It’s Funny, cuz we are clearly THE BEST video store in SF (I know some of you out there still think that title belongs to Le Video, and I know I am bias, but we have surpassed them in every way except the 60,000+ VHS they have from the pre-DVD days), but we were voted 2nd in the SF Gate poll recently. I am not much of a contest lover, nor am I much of a promoter, so I rarely post links to these things asking you to vote. However, now that I am struggling for our business to stay afloat, I will suggest when you see things like this, that we certainly appreciate your public show of support. In the meantime, on to the movies…
This week, THE WHITE RIBBON, from Michael Haneke, makes its premier on DVD and BD. The film is about a small town in Germany in the months before the first World War and the strange and unpleasant happenings that are going on there. Is this film making a comment on the pre-Nazi culture of Germany, or just on the dark side of children and humanity in general? You decide.
Is HOT TUB TIME MACHINE making a statement about our culture? Pray, pray it is not. John Cusack is one of a little posse of bored adult men who find themselves able to travel back in time to the fabulous…80’s! This will make you think twice before you slide into the next hot tub you see.
PERCY JACKSON & THE OLYMPIANS: THE LIGHTNING THIEF should make your elementary school kids super happy, and THE CRAZIES will satisfy those of you out there who love you your protozombie movies.
There is a nice batch of art and nature documentaries out there, including A TRAVELER’S GUIDE TO THE PLANETS, that look interesting and educational.
For some reason, I linked a nice batch of movie trailers in this week’s blog. Go figure.
Alrighty then, see you down at the store.
Love and Kisses,
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Directed by Yair Hochner.
* This romantic story about a young man on the verge of his 30th birthday looking for love and meaning waxes poetic on the heart as a frozen place yearning for some defrosting. Not with a sharp tool though!
Directed by Linas Phillips.
* In this film, a young man (Phillips) takes a nomadic cross country trip in his VW as he contemplates the broken pieces of his heart and soul. Interestingly enough (for me), this film reminds me of another film that is just being completed here in San Francisco, by the lead singer of my band. JH Lucas directs a similar story, in this case about not one, but two guys and a van. In fact, that is the name of the film. What? You’d like to see a trailer? Why here is one now. And, look – here is another!
Timothy Olyphant/Radha Mitchell.
Directed by Breck Eisner.
* Yes, another virus outbreak violent psycho murder movie! This one is a remake of the 1973 George A. Romero classic of the same name. In this case it takes place in the corn-fed flat lands of Iowa where something weird is in the water, and it ain’t fluoride!
Ali Larter/Waylon Payne.
Directed by Rick Bieber.
* The silly review? It’s like CRAZY HEART, but without any heart. The serious review? Inspired by the real life of country musician Hank Garland, this film shows the struggle of a musician to get recognition in Nashville. Since it’s trailer week (which it just became this moment) I will link another trailer for a film called C.R.A.Z.Y. which was awesome and very few people saw…We have it, and I highly recommend it.
Maria Haiskanen/Jesper Christensen.
Directed by Jan Troell.
* Maria, a young woman in the early 1900’s wins a camera in a lottery. Seeing life through its lens shifts her life and creates a powerful destiny for her to examine herself, her children and her challenging husband. This movie came out in 2008 and we can thank Criterion for bringing it to the world’s attention.
HOT TUB TIME MACHINE.****BD****
John Cusack/Craig Robinson/Chevy Chase/Clark Duke/Crispin Glover.
Directed by Steve Pink.
* You really have to say the title correctly, I wish you were here now, and could hear the nuances – Hot Tuuuuub Time Machine! Got it? Also, the back of the film says: Rated R for strong crude and sexual content, nudity, drug use and pervasive language. Need I say more? Yeah? Okay, four bored adult men travel back in time to the 80’s when they were cool to relive some of their lost glory. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! I haven’t seen it, but I LOVE this movie.
PERCY JACKSON & THE OLMPIANS: THE LIGHTNING THIEF.****BD****
Logan Lerman/Brandon T. Jackson/Alexandra Daddario/Pierce Brosnan/Steve Coogan/Catherine Keener/Uma Thurman/Rosario Dawson.
Directed by Chris Columbus.
* This is the first of the adaptations of the Rick Riordan teen novels about Percy Jackson (Lerman) a lonely isolated New York youth who discovers he is a descendant of Poseidon, and gets involved with a mysterious battle between the gods, with the fate of humanity at stake! I saw this with my 9-year-old earlier this year, and we had a blast. The story is not complicated, and riffs off many of the famous adventure tales of the current day, but there is plenty of fun Greek God imagery and interplay to love, and the Zac Efron look-alike that plays Percy is probably in for a fine career.
Billy Crudup/Paul Giamatti/Anna Camp/Kristen Wiig.
Directed by Paul Schneider.
* I really wanted to watch this film, as I had the feeling it would be a good one that I would want to recommend. As it is, all I have is the feeling. The story is about three entrepreneurs would set up to invent and market a rocket belt. Unfortunately, as many small business owners know, things are sometimes harder to maintain as they are to envision. And for these guys, things go downhill; deeply, darkly and wholeheartedly downhill. Wanna see the trailer? It’s here.
Jet Li/Andy Lau.
Directed by Peter Chan and Wai Man Yip.
* It’s a remake of 1973’s THE BLOOD BROTHERS about a three siblings struggle for survival and integrity during the Qing Dynasty.
THE WHITE RIBBON.****BD****
Drama/Mystery/Black and White/Foreign (German/Italian/Polish/Latin).
Directed by Michael Haneke.
* The maker of FUNNY GAMES and CACHE and CODE UNKNOWN has made a very polarizing film in THE WHITE RIBBON. The time is the early years of the 20th century, before WWI. We are in a town in Northern German where mysterious and violent events are happening without explanation. Crops are being destroyed, a child is kidnapped and beaten, and the mysteries are piling up. The elders of the village are struggling to maintain reason and control, while a local school teacher slowly begins unraveling the secret. What he finds is confusing and apparently not just to him, but to movie viewers as well. There is a lively debate as to whether or not this film is trying to explain the culture that allowed Nazism to flourish twenty years later, or whether it is simply a tale of the latent evil of humanity that occasionally zig-zags its way through rural communities everywhere, and during every time period. Wanna see the trailer?
A TRAVELER’S GUIDE TO THE PLANETS.****BD****
* This five hour documentary takes us on a journey through the very different planets in our solar system.
A WALK INTO THE SEA: DANNY WILLIAMS AND THE WARHOL FACTORY.
Directed by Esther Robinson.
* Danny Williams, the director’s uncle, was a filmmaker and collaborator of Andy Warhol’s, who disappeared at the age of 27 during the heyday of the Factory scene. This doc examines his work, and his legacy. I read a comment that said we will like Andy Warhol less after seeing this, and I am not surprised, as everything I ever see about him makes me feel that way.
HOW EARTH CHANGED HISTORY.****BD****
* Here is the official product description: The traditional interpretation of history has focused largely on human factors. Yet the natural environment has also shaped history since the dawn of time. This series reveals for the first time on television how geology, geography and climate have had a far more powerful influence on mankind than has previously been acknowledged. With passionate storytelling and extraordinary HD camerawork, this series combines bold ideas with a new science, geo-determinism, to form an original version of human history. Discover why societies have succeeded or failed, and how the environment has influenced every aspect of our history from art to industry, religion to war, world domination or collapse. This series overturns preconceptions about our nations and our cultures to offer a new perspective on who we are today.
NEXT: A PRIMER ON URBAN PAINTING.
Directed by Pablo Aravena.
* This is a very in-depth doc about graffiti and its culture.
THE CLOSER: THE 5th SEASON.
* Deputy Police Chief Brenda Johnson (Sedgwick, who is married to Kevin Bacon, is actually separated from you by seven degrees) is tough, beautiful, and very successful at solving her precinct biggest cases.
MADELINE’S GREAT ADVENTURES.
THE 13 GHOSTS OF SCOOBY-DOO: THE COMPLETE SERIES.
............//NO ONE HERE BUT US CHICKENS/............
What are we doing down here? The blog is done, right? What? Me? I made a movie once? How did you know that? Yeah, it’s true. I did. I made a feature film! It was crazy, man. A good few years of my life went in to that experience, and a lot of coin. And in the end, it didn’t go anywhere. But it was super fun! And Dave Ayoob (the previous owner of Four Star Video) bought a copy on VHS which is here at the store now, in the Independent section. What? Was there a trailer? Why yes there was. Low end, small window, and even with some timecode on it, but here it is now.