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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

new on DVD (Region 1 and Region 2): week of January 26

Out January 26 in Region 2:

Tropic Thunder [buy at Amazon U.K.]. From my green light review:

[I]nventively clever in its sendup of the self-involvement of pretty much anyone who’s anyone in Hollywood, but does the sending up through lots of the kind of aggressive outrageousness Stiller’s own movies have taught us to expect from big studio comedies. The hapless schmoe Stiller played in flicks like There’s Something About Mary and Meet the Parents rarely warranted the level of embarrassment and degradation he was subjected to, but the butts of the shit he’s shoveling here — as coscreenwriter, director, and star — richly deserve to poked, prodded, and stabbed fun at.

(also available in Region 1, from Amazon U.S.)
The Fall [buy at Amazon U.K.]. From my green light review:

I’m not even sure now, after many days’ pondering this extraordinary, bizarre film, whether it even works. But if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work in a way that other adventurous filmmakers should aspire to. Watching The Fall is a thoroughly unique experience, one that is wildly cinematic in that it never lets you forget you’re watching a movie, and yet one that is so enrapturing that you get lost in it.

(also available in Region 1, from Amazon U.S.)

Married Life [buy at Amazon U.K.]. From my yellow light review:

It’s fun, at first, to let yourself sink into the lush Hitchcockian atmosphere that looks as if its going to blend postwar melodrama — the year is 1949 — with the kind of murderous suspense that always feels richer when it’s people who genuinely care about one another going for their loved ones’ throats, but the deeper Sachs takes us into their strange neuroses, the less intriguing everyone turns out to be…

(also available in Region 1, from Amazon U.S.)

Fly Me to the Moon [buy at Amazon U.K.]. From my red light review:

My eyes are still burning from this painfully misbegotten attempt to… I don’t know what. Bring back the horrible racial, cultural, and gender stereotypes of the 1960s? Creep out audiences with a depiction of weirdly, disturbingly human-ish flies the likes of which we haven’t seen since the tiny head of that mad scientist squeeked out “Help me!” from atop the body of a fly caught in a spiderweb in 1958? Or was it all just an excuse to deploy what may be the first animated 3D sneeze, complete with flying boogers? Ugh.

(also available in Region 1, from Amazon U.S.)

Good Dick [buy at Amazon U.K.]. I didn’t review the film, but I did see it, and gave it a green light for its blunt depiction of female sexuality in the kind of manifestation rarely seen on film.

Elite Squad [buy at Amazon U.K.]. I didn’t review the film, but I did see it, and gave it a red light for its pointless, unoriginal brutality.

(available to preorder in Region 1, from Amazon U.S.)

Also new this week:

Operation Valkyrie: The Stauffenberg Plot to Kill Hitler [buy at Amazon U.K.]. Doc about the real-life story behind Valkyrie; my green light review. [also available in Region 1, from Amazon U.S.]

Doctor Who: The E Space Trilogy [buy at Amazon U.K.]. Three stories from the Tom Baker years: “Warrior’s Gate,” “State of Decay,” and “Full Circle.” [available to preorder in Region 1, from Amazon U.S.]

Out January 27 in Region 1:

Lakeview Terrace [buy at Amazon U.S.]. From my green light review:

Oh, to live to see such a rarity: a horror movie for grownups! No mad slashers who watched as children as their babysitters were viciously murdered. No psychopath who likes to play torture games. No creative carving up of frail human bodies. Just the plausible pettiness of human nastiness slowly, inexorably building to a tragedy of suburban proportions.

(available to preorder in Region 2, from Amazon U.K.)

Pride and Glory [buy at Amazon U.S.]. From my green light review:

[W]e learn in the opening minutes of Pride that Farrell’s Jimmy Egan is a nasty piece of work, a thoroughly corrupt uniformed member of the NYPD, and it’s hardly been a matter of suspense when we later discover the depths of his psychopathic hypocrisy and selfishness. (It is a wonderful cinematic pleasure, though, to see Farrell continue to astonish us with the breathtaking scope of his talent for creating fiercely emotional characters, even when they’re borderline crazy.)

(available to preorder in Region 2, from Amazon U.K.)

RocknRolla [buy at Amazon U.S.]. From my green light review:

Guy Ritchie would surprise us if he surprised us. RocknRolla, his latest mockney crime caper, is exactly what you expect it to be, if you saw his Snatch or Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. Hell, it’s exactly what you want it to be, if you loved those films for their exuberant cartoon aggression and winking, wicked wit. After all, no one complains when one Bugs Bunny cartoon is pretty much the same as the one before. No one minds when the Road Runner shows up the Coyote once again. You’d be disappointed, in fact, if you didn’t get what you paid for.

(available to preorder in Region 2, from Amazon U.K.)

Vicky Cristina Barcelona [buy at Amazon U.S.]. From my yellow light review:

Cruz is a firecracker — in fact, everyone burns up the screen with their fiery performances — but I found it a bit disturbing that Allen plays Maria Elena for laughs. She is clearly actually mentally ill, not just neurotic in a normal way like Allen’s characters always are, and something about that seems wrong, particularly in a movie that believes itself to be grounded in reality. We can’t see Maria Elena as cartoonish, and only in a cartoon world would her pain be funny.

The Rocker [buy at Amazon U.S.]. I didn’t review the film, but I did see it, and gave it a green light for its fresh take on a familiar story, and its goofy-charming performance by Rainn Wilson.

(available to preorder in Region 2, from Amazon U.K.)

Holly [buy at Amazon U.S.]. I didn’t review the film, but I did see it, and gave it a green light; get some of my reaction to the film in the interview with star Ron Livingston I conducted just before its theatrical release.



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