Movie Of The Day: Melinda And Melinda (2004)

A writer, director and sometimes actor who’s enjoyed considerably more success abroad than in his own country but is nevertheless regarded as one of the greatest filmmakers of all time and able to attract big names to his projects, Woody Allen (Vicky Cristina Barcelona) is an incredibly prolific and rythmic worker, churning out one film a year like clockwork. Melinda And Melinda marks his 2004 offering, though it was released in 2005 in numerous countries.

Actually two stories in one (thus the title), the film has two playwrights arguing about whether life at its core is tragic or comic. One of their friends thus suggests a challenge by setting the premise of a troubled woman crashing a dinner party and asking whether the subsequent events would evolve into a tragedy or a comedy. Naturally, we see both options unfold at the same time.

As is common for Woody Allen films, Melinda And Melinda stars a substantial amount of notable people including Radha Mitchell (The Children Of Huang Shi), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Redbelt), Will Ferrell (Step Brothers), Jonny Lee Miller (Aeon Flux), Amanda Peet (The X-Files: I Want To Believe), Chloë Sevigny (Zodiac), Wallace Shawn (Kit Kittredge: An American Girl), Josh Brolin (American Gangster) and Steve Carrell (Get Smart) among others. Trailer and review after the jump. Continue reading

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New Region 1 DVDs

Movies

Brotherhood Of The Wolf: Director’s Cut

I can’t believe this hasn’t been released in the US until now, I’ve owned it for eons. This French movie is, in my opinion, one of the best films ever made. Gorgeous cinematography, atmosphere, romance, history, humor, drama, kickass action,… Brotherhood Of The Wolf has got it all. Think of it as Sleepy Hollow, only better, and that was already a very good film. Also, in addition to being entertained, you’ll learn something too, as the movie is (loosely) based on the true story of an unknown “monster” that terrorised the French Gévaudan province during the mid eighteenth century. Damn, I need to watch this again now.

The Director’s Cut adds 9 minutes to the film, and the DVD includes two discs filled with extras. However, some countries have three or four disc editions, so if you really care about bonus features, you should enquire about those.

 

The Nightmare Before Christmas: Collector’s Edition

While its popularity among oh-so-trendy emos and goths who hail it as the greatest thing ever made is extremely annoying, The Nightmare Before Christmas is a superb holiday movie, a marvel of stop-motion animation and a movie you should really see if you haven’t already, if only because it comes from a time where Tim Burton still had soul (yes I think his last three movies were very lackluster). While Tim Burton didn’t actually direct Nightmare, he wrote it, produced it, and his influence can be felt throughout.

This new edition comes with two discs shock full of extras, including a digital copy of the film. If you’re an über-fan, you may want to check out the limited “Ultimate Collector’s DVD Set”, in which the discs are kept in a bust of the main character.

Virgin Territory

Crap, crap, crap. Virgin Territory, which is pretty much American Pie in a medieval setting, is watchable, but that doesn’t mean you should, you know, watch it. Stupid storyline, unfunny jokes, plenty of random nudity, horrible acting (but then, what else would you expect from these leads?),… The fact that the movie finished filming in early 2005 and is only released now should tell you something. I’d recommend you skip it, except if you’re really, really into one of the wooden leads (but even then…).

Virgin Territory is released as “unrated”, but that’s because it never made it to the theaters in the US. Extras basically include a couple of uninteresting-sounding featurettes.

What Happens In Vegas: Jackpot Edition

If you’re not into romantic comedies, even those that have a lot of “man jokes”, What Happens In Vegas is probably not going to change your mind. For those who do appreciate them (or at least not mind them), …Vegas is a decent, if unremarkable movie. I’d recommend watching it if you’re a fan of the genre or of one of the actors involved, whilst knowing that it’s far from their finest work. Still, it’s funny enough.

The Jackpot Edition comes with two discs full of deleted scenes, interviews, bloopers, and a digital copy of the film, which seems to be the new cool extra these days.

Also in Movie DVDs: My Sassy Girl, Postal, Redbelt, The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning, Where In The World Is Osama Bin Laden?,…

TV

Heroes: Season 2

Heroes, the hit show about super-powered characters trying to figure out what’s going on with them, suffered with its shortened second season, many fans calling it crap. Personally, I’m halfway through it, and sure there are some weak points but it’s not that bad for now and there are plenty of good elements to keep you interested. In short, if you enjoyed Season 1, go for it, and in any case, from what I hear, Season 3, whose first episode premiered at this year’s Comic-Con, will be much better.

Season 2 starts four months after the events of the 1st Season’s finale, with the various characters trying to deal with the aftermath. Season 3 will start broadcasting on September 22nd in the US & Canada, on NBC and Global respectively, followed shortly by the UK on September 25th, on the BBC. Also, Season 1 was released on Blu-Ray.

One Tree Hill: Season 5

One Tree Hill is viewed by many people as being just some stupid thing for tween girls, but I personally think it’s a really solid, one of the very best “teen shows”, in fact. The writing is solid, the acting ranges from good to great, the characters are interesting (most of the time), the balance between humor and drama is just right and there are some really standout episodes. I’m sure that if you gave One Tree Hill a chance, and just stopped judging, you might actually enjoy it. In any case, it’s a much better show than cult favorite and similar series The O.C., whose first season was genius but was never matched by later episodes (especially Season 3, ugh).

In Season 5, the show fastforwards four years after Season 4, and focuses on the characters’ lives after college, dealing with the realities of adulthood. Season 6 will premiere in the US on September 1st, on The CW.

Also in TV DVDs: Entourage: Season 4, NCIS: Season 5, The Shield: Season 6,…