The Adventures of Funny Felix (2000, Mongrel) dir. Jacques Martineau and Olivier Ducastel w/ Sami Bouajila and Patachou. Rating: NNNN
This is a French film (aka Funny Felix) starring Bouajila (The Siege) as a gay, HIV-positive French Arab who travels from Dieppe to Marseilles to see the father he never knew. It's a funny and charming road picture built around the people Félix encounters along the way -- a young gay guy in Chartres, a harried single mom, a fisherman -- and it's set amidst some of rural France's more unobtrusively charming landscapes.
The commentary track, in English, takes into account the fact that it's aimed at a North American audience, so the directors are willing to answer elemental questions like "What part of France are we in now?" and "Who are these actors?"
EXTRAS: Director commentary, theatrical trailer, English subtitles.
Orange County (2002, Paramount) dir. Jake Kasdan w/ Colin Hanks, Schuyler Fisk. Rating: NNN
Much was made of the "second-generation" aspect of this production: director Kasdan (Zero Effect) is Lawrence Kasdan's son, Schuyler Fisk is Sissy Spacek's daughter, and Colin Hanks's dad has two best-actor Oscars on his mantle.
It's an unusually funny teen film, with Hanks as a high school senior who, because of an administrative screw-up, has to jump through hoops to get into his college of choice. He also has to cope with a mom (Catherine O'Hara) who's a dipso drama queen and a brother (played by Jack Black) who's usually stoned and often pantless. The picture's loaded with good comedy cameos by the likes of Chevy Chase, Ben Stiller and Harold Ramis.
EXTRAS: The commentary is hampered by the rather high-pitched, annoying voices of Kasdan and screenwriter Mike White. On the other hand, there are 15 very funny "interstitials," promotional spots filmed for MTV that look like they're from the movie but aren't. Four deleted scenes, theatrical trailer, English and French versions, English subtitles.
Perfect (1985, Columbia TriStar) dir. James Bridges w/ John Travolta, Jamie Lee Curtis. Rating: NN
If Perfect is any indicator, Rolling Stone in the mid-80s was the most understaffed magazine on the planet, with a single reporter (Travolta) doing celebrity profiles, hard news stories and lifestyle pieces.
There's something absurdly satisfying in the fact that, for the DVD release of this time capsule full of 80s cheese, Columbia didn't bother to letterbox the image. Fluorescent pastel workout clothes, proto-techno soundtrack, berserk moral dilemmas -- Perfect has it all. It isn't quite in the "so bad it's good" category -- it's not bad enough, and not good either. However, it's a movie that defines its moment as precisely as The Breakfast Club or Wall Street.
EXTRAS: None. Theatrical trailer, multilingual subtitles.
Rollerball: Special Edition (2002, MGM/UA) dir. John McTiernan w/ Chris Klein, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos. Rating: NN
You have to wonder which of the gigantic brains at MGM decided that the critically trashed Rollerball remake deserved a "special edition." Perhaps the same deep thinkers who thought the best way to critique sensationalist violence in contemporary sports would be by making a smash-'em-up actioner designed to deliver the same sort of cheap thrills it was targeting.
This is one of those "special editions" that calls into question the very phrase. It's an R-rated cut, as opposed to the PG-13 theatrical release, so the action cuts together a little better and the digital shadows have been removed from Rebecca Romijn-Stamos's topless scenes. It is not the director's cut, however, and McTiernan is notable for his absence: the commentary track is handled with considerable grace by stars Klein, Romijn-Stamos and, in another room somewhere, LL Cool J.
EXTRAS: Actors' commentary, stunt documentary, Rob Zombie music video, Rollerball interactive program "book." English, French and Spanish dubbed versions and subtitles.
Also this weekAlso this week
The Majestic Sappy drama with Jim Carrey playing an amnesiac believed to be a small town's war hero.
Max Keeble's Big Move Preteen Ferris Bueller makes trouble in school.
= Critics' Pick
NNNNN = excellent, maintains big screen impact
NNNN = very good
NNN = worth a peek
NN = Mediocre
N = Bomb
No rating indicates no screening copy