases of note this week are Season Two of BREAKING BAD (also on BD for you Blu-Ray fans), ASTRO BOY, and THE FOURTH KIND.
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
Nicolas Cage/Charlize Theron/Kristen Bell/Bill Nighy/Freddie Highmore/Donald Sutherland/Samuel L. Jackson.
Directed by David Bowers.
* Astro Boy is created by Dr. Tenma following his grief after losing her real son. Astro Boy’s powers are so great, that soon he becomes a world famous super hero. This film is based on the comic, but takes some liberty’s with the story and removes some of the original darkness.
Vanessa Hudgens/Gaelan Connell/Alyson Michalka/Scott Porter/Lisa Kudrow.
Directed by Todd Graff.
* Sa5m (a silent 5, that’s pretty cool)(played by Hudgens, of HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL fame) meets Will, a misfit who loves music and, together with one of the most popular girls in school, they form a rock band to compete in the school battle of the bands.
BRIEF INTERVIEWS WITH HIDEOUS MEN.****BD****
Julianne Nicholson/Timothy Hutton/John Krasinski.
Directed by John Krasinski.
* Based on a novel by David Foster Wallace (who tragically took his own life in 2008), the story is a disjointed and fragmented tale of a woman (Nicholson) who is conducting interviews with men ostensibly with the object of understanding more about the affects of feminism. Krasinski, most famous for his portrayal of Jim in the American version of THE OFFICE, is an exciting young talent in cinema. This film doesn’t really break through into greatness; the source material is challenging, and not easily translatable, but there are flashes of brilliance here and there, and Hutton is funny as the main character’s professor at school.
BROKEN EMBRACES. ****BD****
Penelope Cruz/Lluis Homar/Blanca Portillo.
Directed by Pedro Almodovar.
* Almodovar is back with his first film since the brilliant and celebrated VOLVER (2006). Again starring Oscar-winning actress Penelope Cruz, this film is about a blind screen-writer named Harry Caine (Homar) who, upon learning of an old acquaintances death, relives some of the events that led to his blindness, and to the pain that lives in his heart. Cruz plays an old lover and the star of the last film he worked on as a director.
DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE MORGANS?****BD****
Hugh Grant/Sarah Jessica Parker/Mary Steenburgen/Elizabeth Moss.
Directed by Marc Lawrence.
* A couple dealing with potential divorce issues witnesses a murder and gets relocated to an isolated town in Wyoming where their romance re-blossoms. Sometimes, it just takes witnessing a murder to rekindle the dying flame of love.
THE FOURTH KIND.****BD****
Milla Jovovitch/Will Patton/Elias Koteas.
Directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi.
* They’d a called this movie “Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind” if they could have, and in fact, they even wrote it on the DVD box. It is about small town in Alaska that has been dealing with mysterious alien abductions, and a psychologist who is trying to get to the truth using hypnosis to get more details from those involved.
Rain/Naomie Harris/Rick Yune/ Ben Miles/Sho Kosugi.
Directed by James McTeigue.
* This ninjariffic tale is about a deadly assassin who has turned on the clan that trained him and soon is facing a showdown with his former master (you gotta visit man, the master).
THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG.****BD****
Anika Noni Rose/Bruno Campos/Oprah Winfrey/John Goodman/Terrance Howard.
Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker.
* This fairy tale features a frog who accidentally turns a young woman into a frog upon cajoling her into kissing him. The rest of the film sees them desperately trying to avoid mean alligators, dumb frog hunters, scary voodoo shadows, and various other pitfalls while trying to get kissed by a princess in order to turn human again. Nominated for 3 Oscars for music and animation, the film is ultimately about acceptance.
Matthew Broderick/Sanaa Lathin.
Directed by Joshua Goldin.
* Have you noticed that Broderick picks weird indie movie roles over just about anything else? I can’t believe he isn’t offered bigger roles; he is talented, and has a past history of box office success. In this dark and brooding comedy, Broderick plays Ben Singer, a failed kids songwriter, a failed proofreader, and a failed parent. Basically, Ben is just a negative bad-vibed jerk, whose only joy in life comes in smoking pot and playing chess with his Sudanese housemate, Ibu. When Ibu slips into a diabetic coma, his sister Khadi comes to stay at the house, and Ben’s eyes are somewhat opened to the world he has shut out.
BREAKING BAD: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON.****BD****
Bryan Cranston/Anna Gunn/Aaron Paul.
* The highly anticipated second season has arrived. Have you seen this show yet? It follows the swirling descent of a high school chemistry teacher who takes to a life of crime after his ability to provide for his family dissolves.
MONK: SEASON 8.
Tony Shalhoub/Traylor Howard.
SOUTHPARK: THE COMPLETE 13th SEASON.
Matt Stone/Trey Parker.
PIPPI LONGSTOCKING: HERE COMES PIPPI.
REDWALL: THE ADVENTURE BEGINS.
SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS: SPONGEBOB’S LAST STAND.
TIMOTHY GOES TO SCHOOL: SNOW DAY.
............//NEW ON BLU/............
* Wong Kar-Wai 1995 classic about a hit man on his last job.
TOTALLY F***ED UP.
James Duvall/Jenee Gil/Roko Belic.
Directed by Gregg Araki.
* This is one of Araki’s first films, and deals with teen angst among a group of gay teenagers in Los Angeles. Also and awesomely, this film stars a Four Star Video customer!
TRUE BLOOD: SEASON ONE.
* Just another copy stocking up in time for Season two to come out May 25th.