Apr 21, 2009 DVDs Web Exclusive

I’ve always been a firm believer that if he doesn’t have an amazing feature script, Michel Gondry should stick to making his brilliant short films and music videos. In my estimation, Gondry has made one great movie (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and several mixed to shitty ones (Human Nature, Science of Sleep, Be Kind Rewind). The brilliant Director’s Label series (which is reportedly kaput) put out a double-sided disc of Gondry excellence in 2003, but many of his videos were left out. Enter 2009 and witness the self-released second volume. More

Apr 21, 2009 DVDs Web Exclusive

Criterion once again shines with this 3-disc release of French filmmaker Jean Painlevé’s scientific films, which largely feature underwater creatures such as the sea horse and the sea urchin. Not only is the set comprehensive, it’s also surprising, in that it also doubles as an essential release for Yo La Tengo fans. More

Apr 21, 2009 DVDs Web Exclusive

Director Peter Bogdanovich is someone who showed a lot of promise in the ’70s only to have his talent/relevancy disappear in the ’80s (with the notable exception of Mask). He must have a lot of time on his hands now that he’s no longer guest-starring on The Sopranos, as he’s released director’s cuts of two of his films. One is a stone cold classic (The Last Picture Show) and the other (Nickelodeon) is maybe best left forgotten. More

Apr 21, 2009 DVDs Web Exclusive

It may be a little too soon to be making a biopic on the life and death of The Notorious B.I.G.—aka Biggie Smalls, aka Christopher Wallace—but Notorious provides an oddly sympathetic take on an individual who, as displayed, seems to have been a bit of a selfish (and not-too-bright) prick. Biggie was talented, though, with a gift for words and rhymes. Soul Food director George Tillman, Jr. has a passion for the subject and fills the story with capable actors who disappear into their roles. More

Apr 15, 2009 DVDs Web Exclusive

Some properties shouldn’t be adapted period, and some properties shouldn’t be adapted by Frank Miller. I’ve always thought of comic book writer Miller (Sin City, The Dark Knight Returns) as a mostly one-trick pony who relishes extreme violence, the objectification of women, and more violence; I would place his screenplay for Robocop 2 very high (or low) in the pantheon of worst sequels ever, killing one of the best postmodern takes on Frankenstein to date. But I digress. The Spirit is complete garbage. More

I.O.U.S.A. DVD

Studio:

Apr 10, 2009 DVDs Web Exclusive

Patrick Creadon’s I.O.U.S.A. couldn’t have come at a better time. As President Obama and his administration have a great deal of work to do, perhaps the biggest problem they are facing is the United States economy—including our staggering national debt. More

Doubt Blu-ray/DVD

Studio: Miramax

Apr 10, 2009 DVDs Web Exclusive

Playwright, screenwriter, and director John Patrick Shanley hasn’t directed a film since 1990s underrated Joe Versus the Volcano. Eighteen years later, his film followup is an adaptation of Doubt: A Parable, his 2005 play that won both a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award. More

Apr 10, 2009 DVDs Web Exclusive

Joel and Ethan Coen had been in a tremendous slump before the release of this 2007 Best Picture Oscar winner. After the limp remake of The Ladykillers and the insufferable Intolerable Cruelty, the Coens finally found the right source material in Cormac McCarthy’s modern genre classic and made arguably their best film since Fargo. More

Slumdog Millionaire

Studio: Fox

Mar 31, 2009 DVDs Web Exclusive

Danny Boyle’s followup to his Freddy Krueger-in-space epic Sunshine ended up winning Hollywood’s most prestigious award, an Oscar for Best Picture. More