Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year!!!

Plenty of movies are set on or around New Year's Eve, but few have attained classic status.
Two of the best are both at least 50 years old:

The Apartment, Billy Wilder's excellent comic drama about a passive office drone (Jack Lemmon) and fellow lowly patsy (Shirley MacLaine) who both find themselves on the short end of the stick -- but at least they're there together.

After the Thin Man, the follow-up to the Christmas-set The Thin Man, finds Nick and Nora solving crimes amidst New Year's cheer in this witty mystery that also features a great turn by an oh-so-young Jimmy Stewart.

Nick Charles: Have you made any New Year's resolutions?
Nora Charles: Not yet. Any complaints or suggestions?
Nick Charles: A few.
Nora Charles: Which?
Nick Charles: Complaints.
Nora Charles: All right shoot.
Nick Charles: Well, you don't scold, you don't nag, and you look far too pretty in the mornings.
Nora Charles: All right, I'll remember: must scold, must nag, musn't be too pretty in the mornings.

What are some recent New Year's set films you've enjoyed? Or other older classics I've missed?
Do tell...

New to our shelves this week:

The American

George Clooney stars as the titular American in this Euro-vibed and set espionage thriller, directed by Anton Corbijn (Control).

Resident Evil: Afterlife
Milla's back in this fourth installment, just to prove that Angelina isn't the only female action star around.

Handsome Harry
A crime thriller involving Vietnam veterans, starring Jamey Sheridan, Steve Buscemi, Bill Sage, Campbell Scott, John Savage, and Aidan Quinn.

Joel Schumacher directs some hot young things in this drug-addled drama.

Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement
A documentary chronicling a 42-year relationship.

The United States of Tara - 2nd Season

- 1st Season
The new series by the twisted (brilliant) minds behind Frisky Dingo.

Next week's blog:
We're going to be talking Best of...
Best new movies of 2010 as well as the best new DVD releases.
We'll include some of our thoughts about what these "best" films are, but we'd love to hear your thoughts, too. So start thinking about your lists now and then next week, we'll devote our comments section exclusively to a discussion of everybody's best (and possibly worst) of the year that's just passed us by!

For more news, updates, and exclusive deals,
find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays, Everyone!

Here's a special Christmas Card greeting from Terry Gilliam
(from Do Not Adjust Your Set, 1968)

New to our shelves this week:

Easy A
This winning contemporization of Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter stars a charismatic Emma Stone and features of host of strong supporting players, with Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson giving especially hilarious turns.

Angelina Jolie stepped into a role originally intended for Tom Cruise, and again proves herself a bad-ass extraordinaire in this engaging, well-constructed actioner by Phillip Noyce.

Soul Kitchen
Fatih Akin (Head On, Crossing the Bridge, The Edge of Heaven) directs this comic lark about food and music - staples of the soul.

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Oliver Stone attempts to recreate the Zeitgeist-capturing allure of his 1987 film, this time setting the story during the recent credit crisis and financial meltdown.

Map of the Sounds of Tokyo

Beautiful Kate

Let It Rain

Skirt Day

Francois Ozon (Swimming Pool, Under the Sand, 8 Women) directs his first English-language film, a period piece based on a novel by Elizabeth Taylor.

Claustrophobia continues to be a prevalent theme this year with this horror piece devised by M. Night Shyamalan. (see also: Buried & 127 Hours)

The Heavy

Step Up 3

Family Guy: It's a Trap!

Futurama - Volume 5

Thursday, December 16, 2010

This week, one of the year's most intriguing and entertaining movies, Exit Through the Gift Shop, gets its DVD release. Street artist Banksy directs with a knowing wink and, in the process of providing a genial and general recent history of the underground/graffiti-art movement, also offers plenty of food for thought concerning Art and the Art World.

There are several other films on the subject worth checking out, including another recent arrival, Next: A Primer on Urban Painting.

We also recommend:
PoPaganda: The Art and Crimes of Ron English

Jean-Michel Basquiat: Radiant Child

Beautiful Losers

Piece By Piece


Style Wars

New to our shelves this week:
This was a huge week for new releases and new arrivals - so many choices!

Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie; City of Lost Children; Delicatessen) returns with a tale of head injuries, homelessness, and corporate weapons manufacturers.

The A-Team
Joe Carnahan (Narc; Smokin' Aces) directs this big-budget take on the 80s television series.

The Other Guys

Despicable Me

Nanny McPhee Returns

Mother and Child



The Trotsky


The Sicilian Girl

Mademoiselle Chambon

A Complete History of My Sexual Failures

Nightmares in Red, White, and Blue
A look at America's relationship with the horror movie genre.

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work
A surprisingly compelling documentary about the comedienne which is by turns funny, insightful, and sad.

A Walk Into the Sea
A portrait of underground filmmaker Danny Williams and the time he spent with Andy Warhol's Factory before disappearing without a trace.

Another documentary on the Academy's shortlist, Josh Fox's affable but provocative look at the repercussions and lack of discussions surrounding the mining and use of natural gas is sure to raise questions as well as righteous indignation.


24 - 8th Season

Doc Martin - 1st Season

Inspector Lewis - 1st Season

Coming Out Friday:

The Town
Ben Affleck follows up his directorial debut, Gone Baby Gone, with another Boston-set crime caper, starring himself, Jeremy Renner, Blake Lively, Rebecca Hall, Chris Cooper, Pete Postlethwaite, and Jon Hamm.

Legends of the Guardian

New Arrivals:

Devils on the Doorstep
This black comedy set during the Japanese occupation of China ran afoul of Chinese censors.

Kurosawa's influential thriller in a Criterion release.

John Ford's iconic western gets the Criterion treatment.

Sidney Lumet directs this cold war classic.

The Search
Montgomery Clift's first film, directed by Fred Zinneman.

Arizona Dream

Serbian director Emir Kusturica's only English-language film, this unpredictable, often hilarious offbeat gem stars Johnny Depp, Faye Dunaway, Jerry Lewis, Vincent Gallo, and Lili Taylor. It includes a scene I consider to be quintessential Kusturica: Johnny Depp, wearing a white baptismal-type gown, hair messed-up, clucking like a chicken, squatting on a wheeled chair, comes rolling down the hallway to Taylor who’s standing in a doorway, beret askew, cigarette dangling from her lips, playing an accordion. When he reaches her, she puts out her foot and kicks his chair, sending him careening back down the hallway, into his bedroom, into the arms of Faye Dunaway, and the two proceed to have some hot sexy time. Afterwards, Depp smokes three cigarettes at once and looks out the window to see a fish swimming through the night rain. ... How can you resist?

A Song For Martin
Bille August's incisive story of a couple confronting alzheimer's.

The Phantom Tollbooth
Chuck Jones' adaptation of the classic children's tale.

Dusty & Sweets McGee
A slice of 70s drug-life in L.A.

None But the Lonely Heart
Clifford Odets wrote and directed this long unavailable film that features one of Cary Grant's best dramatic roles (and one of the only ones where he uses his original cockney accent) and co-stars the legendary Ethel Barrymore.

Dark Shadows - 1st Set
Check out the original series before the Tim Burton / Johnny Depp remake hits theaters.

Stone (1974)
The notorious Ozploitation film that is considered something of a precursor to Mad Max.

The Toy Box / Toys Are Not For Children

Friday, December 10, 2010

No more kidding ourselves, winter is definitely and defiantly here. But if the cold weather starts getting you down, remember nothing beats an evening at home with a warm blanket, hot drink, and a good movie!

And while you're out holiday shopping, don't forget about our big sale (buy-one-get-one-free on all previously-viewed movies!) as well as our special orders service. (If you want to special order a gift, best to get the requests in soon...) We also have gift certificates available.

New to our shelves this week:


One of the most talked about movies of the year (not to mention one of the most successful) comes courtesy of writer/director Christopher Nolan (Memento; The Prestige; The Dark Knight) and stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy, Michael Caine, Tom Berenger, Marion Cotillard, Lukas Haas, and Pete Postlethwaite. (did I forget anyone?)

Shrek Forever After


On the shortlist for this year's Best Documentary Academy Award, Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington's gripping ground-eye view of a platoon in Afghanistan is based on Junger's book, War.

Waking Sleeping Beauty

An insider's account of a decade in the trenches at Disney, between 1984 and 1994, when the company re-invented itself with the help of a group of dedicated, talented animators.

Dancing Across Borders
A dancer's journey from Cambodia to America.

Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist, and Rebel

An interesting portrait of a provocative figure, this documentary gives Hefner's social and political activism its due alongside his better known (and often more controversial) claims to fame.

The Year of Getting to Know Us

The Milk of Sorrow

Barry Munday

A Dog Year

The Dolphin: Story of a Dreamer

Harpoon: Whale Watching Massacre

Honkytonk Man

Gable & Lombard

See No Evil, Hear No Evil

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

In tandem with last week's release of Lucy Walker's excellent documentary, Countdown to Zero, which examines the current state of nuclear affairs around the world, as well as the recent goings-on related to Vermont Yankee (the local company that operates a 540 megawatt nuclear powered generating station which has found itself the focus of (too few) news stories lately due to radioactive leaks and subsequent clean-up efforts), we thought it was a good moment to turn our attention to some films that address the atomic issue. (These films and more on the subject can be found on our newly created Current Events shelf...)

Building Bombs

An insightful and unsettling look at the American nuclear industry and the issues surrounding the managing and operating of facilities as well as the issues of waste disposal. The documentary became a flashpoint of controversy when it was banned by PBS in 1991 (presumably due to fear of negative reactions by corporate sponsors).

Atomic Cafe

A collection of propaganda and industrial films from the 40s and 50s -- a veritable wealth of disinformation regarding atomic energy.

The China Syndrome
Jane Fonda and Michael Douglas play journalists who happen to uncover an accident at a local nuclear power plant who are stonewalled in their investigation until a senior plant worker (Jack Lemmon) decides to take desperate measures to make the public aware of the situation. In an uncomfortable coincidence, this film was released just 13 days before the meltdown at Three Mile Island.

Meryl Streep plays whistle-blower Karen Silkwood in this character-driven suspense tale (based on a true story) directed by Mike Nichols. Cher and Kurt Russell both give great supporting turns as well.

The Day After and Threads
Two television movies dramatizing the possible effects of nuclear warfare. Although some of the speculative science would now be considered questionable, both films became widely cited reference points and helped encourage public debate about the nuclear question in the country. In England, Peter Watkins' 1965 The War Game (originally banned by the BBC), provoked discussion in the same manner.

When the Wind Blows
This animated feature from 1986 follows a sweet and naive elderly couple as they struggle to make sense of their situation in the days following a nuclear disaster.

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

One of the greatest black comedies ever made, Stanley Kubrick's acerbic doomsday saga still packs a punch. Not to mention tremendous performances by George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, Slim Pickens, Peter Sellers, Peter Sellers, and Peter Sellers.

See Also:
Dark Circle
On the Beach
Miracle Mile
War Games
Fail-Safe (1964)
Fail Safe (2000)
Thirteen Days
Hiroshima Mon Amour

New to Our Shelves This Week:

Going the Distance
Drew Barrymore and Justin Long lead a cast of comic actors (including Charlie Day, Christina Applegate, Jim Gaffigan, Jason Sudeikis, Rob Riggle, & Ron Livingston) in this alternately raunchy and sweet rom-com.

Knight and Day
Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz in an action flick about spies and such.

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

The Special Relationship

The third outing for actor Michael Sheen as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, following The Deal and The Queen. All three films are penned by Peter Morgan. This one focuses on the relationship between Blair and Bill Clinton (played by Dennis Quaid).

Cairo Time
Patricia Clarkson has earned typically rave reviews for her performance as a woman on a journey of discovery - self and otherwise.

Valhalla Rising

Bloody Viking actioner by director Nicolas Winding Refn (The Pusher Trilogy; Bronson).

Vampires Suck

Life in Flight

As Far As My Feet Will Carry Me

I Knew It Was You: Re-Discovering John Cazale
A short documentary on the brief but brilliant career of the underrated actor.

People Like Us
The British series that hilariously exposes the more staid conventions of the documentary form.

Parks and Recreation - 2nd Season
The show really hits its stride in this second season.

For more news, updates, and exclusive deals,
find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!