KICK-ASS is the latest comic book film to come to Four Star Video. Starring Aaron Johnson, Chloe Moretz, Nicolas Cage and Christopher Mintz-Plasse, the film combines smart teen dialogue with bloody fierce comic book action and follows a powerless teenager who decides to become a superhero without any special powers or ability.
Roman Polanski’s latest, THE GHOST WRITER, follows a unremarkable writer (Ewan McGregor) who gets the gig of his life in writing the memoirs of a retired Prime Minister from the UK (Pierce Brosnan). What he digs up may seem bland, but the information gets gritty, and soon his very life is threatened.
DIARY OF A WIMPY KID is a live-action adaptation of the popular illustrated book about a 6th grader dealing with life in middle school.
A PROPHET is an Academy-award nominated film from France about an Arab man who becomes the head of the crime world after he ends up in prison.
There is a bunch of other interesting titles this week, ranging from the ECLIPSE SERIES 23: THE FIRST FILMS OF AKIRA KURASAWA, to the first ever DVD release of MAX HEADROOM: THE COMPLETE SERIES, to a collection of dark shorts called THE PATTERNS TRILOGY: AND OTHER SHORTS, to a KIM NOVAK COLLECTION to a great 1973 German film called THE PART TIME WORK OF A DOMESTIC SLAVE, to a pair of Roger Corman films (PIRANHA and HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP) and much more. Scroll on down to read about it.
Here are some local events this week within walking distance of each other. Tomorrow, Tues, August 3rd, the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center and Bernal Bucks invites you to another Bernal Economic Forum. This one is entitled BORROW IN YOUR BOROUGH and is a free event at 6pm at the neighborhood center at 515 Cortland Ave. Then, at 7pm, you can walk across the street to the library and watch a quarterly screening from the Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema festival. They will be showing 389 MILES: LIVING THE BORDER, a film which tries to impartially discuss the current immigration debate surrounding the Arizona-Mexico border.
Alrighty then, see you down at the store.
Love and Kisses,
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Christina Ricci/Justin Long/Liam Neeson.
Directed by Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo.
* You ever get that feeling, “am I really dead?” No? Well in this film, Anna (Ricci) does…She is in a funeral home, and the director seems to be helping her accept her death, but she wonders, “am I dead?” And she thinks that she is not, which creates a dilemma I tell you!
Directed by Jacques Audiard.
* Nominated for the Best Foreign Language film at the most recent Academy Awards, this film follows a young man of Arab descent who is sent to prison in France and becomes the head of the underworld in jail. Besides its Oscar nomination, it won 25 other film awards world-wide.
DIARY OF A WIMPY KID.
Zachary Gordon/Robert Capron/Chloe Moretz/Steve Zahn.
Directed by Thor Freudenthal.
* This is an adaptation of the very popular illustrated novel of the same name by Jeff Kinney. Greg Heffley (Gordon) is a sixth-grader with a healthy ego who is surrounded by nincompoops, idiots and numbskulls while attempting to navigate the nastiness that is middle-school.
ECLIPSE SERIES 23: THE FIRST FILMS OF AKIRA KURASAWA .
Directed by Akira Kurasawa.
* Included are SANSHIRO SUGATA, THE MOST BEAUTIFUL, SANSHIRO SUGATA PART 2, THE MEN WHO TREAD ON THE TIGER’S TAIL. From Amazon:
Sanshiro Sugata (Sugata Sanshiro): Kurosawa’s effortless debut is based on a novel by Tsuneo Tomita about the rivalry between judo and jujitsu. Starring Susumu Fujita as the title character, Sanshiro Sugata is a dazzling martial-arts action tale, but it’s also a moving story of moral education and enlightenment that’s quintessential Kurosawa.
The Most Beautiful (Ichiban utsukushiku): This portrait of female volunteer workers at an optics plant during World War II, shot on location at the Nippon Kogaku factory, was created with a patriotic agenda. Yet thanks to the director’s groundbreaking semidocumentary approach to the material, The Most Beautiful is a revealing look at Japanese women of the era that anticipates the aesthetics of Japanese cinema’s postwar social realism.
Sanshiro Sugata, Part Two (Zoku Sugata Sanshiro): Kurosawa’s first film was such a success that the studio pressured the director into making a sequel. The result is a hugely entertaining adventure, reuniting most of the major players from the original and featuring a two-part narrative in which Sanshiro first fights a pair of Americans and then finds himself the target of a revenge mission undertaken by the brothers of the original film’s villain.
The Men Who Tread on the Tiger’s Tail (Tora no o wo fumu otokotachi): The fourth film from Kurosawa is based on a sacred twelfth-century incident in which the lord Yoshitsune, with the help of a group of samurai, crossed enemy territory disguised as a monk. The story was dramatized for centuries in Noh and kabuki theater, and here it becomes one of the director’s most riveting early films.
Leelee Sobieski/Jamie Kennedy/Denise Richards.
Directed by Julie Davis.
* Hey yo, the film industry is tough! That’s what Jody (Sobieski) finds out when she takes a job in the porn industry after an award-winning stint at film school. Her plan is initially to make a film after hours using their state of the art facility, but after she is busted, she is forced to collaborate on a true adult film.
THE GHOST WRITER.
Ewan McGregor/Pierce Brosnan/Olivia Williams/Kim Cattrall.
Directed by Roman Polanski.
* Polanski’s latest film concerns a ghost writer (McGregor) who has scored the deal of his life, writing the memoirs of a former British Prime Minister. Unfortunately, as he is putting the story together, details emerge that should have remained secret, and now these details are putting his life in jeopardy.
Mark Young/Hannah Hall.
Directed by Adam Sherman.
* This film, loosely based on the filmmaker’s experiences growing up, is about the dark side of a utopian commune where the kids are super punk rock and nihilistic from being exposed to sex and drugs at a young age by the brainwashing cult leader.
HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP.
Ann Turkel/Vic Morrow.
Produced by Roger Corman.
* Ah, life in a northern town…tough times indeed. Like when a new Salmon cannery comes to town and threatens your fishing job…And strange half-fish half-man creatures attack couples and rip the men to shreds and rape the women. And then there is all the rain, and the lack of sun.
Aaron Johnson/Chloe Moretz/Elizabeth McGovern/Nicolas Cage/Christopher Mintz-Plasse.
Directed by Matthew Vaughn.
* When Dave Lizewski (Johnson) decides to become a super hero, he does so without any special training, without skills, without super powers, without fanfare, and without much hope of success, just a deep-seated anger at the bullies of the world who pick on him and his few friends, stealing their proverbial milk money, and anything else they want to take. When his bluff is called, and he is nearly killed by the gang he has infiltrated, he is saved by Hit-Girl (Moretz, who you may remember as the younger sister in (500) DAYS OF SUMMER, who is always giving her older brother advice on how to deal with his lady friends). Hit-Girl, is the murderous, expert fighter, trained by her father Big-Daddy (Cage) in the ways of martial-arts. Together, and with another mis-fit superhero or two, they form a vigilante squad of super-heroes, fighting to keep the city safe. I read someone called this KILL BILL meets SUPERBAD and I can see where that comparison works. It is hip and funny, with great music, fast action and solid acting, while also being a bloody, hit-squad of uber-violent action. Are you into that? You’ll love this.
THE KIM NOVAK COLLECTION.
* Kim Novak, now 77 and an accomplished oil painter, made films from the 1950’s through the early 1990’s. This collection features the films PICNIC, JEANNE EAGLES, BELL BOOK AND CANDLE (made the same year Novak starred in VERTIGO), MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT, and PAL JOEY.
Directed by Andrew Paquin.
* Andrew is Anna’s older brother, and that’s how come she is in this dog of a film.
THE PART-TIME WORK OF A DOMESTIC SLAVE.
Alexandra Kluge/Ursula Birichs.
Directed by Alexander Kluge.
* Classic 1973 film about a young woman pulled in many directions, she is a wife, a lover, a parent, an abortionist (!), a factory worker, an agitator, a protestor, and finally a woman, struggling to find her way in a thankless society. This film seems stunningly relevant today.
THE PATTERNS TRILOGY: AND OTHER SHORT FILMS.
Directed by Jamie Travis.
* From Amazon: Jamie Travis's darkly ironic and stunningly designed comedies have established him as a filmmaker with a distinctive cinematic vision. An international festival favorite since his award-winning 2003 short Why the Anderson Children Didn't Come to Dinner, the young Canadian auteur often compared to David Lynch, Todd Solondz, Peter Greenaway and Wes Anderson is a talent to keep an eye on.
Produced by Roger Corman
* Oopsy, “Operation Razorteeth” was supposed to be for deploying in Vietnam to help the troops win the war…drat! Instead the little varmints are released into a river that runs through a vacation resort, and now the only sushi around here are the summer guests!
Francois Morel/Melvil Poupaud.
Directed by Pascal Thomas.
* This Agathy Christie meets MURDER BY DEATH French mystery follows a family at a gathering who are somewhat stunned by the death of the host, Aunt Camilla. From then in, it’s all whodunnit!
HENSON’S PLACE: THE MAN BEHIND THE MUPPETS.
Jim Henson/Jane Henson/Frank Oz.
Directed by Tim Conrad.
* This is a behind-the-scenes look at one of the best things ever to happen in children’s entertainment. I cried when Jim Henson died…Yet I still get enjoyment from that super sick cover version of Kermit singing Nine Inch Nails “Hurt”. I couldn’t link it here, cuz too many of you would immediately hate me.
A YIDDISH WORLD REMEMBERED.
Directed by Andrew Goldberg.
* From Amazon: In A Yiddish World Remembered, the story of Jewish life in Eastern Europe is brought to life again by some of the remaining eyewitnesses. Narrated by Academy Award nominated actor Elliott Gould and accompanied by never-before-seen archival films, vintage photographs, and, of course, traditional Klezmer and cantorial music, the documentary takes a realistic and enlightening look at this unique and all-but-vanished way of life. For those in rural communities, there was often no running water or electricity. For many, anti-Semitism was a part of daily life. But for everyone, crowded conditions and poverty seemed to prevail. Despite these trials, through the eyes of the individuals interviewed, we learn that Jewish communities were close-knit and often even joyous places to live. This television special explores everything from the fascinating language of Yiddish to the Rabbis and Rebbes that often ran the communities to the powerful Jewish movements of Khasidism, Bundism and Zionism. Aired nationally on PBS. This DVD contains over 20 minutes of bonus footage and interviews not seen in the broadcast.
HEROES: SEASON 4.
Ali Larter/Hayden Panettiere.
* I think this show is about this:
I can remember
By the wall
And the guns
Shot above our heads
And we kissed
As though nothing could fall
And the shame
Was on the other side
Oh we can beat them
For ever and ever
Then we can be Heroes
Just for one day
We can be Heroes
We can be Heroes
We can be Heroes
Just for one day.
Television/Sci-Fi/Comedy/Ahead of its time.
Matt Frewer/Amanda Pays/Jeffrey Tambor.
* Do you remember this show? Its tag line was “20 Minutes Into The Future”, but really it was more like 10 years into the future. As it was, it didn’t last long. The basic premise was a world in the future where turning off your tv is illegal, where televisions are subsidized for the poor, and in this world, a highly rated journalist who gives birth (so to speak) to an “avatar” of himself, a computer generated version, with slight zaps and blips who can do his job a bit better and without physical risk. Together, the real and the virtual, team up to become a news reporting team, and carry their show to network success! And hey, they won 3 Primetime Emmy’s, so they were mirroring reality in more ways than one.
MERCY: COMPLETE SERIES.
Michelle Trachtenberg/Taylor Schilling/Jaime Lee Kirchner.
* Mercy me, I never saw this show, but now I got the chance. Will it be better than St. Elsewhere? How, I ask? How?
MONARCHY: THE COMPLETE SERIES.
Narrated by David Starkey.
* This is a deep history of the head of the English people from AD 400 to today. There are 776 minutes in this collection!
SNL BEST OF WILL FERRELL: VOLUME 3.
* As Fozzy would say: more great comedy shtick! Wocka wocka wocka!
SESAME STREET ABBY & FRIENDS: P IS FOR PRINCESS.
VEGIE TALES: SWEET PEA BEAUTY.
WOW WOW WUBBZY: WUBBZY GOES TO SCHOOL.
* And so does Trudy, in 2 weeks! Wow! Wow!