Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

DVDs In Brief 4147

Filled with echoes of Sept. 11, Steven Spielberg's adaptation of War Of The Worlds (Paramount) was plenty chilling when it played in theaters this summer. Post-Katrina, the film's vision of widespread disaster, a government unable to protect its own citizens, and the ease with which civilization can fall apart looks positively prescient, with or without the giant space anuses and the bogus uplift of the final act…

Paramount's mercenary decision to resurrect Jackie Gleason's beloved sitcom The Honeymooners (Paramount) as a big-screen vehicle for Cedric The Entertainer garnered furious denunciation from critics and fans (the latter of whom ranked it as the 29th-worst movie of all time on the Internet Movie Database). But that hatred proves a little misplaced given the film's air of genial affability and an amusing supporting turn from John Leguizamo as a dishonest dog trainer…

People often use the phrase "Leave It To Beaver" as an adjective, describing a certain kind of kid-friendly '50s blandness, but the 39 episodes of Leave It To Beaver: The Complete First Season (Universal) are focused mostly on the frustrations of a father in a typical nuclear family and the thinly veiled hostility between generations. The show's deadpan comic style was in place from the start, and while in future seasons it became more of a conventional childhood misadventure sitcom, Leave It To Beaver in its earliest form was almost subversive…

Britpop plus hardcore pornography would seem to be an unbeatable combination, but it doesn't quite work out that way for 9 Songs (Tartan), director Michael Winterbottom's slackly conceived portrait of a relationship in decline. The idea of having a couple's unraveling expressed entirely through bedroom acrobatics isn't a bad one, and the grainy musical interludes offer some rousing footage of Franz Ferdinand, The Jesus And Mary Chain, Super Furry Animals, and others. But the whole DV production feels slight and half-considered when a more rigorous style could have made the daring experiment work…

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No one does revenge like Korean extremist Park Chan-wook, who seems determined to top himself with each new project. This has been Park's year: All of his movies have seen some kind of theatrical release, and the concluding chapter in his revenge trilogy, Sympathy For Lady Vengeance, took a slot at the prestigious New York Film Festival. The first in that trilogy (Cannes Grand Prize winner Oldboy is the second), Park's Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance (Tartan) concerns one man's bloody quest to get a kidney transplant for his sister, a journey that leads him to look for organs on the black market and kidnap his wealthy boss' daughter.

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