February 10, 2004
ON THEIR WAY FROM THE THEATERS
Intolerable Cruelty (2003). Probably the most "mainstream" film yet from the Coen brothers, but don't let that throw you off. There's still plenty of Coeniocity in this romantic comedy. George Clooney, clearly having a grand old time, and Catherine Zeta-Jones face off against each other and, of course, the inevitable. Quite a supporting cast, too, headed up by Geoffrey Rush and Billy Bob Thornton. [Rent]
In The Cut (2003). In a role originally intended for Nicole Kidman, Meg Ryan boldly remakes her image, getting "naked, frisky, and totally weirded out," as the Village Voice's J. Hoberman puts it:
"Jane Campion's arty thriller... is aggressively grim and gory. It's a throwback to the New York policiers of the Koch era, yet wacky enough to suggest a procedural in the Land of Oz." [Rent]
Once Upon a Time in The Midlands (2003). Critics adored this quiet British comedy that was, unfortunately, shouted too quickly out of theaters by louder fare. Catch it on DVD because, as the Guardian writes, "t is a treat, and a relief, to see that a British film can combine sentiment with drama and laughs without looking phoney.... It is the sort of thing that only looks easy when you are getting it right. And [director Shane] Meadows is getting it right." [Rent]
Party Monster (2003). This one's a long way from Home Alone. If it's been a while since you checked up on Macaulay Culkin, you may be in for a surprise. At the same time, though, according to Sight and Sound, "It's Seth Green who steals the show, with a performance of controlled engagement with both the delights and damage of the kids' lifestyle." It's a dark, colorful, messy but memorable tale based on a true story and set in the excessive New York party scene of the mid-90s. [Rent]
Sylvia (2003). People scoffed when they heard Gwyneth Paltrow was to play doomed poet Sylvia Plath, but Roger Ebert says that she and Daniel Craig (who plays her husband, Ted Hughes, the English poet), are both "well cast, not merely because they look something like the originals but because they sound like workers who live with words and value them; there's a scene where they hurl quotations at each other, and it sounds like they know what they're doing." Christine Jeffs's film was not initially met with raves by any means, but by the end of 2003, many critics were openly acknowledging it deserved a better reception than they'd given it. [Rent]
Wonderland (2003). The highlight is Val Kilmer's performance as "The Wadd," porn star John Holmes, his career on the wane, his name tied to four brutal murders in sunny LA. [Rent]
Mystery of Rampo (1995). "An extraordinary picture that also manages to celebrate the rich legacy of the Japanese cinema," writes the Austin Chronicle: "It recalls everything from the lyrical surrealism of Masaki Kobayashi to the delirious eroticism of Koji Wakamatsu (who, by the way, appears in a cameo) - without ever seeming anything less than completely original." [Rent]
Together (2001). We've been waiting a while for this gentle Swedish comedy, and here it is. Set in a commune in 1975, the film was called "one of the most pleasant foreign films of the year," by the New York Times'a Dave Kehr, "a funny, graceful and immensely good-natured work." With this one, Lilya-4-ever and Show Me Love, Lukas Moodysson's starting to look like one of the world's best new directors. [Rent]
Cyrano De Bergerac (1990). One of Gérard Depardieu's most lauded performances; he was nominated for an Oscar, a Bafta, a César and was named Best Actor at Cannes and by the London Critics Circle and so on an so on. But the film vacuumed up awards across the board, too, for cinematography, for its screenplay, costume design, art direction, music and more. In short: a grand telling of a classic tale. [Rent]
La Chamade (1969). This adaptation of a novel by Françoise Sagan isn't all that well-known here but was quite popular when it was released in France in 1968. Here's our chance to catch up with a film featuring the lovely Catherine Deneuve. [Rent]
Huelepega (1999). How many films by Uruguayan directors do you get to see? It's actually set in Venezuela, but either way, this one (the title translates as "Glue Sniffer") by Josç RamÓn Novoa packs a wallop. [Rent]
An update on the Ingmar Bergman collection, straight from MGM Home Video: "It has come to our attention that the transfers utilized for the release of Ingmar Bergman's Hour of the Wolf Special Edition DVD and Shame Special Edition DVD are not representative of the intended theatrical presentation. In order to provide customers with the best quality product available, we are recalling the product at retail and will be releasing both films in a 1:37:1 aspect ratio on April 20, 2004." However, fear not! Because GreenCine is still making the other films in the new Bergman set available for rent, right now: Persona, Serpent's Egg and Passion of Anna, as well as the documentary disc.
Walk on the Wild Side (1962). Edward Dmytryk directs Laurence Harvey, Barbara Stanwyck and Jane Fonda. [Rent]
Fire Down Below (1957). Action! Drama! Romance!... as Rita Hayworth comes between old smuggling pals Jack Lemmon and Robert Mitchum. [Rent]
Tokyo Joe (1949). Frankly, this one will probably appeal most to Humphrey Bogart completists. [Rent]
Imitation of Life. An intriguing disc in that it features both Douglas Sirk's 1959 version and John M. Stahl's from 1934, both highly regarded in their own rights. Contrast and compare. [Rent]
Best of Abbott and Costello: Vol. 1 (1940 - 1947). Eight classic comedy feature films on two discs: 1 [Rent] and 2. [Rent]
Kwoon (2004). A series of ultra-low budget but hilarious martial arts spoofs. Shot on DV and a big hit online. [Rent]
Mr. Bill's Disasterpiece Theatre Presents: The Definitive Collection. Disc 1 [Rent] and 2 [Rent].
The Heart of Me (2002). Fans of Paul Bettany (recently so very fine as the doctor/biologist in Master and Commander) may want to take a look at this British period romance co-starring British period romance staple Helena Bonham Carter and Olivia Williams. [Rent]
Angel: Season 3 (2001 - 2002). Of the first season, chester writes, "Not content to merely be a mirror of its predecessor, Angel takes a darker, somewhat more serious tone, and falls into more of a detective, film noir genre. Actually, it's reminiscent of some of the better incarnations of Batman. If you're a fan of Buffy, this is a must see; but even if you're not, you might take a look at this somewhat dark detective show..." Discs 1 [Rent], 2 [Rent], 3 [Rent], 4 [Rent], 5 [Rent] and 6 [Rent].
Best of Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In: Vol. 2 (1968 - 1971). Besides the set designs, probably the most fun to be had here is seeing the likes of Goldie Hawn and Lily Tomlin back in the day. [Rent]
Lexx IV. The Complete Fourth Season (2002 - 2003). Volumes 1 [Rent], 2 [Rent], 3 [Rent] and 4 [Rent].
Xena: Warrior Princess - Season 3 (1995). [Rent]
Barbara. British comedy. [Rent]
X-Men Evolution: Powers Revealed (2001). [Rent]
Kimagure Orange Road. OVA/Movie Box Set (1989). Kasuga Kyosuke is your basic psychic teenager torn between two lovely women. We should all have such problems. Seriously, though, this romantic comedy series is a real favorite around here. This box set contains the four OVA episodes, but the real prize is the bittersweet final movie, which breaks from the comedic tone of the TV series. Discs 1 [Rent], 2 [Rent] and 3 [Rent].
Black Jack: Infection (2000). Of the original Black Jack, OKhan1 writes, "Based on the classic manga by Osamu "god of manga" Tezuka, this movie is excellent in its content, characters and message that there is no such thing as a quick fix. This is essentially anime for people who like plot and realistic characters and the motivation that drives them." [Rent]
Master Keaton. Vol. 5: Blood and Dust (2003). GCers have been rating the previous four volumes very highly indeed. [Rent]
Legend of the Dragon Kings: White Dragon (1991). [Rent]
Legend of the Mystical Ninja. Vol. 2: The Fight for Justice (2003). [Rent]
Sugar: A Little Snow Fairy. Vol. 6: Sugar Baby Love (2003). For the younger otaku in the family. This volume brings the sweet fantasy to a close. [Rent]
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