Pictured (clockwise from upper left): Pride and Glory, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, RockNRolla, Hulk Vs.
I'm shocked -- shocked!! -- that I can recommend a rental on all four featured titles. I'll search more diligently for titles to skip in coming weeks.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Woody Allen's sojourn across Europe continues in this critically-praised comedy / drama / romance, featuring the Academy Award-nominated Penélope Cruz, plus Javier Bardem, Scarlett Johansson, and Rebecca Hall. James Rocchi called it "a bright, cool comedy of manners and mores, as refreshing and subtly intoxicating as a tall drink of sangria." Also on Blu-ray. Rent it.
Pride and Glory
Though some unfavorably compared it with We Own the Night, I much preferred Gavin O'Connor's striking, stirring New York City police 'brothers and father at odds' drama. Sure, it's familiar territory, but it struck me as piercing and emotionally authentic. With Colin Farrell, Edward Norton, Jon Voight, and Noah Emmerich. Also on Blu-ray. Rent it.
As a friend surmised, Guy Ritchie returns to form with another fast-paced criminal misandventure. Ritchie at top form is still not my favorite cup of tea -- this movie slid out of my memory as painlessly as it went in -- but Ritchie die-hards and fans of Gerard Butler, Tom Wilkinson, Thandie Newton, and incomprehensible slang can satisfy their curiosity. Also on Blu-ray. Rent it.
Two new animated features: Hulk vs. Wolverine and Hulk vs. Thor. Let me repeat: Hulk vs. Wolverine! Hulk vs. Thor! Hulk vs. Wolverine! Hulk vs. Thor! Total running time: 78 minutes. Also on Blu-ray. Rent it.
After the jump: Indies on DVD, New on Blu-ray (Bourne!), and Collector's Corner.
Offering no easy answers and refusing to sidestep stickier questions, Guy Moshe's Holly plunges into the upleasant issue of child prostitution. As I wrote upon the film's theatrical release, Ron Livingston stars as a shady character who crosses paths with a 12 year old Vietnamese girl who has just been sold into prostitution. His heart goes out to her pathetic situation and he tries to save her. While Holly doesn't entirely avoid conventions, it upends enough expectations to allow a way into the heart-rending material. With Chris Penn in one of his last performances. The DVD includes interviews and a "making of" mini-feature.
Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired
Director Marina Zenovich endeavors to put Polanski's 70s rape case in context by tracing his career success and personal tragedies prior to the most notorious night of his life. She then raises questions about how the trial was conducted with eyebrow-raising interviews. The doc is completely absorbing, though not terribly objective. (Cinematical's Christopher Campbell similarly thought it was "exhausting and riveting.") The DVD includes an audio commentary by the director, plus new and extended interviews.
My Spin-ematical partner Monika Bartyzel was "blown away" when she saw this doc because "like the title suggests, it was about girls rocking. And it reveled in it. These girls had problems, which we got to witness, but they also had crazy strength and wonderful energy ... The documentary, which follows girls attending The Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls, shows how kids from 8-18 learn how to write songs, play guitars, and rock in just one week. One week! The girls rock -- both in the music they create and the strength they possess, so check it out!" You have been so ordered! The official site has a complete listing of the extras on the DVD, including bonus concert footage.
The Bourne Trilogy (The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, The Bource Ultimatum)
No question: the three films starring Matt Damon as Jason Bourne have redefined what we expect from action movies in the new century, to the extent that the latest James Bond flick was rightly accused of trying to ape the Bourne style. All credit to directors Doug Liman (Identity) and Paul Greengrass (Supremacy and Ultimatum), but Damon's presence and physical prowess are what really make the series motor. For those who held off on picking up the DVDs in favor of waiting for the series on Blu-ray, Peter Bracke at High-Def Digest explains why you made a wise decision.
Also out: Any Given Sunday, Dead & Buried, Drumline, Groundhog Day, In Bruges, The Pink Panther, A Shot in the Dark, and Zodiac. (AKA 'the movie for which director David Fincher truly deserved a nomination from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.'
42nd Street Forever Vol. 4
Synapse Films has once again done a service for all mankind by collecting a whole mess of trailers featuring "alien horrors, schizoid psychos, ridiculous comedies, vengeful action ... and maybe a naked woman or two ... all transferred in high-definition!" Not too long ago, I picked up an earlier edition of the series, and it is now my mission in life to collect, watch, and memorize all of the wonderfully wacky trailers packed onto these discs. The DVD includes an audio commentary "featuring FANGORIA Managing Editor Michael Gingold, Film Historian Chris Poggiali and AVMANIACS Editor Edwin Samuelson" as well as "bonus vintage television spots." I can't wait for my copy to arrive!
Also out: Cannery Row, The Masterworks of Rokuro Mochizuki, Redneck Zombies: 20th Anniversary Edition, The Secret Policeman's Balls, Sidney Poitier Collection (Edge of the City / Something of Value / A Patch of Blue / A Warm December), The Stewardesses 3D: 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition, Warner Bros. Romance Classics Collection (Palm Springs Weekend / Parrish / Rome Adventure / Susan Slade).