THE HURT LOCKER - This universally acclaimed war drama from action film director Kathryn Bigelow (STRANGE DAYS, POINT BREAK) will be "studied twenty years from now when people want to understand something of what happened to American soldiers in Iraq," according to the New Yorker. "This one enters the pantheon of great American war films - and puts Kathryn Bigelow into the top tier of American directors." (S.F. Chronicle)
MOON - The fact that this was about a lone (or is he?) man in space, and it was written and directed by David Bowie's son, was enough to make me want to see this, and I was actually not disappointed by it. I thought I had it all figured out when Kevin Spacey's computer voice was a little too HAL-9000, and then again when some scenes from Tartovsky's SOLARIS seemed to creep in, but if you stick in there like I did, this is a worthwhile, original little space oddity. Recommended.
BIG FAN - Written and directed by Robert Siegel, writer of THE WRESTLER and former Editor in Chief of beloved mock-news site The Onion, so you know it's going to be worthwhile. Comedian Patton Oswalt plays a sports radio call-in fanatic in this frantic black-comedy-of-errors. "A spasmodically funny and bleak film about the love that speaks its name." (N.Y. Times)
IN THE LOOP - By now, using words like genius has doubtlessly become cliche. Still, tempting when considering the quick-witted humour of Armando Iannucci, whose absolutely biting satire The Thick of It lifts the veil off the cloistered world of British policy makers and spin doctors. This full-lenth feature finds the crew stateside on a foreign diplomacy mission, and features James Gandolfini (SOPRANOS) as well as Steve Coogan (HAMLET 2). Recommended!
AMREEKA - "When most filmmakers want to say something important about cultural conflicts, they labor to bring tears to our eyes. Dabis, by contrast, makes us laugh at ourselves and, in turn, each other." (L.A. Weekly) This highly acclaimed film follows the often humorous travails of a determined Palestinian divorcee and her teenage son after their immigration to the U.S. at the start of the Iraq War.
The SIMPSONS Season 20 - Celebrating two decades of near total domination of network television, they've jumped a few seasons ahead to commemorate the occasion.
LIKE STARS ON EARTH - Who doesn't love a good family feature? Curmudgeons and liars, that's who. For the rest of us, here comes a winner. Disney's first ever Hindi-language release is a sparkling example of why Indian cinema has rapidly become the most popular film import to the U.S. Features an optional English language track.
MANCORA - Peruvian road-trip-grieving movie from the director of LA MUJER DE MI HERMANO. Beautiful people, sex, drugs, and paradise.
GOLIATH - This festival favorite concerns a man-on-the-edge and his missing cat Goliath (the "sweetest, most perfect cat" in the world). Freshly divorced, demoted to working with a light-your-farts-on-fire crew who refer to him as "Bitch Tits," and most importantly, missing his furry best friend, our anti-hero looks for some kind of justice - but is there such a thing? Engaging and sometimes painfully real.
PASSING STRANGE - Spike Lee's latest joint is a straight up film version of the revved up musical experience that's single-handedly given Broadway its balls back. Penned, composed, and narrated by a man called 'Stew', this is the story of a young black man who bails his hood in search of "real-ness" that meanders from punk to gospel as our hero discovers various 'scenes' from Amsterdam to Berlin.
HALLOWEEN II - Fresh off the heels of his diabolical, Bakshi-esque 'El Superbeasto,' director Rob Zombie takes it to the next level- remaking sequels?! Actually looks kinda stunning (judging from some tasteful stills). Does this mean Rob will be coming to Loleta to remake Halloween III?
THE BURNING PLAIN - Starring Charlize Theron and Kim Basinger, this drama of intersecting paths was written and directed by Guillermo Arriaga, writer of BABEL, AMORES PERROS, and 21 GRAMS.
DEPARTURES - Hey, do you remember that one awards ceremony, the Oscars? Well, the Best Foreign Picture of last year has finally made its "perfectly framed, evocative" (Ebert) way to DVD. For something with depth, mortality, spirituality and joy, look no further.
MYSTICAL BRAIN - Interesting documentary probes the intersection of science and spirituality, attempting to measure the states of grace experienced by mystics with electrodes and fancy computer helmets.
I CAN DO BAD ALL BY MYSELF - Let me shout it from the rooftops, I loves me some Tyler Perry! Seriously, hater critics need to look themselves in the mirror and think about the sterile ivory towers their 'standards' are erecting. The fact is, I actually laugh and enjoy myself every time I watch one of his movies (if that makes me a dolt, so be it).
FAME - "I'm gonna live forever. I'm gonna learn how to fly." Of course you're not. But don't let that stop you from renting this glossed out feature-length update. Warning: they've taken out the teen pregnancy, illiteracy, racism and drug abuse from the original- the inspiration, cheese, and killer dance moves endure.
WRONG TURN AT TAHOE - If there's one thing this week's list is missing, it's guns. Guns and bloated Hollywood has-beens. Enter Harvey Keitel (once rightfully revered as the next De Niro for his oh-so-raw turns in classics like Bad Lieutenant and Fingers) and Cuba "show me the money" Gooding Jr., in this ruthless mob vengeance affair.