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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

new on DVD: ‘The Lives of Others,’ ‘Serenity,’ ‘Perfect Stranger,’ ‘The Ultimate Gift’

See it:

The Lives of Others [buy it]. From my review:

The last line, the last look, the last moment: every movie lover knows that the ending can make or break a film. The Lives of Others — which just won a very well deserved Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film — has one of the greatest final lines of dialogue that I’ve ever heard in a movie. It’s so seemingly mundane that if I were to tell you what it is, you’d shrug and go, “Eh. What’s the big deal?” I won’t tell you, even though it wouldn’t spoil the film in any way, because I want you to be as haunted by its unexpected simplicity as I have been since I saw the film a few days ago. I keep coming back to that line — and to the look on the actor’s face, which encompasses everything strange and beautiful and hopeful and ironic about the film — and marveling at it.

Serenity: Collector’s Edition [buy it]. Mal Reynolds and Co. get another DVD release, now with more pretty.
Skip it:

Perfect Stranger [buy it]. From my review:

Preposterous, yet stupid. If you admire the simple elegance of the formula that underlies Disturbia, then you’ll love Perfect Stranger, a terrible mystery and a worse thriller, and one that can’t even be bothered to punch 21st-century buttons. This is, among other sorry things, a cautionary tale about the dangers of Internet chat. You know, like everyone was worried about in 1996.
Coming for Summer 2008: Don’t Go Near the Telegraph!

The Ultimate Gift [buy it]. People are more important than material things! You heard it here first!



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