Adventureland – This is one of the best films of the year, and it got completely overlooked in theatres. It is more a drama than a comedy (it was being marketed as a comedy), but deals with the struggles of growing up. Starring Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart who are note perfect in their roles, the film revolves around the drama of working at an amusement park called Adventureland. It is worth checking out, and I would be shocking if it did not appear on my 10 best list at the end of the year.
Duplicity – I had massive hopes for this film, but I went in with my expectations way too high. Starring Clive Owen, Julia Roberts, Paul Giamatti, and Tom Wilkinson, the film is a con movie where everyone is not what they seem. It’s played more for laughs, and while Owen and Roberts have great chemistry, the plot is not very strong, and you get confused about who is on whose side. The film bounces back and forth in time a lot, so that doesn’t help keeping the viewer’s mind straight and in order. It’s written and directed by Tony Gilroy, so if you’re a fan of his work (writer and director of Michael Clayton, and the writer of the Bourne Trilogy and State of Play), it might still be worth checking out.
The Informers – This film has an all-star cast in Billy Bob Thornton, Mickey Rourke, Kim Basinger, and Winona Ryder, but it is supposed to be a mess of a film. It’s an ensemble film, and none of the stories make sense. If you’re a fan of the Bret Easton Ellis novel that the film is based on, I have been told you should avoid this at all costs. Another case of the book being better than the film.
Fighting – Channing Tatum and Terence Howard star in a story about a kid who does well in the underground fighting circuit. This film was in and out of theatres quickly, and I truthfully don’t know anyone who has seen it. Reviews were not kind, but that was expected.
Sunshine Cleaning – This film stars Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, and Alan Arkin and is about the family becoming a cleaning business of crime scenes. It’s a comedic-drama, much like Little Miss Sunshine (both films have the same producers), and with that cast, it is worth checking out. It should have found a bigger audience in theatres, but it never really exploded.
Polytechnique – This is a Canadian film about the Montreal massacre in 1989. We should all know the story by now of Marc Lepine and how he was killing women at the school to “fight feminism”. This is a dramatization of that awful day, and might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
Onechanbara – Not much needs to be said about this film, except it is about Japanese women who wear cowboy hats and bikinis and kill zombies. Enough said.
TV on DVD
With September fast approaching, lots of TV series are being released on DVD to help get you caught up for the next season. Of the 8 series I list below, I can honestly say I have never watched a complete episode of any of them (Hence my very brief descriptions below).
Scrubs: Season 8 – It has survived bouncing from different networks, but the series keeps rolling along.
Life: Season 2 – It stars Damien Lewis, who did such great work in the Band of Brothers mini-series. Other than that, I don’t know much about it.
House: Season 5 – Dr. House continues to be grumpy and solve medical mysteries in only a way that he can.
NCIS: Season 6 – Mark Harmon stars in this highly popular series, that I cannot believe has been on for six seasons (That is not to be taken as an insult. I’m saying that a lot this week).
One Tree Hill: Season 6 – One of the better teen shows (some would argue with me that it is not a teen show anymore), that continues to roll along.
Smallville: Season 8 – The continuing adventures of Clark Kent (once again, I really really can’t believe this show has been on for 8 years).
Californication: Season 2 – David Duchovny stars in this show, that had a lot of buzz when it first came out, but it seems to have fizzled lately. I could be wrong on that, but I don’t know much about this series, and no one has really told me that it is a must-see.
Lie To Me: Season 1 – One of my favourite film actors, Tim Roth, stars in this show, which follows Roth who is essentially a human lie detector.
Thirtysomething: Season 1 – One of the most requested titles to be on DVD finally comes out today. It was highly acclaimed in its day, and has a great pedigree behind it.