Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Just a few days left to enter our Oscar contest!
Stop by the store, fill out a ballot, and whoever predicts/guesses the highest number of correct winners, gets 20 free rentals!!
(Oscar broadcast is this Sunday evening on ABC.)

This week Due Date, the latest from director Todd Phillips (Old School, The Hangover), gets its DVD release. The mismatched buddy road trip comedy stars Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis. But it's Galifianakis who steals our blog's spotlight for this post...

Galifianakis has recently become an unlikely Hollywood star, being featured in high grossing comedies as well as indie films. In addition to Due Date, the last year has seen the DVD releases of It's Kind of a Funny Story, Dinner For Schmucks, Operation: Endgame, Frenemy, Youth in Revolt, Visioneers, Up in the Air, and the HBO series Bored to Death. (He's also managed to appear regularly on The Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! as well as guest star on American Dad and Funny or Die Presents... during that time.) Busy guy!

Here, for your amusement and bewilderment, are a few random clips of other Galifianakis appearances, beginning with an episode of his own "talkshow," Between Two Ferns:

This is an honest-to-goodness real ad (albeit for Swedish television) that Zach made with his frequent cohorts, Tim & Eric:

Here's a video he made with Will Oldham for Kayne West's Can't Tell Me Nothing:

And finally, here's one of my favorite clips from one of his stand-up acts:

Also new to our shelves this week:
(click on the titles for more information)

Fish Tank

Director Andrea Arnold follows up her unconventional, unsettling thriller – the excellent Red Road – with an equally blistering and captivating character portrait. Newcomer Katie Jarvis impresses as the brash and impulsive 15 year old Mia, struggling to find balance and make sense of her inchoate rage, fly-girl aspirations, and burgeoning sexuality. Mired in the trappings of her low class environs, she attempts to navigate (not always successfully) the tensions and conflicts of life in general and teenager-dom in particular. Many scenes/sequences are difficult to watch, unnervingly fraught with potential disaster, but there is an assured restraint to the direction (as well as writing and performances) that consistently keep the proceedings from descending into unremitting bleakness or generic formula. The result is powerful and highly recommended.

Get Low

Mesrine: Killer Instinct

Nurse Jackie
- 2nd Season

Weeds - 6th Season

Doc Martin - 2nd Season

The Bird Can't Fly

Birdemic: Shock and Terror

Sword of War

Summer Wars


Room in Rome

Change of Plans

Purple Sea

Carmo: Hit the Road

Red Mercury

The Good Earth

Red Dwarf - Season 2

New Docs:

William S. Burroughs: A Man Within
Check out our THEME shelf for other documentaries, films, and cinematic experiments starring or inspired by the complicated and influential Beat/Punk icon.

Mugabe and the White African

Last Train Home

Two in the Wave

Kings of Pastry
Pressure Cooker

Be sure to check out our FOOD shelf for other culinary-inspired films and documentaries. Mmmmmm.....

Until the Light Takes Us

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Is Our Children Learning?

This week sees the release of Davis Guggenheim's recent documentary, Waiting for "Superman" - an exploration into some of the issues surrounding America's failing educational system and a look at some possible solutions. We thought we'd offer a few other films dealing with the trials and tribulations of teachers and schools...

The First Year
A 2001 documentary, also by Guggenheim, that follows 5 teachers through-out their first years.

The Lottery
Another 2010 documentary about our educational crisis, this one focusing on the high stakes lottery system that allows a small number of children to enter Charter Schools.

The Wire - 4th Season
One of television's most acclaimed series turned its attention on Baltimore schools in their excellent fourth season.

The Ron Clark Story
Matthew Perry stars in this factually-based story of a smalltown teacher who relocates to the big city and faces the challenges of urban education. See also: Blackboard Jungle, Stand and Deliver, Lean On Me, Dangerous Minds, Teachers, & Half Nelson.

The Class, Skirt Day, & Games of Love and Chance
Three French films showing that these issues aren't endemic to America...

What are some of your favorite films about teachers and teaching?

In honor of Arcade Fire's recent Grammy win, here's a Spike Jonze directed video for a track off their latest:

New to our shelves:
(click on the title for more information)

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger

It's Kind of a Funny Story

Life As We Know It

You Again

Tamara Drewe

The Romantics

For Colored Girls

Middle Men

Paranormal Activity 2

I Spit On Your Grave

My Soul to Take


Glorious 39

Wild Target


Still Walking

Unmade Beds

A French Gigolo


High Lane

Ong Bak 3

Kites (The Remix)

The Storm Warriors

A Time for Drunken Horses

Against the Current

See You in September

Animal Collective: Oddsac

Project Runway - 8th Season

Top Chef: New York - 5th Season

MI-5 - 6th Season

Other recent arrivals:

Santa Sangre



Chicago Cab

Defense of the Realm

In Old Chicago

The Black Swan (1942)

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Oscar Contest!
Now that the Oscar nominations have been announced, we've begun our annual Oscar contest. Stop by the store to fill out a ballot, and the customer with the most correct predictions (guesses?) will win 20 free rentals!

In local performance news, The Vermont Stage Company's production of Oliver Twist is currently up and running - it continues through this week and next. Heavily stylized and drawing upon a great many Victorian-era theatrical traditions and conventions, the show also features a cast of mostly local actors and excellent music by Burlington's David Symons. (You can read the Free Press review here.)

In honor of the show, we've put up a shelf of Twist adaptations in the store -- turns out we've got a few! In addition to David Lean's classic take from 1948 featuring Alec Guinness as Fagin, the Oscar-winning musical version Oliver! from 1968, and Roman Polanski's recent 2005 version, we also have adaptations from 1922, 1933, 1985, 1997, and 2007, as well as several films that offer looser takes on the story such as Disney's Oliver & Company, the queer-oriented Twisted, and the contemporized urban take, A Boy Called Twist.

New to our shelves:

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
The third and final film in the series based on Stieg Larsson's wildly popular books. Now you can see all the original Swedish adaptations before the upcoming, David Fincher directed American versions are released.

Let Me In
Speaking of American versions, this Hollywood remake of the Swedish vampire thriller Let the Right One In has garnered almost as much acclaim as the original.

Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, and John Malkovich lead the charge in this cheeky action film. Also featuring Brian Cox, Mary Louise-Parker, and Richard Dreyfuss.

Topping John Waters' best of list for 2010, this "perfectly perverse" Greek film about an overly sheltered family was also just nominated for a Best Foreign Language Oscar.

Diane Lane and John Malkovich star in this horse biopic (equinopic?) about the famed racer.

Nowhere Boy
A portrait of a young John Lennon in the formative pre-Beatles years.

Enter the Void

Gaspar Noe (I Stand Alone; Irreversible) latest offering is a drug-frenzied night out.

Never Let Me Go
Mark Romanek (One Hour Photo) adaptation of the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro (Remains of the Day; The Saddest Music in the World) stars Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, Andrew Garfield, and Charlotte Rampling.

Welcome to the Rileys
James Gandolfini and Melissa Leo play a couple who develop a surrogate paternal relationship with a young stripper, played by Kristen Stewart.

A Woman, A Gun and a Noodle Shop
Zhang Yimou (Hero; Not One Less; To Live) remakes the Coen Brothers' debut film Blood Simple.

Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer

Alex Gibney (Enron: Smartest Men in the Room; Taxi to the Dark Side; Gonzo; Casino Jack & the United States of Money; Freakonomics) continues his hot doc streak with this look into the scandal and political shenanigans surrounding the former New York governor.

The Tillman Story
A compelling story of a family's quest to reveal the truth behind their son's death in Afghanistan and the subsequent military and government cover-up.

The Lottery
A documentary about charter schools and a good companion piece to Davis Guggenheim's Waiting for "Superman."

Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell star in the fact-based story of a sibling's struggle to overturn a false conviction.

Set during the Apartheid era, this film follows the story of a young black woman (Sophie Okonedo from Hotel Rwanda) born of two white parents.

Night Catches Us
Anthony Mackie and Kerry Washington star in this 70's-set story of a couple struggling to find their place and identity in a racially and politically fractured society.

An Englishman in New York
John Hurt reprises the role of gay icon and activitst Quentin Crisp (having portrayed him 35 years earlier in the adaptation of Crisp's autobiography, The Naked Civil Servant).

Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll

Saw: The Final Chapter

We'll see.

Chain Letter


Mean Girls 2

Adventures of Power

Gary Wilson: You Think You Really Know Me

Open Season 3

Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2

Shaun the Sheep: Spring Shen-a-anigans

Glee - 2.1st Season

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