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Monthly Archives: June 2012
Warner Bros./Sony Pictures
New on DVD and Blu-ray,: ‘Sherlock Homes 2,’ ‘Ghost Rider,’ the funny-smart sci-fi of ‘Extraterrestrial’ and new Blus of the Raimi ‘Spider-Man’ films…
This week’s new DVDs, Blu-rays and Video On Demand offerings include a return engagement for Robert Downey Jr.’s ‘Sherlock Holmes,’ some rage-in-the-Cage action with ‘Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance,’ the off-center sci-fi comedy ‘Extraterrestrial’ and the Raimi ‘Spider-Man’ films on Blu-ray.
It is with no small amount of excitment that I’m letting you know about a new venture, The Lunch. Based on the argument that Movie Podcasts need a touch of the short sharp shock and a bit of civilizing common ground, The Lunch is simple in execution: Myself and a guest go for lunch for about an hour, my treat. We then talk for a half-hour on-the-record; 25 minutes on film, and 5 minutes on where we had lunch, and how we enjoyed lunch. I’m working with the good folks at GeekNation.com on this, and you can talk to them about your subscription needs — but if you’re here, hey, you might enjoy it. In the first edition of The Lunch, recorded at the 65th Cannes Film Festival, I speak with Drew McWeeny of hitfix.com about the films of the fest like “Lawless,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and “Amour”; we also talk about Kebab, as served in Cannes, and digress about sauces and Shwarma-hype.
You can sample below, but click right here to the link where you can listen and enjoy; if you like it, tell your friends. Because starting today, every week I’ll be talking to a film maker to a film critic about the art, the science, the joy of movies — and, also, about what we had for The Lunch.
With its utterly conventional plot, sunny New York cinematography and loose, light-footed feel, “Lola Versus” might as well be a pilot for some new sit-com or serial drama — and, at the same time, it’s a sit-com or serial drama I’d watch. Our heroine, dumped but three weeks before her big wedding, makes a series of choices as a result of that change before kinda sorta getting life back on track again. The film, and the audience, however, both benefit from the presence of Greta Gerwig as Lola. Gerwig makes her likable, human, watchable — and to such a degree that even when the film dips and slips into cliché territory you’re glad to have Gerwig as your guide on the all-too familiar journey.
Search: More on Greta Gerwig
Directed by Daryl Wein and co-written by Wein and his partner Zoe Lister-Jones, “Lola Versus” starts with a jostling bump with, even before the credits, Lola’s long-standing boyfriend Luke (Joel Kinnaman) proposing marriage, planning their wedding and then calling the whole thing off. Shattered, Lola stumbles into a series of mishaps — bad choices, bad dates, bad sex — with her friends and family gathered around her. The film’s funny and frank about relationships and sex, to its credit, and it manages to be clear-eyed without being cringe-inducing on both topics.
[Each week, inspired by what's in theaters or in the news or even just by random firings of neurons, 'Retro Rental,' by film critic James Rocchi, looks at an older film on disc or download that links up to the here-and-now ...]
Charlie Sheen is in the news with his new FX show ‘Anger Management‘ playing a screw-up therapist; Martin Sheen is in theaters with ‘The Amazing Spider-Man,’ playing Uncle Ben. And so, in a world of converging Sheens that, not coincidentally, led up to the 4th of July, I was of course driven to re-watch ‘the Dead Zone,’ perhaps for the first time in years, and marvel not only at how good Martin Sheen is in it, but also at how chill and cold and sharp it is, a 1983 Stephen King adaptation made by David Cronenberg that, a lot of people would argue is the the best King adaptation on the big screen … (Look, ‘Shining’ fans, I can appreciate your point-of-view that film is great Kubrick, but ‘Dead Zone’ is better King, if that makes sense.)
To briefly recap ‘The Dead Zone’ — a novel written by King in his earliest and best years, published in 1979 — it’s about a schoolteacher, Johnny Smith, who has a pretty good life .. until a car accident puts him in a coma for five years. When he awakes, he and the world are different — his girl got married, his parents grew older. And, brushing the hand of a nurse helping him, Johnny ‘sees’ her little girl, across town, threatened by a fire: Call an ambulance, he says. There’s still time. And there is.