Monday, November 22, 2010

Couch Time with Sheldon

This will be the last COUCH TIME WITH SHELDON for 2010. Next week, I am away on business so I won't have much couch time at all. When I return in December, this space will be dedicated to SHOPPING WITH SHELDON - Holiday suggestions for all the film lovers on your list. In the meantime, let's see how Sheldon has been spending his couch time.

The indie film scene has been in love with this film since it debuted in Sundance at the beginning of the year. The buzz was that director, Lisa Cholodenko, had crafted a modern family comedy that was funny, touching and altogether human without being the least bit contrived or forced. And they were right. THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT should fit in perfectly in your living room given the film's family focus. Young Laser and Joni (Josh Hutcherson and Mia Wasikowska) seek out and find their sperm donor, Paul (Mark Ruffalo) without their mothers' (Annette Bening and Julianne Moore) knowledge. The ensemble shines and at least the three adult leads should find their names being dropped all over awards season this year. Moore and Bening feel like they've been together for ages and their chemistry is perfect. Cholodenko redefines family with this one. (Alliance) (Click here for full Black Sheep review.)

Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks reunite as producing partners with this 10-part HBO miniseries on the American marines' involvement in the Pacific ocean during the second World War. I must admit that I am only half way through the series myself and so far, I'm not as involved as I was when Spielberg and Hanks produced their first WWII mini-series, BAND OF BROTHERS. It is getting better though as the focus shifts more towards particular soldiers instead of the companies themselves. Still, I can't imagine too many fans of BROTHERS being too disappointed with this. It still features plenty of intense war footage and many a fraternal bonding moment between soldiers. There just aren't as many standout performances this time out so there are times when its just a lot of guys in green for me. (Warner Bros.)

If you've got some couch time this week, there are plenty of options just released on DVD and Blu-ray today. Maple Pictures puts out two pictures from this past summer, one a lot of people saw and one hardly any of you did. Now's your chance to catch Gemma Arterton in THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ALICE CREED, a sharp and gripping kidnapping thriller. For more insight into Arterton and the project, read Black Sheep's interview with Arterton here ... The second Maple picture is the Sylvester Stallone directed blockbuster, THE EXPENDABLES. This action throwback also stars Jason Statham, Jet Li and Dolph Lundgren, whom Black Sheep also interviewed this year. Click here for that ... Sony counterprograms on DVD just like they did in theatres with the Julia Roberts drama, EAT PRAY LOVE. Like in theatres, I feel THE EXPENDABLES will eat-pray-love her alive on DVD ... Lucy Walker offers her first of two 2010 documentaries through Alliance, COUNTDOWN TO ZERO (click title fore review), an intelligent and enlightening look at our current global nuclear situation ... This next one from Magnolia Pictures was a documentary to begin with but as it turns out, it is just pure insanity. If you like to watch train wrecks, don't miss Joaquin Phoenix in Casey Affleck's I'M STILL HERE (click title for review). I swear, it's a crazy trip that you've got to see to believe ... And cinephiles rejoice as Kino releases Fritz Lang's THE COMPLETE METROPOLIS for the first time on Blu-ray. Apparently the restoration is the film's most comprehensive and impressive incarnation in history.