Goodbye September, hello to all the good things that follow: no playoffs for the Twins, snow, frozen bike face, better movies, and basketball! But until all that good crap happens, here some good rentals:
Taxi to the Dark Side (2007) directed by Alex Gibney
If you missed this in theaters, please rent this. And if you are a voting citizen of the United States, please rent this and know that this is what happens when we elect cowboys to the White House, and if you ask me a 'maverick' is no different. It makes me sick to think of what this country (my country) represents to the majority of the world. Gibney is pretty even-handed with this documentary that focuses on an innocent taxi driver who was tortured and killed at Bagram Air Force base in Afghanistan. Actions taken at Bagram seemed to start the US military (and the CIA) fully sanctioning (or at least not not sanctioning) torture.
An Autumn Afternoon (1962) directed by Yasujiro Ozu
A film that doesn't make me angry, but reaffirms life and why I like movies. Am I old-fashioned? Ozu last film is heartbreakingly beautiful. Available around the world on DVD, it is finally available here courtesy of Criterion. You get the obligatory booklet, and a cute little special feature from a 1978 French television show on Ozu, but the real news here is a commentary by David Bordwell who wrote the definitive book on Ozu (long out of print, but now amazingly available online here.)
Beaufort (2007) directed by Joseph Cedar
Do not underestimate this film or try to pigeon-hole it as a war film. It is so much more. One of my favorite films from this year's MSPIFF, you can read more of my thoughts on the film here.
Bigger, Stronger, Faster (2008) directed by Chris Bell
Although the big T may not be as prevalent as it used to be is sports, but the weird performance enhancing drug concoctions that athletes come up with these days is everywhere in every sport. I'm of the attitude that just let them pump themselves full of chicken hormones or whatever, and let the real athletes test themselves with out the Frankenstein drugs. Then we could have the human Tour de France or Olympics and the science experiment Tour de France or Olympics. But that just wouldn't be fair... Obviously the issue is not so simple. The culture of drugs in sports is a much larger societal problem, and Bigger, Stronger, Faster tries to tackle this issue. I'm going to watch this documentary soon.
The Unforeseen (2007) directed by Laura Dunn
If I haven't already let my true colors show, I will seal it with my great enthusiasm for this documentary that, before now, had not registered on my must-see list. This award winning documentary seems to look at development through the eyes of nature. Produced by Terrence Malick and Robert Redford, the doc focuses on development surrounding Barton Springs in Austin Texas, one of North America's largest spring-fed swimming holes. The trailer looks great.
OSS 007: Cairo, Nest of Spies (2006) directed by Michel Hazanavicius
I missed this spoofy French spy film at MSPIFF and missed it again when it had a short run at the Lagoon. It may not be award winning material, but it looks more than entertaining.
Jellyfish (2007) directed by Shira Geffen and Etgar Kerret
I missed this Israeli melodrama at MSPIFF and missed it again when it had a short run at the Lagoon. Deja vu! I'm missing films all over the place.
Deadly Duo (1971) directed by Chang Cheh
More Shaw Brothers goodness from Tokyo Shock. (I am so confused about the US rights for the Shaw Brothers films!) Starring my boyfriend David Chiang and his boyfriend Ti Lung.
Chapter 27 (2007) directed by J.P. Schaefer
What was the deal with this movie? Did it play theatrically? Anyway, it is about Mark David Chapman who is played by a chubby Jared Leto.
2008 Olympics: Beijing 2008 Complete Opening Ceremony
Before this year, I would have never suggested such viewing, but in this case it is totally worth it. I was busy fixing snacks in the kitchen for the people and missed some of the opening ceremony myself. All I could hear was, "Wow. You should really see this. That's amazing!" and so on and so forth. For better or for worse, Zhang Yimou took it to a whole 'nother level.