We had a fun art show here on Saturday night. You can still see the art even if you missed the party. There are photos and sculpture and even some poetry posted around the New Release room and near the cash register, all done by the Four Star staff! It was fun having a party in the middle of the store. I wanna do it again soon! What kind of party next time? Not sure, maybe we’ll hire a mime! Or maybe we’ll have a cellist play in the Drama section. Anything! Everything!
Speaking of platitudes, I watched a new release called UNTITLED last night. It is an indie film, of the drama/comedy/etc nature about the art scene in New York. The main storyline is the relationship between a gallery owner in Chelsea and a post-modern music composer who plays mostly to tiny unresponsive crowds. She (the gallery owner) shows artists who display pushpins in blank walls and taxidermied (word or not a word?) beasts holding staple guns and posed in funny positions. He (the composer) has his musicians kick buckets hanging from chain (from the waist dammit, kick from the waist) and scream and screech on clarinets and bang pianos with both hands frantically. The movie got me thinking about the nature of art, and thus the meaning of life. First I found myself wondering, as the movie was clearly directing me to wonder, what is art? And what is music? Is noise music? Can you bang your head against a wall and call it music? Can you write something on a post-it and then, after discarding the post-it, peel off the post-it below the original post-it, the one that has faint indentations made from the original writing, and then can that second post-it be mounted, framed, or otherwise displayed and called art? What do we need from our art? How do we react to art? Why does some art leave us cold and skeptical and other art bring us in touch with the most intense of our emotions and affect us in the depths of our souls? Have you ever cried from looking at art? Cried watching a movie? A television commercial (man, those McDonald commercials can be pretty touching)? An oil painting? A pencil drawing? An abstract bronze sculpture? What is important in life? Does the weather matter? Politics? Is it necessary to care about our fellow people? Is it necessary to care about non-human animals? Are non-humans people, too? Do our hearts need to be engaged with our minds? How does what we eat affect how we feel? What do we tell our children when someone close to us dies? Why do we read blogs? To whom are we beholden? When do we say stop when something hurts, and why do different people react to pain differently? If you love somebody, why don’t you love everything they ever do and say? Why do we sometimes hate things?
Gosh! I have no answers to any these questions. But as I was watching that movie, my mind was doing somersaults in the arena of inquisition. In the end, I found myself thinking that really, integrity is my main criteria for nearly everything. If there is a true belief in ones work, pretty much no matter what it is (unless it is hurting others), then I can get behind it, even if I don’t completely understand it. Integrity, honesty, loyalty. What else is there? Oh yeah, the desire to be loved. There it is. Humanity in a nutshell.
This week, the masterful Ridley Scott has released the film ROBIN HOOD on DVD. In it, Robin does generally atrocious things, but in the name of good, and mostly to not good people. Russell Crowe plays Robin, and the big pensive guy plays it with all he’s got. Luckily, Cate Blanchett is also in it, making it a film not to miss. Also out this week, is this year’s Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Language Film, THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES. From Argentina, it is the story of a retired Justice Department worker revisiting the pains and loves of his life as he writes a novel based on some events of his past. There are two collections out this week, one ECLIPSE SERIES 24 featuring the “Actuality Dramas” of Alan King. These documentary films sound amazing, full of life and joy and hope and pain. FANTOMAS: THE COMPLETE SAGA is 5 hours of silent, black and white films from the early portion of last century about a villain wreaking havoc on France.
On TV, we have a new HBO series called BORED TO DEATH starring the inimitable Jason Schwartzman and also Ted Danson and Zach Galifianakis (Did I spell that right? Not according to spell-check). Also, DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES: COMPLETE SIXTH SEASON is here, with more desperate behavior from those charming ladies of the day. SPARTACUS: BLOOD AND SAND is a new Starz Network show about the Roman legend and MR PALFREY OF WESTMINSTER is a British spy show from the 80’s.
Last thing to mention is JOSEPH CAMPBELL AND THE POWER OF MYTH. This 5-hour set is incredible, and if you are interested in mythology from all over the world, you should check out some of these discs. Campbell died soon after giving Bill Moyers these interviews, and with his death, the world lost a great mind.
Alrighty then, see you down at the store.
Love and Kisses,
PS Oh snap, check this out: Movie Puke is a zine that got dropped off at Four Star sometime recently. That link is its website. It is full of amazing and funny film reviews. I think you’ll like it.
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Directed by Antonio Campos.
* This internet-era social commentary is about a high school kid who somewhat accidentally films the overdose and death of two popular girls at school…the aftermath is as much of nightmare as the event itself. This story is made by a young director (24) who has been making award winning shorts since he was 13. For some, the film may be hard to watch and uncomfortable, there are a lot of references to things kids today are dealing with that are somewhat shocking to the old guard including a very casual relationship with internet porn. You may not like this film, but it is less of an exception than you might think.
ECLIPSE SERIES 24: THE ACTUALITY DRAMAS OF ALAN KING.
Directed by Alan King.
* The series includes WARRENDALE, A MARRIED COUPLE , COME ON CHILDREN, DYING AT GRACE and MEMORY FOR MAX, CLAIRE, IDA AND COMPANY. These intense cinema-verité-style documentaries, made over many years, are a small sampling of King’s wide and varied career.
Adrien Brody/Forest Whitaker.
Directed by Paul Scheuring.
* This remake of DAS EXPERIMENT is about a psychological study about prisoners and guards that turns nasty, very nasty.
FANTOMAS: THE COMPLETE SAGA.
Rene Navarre/Edmund Breon.
Directed by Louis Feuillade.
* From Amazon: The Fantômas series is a silent crime film serial consisting of five episodes (in a 3-Disc set), based on the novels of the same name, each an hour to an hour and a half in length, which end in cliffhangers, i.e., episodes one and three end with Fantomas making a last minute escape, the end of the second movie has Fantômas blowing up Lady Beltham's manor house with Juve and Fandor, the two heroes, still inside. The subsequent episodes begin with a recap of the story that has gone before. Each film is further divided into three or more chapters that do not end in cliffhangers.
Directed by Brad Barnes and Todd Barnes.
* Mike (Richardson) is out on work release, working as a locksmith, trying to keep his nose clean and not get into any more trouble…odds?
Fantasy/Drama/Foreign (English and Romanian).
Colin Farrell (and his hair)/Alicja Bachleda-Curus.
Directed by Neil Jordan.
* Jordan’s new film is a fairytale about a fisherman who finds a near-dead woman in his nets, who he believes is a mermaid.
Russell Crowe/Cate Blanchett/William Hurt/Vanessa Redgrave/Max Von Sydow.
Directed by Ridley Scott.
* Good Samaritan Robin gets a makeover by Ridley Scott in this action-packed, arrow-shooting, vine-swinging swashbuckling, sword-fighting, back-stabbing, money-making, hollow-bodied, block-busting, thrill-seeking adventure tale. Think GLADIATOR and BRAVEHEART’s pick-pocketing love child.
THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES.****BD****
Directed by Juan Jose Campanella.
* This Argentinean film won the Best Foreign Film Oscar this last year. It is the story of a retired Federal Justice agent who is now writing a novel loosely based on one of his cases. As he gets deeper into the novel, he digs up the past and finds himself delving into old pains and frustrations and pent up longings that have been suffocating under his own need to repress them.
Directed by Frank Ciota.
* Aiello plays a hearse driver struggling to keep his funeral home in bidness.
Directed by Jonathan Parker.
* Local filmmaker Parker’s new movie is a New York story about a art gallery owner who hooks up with a dark and unpopular composer of bizarre sound oriented music. The film skewers art and music and their commercialization, yet still somehow manages to distill the importance of both of them in society. Filled with a weird and beautiful soundtrack and hilarious art installations such a “DOOR OBSTRUCTING DOORSTOP” this film has a humanity to it that is very thought provoking (much like the Four Star Video art show – now showing!) .
JOSEPH CAMPBELL AND THE POWER OF MYTH.
Narrated by Bill Moyers.
* Campbell is a genius; he has amazing thoughts on our world. This five or six hour set was created from a series of interviews he did with Moyers shortly before he died. This is a truly fascinating series.
BORED TO DEATH: SEASON ONE.
Jason Schwartzman/Zach Galifianakis/Ted Danson.
Created by Jonathan Ames.
* In this new series, Schwartzman (RUSHMORE) plays Jonathan Ames (yes, also the name of the creator), who is an out-of-work writer, moonlighting as an unlicensed private investigator in Brooklyn. He’s no Magnum P.I, nor is he much like Jim Rockford, Columbo or David Addison. Hell, he’s no Tracer Bullet either. He’s kind of like your incompetent step-son still living at your house and eating your food.
DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES: THE COMPLETE SIXTH SEASON.
All the hot tv babes.
* Man, I am getting desperate to become a house husband. I could run around in a little apron, clean house, pop pills, make dinner, harass the help. Gosh…doesn’t it sound wonderful!
MR. PALFREY OF WESTMINSTER: COMPLETE COLLECTION.
* Mr. Palfrey (Alec McCowen) was a British spy who used his sharp intellect and mild manners to solve a multitude of crimes. This show was from the mid-1980’s and showed on PBS back then here in the US of A.
SPARTACUS: BLOOD AND SAND: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON.
* This new gore-fest television show from Starz Network is the classic tale of Roman treachery and betrayal. Spartacus is super tough…dude is ripped!
EESBEES ADVENTURES: ALL IN A DAY’S PLAY.
FRANNY’S FEET: ANIMAL ADVENTURES.
KABOOM KIDS: LET’S PLAY!
KABOOM: LET’S PARTY!
MAX AND RUBY: EVERYBUNNY LOVES WINTER.
PEANUTS: HE’S YOUR DOG, CHARLIE BROWN.
* Just purely wonderful.
TINKER BELL & THE GREAT FAIRY RESCUE.
* Peeps, the fairies have been ALL over my house lately…just last night, Trudy wrote a letter to the Tooth Fairy, just letting her know that some of her teeth were feeling loose, and this morning, the letter was gone! And all that was left was a big pile of glitter under her pillow! Damn, that girl has an amazing mom.
............//NEW ON BLUE/............
* Welcome to the incredible worlds of Sam Mendes and Alan Ball.
* Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Walter Matthau, and James Coburn star in this 1963 comedic thriller.