DVD Spotlight: 7/15.

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DVDs, 7/15.

Times and Winds

"It's amazing to contemplate, but world cinema didn't really make serious feature films about children until after WWII; Vittorio De Sica's Shoeshine (1946) might've been the first," suggests Michael Atkinson at IFC. "Did cinema change with the war, or did we? Two new movies to DVD, Reha Erdem 's Times and Winds (2006) and Ramin Bahrani's Chop Shop (2007), make their individual cases that little outside of the movie dynamic has changed at all, and that life as a 12-year-old in any corner of the globe is still subject to the grinding, merciless self-involvement of the adult world."

"[T]he new and restored Godfather Trilogy was released first in Europe on PAL DVD and only later in the year it will be released in the States," notes Yair Raveh. One of the bonus discs features the doc Emulsional Rescue, "only 18 minutes long but in its bright and succinct way it tells not only of the process used to save The Godfather deteriorating negatives but of what made this movie cinematographically exceptional."

More from Bill Desowitz in the Los Angeles Times: "The restoration was a sizable undertaking that required a team of technicians, several hundred thousand dollars and two years of effort, largely because the negative for The Godfather had been nearly destroyed by overprinting and mishandling."

Metropolis isn't the only Fritz Lang film currently being restored; the FW Murnau Foundation is also hard at work on Die Nibelungen, reports the Frankfurter Rundschau. Theatrical and DVD releases are slated for 2010 and the Foundation promises an image quality even better than that seen by audiences when the film premiered in 1924.

A Throw of Dice "There's hardly a frame in the 1929 film A Throw of Dice that doesn't provide a surge of visual pleasure," writes Dave Kehr in the New York Times. "Though hardly free of the colonialist curse of Orientalism, A Throw of Dice seems less concerned with presenting its characters as exotic/erotic 'others' than with creating a common ground of artfully presented spectacle." Also: "Columbia Pictures thought so little of its serials that it apparently didn't bother to maintain the copyrights for many of them, and it has fallen to individual collectors and enthusiasts to keep them in circulation, often in substandard prints. One of the independent companies fighting the good fight is Restored Serials."

Billy Stevenson has watched his way up to 1946.

"In retrospect, Chan is Missing can be seen as part of a broad wave of American independent cinema that emerged after the social movements of the late 60s and 70s, when culturally marginalized groups decided to make their own movies outside the Hollywood system, but before the institutionalization of 'indie film' began in the late 80s and early 90s," writes Nelson Kim at Hammer to Nail. "Like Barbara Loden's Wanda, Bill Gunn's Ganja & Hess, Charles Burnett's Killer of Sheep, and other key works of its time, Chan remains interesting and relevant today due to its fusion of cultural and aesthetic radicalism."

"As with sophisticated television advertising, but perhaps even more so, it becomes pointless to 'decode' ideological messages that in fact aren't hidden or unconscious at all, but are calculatedly placed in the film (or ad) by the filmmakers (or ad-makers) themselves for well-understood stimulus-response reasons," writes Steven Shaviro. "A film like Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay has already done its own decoding of its messages, and its own desublimation of social reality - precisely because it is so overtly crass and commercial, in a way that, say, Brokeback Mountain is not."

"I Could Never Be Your Woman, despite its relevant, interesting, and smart dissection of the place of women over 40 in film, pop culture, and the workplace, was given a metaphorical slap in the face in what felt like an outright attack on a decidedly feminist endeavor." Matt Mazur takes a long second look at PopMatters.

"Barbara had idolized James Cagney ever since she saw him in person at a war bond rally in Odessa in 1943. Then just 16 years old, she had gotten to meet him that afternoon and never dreamed that six years later, she would be starring as his leading lady in a prestigious Hollywood film." John O'Dowd, author of Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye: The Barbara Payton Story, at Noir of the Week.

Blues in the Night "To celebrate its 85th anniversary, Warner Bros is digging even deeper than usual into the vaults for DVD releases." Lou Lumenick on Blues in the Night and Pete Kelly's Blues.

Salon's Andrew O'Hehir presents the "ultimate family DVD list," weeks in the making, followed by a sequel: the Awesome Kids' Video Project.

MS Smith begins a series on El Orfanato.

The latest addition to Scott Tobias's "New Cult Canon" at the AV Club: Road House.

And the latest extract from Larry Gross's 48 Hrs diaries: "Return To LA & The Eddie Problem."

"When I heard that the New York in the Movies Blog-a-Thon and the Self-Involvement Blog-a-Thon were happening around the same time, I got it into my head that there was one film I could write about that could legitimately fit on the nexus of both." Karina Longworth at the SpoutBlog on Ghostbusters.

Jim Emerson's working on something; we don't know what yet, but it requires revisiting a piece he wrote in 1999: "On one level, Fight Club can be seen as the story of a guy who wakes up one day and discovers to his profound horror that that he is Jim Jones, David Koresh, Ted Kazinski, and Timothy McVeigh all rolled into one."

RoboCop FilmInFocus runs an excerpt from Rob Van Scheers's 1985 conversation with Paul Verhoeven about RoboCop.

"There are two classic films which have a significant influence on Jumpin' Jack Flash: North By Northwest and Laura." Dan Eisenberg: "The influence of Laura can be written off as mere coincidence - both films spend considerable time following someone falling in love with someone they might never meet - but direct references to Hitchcock's cameo and the auction house scene beg comparisons."

"There are two ways to gauge how long it's been since the teenage comedy Square Pegs ran on CBS," writes David Browne in the NYT. " The first is historical: It was canceled 25 years ago, after only one season. The second is sartorial: Its star, Sarah Jessica Parker, wore peasant skirts, baggy sweaters and oversize glasses."

DVD roundups: Sean Axmaker (MSN), Paul Clark (Screengrab), Peter Martin (Cinematical), Noel Murray (Los Angeles Times) and Stop Smiling.

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