Wednesday, March 11, 2009

DVD: Toxic Sisters, Wooden Boys and Swedish Vampires

You know how in December about 79 movies emerge at the same time wanting all of your very limited attention during the holidays? Well, yesterday here in Marchland, that happened on a slightly smaller scale only on DVD. I tried to write a post yesterday three or four times about the new DVDs but the sheer volume of interesting stuff defeated me. So here goes nothing everything too much. It's the 70th anniversary of that wooden boy with the world's greatest lie detector right on his face? He probably needs his own post. Those magic twins I was obsessed with as a wee tyke in the original 70's Witch Mountain features deserve a whole post, too now that their movies are reissued. Not just these three sentences. (I'm not sure I'm ready to think about the, uh, reboot.


And the new films...

Perhaps it's time to dive back into the muddy potentially infectious waters of Synecdoche New York. DVD seems like the only hope for learning to love that relentlessly ashen labyrinthine puzzle -- which inadvertently... no, no purposefully begs you to reject it so it can go on being misunderstood. It's like a self loathing lover who continually pushes for both attention and self-fulfilling rejection "I'm ugly and pathetic! You hate me ...[long pause] ...WELL, DON'T YOU???" A lot of people I respect love this movie so I may try again. Help me.

Also new on DVD: Charlize Theron in Battle in Seattle, Beyoncé in Cadillac Records (A.O. Scott seems to think she can suddenly act but I have my doubts), Vera Farmiga stars in 2008's other split decision Holocaust picture ("Offensive!"/"One of the Year's Best!" you know how those things go) The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Marie and Bruce stars Julianne Moore and it's finally made its way to DVD years after filming and being shoved into a vault somewhere. Is it bad or just unmarketable... there's a very big difference. This means that soon I'll be able to say (again) that I've seen everything she's ever done including Broadway's Vertical Hour and the awesome Beckett short Not I.

Most importantly this week a full 33% of my top dozen films of 2008 arrive on DVD simultaneously: Mike Leigh's clear-eyed ode to optimism Happy-Go-Lucky with Golden Globe winner Sally Hawkins (interviewed here), the terrific Swedish horror flick Let the Right One In, Best Picture nominee Milk and my pick for the cherry on top of 2008 cinema: Jonathan Demme's tender and thorny Rachel Getting Married with Anne Hathaway and Rosemarie DeWitt (interviewed here) brilliantly portraying two squabbling sisters. Debra Winger and Bill Irwin (interviewed here) co-star as their confrontation averse parents.

Which of these films are you just getting around to, which do you already love and which do you plan to go nowhere near?
*

24 comments:

Arkaan said...

Love: Rachel Getting Married, Happy-Go-Lucky (which really improves with time. So many more layers then I initially thought).

Need to see: Cadillac Records (for the music if nothing else)

The rest I've either seen and have no immediate interest in seeing again (Milk), found wanting (Let the Right One In) or loathed with a blinding passion (Ego, New York).

Kamikaze Camel said...

Agreed that Happy-go-Lucky improves with age. It just keeps getting stronger and stronger in my mind. Same goes for Rachel Getting Married, which I can still remember large passages of fluently and can recall how great it was. Not so with certain other films.

I'd actually go on a limb and say Beyonce deserved an Oscar nominations this year. Not for acting, but for the song "Once in a Lifetime" from Cadillac Records. It's a better song than either of the three nominated songs and for the first time in a very long time it's actually Beyonce sounding LOVELY on a record. For the past few years she's decided the whole angry thing is in vogue. But songs like "Once in a Lifetime" are where she should be focusing. She also doesn't overdo it with the vocal acrobatics, thankfully.

Dimi said...

I am SO ready to see Rachel Getting Married again and might even take another gander at Happy-Go-Lucky. Hearing about the process of the film being made after seeing it has sparked such an enormous curiosity inside of me.

I'm intrigued by Synecdoche and never got around to seeing it (not for lack of opportunities) and also want to see Battle in Seattle. I heard good things about it but it never got to my parts.

Did I mention I'm super excited to see Rachel again? I'm enamored with that film.

Seeking Amy said...

Synedoche was a mindfuck...but still think it was brilliant. Need to watch it again, I feel the same about how I felt about the Fountain two years (and both were received divisively)

Happy Go Lucky wasn't my favorite Mike Leigh experience, but I still think Sally Hawkins and Eddie Marsan were snubbed majorly

Going to buy Milk...and share with all my "Commie, homo-loving sons of guns" friends and go gaga over James Franco again...and then cry again. Gah.

Yet to have seen Rachel Getting Married or Let the Right One In but can't wait. Afterall the ongoing nightmare of the Twilight saga i need something to remind that vampires can still be awesome

Poor Julianne, Marie and Bruce came out like 5 years ago! At least she had a mini-comeback (acting wise) imo with Savage Grace and Blindness

JA said...
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JA said...

Synecdoche! Right One! Brialliant, genius!

Rachel! Milk! Meh, meh. ;-)

Pinnochio rules them all.

Dom said...

"Not I" is a fabulous short, I am so glad you brought it up! Now I just feel like seeing it again...

Glendon Muir said...
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Glendon said...

I picked up Let The Right One In as soon as I could get my hands on it. Aren't vampire films that are a metaphor for the death penalty great?

Joey said...

saw rachel getting married last night and thought it was fantastic and sooo real. ahhh bill irwin deserved a nom! saw let the right one in, happy go lucky, and milk already and all of which are really great especially that swedish vampire flick. =)


absolutely dying to see synechdoche. charlie kaufman can do no wrong in my mind, but i guess i'll see.

Anonymous said...

Liked, Milk and Cadillac Records wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

Need to see: Rachel, Let the Right One In (it's on my desk as we speak) and Synecdoche, NY.

No desire- Happy-Go-Lucky, I don't know, but not interested.


On a side note, I just saw a clip for Cheri and I honestly don't think Michelle will be nominated for that. Rupert Friend looked really good though, as far as acting.

Daniel Armour said...

I loved Rachel Getting Married but I saw it for a second time in theaters last month and I love DVD extras, which this DVD doesn't have much of, so I don't know if I'll be picking it up right away.

I also saw Milk again on Valentine's Day and I didn't like it as much the second time around, so I don't think I'll be getting that either.

I wasn't a fan of Happy-Go-Lucky, so I don't have a strong desire to see it again. I can't see myself watching Cadillac Records (Beyonce` acting + biopics = BORING). As for Let The Right One In, maybe I'll add it to my netflix list.

rosengje said...

Nathaniel-- I meant to inquire as to whether or not you have been watching United States of Tara. I just started and while I find it surprisingly endearing (I was very guarded about Diablo Cody's role), I cannot stand Rosemarie DeWitt's character. As a huge fan of Rachel Getting Married, I obviously find this extremely troubling. Thoughts?

Y Kant Goran Rite said...

Nathaniel - I just realised, we have 7 films matching in our respective Top 10s of 2009. (All but Milk, Bruges and Reprise, the latter 2 of which I would certainly recommend.) That's very odd considering how angry your awards make me every year. ;)

As for the movies you bring up in this post, I adore Rachel Getting Married and Happy-Go-Lucky (like anyone with a heart and a taste for enthralling acting) and have very warm feelings towards Pinocchio, Let the Right One in and Sean Penn (but not so much the rest of Milk).

Synecdoche NY doesnt come out here til May (seriously, May!! ARGH!) but from the trailer alone, I know I'm gonna love it.

Anonymous said...

Nat: Now that you've had a chance to experience Australia on Blu-ray do you have a new found respect for it?- and Mandy Walker's cinematography? HUGE snub from the Academy there!

Alex in Movieland said...

OT: Drag Me to Hell trailer
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71MDsiTzJvs

sooo f*cking scary!

NATHANIEL R said...

glendon. OK. I'll bite: How is Let the Right One In a metaphor for the death penalty?

anon I don't have blu ray. I am tired of Hollywood trying to remake my money every 5 years with a new system. I like DVDs and I'm used to them and they look good. Vinyl had a good long run, CDs are still going strong, and VHS was around forever before going the way of the dinosaur. Why we gonna replace DVDs so fast? grrrr ;)

rosengje -- i don't have showtime or hbo anymore. Poverty, you know. So i have to wait until things are on DVD.

Davey said...

I bought "Milk", "Rachel Getting Married", "Happy-Go-Lucky", and "In Bruges" on Tuesday. Might consider getting "Let the Right One In" at some point in the future. "Rachel Getting Married" in particular is my favorite of this batch. It was the best film of 2008 by a mile.

Glendon said...

Nathaniel:

SLIGHT SPOILERS.
It's a metaphor on the death penalty insomuch as that film gives the audience a scenario where one of the characters they most emphasize with is a murderer. The scene with the bathtub shows us an otherwise noble character trying to put an end to the violence by killing Eli, but anyone invested in the movie by that point would not want it to happen. Therefore his murder of Eli would be no better than Eli's murder of anyone else.

And in an early coffee shop scene one character mentions how it is impossible for a society to be at once civil and have the death penalty. Then Eli shows up and challenges the town's morals.


On an unrelated note, I went to my corner store to rent Rachel Getting Married and as soon as I'm in eyesight of the dvd section I see it being picked off the shelf by another customer. So a few more days until I can finally see this movie.

NATHANIEL R said...

ummm... they only had one copy?

Anonymous said...

Nat: How many DVDs do you have in your collection? 500, 600, 700?? or more?!?!

Anonymous said...

I have a blu-ray disc and to be honest it is a waste of money. It doesn't show that much better maybe 15%, but why waste your money on something that only shows 15% better. Makes absolutely no sense.

Glendon said...

It's a corner store that sells milk, bread and newspapers. There's a small video section, but it's in no way comparable to a Blockbuster.

YH said...

I know that in my area BestBuy, they only had one copy of "Rachel Getting Married" available (which I ended up buying, yay me!), and this was on the Tuesday that it came out on DVD. I don't know if they had a bunch of copies there or not (probably only had a few to begin with, and heaven forbid that they have more copies of this amazing film than the hundred copies of "Role Models" that they had in a separate display case all to itself), but it left me with hope that maybe "RGM" will be in higher demand on DVD than it was on the big screen. Go get it ASAP!