January 27, 2004
FRESH FROM THE THEATERS
Capturing the Friedmans (2003). Number 2 on underdog's "GreenCine's Best of 2003" list: "I found Andrew Jarecki's incredible documentary equal parts distressing and compulsively watchable. Even more spellbinding then Spellbound, in fact, of all the movies I saw this year, this is the one that stayed with me the longest. Makes you pine for the functionality of R. Crumb's family. An in-your-face to any TV series calling itself a 'reality show.'"
What's more, the story is far from over. The DVD itself, loaded with extra material that couldn't be included in the theatrical release, is playing a role in the ongoing judicial process surrounding the Friedman family's complex case. We don't often include links in our "New Releases" blurbs but this film is exceptional in so many ways it warrants this one to Peter Nichols's story in the New York Times with a quote from director Jarecki that well sums up just how unique this film is: "We heard from theater managers that there was a problem. People weren't leaving after the film. They were sitting in their seats, arguing about things, so they couldn't clean the theater." Now you can argue in the comfort of your own home. [Rent]
Thirteen (2003). Director Catherine Hardwicke collaborated with Nikki Reed, thirteen herself, on the screenplay, and many find the tale of what can go wrong in a young American girl's life makes for one of the scariest movies of this past year. Featuring an outstanding performance from Holly Hunter. [Rent]
Le Divorce (2003). James Ivory directs this light comedy of Americans in Paris starring Kate Hudson, Naomi Watts and featuring - nice touch here - Leslie Caron. [Rent]
House of the Dead (2003). Sisyphus says: "This and Willard had the best b-movie sensibility of all the big budget horror films released in 2003." [Rent]
Radio (2003). "Cuba Gooding Jr has made some dubious choices over the past few years (Boat Trip?) but this isn't one of them," writes Film Threat: "Radio is a film many people may be tempted to laugh off as button pushing feel-good fluff. Before doing so, they might want to ask themselves just what it is they find so funny about a little peace, love and understanding." And that's a helluva supporting cast: Ed Harris and Debra Winger. [Rent]
Scorched (2003). Didn't make it to too many theaters, actually. But it's an amusing distraction with Woody Harrelson and it features notable appearances by the likes of Alicia Silverstone and John Cleese. Not that Silverstone and Cleese are anything alike, but you know what we mean. [Rent]
Decasia: The State of Decay (2002). An utterly unique meditation composed (or is that "decomposed"?) entirely of early nitrate footage, now dissolving in ghostly and ghastly ways before our eyes, all set to Michael Gordon's eerie soundtrack. "In this world of the perpetually vanishing present, in which only the thing not yet unwrapped can truly be trusted as new, Bill Morrison's Decasia sticks out like a leper's thumb," writes the Guardian: "This film doesn't so much savour the past as make perverted love to the silver, shimmering dead." [Rent]
Simple Men (1992). Another offbeat tale from Long Island, or more specifically, Hal Hartley country. "Although not as wryly funny as his other movies," writes the Austin Chronicle, "Simple Men has its simple pleasures: a bossy nun sneaking a cigarette, a gas station attendant performing an electric guitar solo of 'Greensleeves,' a drunken dissertation on Madonna and sexual exploitation... wonderfully inventive." [Rent]
Easy Listening (2002). "Easily the coolest film since CQ," proclaims Filethirteen.com. [Rent]
Coming Out Party (2003). You can take the title literally: Comedians tell their coming out stories. [Rent]
Comic Book: The Movie (2004). Several GreenCiners who attended Comic-Con in the summer of 2002 caught sight of Mark Hamill working on this mockumentary. [Rent]
Guilty As Charged Quirky black comedy with quite a quirky cast: Rod Steiger, Lauren Hutton, Heather Graham and... Isaac Hayes! [Rent]
Dear God (1996). Pretty schmaltzy, this one. But if that's what you're in the mood for, Greg Kinnear will work hard to win you over. [Rent]
Stickmen (2001). A comedy from and set in New Zealand and the kiwis loved it. "Game enough to try to make big bolshie entertainment out of its seemingly modest elements and succeeds," writes the New Zealand Herald. Let's see how it plays here. [Rent]
One From The Heart (1982). With Apocalypse Now (1979), the "making of" backstory behind Francis Ford Coppola's films became more interesting to the press than the films themselves. Many were eager to see the mighty stumble and fall, but Apocalypse triumphed at Cannes and the box office regardless; those who sensed hubris gone awry in Coppola's career weren't going to let him get away with it next time. What's common practice now seemed utterly bizarre at the time: Coppola's not actually on the set; he's directing from a van; via video; this time, he's truly gone mad. By the time Heart was released, the reviews had already been written. Coppola yanked it from theaters and took a crippling financial loss. Now, twenty years later, the time is right to give this musical fantasia a second look. Especially because the DVD offers a new high definition transfer from the original camera negative, supervised by cinematographer Vittorio Storaro; Tom Waits's musical numbers have been remastered as well, and therein lies the friction, the dare and the life of this film: Love at its most raw and guttural, set against the gloriously artificial sheen of Las Vegas. Discs 1 [Rent] and 2 [Rent].
Hoffa (1992). Danny DeVito directs Jack Nicholson as the head of the Teamsters who's probably having cocktails with Elvis somewhere even now as you read these words. [Rent]
Strike Me Deadly (1963). Ted V. Mikel's first, and some say, best film. [Rent]
Night Owl (2002). Thriller featuring Jennifer Beals. [Rent]
Liability Crisis (1995). "Earnest yet hopelessly muddled," tut-tuts the New York Times. [Rent. Because now you're curious.]
Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea (1976). Sarah Miles and Kris Kristofferson in an erotic tale based on a novel by Yukio Mishima. [Rent]
Pontiac Moon (1995). With Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen as husband and wife. Was this before or after that whole thing with Whoopi? Anyone remember? Anyone care? [Rent]
Vendetta (1997). Joe Bob says this one's an "erotic thriller by ultra-low-budget sleazemeister George Saunders, who writes, directs, stars and lures gorgeous women onto his set-while hiring semifamous guys like Richard Lynch and Joey Travolta to moon around in the background so he can put their names on the video box. In other words, my kinda filmmaker!" There you have it. [Rent]
The Einstein of Sex (1999). The most "conventional" film yet from Rosa von Praunheim, the bad boy in a class of bad boys, the New German Cinema. German reviewers, so often so tough on German films, generally approved of this offbeat yet moving biopic of Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld, a pioneer for gay rights in Europe. [Rent]
La Captive (2001). Chantal Akerman didn't base her film so much on the fifth volume of Proust's A la recerche du temps perdu as on her recollections of it. The result, set in contemporary Paris, "revels in its director's own trademark minimalism," writes kamera.co.uk: "Only the clever use of music (Rachmaninov, Mozart, Schubert) hints at the baroque world of Proust's novel." [Rent]
Love at the Top (1974). With Jean-Louis Trintignant, Romy Schneider and Jane Birkin. [Rent]
Calzonzin Inspector (1973). The movie isn't very well-known, but the director certainly is: Alfonso Arau. Only 14 votes at the IMDb, but they're averaging 8.2 out of 10. [Rent]
The release Un Titan En El Ring (2002). [Rent], a drama in Spanish (with English subtitles), is accompanied by the release of two adventure stories: La Clave Del Diablo (2002) [Rent] and Regalo Caro (2002) [Rent].
Majorettes (1986). "The special effects are cheap and tacky and the acting is an atrocity on its own," writes the Grim Reaper's Movie Guide. "Yet, I found myself glued to the screen, frequently laughing and incredulous at the antics." [Rent]
Tomie (1999). Based on a manga by Junji Ito, who also did the manga that Uzumaki was based on. [Rent]
Birth of the Wizard (1996). Based on the anime. [Rent]
Angel Negro (2000). From Chile. [Rent]
Troma Triple B-Header (1984 - 1989). Blades, Blood Hook and Zombie Island Massacre. [Rent]
Dead Heat (1988). Your typical buddy cop movie. Except that one of the cops is zombie. [Rent]
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