Tuesday, February 1, 2011

****new release list no.305

Moi znajomi polską! Witaj!

Ahoy there mates. It’s time for another edition of The Four Star Gazer!

It’s February as I write, and that seems exciting. Another month in the books, and although January did seem to fly by, when I looked at my calendar I was relatively shocked at all the things that happened last month. So, I think yes, it goes fast, but wow, so full.

In February, the Academy Awards get doled out. I have enjoyed watching them for the last few years, and each year I think, why are we not having a Four Star Video Oscar Party? Well, guess what? This year, we are having one! That’s right, in conjunction with the Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema Festival (and actually, as a benefit for their 2011 festival) we are going to host a throw down on Oscar night, Sunday, February 27th! The plan is to project it outside, and have it on inside as well. We will have drinks and snacks for sale outside – think wine and cheese and maybe some yummy locally made sweets. We will also have an Oscar ballot for $5 with prizes for the winners (wonderful, amazing prizes – to be announced!). As I mentioned, this will be a benefit for the local film festival that we all love, can you believe this year will be their 8th season! Anne and Leslie, I salute you! We will encourage you to dress in your favorite film outfit, either as a character you admire, or perhaps in your snappiest red carpet outfit. I am sure we’ll be talking about your dresses and suits for weeks afterwards. I will give you more details as they come together, but calendar this party people, and look for the ballots at the counter of Four Star Video sometime in the next few days. Who loves a party? Everyone do. That’s who.

Lots of films out this week, but I don’t think any are Oscar-related. Ah, well, still and all. LET ME IN is the remake of the classic Swedish vampire movie from 2008, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN. The new one stars the fabulous Chloe Moretz (KICK-ASS, (500) DAYS OF SUMMER), and the fact that it is a remake just two years after the fact probably should not be held against it. Also out is WELCOME TO THE RILEYS, where a wayward Kristen Stewart meets a heartbroken James Gandolfini and their resulting friendship helps both of them heal a bit. In CONVICTION, Hillary Swank’s brother Sam Rockwell is convicted and she goes to law school and spends a few decades trying to exonerate him. THE TILLMAN STORY tells the story of Pat Tillman, the once-famous football star who died of friendly fire in Afghanistan, and his family who fought fiercely to find out the details of his death after a military cover-up. There are also a few cool looking foreign films, GIULIA DOESN’T DATE AT NIGHT from Italia, MADEMOISELLE CHAMBON from France, and A WOMAN A GUN AND A NOODLE SHOP, a satirical Chinese remake of the Coen Brother’s great early film BLOOD SIMPLE.

Is there more to report? Probably. Noisepop is this month, which is an amazing San Francisco institution. This is the first year in a few that neither Amy or my bands is playing in this festival, but the way Conspiracy of Venus is hitting it these days, I wouldn’t be surprised if they ended up in there somewhere. Also, more locally, tomorrow night at the library, the Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema is having one of its quarterly screenings. Here’s the details. Is there more? Am I forgetting? Forgive me, it’s late and I am tired.

Alrighty, that’s all folks, hope to see you at the stores.

Love and Kisses,

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............//NEW RELEASES//............

Erin Cahill/Susan Blakely/George Lopez.
Directed by Alex Zamm.
* Woof woof!

Alan Shearman
Directed by Dick Clement.
* Hilarious 1983 farcical romp. Think BUCKAROO BANZAI without the sci-fi and with British accents, and more funny, and with a completely different plot.

Hilary Swank/Sam Rockwell/Minnie Driver/Melissa Leo/Juliette Lewis.
Directed by Tony Goldwyn.
* Did he do it? Betty Anne (Swank) doesn’t think so. So when her convicted brother (Rockwell) has gone through the system and has no further hope from the public defenders who have been representing him, she puts herself through law school to try to represent him and gain his freedom.

Tracie Dinwiddie/Necar Zadegan.
Directed by Nicole Conn.
* A well-known lesbian writer becomes involved in a passionate affair with the wife of a pastor.

Drama/Foreign (Italian).
Valerie Golino.
Directed by Giusseppe Piccioni.
* Emotive tale about trust and fidelity.

LET ME IN.****BD****
Chloe Moretz/Kodi Smit-McPhee/Richard Jenkins/Elias Koteas.
Directed by Matt Reeves.
* Just two years ago, the Swedish vampire drama LET THE RIGHT ONE IN took cinema fans by storm. Reviews raved about how it went beyond the vampire genre and was a beautiful story about isolation and friendship and youth. Hollywood jumped on it and has given us this remake which basically follows the same story line…An under loved and somewhat bullied kids becomes friends with a young vampire who helps him gain revenge on his tormentors, among other things. If you loved the original, you will probably find reasons not to like this as much, however the child actors are great, and in case you don’t know it, Chloe Moretz is a Star with a capital S. Not yet 14, she has worked like crazy in the last few years, and truly established herself in Hollywood. You may remember her as the brilliant younger sister in (500) DAYS OF SUMMER, or as the little killing machine Hit-Girl in KICK-ASS. She has between 5 and 8 movies coming out in the next several years, so you will probably know her name well after that.

Drama/Foreign (French).
Sandrine Kiberlain/Aure Atika/Vincent Lindon.
Directed by Stephane Brize.
* I have heard sweet things about this simple tale of a father whose life opens up when he volunteers as a substitute teacher at the school his son goes to and finds himself having deeper feelings for his kid’s homeroom teacher, Mademoiselle Chambon. Voila!

Whitney Able/Scoot McNairy.
Directed by Gareth Edwards.
* They say this movie takes place six years after an alien invasion, and I wanna know which aliens? Not sure, and it’s true that I haven’t seen this film, but it is rated higher than I would have imagined on imdb, and I did buy a stack of them, so perhaps you should check it out! The main story is a journalist is escorting a hot tourist through one of the infected zones, in this case in Mexico, back to the safe haven of the US. Wait, alien invasion? Infected zone in Mexico? What the? Is this some kind of bizarre border immigration subtext story? Uh, not according to writer.

Keira Knightley/Carey Mulligan/Andrew Garfield/Sally Hawkins/Charlotte Rampling.
Directed by Mark Romanek.
* Adapted from Kazuo Ishiguro’s powerful novel about a group of young adults who share a wonderful past together, growing up in an idyllic boarding school, but who also share a frightening future based on their purpose in life. You may remember Garfield who just played Eduardo, the jilted partner in THE SOCIAL NETWORK, and Mulligan (AN EDUCATION) continues her rise to fame.

Thora Birch.
Directed by Rosemary Rodriguez.
* Shila encouraged me to shut my mouth, when I began making an inappropriate joke about this film on Friday. Thanks, Shila! Yes, it is a Lifetime original film, but don’t judge it based on that! Do you remember the story this is based on? In Gloucester, Massachusetts, a group of teenagers made a pact to get pregnant at the same time, and many of them did! I can’t help but think that this was due in some small part to the fact that their families were Red Sox fans.

James Gandolfini/Kristen Stewart/Melissa Leo/Ally Sheedy.
Directed by Jake Scott.
* This performance driven film is about a couple dealing with the terrible loss of their 15-year-old daughter. In the course of resuming his life, Doug Riley (Gandolfini) meets a young runaway (Stewart), and tries to parent her a bit, as he is struggling with his pain. Though the story is a bit trite, the strength of the acting carries this film and indeed carried it enough to be nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in 2010 (it lost to WINTER’S BONE).

Drama/Foreign (Mandarin).
Directed by Yimou Zhang.
* A monkey, a candlestick and an ice cream parlor. A camel, a frozen steak and a sushi restaurant. A mouse, some cheese and a greasy spoon. The lion, the witch and the wardrobe. Oh, fine, the real info? This is a Chinese remake of the Coen brothers brilliant film BLOOD SIMPLE.


Narrated by Josh Brolin.
Directed by Amir Bar-Lev.
* Ah shit, Pat Tillman was a skilled and successful football star at the peek of his young career when he threw it all away to join the military after 911 because he thought it was the right thing to do. Tragically, he was killed by friendly fire in April of 2004. This movie tells the baffling story of how the military withheld this information from the family (and even covered it up) until after a nationally televised memorial service was held lauding him as a hero and ramping up the vitriolic war vibe against the enemy. Maybe we only know the truth of his story because of the dogmatic struggle by his family to get to the bottom of what really happened. Maybe this is their story as well as their sons.

............//NEW ON BLU/............

* Reese Witherspoon and Tobey McMonkey starred in this awesome 1998 film about siblings from the 90’s who find themselves living in a 1950’s sitcom after they are sucked into the television. Ah, but once the children of the 90’s assert themselves, the world will never be the same.

* Vavoom! Bo Derek is the object of Dudley Moore’s obsession in this campy sex comedy. Did we need this on Blu-ray? Probably not…Are you gonna watch it? Probably so.

* And lots of spam, too.






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