Top DVD Releases for the Week of March 10 2009
Here is a list of the DVD Releases for the week of March 10 2009:
Pinocchio (2-Disc 70th Anniversary Platinum Edition)
Cast: Mel Blanc, Don Brodie, Walter Catlett, Frankie Darro, Cliff Edwards
Director: Ben Sharpsteen, Hamilton Luske
Recommendations: A Disney Classic being re-released is always a good reason to buy a new DVD, especially since it’s also available on Blu-ray.
Rachel Getting Married
Synopsis: Rachel Getting Married is a contemporary drama with an aggressive sense of humor about the return of an estranged daughter to the family home for her sister’s wedding. Kym’s (Hathaway) reemergence throws a wrench into the family dynamics, forcing long-simmering tensions to surface in ways both hilarious and heartbreaking.
Cast: Anne Hathaway, Bill Irwin, Debra Winger, Anna Deavere Smith, Rosemarie DeWitt, Mather Zickel, Tunde Adebimpe, Jerome LePage, Dorian Missick, Anisa George, Tunde Adebimpe
Director: Jonathan Demme
Recommendations: Since I missed that one in theaters and it’s been getting so much praise, I figure that I kind of had to rent it. Plus I really like Anne Hathaway.
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Synopsis: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a fictional story told through the eyes of an eight year old boy largely shielded from the reality of World War II. This unforgettable tale follows a forbidden friendship that forms between Bruno, the son of a Nazi commandant, and Shmuel, a Jewish boy held captive in a concentration camp. Though the two are separated physically by a barbed-wire fence, their friendship grows and their lives become inescapably intertwined.
Cast: David Thewlis, Vera Farmiga, Rupert Friend, Asa Butterfield, Zac Mattoon O’Brien, Domonkos Németh, Henry Kingsmill
Director: Mark Herman
Recommendations: This looks like such an amazing story, but I better keep the kleenex handy.
Synopsis: Just how hard is it to be happy? In the effervescent new comedy from writer/director Mike Leigh (Vera Drake, Secrets & Lies), Sally Hawkins stars as Poppy, an irrepressibly free-spirited school teacher who brings an infectious laugh and an unsinkable sense of optimism to every situation she encounters, offering us a touching, truthful and deeply life-affirming exploration of one of the most mysterious and often the most elusive of all human qualities: happiness. Poppy’s ability to maintain her perspective is tested as the story begins and her commuter bike is stolen. However, she enthusiastically signs up for driving lessons with Scott (Eddie Marsan), who turns out to be her nemesis — a fuming, uptight cynic. As the tension of their weekly lessons builds, Poppy encounters even more challenges to her positive state of mind: a fiery flamenco instructor, her bitter pregnant sister, a troubled homeless man and a young bully in her class, not to mention that she has also thrown out her back. How this affects not only Poppy’s world view but also the outlook of those around her begs the question, “glass half full or half empty?”
Cast: Sally Hawkins, Eddie Marsan, Alexis Zegerman, Andrea Riseborough, Samuel Roukin, Sinead Matthews, Kate O’Flynn, Sarah Niles, Joseph Kloska, Sylvestra Le Touzel
Director: Mike Leigh
Recommendations: I loved the trailer for Happy-Go-Lucky and have been waiting a while for the DVD to finally be released so I could watch it.
Let the Right One In
Synopsis: A fragile, anxious boy, 12-year-old Oskar is regularly bullied by his stronger classmates but never strikes back. The lonely boy’s wish for a friend seems to come true when he meets Eli, also 12, who moves in next door to him with her father. But Eli’s arrival coincides with a series of gruesome deaths and attacks. Though Oskar realizes that she’s a vampire, his friendship with her is stronger than his fear…
Cast: Kare Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar, Henrik Dahl, Karin Bergquist, Peter Carlberg, Ika Nord, Mikael Rahm
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Recommendations: All my friends told me that I absolutely needed to see this movie, so I’ll trust them and rent it. Plus vampires are involved, so yeah definitely interesting for me.
Synopsis: Academy Award nominee Gus Van Sant directs Academy Award winner Sean Penn as gay-rights icon Harvey Milk. Mr. Milk (1930-1978) was an activist and politician, and the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in America; in 1977, he was voted to the city supervisors’ board of San Francisco. The following year, both he and the city’s mayor George Moscone were shot to death by another city supervisor, Dan White. Mr. Milk was previously the subject of the Academy Award-winning documentary feature “The Times of Harvey Milk,” but “Milk” is the first non-documentary feature to explore the man’s life and career.
Cast: Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Emile Hirsch, James Franco, Diego Luna, Lucas Grabeel
Director: Gus Van Sant
Recommendations: I know, I cannot believe I still haven’t seen this one either, that’s why I’m excited to finally see the performance that won Sean Penn an Oscar this year.
Synopsis: Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott star in Role Models as Danny and Wheeler, two salesmen who trash a company truck on an energy drink-fueled bender. Upon their arrest, the court gives them a choice: do hard time or spend 150 service hours with a mentorship program. After one day with the kids, however, jail doesn’t look half bad.
Cast: Seann William Scott, Paul Rudd, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jane Lynch, Elizabeth Banks, Bobb’e J. Thompson
Director: David Wain
Recommendations: I actually saw Role Models and I gotta admit it was way better than I thought it was going to be. Really funny and entertaining, definitely a great rental.
Battle in Seattle
Synopsis: Based on one of the most incendiary political uprisings in a generation, “Battle in Seattle” takes an in-depth look at the five days that rocked the world in 1999 as tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in protest of the World Trade Organization. What began as a peaceful protest intended to stop the WTO talks quickly escalated into a full-scale riot and eventual State of Emergency that squared off peaceful and unarmed protestors against the Seattle Police Department and the National Guard.
Cast: Charlize Theron, André Benjamin, Martin Henderson, Woody Harrelson, Ray Liotta, Michelle Rodriguez, Jennifer Carpenter, Channing Tatum, Tzi Ma, Joshua Jackson
Director: Stuart Townsend
Recommendations: I am really interested in checking out Battle in Seattle mostly because of the great cast and because I want to see Stuart Townsend’s directorial debut.
Synecdoche, New York
Synopsis: Theater director Caden Cotard (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is mounting a new play. His life catering to suburban blue-hairs at the local regional theater in Schenectady, New York is looking bleak. His wife Adele (Catherine Keener) has left him to pursue her painting in Berlin, taking their young daughter Olive (Sadie Goldstein) with her. His therapist, Madeleine Gravis (Hope Davis), is better at plugging her best-seller than she is at counseling him. A new relationship with the alluringly candid Hazel (Samantha Morton) has prematurely run aground. And a mysterious condition is systematically shutting down each of his autonomic functions, one by one.
Worried about the transience of his life, he leaves his home behind. He gathers an ensemble cast into a warehouse in New York City, hoping to create a work of brutal honesty. He directs them in a celebration of the mundane, instructing each to live out their constructed lives in a growing mockup of the city outside.
However, as the city inside the warehouse grows, Caden’s own life veers wildly off the tracks. Somewhere in Berlin, his daughter is growing up under the questionable guidance of Adele’s friend, Maria (Jennifer Jason Leigh). His lingering attachments to both Adele and Hazel are causing him to helplessly drive his new marriage to actress Claire (Michelle Williams) into the ground. Sammy (Tom Noonan) and Tammy (Emily Watson), the actors hired to play Caden and Hazel, are making it difficult for the real Caden to revive his relationship with the real Hazel. The textured tangle of real and theatrical relationships blurs the line between the world of the play and that of Caden’s own deteriorating reality.
The years rapidly fold into each other, and Caden buries himself deeper into his masterpiece. As he pushes the limits of his relationships, both personally and professionally, a change in creative direction arrives in Millicent Weems (Dianne Wiest), a celebrated theater actress who may offer Caden the break he needs.
Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Michelle Williams, Samantha Morton, Hope Davis, Emily Watson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Noonan, Sadie Goldstein, Josh Pais, Daniel London, Lynn Cohen, Deirdre O’Connell, Dianne Wiest
Director: Charlie Kaufman
Recommendations: I want to see Synecdoche, New York, but I think I can wait for it to be on TV.
Synopsis: In this tale of sex, violence, race, and rock and roll in 1950s Chicago, “Cadillac Records” follows the exciting but turbulent lives of some of America’s musical legends, including Muddy Waters, Leonard Chess, Little Walter, Howlin’ Wolf, Etta James and Chuck Berry.
Cast: Adrien Brody, Jeffrey Wright, Beyoncé Knowles, Columbus Short, Cedric the Entertainer, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Tammy Blanchard, Gabrielle Union, Mos Def
Director: Darnell Martin
Recommendations: I didn’t want to see this in theaters and I’m almost wondering if I’m going to see it on TV even. I gotta admit having Beyoncé Knowles in the movie is a total turnoff for me.
Synopsis: Jason Statham returns as Frank Miller, the ex-Special Forces operative who specializes in high-risk deliveries.
Cast: Jason Statham, François Berléand, Robert Knepper
Director: Olivier Megaton
Recommendations: Do I even need to say it? I got dragged to see this movie at the theater and oh man do I regret it. I love Jason Statham, but this was a really bad movie. If you can stand the bad acting of the main girl and the plot holes, then maybe you’ll enjoy it, but I doubt it.
I will give it one positive note though, Jason Statham does kick some ass in some pretty cool fight scenes.