I got an email from Barack Obama yesterday, which was nice, cuz I hadn’t heard from him in a little while. Yeah, that’s right, that Barack Obama, the President of the United States of America. Wow, I thought, on July 4th, one of the more busy BBQ days of the year for many Americans, and the head honcho found time to send me an email. Pretty cool. Remember back before the election when we all talked about who would take over the unbelievable mess that was going to be left behind? Remember when people couldn’t believe that a black man could win the presidency? Wow, how times have changed. Now everyone seems to pan the guy for all the stuff he hasn’t cleaned up. You know what? I don’t think I have ever gotten an email from any other president before. It kind of reminds me of the time my dad shook President Carter’s hand and we made a flour mold of his hand to commemorate the occasion. Maybe I should make a flour mold of my computer? I bet the kids would dig it.
Speaking of the kids, I was talking to Huck yesterday about commercials. He told me that all the McDonald’s commercials looked amazing until they got to the “I’m Loving It” part at the end where they mentioned the products were from McDonald’s. (I know; the beautiful joy of the innocent). Then, when he knew what it was, it looked disgusting to him. “Why do they put that in the commercials?” he asked. I tried to tell him that many people LOVE McDonald’s. He thought for a moment and then said all the companies that had products that were the worst for you or the planet were the ones that had commercials… Yup, yup. How strange, right? Then he said, you know what’s cool about Four Star is that you can come in here, get a movie, an air plant, a glass globe to hang it in and some yummy candy. How cool is that? Gosh, Huck, I said, can I film you saying that and we can post it as a Four Star commercial? No, Papa, says Huck. Four Star Video can’t have commercials. That would be wrong.
Wow, what a conundrum! Too bad, I thought, cuz I have really been thinking about advertising lately.
Speaking of candy, I have tried some experiments in that department lately. As a part of my desire to no longer be a Hershey’s outlet, I bought a strange batch of different candies recently to offer here at the store. I bought Chuckles, and weird lollipops, Sweet Tarts, Gummi Bears, and Mentos. I also bought some bizarre tubs of Cotton Candy and some higher end specialty Pop Corn (Oogies,Spicy Chipotle and Lime) and Maple Candy. Let me know what you think, as this portion of the business is a regularly evolving thing, and I would love to make some of you happy with the stuff you like to eat with your movies. Ask, and ye may receive.
What movies, you say? A SINGLE MAN, starring Colin Firth, is about a professor named George, living in Los Angeles in the 1960’s, who is devastated by the recent loss of his partner, and contemplating ending his own life. Firth was nominated for the Academy Award for his gentle portrayal of a man in pain. THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO is a Swedish thriller about a journalist and a computer hacker trying to solve a mystery involving a powerful Swedish family and the disappearance of one of their children some forty years earlier. BROOKLYN’S FINEST is about a trio of borderline cops in Brooklyn. Starring Richard Gere, Ethan Hawke, Wesley Snipes and Don Cheadle. Did I mention Wesley Snipes?
There is also some great looking music docs featuring The Doors, Black Sabbath and The Rolling Stones, and an interesting nature doc (LAST CHANCE TO SEE), and a doc about a visionary architect (REM KOOLHAAS) as well as a variety of other stuff. Scroll down to read all.
Alrighty then, see you down at the store.
Love and Kisses,
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BATTLE LEAGUE IN KYOTO.
Directed by Katsuhide Motoki.
* Based on best-selling Japanese fantasy book, this story follows Akira Abe, a young man who after struggling for a couple years to get into University, finds himself a part of a dangerous game, being played as a part of a 1000-year old tradition between schools in Kyoto where the opponents call up ancient spirits to battle each other.
Richard Gere/Don Cheadle/Ethan Hawke/Wesley Snipes!
Directed by Antoine Fuqua.
* The director of TRAINING DAY, KING ARTHUR and THE REPLACEMENT KILLERS brings us this new action thriller about a trio of unrelated Brooklyn cops whose fates are brought together by the nature of their business. Gere plays Eddie, a long-time street cop who is about ready to either retire, or blow his head off. Hawke is Sal, a super stressed out NARC who vacillates between good cop and bad cop regularly. Cheadle is Tango, an undercover cop whose allegiance is murky at best. And Snipes is in it, too, how cool is that?
FILM NOIR CLASSICS II.
* Another set of this collection of mostly unknown noir films of yesteryear. This collection includes the titles NIGHTFALL, CITY OF FEAR, and PUSHOVER.
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO.****BD****
Lena Endre/Noomi Rapace/Michael Nyqvist.
Directed by Niels Oplev.
* The Swedes have made some pretty impressive films lately (LET THE RIGHT ONE IN) and the Millennium trilogy (based on the novels of Stieg Larsson) will likely add to this legacy. The stories, of which this is the first film (I hear an American remake is already in the works – why?) revolve around two main characters, Michael Blomkvist, a journalist who seems to get in the middle of some very hairy situations, and Lisbeth Salander, a super fascinating, almost sociopathic survivor who is afraid of nothing and lives for no other reason than to punish the doers of terrible crime. I recently and randomly read the first novel in the series (the one with the same title as this film) and although it was gory, and graphic, it was also wildly entertaining, and I didn’t want it to end. Blomkvist gets hired by the patriarch of a powerful and wealthy family to search for his missing niece who disappeared some 40 years ago. He is aided in his investigation by the heavily tattooed and pierced super sleuth, Salander, who is a computer hacker extraordinaire.
A SINGLE MAN.****BD****
Colin Firth/Julianne Moore.
Directed by Tom Ford.
* Tragically sad, and superbly acted, A SINGLE MAN is the story of George, an English professor living in Los Angeles and dealing with the somewhat recent loss of his long-time partner from a car accident. The story takes place over one terribly emotive day, as George puts his affairs in order while preparing to take his own life. As the day goes on, George sees old friends, and ruminates on his life while searching for reason and hope. Firth was nominated for the Best Actor Academy Award for his performance, and though he didn’t win, this film certainly pushed his career into rarified strata.
BLACK SABBATH: PARANOID.
* This is a part of the Classic Albums series, which is a pretty fantastic and deeply informative series that looks behind the scenes at the recording, editing, engineering and production of some of the great rock albums of our planet. (We also have NIRVANA: NEVERMIND from this series, the interviews with Butch Vig are amazing). Do you happen to know this album? I am not a super aficionado of Black Sabbath, but this 1970 album is amazing and is a must-listen for any true rock fans.
LAST CHANCE TO SEE: ANIMALS ON THE VERGE OF EXTINCTION.
Stephen Fry/Mark Carwardine.
* Stephen Frye broke his arm while making this important doc, but it wasn’t stuck anywhere, and he didn’t need to try to cut it off, so whatever. In the meantime, special bulletin: humans are destroying the native habitats of creatures everywhere, especially lately in the ocean in a startling and rapid way. This doc (and I think television series) will give you up close footage of some of the next animals on the extinct list.
REM KOOLHAAS: A KIND OF ARCHITECT.
Directed by Markus Heidingsfelder and Min Tesch.
* I read that Koolhaas remarked that this is the only film about him that he’s liked…really, wow, how many films have been made about him? Truthfully, I haven’t yet liked ANY of the films that have been made about me, but if you are interested in making another one, I will give you full access to my private archival materials. Back to this film, Koolhaas is a fantastic architect; he’s the guy who made the Seattle Public Library, which is a fantastic and visually arresting building that I spent an hour or two in a few years ago. His designs are pretty far-fetched, but his implementation is spot on. He also designed the Dutch Embassy in Berlin, among other buildings.
THE ROLLING STONES: STONES IN EXILE.
Directed by Stephen Kijak.
* This Rolling Stones doc focuses on the making of Exiles on Main Street.
WHEN YOU’RE STRANGE: A FILM ABOUT THE DOORS.
Directed by Tom DiCillo.
* Johnny Depp narrates this doc which was nominated for the Grand Jury Award at Sundance last year. It features rare, unreleased footage from the band from the 60’s and 70’s and was directed by the guy who made LIVING IN OBLIVION and JOHNNY SUEDE.
PROJECT RUNWAY: COMPLETE 7th SEASON.
* It’s reality, it really is. My reality. And my only reality.
RETURN TO LONESOME DOVE.
John Voigt/Barbara Hershey/Rick Schroder/Reese Witherspoon/Chris Cooper.
Directed by Mike Robe.
* The sequel mini-series to LONESOME DOVE was released in 1993 and is filled with 5+ hours of tight shoot-em-up Western action.
PRESCHOOL IS COOL: ABC’S WITH ELMO.
* But paying for preschool is not cool. Trudy starts kindergarten in September! Joy!