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the film criticism aspect of cyber | by maryann johanson

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

Out February 2 in Region 2:

RocknRolla [buy at Amazon U.K.]. 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.

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

Has there ever been so amiably demented a flick as this one, about an igor — that is, a mad scientist’s minion; the term is a generic here as well as a name — who aspires to be evil but can’t seem to manage, no matter how hard he tries, to be less than adorable and gentle?

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

Get Smart [buy at Amazon U.K.]. From my yellow light review:

When my friends have demanded to know what I thought, the best I could say was, “It’s sporadically hilarious.” Which isn’t a bad thing: so few movies make me laugh out loud, and I did do that more than once with this one, and that’s reason for a minor celebration.

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

Death Race [buy at Amazon U.K.]. From my red light review:

I’d like to say that Anderson wants you to believe he’s satirizing our seemingly endless taste for imaginatively graphic violence — look, a new way to commit vehicular manslaughter! — but I don’t think he cares what you think, as long as you think it’s cool. It isn’t.

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

Balls of Fury [buy at Amazon U.K.]. From my red light review:

Funnily enough, though — and it’s the only thing funny about this dreadful excuse for a comedy — the movie itself has tiny balls. It’s got no nerve, no guts, no daring… no balls. It does have a lot of ethnic stereotyping, the lazy screenwriter’s go-to cliché when he can’t think of anything actually funny. Oh, and it also has multiple crotch injuries, the lazy screenwriter’s other go-to cliché.

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

Also new this week:

Alfresco: The Complete Series [buy at Amazon U.K.]. Sketch comedy show that’s early work from Hugh Laurie, Emma Thompson, and Stephen Fry; my green light review. [also available in Region 1, from Amazon U.S.]

Redbelt [buy at Amazon U.K.]. Mixed martial arts as a strangled metaphor for something-or-other; my red light review. [also available in Region 1, from Amazon U.S.]

Appaloosa [buy at Amazon U.K.]. Sturdy Western with good performances by Viggo Mortensen and Ed Harris. [also available in Region 1, from Amazon U.S.]

Sukiyaki Western Django [buy at Amazon U.K.]. Quentin Tarantino’s head gets even bigger. [also available in Region 1, from Amazon U.S.]

Out February 3 in Region 1:

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist [buy at Amazon U.S.]. From my green light review:

[K]inda like Ferris Bueller’s Night Out, but way less snarky and way sweeter, and the whole gang is Ferris. This could well be definitive flick of the Millennial generation, the one that captures its attitudes and hopes and fears and overall zeitgeist…. I feel like if I were in high school right now, this would be the flick that would speak to me most of anything I’ve seen in recent years, and this is the flick I’d look back on 20 years later with fond memories. Damn, I almost wish I was 16 again, because Nick & Norah presents a portrait that is a helluva lot, well, nicer.

The Secret Life of Bees [buy at Amazon U.S.]. From my green light review:

The secret life of bees? More like the secret life of women. The bee thing, it’s a metaphor, see, for how half the human race lives shrouded in mystery and darkness and, I guess, sweetness and honey. Or shrouded in mysterious honey, at least, if we’re to take the word of pop culture, which ignores half the human race unless it can serve as a prize to the male hero, or unless it can be pandered to — and poorly, at that — with fluffy pink junk that is almost always simply men’s ideas about what these mysterious honey-covered creatures are like when they’re hidden away in their secret realms of, you know, the world.

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

Zack and Miri Make a Porno [buy at Amazon U.S.]. From my green/yellow/red light review:

They’re particularly us if you’re GenX — say, between your late 20s and your late 40s. It hardly even seems like a thing that Zack and Miri and their pals profess a belief in the sanctity of an Amazon wish list or talk about masturbation in a casual way that also includes a reference to MacGyver. That might seem like an extreme kind of forced cleverness to someone older (and anyone younger probably won’t even know who MacGyver is), but to us Xers, it’s just what we feel and the way we talk, for honest real.

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

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa [buy at Amazon U.S.]. From my green/yellow/red light review:

Escape is so gorgeous, in fact, that it took me a while to realize that the heart and the soul of the first Madagascar, the aspect that made it so special, is missing here… no, not missing, but inverted to a degree that it almost negates the first film. Which is a genuine shame. As a pleasantly rowdy cartoon that diverts and amuses, one that will appeal to a wide audience without having to dumb itself down to do so — which is, it must be noted, a grand achievement on its own — Escape is a splendid success. It’s when held up to its predecessor that it feels a bit… lacking.

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

Also new this week:

Bottle Shock [buy at Amazon U.S.]. Alan Rickman accidentally invents the California wine industry; my green light review.



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