Wednesday, October 08, 2014


Got a few new release Blu rays and DVDs to babble about, so let’s get right to ‘em:

(Dir. Lukas Moodysson, 2013) 

This sweet Swedish film, which dropped last month on Magnolia Home Entertainment, may the most punk rock movie I’ve seen in ages. Based on a graphic novel by the director’s wife (“Never Goodnight” by Coco Moodysson), it concerns a mohawked-haired Mira Barkhammar and a short curly-haired Mira Grosin as 13-year old best friends in 1982 Stockholm, who start a punk rock band despite not being able to play any instruments (just like real punk rockers!). They recruit the long-haired blonde Liv LeMoyne, a talented classical guitarist, who endures her band-mates mocking her Christianity force-cutting her hair because she just wants to belong.

So the girls bash their way through their one gloriously crude song (“Hate the Sport,” an attack on their gym class), ignore their uncool parents, while hoping to attract the attention of some punk rock boys. Barkhammar, Grosin, and LeMoyne may make messy music together, but they hit all the right notes acting-wise in this spirited and funny depiction of friendship, rebellion, and growing up. Sadly, neither the Blu ray or DVD editions of this film have any Special Features. In Swedish with English subtitles.

WRINKLES (Dir. Ignacio Ferreras, 2011)

Another film based on a comic book (“Wrinkles” by Paco Roca), this Spanish film is one of those animated Foreign films that features name American voices in its English language version (see: THE WIND RISES). Martin Sheen plays the protagonist Emilio, who is placed by his son (Matthew Modine) in an elderly care facility where he rooms with a charming yet cunning codger voiced by George Coe (okay, not really a name but a respected character actor of many credits including SNL and KRAMER VS. KRAMER). 

WRINKLES, which released last summer on DVD only, is a sad and poignant adult story that never gets too schmaltzy, though Nani Garcia's score does skirt that line. Sheen's voice-work is impeccable, most notably in scenes in which he's learning that he's experiencing early symptoms of Alzheimers, but Coe steals the show, and the film's perspective in the final third. There's a lot of heart in this depiction of old folks' home living, even if the animation is Beavis and Butthead-ish at times. Special Features: Behind the Scenes (production drawings and storyboards), Feature-Length Animatic, and Theatrical Trailer.

A LONG WAY DOWN (Dir. Pascal Chaumeil, 2014)

I loved Nick Hornby's 2005 novel, and looked forward to a film version, but despite a stellar cast this production by BBC Films (released on Blu ray and DVD on Sept. 9th) may be the worst adaptation of the British author's work yet - no, I'm not forgetting FEVER PITCH

Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Aaron Paul, and Imogen Poots play four strangers who happen to meet on New Year's Eve on the roof of a tall building where they each individually came to commit suicide. They form a connection to each other and go about helping one another confront their problems - TV chat show host Brosnan had a career ending fling with an underage girl; Collette is lonely with only her mentally challenged son in her life; Paul is a failed rock musician recently diagnosed with cancer; the hard partying Poots has a horrible relationship with her politician father (Sam Neill). 

But much like its flighty characters the film just goes through the motions. The foursome take part in a media-driven cover story that they were saved from killing themselves by an angel that looked like Matt Damon, then they go on a tropical vacation together, for some reason, and somewhere along the way they make a pact to not take their lives until Valentine's Day.

Throughout, Chaumeil displays the same sunny cheesiness that he employed in 2010's HEARTBREAKER, and the same unfocused and fluffy feeling results. Worse yet, the screenplay by Jack Thorne has completely lost the book's thoughtful thread and rendered its insights into meaninglessness. A real missed opportunity. Special Features: Deleted scenes, and Theatrical trailer.

More later...

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