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Arts and Entertainment

DVDs to Add to the Queue: 12.19.06

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Little Miss Sunshine - It's no surprise that this movie was a hit. It's one of the funniest movies of the year, and one of the sweetest comedies I've seen in a long time. All this and it has a brain too.


Altered - Whatever happened to those Blair Witch kids? One of them, Eduardo Sanchez, directed this horror film about "alien abduction and a quartet of returnees who vow revenge against the creature that held them prisoner and killed their friend."
The Beauty Academy of Kabul - Documentary about a group of Western hairstylists who open a beauty school in newly liberated Afghanistan.
The Circle - A South Korean drama directed by Park Seung-bae about a female district attorney who puts a serial killer under hypnosis.
Gangland: Bullets Over Hollywood - This documentary on the history of Hollywood gangster movies, is narrated by Paul Sorvino.
House Gory - An erotic horror tale from Thailand about "a sadistic Lord with a stable of concubines and his barren wife, who takes out her wrath on the sexual slaves."
Invincible - Mark Wahlberg's ass. Tight football pants. Who cares about the story of this everyman as he gets his 15 minutes of gridiron fame?
Jet Li's Fearless - Jet Li flies, kicks, leaps, punches and twirls in a pink tutu (all except that last part) in this tale about Chinese folk hero Huo Yuanjia, the spiritual guru of Wu Shu. Directed by Ronny Yu.
A Scanner Darkly - Richard Linklater adapts sci-fi author Philip K. Dick's novel, again using the digital rotoscoping animation technique pioneered by Bob Sabiston (which he also used in Waking Life. Never before has the experience of a hallucinatory drug trip been so accurately conveyed in 100 minutes.
A Tout de Suite - This French lovers-on-the-run drama, shot in B&W in a verité style, follows a naive teenager who runs off with her older bank-robber lover. Though she's content to play at being an outlaw, there's the dirty work of actually robbing banks. Directed by Benoit Jacquot.
The Weeping Meadow - Greek auteur Theo Angelopoulos follows a pair of young lovers in a historical drama that spans three decades, from World War I to World War II to the Greek Civil War. 2 hours 43 minutes.
Women's Prison - Iranian drama about a woman who has been imprisoned for killing her violent stepfather but becomes an outspoken advocate for reform. Directed by Manijeh Hekmat, this film was banned in Iran, which alone makes it worth seeing.

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Unintentional Comedy
The Wicker Man - This remake of the cult 1973 horror film stars Nicolas Cage as a sheriff investigating the disappearance of a young girl on a remote island run by a community of female bee-keeping wiccans. Bjorn sayz, "Director Neil LaBute, countering arguments that he is a misogynist, has altered the premise of the film so that it involves a lone male (by the name of Malus) up against a man-hating matriarchal community 'of organic honey ranchers, all of them named after plants' where the men are used solely for manual labor and procreation and, also, have had their tongues cut out. Sample of witty dialogue. Cage visits queen bee Ellen Burstyn in a setting swarming with bees. Cage to Burstyn: "How's Beezness?""
Lady in the Water - The collective critical opinion on this movie was that M. Night Shyamalan's ego had eclipsed his talent. Casting himself as a visionary writer who will save the world didn't refute that. There's some interesting visual stuff in there, but most people will hate this movie for its ponderousness, forcedly wacky supporting characters and plot contrivances.
My Super Ex-Girlfriend - Judging from the trailers this was supposed to be funny. How can a movie with Uma Thurman look so bad? I have no idea, but you can watch and find out.

Because Everybody Needs A Little Trash In Their Lives
American Pie Presents: The Naked Mile - My three favorite words in the English language: direct-to-DVD. Only Eugene Levy returns from the original cast for this spinoff where Stifler's dad (Christopher MacDonald) is just as horny as his son.
Pledge This! - Paris Hilton's vagina headlines this college sex comedy about a sorority chick who declares war on an incoming freshman and her friends.