|FRESH FROM THE THEATERS|
Kung Fu Hustle (2004).
Stephen Chow is a major favorite among GreenCiners on both sides of the envelope. See, for example, the staff raves and member reviews for The God of Cookery and Shaolin Soccer.
As for Chow's latest, Marc Savlov writes in the Austin Chronicle, "This is as pure and downright fun a cinematic experience as you're likely to have all year: part chopsocky battle royale, part Chuck Jones-and-Buster Keaton-inspired gonzo romantic comedy, and part MGM musical run amok. It's all choreographed and art-directed to the nines, too, which makes it as pleasing to the eyes as it is to your pulse, which you'll find pounding relentlessly throughout."
Look at Me (2004).
The ironically named Lolita (Marilou Berry) is a talented young singer and the daughter of a famous writer. She's also overweight, which, in the Paris literati world, is an utter embarrassment to her ultra-smug father (Jean-Pierre Bacri, who co-wrote the script) and his young trophy wife.
Peter Travers in Rolling Stone: "Agnès Jaoui, directing her second film (following 2000's The Taste of Others), captures the stings that come with living near the flame of success. And the script... is a model of nuance. Then there's the marvel of the ensemble acting, from the flamboyance of Bacri as a monstrous ego run amok to the delicacy of Jaoui as the moralist run aground. And Berry dazzles as the girl who uses her art and her stubborn will to avoid sliding into victimhood. This bonbon spiked with malice is a triumph for Jaoui, who takes witty and wounding measure of the small betrayals that leave bruises on us all."
The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956).
"Books like The Organization Man proposed the social evolution of the corporate cog of the 1950s, a new kind of man needed to fill the offices of those new steel towers in New York City," writes the DVD Savant (Glenn Erickson). "This acclaimed movie version of Sloan Wilson's best selling book isn't particularly cinematic but stands the test of time as a meaningful look at the perceived erosion of American values in the era of postwar prosperity.... Gregory Peck is excellent as a man who only wants to earn a living and make his wife proud of him. He has a tough time reconciling his time as a soldier with the 'civilized' politics he finds in the corporate environment. Film fans unfamiliar with the film's 50s context may be equally attracted by the stereophonic score by favorite Bernard Herrmann, which lends a moody and plaintive desperation to Gregory Peck's personal struggle."
Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1965).
Robert Aldrich knew if he could get Bette Davis and Joan Crawford to do a sequel to the commercially successful What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, he'd be set. Long story short, Crawford was out, Olivia de Havilland was in and the result is "an even more outrageous exercise in Hollywood necrophilia," wrote Dave Kehr in the Chicago Reader. "It was camp before the term was coined, but it's somewhat better than that, too."
By the way, it is a long story, but you've just got to read Mark A. Vieira telling the tale of the film's making in Bright Lights Film Journal.
Stellvia. Volume 6: Foundation VI (2004).
"The key element that sets Stellvia apart from other lookalike anime shows is that it takes a story set in space and focuses the spotlight on insecure, ordinary youths rather than unapproachable heroes," writes Carlo Santos for the Anime News Network. "The technical elements of the animation may be weak, but the visual style presents a future that's more colorful than the usual chrome-and-gray of other sci-fi shows. There's a great coming-of-age story waiting to break out here, suggesting that in the future, teenagers may not be all that different from how they are today."
Inu Yasha Volume 32: Glow of the False Jewel (2000).
"Inu Yasha is classic," proclaims CarpeNoctem. "It's got all the great elements of an awesome anime, moving plot without tons of filler anywhere... cool characters, smooth animation, a perverted monk, and killer villians... Definitely a must-watch for any anime fan."