Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Demko's DVD shelf

Kicking and Screaming

Long before Noah Baumach teamed up with Wes Anderson, he wrote and directed this little movie that proved he was ready to stand on his own.

From the outset, this 1995 dramedy (man, do I hate that word!) about four young men graduating from college and having to face the world shows Baumbach's ear for quick dialoge and quirky humor. Our heroes are played by Josh Hamilton, Carlos Jacott, Jason Wiles and Chris Eigeman (aka "Digger" Styles from "The Gilmore Girls.") The large ensemble cast also includes Olivia D'Abo, Parker Posey, Eric Stoltz and Elliott Gould.

Supplements for this spectial edition include an interview with Noah Baumbach; conversations with Baumbach and cast members Hamilton, Eigeman and Jacott; deleted scenes; Baumbach's 2000 short film "Conrad and Butler Take a Vacation" featuring "Kicking and Screaming" cast members Jacott and John Lehr, and a 1995 interview with Baumbach and the cast.

How could I not make a movie that introduced one of my favorite directors to the world my pick of the week? Definitely check it out.

"Elizabeth I"

I own almost every season of Helen Mirren's work as D.I. Tennyson in "Prime Suspect" on DVD, so anytime I hear she's gonna be on TV I get excited.

About a year ago, she played the famed virgin queen in this two-part HBO movie that focused on her relationships with two men: Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester (Jeremy Irons) and Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex (Hugh Dancy). Though it's clearly far removed from the mean streets of "Prime Suspect," Mirren and her men shine in this surprisingly good drama.

Coming from HBO, it will probably be horribly overpriced, but if you spring for it you'll get supplements including two featurettes, "The Making of Elizabeth I" and "Uncovering the Real Elizabeth."

"Sketches of Grank Gehry"

On paper, at least, this one definitely sounds like the snooze pick of the week, but it somehow works really well.

Directed by Sydney Pollack, much of it is conversations between Pollack and the architect Gehry about what drives Gehry in his pursuit of art in a commercial medium. Pollack's early admission that he knows nothing about architecture and his clear curiosity about it gives these scenes more interest than you might think.

This one somehow made it to downtown Macon's Capitol Theatre for a few shows, and I'm glad I saw it then. It's definitely worth revisiting through Netflix.

TV pick of the week

I've dedicated plenty of type in this space to raving about "Veronica Mars," so I'll try to keep this brief.

At the outset of season two, out on DVD today, the show was at a crossroads. Our heroine (Kristen Bell) had solved the major myster of season one, so where would they go next? The writers came up with plenty of new twists for year two, with the main story line being a tragic bus wreck that kills a dozen students and looks more and more like murder with every revelation. Since she was supposed to be on the bus, Veronica takes a major interest in the case.

I just love this show, which seems to get better as it goes on. Take this chance to catch up before it gets paired with "Gilmore Girls" this fall to give the CW a stranglehold (at least in my household) on Tuesday nights this fall.

Lemon of the week

I guess we all knew this day had to come. Wolfgang Petersen's excremental "Poseidon" is out on DVD. Please, please, avoid it at all costs.

Not only is this one of the most boring movies I've ever seen, the dialogue is also at many points simply cringeworthy. You doubt me? Here's a little sample: Before the wave hits, daughter Emmy Rossum, leaning over a table where dad Kurt Russell is gambling, then asks if he was checking out "the twins." On what planet is this entertaining? Oh well .. at least Fergie apparently dies in the carnage.

Consider this word of warning my gift from me to you, and please take my advice on this one. It's just that bad.


girlzoot said...

I desperately wanted Poseidon to be good, I do so love Andre Braugher.

Reel Fanatic said...

I, too, am a very big fan of Andre Braugher, Girlzoot, especially for his work on "Homicide" .. his part in "Poseidon," however, was just embarrassing

Terence Towles Canote said...

I have to second your recommendation for Kicking and Screaming. It is one of the best movies of 1995, IMHO. It is also one of the few films I've seen that I think captured what it is to be Gen X (or whatever you want to call my generation). Great dialoge!

Reel Fanatic said...

If I may recommend a slightly different but equally clever movie starring Chris Eigeman, Mercurie, check out Whit Stillman's "Manhattan" ... very fast, very funny dialogue, in a totally different setting.

Carrie Lofty said...

Elizabeth I = fantastic. Make a point to find it if you are interested at all in solid historical dramas

Reel Fanatic said...

I have already seen it once, Salome, and have to agree .. I'm gonna rent it again from Netflix now

Unknown said...

I actually didn't hate Poseidon as much as I thought I would but then, I love Lucas so I may be a little biased.

As for "Elizabeth I", I actually scheduled this but didn't manage to see the second half. I think I'll just rent it. Not sure if it's something I really need to own but I will say that I only discovered Mirren a few years back and have instantly become a fan. The woman is an amazing actress.

Reel Fanatic said...

She truly is Marina .. My fovorite TV cops are the ever-changing crew that was "Homicide," but her "Prime Suspect" is a very close second

Paj said...

Kicking and Screaming was also the last time referring to something as " ---- 2: Electric Boggaloo" was funny. I've been looking forward to this for weeks and I'm picking it up on the way home. It was my favorite of what I called the "Gen X trifecta" of Singles, Reality Bites and K and S. I've seen the last two within the last month, I'm hoping K and S doesn't feel so dated.

Reel Fanatic said...

I hope so too, Paj .. though all three of those have their merits, I remember Kicking and Screaming as being easily the best .. I'll soon find out how well my memory serves me!

jeremy said...

Hey Reel -
Yeah, Baumbach rocked it w/ K&S. Olivia d'Abo and her retainer are priceless. The name of the Stillman work was actually Metropolitan (but I know you knew that) and Criterion recently released a version of it that is (obvs) pristene. It was nominated for best orig. screenplay and should have won.
Anway, just got the VMars season 2 discs--can't wait to dive in. (Only 1 month, 1 week and 6 days until Battlestar Galactica season 3 starts!)

Reel Fanatic said...

Thanks for the correx, Jeremy ... I often type these creeds at about 6 a.m., so I do get things wrong from time to time .. I, too, bought the new cut of "Metropolitan," and it's just as good as I remembered

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