April 22, 2008

DVD Pick of the Week: Cloverfield

Welcome back! Well, to some of you, anyway. To the rest of you, glad you decided to stop by and I hope that this humble column helps you navigate the stacks of new releases each week. My goal is to point you toward titles of interest and warn you away from those films that seek to do nothing but leech away your time and give you nothing in return.

This week brings generally a good selection of films, with only one obvious stinker among the high profile titles. I know there are a bunch here that I am looking forward to adding to my collection, as well as some that I am eager to see for the first time. Read on and see if any strike you like they have me.

Cloverfield. One of my favorite films of the young 2008 season arrives on DVD. This film mixes elements of Cannibal Holocaust (or The Blair Witch Project, if you prefer) and Godzilla, offering an intense first person perspective of a monster attack on New York City. This is not going to be a movie for everyone (as evidenced by the reviews and its fast box office drop off). I loved every second of it, I was drawn right into the drama. There are thrills, scares, and laughs, through it all are a group of friends doing what they can for each other as they try to survive. This is a great experience that will hopefully be replicated on the small screen. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Charlie Wilson's War. This is a good movie, easily the most entertaining of the latest wave of war-themed films. Tom Hanks delivers a great performance, while Philip Seymour Hoffman steals many scenes with his dry wit and barely contained rage. Then there is Amy Adams who is a star on the rise. The story takes us inside the Afghani/Russian war that was secretly financed with American dollars, the good that was done and the unfinished job that was left behind, along with the implications for the present day. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

The Savages. Another Philip Seymour Hoffman film, albeit one I have not yet seen. He co-stars with Laura Linney as siblings, who do not get along, yet must take care of their ailing father by placing him in a nursing home. The trailers made the film look interesting in both its humor and emotional content. I am looking forward to seeing this one. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Friday Night Lights: The Second Season. One of the absolute best shows on television. It is a shame that there are not mnore people watching it. If you don't, why not? You are missing out on a show that has great writing, acting, and is just completely entertaining. Sure, it centers on a high school, but don't hold that against it, this is not 90210 in Texas. This is its strike shortened season with only 15 episodes, still it is well worth it. Go back and get the first season while you're at it. It will be coming back for a third season, although I really doubt it will go beyond that. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

The Orphanage. Simply fantastic. Beautifully acted, shot, and written, this film does not let go until the final shot has left the screen. I went in not knowing what to expect and discovered a film that was firing on all cylinders. The story is complete as is, yet has a lot of depth to allow you to expand upon the base, allowing for multiple interpretations. Very impressive. This is a supremely creepy story about love, loss, and possibly something else. It will definitely leave a lasting impression. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

One Missed Call. Simply dreadful. This was the first wide release film of the year, and one that should most definitely be forgotten. Besides the first of the year, it also was the first remake of the year. It concerns a spirit who travels through cell phones. Get it? Our over reliance on technology will get us in the end. Ugh. No reason to bother here, unless you like to see everything. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Starting Out in the Evening. I wanted to see this on the big screen, but it sadly never came to my area. Frank Langella stars as an author who is underappreciated and has left the limelight to slowly work on a novel that may never be completed. Lauren Ambrose is a grad student writing a thesis and trying to encourage Langella to continue his work. Finally, Lily Taylor plays Langella's daughter who is trying to get her life going. It looks like a very good character driven film. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Flash Point. The latest release from Dragon Dynasty reunites the team behind Kill Zone. Donnie Yen stars in this martial arts film. I have not seen it, nor do I know much about, but I am still excited to see it. Yen is an exciting performer, and anything that promises good fights is something I'd like to experience. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Gigantour 2. This is a pretty good DVD. It chronicles the second edition of Dave Mustaine's metal package tour. This edition features not only Megadeth, but Lamb of God, Opeth, Arch Enemy, Overkill, Into Eternity, Sanctity, and The Smashup. There is also a CD of the set coming out. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Apocalyptica: Live. One of the most intriguing bands in metal, and that goes beyond the fact that their music is based around the cello. They began their career covering Metallica tunes, but quickly transitioned to original compositions, as well as adding a full time drummer. This DVD captures one of their live shows, which will hopefully translate well to home viewing. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)


Anonymous said...

Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts are a classic combination... Charlie Wilson's War made me feel better about U.S. foreign intervention, it seemed to work out, though that time our intervention was in response to another country's invasion

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