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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

new on DVD: ‘Waitress,’ ‘The Namesake,’ ‘Mr. Bean’s Holiday,’ ‘I Know Who Killed Me,’ ‘Hot Rod’

See it:

Waitress [buy it]. From my review:

Life is messy: really messy. This is, if nothing else, the tale Waitress has to tell. Good people do things that aren’t noble or decent, like Jenna and the affair she finds herself startled to be falling into with, of all men, the only gynecologist in her small town, Dr. Pomatter (the perfectly lovely Nathan Fillion). This is very bad in so many ways, not the least of which is the one that has to do with doctorly ethics. But there we are. Shit happens, and sometimes the shit is good. And sometimes the shit is about how a sweet man can be so desirable because he listens to you, because he hugs you with nothing expected in return. I’m not sure why it’s any big mystery what women want: fewer Earls, more Dr. Pomatters.

See it:

The Namesake [buy it]. From my review:

Look, this is a wonderfully universal story, one grounded in a specific culture and a specific moment in time that nevertheless unfolds into something with more and more poignant relevance the deeper you look into it. Yes, it’s about a Bengali family in the United States in the late 20th century… but it’s really about anyone who leaves the place and the people they grew up with to make a fresh start in a scary new world. Yes, it’s about one young Indian couple and how they dread to watch their American-born children grow up thoroughly American… but it’s really about that compromise that all parents and children negotiate that allows youngsters to be themselves while also honoring all that their ancestors have given them. This the American story right here, the uber tale of immigration, but even more than that, it’s the human story.

Mr. Bean’s Holiday [buy it]. Like Harold Lloyd lost in the 21st century, Rowan Atkinson takes his manic manchild on a trip through France all the way to a Gallic seaside film festival. It’s a stomach-clenching howl all the way.

Skip it:

I Know Who Killed Me [buy it]. From my review:

To call this a disjointed mess is to suggest that someone attempted to impose some orderliness to it and failed; to call Lohan’s appearance here sad and salacious is to suggest that she’s been anything other of late, either onscreen or off. Oh, it’s all extremely laughable, but only in a small, depressing kind of way, the kind of way that makes you marvel that movies like this actually make it past the drunken-scribbles-on-a-cocktail-napkin stage.

Hot Rod [buy it]. From my review:

Seriously, I don’t mean to make fun of people who are genuinely mentally retarded when I say that I honestly thought, at first, that Samberg’s Rod Kimble, stuntman wannabe, was supposed to be retarded. I mean: He wears a cape with his name amateurishly stitched onto the back. As street clothes.



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