|FRESH FROM THE THEATERS|
Bride & Prejudice (2004).
Coming off her indie hit, Bend It Like Beckham, Gurinda Chadha shoots for an international crossover hit by casting one of Bollywood's biggest stars, Aishwarya Rai, in an all-singing, all-dancing adaptation of one of Jane Austen's most beloved novels. "Indescribably wonderful," wrote Flick Filosopher MaryAnn Johanson, "one of those rare films that I never wanted to be over."
Land of Silence and Darkness (1971).
Werner Herzog is back in the news - and in theaters - this year, following the release of a remarkable string of documentaries. Though he's made some extraordinary fictional features, of course, it's almost as if he's rediscovered a calling. In this early doc, he focuses on Fini Strauberger, a 56-year-old deaf and blind woman who has dedicated her life to helping the similarly afflicted. "From their first flight on an airplane to a day at the zoo, Herzog captures the joys and struggles of those who have been isolated from the world around them," writes Gary Tooze at DVDBeaver.com. "Land of Silence and Darkness is a tribute to the triumphant nature of the human spirit and a glimpse into an existence so intense and abstract that at times it seems to reach great lyrical heights."
Signs of Life (1968).
Werner Herzog's debut feature picks up on themes he explored in two previous shorts, themes we'd see again in such later films as his international breakthrough, Aguirre, the Wrath of God. The sheer power of nature pushes our protagonist, Stroszek, a soldier, over the edge - to the point that he sets out to kill his newly wed wife and blow up the entire Greek island where he's supposed to have been recovering from his injuries.
Twenty Bucks (1993).
First, what a cast for a comedy. Among the stand-outs: Linda Hunt, Christopher Lloyd, Elizabeth Shue, Brendan Fraser, Gladys Knight (no, really), William H. Macy, Spalding Gray and Steve Buscemi. In no particular order. Though there is an eerie, not quite random order to their appearances as we follow a $20 bill from hand to hand in a story written all the way back in 1935. "Fresh, witty and thoroughly unique to look at," wrote Marc Savlov in the Austin Chronicle.
Prozac Nation (2001).
"Yes, it's a very difficult film to make emotionally," Christina Ricci told Nina Rehfeld in our interview. "It's probably the one I'm most proud of, that is, my performance in it. It's very close to my heart. And I'm very rarely the kind of person who says I'm good in something. And: I'm good in it. So, I'm proud of it."
Of course, she said that nearly three years ago and over a year after she'd made Prozac Nation, the adaptation of Elizabeth Wurtzel's bestselling memoir. Miramax held it and held it; and to be perfectly honest, it probably would not have done all that well in theaters. But at home, where we're less inclined to be running away from our daily lives, many of us are more than willing to face a young woman's depression and its devastating consequences.
Gantz Volume 6: Sudden Death (2005).
"At first glance, Gantz seems like it's made out of two pieces," proposes Bamboo Dong at Anime News Network. "The first piece is a discordant dissection of the human mind, examining the private thoughts and emotions that run through the heads of society. The second piece is an alien-hunting game, Men in Black style. Combine the two and you get a series that leaves you in awe the entire time. Each individual scene seems disjointed and bizarre, but like the pieces of a jigsaw scattered across the floor, everything eventually comes together in an all too fascinating show."
Boys Over Flowers Volume 12: Neverending (1996).
"My girlfriend and I (both hopeless Shoujo fans) watched Volume 1," wrote whump a year ago. "It struck her as a Shoujo retelling of John Hughes's Pretty in Pink." That's a good thing, of course. Whump gave it an 8-out-of-10. And 10-out-of-10 reviews? Sure enough: ivygirl and MrBunBun.