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since 1997 | by maryann johanson

new on DVD: ‘The Darjeeling Limited,’ ‘Death at a Funeral,’ ‘Slipstream,’ ‘In the Shadow of the Moon,’ ‘Silk,’ ‘Beowulf,’ ‘30 Days of Night’

See it:

The Darjeeling Limited [buy it]. From my review:

“We haven’t located us yet.” That makes my brain giggle and my soul smart — see, “smart” is the equivalent of “pain,” sometimes — in almost exactly the same way as that line’s counterappealing opposite: Buckaroo Banzai’s “No matter where you go, there you are.” (That’s the second time I’ve invoked Buckaroo Banzai in connection to Anderson’s movies — The Life Aquatic was the first. I doubt that’s a coincidence. Anderson is maybe what Buckaroo Banzai would have been if he’d indulged a filmmaking hobby.)

See it:

Death at a Funeral [buy it]. From my review:

Dean Craig’s perfect script is, actually, practically Shakespearean in its exquisite foolishness and comedic intrigue, which is why it becomes more funny upon multiple viewings. It’s only when you know how things will shake out in the end that you can truly appreciate how beautifully layered the humor is, how untiring the extended, riffy jokes are, how it all interconnects and bubbles to multiple climaxes and comes full circle in the end. And it all happens to real-seeming people with many and varied neuroses, throwing them into extraordinary circumstances and pushing them beyond their usual limits, so that when they do end up in embarrassing situations, as most of them do, they are not the butt of any mean-spiritedness — as shocking as the film is in places, it is never, ever mean.

Slipstream [buy it]. So fascinating a failure that it’s worth seeing, if only to see where a willingness not to embrace Hollywood mediocrity can take a movie.

See it… now that it’s on DVD:

In the Shadow of the Moon [buy it]. The astronauts in this retrospective of the Apollo program as a delight to listen to, but the backward-looking nature of the film is a tad disappointing.

Silk [buy it]. It’s pretty dull when it wants to be passionate, but that’s not the fault of the lovely cast — including Keira Knightley and Michael Pitt — who turn in powerful performances.

Skip it:

Beowulf [buy it]. From my review:

This is the new depth of soulless, heartless, corporate filmmaking Beowulf achieves: it would be a step up to be able to call it pornographic. Pornography at least attempts to engage us, if only on a base level of animal instinct. But this example of the latest “advance” in animation technology is sterile, synthetic, almost completely unengaging on a human level. It’s animated but inanimate.

30 Days of Night [buy it]. Totally squanders an awesome new concept in vampire horror — sun-fearing bloodsuckers head north of the Arctic Circle, where it stays dark for long days — which is a damn shame.



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