Thursday, November 13, 2008

New to the Store: Week of 11 November 2008

The Big Guns

Hellboy 2: The Golden Army- Ron Perlman returns in his only non-straight-to-video leading role, as a demon protecting the world from the dark forces. Guillermo del Toro returns as director, fresh from his arthouse fave Pan's Labyrinth. Also with Selma Blair, Jeffrey Tambor, Luke Goss (of Bros), and John Hurt.

Kung-Fu Panda - After more than a decade of trying to take away some of the family film turf from Disney (and, more specifically, Pixar), DreamWorks animation finally managed to make an animated film that looks good. Great, in fact - as amusing and audience-pleasing as the plot and comedy are, the main joy to be found in Kung Fu Panda is soaking in the gorgeous imagery the filmmakers generated for many of the sequences (the opening segment and prison escape in particular). Voice casting is key, too - though it has its share of the usual stunt voices (Angelina Jolie, David Cross, Jackie Chan), most of the heavy lifting is done by Dustin Hoffman and Ian McShane, who bring a gravitas to their parts that one doesn't necessarily expect from a kids' film. Jack Black handles the lead role of the clumsy title character, Po, who dreams of martial arts excitement while labouring in the family noodle restaurant. Unlikely events lead to him being designated the "chosen one" to defeat the villainous Tai Lung. Made with an obvious fondness for the martial arts genre, Kung Fu Panda would likely have been the best American animated film of the year if not for next week's biggun. Also new - Secrets of the Furious Five, a 22-minute postscript to KFP.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars - SW fans can rest assured that George Lucas will not rest until every bit of good will they hold toward his original trilogy is raped and pillaged by his vastly inferior prequels and new crappy-lookin'-CGI animated series, to which this is an "introduction".

The TeeVee!

Primeval: Volume 1 - From the creators of the popular Walking with Dinosaurs documentaries, which use CGI to recreate prehistoric scenarios comes this fiction series in which a special team of scientists are assigned to track down and deal with beasties from the past who have escaped into modern times. Before you sneer, it's BRITISH so it must be good!

The Tudors: Season 2 -
Those ruttin' royals are at it again! Jonathan Rhys Meyers returns as Henry VIII for more libidinous romps and palace intrigue. This season covers the divorce of Catherine, the marriage to Anne Boleyn, and the early days of Jane Seymour. Peter O'Toole guest stars as the Pope.

Also New

Animals in Love - "Cute" nature documentary, for people who liked Winged Migration (its cinematographer directed this one).
Annie Leibovitz: Life Through a Lens - Documentary portrait of the famed photographer, famous these days for offending the queen and defiling Miley Cyrus.
Asterix at the Olympic Games - The fourth in the wildly successful live-action film series, derived from the popular comic books, but the first available with English subs. Gerard Depardieu is Obelix, Alain Delon is Julius Caesar.
Futurama: Bender's Game - Another straight-to-video movie featuring the characters from Matt Groening's other show.
99 Francs - A first person diatribe against modern consumerist society as seen through the eyes of a cynical advertising executive whose efforts to get fired from his job backfire as he keeps getting promoted. [/end cut & paste] From France.
7 Virgins - Sez the IMDb: "It is summertime in a blue-collar, marginal district of a city in the South of Spain. Tano, a teenager currently serving a sentence in a juvenile reform center, is given a 48-hour leave to attend his brother's wedding. Together with his best friend Richi, Tano plans to enjoy his 48-hour pass to the limit, doing all the things he is normally prohibited from doing. He gets drunk, takes drugs, steals, has sex and hangs out with his buddies. He feels free and exerts that freedom with all the force and audacity of a teenager. By the end of his 48-hour pass, Tano has also witnessed the collapse of all the things he takes for granted in his life: the neighborhood, his family, friends and loved-ones - everything is somehow different for him. More than just two days of freedom, Tano's leave turns out to be a journey into maturity." From Spain.

New to Us But Not Really New

The Bridges of Madison County - By popular demand. Starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep, and the lousiest framing story EVER.
Quilombo - From the director of the ever-popular Bye Bye Brazil, Carlos Diegues. A riveting tale of a tribe of escaped slaves and their struggle to remain free.
A Throw of Dice - An exciting and pioneering Indian silent epic. Well worth a look for those who think they've seen everything.

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