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NEW RELEASES

March 2, 2004

FRESH FROM THE THEATERS

  • In This World (2003). Currently one of the boldest filmmakers out there, Michael Winterbottom goes from 24 Hour Party People to an Afghani refugee odyssey that stretches all the way from Pesheswar, Pakistan to London. Winner of the Golden Bear in Berlin in 2003; an immediate reaction: "This is a documentary-like reality, but one we inhabit emotionally because there is also a driving narrative. It's a road movie, yes, but characters develop and the events along that road are at times terrifying, at times very funny, at times heart-breaking... From Istanbul on, the trip takes its darkest turn, but let me hasten to add that the final note is not one that'll have you giving up hope." [Rent]
  • On an entirely different note, School of Rock (2003). We doubt that one of the most solidly entertaining comedies of last year needs introduction, but in case you haven't heard, this is the film Jack Black fans have always known he had in him. Black, who's borrowed one eyebrow from Jack Nicholson, the other from John Belushi, and knows how to use both, is also fortunate to have been directed by Richard Linklater, who knows how to guide his comic brilliance to hit just the right tone and timing. And the disc features commentary by both. [Rent]

  • Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003). Joe Dante's foray into Warner Bros. 'toon territory was embraced much more than these characters last celluloid venture, Space Jam. Writes Luke Sader of the Hollywood Reporter: "When it comes to a zippy live-action-meets-animation kid flick with plenty of grown-up gags, Looney Tunes: Back in Action does not disappoint." And a fine cast of humans, ducks, Martians and rabbits, doesn't hurt, either. Jonathan Rosenbaum, by the way, has an excellent piece on this film and Joe Dante in general. [Rent]

  • Cold Creek Manor (2003). Mike Figgis directs Dennis Quaid, Sharon Stone and Stephen Dorff, so you'd think this suspense film would have received a warmer welcome, as it were, and this "ludicrous but handsomely produced nail-biter" (San Francisco Chronicle) is certainly nice to look at. Still, as the Onion's AV Club points out, "A real-estate tip for movie homebuyers: If a property has a scary name, don't make an offer unless the realtor offers a phenomenal price break." [Rent]

  • Duplex (2003). Silly little black comedy with Ben Stiller and Drew Barrymore, directed by Danny DeVito. [Rent]
  • DOCUMENTARY

  • Searching For Debra Winger (2002). Rosanna Arquette made this personal exploration about why Winger, and others like her, have quit or considered getting out of a business that doesn't always treat actresses kindly. Not as insightful as one would hope, but still fascinating. And quite a roll call of interviewees: Diane Lane, Salma Hayek, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jane Fonda, Whoopi Goldberg, Vanessa Redgrave, Daryl Hannah, Melanie Griffith and Holly Hunter. [Rent]

  • American Dream (1990). Barbara Kopple's documentary depicting a labor strike at the Hormel meatpacking plant in Minnesota won a well-deserved Academy Award. Kopple "catches the joy and grief of testing the American dream in two hours of vital, provocative filmmaking," wrote Peter Travers in Rolling Stone and Roger Ebert, who gave the film his highest rating (four stars), said that "the people in this film are so real they make most movie characters look like inhabitants of the funny pages." Kopple knows this territory well, having earlier documented a bitter miners' strike in the incredible doc Harlan County USA. [Rent]

  • Animals Are Beautiful People (1974). A delightfully lighthearted nature documentary from Jamie Uys, director of The Gods Must Be Crazy. No coke bottles, but plenty of baboons and elephants and giraffes - and laughs. [Rent]

  • Walt: The Man Behind the Myth (2001). Perhaps rather more celebratory than some would want, but nonetheless an undeniably well-made, comprehensive doc on the legendary Walt Disney. With some great archival footage and interviews, this is essential viewing for anyone interested in animation history. [Rent]
  • CULT

  • Curdled (1996). It's hardly surprising that Quentin Tarantino produced this black comedy-slash-suspense film - he even borrowed one of its characters for a cameo in Pulp Fiction (Gabriella, Butch's cab driver, played by Angela Jones). Writes Boxoffice Magazine: "The film is effective in leaving audiences guessing what will happen next and in building tension right through the final shot... A cult classic." That may be a stretch, but you get the idea. [Rent]
  • FOREIGN

  • The Other Side of the Bed (2003). A musical comedy set in Madrid. "Is this homage, ironic commentary, or camp entertainment meant to put tongue in low-comedy cheek?" asks the Boston Phoenix. Writing in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Sean Axmaker proposes an answer: "This isn't the Bollywood blast of color and song or the brassy razzle-dazzle of Chicago, but a quieter, sweeter approach that works against the chaotic comedy while humanizing the characters. The songs become interior monologues delivered in lyric rhapsodies, a reminder that our cheating heroes yearn for something more meaningful amid the door-slamming comedy of errors and hot, sexy interludes." [Rent]

  • Picture Bride (1995). "Although this is a small film in that it profiles an individual's drama rather than the human condition," writes the Austin Chronicle, "Picture Bride does so with tremendous warmth and respect for its characters." Winner of the Audience Award at Sundance. [Rent]

  • Carnage (2003). Marcello Mastroianni's daughter Chiara stars in this international multi-layered drama that "offers up an elegant, discursive essay on carnality and carnivorousness - on sex, death, meat and the ravening hunger for companionship." (New York Times) [Rent]

  • La Mujer Del Puerto (1991). Legendary Mexican director Arturo Ripstein bases this Cannes entry on a story by Guy de Maupassant. [Rent]

  • The Pleasure Party (1974). "This is one of Claude Chabrol's most unpleasant films, but it can't be denied that it's also one of his most fascinating and provocative," writes Jonathan Rosenbaum: "You may be enraged by this film, and you won't find it easy to shake off; the self-exposure of the leads and Chabrol's unswerving control of the direction combine to make it corrosive." [Rent]

  • Miel Para Oshun (Honey for Oshun, 2003). A Cuban American returns to the island in search of his long lost mother. Those who've caught the film at festivals praise the scenery and the overall light touch; it might be a tad sentimental for some, though. [Rent]
  • CLASSICS

  • Doctor Faustus (1968). Liz & Dick do Christopher Marlowe. The English is Olde, but the sets look rather Hammerish. [Rent]

  • The Prisoner (1955). Fairly neglected 50s British film set in an unnamed totalitarian state, The Prisoner was written by Bridget Boland (based on her play). And way back then, venerable New York Times critic Bosley Crowther wrote that Alec Guinness's "talent is brilliantly and movingly revealed. For he plays, in this grim and gripping drama - which also happens to be an equally revealing motion picture, one of the best of the year - a role of tremendous emotional and intellectual complexity. And he does so with such clarity and feeling that it strikes the very marrow in your bones." [Rent]

  • The Big Bounce (1969) The first version of this Elmore Leonard tale. With Ryan O'Neal. [Rent]
  • COMEDY

  • Dog Park (1999). Dog lovers might enjoy this piece of romantic fluff from one of the Kids in the Hall, Bruce McCulloch. The fine comic cast includes fellow Kid Mark McKinney, Janeane Garofalo, Luke Wilson and some loveable mutts. [Rent]

  • Three Stooges: Stooges and the Law. [Rent]
  • DRAMA

  • Miracle of the White Stallions (1963). Directed by Arthur Hiller. Reviews suggest that those who admire the Lipizzaner stallions or enjoy soaking in a little Viennese atmo will have a fine time. Just don't look for white-knuckle riveting drama. [Rent]

  • Tales From Avonlea Vol. 1-4 (1989 - 1996). Featuring a young Sarah Polley and based on books by Lucy Maud Montgomery, who wrote Anne of the Green Gables. [Rent]
  • HORROR

  • Brain of Blood. The word from dvd/authority: "The outlandish Blood Island series from the Philippines had closed shop, but that didn't mean the bloodshed had ended. In this final film in the Blood Series, low budget marvels Sam Sherman and Al Adamson assume command and deliver one of the series' most offbeat and entertaining installments." [Rent]

  • Beast of Blood (1970). "Eddie Romero pulls out all the stops," cringes Boxoffice Magazine. [Rent]

  • Mad Doctor of Blood Island (1969). "Eddie Romero's crowning achievment," says Brujaria: "The perfect introduction to the joys of low-rent Filipino cinema," and a welcome return to our catalog. [Rent]
  • TV

  • Dr. Who: Three Doctors (1972) [Rent] and Seeds of Death (1985) [Rent].

  • Mutant X: Season 1 - Vols. 10 and 11 (2001). From the creator of Babylon 5. [Rent]

  • Starsky and Hutch: Complete First Season. As the Ben Stiller/Owen Wilson satirical reworking of the hit 70s cop series makes it to theaters, this might be a good time to check out the original version with David Soul, Paul Michael Glaser, Antonio "Huggy Bear" Fargas, and the real star - "Tomato," the Gran Torino. Discs 1 [Rent], 2 [Rent], 3 [Rent], 4 [Rent] and 5 [Rent].
  • ANIME

  • .hack//SIGN: Terminus - Vol. 6. "An excellent anime series," writes hneline1 of the first volume: "It has the high fantasy elements of Record of Lodoss War or El Hazard the Magnificent World, but with the reality twist that there are normal modern people behind the characters that we see interacting in the game universe." [Rent]

  • Final Fantasy Unlimited: Phase 4 (2001). Ratings for earlier Phases are hovering around "7" and "8". [Rent]

  • Kikaider 01: Another Journey (2001). [Rent]

  • All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku TV - Vol. 1: Keep Peace on Earth! [Rent]

  • Orphen: Season 2: Revenge - Vol. 3. "It's an exciting series that's sure to please a wide range of fans with its fast-paced story line and random humor," writes Anime News Network: "Even the most jaded fangirls who won't watch anything without hordes of bishonen running rampant are sure to enjoy this series; Orphen himself is certainly eye-candy enough." [Rent]

  • Supergals! Vol. 5: It's Okay to Have a Change of Heart. "After watching a seemingly endless parade of series with giant robot, harem, or ultrafanservice themes, Super GALS! comes as a breath of fresh air," sighs Jeff Ulmer at digitallyObsessed: "Its comedy is over the top, and its style manic, but underneath it all is a show that deals with real issues and the challenges of growing up in the modern age." [Rent]
  • FOR THE KIDS

  • Mr. Toad's Wild Ride (1996). Terry Jones directs a few Pythons (Eric Idle, John Cleese and Michael Palin) as well as Stephen Fry and a handful of other Brit wits in what the New York Times calls an "unequivocable delight... Retaining the charm and ambience of Kenneth Grahame's classic of Edwardian children's literature, [Jones] modernized this 1908 tale of Mole, Rat, Badger and their friend Toad with an infusion of an Orwellian parable that upholds the virtues of civility and decency while baring the evils of naked yuppie greed. In so doing, [the film is] brimming with verbal and visual wit and imagination." [Rent]

  • Good Boy! (2003). Originally aptly titled Dogs from Outer Space, this gently amusing boy-meets-dog tale is "a gentle parable of interspecies love and loyalty and a very nice time if you don't mind a little Fido flatulence," says Carrie Rickey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, and really, who does? Especially if it comes from a dog named "Hubble" (voiced by Matthew Broderick). [Rent]

  • Hamilton Mattress (2001). Animation from the producers of Wallace and Gromit. [Rent]

  • The Gnome Mobile (1967). [Rent]

  • The Seder on Planet Matzah Ball (2003). Bet you didn't know that matzah balls came from outer space? More importantly, this satirical science fiction puppet and animation show will teach kids a lot about Jewish holiday traditions. [Rent]

  • The Adventures Of Batman & Robin: The Joker/Fire and Ice [Rent] and Poison Ivy/The Penguin (1994 - 1997) [Rent].

  • Batman Beyond: Tech Wars/Disappearing Inque [Rent] and School Dayz/Spellbound (1999 - 2000) [Rent].
  • Back to the New Releases Archive.

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