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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

new on DVD: ‘300,’ ‘Hot Fuzz,’ ‘Pathfinder,’ more

See it:

300 [buy it]. From my review:

This is one of those ür-stories that actually feels like a slice of ancient wonder and grandeur… This is more Lord of the Rings than Gladiator, and still not much like either of those films, either: this exists in its own kind of mythic space much like the one that all ancient literature lived in for its listeners.

Hot Fuzz [buy it]. From my review:

Fuzz is all about taking down Hollywood action-movie excess and affectionately tweaking the clichés of the genre, but it does that from a place of understanding and fannish worship. Wright and Pegg get it exactly right: they know that there’s something weirdly schizophrenic in the love/hate relationship serious movie lovers have with the absurd extremes Hollywood can go to… We’re allowed to make fun of this stuff, because we love it so much, but we’ll defend it if anyone else dares to say a negative word about it.

Pathfinder [buy it]. From my review:

[A] compelling example of purely cinematic storytelling that eschews almost all dialogue and lets moody colors and visceral action tell a tale that is mythic and metaphoric.

Lonely Hearts [buy it]. Intriguing performances tip the scales in its favor.

Roving Mars [buy it]. A big, beautiful bit of NASA recruitment propaganda.

Skip it:

Firehouse Dog [buy it]. From my review:

A perfectly excruciating mix of stupidity and sentimentality, this is equal parts preposterousness — even as live-action cartoons go — obviousness (you’ll guess who the secret villain is the moment he steps onscreen), and goopy nonsense. But if you can’t get enough of skateboarding dogs, go for it.

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