Joss Whedon’s short-lived cult show Firefly spawned the feature Serenity. Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) and his crew dodge the Alliance that’s hunting for his two newest additions. The film is full of sweet visual effects, witty dialogue, a lot of heart, and the stereotypical bad-ass girl that’s always in Whedon’s stories.
We all have a relationship that we wished never happened. So, what if you could erase it? Michel Gondry leads us through the cracking world of Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) in The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind as memories of his relationship with Clementine (Kate Winslet) are purposefully erased. It’s hard to look away when transitioning from one recess of his mind to the next.
(USA) 2005, Universal Pictures
List price: $10.98
The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
(USA) 2004, Focus Features
List price: $9.98
After watching Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are — which left me with mixed feelings — I went back and watched the classic animated Where the Wild Things Are and Other Maurice Sendak Stories. My kids loved this growing up, and In the Night Kitchen and The Nutshell Kids reminded me of reading the same books as a kid. Bouncy Carole King music keeps the kids singing along. A straight book-to-film translation that should satisfy any fan of the books.
I always thought kids’ movies should be about stretching the imagination and challenging expectations. No recent film did this better for me than Miyazaki’s Spirited Away. In an era of filmmaking when most scripts seem mundane and predictable, Spirited Away is completely original, and shows real growth in the lead character without ever being preachy. Plus, it’s gorgeous.
Where The Wild Things Are and Other Maurice Sendak Stories
(USA) 1973, New Video Group
List price: $14.95
(Japan) 2001, Walt Disney Pictures
List price: $29.99
Lars Von Trier’s meta-horror film Antichrist is both playful and genuinely disturbing. He introduces his story with the mother of all slow-motion sequences. What begins as a poke in the eye to Hollywood’s dependence on manipulative techniques soon turns into a punch in the gut. The film’s conclusion pays homage to Tarkovsky’s Mirror in so twisted a way I’ll never see the original the same way again.
The Red Riding Trilogy: Even if this neo-noir trilogy fails to add up to much, it definitely made an impression. I was struck by the first film in which director Julian Jarrold tells the story of a rookie journalist trying to solve the elusive case of a serial killer. The viewer is steered through a narcotic haze characteristic of the period. In order to plunge us into an almost dream-like experience, Jarrold boldly risks losing the plot.
(Denmark) 2009, Criterion
List price: $39.95
The Red Riding Trilogy
(England) 2009, IFC
List price: $29.98 (three discs)