Monday, June 6, 2011
****new release list no.321
Hey hey! Do you have grit? Perseverance? Resilience? Hardiness? Ambition? Do you have TRUE GRIT? Rooster Cogburn does…He’s also got whiskey! And just one eye, but we don’t know where the other one went. But, we aren’t really on a need-to-know basis, so it doesn’t actually really matter. Rooster Cogburn is a US Marshal, at a time when Marshal’s are for sale, and the law cost hard cash (or whiskey, occasionally). Not that they’d necessarily be bad guys for your currency, but if you want them to chase down the guy who shot your daddy, you better have some good old American money or you might be out of luck. Luckily, Mattie Ross has money, and she’s got balls! She wants to see her daddy’s killer hang, and she’s willing to tote the rifle if necessary.
At first blush, Cogburn doesn’t really seem up to the task. Does he really have grit? True grit? It takes a while for us to be sure while watching the Coen Brothers new version of the 1969 film that saw John Wayne win an Oscar for his portray of Cogburn. It’s Jeff Bridges who has the task this time. His growly voice and his stumbly body language give us a pretty clear idea that he’s spent some time at the bar. Although we aren’t sure if he’s gonna show staying power, we won’t be surprised if he doesn’t, as he has all the makings of a bum with a badge. Now Mattie on the other hand, we don’t know much about her. Why is she so smart? Where is her confidence from? Why does she know all the legal jargon she is throwing around? There’s not a lot of surprises in Ethan and Joel’s movie, and not nearly as much tension as in NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. But it is a solid film, and both Bridges and Matt Damon (as a Texas Ranger chasing the same bad guy) are fun to watch. There aren’t a lot of Westerns being made these days, but for me, I can stomach violence and brutality in the historical context of a dog eat dog world, significantly more than I can deal with desperate people shooting each other in today’s dog eat dogfood world.
TRUE GRIT is the biggest release this week, but we have probably the biggest week of new movies we’ve had all year. The other big titles are THE COMPANY MEN, starring Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Costner and Chris Cooper. Affleck plays a yuppie whose life is thrown into turmoil when he is downsized from the fat corporate gig he has been working. Now he can’t find a job, he can’t make payments on his sports car, he feels emasculated and desperate, and he’s forced to turn to jobs that he isn’t necessarily qualified to do just so he can bring home some money for the family. It is a very real story that millions of people worldwide have struggled with, and Affleck actually brings a quiet dignity to his role. In JUST GO FOR IT, Adam Sandler plays a guy who is hot for a woman 20+ years younger than him. By some strange twist of fate, he tells a stupid lie that than snowballs until he finds himself getting his friends to keep lying for him so that he can continue pursuit of this beautiful young woman. Lies upon lies upon lies. And it’s a comedy! ANOTHER YEAR is the newest offering from Mike
Leigh. His special talent for exposing normal life is again on display in this portrayal of life as seen through a couple’s relationship with their community through one cycle of the four seasons. Life, death, love, hate…It’s all so fucking poignant. James Cameron is one of like 400 producers on the film SANCTUM, but he’s the one whose name is on the cover. The film follows a group of underwater scientists whose exploration of a deep cave gets dangerous, and crisis ensues! They get in way over their heads. Be-dum ching!
I also recommend you watch the horror comedy story RUBBER about a runaway tire with a personality and the ability to do much damage. It’s like a reaction to Hollywood, and its seemingly meaningless films that it just pumps out. And I hear it is both deep and deeply funny. The tire has a name. It’s Robert. Also, THE HOUSEMAID is out. Another suspenseful film from Korea, this one is about the vengeful response by the women of a household to the man of the house hooking up with the maid. Bad idea, fellow.
There is insanely anticipated television this week. I forgot to mention TRUE BLOOD: SEASON THREE last week, but it is here, and on Blu-ray, too. Also, season three of BREAKING BAD is here this week…let me check – yup, there is a copy of that on Blu-ray as well. Also out this week is the first season of THE BIG C, which stars Laura Linney as a cancer patient. Linney rules, as many of you will agree, so I imagine the show is pretty good. PRETTY LITTLE LIARS is out this week, as well as the fourth season of BURN NOTICE. Also of note, both seasons of the very popular HBO show ROME have arrived at the store on Blu-ray as well. Whoop.
There are a huge amount of kids films here this week (scroll down parents), a big amount of new Blu-ray releases (HAIR, DEATH AT A FUNERAL, ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, A MAN CALLED HORSE), and there is also a big stack of great looking documentaries. If you like the nature stuff by BBC Earth, you must watch MADAGARSCAR! It is the stuff of dreams. It is the reason the made hi-def cameras. It is a gorgeous and awe-inspiring and rich and magical and again, if nature is your thing, then you will be psyched. Also visually amazing is LEGENDS OF FLIGHT, a movie made to highlight the richness of the Imax movie system. KINGS OF PASTRY, about a French pastry competition, looks great as does several other docs out this week…check them out. Literally.
There is a little list of films I didn’t write about last week at the bottom. The most important one is BIUTIFUL, starring the fantastic Javier Bardem. The movie garnished some Academy Award nominations and Bardem does his usual job of conveying so much through his big droopy eyes. It is a heavy and sad film, but a very powerful one as well.
A couple quick bits of local news in this week where my beautiful son turns 10 and my beautiful wife has a birthday too (tactful!). Skip’s will be having a soft reopening quite soon, with new owners, a new name, newly redecorated with a great new vibe. I don’t drink, but I am really looking forward to checking this place out. Maybe some of you will join me? I will post about it on the Four Star Video page on Facebook when I hear it is opening.
Also, the Bernal Heights Outdoor Film festival has extended its submission dates. You can read all about the festival here, including information as to how to submit. This festival is wonderful, and it’s a great way to expose your friends and neighbors to your work. Come on artists, do it!
Alrighty, that’s all folks, hope to see you at the stores.
Love and Kisses,
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Jim Broadbent/Lesley Manville/Ruth Sheen.
Directed by Mike Leigh.
* Leigh has made a career of awkward, illuminating family stories that grate, discomfort and eventually enlighten. In this, the couple, Tom (Broadbent) and Geri (Sheen) are a mostly happy family surrounded by friends that can’t really say the same. The four seasons pass in this community and we experience the changes, both dramatic and subtle that everyone goes through, as another year flits gently by.
BLUE CRUSH 2.
Directed by Mike Elliot.
* Epic waves, mondo break, gnarly wipeouts, and footage guaranteed to make you yearn for the green room are all featured in this sequel about a girl who heads to South Africa armed with her mom’s journals and a desire to fulfill her mom’s dream to surf Jeffrey’s Bay.
Directed by Pablo Trapero.
* Tense story about a corrupt doctor and an ambulance chasing lawyer who fall in love in Argentina.
THE COMPANY MEN.****BD****
Ben Affleck/Tommy Lee Jones/Kevin Kostner/Chris Cooper/Maria Bello/Rosemarie DeWitt/Craig T. Nelson.
Directed by John Wells.
* Don’t let the artwork fool you. This is a subtle and well-acted portrait of a man whose well-manicured life that includes a beautiful wife, cute kids, a slick car and a big house comes crashing down around him when the economy tanks and he loses his job. The film is about redefining yourself, and the struggle to make it happen for your family, whatever it takes, whatever it means.
GREEN LANTERN: EMERALD KNIGHTS.
* The second in a line of 3 “green” superhero movies, this one is NOT the live-action film you have been hearing about. However it is a made-for-adults (or big kids) movie about Mr. Lantern and the illuminating effect he has on bad guys.
Jung-Jae Lee/Do-yeon Jeon.
Directed by Sang-soo Im.
* When a man starts hooking it up with his family maid, it brings nasty consequences from the women in the household.
JUST GO WITH IT.****BD****
Adam Sandler/Jennifer Aniston/Nicole Kidman/Brooklyn Decker.
Directed by Dennis Dugan.
* Ah, the little lies we tell and the big trouble it gets us in…In this, Sandler plays a guy who tells a throw-away lie which he then must back up with bigger and bigger lies as he is tracking the girl of his dreams.
NICE GUY JOHNNY.
Directed by the Edward Burns.
* He’s a nice guy, but also kind of a schmuck. He leaves his radio gig to get something more appropriate for his soon-to-be wife. Then her uncle suggests a little hanky panky (not with him) before the wedding. Then we get to find out just how much of a nice guy Johnny is.
Stephen Spinella/Jack Plotnick.
Directed by the Quentin Dupieux.
* Robert is made of rubber. No, really! He is a rubber tire. And he’s alive! And he can destroy anything he wants! And he does, yes he does. The question is can anyone burn Rubber? I mean, Robert. I don’t know. But you can find out. By watching the movie.
Directed by Alister Grierson.
Produced by James Cameron.
* It’s about an underwater science team that are exploring a very inaccessible cave when tragic crisis erupts!
SHADOWS AND LIES.
James Franco/Julianne Nicholson.
Produced by Jay Anania.
* Franco plays William, a guy who was forced by threat of death to leave New York but now comes back to try to rescue the woman he loves.
Jeff Bridges/Hailee Steinfeld/Matt Damon/Josh Brolin.
Directed by the Coen Brothers.
* It’s one of those “not” remakes, where the screenwriters adapt a story not a screenplay. The original film starred John Wayne and won him a Best Actor Oscar. This one was nominated for 10 Oscars, but didn’t win any of them. The story is about a young girl (Steinfeld, in what is bound to be a breakout role for her) who wants justice for the murder of her father and is willing to go great lengths to get it. She hires Rooster Cogburn (Bridges, wonderful again), a hard-drinking, one-eyed US Marshall, to track down the murderer and bring him back to hang for his crime. They encounter a Texas Ranger (Damon) who has been tracking the same guy for months since he killed a politician (not that one) down in Texas. Although none of this unlikely team is really on the same page with one another, they end up working together as long as they can. The kid asks Cogburn if he’s got “grit”. She was told he did, and guess what? He does.
KINGS OF PASTRY.
Documentary/Food/Foreign (English and French).
* This doc follows top pastry chefs from around the world as they compete in the Meilleur Ouvrier de France for recognition as the top pastry chef. I hear it is funny and amazing.
LEGENDS OF FLIGHT.****BD****
* Intense and amazing flight footage in this doc originally made to highlight the incredible effects of the Imax theatre system.
Narrated by David Attenborough.
* My god, if you like the nature documentaries, this one is going to blow your mind. In Madagascar, animals evolved differently than many other parts of the world. As always, the BBC Earth team has filmed this world in the most gloriously vivid way possible. You will swing with the lemurs and crawl with the chameleons as you explore the complex beauty that is this enormous and sparsely populated island off the southern coast of Africa.
* Do you ever find yourself staring up at the sky at night? Looking at the stars and wondering all the little things you’ve ever wondered since you were a kid about existence, reality and the overwhelmingly bigness of it all? Well, this documentary will provide you with all the answers!
* From the imdb: In the summer of 2003, a group of shepherds took a herd of sheep one final time through the Beartooth Mountains of Montana, in the extreme northwest of the United States. It was a journey of almost 300 kilometers through expansive green valleys, by fields of snow, and across hazardous, narrow ridges - a journey brimming with challenges. The aging shepherds do their very best to keep the hundreds of sheep together; the panoramic high mountains are teeming with hungry wolves and grizzly bears.
THE BIG C: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON.
Laura Linney/Gabourey Sidibe/Oliver Platt/John Hickey.
* The fact is that if you are a Laura Linney fan, anything she does is a must-see. This new Showtime series is no different, in fact, she won the 2010 Golden Globe Best Actress Award for her work as a cancer patient struggling to fit her diagnosis into her already packed life.
BREAKING BAD: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON.****BD****
* The return to DVD of one of the most intense shows on television, season three continues the story of the ex-teacher turned meth-maker who is deeper than he ever intended to be in bad bad shit with big-time dealers, feds, guns and drugs that will rot your teeth just thinking about them.
BURN NOTICE: SEASON FOUR.
* A team of “burned” spies continues to work undercover without the benefit of government support.
PRETTY LITTLE LIARS: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON.
* They’re cute, but don’t believe a word they say.
TRUE BLOOD: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON.****BD****
* This came out last week, but I thought it was worthy of a bigger mention than the list at the bottom. Season three continues the story of Sookie Stackhouse and Bill Compton, and the big bad world of blood sucking that happens around them.
ANGELINA BALLERINA: POP STAR GIRLS.
BANDS ON THE RUN.
BRATZ: BEST FRIENDS.
ELMOS WORLD: PEOPLE IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD.
THE LION THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE.
MADELINE AND HER FRIENDS.
ROARY THE RACING CAR.
THE SCRAMBLED STATES OF AMERICA.
............//NEW ON BLU/............
THE ADVENTURES OF PRISCELLA: QUEEN OF THE DESERT.
* Brilliant comedy from down under about three drag queens heading to a gig in the sticks.
A MAN CALLED HORSE.
* Richard Harris as an Englishman capture by the Sioux.
DEATH AT A FUNERAL.
* This is the original British version of the super funny movie.
* Let the sun shine, let the sun shine, the sun shine in.
ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST.
* The Sergio Leone masterpiece starring Henry Fonda and many more.
ROME: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON.
* That’s right, ROME on blu-ray!
ROME: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON.
A little stack of movies from last week that were not yet written about including one must-see film, BIUTIFUL, starring Javier Bardem
PICASSO AND BRAQUE GO TO THE MOVIES. Cool doc about art and early cinema.
THE KIDS IN THE HALL: DEATH COMES TO TOWN. A nice return from the hysterical Canadian comic troop.
DRIVE ANGRY. Nicholas Cage in another scratch your head performance, this time in an action film about a felon who breaks out of hell to avenge his daughter’s death.
BIUTIFUL. Javier Bardem in an Academy Award nominated performance about a man living in the underworld of Barcelona and struggling to keep his affairs in order.
UNDERTOW. Drama about a young married fisherman who is in love with a gay painter in town.
KABOOM. Psychedelic lgbt comedy sci-fi thriller!