DVD Picks 05/15/2012
Looks like it's going to be a great week! A "found footage" superhero film, Woody Harrelson as a corrupt cop and Liam Neeson FIST FIGHTING WOLVES! Rejoice, for it is Tuesday and new DVD's are upon us!
dir. Josh Trank
This film was a critical success much to the surprise of...everyone. There have been so many "found footage" films(mostly horror) that it was only a matter of time before it started spreading to other genres. Well here's a riff on the super hero genre which by all accounts was a great success.
Clear your thoughts for a "mesmerizing mind-bender" (Rolling Stone) that'll blow you away! Seen through the lens of a troubled teen's video camera, yet filled with eye-popping action and jaw-dropping special effects, Chronicle is as real as it gets. When three ordinary high school friends make an extraordinary discovery, they acquire amazing abilities beyond their understanding. But as their powers develop, so do their darker sides. Fun, harmless pranks soon lead to much riskier activities as the boys' "gifts" - and their lives - spin dangerously out of control!
The Grey (2012)
dir. Joe Carnahan
Joe Carnahan directing Liam Neeson fighting wolves? Sign me up! This is a great precursor to "Battleship" for Neeson fans!!
Liam Neeson (Schindler's List, Taken) stars as the unlikely hero Ottway in this undeniably suspenseful and powerful survival adventure. After their plane crashes into the remote Alaskan wilderness, a roughneck group of oil drillers is forced to find a way back to civilization. As Ottway leads the injured survivors through the brutal snow and ice, they are relentlessly tracked by a vicious pack of rogue wolves that will do anything to defend their territory. Adrenaline-fueled, action-packed and loaded with some of the most intense and brutally realistic attack scenes ever filmed, The Grey is being hailed as "a thriller you can sink your teeth into!" (The Washington Post).
dir. Oren Moverman
In any other year Harrelson's performance probably would have nabbed a nomination for the Academy Award. Unfortunately this was the year of the magic nostalgia movie and although "Rampart" takes place in the past it's anything but nostalgic.
At the heart of Oren Moverman’s Rampart is a riveting parable about what happens to a man who refuses to change, even when change is the only thing that can save him. That man is Dave Brown, played by two-time Academy Award nominee Woody Harrelson. Though the film is set in the 1990s, when scandal rocked the LAPD’s Rampart division, the film hones in on a single fictional cop: Dave Brown, a man who has taken the no guts, no glory American mythos to heart, without questioning what it is doing to him and those he holds dear. He is a cop whose personal life is propelled into a dizzying downward spiral when he comes under suspicion for roughing up a suspect. More than just a police officer who plays things fast and loose, Brown exposes the inner workings of a certain type of personality everyone recognizes around them, a personality very much part of American culture, yet not often examined. He is the kind of man inexorably drawn to authority and power, yet seems destined to abuse it; a man who has dreams of being a great masculine hero, yet is beholden to women; who has undeniable charm, yet whose stubborn refusal to take responsibility for his actions becomes a destructive force against family, community and ultimately himself.
Being John Malkovich (The Criterion Collection) (1999)
dir. Spike Jonze
One of if not the best Spike Jonze film finally gets the Criterion treatment. I can't recommend this film enough and I can guarantee the transfer and extras are an amazing thing. Long live Criterion.
Have you ever wanted to be someone else? Or, more specifically, have you ever wanted to crawl through a portal hidden in an anonymous office building and thereby enter the cerebral cortex of John Malkovich for fifteen minutes before being spat out on the side of the New Jersey Turnpike? Then director Spike Jonze (Adaptation) and writer Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) have the movie for you. Melancholy marionettes, office drudgery, a frizzy-haired Cameron Diaz (There's Something About Mary) - but that's not all! Surrealism, possession, John Cusack (Say Anything), a domesticated primate, Freud, Catherine Keener (Capote), non sequiturs, and absolutely no romance! But wait: get your Being John Malkovich now and we'll throw in emasculation, slapstick, Abelard and Heloise, and extra Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich.
dir. Bernardo Bertolucci
Film nerds only on this one. I watched this film in college and it's a little long winded, this version claims to be 5 hours long. I'm pretty sure the version I saw was around 8 hours? But I'm not entirely sure, either way it's a great film with a little hammy acting. I do recommend it just because the names involved a pretty sweeping epic film and one I recommend.
1900 is an epic film of massive scope, power and controversy. It is both a vast history of the 20th Century Italy and an intimate portrait of two friends, both born on January 1, 1900. the son the socialist peasant farmer (Gerard Depardieu) and the son of the fascist landowner (Robert De Niro). The two young men pass through the upheavals of the modern world, as their personal conflicts become an allegory of the political turmoil of twentieth century Italy. 1900 features and award-winning international cast that includes Burt Lancaster, Donald Sutherland, Sterling Hayden, Dominique Sanda, Alida Valli and Stefania Sandrelli. Photographed by legendary cinematographer, Vittorio Storaro (Apocalypse Now) with a beautiful and haunting score by Ennio Morricone (The Mission). Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci (The Last Emperor). Presented in its original two-part, five-hour version, this magnificent 3-disc edition also features Bernardo Bertolucci: Reflections on Cinema, a 2002 documentary spanning the career of the master director.
BETTER ON BLU
New York Stories (1989)
Ken Burns: The War (2007)
Terminal Velocity (1994)
The Grand Duel / Keoma (1972 / 1976)