First up, we have Rachel Getting Married, Jonathan Demme’s character drama from last fall, which scored an Oscar nomination for its star, Anne Hathaway. This one somehow passed me by when it was in theaters, but I keep hearing great things and I definitely plan on checking it out this week. Hathaway plays Kym (you mean not Rachel??) who has been in and out of rehab for years and comes home to attend her sister’s—Rachel’s—wedding. I’ve got a feeling it’s not going to be one of those sunshine and smiles weddings.
Also hitting stores is Milk, the little Gus Van Sant picture you may have heard about when its star Sean Penn picked up an Oscar a few weeks ago for Best Actor and the script by Dustin Lance Black won for Best Original Screenplay. It really was a pretty good film about the first gay elected official, Harvey Milk, who won a San Fransisco supervisor seat. It has a real energy to it and makes all of the by-the-numbers biopic shenanigans feel very fresh and involving. One of the few films of last year that was fairly deserving of all its Oscar-season acclaim. (Except that it should have been Mickey!)
And not enough people saw Let the Right One In, but a big factor of that was probably due to the fact that it just wasn’t playing in a whole lot of cities. Well, now it’ll be available in DVD stores everywhere and you can help right that wrong. It’s a gorgeously shot and fascinating movie that came in at number 8 on my list of the best movies of last year. I can guarantee that you’ve never seen a vampire film quite like this one. It’s the best in years. I hesitate to say too much about this one right now, so check back this Friday for this week’s ”Slide THIS in Your Machine,” which will be all about the power and the majesty that is Let the Right One In.
Also keep an eye out for Role Models, the surprise hit comedy from last fall starring Paul Rudd, Seann William Scott, and McLovin. The movie is about two aimless douchebags who work for an energy drink company, have a run-in with Johnny Law, and are forced into community service, participating in a big brother program. It’s a standard mainstream comedy with a standard mainstream premise–the most mainstream thing that director David Wain has ever done. But here’s the catch–it’s really, really funny! This is one of the best examples out there of basic formula done oh so right. And for complete nerds such as myself there’s a lot of really great KISS humor. What’s not to love??
And for those interested, there’s also Transporter 3, or as I like to think of it–Diet Crank. There’s Jason Statham, there’s karate, there’s explosions, there’s everything. Every desire you could possibly have that leads you to want to see this movie will be sated. I can pretty much guarantee that. Jason Statham is a bit of a quandry to me. He appears to be doing the same kind of stuff that Steven Segal, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Dolph Lundgren are doing. Just not direct-to-video. Your day will come one day, Mr. Statham. You just wait.
Also look for Cadillac Records, a true story about the music biz starring Beyonce Knowles, Jeffrey Wright, and Adrien Brody, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, a Holocaust film from director Mark Herman, Mike Leigh’s Happy Go-Lucky, which should have–and was going to–score an Oscar nomination for its star Sally Hawkins… and then didn’t, and Battle in Seattle, the writing/directing debut of actor Stuart Townsend, starring Charlize Theron. We’ve got a rerelease of Walt Disney’s Pinocchio. See the animated classic as it was before Roberto Benigni changed the way we all see America’s favorite wooden puppet to that of a gangly, balding Italian guy. And there’s finally a rerelease of Howard the Duck. Now it’s been entirely too long since I’ve seen this film, so I don’t have the right clever or smug comment to make for this. I’ve failed.
Blu-Ray releases this week include Rachel Getting Married, Milk, Let the Right One In, Role Models, Transporter 3, Battle in Seattle, Cadillac Records, Brokeback Mountain, and Se7en.
And as hard of a choice as it was, I’ve made my pick for this week in Charlie Kaufman’s terrific directorial debut Synecdoche, New York. Structurally, it’s the closest thing we’ve had to a David Lynch film since…well, David Lycnh’s last film, Inland Empire, but it’s nevertheless a whole other beast. Kaufman’s signature neurotic comedy finds a nice home in this story about depressed playwright (played by the always-excellent Philip Seymour Hoffman) who spends the rest of life writing and perfecting and performing (but never for an audience) his magnum opus. It’s a fascinating, surreal, and very funny film.
I’m all of a sudden finding myself at a bit of a loss to say anything that we haven’t already said about this one. See, we here at MovieChopShop have written about this film more than a few times. You can read about it in my top 10, in Quaid’s top 10, and in a full article about the film that Quaid wrote last month, declaring it the Most Overlooked Film of 2008. So, yeah, we’re all pretty enamored with the thing. And why not? It’s a hell of an amazing film. It’ll be available on DVD and Blu-Ray this Tuesday, along with everything else mentioned here. Watch it for yourself and have your mind blown.
Buy Synecdoche New York on DVD HERE!