DVDs In Brief
Christopher Nolan's second Batman film, The Dark Knight (Warner Bros.), is bigger and deeper than Batman Begins, tying its hero's mission to a contest for the soul of the city around him. And everything you've heard about Heath Ledger's Joker performance is true
Critics were surprisingly kind to the animated adaptation of Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears A Who! (Fox), perhaps because the film's gentle tone represented a clean break from the calamitous live-action versions of How The Grinch Stole Christmas and The Cat In The Hat. But let's not go overboard here. While generally harmless, the film still suffers from the obvious Seuss roadblock: The economy, language, poetry, and themes in his children's books were only tarnished by the expansive necessities of adaptation. A 10-minute bedtime story does not a feature make
On the morning of August 7, 1974, French high-wire artist Philippe Petit did the unimaginable: He rigged a cable connecting the two towers of the yet-to-be-completed World Trade Center, and spent a full 45 minutes walking back and forth on it, to the astonishment of witnesses and the world. The superb documentary Man On Wire (Magnolia) recounts Petit's feat with the exhaustive detail of a well-calculated heist thriller, with testimony by the loveably energetic Petit and his full cast of conspirators
For many years, Olivier Assayas' unimpeachably cool 1996 movie-movie Irma Vep was only available on Fox Lorber, a DVD company notorious for ugly transfers of vital international fare. Now the fine indie label Zeitgeist has seized on its cult status and given the film the special edition it's long deserved. Starring Hong Kong glamour queen Maggie Cheung as herself, Irma Vep uses an ill-advised remake of the classic silent serial Les Vampires to pick apart the chaos and creative bankruptcy of the French film industry
Worried about the economy? War? Nuclear arms proliferation? Global warming? Well, here's something else to keep you up at night: water. Irena Salina's muckraking documentary Flow: For Love Of Water (Oscilloscope) details the international water crisis with an apocalyptic tone, revealing how greedy corporations exploit the poverty and desperation of Third World peasants by privatizing water distribution. And oh yeah, that water may also be lowering sperm counts, and causing fish and frogs to swap genders.