Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The poster walah has done it again!

Pity the movie doesn't deserve her, but you can't have everything...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Criterion Watch, January 2009

Well, here we are again with another Criterion Watch. And some good stuff is coming from our old pals at the CC.

First off, this one's for you Blu-Ray fans. Don't know how much better this'll look in the new format, but for me it's all academic anyway considering I don't have a Blu-Ray player. Those of you who do should let me know how it is.

Moving on to the standard-format ones, this looks like the first wave of the Oshimas inspired by the recent touring retrospective. I've seen Senses (also coming out on Blu-Ray) but not Passion, but I'm hoping I'll get the chance when the retro supposedly comes to Wex this spring. Incidentally, a few years ago I decided it would be funny to name a purely hypothetical future daughter "Corrida" just so that I could get a little chuckle whenever the poor little girl's friends said "I know Corrida"- a dumb play on a words inspired by the Japanese title of In the Realm of the Senses, "Ai No Corrida". And yes, I realize that's quite possibly the most tortured, film-nerdiest joke ever, but what can I say? I had nothing better to do back then.

Haven't seen this early Frears film either, which is one of the Jeremy Thomas productions that Criterion snapped up a year or so ago. This one's supposedly pretty cool, but I'm more excited for the rumored Insignificance DVD that's allegedly on the way.

This one intrigues me the most. I've never heard of Painlevé or his work, but what I've read about it since the announcement is pretty exciting. Not sure I'll shell out $50 as soon as it gets released, but I'll surely give it a look.

Finally, this month's clue from the newsletter:

That's Wings of Desire, right? If so, that's yet another one I already own. Not that I wouldn't be happy to trade up, but it's much more exciting when the titles are new to DVD.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's total theatre. Everyone's an actor.

First off, all those critics complaining that Morgen doesn’t adequately lay down historical context in this movie are high. I’m part of a generation that was born after the titular trial had been consigned to history (to wit: the last time I heard anyone mention Bill Kunstler was my most recent viewing of The Big Lebowski), yet I had no problem following what was going on in Chicago 10. Does it honestly matter that (as A.O. Scott gripes) the film barely touches on the candidates at the Democratic National Convention that occasioned the mass convergence of demonstrators on Chicago in summer ’68? I’d say it doesn’t. Great documentaries aren’t about information, but illumination, and while some might argue that the film is lacking in the former, it’s overflowing with the latter, and that’s what really counts.

Click here for the full review.

If you're good at something, never do it for lettuce.

It's that time again!

Once again, Muriels voter and SLH friend Craig Kennedy has designed a series of Muriel-themed poster spoofs this year. Here's the first:

The Muriel Awards are coming in February, so keep your eyes on this space.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

For those who are still hanging around...

I was just poking around the Web today when I realized that it’s been almost a month since I last updated this thing. All I can say is that I’ve been swamped with work lately, and with the Muriels coming up it’s only going to get business. But until I have time to write a proper post, I just thought I’d let you know that I’m still thinking about you. For the time being, I’ll link to my new reviews of The Wrestler, Revolutionary Road, and, erm… Hotel For Dogs. My viewing of the latter was occasioned by the Martin Luther King, Jr., Day holiday, when Angela had to work but I didn’t, so I got to keep an eye on the Offspring. As far as “Drag-Along Specials” go, Hotel For Dogs was the best one so far, although it’s not hard to top Star Wars: The Clone Wars or Beverly Hills Chihuahua.

Also, a note on the ratings. If you read the reviews, you may notice that I’ve given the same rating to Revolutionary Road and Hotel for Dogs (sorry Jason). Now, by no objective yardstick is Hotel for Dogs the aesthetic or artistic equal of Mendes’ film. On the other hand, I don’t think the two really deserve to be compared against each other. Whenever I rate a movie, I ask two questions: (1) what are the filmmakers setting out to do, and (2) how well did it work for me on those terms? Admittedly, Hotel for Dogs lacks the ambition of Revolutionary Road, but what it does, it does pretty okay. Whether you’re down with what it does is another question entirely. Personally, I don’t know if I’d recommend seeing it alone, but if the kids want to go it’s worth the trip.