Hello my people, neighbors, and friends, customers, acquaintances, associates, comrades, compadres, compatriots, expatriates, exhibitionists, abolitionists, abalone-heads, Babylonians, bologna snobs, couch potato blobs, movie snobs, cradle robbers (cradle robbers? Leave him alone, he’s on a roll), hot cross buns, bad puns, Attila and his Huns, tons and tons of love to you this fine evening.
Lots of interesting movies out this week, and for some reason there’s like 30 copies of DUE DATE. So there will be no need for patience on that title this week. One thing I’ve noticed about my new technoself (tech nose elf? Technoshelf?) is that I am much more impatient than I used to be, and that’s saying a lot! They say Patience is a virtue, but they never mention Meekness, Flexibility, Equanimity, Chastity, Ethical Egoism, and lots of other examples of moral excellence that describe Virtue according to my friend Wikipedia. Why is that? Why does Patience get so much play? Could it be more of a universal struggle? More than Chastity – doubt it. But, it’s hard to wait. I feel like if Patience were something I needed to demonstrate to become a Jedi Knight, then I could eventually pull it off. But…I have almost finished the process of accepting that I will never be a Jedi; and I will never look like Taye Diggs. Life can taste so bitter. Just ask Peter Highman (Robert Downey, Jr) as he is attempting to make it from Atlanta to Los Angeles in time for his wife to give scheduled birth to their first child by C-section (is that TMI?). When he crosses paths with Ethan Tremblay (Zachifianakis), his hopes of getting to L.A. plummet dramatically in this farcical comedy that feels quite like a remake of PLANES, TRAINS & AUTOMOBILES. For Director Todd Phillips, this is his follow-up to the massively successful THE HANGOVER. And speaking of today’s sex comedy (mostly involving men masturbating in the same close space with each other), look for BRIDESMAIDS, the first woman-centric comedy from the Apatow machine. Betcha it’s funnier than this one…whatever one I was drifting around about up there.
GET LOW is another big title out this week. Robert Duvall plays a fellow who has lived in his own self-imposed exile for forty years and now is ready to get right with whoever in order to go on to wherever. Bill Murray is the funeral director who he hires him to give him a living funeral in order to process his life with the good people from town.
MEGAMIND is a really funny new animated film for the kiddos and the lucky adults who check it out. It’s quite funny, and a nice little twist on the usual fare. Megamind, the super hero who stars in this tale, is actually a bad guy. But see, he’s really been painted in this corner, and actually, it is truly not fair. And so, when the blue dude gets out badded by a badder bad guy, it is not a stretch to root for Megamind to beat him and claim his rightful place as a really good bad guy. I watched this whole movie laughing at the weird parent-directed dialog (his heart is like an ocean inside a bigger ocean) and the whole time I thought Owen Wilson was the voice of MEGAMIND and that my good pal, George Clooney was the voice of his first nemesis, the heroic Metro Man. Then it turns out it was actually Will Ferrell and Brad Pitt playing those guys, and the whole world turned upside down.
A couple films out this week that have gotten a lot of hype are part one of MESRINE: KILLER INSTINCT. The true-ish story of French Public Enemy no. 1, Jacques Mesrine, follows him as he creates his persona and develops his legend. This movie is a sort of Bonnie and Clyde story with Mesrine’s wild girlfriend Jeanne Schneider along for the thrill ride. With Vincent Cassell and Cecile De France as Jacques and Jeanne. This movie was heavily decorated at the Cesar’s in 2009. FISH TANK is just hitting DVD and is being given the Criterion treatment from the beginning. It is what appears to be a breakout film by Andrea Arnold, an English director who won the Best Short Film, Live Action Academy Award in 2005 for her film WASP. In this one, the main character is a potty-mouthed 15-year-old girl who is in between schools and has little to do, and all day to do it. This film has an 81 rating on Metacritic.com, which is crazy high!
There is lots more, including an Academy Award nominated documentary that I missed in December called GASLAND, and lots of television including season two of NURSE JACKIE, a bunch of seasons of TOP CHEF, a couple more seasons of DETECTIVE MONTALBANO, and season six of WEEDS.
Speaking of the Academy Awards, and assuming you’re still with me in this babbling brook of a tome posted long after sleep should have taken me, while lucidity seems but a silly idea, don’t forget that this Sunday night, we are having an Academy Award party at Four Star Video. We will be projecting the awards outside if weather permits, and we’ll have them on inside the store as well. There will be epic prizes for the people who get the most picks right, so make sure to grab a ballot at the store and fill it out. Prizes include gift certificates to Red Hill Books, Blue Plate, Sports Basement and Fit Bernal Fit, as well as a beautiful hand made necklace made by local artisan Feo Jacobsen. The ballots cost $5 and the money will go to the Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema in support of their 8th season. There will also be great food and wine on hand for sale. The party starts at 5pm on our red carpet, so come dressed to the nines and prance down the aisle. We’ll try to have our paparazzi snap a good photo of you and we’ll sell it to the highest bidder (hello, TMZ?). Seriously, peeps, this is going to be a super fun party, so come on down and help raise money for the greatest neighborhood film festival in the city while partying with your friends. Please email me with any questions about this event.
Alrighty, that’s all folks, hope to see you at the stores.
Love and Kisses,
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ALL STAR SUPERMAN.
Christina Hendricks/Edward Asner/.
Directed by Sam Liu.
* Well done adaptation of Grant Morrison's "All Star Superman" comic book. But parents beware, this film is rated PG for among other things, “language including brief innuendo”.
BIRDEMIC: SHOCK AND TERROR.
Christina Hendricks/Edward Asner.
Directed by James Nguyen.
* If I was into this kind of movie, this is one I would be extra psyched about. Made as a sort of homage to THE BIRDS, it is eagles and vultures that do the attacking in this film, and they make a lethal team. Look for the sequel coming later this year.
CHANGE OF PLANS.
Karin Viard/Dany Boon/Emanuelle Seigner.
Directed by Daniele Thompson.
* Everyone is sleeping with everyone in this French comedy about community and dysfunction.
Robert Downey, Jr/Zach Galifiniakis/Juliette Lewis.
Directed by Todd Phillips.
* I don’t think this is a PLANES, TRAINS & AUTOMOBILES remake, but it seems like it could have been, it is basically the same story. Straight guy trying to get home to loving wife to make important domestic deadline gets sidetracked by freaky (and slightly chunky) offbeat fellow who then offers to help get dude where he needs to go. In this case, it is RDJ in the Steve Martin role as the straight guy (!) and Zach in the John Candy role. Things get hectic, children get punched, a dog gets spit on, people get stoned and others are beaten. If you liked THE HANGOVER, you’ll probably like this one a bit, too.
Michael Fassbender/Katie Jarvis.
Directed by Andrea Arnold.
* Criterion is giving this the full treatment in its first DVD release (congrats, Andrea Arnold!). It is the story of a 15-year-old who is already at a crux in her young life as she waits to get in to a new school after getting kicked out of her last one.
Robert Duvall/Bill Murray/Lucas Black/Sissy Spacek.
Directed by Aaron Schneider.
* Felix Bush (Duvall) is preparing to die, and he wants to get things straight with his community. A life-long hermit, he evidently has reasons for why he’s lived his isolated life, and he is not content to keep those reasons to himself. So he throws a funeral, with the help of funeral director Frank Quinn (Murray), with the sole purpose of telling the people his side of the story.
GLENN THE FLYING ROBOT.
* Probably this is a film of genius. It is improbably the tale of two rival pianists, whose competition knows no bounds, until Glenn, the flying robot comes into the picture. Please please tell me about this movie after you see it.
Will Ferrell/Brad Pitt/Tina Fey/Jonah Hill/David Cross/Ben Stiller/J.K. Simmons.
Directed by Tom McGrath.
* Megamind and Metro Man and the bad guy-good guy superhero team that lives in Metro City. However, Metro Man’s heart is not really all committed to being the good guy all the time, and Megamind finally wins the battle. This leaves him bored to tears, and so he creates a new good-guy to battle with him over the city (literally and metaphorically). This movie made me and my kids laugh pretty hard, and is also filled with some great sound-track music including AC/DC and Black Sabbath.
MESRINE: PART ONE KILLER INSTINCT.
Vincent Cassell/Cecile France/Gerard Depardieu.
Directed by Jena-Francois Richet.
* Part one of this long-awaited French film sees Jacques Mesrine become the French gangster legend he became known as. With his crazy girlfriend Jeanne, they do what they want whenever they want, and people who get in their way pay the consequences.
Directed by Alexander Hahn.
ROOM IN ROME.
Directed by Julio Medem.
* Sexy love story in Rome.
SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS.
Burt Lancaster/Tony Curtis/Marty Milner/Barbara Nichols.
Directed by Alexander Mackendrick.
* This 1957 noir tells the story of a Broadway journalist who is upset by his sister’s romance with a jazz musician and gets a dirty press agent to help him break them up.
SWORD OF WAR.
Rutger Hauer/Raz Degan/F. Murray Abraham.
TEN INCH HERO.
Elisabeth Hanrois/Clea DuVall/Sean Patrick Flanery/Alice Krige.
Directed by David MacKay.
* This comedy is about a group of people working in a sandwich shop in Santa Cruz. Having lived there myself for seven years, I can say there is plenty of rich cinematic material in that town.
* This is in the category of “how’d I miss this one?” From imdb: “It is happening all across America-rural landowners wake up one day to find a lucrative offer from an energy company wanting to lease their property. Reason? The company hopes to tap into a reservoir dubbed the "Saudi Arabia of natural gas." Halliburton developed a way to get the gas out of the ground-a hydraulic drilling process called "fracking"-and suddenly America finds itself on the precipice of becoming an energy superpower.”
LAST TRAIN HOME.
Directed by Lixin Fan.
* Nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance last year, this doc follows the plight of the migrant worker’s in China.
* I am really psyched about this one, it was a television series in 1982, one of the very first reality shows ever made. Examining the city of Muncie, Indiana, the show examines in depth a mayor campaign, a high school basketball rivalry, the struggles of a family business, and the lives of the high school students in town.
TWO IN THE WAVE.
* This doc tracks the friendship and professional rivalry between French filmmakers, Jean-Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut.
BROTHERS & SISTERS: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON.
* This show starring Calista Flockhart and Rachel Griffiths, among others, is like a much more serious version of PARENTHOOD. Both follow the siblings of a family through the hard knocks of adult life.
DETECTIVE MONTALBANO: EPISODES 4-6.
* Have you checked these out yet? Adapted from an awesome series of books, Montalbano is a detective in Sicily in the south of Italy. He calms himself with long meditative swims in the Mediterranean, and his own troubled youth gives him empathy for the people he is investigating. He is in charge of every situation, but never impulsive or full of posture. He is a good cop and an honest man. The shows are a bit reminiscent of 80’s American television visually, but the language, the differences between American television and European television and the beautiful backdrop of the dramatic terrain of Sicily make this a super fun watch.
DETECTIVE MONTALBANO: EPISODES 7-10.
MIDSOMER MURDERS: SET 17.
NURSE JACKIE: SEASON TWO.
Edie Falco/Eve Best.
* Yeah, it’s true that Nurse Jackie is a junkie, and living a life of dishonesty and addiction. But then again, so many of the people in her life are junkies too, popping pills like kids in a candy store. Ah, the hospital life!
TOP CHEF MASTERS: SEASON ONE.
* Turns out Target has some exclusive DVD arrangement with this show. How lame! Oh well, whatever. We bought it from Target. We already had Season Five, so now we are just missing 2, 3 and 4. We’ll get those soon. In the meantime, we present these three to you.
TOP CHEF LAS VEGAS: SEASON SIX.
* See above.
TOP CHEF DC: SEASON SEVEN.
* See above.
WEEDS: SEASON SIX.****ALSO ON BD****
* Has this show gotten weird? Or was it always pretty weird? The cover art is always awesome, and the cult following has not waned.
TIMMY TIME: TIMMY STEALS THE SHOW.
* And then his mom makes him walk back to the store and give it back.