March 31, 2009

DVD Pick of the Week: Cat in the Brain

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.

Full disclosure: I have not seen many of these titles and what follows are not necessarily reviews. It is my opinion based upon what I know of the titles I pluck from the new release lists that I peruse. The opinions I give based on the new releases are my own, and my recommendations upon them are based on my personal interest. In any case, I hope you enjoy and perhaps find something you like or a title to point me towards.

Cat in the Brain. I have not had the pleasure of experiencing this film, but after reading of the gore contained within its frames, I feel the need to see it. This 1990 film was directed by and stars Italian horror maestro Lucio Fulci. I understand the story and acting are not all that good, but it contains an extreme amount of gore. Sounds good. Fulci's films tend to be on the slow side, but they are always punctuated with a incredible blood.

Slumdog Millionaire (also Blu-ray). This is a wonderful movie that injects a little bit of magic back into the cinema. This is not about reality (although there is a lot of it here), it is about fate and destiny and the way everything can align in just the right way. It is a visual and emotional journey that is built off a script by Simon Beaufoy, based on the novel by Vikas Swarup (called Q & A). It is an experience not to be missed. Not to mention, it ends with a Bollywood style dance sequence!

Marley & Me (also Blu-ray). I am not sure exactly what I was expecting. I was expecting some comedy with a good dose of sentimentality at the end. I got that and more. The characters were good, the drama was good, the comedy made me laugh, and the sad, dripping sentimentality got just a little bit misty. Yes, I do feel a little manipulated, but it still works. This is a movie that plays out like a cathartic experience for anyone who has lost a beloved pet. For those, Marley & Me becomes something more, an experience that one does not necessarily expect from a film that casts as wide a net as this.

Seven Pounds (also Blu-ray). I never got around to seeing this on the big screen. I have heard both good and bad about it, I am still not sure how interested I am in seeing it. The ads left me completely stumped about what the story was. I will say one thing, finally a movie whose ads keep the movie a mystery.

Matrix: 10th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray. Has it been ten years already? Wow. It does not feel that long. It seems like only yesterday that audiences were being wowed by the surprise smash. This film was the first DVD I ever bought, I cannot tell you how many times I have watched that disk.

Bedtime Stories (also Blu-ray). This is a family Disney film, and being such it is pretty easy to tell where it is going to end up. The best thing to do with this type of film is to just enjoy it for what it is, safe family entertainment. When viewing from this perspective, I found it rather easy to enjoy. It is not great by any stretch, but it is not bad in any offensive manner. It is the kind of movie that is competently made and has such a sweet disposition that kicking it and dragging it down seems to be a useless exercise in cinematic elitism. Gather the family, sit back, smile.

Tell No One (also Blu-ray). I have not seen this, but it looks like something I would like. It is the story of a man whose wife was brutally murdered years earlier, with his as the prime suspect. Now, two more bodies are found, the case is reopened and the man begins receiving emails from his long thought dead wife. Creepy.

Timecrimes. The title has me hooked already. This film comes from Spain and centers on a man who accidentally enters a time machine and travels back about an hour. He begins to see things in a different manner which leads to all sorts of troubles. I have heard nothing but good things.

Ichi the Killer (Blu-ray). Do you want to see something weird? This will fit the bill. Director Takashi Miike directed this tale of twisted assassins and the Yakuza. Words escape me, but I do know I need to revisit it.

The Sinful Dwarf. The Daily Grindhouse: "The mother of all 'Dwarfspolitation' films! Over The Top With Nudity, Sex And Disturbing Images. It Just Doesn't Get Any Sleazier, Folks!" How can you argue with that?

The Cremator. This 1972 Czech film is about a man who runs a crematorium. He believes so much in what he does that he believes he is releasing the people's souls. He then takes his belief in his work too far. Billed as black comedy and horror, I need to see it.

Tokyo Zombie. A couple of slackers take the body of their deceased friend to a magic location only to unleash zombies. Zombies are always fun. Well, most of the time.


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