Monday, July 20, 2009

DVD: Coraline, Hotel, Watchmen

Try to imagine this DVD release roundup in 3-D for maximum enjoyment.

What's new on DVD Tuesday? We'll bookend this roundup with the two best releases. Links to add them to your queues provided because I'm sweet and helpful like that.

Coraline - I loved the use of 3D in Coraline so I'm wondering how it will transfer to the flatter world of home entertainment: Will that tunnel into Other Mother be as beckoning? Would the transformative acrobatic sister act pay off quite so well? Even if they won't, the film's imaginative visuals and fun character play will pull you into its rewarding tale of a bored little girl suddenly fighting for her soul and her parent's lives in a fantasy world that's not quite like her own. Coraline's journey is often compared to Alice's trip through the looking glass or down the rabbit hole. Miyazaki's Spirited Away was also described that way. It's good company to be in. [netflix / blockbuster]

I had never heard of koumpounophobia (the fear of buttons) before discovering the world of Coraline but I suspect many wee viewers of this movie might have it once they grow up. If you have children, did you take them? Was it too scary for them?

Watchmen - Were Zach Snyder not so slavishly devoted to the recreation of the brilliant source material's 2D compositions, I feel certain that he would've wanted his dark superhero epic to be in 3D. Imagine the stylized carnage: that iconic smiley face pin would spin madly right in the air between your eyes before disappearing deep into the frame as it falls to the pavement, ashes of Dr. Manhattan's enemies would flutter about your face and easily frightened viewers would be jumping, ducking and squirming as boiling oil, shattered glass, stantions, axes and bullets optically careened toward their faces.

On the other hand, who needs it? Patrick Wilson's ass is its own 3D effect and no amount of camera tricks will deepen Malin Akerman's flat performance.

In my original review I explained in far greater detail why I'm down on the movie (I love the comic) but I might give this another go on DVD. They've added 24 minutes for the director's cut and while that might just be padding, you never know. The movie's weird start and stop pacing will probably feel less awkward on DVD as well. [netflix / blockbuster]

The Unknown Woman - This was Italy's Best Foreign Film submission way back in 2007 for those of you who care about such things. I do care but I worry that I don't care quite enough. By the time I finally have access to the foreign films that sound most interesting, it's often years later and I've usually forgotten why I was interested in the first place and have moved on to obsessing about newer foreign films that I'll also forget about by the time someone deigns to release them. [netflix / blockbuster]

As is ever the case there's also old seasons of TV shows hitting the stores.

Charlie's Angels fourth season is just out (at this point in the series Farrah Fawcett and Kate Jackson were no longer with the show. The trio is Kris (Cheryl Ladd), Kelly (Jaclyn Smith) and new girl Tiffany (the unfortunately named Shelley Hack). [netflix/ blockbuster]

Anyone remember Hotel? It's coming out. Having some knowledge of the hospitality industry I can assure you that a series could be made of the fascinating, serialized complex variety (like The Wire, Mad Men, The Sopranos, etcetera). Hotels are crazy microcosms of the larger world, everything being shoved into one building (restaurants, bars, living environments, the workplace). There's abundant politics, celebrity cameos, union and management scuffles, guest stars, occasional crime and dangerous liaisons (24/7 workplace that also contains alcohol and beds. Do the math). But if I'm remembering Hotel correctly (and I only saw it when I was a little kid) it was just The Love Boat in a building with a rotating cast of mildly famous or formerly hugely famous guest stars having short form drama. Still, Old Hollywood fans should note that Anne Baxter is a series lead and first season guest stars include Bette Davis, Shirley Jones, Donald O Connor, Shelley Winters, Margaret O'Brien and Jean Simmons [netflix / blockbuster]

I've saved the other best for last. Pushing Daisies 2nd Season is freshly served. The show about a pie maker who can raise people from the dead is dead. Pushing Daises is dead. Long live Pushing Daisies. Excuse the redundance. My mind goes into looping sadness when I think about this show for the second season is also The Final Season. The television gods are as cruel and fickle as any deity from Mt. Olympus or Asgard. [netflix/ blockbuster ]

Which will you be renting or do you have movies still to be watched stacked near your TV?


Derreck said...

*sigh* Pushing Daisies.

Its cancellation probably made me bitter. I'm never giving my heart to any new show ever again. I'll miss the gooey storybook feel of the show and the wonderful cast. I'll miss swooning over Ned and Chuck the most though. I've never been sucked in by saccharine as much as i had with this show.

The final episode was so painful for me. Not only because i knew that there was never going to be another episode, but the finale wasn't nearly as satisfying as it could've been with the tacked on ending. I can't blame the show though because they got cancelled mid-season.

I just hope the rest of the cast get some steady work. Especially Lee Pace. After Soldier's Girl and this show, i have grown fond of him.

and is it sad that Patrick Wilson's epic ass is 95% of what i can remember about WATCHMEN?

Bing147 said...

The Unknown Woman is pretty much amazing. You should definitely check it out.

Walter L. Hollmann said...

"Hotel"! I've always wanted to see it, ever since Bette Davis gave the ringing endorsement, "It should have been called 'Brothel'." Man, I wish I was her best friend.

Emma said...

Hehe, I LOVE that buttons function.

Joe Shetina said...

I was incredibly upset over Watchmen. Absolutely LOVE the comic. Why does Zack Synder continue to torture me?

evanK said...

"Hotel" on DVD? About time!

Anyone remember the episode where Connie Selleca's character poses as a hotel employee and dismisses a group of applicants for the job she was actually applying for? When interviews began, she was the only person left, so she got the job - remember? Total GENIUS!

I owe my career to that episode.