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10/23/2008

Film & Video > First Shot

FIRST SHOT
SELF-CENTERED SISTER: Rachel (Hathaway) may be clean but she's in trouble

 

We’re not in the habit of lauding multimedia corporations for their good sense and decency, but darned if the folks at Warner Bros. don’t keep racking up the Do-Bee points. First they responded to Heath Ledger’s death in a way that neither cheapened his memory nor shaved any rough edges off his greatest work. Now they’re showing rare wisdom by nixing any promotional screenings of The Hanoi Hilton DVD until after the presidential election. Released to theaters in 1987 and finally coming to disc Nov. 11, the movie is a documentary about prisoners of war; the new disc includes a commentary track recorded recently by one John Sidney McCain III. According to The New York Times, Warner’s has disallowed any advance showings of the DVD, out of concern that such events could be construed as political advocacy. They’re right. Not only would beating the (ahem) bushes for Hanoi Hilton be patently unfair, it would inject an irrelevant new distraction into an already complex campaign. Because honestly, until we read of the company’s decision, we had no idea Sen. McCain had done time in a Vietnamese prison. Wonder why that hasn’t come up yet.

IN THEATERS

Opening Friday, Oct. 24

The Animation Show 4 Mike Judge assumes full proprietorship of the annual compendium of cartoon shorts, which is said to incorporate more stylistic and tonal maturity this year than the usual parade of shock tactics. Yeah, that must explain “Angry Unpaid Hooker.” (at Enzian Theater, Maitland; NR)

Trouble the Water Three years after the fact, a documentary crew loads up its cameras and heads to New Orleans to challenge what you know about Hurricane Katrina – especially if what you know involves the phrase “learning from our mistakes.” (at Enzian Theater, Maitland; NR)

Rachel Getting Married If Anne Hathaway hasn’t been fully enshrined as America’s Sweetheart, she’s at least followed the playbook to the letter. She’s beautiful, but in an unconventional way. She moved adroitly from tweener fantasies to grown-up movies that were critical and commercial hits. And in perhaps her greatest role, she cast herself as the poor victim of her ex-boyfriend’s criminal dalliances – after she had taken him for a few years’ worth of luxurious gifts and exotic vacations. Brava! Wonder where she found the manipulative streak to create her latest and possibly best-received character: a recovering addict who’s released from rehab in time to ensure that her sister has the most awkward wedding ever. (Well, unless Charlie Crist ends up going through with his.) (R)

Saw V If it’s Halloween again, there must be a flaming bag of dog crap under your heel – and another Saw movie in theaters. (Draw your own parallels.) Back when we were still paying attention, the conniving Jigsaw had escaped from a filthy bathroom, contracted a fatal illness and been resurrected as a woman. Hey, guess what, everybody? Jigsaw is Larry Craig! (We were only projecting about the fatal illness.) (R)

High School Musical 3: Senior Year Somebody tell these dorks they’ve got it backward: You’re supposed to shoot the cloying, cheap-ass made-for-TV movie after the annoying, relentlessly marketed feature film. Yet here comes the third installment in the fantasy franchise that’s fooling America’s pre-pubes into expecting actual good things from their teens – in this case, a final year stuffed with social obligations and dreams of college. Remember to pack your Traveling Pants, kids! And leave the cameras at home! (G)

Pride and Glory The famously centered Edward Norton and Colin Farrell play brothers-in-law whose duties as New York cops brush up against their familial obligations. In a timely postscript, the city’s tanking economy forces them to put aside all of that girly angst and take night jobs as UFC fighters. (R)

ON DVD

Available Tuesday, Oct. 28

Tinker Bell In making a leading lady out of the illustrious, illuminated Tink, the Mouse House seems to have forgotten why she was the quintessential gal sidekick of her day: She was smokin’ hot, small enough to fit in your hand, and she never said a word. (Hey, don’t blame us! It was the times!) Of course, Miss Phosphorous-Drawers gets to gab all over the place in this princess-ly update; somebody’s gotta fly through those 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling. In a (pardon the pun) bright spot, the lead role is voiced by young Mae Whitman, who played the hilariously forgettable Ann on Arrested Development. Yes, “that Ann.”

National Lampoon’s Animal House: 30th Anniversary Edition Celebrate the greatest college comedy of all time with a commemorative rerelease that features new documentaries, interactive games and – in the gift-set version – an official Faber College yearbook. Try to carry all of that out of Best Buy, and you’re going to look like Pinto shoplifting groceries.

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