Saturday, January 31, 2009

DVD releases for January 27

After a hiatus, I'll get back on the DVD train. Although this is no momentous week for DVDs, I will be re-watching Vicky Christina Barcelona with my better half, and also checking out RocknRolla to see if it is all that bad.

Vicky Christina Barcelona (2008) directed by Woody Allen
I have to stop being concerned about how I can like a film so much and others could hate it. Although I can't understand why someone would dog this movie, I'm willing to accept that we are all different and have different expectations from films. At this point, I think if Woody Allen is willing to stay in the directing chair (and out of the acting chair) his films are as dynamic as they have ever been. Vicky Christina Barcelona is a trademark Allen film that is able to feel new by the unique characters built by Javier Bardem, Rebecca Hall, and Scarlett Johansson. (I swear, Woody Allen is the only director who doesn't let Johansson look like the worst actress ever.)

Lakeview Terrace (2008) directed by Neil LaBute
If you know Neil LaBute, you know what you are getting into with Lakeview Terrace. It is divisive without feeling being overly contrived. I longed for a Halloween-like ending to this film, but I think LaBute had more serious intentions. Samuel L. Jackson is pretty frightening in this role.

RocknRolla (2008) directd by Guy Ritchie
The great break-up film of 2008. Or did Ritchie and Madonna break-up in 2007? I'm not sure. However, if they were trying to outdo each other with their bad movies, it looks like they succeeded. Although Madonna's Filth and Wisdom seemed to take the prize as the worst, RocknRolla didn't fare much better with the critics or the masses. It came and went so fast that I didn't get a chance to see it in the theaters. I'm convinced that it can't be all that bad, but I'll make the assessment on DVD.

Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired (2008) directed by Marina Zenovich
Anyone who wants to know why Polanski wasn't around to collect his 2002 Oscar for The Pianist should check out this doc. The film is less about the crime Polanski committed, than it is about the celebrity trial that turned into a sham. The film has made the rounds in the theater and on TV, but if you still haven't seen it, it is a pretty interesting doc that paints Polanski as neither victim nor villain.

Black Is...Back Ain't (1994) directed by Marlon Riggs
Like everyone, I don't think Marlon Riggs could have seen that only 14 short years later, we would have an African American president. It's too bad he didn't live to see it. Black Is...Black Ain't was Riggs final film. The documentary is a dialog among African Americans to define what is black. Through interviews and personal stories, Riggs underlines the fact that lumping races (and genders and religions) together is counterproductive. This film is just a relevant as ever.

2012: Science or Superstition
If you want to do some research for a crappy apocalypse/action movie coming to summer theaters near you, check out this documentary. (Try not to be fooled by the cool trailer for the upcoming 2012. I have no doubt that it is going to be equally as dumb as Roland Emmerich's other films: 10,000 BC, The Day After Tomorrow, Independence Day, et al.)


Sandy Nawrot said...

Vicky Christina is on my radar. On Netflix, it has been tagged as "A Very Long Wait" so I guess I'll have to bide my time a bit more. I did not hear about the Polanski doc, but Robert will want to see that. I think there is a bromance thing going on there; he thinks very highly of his work. He won't get off the "Knife in the Water". It is brought up on a weekly basis, skeletons of teeny boppers in the closet or no.

Kathie Smith said...

I actually re-watched Vicky Cristina Barcelona this weekend. Eleanor hadn't seen it and it was available at the local video store.

The Polanski doc is interesting, and definitely worth a watch if you are interested in him as a director. You almost get the feeling that he wouldn't want to come back to the US even if he could!