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Friday, November 11, 2005

New Movie & DVD Reviews from Combustible
Isn't November supposed to be full of good movies, packed to the walls with Oscar-season hopefuls and top-ten list contenders? This week alone I saw early screenings of two major disappointments, Neil Jordan's Breakfast on Pluto and Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain, and the six new movies opening this week aren't much to sing about either.

The best of the lot, Bee Season, seems to have been misunderstood by more than half the critics who saw it. The kids' movie Zathura is surprisingly good, coming as it does from director Jon Favreau, the man who made the disaster-in-waiting Elf into a holiday classic. The documentary Protocols of Zion is the week's other worthy release, a strange and horrifying documentary about Anti-Semitism that isn't afraid to get down and dirty with its own interview subjects. Everybody seems to like the new Pride & Prejudice, and I agree that Keira Knightley is dazzling, but an amateur director and bad casting bungle the rest of it.

Look for Jim Sheridan's Get Rich or Die Tryin' to come in at #1 in the box office race, simply because it opened on Wendesday and got a head start. I'm a closet 50 Cent fan, but this movie just left me cold. The weakest of the lot is undeniably Derailed, a would-be thriller with a miscast Jennifer Aniston and Clive Owen.

This week's high point is the re-release of the ultra-rare Michelangelo Antonioni classic The Passenger, which has only been available on a cruddy old VHS tape.

As for new DVDs, I looked at a batch of new Fatty Arbuckle material, notably the new four-disc box set The Forgotten Films of Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle and the new CD/DVD set by jazz trumpeter Dave Douglas, entitled Keystone. Hopefully these releases will help restore Arbuckle to the canon of great screen clowns. Otherwise, I finally got around to reviewing the tenth anniversary disc of Toy Story and the Special Edition of My Left Foot. But easily the high point this week is Fox's DVD of Two for the Road, a beautiful widescreen film and one of the most emotionally truthful films ever made in America.

Also, I was able to talk to directors David Seigel and Scott McGehee about their film Bee Season and to Jim Sheridan about Get Rich or Die Tryin'. And I checked out a great new collection of James Agee's works -- a must for any hardcore film fan.
:: posted by Jeffrey M. Anderson, 11/11/2005 Comments (0)
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