In DATE NIGHT, a boring married couple from New Jersey help expose a crooked bar owner and an evil District Attorney to the authorities, bringing down an entire cartel of gun-toting maniacs. That’s the power of marriage. So keep working, people. You, too, may perform great acts of goodness for society. And don’t forget to go out together every now and then. And dress up, look hot, take it seriously. Starring Tina Fey, Steve Carell, Mark Wahlberg, James Franco, Mark Ruffalo, Mila Kunis, Kristen Wiig and more…
LA MISSION is an independent movie starring Benjamin Bratt and directed by his brother Peter about a man living in the Mission district of San Francisco and struggling to maintain his dignity in the face of great change within the neighborhood. This is a film that was made right here in our great city, just a mile or so away.
Looking for something to do tonight? Come to Viracocha, a new furniture store in la Mission that turns into an underground (literally) club at night. My band, The Dont’s, will be rocking there at 8:30pm sharp. Could there be a better time for a Wednesday night show?
Alrighty then, see you down at the store.
Love and Kisses,
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Directed by Auraeus Solito.
* This film was actually banned from the Singapore International Film Festival! Censorship just makes things taste sweeter…This film is about a poet who longs to hire a male stripper on New Year’s Eve and must sell his collection of comic books and action figures in order to do so. Also of note: the lead actor’s name has all the vowels in direct order in it. A. E. I. O . U. And sometimes, I ask, why?
CHOCOLATE SUNDAES PRESENTS: LIVE ON SUNSET STRIP.
* Standup comedy featuring Four Star Favorite, Katt Williams.
CHILDREN OF INVENTION.
Michael Chen/Cindy Cheung.
Directed by Tse Chun.
* This film won 13 awards world-wide, including a Special Jury award at the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival. It is about two young kids living with their mother in Boston illegally, who must fend for themselves after their mom disappears.
DATE NIGHT .****BD****
Tina Fey/Steve Carell/Mark Wahlberg/James Franco/Kristen Wiig/Mila Kunis/Mark Ruffalo.
Directed by Shawn Levy.
* This film plays like a love poem to domesticity. I wonder very much how much lure it has for people without kids, or young people in general. Carell and Fey are arguable the funniest comic actors out there right now, and they are terrific in their roles as harried parents struggling to stay romantic and sexy with one another in the face of the humiliatingly unsexy job of parenting young kids and working full time jobs (can anyone relate???!!!). They are holding on to “date night”, even though frequently when it rolls around, they’d rather bail and just stay home and go to bed. As it is, they generally go to the same boring suburban eatery and make fun of the people around them. Until that is, Claire (Fey) decides to put on a hot dress which prompts Phil (Carell) to decide they should head to the city and have a proper date night once and for all. Unable to reconcile the idea that they will not be able to get a table at the hip restaurant they end up at with the fantasy of their special night away from the kids and away from the trappings of their domestic reality (can anyone say NO EXIT?), they steal someone’s reservation and settle in to a swank meal together. Unfortunately, the couple who loses their reservation has stolen an important something or other from a big time someone or other and he sends his goons/cops to re-obtain it from them. Soon, Claire and Phil are running from the cops, from the gangsters, and from themselves, as they struggle to regain their equilibrium so that they can get home safely to New Jersey. Which really asks the question – can anyone get home safely to New Jersey? The comedy in this movie is physical and unrushed. Stuff happens and Fey and Carell react to it and to each other. When the laughs come, they come hard and fast, but you have to be willing to relate to the sad stress of real marital issues to get to that point. I suggested to Amy that this movie could be a relationship test; she thought that was a bad idea.
DEATH AT A FUNERAL.
Martin Lawrence/Tracy Morgan/Chris Rock/Peter Dinklage/Danny Glover.
Directed by Neil LaBute.
* For some reason, Hollywood remade this hysterical British film from just a couple years ago about a family’s deep dysfunctionality (is that a word? Not according to spellcheck) that is exposed at the patriarch’s funeral. Peter Dinklage (THE STATION AGENT) is the bridge between both films.
THE GOOD HEART.
Brian Cox/Paul Dano/Islid Besco.
Directed by Dagur Kari.
* A cantankerous old alcoholic bar owner takes in a suicidal depressed young man. I wish I could say: hijinks ensue. But that would be lying.
Demi Moore/David Duchovny/Amber Heard.
Directed by Derrick Borte.
* Can you keep up with a super beautiful family that moves into your neighborhood and has seemingly everything? Are looks deceiving? And where can you buy that awesome blouse that the mom is where?
Angelica Torn/Rip Torn/Will Patton.
Directed by Angelica Torn and Tony Torn.
* This was the last film made at Coney Island Amusement park before it closed and it is about a woman facing her past as she tries to create a future worth living.
MANUELA & MANUEL.
Directed by Raul Marchand Sanchez.
* In this trangender film, Manuel is Manuela is Manuel, and I am not positive who was who first…or last.
Benjamin Bratt/Erika Alexander.
Directed by Peter Bratt.
* From the imdb: Growing up in the Mission district of San Francisco, Che Rivera (Benjamin Bratt) has always had to be tough to survive. He's a powerful man respected throughout the Mission barrio for his masculinity and his strength, as well as for his hobby building beautiful lowrider cars. A reformed inmate and recovering alcoholic, Che has worked hard to redeem his life and do right by his pride and joy: his only son, Jes, whom he has raised on his own after the death of his wife. Che's path to redemption is tested, however, when he discovers Jes is gay. To survive his neighborhood, Che has always lived with his fists. To survive as a complete man, he'll have to embrace a side of himself he's never shown.
Timothy Hutton/Mira Sorvino/Stockard Channing/Dana Delaney/Mario Van Peebles.
Directed by Brooks Branch.
* Hutton plays Gabriel, a successful architect living in NYC who slowly begins to realize that he is unhappy. In his quest for understanding and enlightenment, he writes a play about his life. Although his odyssey tears his real life apart, in the end he discovers himself lighter and happier.
MY NAME IS KHAN.
Directed by Karan Johar.
* Two very popular Bollywood actors star in this epic saga about an Indian man who moves to San Francisco and finds love, but then finds his life shattered by the events of 911 and must overcome great odds in order to re-attain his love and put his life back together. This movie was filmed here in San Francisco.
THE PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR: HAPPY KING JULIEN DAY!
Colin Farrell/Paz Vega.
Produced by Danis Tanovic.
* The pains of war are chronicled in this film about a photojournalist (Farrell) who has arrived home from Kurdistan without his colleague, and the journalists wife who is trying to find out what happened.
UNDER THE MOUNTAIN.
Produced by Jonathan King.
* From the director of the humorous horror film BLACK SHEEP comes this adaptation of a popular teen novel about two twin teenagers who battle dark forces underneath a volcano in Australia.
Directed by Terry Zwigoff.
* Criterion gives the full treatment to Zwigoff’s 1994 in-depth look into the life of Robert Crumb, the comic book writer and artist extraordinaire. The film delves deep, deep into Robert’s life and exposes some very intense familial relationships.
Directed by Terry Zwigoff.
* From the imdb: About the obscure country-blues musician and idiosyncratic visual artist Howard "Louie Bluie" Armstrong, member of the last known black string band in America.
THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN IN AMERICA: DANIEL ELLSBURG AND THE PENTAGON PAPERS.
Directed by Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith.
* This film was nominated for the Academy award for documentaries and is about a renegade Pentagon insider who brought all sorts of government lies to the public eye in the 1970’s.
PRINCE – IN THE 80’s.
* As I recall, Prince was really really fine in the 80’s.
Directed by Stephanie Soechtig and Jason Lindsey.
* This film will train you to be a revolutionary in the war against bottled water!
THORN IN THE HEART.
Directed by Michel Gondry.
* The marvelous and surreal Gondry takes on his own family in this documentary about his aunt, Suzette Gondry and her relationship with her son.
LOONEY TUNES SUPERSTARS: DAFFY DUCK.
Daffy/Maybe his bro Donny?
LOONEY TUNES SUPERSTARS: BUG BUNNY.
WE HAVE TO STOP NOW.
* After the runaway success of two lesbian therapists novel “How to Succeed in Marriage Without Really Trying”, a documentary film crew enters their lives and the claustrophobia that creates threatens to ruin their relationship.
CASPER’S SCARE SCHOOL: 12 MONSTROUS EPISODES.
FRANKLIN: BACK TO SCHOOL WITH FRANKLIN.
PIPPI LONGSTOCKING: PIPPI GOES TO SCHOOL.
TIMOTHY GOES TO SCHOOL: THE GREAT RACE.
THE FINAL SEASON.
* I was told this was the best baseball movie ever, which I always thought was LONG GONE from 1987.