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the film criticism aspect of cyber | by maryann johanson

DVDs and screeners received: ‘Secret Diary of a Call Girl,’ ‘Captains and the Kings,’ more

Another new feature I thought you might like. I receive more DVDs in the mail than I can possibly ever review, but this way I can at least let know about some new things that are out there that you might be interested in. This are all Region 1, though I’ll note if they’re available in Region 2, too. (And as an aside to all those British DVD publicists out there, I’m totally open to checking out your DVDs, too. Send ’em on.)

It’s also a potentially interesting illustration of the kind of bombardment film critics get from publicists and filmmakers looking to get coverage of their work.

I won’t offer any commentary on possible worthiness. This is information only.

So, this is what I got in the mail last week, through Saturday. (Oddly enough, nothing new arrived either yesterday or today…)
DVDs you can buy:

Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and Holocaust. Documentary about how filmmakers and popular culture have portrayed the Holocaust over the past 60 years. [available January 13; Region 1]

Taxi Blues. Gritty drama about life in modern Moscow, from Russian filmmakers and produced in Russia. [available January 13; Region 1]

Skins: Volume 1. BBC series about the lives and loves of modern teens. Dev Patel, the kid from Slumdog Millionaire, is in this. (I will definitely review this shortly.) [available January 13; Region 1; out since April in Region 2]

Secret Diary of a Call Girl: Season One. The British series, which aired on Showtime in the States, starring Billie Piper as the title character. (I will definitely review this shortly.) [available January 6; Region 1; out since January 2008 in Region 2]

A Hero Ain’t Nothing But a Sandwich. The 1978 classic about the ghetto starring Cicely Tyson and Paul Winfield. [available January 27]

Captains and the Kings. The 1976 NBC fictional miniseries loosely based on the real-life story of Joseph Kennedy. [available January 13; Region 1]

Screeners for the press:

Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story. A TNT original movie debuting on Saturday, February 7, at 8pm Eastern, starring Cuba Gooding Jr. as a real-life neurosurgeon. [official site]

The Closer. A disc with two episodes of TNT’s crime series, which returns on Monday, Januar 26 at 9pm Eastern. [official site]



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  • Be interested to read your Secret Diary of a Call Girl review, definitely.

  • Keith Z-G

    I don’t even remember how the first season of Skins was, the second season has so coloured my memory of the show. Not that this is a bad thing, just that the second season is pretty heavy.

  • eric-jon rössel waugh

    Oh yeah. Remember, in a wonderfully surreal note, that Matt Smith is in that one Secret Diary episode.

  • I´ve seen the first season of Secret Diary, mostly because there´s Rose, but I didn´t liked it that much.
    Nothing new under the sun, worth a watch but nothing more.

  • shawnp

    Secret Diary of a Call Girl Season 1 was fun enough.
    Season 2 was painful.
    Granted, the story line was lame, but the really creepy part was watching Billie Piper’s developing pregnancy well, err…develop while the show used body doubles, billowy costumes and close-ups for “Belle”‘s character.
    I kept thinking, “she’s a pregnant hooker.”
    Do Not Want!
    No offense to pregnant hookers everywhere, but it just sorta drained the hooker-whimsy out of the show.

  • No offense to pregnant hookers everywhere, but it just sorta drained the hooker-whimsy out of the show.

    So it’s okay to have a show about a British prostitute as long as it comes across as a wish-fulfillment fantasy?

  • angel

    I remember thinking Captains and Kings was wonderful when it was first on; now it would make me nervous to watch because I might find out it was just okay.

    PS. If you were a fan, NEVER try to reread Little Women as an adult. Especially if you discovered Jane Austen in high school and she remains your favorite author.

  • MaryAnn

    If *Diary* is about “hooker whimsy,” I’m gonna hate it.

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