Tuesday, June 30, 2009



* Away We Go, the Sam Mendes-helmed comedy with John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph is mostly good, but the literary pretensions of authors Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida sometimes get in the way.

* Chéri, the lacklustre reteaming of Stephen Frears, Christopher Hampton, and Michelle Pfeiffer.

* Easy Virtue, Colin Firth rises high in this Noel Coward adaptation, but other problems get in the way of this simple pleasure.

* Food, Inc., an illuminating look at how food became big business and what's wrong with that development.

* The Hangover, a good, raunchy comedy made all the better by Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis.

* O' Horten, a quietly involving portrait of a changing life from Norwegian director Bent Hamer.

* Year One, Jack Black and Michael Cera starring in the worst movie of the year so far. Avoid at all costs.

Also, keep your eye out for more reviews of summer movies that are already in limited release. I should be posting my thoughts on the Oscar-winning Japanese film Departures, Moon, and Woody Allen's Whatever Works to DVDTalk.com this Thursday.


* Au Bonheur des Dames, Julien Duvivier's 1930 silent adaptation of Emile Zola is visually stunning but a little weak in the end.

* Brief Encounter (1974), a BBC remake with Richard Burton and Sophia Loren that holds its own against the older David Lean version.

* Diary of a Suicide, a lost French film from the early 1970s that was better off not found. With Delphine Seyrig and Sami Frey.

* Eastbound & Down - The Complete First Season, the latest release from HBO's TV division is the perfect vehicle for comedian Danny McBride. Dirty, mean-spirited fun! Includes three episodes directed by David Gordon Green.

* Harlan Ellison: Dreams With Sharp Teeth, an electrified portrait of the influential writer, a singular personality if ever there was one.

* Lonely are the Brave, a fantastic forgotten gem with Kirk Douglas as the last cowboy to stand against the modern world. With Gena Rowlands, Walter Matheau, and a script by Dalton Trumbo.

* Lookin' to Get Out: Extended Version, a little-known later work from Hal Ashby gets a new airing.

* Two more 1980s films from Alain Resnais, even more disappointing than the last two: Life is a Bed of Roses and I Want to Go Home, Resnais' flaccid collaboration with Jules Feiffer.

* Scott Walker: 30 Century Man, an incredible music documentary profiling an enigmatic performer.

* The Strange One, a 1950s drama penned by Calder Willingham and showing hazing at a military college. Features a stand-out performance by a young Ben Gazzara in his first film.

* The Trail of the Lonesome Pine, notable for being Paramount's first color picture, but a bit dull. With Henry Fonda, Sylvia Sidney, and Fred MacMurray; directed by Henry Hathaway.

* Une Femme Mariée, Godard's 1964 will-she-or-won't-she portrait of a married woman torn between husband and lover. Features a fantastic performance by Macha Méril.

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