Saturday, August 12, 2006


recent DVDs
Lost City-Andy Garcia's movie about pre-Castro Havana starring Andy Garcia with Bill Murray and Dustin Hoffman- a mix of stunning musical numbers,vintage news footage of the revolution and a lame love story-this movie is alright- but it did manage to capture the feeling of exile(probably cuz director and star Andy Garcia was a Cuban exile)-the Dr. Zhivago/Casablanca love story angle seemed overwrought and well unimportant to the overall story( it did not help that the object of love had that bland Penelope Cruz kind of "attractiveness" to her).Inconsistent yet compelling. B-
Mr. Death- an Erol Morris documentary about Fred A. Leuchter, Jr- a man who made a living for himself creating and refining electric chairs.gallows and lethal injection machines in the 70s and 80s.This movie takes a huge left turn when Leuchter is called to testify on the behalf of Holocaust denier- he goes to Germany and decides with the evidence that he chisels out of the walls of German death camp sites that the Holocaust did not occur- this leads to lots of unemployment and personal strife for Mr. Death.An interesting character study. B-
The Setup - a Robert Wise noir starring Robert Ryan as an aging fighter who is supposed to drop his fight to an up and comer- but his manager and trainer never tell him- they just figure he will lose anyway.More than your basic boxing movie- this flick manages to capture the bizzare underworld of post WW2 America- the fringes of society- sure the movie has a very surreal edge to it -but the characters feel real as anything.The DVD has commentary by Martin Scorsese on it.A
The Bridge @ Remagen-a 1969 WW2 flick about a strategically important bridge in Germany near the end of the war.Starring George Segal,Ben Gazzarra and Robert Vaughan.This movie does a good job of capturing the feel of Germany during WW2( they actually filmed the movie in Czechoslovakia(ironically the Russian invasion occurred suring the last days of filming and led to some harrowing moments for the cast and crew).I thought Robert Vaughan did a good job as the German Army officer trying his best to do what is right in the middle of the chaos of the collapse of the 3rd Riech.A solid war flick with good action and drama.A-
Scary Movie 4 - this time David Zucker sets his sites on War of The Worlds, Million Dollar Baby , The Grudge,The Village,Saw and others and like most of the recent spoof movies this flick provides a few chuckles- but no serious belly laughs.It is a fun exercise in zaniness I guess- but nothing worth seeking out or spending money on. C-
The LA Riot Spectacular - a straight out satire of the 1991 LA Riot.Obviously low budget- but with a ton of well known folks in it - including Christopher McDonald,Emilio Estevez,Ronny Cox as Daryl Gates,Charles S Dutton as Mayor Tom Bradley,TK Carter as Rodney King and William Forsythe as Reginald Denny- a mixture of vintage footage and over the top ribs- Micheal Buffer is bought in to be the announcer for the Denny beatdown fer instance to David Rasche(Sledgehammer!) and Anne-Marie Johnson as E! type Hollywood reporters that treat the riot folk like celebrities.Good stuff- Snoop Dogg serves as the narrator on this flick- the DVD has a 10 minute behind the scenes segment that is worth watching to see what the cast was doing and thought of the riots. B+
The Thomas Crown Affair(1968) - excellent hiest flick starring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway about a rich man that plots robberies for kicks.This Norman Jewison flick to use his words from the commentary is about "Style over Substance"- but in this case the style gives the movie it's glossy substance- also features one of the most sensual chess scenes I have ever seen in the movies. A+

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