Monday, February 28, 2011

****new release list no.309


I kind of love people. We’re so weird and fascinating and repugnant simultaneously. We’re so self-centered and repulsive, but generous and kind and beautifully ingenuitive at the same time. Whenever I have been a part of those fun-filled conversations about humans destroying the earth, I always imagine that no matter how dreadful we make it for ourselves to live here, we’ll always figure out some demented way to go on. Maybe we’ll build huge domes that we fill with an artificial atmosphere, or perhaps we’ll send ourselves, like a virus, out into the solar system, to muck up some other planet somewhere. We’ve got these big brains and they enable to us to do so much. Not to evolve away from hatred or anything, nothing as smart and self-preserving as that. But… we are problem solvers at the core. That’s what we do best.

There’s a hole in something? We plug it. It breaks? We fix it. It breaks again? We replace it. With something that we repurposed from something else. That once was living. Peacefully. Until we got our hands on it.

It’s not that our will to live is so remarkable. Many animals will deal with some pretty harsh circumstances to survive. It’s just that with our big brains, we can actually come up with some pretty imaginative solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems.

Like say we’re in a cavern below the surface, crawling through a crevice, and we displace a big rock causing us and the rock to tumble deeper into the earth’s crust and when we come to rest, the rock is on our arm and it is immobile. Now what? Well, if you are Aron Ralston, you might try to stay calm and contemplate your options. Hmmm. Perhaps you can build a basic pulley system to try to dislodge the rock? Check. Maybe you can use your tiny little knife to scrape away material between the wall and the rock? Check? Perhaps you use the that same tiny little dull knife type thing to remove the trapped part of your arm so that you can go on your merry way and leave that little trapped piece of you behind? Yes? Would you? That’s what Aron decided to do when he was in that situation, and I salute him! I’m not sure why his story resonates so strong with me, but I totally appreciate that sort of fortitude. That desire for existence! That willingness to take ultimate responsibility and power. That bravery. He had to break both bones in his arm to get it fully removed. Read that part again.

127 HOURS is the film starring James Franco as Aron Ralston. Using an intense soundtrack, the beautiful imagery of the Canyonlands, and tight claustrophobic cinematography, we get a pretty grim idea of the hellish five days Aron spent trapped in the earth. I didn’t see a lot of the Academy Award nominated films and I am sure that the winners were worthy, but I thought this film could have won Best Picture and Franco could have taken home the Best Actor hardware, and those awards would have been very well earned. This movie is hard to watch here and there, but for me it really highlights the human spirit and many of the things I love about people.

We had a fun night at Four Star at our Oscar party on Sunday. Brilliant local magician James Crutcher wowed the crowd with card tricks. The FitzHoward girls popped pop corn out front. The Liberty Cafe and Ichi Sushi (among other merchants) provided yummy food. We raised over $500 for the Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema festival! Great prizes included a month pass to Fit Bernal Fit and a beautiful handmade necklace with matching earrings from local artisan Feo Jacobsen. The winners of the Oscar picking competition will be announced by the BHOC this week. It was a super fun and chaotic party. The Four Star staff was proud to be a part of this event.

I love the Academy Awards because it can be a window into the lives of these artists who get paid so much and worshipped by millions for their acting skill. At times, you see someone win who didn’t expect it, and you see some pure and real reaction that is wonderful. It is so easy to dislike celebrities. They’re rich and childish and rich. (Oh, those rich bastards!) But sometimes when I watch the Academy Awards, and someone like Natalie Portman is up there gracefully describing her experience working hard in film since she was 11 years old and thanking the industry for continuing to give her jobs I find myself thinking that she’s just like the rest of us, only she happened to stumble into a much more lucrative career. Well, good job Natalie. Thank you for taking your job seriously, and though it doesn’t mean much to you, I will continue to do the same.

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

Love and Kisses,

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

127 HOURS.****BD****
Adventure/Drama/Home Surgery.
James Franco.
Directed by.
* In 2003, Aron Ralston (Franco) went hiking solo in the Canyonlands. Dude was dipping into a canyon below the surface when he dislodged a rock which fell (with him) and landed on his arm trapping him without any way to contact anyone. Five days later, Aron took off his arm with a dull knife in order to survive. Though visceral and upsetting, this film highlights the human spirit and the incredible places we will go to in order to survive. Or at least, that Aron will go to. Dude is hardcore. Franco was unbelievable in this film. Though he didn’t win (though he was nominated), he gave to me what could have been an Academy award winning performance.

Christina Aguilera/Cher/Stanley Tucci/Kristen Bell.
Directed by Steven Antin.
* She’s just a small town girl, living in a lonely world…She took the midnight train going anywhere…Well, actually I’m not sure how she got to Los Angeles, but eventually she ends up working at a version of a strip club run by Cher. Worse fates could be had.

Seymour Cassel/Many famous cameos.
Directed by Richard Martini.
* Ah, I see! This film is from 1996…15 years ago? Wow…This comedy is about a Hollywood producer who makes a bet that he can make anyone a star at the Cannes Film festival, and he goes about doing it. I wonder if we could create that kind of buzz at the Bernal Heights Outdoor Film festival? Hmmmm.

The Rock/Billy Bob Thornton.
Directed by George Tillman, Jr.
* Driver (The Rock!) has just gotten out of jail, and his prime mission in life is to kill everyone who double-crossed him and his brother ten years ago, leading to his brother’s death. He shoots and stabs a lot of people, some of whom shoot and stab him as well.

Drama/Foreign (French).
Directed by Claude Chabrol.
* This 1971 Chabrol film is about a guy who somewhat accidentally kills his best friend’s wife, with whom he was having an affair with. Though he is not caught, his life is thrown dramatically out of kilter as he tries to deal with the situation, while continuing his innocuous domestic life.

Anne Hathaway/Jake Gyllenhaal.
Directed by Edward Zwick.
* Jamie and Maggie are two players, they live hard and sleep around with anyone and everyone, and they are basically in a constant state of heat. However, Maggie has early onset Parkinson's Disease and is facing a very troubling future. Although their lifestyles and life issues are keeping their relationship from getting serious, their deeper desires draw them together.


Documentary/Foreign (Italian).
Directed by Federico Fellini.
*1970 doc about clowns and circuses by the master of strangeness.


* This three disc set follows the journey that Charles Dickens took across America in 1842.

* This is almost like a British SIX FEET UNDER in that it is the store of an undertaker business that carries on after the untimely death of the undertaker.






............//MORE MORE MORE/............

* Damn this one is soooo popular!


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