January 4, 2004
FRESH FROM THE THEATERS
Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004). Gallons of ink were spilled in countless reviews praising this comedy for featuring an Asian-American (Harold, played by John Cho) and an Indian-American (Kumar, played by Kal Penn) as the buddies carrying this buddy comedy. All well and good, but beyond that, is it funny? "As is often the case in this type of movie, describing the gags doesn't necessarily convey whether or why they work. These do because the makers of Harold & Kumar... have a clear idea, despite the veneer of disjointed wackiness, of what they're trying to say," writes Stephen Himes in Flak Magazine. One of those ideas is that "a better life" for second-generation immigrants is "one so easy you can spend your days slacking at work or school and your nights getting high and going to White Castle." Of course there's more, too, for as Himes adds, "There are enough real ideas in Harold & Kumar to work its wackiness into something worthwhile, and the performances themselves elevate the film to genuine hilarity." Naturally, the version we have for you is the "Extreme Unrated" version, too. [Rent]
Riding Giants (2004). Former skateboarder Stacey Peralta, who scored a surprise hit with his doc about the roots of the scene he came from, Dogtown and Z-Boys, turns his attention to west coast surfer culture. "Very fresh," writes JMVerville, "some extremely exciting footage and a good soundtrack; it is a documentary that I would advise everybody to check out." [Rent]
Troy (2004). In the wake of Gladiator, the march of swords-n-sandals epics proceeds apace. If you steered clear of Wolfgang Petersen's refashioning of the most famous war in all of western literature when it was in theaters this summer, now's your chance to gaze upon Brad Pitt in all his buffness. [Rent]
Little Black Book (2004). Silly? Of course. But you know, argues, David Essex for Flak Magazine, it's also sort of an "exuberant mess... Hip, cynical and saccharine, it is very nearly rescued by its three leading actresses - Brittany Murphy, Holly Hunter and Julianne Nicholson - who turn it into an intergenerational babe-fest, so wonderfully watchable as to be worth at least matinee admission." [Rent]
Shakespeare double feature! Well, maybe a Shakespeare weekend. Macbeth (1997 [Rent]
) and Twelfth Night (2003 [Rent]
). Of the first, Simon Tait wrote in the London Times, "[Sean] Pertwee is a classic hero-turned-tyrant with added street fighter menace, and [Greta] Scacchi is the sexiest screen Lady M I've seen." Twelfth Night features Parminder Nagra (Bend It Like Beckham) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (Dirty Pretty Things) and is, according to Ken Eisner in Variety, a "gloriously irreverent, deliciously colorful version... an appealing Night in every way."
Isola: Persona 13 (1999). "Its characters and story structure are straight port-overs from Ring," notes Tom Mes frankly in Midnight Eye. "Again protagonist and antagonist are female, again the villainess is a corrupted innocent with supernatural powers, and again the heroine is aided, but not overshadowed, by a handsome-yet-regular love interest. This time around, the story revolves around a girl (played by Yu Kurosawa, granddaughter of Akira) whose murderous impulses stem from scientific experiments that have made her a schizophrenic telepath." [Rent]
Kaze no Yojimbo. Volume 6: Unveiled Mystery (2001). "A classy adaptation of Akira Kurosawa's famed Yojimbo," writes Anime News Network's Bamboo Dong. "A laid-back series in the style of old school mysteries, it skillfully moulds suspense to keep viewers on the edge of their couches." [Rent]
Wolf's Rain. Volume 5: War for the Soul (2003). One of Ruzerian's favorite series, Wolf's Rain makes Cosplayer "sorta cry during almost every episode." [Rent]
Mobile Suit Gundam SEED. Volume 6: Momentary Silence [Rent] and Volume 7: Suspicious Motive [Rent]. If you're just getting oriented as to the various incarnations of one of Japan's most popular anime series, you'll want to take a look at Bahamut's helpful timeline.
Please Twins!. Volume 2: Sibling Rivalry (2005). Sexual tension among three teens is tweaked tighter when it turns out two of them may be brother and sister. [Rent]
Hanaukyo Maid Team. Volume 1: How Do You Do, Master? (2004). Another harem fantasy? We'll see. [Rent]
Ikki-Tousen. Volume 3: Water Wars (2003). This round, the battles entail soaked clothing. Jiggling ensues. [Rent]
Star Ocean EX. Volume 1: The Inception (2005). When Claude C. Kenni arrives on the planet Expel, he finds it chock full of swords, magic and all. [Rent]
DNAngel. Volume 2: Double Helix (2003). Isn't that just the way it goes? You're fourteen, you fall for a girl, and bang, your unruly desire turns you into Phantom Thief Dark. [Rent]
Galaxy Angel Z. Volume 2: Galaxy Size Combo (2004). Robot vs. monster, with a little accidental body-switching on the side. [Rent]
Dragon Drive. Volume 5: Friends in Need (2002). Carry on gaming. [Rent]
Browse the New Releases Archive for more recent arrivals.