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10/21/2009

Film & Video

DVDs Nuts
Leser-seen OW-approved titles

 

Drag Me To Hell Sam Raimi went back to basics this year with this stellar horror parable about a young woman (Alison Lohman) who denies an old gypsy woman a loan extension and pays dearly. Alternately cheesy and stirring, frightening and hilarious, Drag Me feels like a sibling of the great old Tales From the Crypt hourlongs: succinct, effective and crowd-pleasing. “I beat you, you old bitch!” boasts Lohman early on. She’s so wrong and that’s so right. (PG-13)

It’s Garry Shandling’s Show: The Complete Series If The Larry Sanders Show is every comedy nerd’s gospel, and it should be, then this ’80s deconstructed sitcom is the call to the apostles. Co-written with Al Jean, who went on to run The Simpsons, It’s Garry Shandling’s Show was a willfully sloppy experiment in what happens when you put a comedian whose talent lies in his unpredictability into something as inanely predictable as a sitcom. (NR)

The Mighty Boosh (Special Edition Seasons 1-3) Adult Swim aficionados might have just caught on to this British sketch comedy show that incorporates musical numbers and, of course, “crimping” (a cappella geek spasms), but the comedy troupe isn’t waiting for the buzz to build. The psychedelic humor might not be as bitingly timely as, say, Flight of the Conchords or as exclusively cynical as Mr. Show With Bob and David, but Boosh is less annoying and more endearing, respectively. (NR)

Monsoon Wedding (Criterion Collection) Felicitously timed to wash away the accumulating stink surrounding Mira Nair’s Amelia Earhart biopic comes this reminder of the power of Nair’s storytelling. Never has that power been so deeply felt than with 2002’s Monsoon Wedding, the rain-soaked and exhilarating Bollywood tale of an arranged marriage, the bride’s married lover, the wedding planner, the maid, some Australian guy and countless other interweaving story lines that are all enchanting in their own way. Nair also provides a commentary and supplies several of her breathtaking documentary and fiction shorts. (R)

Whatever Works Pairing fellow ne’er-do-wells Woody Allen and Curb Your Enthusiasm star Larry David together is an idea so natural that it comes as a forehead-slapping shock that it actually happened. What starts as a scathing lament for the failed human species ends up a tender, funny meditation on the staggering mathematical improbability of everyday chance encounters. It doesn’t always work – David’s character is too close to his TV counterpart – but whatever. (PG-13)

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