February's DVD Reviews, Part I
Quick reviews from my Netflix queue and/or the library.

Three of Hearts, 1993
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 Twin 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.

Tideland, 2005
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.

The Office: 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.

Candid Camera: 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.

Supercop 2, 1993
Yeah, it's a junk martial arts cop movie, but it's got Michelle Yeoh, so, duh!

Things to Come, 1936
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 school.

Desperate Housewives: 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).

Sicko, 2007
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.

Swing Kids, 1993
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.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull, 1973
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.

Downfall, 2005
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, 1994
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.

Dexter: Season 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.

My So-Called 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.

February's DVD Reviews, Part II
Quick reviews from my Netflix queue and/or the library.

Titus, 1999
Remember how cool Baz Lurman's Romeo & 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!

Time Code, 2000
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.

Classic Albums: 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.

Candid Camera: 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?

Weeds, Season 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 something.

Jaws, 1975
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.

Thinner, 2003
Really bad adaptation of the first Stephen King book I tried to read and never bothered to finish.

Riding the Bullet, 2004
Really, really bad adaptation of something else I never read by Stephen King.

Black Sabbath: The Dio Years, 2007
Just a VH1 special that's all talk and no music.

Baadasssss!, 2003
The made-for-cable true story of some badass filmmaking.

Disturbia, 2007
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.

Jesus Camp, 2006
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.

Desperate Housewives: 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, 2006
Quiet little movie about Alzheimer's by (unexpectedly) first-time director Sarah Polley.  Slow (though appropriately so), but very good.

The Science 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.

Copyright 2008 Ale[x]plorer.
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