January 6, 2004
FRESH FROM THE THEATERS
Hollywood North (2003). Who else to turn to for commentary on this comedy skewering the film biz than the Hollywood Reporter itself, whose reviewer writes that it "features more than a few laugh-out-loud howlers, and its knowing jokes involving the pressures of Canadian filmmaking and the idiosyncrasies of Hollywood players well demonstrates the filmmakers' obvious experience and familiarity with the scene." [Rent]
Out of Time (2003). When director Carl Franklin and Denzel Washington teamed up for the first time back in 1995 on Devil in a Blue Dress, the result was a resoundingly successful noir thriller. Most critics agree Out of Time doesn't quite measure up, but there's a lot they found to praise in this lighter film, most of it in the easygoing performances by the easy-on-the-eyes cast. [Rent]
Vampires and werewolves battle it out in a cybergoth Underworld (2003). Says MrBunBun: "Okay, so it's not necessarily the most challenging or even original plot, but it's fun, people. And in the end, isn't that all that matters?" [Rent]
Uptown Girls (2003). A well-intentioned effort that... well, as Stephen Holden puts it in the New York Times, the movie "is fatally true to the hypocritical values of its niche market." [Rent anyway; maybe you're a Brittany Murphy fan?]
Two early titles from Battle Royale director Kinji Fukasaku: Blackmail is My Life (1968) [Rent] and If You Were Young: Rage (1970) [Rent]. Blackmail is rooted in Fukasaku's genre work, a straight-up gangster flick, while Rage was his first independent production and, as Midnight Eye writes, it "energetically captures the spirit of the Tokyo slums of the seventies."
Criterion will be releasing its edition of Akira Kurosawa's Ikiru (1952). "A bittersweet account of the final days in the life of a simple man (a beautiful performance by Takashi Shimura), who suddenly realizes his life has amounted to naught, and finds redemption through one last and noble gesture," says Eoliano. You'd better catch it now before Tom Hanks remakes it, as rumor suggests he will. [Rent]
And from the other Kurosawa, Kiyoshi, a domestic release of his most well-known film, Cure (1999). "I had to watch this a few times to really get the ending, but it was a pleasure every time," says lizzoqops. [Rent]
Criterion then re-releases two Jacques Tati classics, M. Hulot's Holiday (1953) [Rent] and Mon Oncle (1958) [Rent]. Once again, Eoliano: "A gem of a film! M. Hulot gave Tati an international reputation, and it's easy to see why, since, with little need for dialogue, Tati's uncanny slapstick antics effortlessly communicate to everyone." And then he adds that Mon Oncle tops it.
François Ozon's first feature, Sitcom (1998). "Incest, bizarre sexual shenanigans, masturbating maids and a paraplegic (and suicidal) bondage queen are just some of its offerings," writes 24 Frames Per Second. "But if you can cast aside the shackles of outré tableaus, Sitcom is, at heart, a traditional cult movie, more Film Threat than Film Comment." [Rent]
The White Sun of the Desert (1969). This classic "Ostern" from Russia (the term for the genre is the playful result of jamming the German word for "east," which is "Ost," and "western") pits the Red Army (the good guys) against local rebels, but really gets rolling when Sukhov (Anatoli Kuznetsov) ends up battling whole gangs all but single-handedly. [Rent]
The Golden Horns (1972). A Russian fairy tale from the wildly inventive Alexander Row. [Rent]
The Russian black comedy Repentance (1984). Director Tengiz Abuladze himself called it a "tragic phantasmagoria." Winner of the Special Jury Prize in Cannes. [Rent]
And a wacky family movie from Russia, Vovochka (2002). [Rent]
Two from Mexico: A matador falls in love in Bala Perdida (1959) [Rent] while El Apando (1976) is a violent prison movie. [Rent]
My Darling Clementine (1946). Not only one of John Ford's best, but a great performance from Henry Fonda as well. [Rent]
Dick Van Dyke and Debbie Reynolds cut loose in a dark comedy written by Norman Lear and directed by Bud Yorkin, Divorce American Style (1967). [Rent]
Blake Edwards will be receiving an honorary Oscar this year. Back in 1962, he made the harrowing Days of Wine and Roses with Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick. [Rent]
The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946). The original version of this noir classic, based on the novel by James M. Cain and starring Lana Turner and John Garfield. [Rent]
A double feature on a single disc: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde has Fredric March mixing potions in 1932 and Spencer Tracy in 1941. [Rent]
Lots of Cary Grant! How young he was in Born To Be Bad (1934) [Rent]; then there's Howard Hawks's I Was a Male War Bride (1949) [Rent], People Will Talk (1951) [Rent] and, with Jayne Mansfield, Kiss Them For Me (1957) [Rent].
Where the Boys Are (1960), the original teens on spring break flick. [Rent]
John Milius directs Sean Connery in The Wind and the Lion (1975). [Rent]
Exorcismo (1975). Eurohorror written by its star, Paul Naschy. [Rent]
Ozone (1993). 10th Anniversary Edition of the indie horror flick from JR Bookwalter. [Rent]
Dog Years (1997), an odd little 16mm indie film from Troma. [Rent]
The Shield - Complete Second Season. "Finally a cop show with balls and great acting," says zarran67. Discs: 1 [Rent], 2 [Rent], 3 [Rent] and 4 [Rent].
Rumpole of the Bailey: Confession of Guilt, the pilot episode that laid the foundation for the popular British series in 1975. [Rent]
Babylon 5 - The Complete Fourth Season. You have until April to get through these before Season 5 is released. Discs 1 [Rent], 2 [Rent], 3 [Rent], 4 [Rent], 5 [Rent] and 6 [Rent].
Frasier - The Complete Second Season. Discs: 1 [Rent], 2 [Rent], 3 [Rent] and 4 [Rent].
Cheers - The Complete Second Season. Discs: 1 [Rent], 2 [Rent], 3 [Rent] and 4 [Rent].
Family Business - The Complete First Season. Showtime's 2003 series about a family in the porn biz. Discs 1 [Rent], 2 [Rent] and 3 [Rent].
Two from Masterpiece Theatre: Warrior Queen [Rent] and Goodbye, Mr. Chips (2003 [Rent]; look for the 1939 version in February [Rent]).
The Very Best of the Ed Sullivan Show: Vol. 2: The Greatest Entertainers. Richard Pryor, The Beatles, Peter O'Toole, Tom Jones, Henny Youngman, The Rolling Stones, Tina Turner, The Byrds... [Rent]
PBS's NOVA series asks, Who Killed The Red Baron? [Rent]
If you sit really close to your TV screen, you can sort of capture that IMAX effect: Coral Reef Adventure (2002). [Rent]
Angelic Layer Vol. 3: Idol Worship. "A super cute show by CLAMP," says kenegda. "Here the 'angels' are fighting dolls." [Rent]
Boys Over Flowers Vol. 3: Love Beyond the Horizon. "I am ADDICTED to this series," announces MrBunBun. [Rent]
Full Metal Panic! Mission 6. "Rollicking robot action!" exclaims hamano. [Rent]
Mao-Chan Vol. 2: Go! Unified Defense Force. "They've got transformation sequences and flashing intercom badges and wands with secret powers - all very cute. And yes, they fight cute aliens," says maigochan. [Rent]
Pretear Vol. 2. [Rent]
Saiyuki Vol 7: The Gods of War. "If you like the Knight Hunters series, you will probably enjoy this one too," says Fangs. [Rent]
FOR THE KIDS
Mickey & Minnie's Sweetheart Stories (2004). [Rent]
A Charlie Brown Valentine (2002). [Rent]
My Brother the Pig (1999). Another one for the kids, in a way. A family-friendly comedy with Scarlett Johannson in it? [Rent]
Metal Heads (2003). Mockuments Heavy Metal bands and their avid followers. Definitely not for the kids. [Rent]
The Keeper (1996) [Rent]. "The presence of Giancarlo Esposito (Fresh), one of film's best underused actors, is what keeps alive to its conclusion this story of a humanitarian prison guard/law-school student," writes Boxoffice.
Back to the New Releases Archive.