Archive for category DVD
“The mere fact that we met in the first place is something to be happy about. at least I am and I will be for as long as I have the pleasure of your company. Whether it’s 10 minutes, two years or 30 years.”
–Love is All You Need
On Thursday, a friend and I plan to see Gravity on a long-planned movie date. In the past week, I’ve seen several wonderful films that I must recommend.
indie in theaters:
–writer/ director Nicole Holofcener [Lovely and Amazing, Friends with Money] creates wonderfully complicated characters. A masseuse [Julia Louis-Dreyfus] begins dating a guy [James Gandolfini] who turns out to be the ex-husband of a new friend. Julia Louis-Dreyfus exudes warmth and charm, James Gandolfini plays insecure and the film is sweet and smart.
on Netflix instant:
– intense, amazing film about a girl kidnapped and forced to be a rebel soldier in sub-Saharan Africa. when she develops intuition to where the enemy is she’s deemed a witch and works alongside the leader. that is until one day she meets an unusual boy who might provide her a way out from this terrible existence. brutal and beautiful. this 12-year-old girl’s survival story.
documentary on DVD:
WHEN THE LEVEES BROKE
–Spike Lee’s four-part compelling, heartbreaking, eye-opening documentary about Hurricane Katrina. He digs deeps for answers and interviews a wide patch of people. It’s remarkable and must-see viewing.
foreign on DVD:
LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED
– A surprising and delightful film by Susanne Bier. A young couple intends to marry during a weekend in Naples, Italy they begin to question their relationship and their respective families start to unravel with their own problems. The bride’s mother, Ida, a hairdresser [Trine Dyrholm] who lost all her hair to cancer found her husband cheating on her with a younger woman. She traveled solo to Naples, Italy for the wedding. The groom’s father, Philip, [Pierce Brosnan] misses his wife who died in an accident many years ago and Italy brings back memories. Although Ida and Philip don’t get along at first they soon find themselves quite attracted to each other while their children seem less likely to get married as the weekend progresses.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
–two seniors (Emma Watson and Ezra Miller) welcome an introverted freshman (Logan Lerman) into their group in this touching, brilliant film
October Sky (1999)
–true story of a coal miner’s son Homer Hickman (Jake Gyllenhaal )–a coal miner’s son inspired by the first Sputnik launch and his high school science teacher (Laura Dern) to take up rocketry. His strict father (Chris Cooper) disapproves. He later works for NASA.
Freedom Writers (2007)
–in her first teaching job, an English teacher (Hilary Swank) inspires her at-risk students to express themselves by keeping journals
–in Harlem in the late 80s, an overweight, abused, illiterate teen (Gabourey Sidibe), pregnant with her second child, is invited to enroll in an alternative school in hopes that her life can head in a new direction.
Dangerous Minds (1995)
–an ex-Marine (Michelle Pfeiffer) takes a teaching job and struggles to connect with her students at an inner-city school
–after telling a white lie to her best friend about having sex with a college freshman, high school student Olive Penderghast (sparkling Emma Stone) decides its best to use her school’s rumor mill to her advantage in this smart comedy.
Dead Poet’s Society (1989)
–prep school. Poetry. Robert Sean Leonard. Ethan Hawke. Robin Williams. Seize the day.
The Breakfast Club (1985)
–”To the outside world they were simply a Brain, an Athlete, a Basket Case, a Princess, and a Criminal, but to each other, they would always be the Breakfast Club.”
The School of Rock (2003)
–substitute teacher (Jack Black) attempts to turn his prep school class into a rock band
what I highly recommend this month.
Lillian & Dash by Sam Topperoff
Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi
Big Brother by Lionel Shriver
–Cate Blanchett SO SO fantastic in everything she does. And Sally Hawkins as her sister? Fantastic!
–saw Ashton Kutcher interviewed on Jimmy Kimmel. I knew that early on he, Wilmer Valderamma and Danny Masterson from That 70s Show founded a restaurant group and opened several restaurants (how he met Demi Moore). Did not know that he had an investment fund group and has invested in FourSquare, Square, Spotify and several other tech companies that I use and like. I’m a biopic fan and I thought Ashton did quite a good job playing Steve Jobs. There’s a lot to cover. I would’ve liked to see more of the last 20 years when he came back to the company but this film focused on the founding of Apple in the 70s which I knew nothing about. It completely engulfed me. And if I leave a film wanting to know more about the subject, it’s a great biopic.
–based on the true story about aboriginal women in Australia during the Vietnam War this is an uplifting and moving film. Chris O’Dowd stars as their manager.
What Maisie Knew
–amazing, bittersweet. need to read the Henry James novel now.
Damien Dempsey– Almighty Love– poignant folk
Haim, Days are Gone [Columbia/Sony]– out September 30
and MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE CHELSEA WOLFE has a new album out September 3, Pain is Beauty [Sargent House]
–dark, twisted. I’m a fan of both Diane Kruger and Demian Bichir who play detectives from Texas and Chihuahua working on murder cases.
–I like anything Julia Louis-Dreyfuss is in.
The Mindy Project
–I’d read Mindy Kaling’s memoir and found her insufferable and self-centered. So I didn’t give her sitcom a proper chance. Tried it again recently and I’m hooked. It’s smart, feminist and clever.
Venus and Serena
Somehow I never knew Venus and Serena Williams grew up in Compton, California. So extra accolades to them for succeeding as they have. The documentary shows early interview and stock footage as well as current interview footage. As with 99% of successful professional athletes the sisters missed out on a lot growing up. But I think they’ve made up for lost time and don’t seem to have missed out on youthful silliness plus they had each other. Their days revolved around tennis and school. It’s also wonderful to see the tight bonds between Venus and Serena as well as with their mom, dad (now divorced) and their sisters and family members. These are remarkable, spirited and giving women who adore tennis and don’t intend to retire any time soon. Venus and Serena are trailblazers for women in sports and African-American women in sports.
70% of women need direct clitoral stimulation to orgasm. A sex shop owner said that many women don’t even know how to find their clitoris. Blame it on a lack of sex education. Big pharmaceutical companies and medical industries developed Viagra for men and now want to capitalize on a fabricated women’s “disease” called female sexual dysfunction (FSD). Women have long been programmed to believe that not achieving an orgasm through intercourse indicates something flawed.
Director Liz Canner exposes this greedy, disruptive and manipulative process in the intelligent and disturbing Orgasm, Inc. The company Vivus, planning to develop an orgasm cream for women, hired Canner to create erotic videos to aid in the clinical trial phase. Canner spent nine years researching the pharmaceutical and medical industries and their relationships to female pleasure. These big pharma companies wanted to be the first to develop products to treat FSD. They would make tons of money but the side-effects and risks outweigh the benefits. Still, many “sex experts” such as Laura Berman, PhD work with pharma companies to publicize their drugs. You know all the drug commercials we’re bombarded with on television and in magazines? Ronald Reagan signed the direct-to-consumer advertising law. Only the United States and New Zealand allow direct-to-consumer advertising by pharmaceutical companies. It’s rather sad if you really contemplate it. People see the commercials and a seed gets planted that something might be wrong with them that can be cured with a pill. It’s just not that simple in our fast-paced, high stress environment. She receives a whopping $75, 000/ day.
Canner approaches the topic in a refreshing manner. She speaks to clinical researchers, sex educators, scholars, activists and a variety of women. Orgasm, Inc. is a compelling and thoroughly researched documentary. It’s a must-see.
Searching for Debra Winger
Rosanna Arquette’s documentary on women in film. Amazing and very honest commentary from stars from Gwyneth Paltrow to Whoopi to Vanessa Redgrave to Selma Hayek to Charlotte Rampling to of course Debra Winger. It’s great that these women feel comfortable with age but sad to see the frustration and that there still is the issue of great roles for women over 30. Instead of the wife, the girlfriend and that women have to make a choice of career or family, many making only one film per year. There’s a discussion by a group of 30somethings including Martha Plimpton and Samantha Mathis that televison roles are actually better these days which is a huge flip from the past, film actors never went to tv and also focusing on the stage. And then sadly they talked about many directors and producers wanting to find the “fuckibility factor.” Patricia Arquette spoke of an inappropriate producer and how she had to do a sex scene for “Human Nature” and asked that he not be there and was told he wasn’t, found out he was and pulled the director aside and told him he had a lot to learn and for a scene like that she needed to feel safe and he blew it.
notable items I read, watched, listened to this month
Ginger & Rosa– Elle Fanning is amazing as Ginger, a British teenager during the Cuban Missile Crisis. She’s becoming politically active while developing her independence. It’s a moving film about friendship, family and being a young woman during turbulent times.
The Place Beyond the Pines– enthralling and devastating film about fathers and sons. choices. Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes outstanding.
What I watched and highly recommend
Central Park Five
–upsetting, intense examination of the faults in our judicial system as five teens wrongly convicted for rape in 1989
In heavy rotation on iTunes
Super Water Sympathy—upbeat pop
How to Destroy Angels—techno with female vocals, Trent Reznor’s new band
What’s on my DVR
Project Runway: Michelle wins!
“I should stop trying to slit my wrists. give up on a literary career, hope, ambition, independence, self-respect. I should just get married and have children.”
“Nothing wrong with living with your parents. It’s how most of the world lives. It’s just us Westerners who are fucked up about it.”
What’s on my radar this month
books I’ve read or am currently reading:
Margaret Fuller: A New American Life by Megan Marshall
Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz
The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud
Oz The Great and Powerful
It’s imaginative. Excellent acting by Rachel Weisz, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams, James Franco and Zach Braff. Three strong, talented feminist women waiting for a man to save them is a weak message to send our youth. But in the end it’s as much about powerful women as it is about the wizard.
plan to see:
The Place Beyond the Pines
I highly recommend:
–smart, intense thriller based on actual events. completely unsettling.
The Sound of My Voice
–Brit Marling stars in this creepy indie about a Cult
In heavy rotation on iTunes:
Hundred Thousand Pieces
[I'll have an interview up soon]
Super Water Sympathy
new Suede– Bloodsports– listen at NPR
on my DVR:
Body of Proof
Black Butterflies 
Director: Paula van der Oest
Starring: Carice van Houten, Liam Cunningham, Rutger Hauer
–about the volatile life of South African poet Ingrid Jonker
Starring: Gwyneth Paltrow, Daniel Craig
Director: Christine Jeffs
–focuses on relationship between poets Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes
Starring: Judi Densch, Jim Broadbent, Kate Winslet
Director: Richard Eyre
–lifelong romance between novelist Iris Murdoch and her husband John Bayley from their days as students through her battle with Alzheimer’s disease
Becoming Jane 
Starring: Anne Hathaway
Director: Julian Jarrold
–pre-fame Jane Austen and her romance with a young Irishman
Miss Potter 
Starring: Renee Zellweger, Ewan McGregor, Emily Watson
Director: Chris Noonan
–Beatrix Potter, the author of the beloved and best-selling children’s book, “The Tale of Peter Rabbit”
The Children of the Century 
Starring: Juliette Binoche, Benoit Magimel
Director: Diane Kurys
–love affair between novelist George Sand and author Alfred de Musset
Mrs. Parker and the Viscous Circle 
Starring: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Cambell Scott, Peter Gallagher
Director: Alan Rudolph
–Dorothy Parker and her heyday with the Algonquin Round Table circle of friends
Starring: Judy Davis, Hugh Grant, Mandy Patinkin
Director: James Lapine
–writer George Sand pursues pianist/composer Frederic Chopin in 1830s France
An Angel at My Table 
Starring: Kerry Fox, Alexia Keogh, Karen Fergusson
Director: Jane Campion
–Janet Frame grows up with lots of brothers and sisters in a poor family in 1920s and 1930s New Zealand. She always feels different from others. After getting education as a teacher, she’s sent to a mental institution for eight years. She gains success when she begins writing novels.