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DVD Reviews

Hardware [****.]
You'll love it if you can get into the tone of the film. Kinda cyber-mythic-scifi-punk with a dash of b-movie horror and post-apocalyptic trash. Great soundtrack too, by the way. Finally out on DVD. My VHS copy is getting pretty worn from repeated viewings.

Trois Couleurs: Rouge [*****]
I just finished the third film in the Krzysztof Kieslowski Trois Couleurs series, Rouge (Red). Blue was excellent, White was wonderful, but Red, Red is my favorite. Such an amazing sense of emotion and feeling, perfectly enhanced by the visual and chromatic symbolism throughout the film. The interweaving of the plotline as the film winds to it’s completion was superb, and incredibly complex. I believe you could watch the series out of order, but would miss out on the recapitulation of the series characters that occurs in the final film. Trois couleurs: Rouge (1994). Highly recommended, especially as the warmth and sense of optimism Kieslowski leaves you with, even in the face of tragedy, is quite powerful.

Fitzcarraldo [*****]
This film is an amazing example of the power of lunacy. The story is slow, and may turn many viewers off, but if you don't mind allowing a plot too slowly meander it's way around the point, the end result is spectacular, and the visual strength will astound you. The shot of Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald (Fitzcarraldo) winching a gigantic steamboat up the side of a mountain in the middle of the Amazon while blasting his favorite Caruso opera from the deck in the midst of hundreds of native indians that may want to help, or may want kill him... well, it is like nothing else you have ever seen. And you don't need to suspend your disbelief, because director Werner Herzog actually did this feat live, while filming. Apparently a plot was hatched during this film to kill lead actor Klaus Kinski for Herzog, to put an end to their constant feuds and battles. It never came to fruition, but it is only one of the myths that surround this film. Documented in the film The Burden of Dreams, which I have not seen yet.

24 Hour Party People [***..]
The history of Factory Records and Hacienda in Manchester, UK, told through the life of TV Personality and music afficianado Tony Wilson from 1976-94. Very likable film, with due respect paid to the giants of the scene: Joy Division (especially Ian Curtis), New Order, and The Happy Mondays. The music running through the film is, of course, spectacular, and for those of us who missed the early days, the recreation of the club and concerts was spectacular.

Badlands [****.]
Youngsters Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek kill in the Midwest. Based on a true story, Badlands is an excellent interpretation of being an outsider and floundering in the currents of change that surround and define us.

Ratcatcher [*****]
Poetry on screen, this is a grim but beautiful story about working class family life in 1970's England, focusing on the daily escapades of a young boy as he maneuvers through the twists of existence and the apparent inescapability of his place in life. Feature debut from Lynne Ramsey, whose newest film "Morvern Callar" releases in the states this month.

Deceiver [***..]
Pretty effective psycho-twist, interrogation room, character based, crime thriller. With Tim Roth, Chris Penn, Michael Rooker, Renee Zellweger.

The Clash - Westway to the World [*****]
Great documentary by Don Letts using home movie and concert footage, interspersed with interviews with the band members. Amazing to watch and reflect back on what music was like then.

Death Machine [****.]
Brad Dourif in an excellent near future technophobia b-movie gem. A bit of a cross between Terminator and Hardware. Highly recommended!           

Alfie [****.]
Michael Caine makes his career with this excellent profile of a '60s cockney womanizer. You despise him but can't turn away from his extremely charismatic performance.           

Dagon [***..]
Fantastic H.P. Lovecraft adaptation! I enjoyed it immensely. Not for the squeamish though.

Down by Law [*****]

Donnie Darko [****.]

The Royal Tenenbaums [***..]

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