For those of you of a certain age, or with children of a certain age, I am sure you are aware that the first chapter in the 7th Harry Potter film comes out this Thursday night at midnight! I probably will miss it that night, but I am definitely looking forward to these last two chapters of this pop phenomenon. Huck pointed out that Harry has a little scruff on his face in the billboard photo for the film, and he was properly impressed by how they aged the kids during the making of these films. Ah, youth.
In the meantime, we have a couple at least one of the bigger titles of the year out this week. In THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT, Annette Bening and Julianne Moore play a married couple (not sure in which state, but I enjoyed how little was made of this fact) with a pair of teenage kids that they had using the sperm of an anonymous donor. When the oldest turns eighteen, she has the right to contact the donor and ask if he’d like to meet them, and, after a bit of pushing from her younger brother, she exercises that right. Enter Paul (Mark Ruffalo), a free-spirit bachelor who rides a motorcycle and owns a restaurant and a small organic farm. Paul is very excited to meet the kids and to get involved with the family; only his involvement gets a bit intrusive and causes turmoil in the family. I found myself laughing constantly as the two women talked about anything, mostly out of the sort of embarrassment you get when humor gets too close to home. It is good to know yourself, and I think this film does a nice gentle job holding up the mirror to our culture. The fact that they are a same-sex couple, and that this is inherently a sperm donor story is certainly central to the tale, but at the core, this film is about family, you know, people of different generations living together and caring for each other and raising each other the best they can.
Also out this week is 2009’s A CHRISTMAS CAROL, starring Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman and Colin Firth. Animated darkly and full of foreboding, this film was a smash hit last Christmas, and should be a fun holiday film this year – maybe for the older children though, there is some pretty scary imagery in this movie!
THE LAST AIRBENDER is the newest by M. Night Shyamalan, and is an adaptation of the popular cartoon about Four Kingdoms, Earth, Air, Fire and Water, battling each other for supremacy.
Also out this week is the new Extended Collector’s Edition of AVATAR. I hear it is bigger, longer and less cut.
There are lots of kid’s movies out this week, including CATS AND DOGS 2: THE REVENGE OF KITTY GALORE, OPPOSITE DAY, and (joy!) a new Barbie movie – BARBIE AS RAPUNZEL!
There are also a bunch of interesting indie films led by THE EXTRA MAN, starring Kevin Kline and Paul Dano as mismatched housemates in Manhattan. Also METROPIA, a distorted animation sci-fi film about a Europe not far off the present day where underground tunnels are the main method of transportation.
Scroll down, there is more down there, including DR. WHO: COMPLETE SEASON FIVE, and PARENTHOOD: SEASON ONE. Read on, film viewer, read on.
We hope you are enjoying the changes we have made at the store. It has been gratifying to hear many of your comments, even the critical ones. We should be implementing a couple new innovations in the New Release Room which should make the lower films more accessible and give the whole space a bit more airiness. You will have to check it out to see what I’m talking about. Overall, thanks for all the positivity. It has helped.
Alrighty, that’s all folks, hope to see you at the stores.
Love and Kisses,
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AVATAR: EXTENDED COLLECTORS EDITION.****BD****
Sam Worthington/Zoe Saldana/Sigourney Weaver/Giovanni Ribisi/Michelle Rodriguez.
Directed by James Cameron.
* I think you’ve heard of this movie about the blue hippies in space and the rogue American energy company man who goes mutinous on the mother company in the hopes of saving Pandora, the peaceful living planet that the fine people of Earth are trying to rape for its fuel source? It’s no FORREST GUMP, but it did pretty good at the box office.
CATS AND DOGS 2: THE REVENGE OF KITTY GALORE.
Chris O’Donnell/Alec Baldwin/Katt Williams/Bette Midler/Roger Moore.
Directed by Brad Peyton.
* This movie sets out to prove that evil is good, because it takes an evil rogue spy (like Kitty Galore) to make the rest of the cats and dogs put aside their differences and come together for the common good.
CHARLIE CHAPLIN’S MODERN TIMES.
Charlie Chaplin/Paulette Goddard/Henry Bergman.
Directed by Charlie Chaplin.
* Chaplin’s last “silent” film (though filled with wild sound!) was made when many filmmakers were already making talking pictures. Maybe this is the best way to look at MODERN TIMES, as a comment on a society that had already passed it by. Chaplin’s character is struggling to understand society in this look at a technology obsessed world where you either adapt or get dumped like yesterdays VCR. So many of the things that get touched on in this 1936 masterpiece are as relevant today as they were then – issues like fear of communism, anger at the homeless, automatic mechanical production – it’s hard to believe they didn’t have smartphones and twitter back then! Through it all, Chaplin stays focused on the moment, and we follow him through one folly after the next, while remaining confident that if we just stay calm we might be able to make this thing work.
THE CHOSEN ONE.
Rob Schneider/Steve Buscemi.
Directed by Rob Schneider.
* Schneider plays an average guy, whose faults are all too easy to catalog who discovers that he is indeed, The Chosen One.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL (2009).****BD****
Jim Carrey/Gary Oldman/Colin Firth/Robin Wright/Bob Hoskins.
Directed by Robert Zemeckis.
* Disney’s animated version of the famous Dicken’s tale is dark and magical and was a monster hit during the Christmas season last year. Although it is marketed as a family film, many children will be haunted by some of the imagery in this phantasmagorical tale of self-redemption.
THE EXTRA MAN.
Kevin Kline/Paul Dano/John C. Reilly/Katie Holmes.
Directed by Shari Berman and Robert Pulcini.
* The Extra Man is the guy rich older women like to have around to keep them company and do things for them…or at least so says Henry Harrison (Kline – brilliant as usual), a playwright whose disastrous Manhattan apartment Louis Ives (Dano) moves into after getting fired from his teaching job in Connecticut. Louis is a troubled, cross-dressing, aspiring writer who seems to live in another decade altogether (like maybe the 1920’s) working at an Environmentalist magazine and trying to discover himself. The film combines a ton of different pieces and puts them together somewhat haphazardly, like a giant precariously perched Lego landscape. Henry has a saying he likes to say before he goes to bed, that kind of sums up this film, “Ah, here we are – where are we?”
THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT.****BD****
Annette Bening/Julianne Moore/Mark Ruffalo/Josh Hutcherson/Mia Wasikowska.
Directed by Daniel Adams.
* When Mia (Wasikowska) turns 18, her Moms (Bening and Moore, both superb) can’t stop her from contacting the Sperm Bank to find out if her (and her younger brother’s) sperm donor wants to meet them, in fact, they can’t stop her from doing anything (a fact she keeps needing to remind them). When she does contact him, and he does want to meet them, the whole family is thrown into turmoil as they try to gain something from Paul (Ruffalo), their rakish, bachelor, entrepreneurial donor. Some of them don’t gain enough and at least one gains more than she bargained for. Eventually, though, things settle down, and life goes on. The kids, though shook up a bit, aren’t struggling so hard to process things (like their parents are) and so for them, it’s just another speed bump in today’s rapid journey to grown-upedness.
THE LAST AIRBENDER.****BD****
Noah Ringer/Dev Patel.
Directed by M. Night Shyamalan.
* I remember when this movie first came out, it was still called AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER, but that movie starring the Blue Men (no?) made it so they dropped the “Avatar” pretty quick…This fantasy tale from Shamalamadingdong is an adaptation of the popular kids cartoon series about Aang (Ringer) a young Avatar who must protect the three kingdoms of Air, Earth and Water from the evil and opportunistic Fire Kingdom who seeks to enslave them. I heard Zac Efron almost played the lead in this film, which I think would have been pretty cool.
Richard Dreyfuss/Blythe Danner/Julie Harris/Bruce Dern.
Directed by Daniel Adams.
* This period piece set in 1912 Cape Cod tells the story of Seth, a lighthouse keeper who has cut off all contact with women. His narrow world is thrown into turmoil with the arrival of two summering ladies who move into a cottage nearby. This movie reminded me of this great song by The Dukes of the Stratosphere.
Ice Cube/Mike Epps/Bow Wow/Woof!
Directed by Erik White.
* After a young man’s neighbors find out he’s got a winning lottery ticket worth 370 million, he must somehow survive the weekend before he can cash it in. Ice Cube continues his “Gansta meets After-School-Special” comedy style.
Vincent Gallo/Juliette Lewis/Stellan Skarsgard.
Directed by Tarik Saleh.
* Tripped out animation story about a futuristic Europe where everything is connected by underground tunnels and a young man feels as though his every move is predetermined.
THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER (1955).
Robert Mitchum/Shelley Winters.
Directed by Charles Laughton.
* This taut noir thiller tells the story of Harry Powell (Mitchum), a “preacher” who roams the countryside decrying evil, though he may be the most evil thing out there. When he meets a convicted thief about to get executed for his crime, he decides to woo his soon-to-be widow whose young children know the location of money their father stole. He will stop at nothing to get that money, and killing in the name of the lord is his favorite nothing.
Pauly Shore/Billy Unger.
Directed by R. Michael Givens.
* It’s like Freaky Friday, only freakier.
SONDHEIM! THE BIRTHDAY CONCERT.
* The New York Philharmonic celebrates Stephen Sondheim with this concert of his songs performed (and filmed) March 15th and 16th, 2010 at Avery Fisher Hall in New York City with Stephen Sondheim’s longtime collaborator Paul Gemignani conducting.
DR. WHO: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON.
* Season five of the modern adventures of the time traveling scientist sees Matt Smith taking over from David Tennant as the good Doctor.
PARENTHOOD: SEASON ONE.
* This new show is a portrait of an American family, with a mother and father and their three adult age children with children of their own. I hear this show is funny and poignant – so I bought it!
BARBIE AS RAPUNZEL.
* Humorously, my daughter, Trudy, told me about this movie a couple nights ago. How would a five –year-old have already heard of this film before it came out on DVD? Gosh, advertising really works!
THE BOY WHO CRIED WOLF.
CLICK, CLACK, MOO: COWS THAT TYPE AND MORE FUN ON THE FARM.
ELMO AND FRIENDS: LETTER QUEST AND OTHER MAGICAL TALES.
FRANNY’S FEET: FARMHOUSE FRIENDS.
LEGO HERO FACTORY: RISE OF THE ROOKIES.
WOW WOW WUBBZY: FLY US TO THE MOON.
............// NEW ADDITIONS //............
FELICITY: AN AMERICAN GIRL ADVENTURE.
* This is from the “American Girl” series about girls during different parts of America’s history.