Archive for the ‘ new arrivals ’ Category

New Arrivals 3/9/10

Couple Best Picture nominees in the new arrivals this week…

Precious: Based On The Novel ‘Push’ By Sapphire – One of the most praised films of ’09, this one was up for Best Picture, plus a bunch of acting nominations. One of the worst movie titles ever, though.

Up In The Air – George Clooney stars in the newest film from Jason Reitman (Juno, Thank You For Smoking). Also a Best Picture nom.

Capitalism: A Love Story – New film from Michael Moore. Just to be clear, I am definitely NOT a fan of this man’s past body of work, but this film as absolutely worth seeing. Should have a post up on it later this week.

The House Of The Devil – Looks like some good old-school Satanic horrors from writer/director Ti West.

Boondock Saints II – The Sequel!

Pontypool – Zombies in Canada!


New Arrivals 3/6/10

A quick note: we’re going to try and be better about regularly posting new arrivals on this blog. This means new films, Criterion releases, and anything else old or new that has just recently arrived. Also gonna try and revamp the “Requests” section, so stay tuned for that, but for now, if you don’t see something on here that you’ve been waiting to see, ask for it in the comments.

My personal pick of the lot would have to be “A Serious Man.”


2012 – The latest world-ending disaster flick from Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, et al.). You know what you’re getting with this one.

PonyoHayao’s Miyazaki’s newest. If you’re a fan of his past work, no doubt you’ll like this one; likewise, if you haven’t seen any of his other films, come check out the shelf we’re putting together for him in the Anime section, including some newly released remasters. Up for an Academy Award for best animated feature.

Cold Souls – Paul Giamatti has his soul removed.

Dead Snow – 2009’s most-beloved Norwegian Zombie film!

Where The Wild Things AreSpike Jonze‘s much-debated adaptation of the classic Maurice Sendak children’s book. Will be worth watching, one way or another. Glenn Kenny wrote some good stuff on it here and here.

Burning Plain – The first film Guillermo Arriaga has made since his split from writing/directing partner Alejandro González Iñáritu. More jumbled story lines, and I’m assuming it’s based on the Juan Ruflo story. Ralph says, “VERY GOOD.” Any of you folks out there still haven’t seen Amores Perros, absolutely make that your next rental, please.

The Private Lives Of Pippa Lee – From Rebecca Miller.


A Serious Man – After No Country For Old Men, this is the best film the Coen Bros. have made in the last ten years. Strange, darkly funny, brilliantly filmed, and dead-eyed in the way their best stuff has always been. And yet still not quite you’ll expect. Best Picture nominee.

Zombieland – A good little jokey zombie flick, doesn’t take itself seriously at all.

Amelia – As in, Earhart.

Departures – Oscar winner for best foreign film last year. This wasn’t even our fault. It actually took a year to get this film out on DVD. Why? I DON’T KNOW.

Coco Before Chanel – Pretty self-explanatory. Staring Audrey Tautuo.

Hunger – The long-awaited, much requested debut film from renowned British visual artist Steve McQueen. Criterion edition.

The September Issue – Documents the production of the fall 2007 issue of Vogue Magazine, under the helm of mercurial editor Anna Wintour.

Alexander The Last – For all you Indy New Wave kids (ahem), the latest Joe Swanberg “film”.

No Impact Man – Another great documentary from the folks at Oscilloscope. Not as gimmicky as the tagline makes is sound, honestly. Good double feature with Food Inc.


District 9 – Neill Blomkamp’s first, produced by Peter Jackson. Best Picture nominee.

Extract – From the great Mike Judge, a sort of inverted Office Space, made to be from the boss’s perspective. Ben Affleck plays Jason Bateman‘s pretty hilarious (honestly) douche of a friend.

500 Days Of SummerJoseph Gordon-Levitt continues to prove his worth as an actor.

Paranormal Activity – The latest in viral, DIY horror.

Gomorrah – Based on groudbreaking book of reportage on the Naples mafia by Roberto Saviano. Expertly directed by Matteo Garone, this film looks as good as any you’ve seen in a while, trust me. Criterion edition.

Taking Woodstock New Ang Lee.

9 – Some animated, post-apocalyptic deal. Christopher Plummer provides a voice.

The Hurt LockerKathryn Bigelow proves you (well, not you… but she) can make a heartfelt movie about the Iraq war, and still sell tickets. See our earlier piece on her.

Angels and Demons – Ron Howard and Dan Brown and Tom Hanks!!!! (gurggles, dies).

The Brothers Bloom – I got zilch on this one. Leave a comment if you saw it, er whatever.

Moon – Another one we had a ton of requests for. First-time director Duncan Jones is David Bowie’s son. Phenomenal set-design. Starring Sam Rockwell and a disembodied Kevin Spacey.

Bright Star – Pretty lovey-dovey, but it looks beautiful. Jane Campion’s newest, and fans of her work won’t be disappointed.

Whip It – Another first-time director: Drew Barrymore. Rollerderby fans, take note.

The Cove – More dire-sounding nature-doc stuff. Up for a best documentary Oscar.

Steven Soderbergh, Meet Sasha Grey


Steven Soderbergh would seem to have walked a pretty short, straight line from Sex, Lies, And Videotape – released way back when in 1989 — to The Girlfriend Experience. He has, once again, made a film which at first blush would seem to be explicitly about sex but which, viewers will find, shows nothing of the kind on screen. There is, of course, a great deal of talk on the subject, and The Girlfriend Experience being what it is, that talk is something slightly more explicit than in Sex, Lies… For those unfamiliar, The Girlfriend Experience stars Sasha Grey, who made a name for herself initially in hardcore-pornography, while name-dropping Jean-Luc Godard in interviews and displaying a penchant for masochism in her movies. In this film she plays an ultra-high-class call-girl, providing “the complete girlfriend experience” for her über-rich financial-district clients. And in typical Soderbergh style, the film is superbly edited, expertly shot, lushly colored… and colder than a witch tit. But mercifully, the casting of Grey turns about to be less a marketer’s wet-dream than an inspired, essential choice. She gives a surprising warmth to a role that doesn’t present too many obvious opportunities for drama or sentiment. And Soderbergh, who more often than not has struck me as kind of a wuss as a filmmaker, generally seems to have the good sense to stick with his star and the natural energy she carries with her. My biggest gripe would be that Soderbergh spends too much time with the various Wall Street meat-heads who are supposed have had their realities all shaken up by the “Great Recession.” Who the fuck cares? Some of this stuff will seem really dated in just a year’s time.

Kind of a bummer that this guy is what passes for a rebel in Hollywood these days, but I digress… The film is worth seeing, and Ms. Grey might just turn out to be the real deal. Whatever that is.

The Garden

GARDEN_IMG3Just arrived: a new documentary from Oscilloscope, The Garden, about the headline-making fight between a group of South Central Los Angeles community gardeners and some back-room-dealing city hall officials who tried to take the gardeners’ land away. The garden was originally given over to the community as a sort of concession following the Rodney King Riots, and over the next ten years grew into a thriving community-run garden — fourteen acres in all — serving a primarily Latino-American population.  The story would have been interesting enough just viewed through prism of the locavore movement gaining popularity through the country right now; but unexpectedly (for me, at least) this is a particularly gripping true-life tale, with a half-dozen unexpected plot twists and a number of nefarious, quietly corrupt political figures who play the role of heartless, self-serving bamboozlers to a T. Honestly, the straight-up evil nature of some of these guys is like something out of a cautionary, near-future science fiction book, and is a sobering reminder of the havoc that corrupt, conniving local figureheads can still wreak, even in the age of information. It all makes for exciting cinema, as tension boils over in the movie’s final act in a scene that eerily echoes the King riots played out at the beginning of the film.

And on a side note: What is the deal with Oscilloscope? Where did they come from? Why are they so awesome? Near as I can tell, Oscilloscope Laboratories was created by the Beastie Boys, but I have no idea what (if any) their involvement in the film side of things may be. Either way, this little production company has spun out a starling number of quality stuff in a very short period of time, many of them small, intrepid documentaries in the vein of The Garden. Among them: Flow, Scott Walker: 30 Century Man, Unmistaken Child, and No Impact Man (which just recently completed its theatrical run at the Cable Car). They also gave a home to Wendy And Lucy, which I’ve written up previously on this blog. And their cache of upcoming films looks just as promising as everything we’ve seen so far. So who are these guys? Where are they getting the cash to put this stuff out? And where and how are they finding these films?

The Friends Of Eddie Coyle – Finally Available!!

friends_of_eddie_coyleThanks to the Criterion Collection, this item from the “LOST” list surfaces in a very nice, although bare-bones edition. The 1973 Paramount film, directed by Peter Yates (Bullitt) and starring Robert Mitchum, is possibly one of the best films of it’s genre and of the 70’s. It’s also a late tour de force for Mitchum. Friends and the 1975 Farewell My Lovely would mark a return to the noir pictures of his heyday in the 40’s and 50’s, and Mitchum would show that he never lost his chops despite hard, wild living.

Based on a crime novel by Boston prosecutor George V. Higgins, the film is set in the very realistic world of small-time hoods in early 70’s Boston. The tone is set mostly by the tough-guy dialogue deftly written in the book and expertly delivered by Mitchum and Peter Boyle in the film. Eddie “Fingers” Coyle is up to his neck in a gun deal with small-timer Jackie Brown, and the law is not far behind. Eddie’s associate and bartender Dillon (Boyle) is caught between Eddie and the mob, and must play both sides, as Eddie does. It’s every man for himself.

The entire film is shot on location in and around Boston, which at the time was the perfect run-down mean kind of town for the film’s aesthetic. Yates’ use of long-shot exteriors and dark, claustrophobic interiors enhances the mood. Near the climax of the film there is also the bonus of a glimpse into the long-gone Boston Garden, where the famous Bobby Orr-era Bruins play a game attended by our hoodlums. Priceless. It may be the best film of Boston ever.

On DVD, the film retains its grainyness and washed-out look, and there is a very fortunate commentary track by Director Yates, now in his 80’s. The only other extra is a booklet with reprints of some articles, one in particular by Grover Lewis written on the set and behind the scenes with Mitchum that is really good. Released on June 2, 2009.  Get it before the “mooks” at Paramount get it back and shove it on a shelf for another 30 years.


persepolisWas in an animated mood today, so I threw on Persepolis and then Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter, both fairly recent acquisitions around here. Persepolis is a real achievement, beautifully rendered but not overly done or unnecessarily busy the way some animated features can be; the story, based on the autobiographical graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi, somehow manages to tackle war, revolution, clinical depression, familial death and a girl’s coming of age without ever seeming clichéd or heavy-handed. It’s a really lovely, sad little film, and one that should appeal to a wide swath of viewers. Check out the trailer below.

In contrast, Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter, is absolutely wretched. This did not make me want to the feature length film still currently chewing up dollars in the theaters. Alan Moore die-hards may want to take note, but unless you’re in the mood for thirty minutes of hackneyed, expository narration over some cutting-room-floor-level big-studio animation, steer clear.

at last…

quantumsolaceposter21A few new titles on the shelves today…

Quantum Of Solace: The 22nd (official) James Bond flick. A small confession: I haven’t seen either of Daniel Craig‘s turns as 007 (the other being the franchise’s supposed return to form, Casino Royale. I’m remedying the situation as we speak… and honestly, is that Chris Cornell singing the theme? Yikes.)

Cadillac Records: This one was semi-decent! Basically the story of the birth of Chess Records – Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Chuck Berry, Howlin’ Wolf, Etta James etc. Not too maudlin (but yeah, a little…) and some solid performances from Adrien Brody, Jeffrey Wright and Eamonn Walker. Even Beyoncé Knowles was pretty good, pretty much nailing Etta James. (Mos Def as Chuck Berry did not work, however.)

Twilight: The inevitable movie adaptation of the tween-sensation vampire novel(s). Someone other than me should be writing about this one, as there is very little chance I will ever see it. But a lot of people, evidently, are way into it.

Gardens Of The Night: Haven’t seen this one either, but it sounds interesting. The story is that of two street-kids, both of whom were abducted as children, and now have fallen in together and are trying to figure out how to have a real relationship in the face of their horrific past experiences. On my list.