Tuesday, June 08, 2004


Now out on DVD:

(Dir. John Hamburg, 2004) 

Along comes another stupid Ben Stiller-as-punching bag rom com. 

They seem to appear every few months. This time he's a risk management analyst who falls for a flaky artsy Salsa loving Jennifer Aniston and, of course, wackiness ensues. Not exactly high concept. 

At least there's a above par supporting cast: Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Alec Baldwin, Bob Dishy, and Bryan Brown make this at least a notch above DUPLEX. Hoffman provides one of the only reasons this movie is not a complete waste of time playing a washed-up brat pack era actor. To make memorable the weak material he's given in a routine best-friend part in a routine formula comedy is quite a feat for Hoffman. He'll get better words to work with next time out, I bet.

(Dir. Danny Boyle, 1996)
(Miramax Collector's Series, 2004) 

"Small time wasters with an accidental big deal" This British cult classic from the mid 90's is now done right by a domestic DVD release that contains extras long available on overseas formats. The commentary recorded upon the film's original release has Ewan McGregor, director Danny Boyle, screenwriter John Hodge, and producer Andrew MacDonald waxing wise and witty. 

Yet again, it's a stone cold blast to see McGregor's Renton and his scraggly crew (including Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Kevin McKidd, and Robert Carlyle) slum through heroin-infested episodes of petty theft, nasty squalor, and refusal to take part in any part of normal society. A few then and now retrospectives, scratchy deleted scenes, and Cannes film festival interviews round out this essential package. Essential, that is, if you don't have an import version that has this stuff on it already.

(Dir. John Dower, 2003) 

Mostly covering Oasis, Blur, and Pulp this loose documentary also touches on the Verve, Stone Roses, and Radiohead. Oasis makes their TV debut just weeks after the death of Kurt Cobain heralding the end of the grunge ara and start of the Brit pop period. Just as new Prime Minister Tony Blair represented a new way of government these shiny updated slices of Beatlemania re-ignited English culture if only for a moment. 

A well sequenced thesis marred by a lack of more on-screen identifications of the interviewees. Is that a member of a Oasis tribute band or is it an actual member of Oasis? I'm not sure. But the humor and pretensions of the key players especially during the Blur Vs. Oasis chapter make this a must for '90s music fans.

More later...

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