FRESH FROM THE THEATERS
The Dreamers (2003). Ah, Paris. What's more, Paris in May 1968, that notorious and celebrated pivot of history when an entire generation overthrew (or made a damn good show of trying to overthrow) the postwar order and the catalyst, the breaking point, the end of the fuse was none other than cinephilia. Bernardo Bertolucci remembers, but his ode to youth, idealism and the New Wave is hardly an exercise in sepia-toned nostalgia. As David Edelstein notes in Slate, he "has a tantalizing subject for his sensuous camera style and psycho-erotic sensibility: In just the first two minutes you get passionate cine-mania, a violent political demonstration, and a whiff of sadomasochistic sex." Little wonder the MPAA squirmed, but Bertolucci stood his ground and his film made to these shores as he intended. [Rent]
The Barbarian Invasions (2003). Denys Arcand revisits the Montreal ensemble that lived through a series of tragicomic crises in The Decline of the American Empire. The score: an Oscar for Best Foreign Film, best actress and screenplay awards at Cannes, three Césars, a European Film Award and countless festival honors. [Rent]
Never Die Alone (2004). Ernest R. Dickerson, probably most well-known for the spectacular cinematography he's done for Spike Lee, directs DMX and David Arquette in a gritty story based on the novel by Donald Goines. "The writer was a folk hero in Detroit, where I grew up consuming his bleak ghetto tales - stories warmed by pungent adjectives that acted as space heaters in abandoned buildings," wrote Elvis Mitchell when he was still with the New York Times. "Like all of Goines's heroes, King David is a scourge on the periphery, and the movie dramatizes his corrosive effect on the margins with savvy muscularity.... It's a tricky gamble to make a movie about such a slug, and although Never Die Alone... doesn't glamorize his behavior, neither does it assume that viewers need to have disapproval of the protagonist explicitly stated. DMX's sullen magnificence is a plus." [Rent]
Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London (2004). The first one was light, a little silly but fun and did well at the box office. So the star, Malcolm in the Middle's Frankie Muniz, director Kevin Allen and even the same screenwriters reunited for the inevitable: a sequel that takes the kid to London. [Rent]
The Tree of Wooden Clogs (1978). Ermanno Olmi's quiet paean to turn-of-the-century Italian peasants appeared just two years after Bertolucci's 1900, and it's difficult not to compare and contrast the two films. Where Bertolucci goes bombastic and even exhilaratingly propagandistic at times, Olmi's story, set in very similar circumstances, emphasizes the accumulative power of the simplicity it celebrates. Winner of the Palme d'Or in Cannes. [Rent]
2LDK (2002). First, a little decoding: In Japan, 2LDK stands for 2 bedrooms, a living room, a dining room and a kitchen. And that's primarily where much of the film takes place, and if that sounds stifling, Michael Johnson at Monsters at Play will set you straight: "I enjoyed 2LDK for exactly the same reasons that I abhor most commercial films: it is inventive, devilishly funny, humorously violent, and takes a familiar concept and twists it until you are gasping in disbelief.... I love this film." [Rent]
Box 507 (2002). A Spanish thriller that picked up several awards at home. [Rent]
Dying of Laughter (1999). A comedy from Almodóvar protégé Alex de la Iglesia. Writes Ron Wells in his rave review at Film Threat: "Hollywood loves to show us how love can overcome anything, including reason. Alex de la Iglesia is more interested in how hatred and various forms of dementia can do it. In the end, isn't that much more entertaining?" [Rent]
The Wooden Man's Bride (1994). A drama from Taiwan set in northwestern China during the 1920s. In the Washington Post, Hal Hinson wrote that it "may be set in the Far East, but it's the most visually stunning, emotionally powerful western since Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven." [Rent]
Un, Deux, Trois, Soleil (1993). An absurdist black comedy in which the then-21-year-old Anouk Grinberg plays the six-year-old daughter of an alcoholic father (Marcello Mastroianni) and a neurotic mother (Myriam Boyer). [Rent]
We begin with three period pieces penned by Academy Award-winning screenwriter Horton Foote, all based on his own plays and known collectively as The Texas Trilogy. Featuring performances by the likes of Matthew Broderick, Hallie Foote and Amanda Plummer, they are, in the order of the storytelling (rather than the production of the films): Courtship (1987) [Rent], On Valentine's Day (1986) [Rent] and 1918 (1985) [Rent].
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (1965). A highly regarded adaptation of John Le Carré's Cold War-era espionage thriller starring Richard Burton in his prime. [Rent]
The Counterfeit Traitor (1962). Based on a true story, the tale of a Swedish-American blackmailed by the British to spy for the Allies while pretending to be a Nazi sympathizer. Got that? Good. And so is William Holden. [Rent]
Shelter Island (2003). Ally Sheedy, Stephen Baldwin, Patsy Kensit and Chris Penn star in this thriller most notable for its sexual tension. [Rent]
Vacuuming Completely Nude in Paradise (2001). Danny Boyle directs Timothy Spall in this pitch black comedy made for the BBC. [Rent]
The Assassination Bureau (1969). Oliver Reed, Diana Rigg and Telly Savalas all "appear to be having a splendid time," writes the UK's Channel 4, "swanning around Europe and camping it up in this macabre period comedy.... A cinematic curio, but also a delightful souvenir of the 60s." [Rent]
First up, four starring Roy Rogers and his faithful horse, Trigger: Don't Fence Me In (1945) [Rent], Susanna Pass (1949) [Rent], Trail of Robin Hood (1950) [Rent] and Spoilers of the Plains (1951) [Rent].
And two starring Gene Autry: Indian Territory (1950) [Rent] and magnificently titled Texans Never Cry (1951) [Rent].
Bukowski at Bellevue (1995). Hard to beat black-and-white videotape for period atmo. This is a reading Bukowski did in 1970 at a community college (not the psychiatric ward). [Rent]
The Worst Movies Ever Made (2004). From Howard the Duck to Ed Wood, a celebration of the best of the worst. [Rent]
Project Greenlight 2 (2003). Chronicling the long road to The Battle of Shaker Heights. Discs 1 [Rent], 2 [Rent] and 3 [Rent].
RACY and EROTIC
Senta: Danish Pastry (2004). From Nick Phillips, a tale of lust and whipped cream. [Rent]
Love Object (2003). "Inspired by a website offering 'anatomically correct' sex dolls, Love Object utilizes horror movie jolts to plumb male control-freakishness," wrote Joshua Land in the Village Voice. Did we mention it's also a comedy? [Rent]
Demon Under Glass (2002). The novelty here is what you might call an open source screenplay. It was published on the Net for the purpose of soliciting comments and suggestions and then rewritten before it was shot. The very interesting results played at the Another Hole in the Head film festival in San Francisco. [Rent]
Evilspeak (1981). A low-budget effort evidently chock full of unintentionally funny sequences. [Rent]
Hell High (1987). Features commentary by Joe Bob Briggs. [Request]
ACTION and ADVENTURE
Zatoichi Meets The One-Armed Swordsman (1971). This latest release in the series pits Shintaro Katsu against Jimmy Wang Yu. [Rent]
Freeway Speedway 5 (2003). The grand finale to this series of Japanese racing flicks. [Rent]
Here are two items that aren't exactly TV shows but will most definitely appeal to Star Trek fans: In Mind Meld: Secrets Behind the Voyage of a Lifetime (2001) [Rent], William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy chat for an hour and it works, says Emosjrny, "due in great part to the natural chemistry between unlikely friends the charismatic Shatner and intellectual Nimoy. The personal gossip and heartfelt chatting is both extremely interesting, highly endearing and ultimately informative. For trekkies and sci fi geeks alike, this is a first-hand trip down memory lane." On a completely different note, Spplat Attack (2002) [Rent] sees Shatner leading a paintball team against "The Borgs" and "The Klingons." You can't make this stuff up, folks.
V: The Final Battle (1984). Catch this before the "Complete Series" arrives on July 27. Discs 1 [Rent] and 2. [Rent]
Hercules - The Legendary Journeys: Season 4 (1997). Over 17 hours of hunkadelic adventure. Discs 1 [Rent], 2 [Rent], 3 [Rent], 4 [Rent], 5 [Rent], 6 [Rent], 7 [Rent], 8 [Rent] and 9 [Rent].
Figure 17 Vol. 6: Memories Remain (2001). "This is an exceptionally well done children's show from the perspective of smart pre-teen girls and their SF geek Dads," says hamano. Adds JLind: "It kind of has a quiet, nostalgic feel to it when you start watching it but then you know things are going to start to get exciting and weird. Once the aliens land you are treated to some exhilarating fight scenes and impressive digital animation effects." [Rent]
Initial D: Battle 6: The Terror of Mt. Usui (1998). "What makes Initial D unique is that it's not all about machismo, although there's plenty of alpha male behavior and enough about cars to make an import autofreak drool," says hneline1. [Rent]
Birth: A War of Two Worlds (2004). A planet's in danger, a sword is discovered and the chase is on. [Rent]
Tenchi Muyo! GXP Vol. 4: New Illusions (2004). Uh-oh... pirates! [Rent]
Megazone 23 - Part 2 (1985). Classic 80s sci-fi. [Request]
Saber Marionette R (1995). From the director of Read or Die. [Rent]
Wedding Peach Vol. 4: Summer Flower (1995). "Move over Sailor Moon. Wedding Peach is no clone (and it is a lot better too)," says drseid. [Rent]
Dragon Ball GT. Lost Episodes: Vol. 1: Reaction (1996). [Rent]
Justice League - Star Crossed: The Movie (2003). Here they come to save the day! [Rent]
Check out the titles arriving on July 20 and take a peek at highlights of titles arriving later on this summer and fall.
While you're at it, you might want to browse the New Releases Archive for more recent arrivals.