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

DVDs in Brief - March 18, 2009


Best to avoid everyplace where DVDs might be sold for the next few days—the weather forecast predicts high levels of squealing fangirls of all ages storming out to buy their very own copies of Twilight (Summit), Catherine Hardwicke’s film adaptation of the first book in Stephenie Meyer’s mega-bestselling teen vampire romance series. Omigod, Robert Pattinson is sooo dreamy as he threatens, over and over, to kill and consume his mortal paramour Kristen Stewart! Omigod, he’s the obsessive, possessive, predatory, contemptuous lover every teen girl dreams of! Omigod, the only interesting aspect of this overwrought melodrama—Hardwicke’s direction—won’t be present in the sequel, since she was passed over in favor of the director of the notorious flop The Golden Compass! Seriously, does any of this make any sense, or is it all just a joke the world is playing on us hapless media types?…

Bolt (Buena Vista) got underserved in the media compared to last year’s commercial and critical darling Wall-E, but had it been billed and marketed as a Pixar release, it probably would have been a blockbuster too. Disney’s first animated film under the oversight of Pixar honcho John Lasseter (now Disney Animation’s “chief creative officer” since Disney bought Pixar) has a good bit of the Pixar magic, from The Incredibles-like vivid action to a story that actually cares about the characters…

Philip Roth’s novels have had a notoriously difficult time translating into movies, mainly because his acerbic voice doesn’t carry over well into cinema. Based on Roth’s 2001 book The Human Animal, Elegy (Sony) doesn’t break the losing streak definitively, but Ben Kingsley’s potent performance as a professor and cultural critic who gets involved with a student (Penélope Cruz) may be the closest the movies have come to the Roth persona…

German director Christian Petzold confirmed his up-and-coming status at this year’s Toronto Film Festival with the bold neo-noir film Jerichow. His previous film, Yella (New Yorker) won actress Nina Hoss a prize at last year’s Berlin Film Festival for her ferocious turn as an ambitious East German woman who relocates to Hanover and learns to become a sleek, double-dealing 21st-century businesswoman. But her past begins to stalk her in unsettling ways: As a hint of where it heads, Petzold’s movie was inspired by the no-budget 1962 horror classic Carnival Of Souls.

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