Salutations, mes frères et sœurs français!
We’re all gonna die!
Scary, but so true. Will it be today? Or next month? Or in 37 years? 71 years? We just can’t know. For me, that makes me want to seize each moment and stretch it out. Even the yucky ones. So for the hell of it, let’s all take a moment and take a deep breath together.
Hey have you heard about a little movie called THE KING’S SPEECH? I haven’t seen it yet, but I hear it did pretty well in the theatres, and even won some hardware at the Oscar’s this year. Stars a guy named Colin Firth, and I guess he plays the King of England. He’s got a big speech he’s gotta give and its super traumatic for him, so he gets some other dude to emotionally hold his hand while he gives it…Or something like that. Disclaimer: I may be wrong, like I said, I haven’t seen it. But I hear it was pretty good, so I bought, like, a million copies or something.
Other movies you might be interested in include THE WAY BACK, starring Ed Harris, Colin Farrell and Jim Sturgess as prisoners in a gulag in Siberia who take a very long walk to freedom; GULLIVER’S TRAVELS, starring Jack Black as Gulliver; RABBIT HOLE, an emotional drama starring Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart as grieving parents who have lost a young child; SOMEWHERE, Sophia Coppola’s latest about a Hollywood star whose partying ways are stunted by the arrival of his 11-year-old daughter and the disappearance of her mother.
Some smaller titles of interest are IP MAN 2, FALCO: THE RISE AND FALL OF AN 80’S POP ICON (he’s dead!), VISION: FROM THE LIFE OF HILDEGARD VON BINGEN (she will become your hero), and some killer new documentaries, including Spike Lee’s followup to his Hurricane Katrina doc WHEN THE LEVEES BROKE called IF GOD IS WILLING AND DA CREEK DON’T RISE.
Hey, are you into Detective Montalbano? We got two more collections of the adventures of that Sicilian detective in shop this week. We’ve also got something called DOWNTON ABBEY, which is a very highly rated costume drama television show from the UK about a wealthy family and their servants. There’s more that I didn’t mention…scroll down to read all about this week’s releases.
Hey, here’s a question for you - How many video store/plant store combinations do you know about on Planet Earth? None, right? You probably know how hard we’re working down here at Sector 402 (that’s our little knickname for the Four Star/Succulence work zone) to provide our community with interesting art (cinematic and plant-based), and a fun place to hang out and chat with your neighbors. Well, you could tell the world how you feel by voting for Four Star Video and Succulence as your favorite small business in San Francisco! 7x7 Magazine is sponsoring a contest in anticipation of SF Small Business Week and we are one of 49 businesses that are listed on the ballot! The winner gets lots of love and some great free advertising among other things, plus the love and admiration of the entire city of San Francisco. How cool would it be for a video store in 2011 to win an award like this? Let’s find out. Vote for us here.
Alrighty, that’s all folks, hope to see you at the stores.
Love and Kisses,
p.s. Happy Passover, Happy Easter, Happy Beltane, Happy Fertility, Happy Spring!
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FALCO: THE RISE AND FALL OF AN 80’s POP ICON.
Directed by Thomas Roth.
* The decadent and fabulous life of Falco, creator of such 80’s hits as Rock Me Amadeus and Der Kommissar, is chronicled in this docudrama. Did you know he died in 1998? After you watch this movie, you’ll know so much more about Falco than you ever imagined…
Jack Black/Emily Blunt/Jason Segal/Amanda Peet/Billy Connolly.
Directed by Rob Letterman.
* The brilliantly biting and witty social commentary of Jonathan Swift’s novel (1726, yeah, you read that right) is not to be found in this 21st century comedy about a fellow who goes on some wild adventures and ends up on a fantastical island where he is a giant compared to the peeps that live there. This one is probably fun for the kids, with a good cast of comedians providing the laughs…Someone on the imdb also mentioned it is a fabulous albeit unintentional stoner comedy, which sounds about right.
IP MAN 2.****BD****
Directed by Wilson Yip.
* Part two focuses on Ip man moving to Hong Kong in 1949, and his exploits there.
JOHN LEGUIZAMO: FREAK.****BD****
Directed by Spike Lee.
* I am not sure when this was originally released on DVD (or if this is the first time), but this 1998 standup comedy performance features Leguizamo at his zaniest best and gives a somewhat autobiographical account of his youth and the trials that led him to the entertainment world.
Directed by Ken Loach.
* Loach has been directing since 1964, and has some 45 titles to his credit. This about a disaffected young boy who finds meaning and purpose training a kestrel falcon is getting the full Criterion treatment, with a cleaned up master and lots of extras. Billy is 15 and is pretty much either left to his own devices or bullied and treated poorly. Kes, the falcon he trains gives him more than just something to do, it gives him strength and care and concern and attention and love. The film is charming and emotional, while never pulling on the heartstrings, just playing them like a finely tuned stringed instrument…The soundtrack has some terrific music as well.
THE KING’S SPEECH.****BD****
Colin Firth/Geoffrey Rush/Helena Bonham Carter/Timothy Spall/Guy Pearce.
Directed by Tom Hooper.
* This is the one we’ve been waiting for. Winner of the Academy Awards for Best Direction Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Actor and Best Writing, Screenplay Written for the Screen, this film has been the talk of movie goers everywhere over the last six months. You are probably familiar with the story. The King of England is George VI, an unlikely King who struggles with a stammer and barely wants the job of leading a nation. However, duty calls, and he grudgingly takes on the job in 1936. The film focuses on his relationship with his speech therapist, a man named Lionel Logue who was ahead of his time in many of his ideas. Using some interesting techniques and utilizing the power of their burgeoning friendship, Logue is able to help George to find his tongue when it matters most.
Clive Owen/Polly Walker/Sean Bean.
* This is the 1990 version of this 18th century double-crossing love tragedy.
Nicole Kidman/Aaron Eckhart/Dianne Wiest/Sandra Oh.
Directed by John Cameron Mitchell.
* The maker of HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH and SHORTBUS has taken a mighty departure from those films with this painful, but hopeful story about a couple dealing with the broken hearted emptiness of the loss of their young child. This film manages to provide some laughs, while treating the pain gently and with dignity. This film was very highly rated by reviewers, and while I haven’t seen it yet, Jeff says it was terrific and recommends it. With Dianne Wiest as the mother of Kidman’s character.
Stephen Dorff/Elle Fanning/Michelle Monaghan/Benicio Del Toro.
Directed by Sophia Coppola.
* Coppola (Sophia, that is) is such a polarizing director. People seem to really want to criticize her work. (LOST IN TRANSLATION, THE VIRGIN SUICIDES, MARIE ANTOINETTE). I think her last name has something to do with it, we really seem to hate the nepotism concept (unless we are benefiting) and the fact that her dad is a famous director makes us think everything has been handed to her. And perhaps it has, but if she was simply a bad director, than would so much be written about each of her films? One way she is generally criticized is that her films are accused of being vapid and empty, and the themes she explores are frequently called selfish and too personal to be worth screen time. Much the way early Jim Jarmusch films were described, films like STRANGER THAN PARADISE and DOWN BY LAW, where little happens, but a vibe is thoroughly instilled that lingers long after the movie ends. This film appears to have gotten very vitriolic comments from many viewers, yet was reasonably well received by critics. In it, Stephen Dorff plays Johnny Marco, a veteran Hollywood actor who is living a solitary and lonely existence while surrounded by the film making world. Into his shallow life, meaning is thrust in the form of his 11-year-old daughter (Elle Fanning). His life starts to be viewed through the filter of this child, and what is shows is not super pleasant, and not very appealing. I, for one, am very glad that Sophia Coppola keeps making films. At the very least, LOST IN TRANSLATION was a pretty awesome movie, and one great one is more than most directors make.
STREET KINGS 2: MOTOR CITY.
Ray Liotta/Linda Boston.
Directed by Chris Fisher.
VISION: FROM THE LIFE OF HILDEGARD VON BINGEN.
Directed Margaretha von Trotta.
* Hildy was a nun from the 12th century people! As someone points out on imdb, she was 1000 years ahead of her time. She was a composer, a theologist, an early suffragette, an above all a free-thinking person, whose force and strength created change.
THE WAY BACK.****BD****
Colin Farrell/Ed Harris/Jim Sturgess/Saoirse Ronan.
Directed by Peter Weir.
* Weir hasn’t made a ton of movies lately. You gotta go back to 2003 for MASTER AND COMMANDER, and it was 1998 when THE TRUMAN SHOW came out. Even further back was DEAD POET’S SOCIETY, THE MOSQUITO COAST and WITNESS. Clearly the man knows how to direct. In THE WAY BACK, a group of prisoners in a Siberian gulag escape and walk away, into the hard and harsh weather as they try to traverse the some 4000 miles toward freedom. This film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Achievement in Makeup, but alas, did not win (THE WOLFMAN won!).
HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM.
Directed by Nicole Torre.
* This film is a step inside liquid, oil, that is…As we get an up close view of the assorted players in the gigantic American oil game.
IF GOD IS WILLING AND DA CREEK DON’T RISE.
Directed by Spike Lee.
* This four part documentary is a follow up to Lee’s powerful look at the disastrous effects of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans. Now, five years later, Lee returns to N’awlins to see how the rebuilding plans have gotten along.
SQUARE GROUPER: THE GODFATHERS OF GANGA.
Directed by Billy Corben.
* From the dude who made COCAINE COWBOYS comes this portrayal of the 1970’s pot smuggling scene in Miami, Florida. Filled with humorous stories, frightening adventures and jolly lawbreakers, this is probably a good one to light up with on a chilly San Francisco night.
A MIND TO KILL: SERIES 3.
DETECTIVE MONTALBANO: EPISODES 10-12.
* Do you watch MONTALBANO? It is pretty much super fun. Set in Sicily and based on some great mystery novels by Andrea Camilleri, the action is more cerebral then explosive, and the scenery and dialogue are rich with the natural beauty of the region.
DETECTIVE MONTALBANO: EPISODES 13-15.
DOWNTON ABBEY: SEASON ONE.
Hugh Bonneville/Jessica Brown-Findlay.
* This dramatic costume series takes place around the turn of the century in pre-WWI England and centers on a wealthy family and their servants.
THE GOOD WIFE: THE FIRST SEASON.
Julianna Margulies/Chris Roth.
* The Golden Globe winning show (5 of them!) is about the wife of a scandalized politician who goes back to work as a litigator to provide for her family.
............//NEW ON BLU/............
* Jane Campion’s 1989 tour de force!
CAPTAIN PLANET AND THE PLANETEERS: SEASON ONE.
SHAUN THE SHEEP: THE BIG CHASE.
* Turns out we already had this on DVD, but this little girl whose parents had a broken player wanted it so bad and was so bummed we didn’t have it on VHS that I immediately bought this copy so we wouldn’t disappoint her again…I’m such a softy…