June 17, 2008

DVDs, 6/17.

Carmen Miranda "Did Carmen Miranda invent performance art?" asks Dave Kehr in the New York Times. "From Cindy Sherman to Madonna, artists across the cultural spectrum have continued to build on her flamboyantly absurd representations of the feminine, now anthologized in a new box set from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.... No less than Jerry Lewis did a decade later, she brought an unpredictable anarchy to the staid business of studio filmmaking."

"Let's consider Danny Boyle's Sunshine as both a characteristically exaggerated response to environmental crisis and an extended visual pun on the term 'Enlightenment.'" And traxus4420 is off and running at culturemonkey.

The releasee of 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days seems to have been delayed at the last minute, but even so, the film "may be the best of the Romanians, in part because, like [The Death of Mr Lazarescu], it constitutes a kind of state-of-the-art naturalism, down to the longueurs, underlighting, open-ended narrative and extraordinarily confident use of off-screen space," writes Michael Atkinson for the IFC. Also: "Here's why Diva was a global hit: it conjured a modern urban universe in which everyone is an impulsive, hell-or-high-water artiste, whether they're actually producing art or merely cluttering their rooms with wrecked cars and doing jigsaw puzzles. Everyone dallies and obsesses; aping Godard, [Jean-Jacques] Beineix sets up a suspenseful crime tale and then loiters in an apartment for a fat dose of flirting."

Joy Division "By now, less pop-obsessive viewers probably have had their fill of films about the rise and fall of the music scene in Manchester, England, in the late 1970s and early 1980s - the post-punk era," writes Steve Dollar. But "Grant Gee's 2007 documentary [Joy Division] is a solid case of the best having been saved for last."

Also in the New York Sun: "The release of The Onion Movie might be an indicator of what is to come from the name that has consistently disrupted the comedy establishment," suggests S James Snyder.

Along with Movie Geeks United!, the House Next Door is revisiting the Summer of '83 and begins with a discussion of Krull: Steven Boone, Justine Elias, Annie Frisbie and John Lichman. Also: Sarah D Bunting and Joe Reid on Staying Alive.

Glenn Kenny presents his "High Definition DVD Consumer Guide #5: Please Put Out Better Movies Edition."

Online viewing tip. Chris Fujiwara, author of Jacques Tourneur: The Cinema of Nightfall, comments on Night of the Demon (aka Curse of the Demon). Kevin Lee: "The film is perhaps never so unnerving as when it envisions evil in the simplest terms: a storm that descends with sudden implacable force on a children’s party; a slip of paper flapping relentlessly against a fire grate towards its own incineration; a man stumbling down railroad tracks, literally chasing after his life in vain."

DVD roundups: Sean Axmaker (MSN), Paul Clark (Screengrab), DVD Talk and Peter Martin (Cinematical).

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Posted by dwhudson at June 17, 2008 2:14 PM