Friday, April 30, 2010

What I’ve been watching:

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
Nicholas Cage stars in this film as a cop, Terry McDonagh, who is both the best and the worst cop on the New Orleans force. He solves the unsolvable cases and does so completely high on the various drugs he has come across on his path. Cage is in manic mode through most of the film and no one does manic as well as Cage. However, I found the film rather disconnected. The hallucination scenes felt oddly placed—you don’t see the world from McDonagh’s eyes through most of the film so why do you when he’s hallucinating? Also, McDonagh’s ability to avoid getting caught and instead getting promoted was way too pat. Nevertheless, the film is intense and exciting.

Bleak House
Charles Dickens is a great writer and his books seem to translate well into film: this one certainly did. This is a Masterpiece Theatre version starring Gillian Anderson who’s never been more beautiful. Dickens’ characters are always so wonderfully colorful and the story is timeless. It is very easy to get drawn into this series and you find yourself hoping it will never end.

Boats out of Watermelon Rinds (Turkish)
This charming film is an autobiographical story of director Ahmet Ulucay growing up in a very small, pastoral village, being in love with an older woman and being enamored with moving pictures. The boys in the film build a film projector out of wood and scavenge for scraps of film from the local cinema to project them in a barn for their neighbors. The cinematography is fantastic with clear pictures and beautiful colors but what I really love about films like this is that you have to slow down to appreciate them: life in the village is very slow so the viewer has to slow down as well.

Broken Embraces
This is Pedro Almodovar’s latest. I always look forward to his films—no one does melodrama as well as he does. It’s like a return to the American dramas of the 50’s and 60’s. In this one Penelope Cruz plays the mistress of a wealthy and extremely jealous man but falls in love with a film director. The story is told in flashbacks, stories within stories and films within films.

Dalziel & Pascoe
This is a really fun British mystery series taken from the novels of Reginald Hill. Dalziel (pronounced D.L.) is an old school, rude and crude detective, while his junior partner Pascoe is fresh out of college. Dalziel may be a fat old bugger but he has a way of winnowing out the truth from the most elusive criminals.

The Men Who Stare at Goats
George Clooney and Ewan McGregor star in this funny military romp. McGregor plays a reporter investigating the New Earth Army which was initiated to fight the enemy using psychic powers. Clooney is one of these psychic warriors. Together they have a rollicking adventure. No goats were harmed in the making of this picture.

Pirate Radio
Kenneth Branagh is a total caricature of a British lord, determined to see the death of the Rock Radio ship. But he doesn’t stand a chance against young music lovers. Being a child of the 60’smyself, I am the target audience for this film and it totally rocked! This was a fun movie with great music! Long live rock ‘n’ roll!

Having read the book I was afraid this film would be so gritty and bleak it would be unbearable. Instead it was uplifting and inspiring. I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen it was so good!

Shall We Kiss?
This fun but lightweight French farce asks the question: is it possible for friends to have sex and still remain just friends?

You the Living
This film is directed by Roy Andersson who is known for his absurdist comedy and for satirizing Swedish culture. The film is made up of vignettes, each depicting some rather silly picture of normal life. There is a quote on the box which I think accurately describes the film: “Monty Python meets Ingmar Bergman. Melancholy, hilarious and utterly unique.” (Uncut)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

New This Week:

Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
The immortal Dr. Parnassus and his daughter Valentina travel the countryside with his imaginarium show, a mirror that audience members enter and are given two different paths to follow. If they choose correctly they will find joy and happiness, but choose wrongly and things will be quite the opposite. The doctor must also discover the right course to follow. After making a deal with Mr. Nick years ago, he must choose the correct path if he is to save his beloved daughter from Satan.

It’s Complicated
A hilarious look at marriage, divorce, and everything in between. With a thriving Santa Barbara bakery, a new romance heating up, and her divorce finally behind her, Jane Adler has her life all figured out, until she finds herself trapped between the perfect new beau and her philandering ex-husband who's determined to win her back. When opposites attract all over again, will love be sweeter the second time around? It's... complicated!

Ninja Assassin
Raizo is one of the deadliest assassins in the world. Taken from the streets as a child, he was transformed into a trained killer by the Ozunu Clan, a secret society whose very existence is considered a myth. But haunted by the merciless execution of his friend by the Clan, Raizo breaks free from them...and vanishes. Now he waits, preparing to exact his revenge.

Sherlock Holmes
After finally catching serial killer and occult 'sorcerer' Lord Blackwood, legendary sleuth Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Dr. Watson can close yet another successful case. After his execution, Blackwood mysteriously returns from the grave and resumes his killing spree; Holmes must take up the hunt once again. Contending with Watson's new fiancée and the dimwitted head of Scotland Yard, the determined detective must unravel the clues that will lead him into a twisted web of murder, deceit, and black magic, not to mention the deadly embrace of temptress Irene Adler.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

New this week:

Jake Sully is a former Marine confined to a wheelchair. But despite his broken body, Jake is still a warrior at heart. He is recruited to travel light years to the human outpost on Pandora, where a corporate consortium is mining a rare mineral that is the key to solving Earth's energy crisis. He is given a mission to infiltrate the Na'vi, who have become a major obstacle to mining the precious ore. But a beautiful Na'vi female, Neytiri, saves Jake's life, and this changes everything.

Cranford: Return to Cranford
The people of Cranford face the development of a new railroad and new characters facing forbidden love in Masterpiece Classics' two-part sequel to "Cranford," the highly successful adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell's novels.

Crazy Heart
Bad Blake is a broken-down, hard-living country music singer who's had way too many marriages, far too many years on the road and one too many drinks way too many times. And yet, Bad can’t help but reach for salvation with the help of Jean, a journalist who discovers the real man behind the musician. As he struggles down the road of redemption, Bad learns the hard way just how tough life can be on one man’s crazy heart.

Heat of the Day
At the height of World War II, a mysterious stranger calling himself Harrison makes a sinister proposition to beautiful widow Stella. Take up with him, Harrison says, and he won't expose her lover as a traitor passing secrets to the enemy. Harrison's stunning accusation forces Stella to reexamine her love and life, with startling consequences.

Housewife, 49
Based on the true story of Nella Last, a Lancashire housewife who refuses to believe the threat of bombing by German planes. Fearing she may be suffering a nervous breakdown, she scribbles all her concerns and feelings of those around her (particularly her feeble husband and enlisted son) into a diary. Eventually, she becomes a war volunteer giving her a sense of purpose and meaning for the first time in her life. Last would later submit her diary to the Mass Observation project, its goal to collect first-person narratives before the Nazi invasion.

Lovely Bones
The Lovely Bones
centers on a young girl who has been murdered and watches over her family – and her killer – from heaven. She must weigh her desire for vengeance against her desire for her family to heal.

Summer Hours (French)
The divergent paths of three forty-something siblings collide when their mother, heiress to her uncle's exceptional 19th century art collection, dies suddenly. Left to come to terms with themselves and their differences, Adrienne, a successful New York designer, Frederic, an economist and university professor in Paris, and Jeremie, a dynamic businessman in China, confront the end of childhood, their shared memories, background and unique vision of the future.

Young Victoria
The story of Queen Victoria's early rise to power spans from her predicament as an object of a royal power-struggle to her romantic courtship and legendary marriage to Prince Albert.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

New This Week:

New Moon
Bella is still very much in love with Edward. The rest of the vampire coven who call themselves the Cullens, especially Alice, decide to throw Bella a private party for her eighteenth birthday. Things go wrong when Bella cuts her finger and thirst overcomes the vampires. As a result of the danger Bella was put through, the Cullen family decide to leave Forks, Washington. Bella becomes so depressed that she exempts herself from all social activities. But, she realizes she can coexist with childhood friend, Jacob. As usual for Bella, things aren't what they seem. Something is happening to Jacob that he can't explain to Bella, and their friendship starts to deteriorate. But when Alice returns to tell her that Edward thinks she is dead, Bella must go on a journey to save Edward from wanting to die himself.

Pirate Radio
A rogue band of DJs captivate Britain in the 1960s. The music they play defines a generation and the DJs stand up to a government that, incomprehensibly, preferred jazz. The Count is a big, brash, American god of the airwaves; Quentin is the boss of Radio Rock. Radio rock is a pirate radio station situated in the middle of the North Atlantic that's populated by an eclectic crew of rock and roll DJs that include: Gavin, the greatest DJ in Britain who has just returned from his drug tour of America who wants to reclaim his rightful position; Dave, an ironic, intelligent and cruelly funny co-broadcaster; and a fearsome British government official out for blood against the drug takers and lawbreakers of a once-great nation.

New to the library:

All about Steve
Crossword puzzle constructor Mary Horowitz is smart and pretty, but a disaster that shakes news cameraman Steve to the core. Set up on a blind date with Steve, Mary thinks the chemistry is undeniable and just knows she's found her soul mate. She decides to do anything and go anywhere to be with him. Mary's escalating infatuation is encouraged by the self-serving actions of news reporter Hartman Hughes who enjoys torturing his insolent cameraman at every opportunity. When the overzealous Mary becomes embroiled in the news story of the year, Steve and Hartman begin to see her differently.

Kansas-born girl, Amelia Earhart discovers the thrill of aviation at age 23. Within 12 years she goes on to win the Distinguished Flying Cross for being the first woman to pilot a plane solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Amelia and her husband/business partner George Putnam have an enduring marriage that could not be broken by her determination to fly, nor by her passionate affair with Gene Vidal. At age 39, she sets out on an attempt to circumnavigate the globe, an adventure that catapults her into aviation myth.

An Education
In the early 1960's, 16-year-old Jenny Mellor lives with her parents in a London suburb. She is smart, pretty, and working toward her goal of being accepted into Oxford. Her life will take a big turn when she meets David, a man twice her age. Now she must decide if she will pursue an education at Oxford, or if she will choose to learn all that a charismatic, older man can teach her.

Etoiles: Dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet (French)
Etoiles celebrates the legacy of the famed Paris Opera Ballet by weaving together rehearsals and tour snapshots of classical ballets as well as contemporary works. Interviews with some of the dancers reveal their perspectives on how and why they endure the emotional and physical hardships of being on stage.

Season 2
While Jack, Kate, and Locke investigate what's inside the hatch, the "tailies" are found. These survivors are from the tail of the plane and include tough girl Ana-Lucia and the spiritual and mysterious Mr. Eko. They come across a ship wrecked Michael, Jin, and Sawyer. Survivors begin being killed off, and ever so slowly secrets are revealed. Learn what happened to Walt when he left Michael with some very hard choices to make and get a better insight into just who the "others" are. Find out that the island has some connection with the Dharma Corporation.

More Than a Game
They may be the best high school basketball team ever. Five future NBA superstars begin a journey that would take them from local fame to national acclaim. The five fused their talents and with the help of a dedicated coach, they rewrote Ohio basketball history. Now, experience their trials, tribulations and triumphs in this inspirational film about five young men who became more than a team.

Paris (French)
While waiting for a heart transplant that could save his life, Pierre reunites with his sister and her lively children. This rediscovery of his family and observation of the teeming streets outside his window give Pierre hope, and a new sense of how he might spend the time still left to him. This is a story about the middle-class and bourgeois, immigrants and students, fashion models and the homeless, and all the lovers and strangers whose paths could cross and change in Paris.

Whip It

Sixteen-year-old rebel Bliss Cavendar, miserable living in a small Texas town with her beauty pageant-obsessed mother, secretly joins a roller derby team under the name "Babe Ruthless," and her life gets better, although infinitely more confusing.

Jillian Michaels: Banish Fat Boost Metabolism
Fitness expert Jillian Michaels presents a circuit workout combining strength training with aerobic exercises to burn fat and calories.

Positive Home Solutions
Video instruction covering the subjects: buying and selling your home; basic home repair; basic home remodeling; floors and ceilings.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New last week:

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
Lt. Terence McDonagh is a rogue detective who is as devoted to his job as he is to scoring drugs while playing fast and loose with the law. He wields his badge as often as he wields his gun in order to get his way. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, he becomes a high-functioning addict who is a deeply intuitive, fearless detective reigning over the beautiful ruins of New Orleans with authority and abandon. Complicating his tumultuous life is the prostitute he loves and together they descend into their own world marked by desire, compulsion, and conscience.

Revanche (German/Russian)

Alex, an ex-convict working in a brothel falls in love with Tamara, a Ukrainian prostitute; as they plan to rob a bank and escape to start a new life together, an unexpected tragedy occurs.