I Love You, Man
Bro-mance, schmo-mance, this is a funny movie, centered by a very good performance by Paul Rudd as a befuddled "ladies' man" in search of a best man for his upcoming wedding to Rashida Jones. He starts awkwardly 'man dating' until he stumbles across the happy-go-lucky bachelor Jason Segal, and an unlikely triangle is formed. "A sweet, amusing, and perfectly acceptable comedy all around," wrote Eugene Novikov. Also on Blu-ray. Buy it.
Personally, I have zero interest in seeing this movie, but if you're a devoted fan or even curious about the star, help yourself. 17 Again is "a run-of-the-mill family comedy that would be tiresome," Jette Kernion opined, "if not for [Zac] Efron and a few of the other cast members." Also on Blu-ray. Skip it.
The Class (Entre les Murs)
Laurent Cantet directed this adaptation of a semi-autobiographical novel by François Bégaudeau, an inner-city Paris school teacher. James Rocchi observed: "Begaudeau's interactions with his students are so nuanced and smart that it doesn't feel like the heavy hand of drama when various incidents and events escalate as the film progresses; they feel natural, lived in, human." Also on Blu-ray. Buy it.
More Indies on DVD, more Blu-ray picks, and Collector's Corner, all after the jump!p>
From the official synopsis: "Writer-director Azazel Jacobs' effortlessly hip second feature is an absurdist comedy of errors, a punk-rock slice of DIY rebellion, and a warmhearted frolic that captures the 'amour fou spirit of the early French New Wave' (The Village Voice)." With Gerardo Naranjo and Sara Diaz.
The DVD from Benten Films includes an audio commentary by Jacobs, short films by Jacobs and his father, Ken Jacobs, deleted scenes, trailer, photo gallery, and an essay by film critic Glenn Kenny.
"The balance between parody and homage is a very fine line," commented William Goss. "While it's clear that the makers of this faux-fifties monster movie are affectionate to the films of the era, what some might call playing it straight is what I found to be somewhat dry going." With Eric McCormack and Jenni Baird. Also on Blu-ray.
Paul Dano, Zooey Deschanel and John Goodman star in Matt Aselton's tale of a depressed mattress salesman who, while on a quest to adopt a Chinese baby, is sidetracked when he falls in love with a girl named Happy. I've heard mixed things, but, as a fan of Paul Dano and Zooey Deschanel, I'm inclined to check it out.
Delayed from its original home video release date, perhaps because it proved more enduring than expected in theaters. Three men seek to reestablish a music theater's glory in 1936 Paris. "Tries to do a dozen different things, and does none of them well," in the opinion of Eugene Novikov. Directed by Christophe Barratier.
- Katyn (directed by Andrzej Wajda);
- Fissure (murder mystery / psychological drama);
- The Final Inch (Academy Award-nominated doc short about efforts to eradicate polio);
- One Day You'll Understand (directed by Amos Gitai);
- Apres Lui (with Catherine Deneuve);
- Born in 68 (with Laetitia Casta);
- The Tiger's Tail (directed by John Boorman).
The Ninth Gate
Widely hailed at the time of its release as a complete and utter disaster, Roman Polanski's 1999 film has developed its share of defenders. Part of the problem may have been that it was marketed as some kind of horror flick, with Johnny Depp as a rare book dealer who is drawn into "a conspiracy with supernatural overtones."
But Scott Weinberg says that after a second viewing, he became convinced that "while it's still not a horror movie, the film is a very engaging (and appreciably dark) film noir throwback that just happens to have something to do with the occult. Call it a noir thriller mystery drama if you like -- it's still a pretty solid flick." The Blu-ray includes an audio commentary by Polanski, a 'making of' featurette, "a gallery of satanic drawings," storyboards, and trailers.
John Carpenter's gentlest film is an adult version of E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, with a temporarily stranded alien taking on the form of Jeff Bridges, the beloved late husband of Karen Allen. Bridges and Allen make for one of the oddest, yet, most endearingly romantic couples in the history of science fiction road movies.
- About Last Night (Rob Lowe and Demi Moore as frequently naked Chicago lovers in a bastardized version of David Mamet's savage stage play);
- Blue Thunder (Roy Scheider in a futuristic helicopter roaring over the smoggy skies of Los Angeles in a battle against a government conspiracy);
- Cutthroat Island (Geena Davis and Matthew Modine as pirates in Renny Harlin's overblown spectacle);
- Replicant (Jean-Claude Van Damme fights himself; directed by Ringo Lam);
- St. Elmo's Fire (The Brat Pack in all their obnoxious, self-obsessed glory; directed by Joel Schumacher).
Eagles Over London
From Enzo G. Castellari, the gloriously unhinged director of the The Inglorious Bastards (the original), Eagles Over London is practically guaranteed to be a good time. From the official synopsis: "Castellari virtually invented the 'Macaroni Combat' genre with this over-the-top sage of valor, vengeance and machine-gun mayhem. Hollywood legend Van Johnson (The Caine Mutiny) and Frederick Stafford (Hitchcock's Topaz) star as military officers pursuing a merciless team of Nazi saboteurs through war-ravaged London, featuring Castellari's jaw-dropping recreations of the evacuation of Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain and more."
The DVD from Severin includes a conversation with Castellari and Quentin Tarantino, theatrical trailer, TV spot, and deleted scene. The Blu-ray edition adds the extra feature "Eagles Over Los Angeles."
Arizona Colt Returns
Another slice of Italian exploitation hits shelves, courtesy of Mya Communications. Sergio Martino's first Western, a 1970 sequel in name only to a 1966 film, has a couple of great alternate English-language titles (Arizona Lets Fly and Kill Everybody and If You Gotta Shoot Someone ... Bang! Bang!). Michael Den Boer at 10K Bullets wrote: "Ultimately Arizona Colt Returns is one of the more entertaining Spaghetti Westerns to emerge from the genre in the 1970's."