February's DVD Reviews,
Quick reviews from my Netflix queue and/or
Three of Hearts,
Pure bubblegum, even more so than
its contemporary Threesome (aka "That other gay love triangle movie
with a different Baldwin brother and a different chick who was also in
Peaks"). It fails to confront the emotional complexities of ambivalent
phases of relationships, but maybe you don't really want it to. Most
of us watch movies with lesbians as pure escapism, and that's sort of what
this is as well, only for romantics. Sorry, guilty.
The Terry Gilliam film that will
turn off more people than any others he's made, and that's saying quite
a lot. I have mixed feeling about its sheer cartoonishness and pointlessness
(i.e., it's a character study with next to no plot, and I hate movies like
that) while dealing with dark subject matter and some absolutely amazing
visuals. Tough call, really. I'm only recommending it to connoisseurs
of f'ed-up cinema.
Season 3: Disc 3, 2006
Great stuff. I hope you
got that memo already. I'll see that you get another.
This Film Is
Not Yet Rated, 2006
More a prank on the secretive
ratings system than an actual documentary about the system, it's still
entertaining, just not as satisfying as I'd hoped.
5 Decades of Smiles: Disc 4, 1949
I've always presented this as
one of the best shows on the social sciences, but, seriously, this is a
must-see disc if only for the episode in which they went to Russian during
one of the chilliest points in the Cold War. It is absolutely amazing.
Yeah, it's a junk martial arts
cop movie, but it's got Michelle Yeoh, so, duh!
Things to Come,
Okay, the audio quality on the
copy they used for the dvd was so poor that it's almost unintelligible
to all but lip readers, but it was interesting to see the efforts Hollywood
put into producing big-spectacle sci-fi, especially considering this one
had a significant plot (based on the HG Wells novel; production was overseen
by him as well). Michael Bay obviously skipped this lecture in film
Season 3, Disc 2
Not nearly as clever as the first
season even though the storylines are better than the abysmal second one,
but you'll FF through most of this to save time to get caught up on the
housework these supposed housewives never seem to do (except that OCD redhead).
There is so much that's funny
here and there's so much that's sad. There's a lot you didn't know
that will make you angry, and not at Michael Moore. It's easy to
see him as a goofball, but he makes damned good/effective movies.
This is a must-see.
I really only watched this because
of some references to Django Reinhardt. Really, that's the only reason
anyone should other than to see a decent cast struggle to make something
out of a script with all the depth of the call sheet they were on.
Yes, the Nazis were bad, but they didn't hit anyone over the head as hard
as the director does with the heavy-handed moralizing.
The book is a terrific read, especially
if you're in rehab (just saying), but the Neil Diamond soundtrack and pointless/endless
footage of seagulls in the middle of the film will drive you to drink.
You would think a movie about
Hitler dying and Germany losing would be really happy, but it's from the
German perspective so, no, very much not so much. However, it is
one of the best "almost good as being there" historical films about a period
you'll be very happy you weren't there for after seeing it.
Tom & Viv,
For T.S. Elliot fans only.
Anyone? No. Thought not.
Tom Green: Inside
& Outside the Box: Disc 1, 1997
Seriously, back in the day Tom
was a genius at elliciting reactions from strangers. You watched
the show to see him freak people out, not to make a fool of himself.
If your interest was strictly the latter, you're an idiot.
1: Disc 2, 2006
I can't really say it's all that
realistic, but I'm sucked in. That's the MO of most serial killers
anyway, isn't it? So maybe they're onto something.
Life: Disc 1, 1994
It's rare that I'll give up on
a show, but in this case I was happy when it turned out the disc was irreparably
scratched. I hated (HATED!) the stupid little bitch played by Claire
Danes. All emotion, no brains, just a bundle of never-ending PMS.
I wanted her to die. Cult show? Why? If you're a member,
please follow the lead of Heaven's Gate and enjoy your Kool-Aid.
PICKS OF THE
LITTER: Depressing as it is, Downfall really takes you places.
History buffs will love it for the amount of detail and accuracy (i.e.,
based on an insider's accounts). This disc of Candid Camera
above all others I've seen really gives you some deep insight into the
universals and differences in human nature. Finally, Sicko
is one of the best movies I've seen this year. I was not expecting
to be this affected by this film.
DVD Reviews, Part II
Quick reviews from my Netflix queue and/or
Remember how cool Baz Lurman's
& Juliet was in the late '90s? This was a misguided attempt
to replicate it. This film is plenty over the top to the point that
it gets just plain ridiculous, but I kind of liked it for that. More
interestingly, I was surprised to find that Shakespeare was pretty fuckin'
brutal in some of the plays we never got to read in high school!
Remember how cool Christopher
Nolan's Momento was because it had a gimmick but didn't let everything
ride on it? Well, here's another time-distorting gimmick only without
the substance. Skip it and save your time.
Judas Priest: British Steel, 2001
I like the band (but not in a
gay way... not that there's anything wrong with that), but there's nothing
interesting to report here.
5 Decades of Smiles: Disc 5, 1949
The date is deceptive here as
the disc actually goes through the '70s. Most surprising thing caught
on camera here: Allen Funt's wardrobe. WTF?
2, Discs 1&2, 2007
It's kind of a cartoon, but no
one has thrown these elements together in quite this way, and that makes
it interesting even though it really isn't challenging. It isn't
a sitcom, just something different. I think that's HBO's motto or
A lot of people regard this as
a classic, but it really is an absolute classic. I hadn't seen it
since I was maybe ten, so another trip to these waters was long overdue.
Same goes for you.
G'n'R: Use Your
Illusion II, 1992
This is more embarrassing on so
many levels than the fact I'm admitting having watched it. The performance
by all is lackluster at best and, frankly, pretty bad in spots. Axl
is a parody of himself with his costume changes literally every other song.
This is so from removed what good management and therapy should have pulled
out of these guys that it's more tragic than Titus.
Really bad adaptation of the first
Stephen King book I tried to read and never bothered to finish.
Riding the Bullet,
Really, really bad adaptation
of something else I never read by Stephen King.
The Dio Years, 2007
Just a VH1 special that's all
talk and no music.
The made-for-cable true story
of some badass filmmaking.
Rear Window meets The
Burbs meets American Pie. However, in spite of the obvious
sources, the movie itself is surprisingly compelling thanks to a likable
performance from that kid in Transformers and a great ass on his next-door
neighbor. That is, until it starts to get stupid toward the end.
You ever have a mentally ill friend
or family member and constantly find yourself torn between anger at the
situation and pity for the fact they'll likely never find a way to pull
themselves out of it? If you enjoy that kind of rush of conflicting
but entirely negative emotions, this is the film for you.
Season 3, Discs 3&4
Better than the second season,
not as good as the first. Felicity Huffman's still my favorite though,
I don't care what you say.
Twin Peaks definitive
edition, Discs 9&10
I rented it for the extras (having
seen the series at least three times through by this point). And
the extras are awesome! ...at least if you're a big Peaks-freak like
myself. One of the best and most thorough collections of interviews,
promos, and other goodies and leftovers (not many deleted scenes though,
sadly). Well worth the seemingly interminable wait for Lynch to get
his shit together here.
Away From Her,
Quiet little movie about Alzheimer's
by (unexpectedly) first-time director Sarah Polley. Slow (though
appropriately so), but very good.
of Sleep, 2006
Michel Gondry's rehash of leftover
ideas from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Lots of
good stuff here that never gels.
PICKS OF THE
LITTER: Titus is such a train wreck in some ways and genius
in others that it ought to be rediscovered and Disturbia does a
great job of elevating mediocre material through good direction and fun
performances. And the last gasp from Twin Peaks is a treat
for those imprinted by the series in the '90s.