Thursday, August 25, 2011
Tom McCarthy, the writer/director of The Station Agent and The Visitor, delivers another understated, quietly observed comic drama this week with Win Win, the story of a small town lawyer and wrestling coach (Paul Giamatti) who gets himself in a difficult situation when he decides to ignore his ethical misgivings and become the legal guardian for one of his own clients (Burt Young). The strong supporting cast also includes Amy Ryan, Bobby Cannavale, and Jeffrey Tambor. Plus, it features a new song by The National whose video got us thinking about other classic soundtrack songs...
Here's The National's "Think You Can Wait"
In addition to being a great song, I really appreciated the "old-school" approach the band took with the video, featuring clips of the film. Although it does make great use of outtakes and b-roll (which is somewhat uncommon), the video still harkens back to that "proud tradition" of the soundtrack video as cross-promotional tool that seemed ubiquitous during MTV's 80s heyday.
Some of those videos, like Berlin's "Take My Breath Away" from Top Gun, were made exclusively of clips from the film:
Mmmm, was it a good montage for you, too, dear?
More often than not, though, the movie clips were interspersed amidst shots of the singer "performing," as in these classics:
That was Madonna's "Live to Tell" from At Close Range, a movie I simply cannot mention without also bringing up its totally awesome tagline: Like Father. Like Son. Like Hell.
Here is Phil Collins' "Take a Look at Me Now" from Against All Odds, a very loose remake of Out of the Past.
But, lest we forget and start thinking it was only the power ballads that got the movie video tie-ins, here's Joe Cocker and "You Can Leave Your Hat On" from 9 1/2 Weeks. Because what else can spice up a Kim Basinger striptease than random shots of Joe Cocker singing?
Of course, there's no shortage of these... What were some of your favorite soundtrack videos?
Some other films new to our shelves this week:
Road to Nowhere
Read Margot Harrison's review of Monte Hellman's indie film on the Seven Days' blog here. Margot is going to begin reviewing a DVD release each week, focusing on films that never found their way to local theaters. Be sure to check them out!
Jodie Foster directs Mel Gibson and his puppet.
Keanu Reeves, Vera Farmiga, & James Caan headline this week's heist flick.
Sympathy for Delicious
Mark Ruffalo's directorial debut.
Little Big Soldier
Jackie Chan wrote and stars in this comic war drama.
Peter Mullan (The Magdalene Sisters) directs this drama about Scottish delinquents.
Watch the original Norweigan creature feature before the inevitable American remake (already in the works).
Secret Sunshine and Poetry
Criterion releases two dramas by Chang-dong Lee.
The Greatest Movie Ever Sold
Morgan Spurlock's latest takes a look at product placement -- oh, I'm sorry, I meant "branded entertainment."
Cameraman: The Life & Work of Jack Cardiff
Master cinematographer gets a loving and fitting documentary treatment.
David Holzman's Diary
This early American independent film from 1967 presages the current youtube culture with some prescient satire (and unwieldy equipment).
Friday, August 19, 2011
Here's a run-down of some notable recent arrivals...
This latest adaptation of the Charlotte Bronte classic stars Mia Wasikowska (The Kids Are All Right), Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot), Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky), and Michael Fassbender (Fish Tank) as Rochester. Cary Fukunaga (Sin Nombre) directs. See our THEME shelf nearest the New Releases for six previous screen versions of the story.
Director Robert Redford (who turned 75 this week) crafts a compelling legal drama out of the trial of Mary Surratt, charged with conspiracy in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. The film stars James McAvoy, Robin Wright, Kevin Kline, and a great many other seasoned character actors.
A trio of R-rated comedies featuring plenty of bawdiness and high-jinks. (Don't forget your snacks.)
Outside the Law
This nomination for 2010's Best Foreign Language Oscar follows the exploits of three brothers during the Algerian struggle for independence.
John Carpenter returns with this horror tale set in an asylum.
New series t0 our shelves:
Dexter - Season 5
After the previous season's wallop of an ending, America's favorite serial killer tries to put the pieces back together.
Luther - Season 1
Idris Alba (Stringer Bell from The Wire) stars as an unhinged detective in this BBC series.
MST3K vs Gamera
B-Moviedom's biggest smart-asses take on the Japanese beast in this 5-disc set.
The Larry Sanders Show
We now have the complete collection of The Larry Sanders Show on DVD! An early HBO original series, a groundbreaking sitcom, and a hilarious watch, the show boasted a cavalcade of comic talent. Garry Shandling, Rip Torn, & Jeffrey Tambor anchored the proceedings, but there was no shortage of supporting brilliance: Judd Apatow, Jon Stewart, Janeane Garofalo, Scott Thompson, Peter Tolan, Jeremy Piven, Carol Burnett, Bob Odenkirk, Roseanne, Dana Carvey, Sarah Silverman, Steven Wright, Jeff Goldblum, Bob Saget, David Letterman, Sandra Bernhard, Robin Williams, Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Carrey, and Ellen Degeneres... to name just a few! Really, who wasn't on this show?!
Two Criterion releases:
An early, darkly comic thriller by Roman Polanski.
Kubrick's great heist flick comes with a wealth of extras as well as his earliest feature, The Killer's Kiss. Also boasts the best cover art of the week, hands down:
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Friday, August 5, 2011
A great many thanks to all those who voted for us as the Best Place to Rent a Movie inside Chittenden County! This is our ninth out of nine Daysies Awards, and we sincerely appreciate the loyalty of all our customers who have been so supportive of us and who have continued renting local over the past 15 years. We hope to continue providing movies of all stripes and serving the community for a long time to come!
And now on to movie news...
An interesting development in the distribution of classic and obscure films on DVD include the rise of the MOD (manufactured-on-demand) model that has been adopted by many major studios. This means that they are making titles available on a "made-to-order" basis -- basically, putting them out as limited DVD-R editions. As of now, Netflix, Redbox, Blockbuster, and other major rental outlets are not carrying these titles. However, Waterfront Video is! So stop by and pick up some long unavailable gems & curios, including:
Sam Fuller's newspaper classic may be didactic at times, but it's fiery and obviously from the heart. As usual with Fuller, there is plenty of grit, piss & vinegar -- as well as an expected dose of soapboxing. The few moments of crowd mayhem are staged excellently and it's no surprise why Scorsese cites the picture as influential. Gene Evans is great in the gruff lead -- he and Fuller were made for each other.
One of Arthur Penn's early features, this feisty, eccentric flick tells the grim tale of a comic (Warren Beatty) caught up in danger he doesn't understand. The narrative is fractured and at times messy (deliberately and otherwise), but the energy of the filmmaking is impressive start to finish. Penn borrows generously from the European cinematic sensibilities of the sixties (Godard, Fellini, Bergman, Bunuel, etc) but filters it all through a distinctly American, noir-tinged lens. The surrealistic moments and oddball bit characters add to the underlying sense of paranoia and disorientation.
Louis Malle's 1984 heist comedy, featuring Sean Penn, Donald Sutherland, Wallace Shawn, and Jack Warden.
2 Weeks in Another Town
Vincente Minnelli's somewhat follow-up to his classic insider Hollywood tale, The Bad & The Beautiful. This one also stars Kirk Douglas.
The Search & The Defector
Two Montgomery Clift films - his first and last! The Search, from 1948, stars an Oscar-nominated Clift as a soldier in occupied Germany (filmed on location) who befriends a young boy separated from his mother. The Defector, from 1966, is a cold war thriller that, although low on actual thrills, does contain one great hallucinatory sequence that presaged the psychedelic movement around the corner.
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt & While the City Sleeps
Two Fritz Lang thrillers from 1956 -- the first a courtroom drama with a great twist, the second a serial killer tale that seems to have set the template for many a suspense film to follow.
The Secret War of Harry Frigg & Sometimes a Great Notion
Two Paul Newman films -- the first a WWII set comedy, the second a drama about a family logging business struggling in a changing economy, directed by Newman.
Other recent releases of note:
Life During Wartime
My Dog Tulip
Winter in Wartime
Of Gods and Men
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune
Hey, Boo: Harper Lee & To Kill a Mockingbird
Stephen Fry in America & Last Chance to See
And, as always, for more movie news & notes -- as well occasional exclusive deals -- please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!