DVD picks of the weekDVD picks of the week
the blue angel (1930, Kino Video), dir. Josef von Sternberg w/ Emil Jannings, Marlene Dietrich. Von Sternberg and Dietrich made myth with this movie. Dietrich plays a nightclub singer who seduces and destroys a timorous teacher (Jannings), singing Falling In Love Again and tormenting him with her steely, steamy sexuality. It's the blueprint for cinema's many tales of doomed S/M passion, from Double Indemnity to Exotica. 106 minutes.
The two-disc set includes both the full German- and English-language films, commentary by film scholar Werner Sudendorf, trailers, Dietrich's original screen test, footage from two of her concerts, photo gallery and a brief interview. NNNNNCAMERON BAILEY
made (2001, Artisan), dir. Jon Favreau w/ Favreau, Vince Vaughn. Wannabe L.A. hoods Favreau and Vaughn are sent to New York to pick up a package. The problem is that the dutiful Favreau can't control the hot-headed Vaughn. Swingers worked due to Favreau's and Vaughn's improvisational bickering. Here it's all a bit too much, with Vaughn hogging screen time playing an insufferable jerk. 100 minutes.
Favreau and Vaughn are huge DVD fans and pack the disc with goodies, including a very entertaining audio track with Favreau and Vaughn riffing off each other -- at one point they count how many times they say "fuck" during one short scene (46!). There are also three other documentaries, deleted and alternative scenes, outtakes, musical cues and a scene-edit workshop that allows you cut together your own versions of scenes, which is very cool but takes way too much work. NNNINGRID RANDOJA
New video releasesNew video releases
the closet (2000, Alliance Atlantis), dir. Francis Veber w/ Daniel Auteuil, Gérard Depardieu. Auteuil stars as a straitlaced accountant who pretends to be gay to hold onto his job, and it works. An incisive comedy, it sends up sexual and workplace politics without either offending or kowtowing to the politically correct. NNN
Big-screen rating: NNN (IR)
pootie tang (2001, Paramount), dir. Louis C.K. w/ Lance Crouther, Chris Rock. Pootie Tang is an awful takeoff on the 70s blaxploitation film Dolemite, which itself was a satire on the blaxploitation genre. Crouther plays Pootie Tang, a crime-fighting rap star who's so cool that no one understands a word he says. (He's a black Nell.) The off-the-wall idea might have worked if producer Chris Rock had any idea of what's funny. This is a weird vanity project, a private joke that never should have been made. N
Big-screen rating: N (IR)
the road home (1999, Lions Gate), dir. Zhang Yimou w/ Zhang Ziyi, Zheng Hao. A Chinese man returns to his mountain village to bury his father and recount his parents' tender love story. Zhang Ziyi stars as a young village woman who obsesses over the new schoolteacher (Zheng Hao). The duo barely look at one another but still manage to fall in love, and through Zhang Yimou's poetic direction we see how Zhang Ziyi's small, simple gestures of affection -- placed against a huge, barren landscape -- take on grand meaning. NNN
Big-screen rating: NNNN (IR)
Also this weekAlso this week
Divided We Fall
Ghosts Of Mars, Pearl Harbor, The Uncles
Hedwig And the Angry Inch, Jurassic Park III, The Score