April 29, 2008

DVD Pick of the Week: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

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 a mediocre selection of films, there is one Oscar nominee, two Oscar winners, a couple of foreign flicks (including notorious Italian horror), near classic animation, and a decent romantic comedy, with only one obvious stinker in the bunch. I know there are a few here that I am looking forward to checking out, as well as some that I am eager to see for the first time. Read on and see if any strike your fancy.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. I missed this on the big screen, now I can catch up with what I missed. I read nothing but good things regarding this Oscar nominated film (Best Director). Frankly, I was shocked that it did not receive a Best Picture nod, and I know why it wasn't nominated in the Foreign Language category (France submitted Persepolis, which turned out to be a mistake as it was nominated in the Animation category). Anyway, this is the story of Jean-Dominique Bauby, editor of the French edition of Elle, who suffered a massive stroke. He was only able to move his left eyelid, which he used, in conjunction with a speech therapist wrote a book. Actually, it sounds rather dull, but I am looking forward to experiencing this. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

27 Dresses. Nothing original to be found in this romantic comedy, but the likability of the leads and the earnestness with which they take on the roles is infectious making this romantic comedy easy to watch and enjoy. It is the story of a woman who is always a bridesmaid and never a bride, always planning and never being the object of the plans. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

The Golden Compass. This lackluster fantasy film is an Oscar winner for special effects (should have been Transformers). It is the first story of the His Dark Materials cycle by Phillip Pullman. It was met with protestations from religious groups for its anti-religion stance. The protests turned out to be for naught as they had already toned down that content, and even more importantly, the film was just not all that good. It was all set-up, with no payoff, no heart, and no reason to care. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

The Red Balloon. I have never seen this Oscar winning short film, although I am definitely intrigued. It is a near silent film about a boy and a red balloon that he finds and becomes attached to. It is being released as part of th Criterion Collection, so you can be assured that it will have an excellent transfer and worthwhile supplements. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Classic Cabellero's Collection. This was very nearly the top pick of the week. How can you go wrong with classic Disney animation? This disk contains a pair of features: The Three Caballeros and Saludos Amigos. They may not be essential Disney, but there is no denying that they are worth taking a trip with. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

WWE: Twist of Fate - The Matt and Jeff Hardy Story. I have mentioned in the past that my interest in wrestling has waned in recent years, but this could be a set worth checking out. I have always enjoyed the work these brothers have done, and feel that Matt has been underappreciated over the years. This two disk set has a disk dedicated to each, Jeff and Matt, including both singles matches and tag team matches. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

How She Move. A lower budget dance flick in the vein of Step Up. This is not exactly my cup of tea, but I did see this on the big screen and must admit that it is actually pretty good. I like that the story was not all about dancing, but the use of dancing as a means to an end. The dance sequences are a bit cramped, but this is still worth checking out for fans of the genre. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

The New York Ripper. Blue Underground is re-releasing this Anchor Bay disk of the Lucio Fulci (Zombi 2)slasher for those who missed it last time around. This is one Italian shocker (shot on location in New York City) that I have not seen (one of many). I look forward to getting to check it out, being one of those who missed it last time. Fulci's films may not be terribly well paced, but they always have some nicely staged gore. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Lone Wolf & Cub (TV): Volume 1. I still need to see all of the films, but here comes the first collection of television episodes. Once an executioner for Yagyu clan, the Lone Wolf has been disgraced and makes a living as an assassin roaming the countryside with his young son. (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Killing Car. Jean Rollin oddity about a Japanese woman who steals an American car and proceeds to kill anyone that gets in ehr way. I have not yet seen this, but based on that one line description, how can you go wrong? (BUY, RENT, SKIP)

Nightmare City. One of Lucio Fulci's contemporaries, this horror film was directed by Umberto Lenzi (Cannibal Ferox) and looks to be right up my alley. Radioactive goo turns the city's inhabitants into flesh eating zombies that can be killed with a shot to the head. Yum! (BUY, RENT, SKIP)


Anonymous said...

I loved "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly", but the movie I'd rather see is "My Stroke of Insight", which is the amazing bestselling book by Dr Jill Bolte Taylor. It is an incredible story and there's a happy ending. She was a 37 year old Harvard brain scientist who had a stroke in the left half of her brain. The story is about how she fully recovered, what she learned and experienced, and it teaches a lot about how to live a better life. Her TEDTalk at TED dot com is fantastic too. It's been spread online millions of times and you'll see why!

Post a Comment