And thus the completely non-understandable DVD release system strikes again! This week, you will not know what to watch first.
Will it be WINTER’S BONE? The dramatic independent film about a young woman trying to find her meth-cooking father in the Ozark backwoods before the state takes their property leaving her family homeless? Or will it be THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, the second in the uber-popular (and uber-violent) Stieg Larsson series about a very tripped out hacker, the journalist she somewhat loves (if she is capable of “love”) and the very psychotic crimes they are involved with solving. The books were nerve-wracking roller coasters that demand white-knuckle reading, and evidently, the movies do them justice. YOU DON’T KNOW JACK is HBO’s feature fictobiopic about the amazing Jack Kevorkian starring Al Pacino as the Doctor of Death. Then again, maybe you are more into lighter fare, such as SEX & THE CITY 2, the next big-screen chapter in the story of a group of aging hotties looking for love, usually in all the wrong places.
Tough choices, people.
Well, if the big fiction flicks aren’t your thing, there are a host of interesting docs to watch, such as Oliver Stone’s SOUTH OF THE BORDER and a pair of musical docs (WHO IS HARRY NILSSON and ROCKSTEADY: THE ROOTS OF REGGAE) and more (INFIDEL, THE BEST GOVERNMENT MONEY CAN’T BUY).
There is also some Criterion releases (PATHS OF GLORY, HOUSE), some interesting television (THE REAL L WORD: SEASON ONE, POLDARK: SERIES 2), good kids stuff and a Blu-ray release of the entire BACK TO THE FUTURE TRILOGY (whoa, it’s a 25th anniversary edition, that’s a little weird…).
I have been thinking about my responsibility in this blog regarding neighborhood news, especially when it comes to the sadder stuff. As much as I don’t want to be a downer, I also think it is important to pay respect to our neighbors, and sometimes, as a business owner, I hear about things that some people don’t hear about and would like to know.
In that light, I am very sorry to let you know about the passing of two important people in the fabric of Bernal Heights.
Sam McCann-Kingston died tragically in early October. I didn’t know him well, but as a parent, I was familiar with his very lovely spirit. I first met him when my son was born; he was an 8-year-old with a little brother that he obviously loved tremendously. Over the years, I watched him grow up from afar, and I was super impressed at what a calm and sweet young man he was becoming. I am very sorry to see you go, Sam. I wish your family peace and love.
This past Friday, Mauricio Vela passed on from an illness he had been dealing with. Anyone who knew Mauricio knew him to be a very strong presence who worked very hard within multiple political and social arenas to protect the rights of the under-represented. He had certain agendas, and was infallibly dogmatic within those agendas in working for his community. He had a tremendous love for his local sports teams and was a great lover of the arts and music of our city as well. He was a very big personality, and he will be missed tremendously.
I mentioned last month that another important person in Bernal Heights, Aaron Green, had passed. There is a memorial scheduled this coming Saturday, Oct 30th at 2pm in the neighborhood. Please email me if you’d like details.
On the flip side, welcome to the world, Oliver Felix Stephens and Cassius “Cash” Lucas! I can’t wait to meet you guys!
Alrighty, that’s all folks, hope to see you at the store.
Love and Kisses,
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THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE.****BD****
Noomi Rapace/Michael Nyqvist/Lena Endre.
Directed by Daniel Alfredson.
* Ah Lisbeth Salander, you crazy freak! We would do just about anything not to get on your bad side… You were so lethal in THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO and now you are back in the middle installment of your suspenseful trilogy. What? This is just the second in the Swedish version of the trilogy and the American version is already being filmed? Wow, Lisbeth, we guess we should be happy, we’re all rather addicted to your strange nuanced behavior, and it is splendid to know we will get to know you further, and in two different languages. In the meantime, what is happening for you these days? Sex trafficking? Murder? What? You are implicated in these murders? Well, we know you have no problem murdering them that need murdering; which begs the question, did these guys need killing? Wait, don’t run away! Lisbeth! We love you!
Directed by Nobuhiko Obayashi.
* This description is from Criterion’s website: “How to describe Nobuhiko Obayashi’s indescribable 1977 movie House (Hausu)? As a psychedelic ghost tale? A stream-of-consciousness bedtime story? An episode of Scooby-Doo as directed by Mario Bava? House might have been beamed to Earth from some other planet.” Wow, sounds awesome.
Omid Djalili/Archie Panjabi/Matt Lucas.
Directed by Josh Appignanesi.
* Mahmud is a successful business owner, a Muslim living in London’s East End, and it turns out, adopted. Unfortunately for him, it turns out he was actually born a Jew, named Solomon Shimshillewitz. What’s a poor bigot to do? Somehow, Mahmud must adjust to his new reality, while keeping his old reality intact. This “identity crisis” comedy plays with cultural stereotypes and tries to find a common ground.
Kelly O’Neill/Shane Curry.
Directed by Lance Daly.
* A couple of kids run away from abusive situations in Dublin around Christmas time and spend a night together in the inner-city. This film won a nice batch of awards on the festival circuit last year.
Adam Scott/Robin Tunney/Joel Bissonnette.
Directed by Matt Bissonnette.
* A pair of brothers spend the day, which happens to be one of the brothers birthday, driving around Los Angeles, somewhat aimlessly, looking for reason in an unreasonable world .
PATHS OF GLORY.
Kirk Douglas/Ralph Meeker.
Directed by Stanley Kubrick.
* This 1957 film is ranked 51st on the IMDB’s all-time film rankings. It is the tale of a French soldier battalion, during WWI, who commit mutiny during an all-in battle that is doomed for failure. Afterward, their superiors, including a power-hungry General, decide to make an example of them, involving court-martials and executions. It is now being re-released with the full bells and whistles of a Criterion release including interviews and new mastering.
Manuel Vignau/Lucas Ferraro.
Directed by Marco Berger.
* When Bruno (Vignau) is dumped by his girlfriend, he is thrown into turmoil. Anger, self-pity and revenge become his mantras. When she gets a new boyfriend, Pablo (Ferraro), he befriends him, hoping to figure out some plan that will cause her pain. Maybe he’ll hook him up with another woman, or maybe he will tell him about all her faults…OR, hmmmm, what else could he do with Pablo that would get back at his ex-girlfriend?
SEX & THE CITY 2.****BD****
Sarah Jessica Parker/Kim Cattrall/Kristin Davis/Cynthia Nixon/Penelope Cruz/Miley Cyrus.
Directed by Michael King.
* The babes go on vacation to Abu Dhabi where they let loose!
Directed by Brooks Campbell.
* This is a comedy about the housing and economic crisis.
Sabine Azema/Andre Dussollier.
Directed by Alain Resnais.
* When Georges (Dussollier) finds a wallet lost by Marguerite (Azema), a surrealistic door to possible love opens between them.
Jennifer Lawrence/John Hawkes.
Directed by Debra Granik.
* Garnishing a lot of early Academy award talk, Granik’s second feature film is about a 17-year-old, Ree Dolly (Lawrence,in a career-making role) living in the Ozark back woods, struggling to keep her siblings fed amidst an absent drug-cooking father and a withdrawn and depressed mother. When her father misses a court date, the local Sheriff shows up and tells young Ree that her house has been put up as collateral for his bail – if he is a no-show, the family will lose everything. Fueled by need, Ree goes on a hair-raising journey through the woods and through her family’s crystal meth operation, searching for either her father or any conclusive evidence of his demise. Despite messages and threats that would make a weaker person turn back, Ree dogmatically pursues the truth.
Neil Patrick Harris/Beatrice Miller/Jennifer Love Hewitt/Alfred Molina.
Directed by Pete Circuitt.
* A Christmas story set in 1897 New York City about a young girl’s quest to find out if Santa Claus exists.
YOU DON’T KNOW JACK.
Al Pacino/John Goodman/Susan Sarandon.
Directed by Barry Levinson.
* Jack Kevorkian is a renaissance man; he is an oil painter, a jazz musician and also, in his chosen profession as an M.D., the world’s foremost right-to-die activist. During the 1990’s, he created and utilized a machine that gave patients the ability to activate a drip system which intravenously ended their lives. He used this machine to help at least 130 people to die. He famously received the moniker Doctor Death from the media as a result. In 1998, after allowing a broadcasting of a videotape he made providing someone with life’s release using a lethal injection, he was arrested and charged with murder. He served 8 years after being convicted and was just released in 2008. This Emmy-award winning (and HBO-made) film depicts his life and his philosophy.
THE BEST GOVERNMENT MONEY CAN BUY?
Directed by Francis Megahy.
* This doc explores how lobbying works, Washington-style.
ROCKSTEADY: THE ROOTS OF REGGAE.
Directed by Stascha Bader.
* This doc explores the Rocksteady musical movement of the 1960’s and 70’s and brings a bunch of the musicians who made their mark during that time back together for a reunion concert and recording.
SOUTH OF THE BORDER.
Tariq Ali/Raul Castro/Hugo Chavez.
Directed by Oliver Stone.
* From the production company: “There's a revolution underway in South America, but most of the world doesn't know it. Oliver Stone sets out on a road trip across five countries to explore the social and political movements as well as the mainstream media's misperception of South America while interviewing seven of its elected presidents. In casual conversations with Presidents Hugo Chavez (Venezuela), Evo Morales (Bolivia), Lula da Silva (Brazil), Cristina Kirchner (Argentina), as well as her husband and ex-President Nestor Kirchner, Fernando Lugo (Paraguay), Rafael Correa (Ecuador), and Raul Castro (Cuba), Stone gains unprecedented access and sheds new light upon the exciting transformations in the region.”
WHO IS HARRY NILSSON?
Robin Williams/Yoko Ono/Mickey Dolenz/Terry Gilliam/Randy Newman/Eric Idle.
Directed by John Scheinfeld.
* This doc explores the life and work of the marvelous Harry Nilsson, an American song-writer who achieved much fame and glory in the 1970’s. Among his many projects was the animated feature (and album) The Point! (which we have here, of course), which spawned the hit “Me and My Arrow”. He wrote many a hit song and worked with just about everyone. He also happened to own the flat in London that both Cass Elliot, from The Mamas and The Papas, and Keith Moon, from The Who, died in. He himself, died at a very young age in 1994.
POLDARK: SERIES 2.
Robin Ellis/Jill Townsend
* This show from the 1970’s is about the 1790’s in rural England, as Captain Ross Polark, returns from the war to face equal challenges re-acclimating to “normal” life. Does anyone have a “normal” life?
THE REAL L WORD: SEASON ONE.
Created by Ilene Chaiken.
* Chaiken, one of the creators of THE L WORD has taken the concept one step further. Instead of a fictional soap opera, she has rounded up six real people, all lesbians living in the Los Angeles area, and filmed them living their somewhat natural lives.
GENERATOR REX: VOLUME ONE.
DISNEY’S HAVE A LAUGH: VOLUME ONE.
DISNEY’S HAVE A LAUGH: VOLUME TWO.
POCKET FOR CORDORUY: AND MORE FAVORITE CHILDREN’S STORIES.
............// NEW ON BLU //............
BACK TO THE FUTURE! 25TH ANNIVERSARY TRILOGY.
* All three of the classic Michael J. Fox films.
............// THE REPLACEMENTS //............
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: THE COMPLETE SEVENTH SEASON.
8: THE MORMON PROPOSITION.