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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

new on DVD: gorillas and geishas and gangstas, oh my

More Academy Award-winning films arrive on DVD this week, including Peter Jackson’s King Kong (read my review/buy at Amazon) and Rob Marshall’s Memoirs of a Geisha (read my review/buy at Amazon). One of them (hint: the monkey movie) didn’t get anywhere near enough love from Oscar, and the other, way too much. (Stay tuned: I’ll be discussing the extras on the 2-DVD Kong set soon, and I’ll also have an exclusive Kong package, including one of those 2-disc sets, to give away to micropatrons.)

It’s hard out there for an armed robber/drug dealer… or so goes the hustle and flow of Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (read my review/buy at Amazon), the first misstep from Irish director Jim Sheridan, stretching his ethnic muscles with this tale of life on the streets, starring 50 Cent. For true cinematic disaster, though, check out the howlfest of A Sound of Thunder (read my review/buy at Amazon), a hilariously inept time-travel nightmare starring Ed Burns and, ahem, Sir Ben Kingsley. I guess Ben figures he can coast on that knighthood from now on — it’s the only explanation for his appearance here.

Underappreciated flick of the week: Marc Forster’s Stay (read my review/buy at Amazon), starring the fantabulous cast of Ryan Gosling as a disturbed art student, Ewan McGregor as his shrink, and Naomi Watts as the shrink’s girlfriend, who’s also an artist. Sneakily twisty and with a wonderful sense of the off-kilter, this is well worth a rental.

You could do worse, too, than check out the Sci-Fi miniseries The Triangle (read my commentary at Geek Philosophy/buy at Amazon), which manages to create some ooky atmosphere before it slows to a halting crawl and peters out. (Click here for a chance to win a copy of the 2-disc set.)



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