Week of September 19, 2014
Burt’s Buzz (2013-Canada) C-88min. D: Jody Shapiro. Documentary about Burt Shavitz, the elderly recluse behind Burt’s Bees. I’ve got his lip balm in my pocket even as I type this. Makes a great double feature with last week’s release of Bee People. Save the Honeybee! [NR]
A Birder’s Guide to Everything (2013) C-86min. D,CoSc: Rob Meyer. Kodi Smit-McPhee, James Le Gros, Ben Kingsley. An avid 15-year-old birder thinks he’s seen a species thought to be extinct, and embarks on a voyage of (self)-discovery with his friends. Coming-of-age light drama for tweens, teens, and families. [PG-13]
Burning Bush (2013-Czech Republic) C-234min. D: Agnieszka Holland. Modern historical drama about the 1968 Prague Spring, specifically about the heroism of Jan Palach. 3 parts spanning nearly 4 hours on 2 discs, rented as one piece. Produced by HBO Europe. [NR]
Casting By (2013-HBO) C/B&W-89min. D: Tom Donahue. Documentary on the unique Hollywood profession of casting agent, exemplified here by pioneering professionals Marion Dougherty and Lynn Stalmaster. Numerous interviewees include Robert De Niro, Clint Eastwood, Bette Midler, Al Pacino, Robert Redford, Martin Scorsese, John Travolta, Jon Voight et al. [NR]
The Fault in Our Stars (2014) C-126min. D: Josh Boone. Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Laura Dern. Two teens in a cancer survivor group fall in love. One of the highest rated and best-reviewed films of the year thus far. From the acclaimed 2012 young-adult novel by John Green (available at the SFe Public Library). [PG-13]
Godzilla (2014) C-123min. D: Gareth Edwards. Aaron-Taylor Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston. One of this past summer’s big movies, this Americanization of the iconic Toho Studios monster lets The Big Guy squash Honolulu and San Francisco as he battles giant creatures, formerly dormant but now on a rampage. Cranston, incidentally, is gone after the first 30 minutes. Fairly satisfying, with an interesting conspiracy subplot, but, personally, I think his head is too small. [PG-13]
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1999) C-120min. D: Michael Hoffman. Christian Bale, Sophie Marceau, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kevin Klein, Calista Flockhart, Stanley Tucci, Rupert Everett. The play, not the ballet, as one may see from the cast. [PG-13]
Think Like a Man Too (2014) C-106min. D: Tim Story. Kevin Hart, Gabrielle Union. The diminutive motor-mouth returns in a sequel to Think Like a Man (2012), itself based on the 2009 comic non-fiction best-seller by Steve Harvey, Act Like a Woman, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment (available at the SFe Public Library). [PG-13]
37 Days (2014-BBC) C- 159min. D: Justin Hardy. Ian McDiarmid, Nicholas Farrell, Tim Pigott-Smith, Sinead Cusack. Dramatization of the tumultuous time between the assassination of Archduke Frank Ferdinand on June 18, 1914, and Britain’s official declaration of war upon Germany six weeks later, the start of World War I. [NR]
The Sorrow and the Pity (1969-France) B&W-251min. D: Marcel Ophuls. Highly regarded epic documentary about the Nazi occupation of France, unafraid to name names and condemn collaborators. Presented by Woody Allen, who thinks this is the greatest documentary ever made. Two parts—“The Collapse” and “The Choice”—on 2 discs, rented as 1 piece.
The Fault in Our Stars (2014)
New TV series and mysteries:
Alpha House (2014-Amazon) John Goodman. Season 1, episodes, 2 discs.
Father Brown (2013-BBC) The gentle detective of G.K. Chesterton’s mystery series set in a 1950s English village gets a reboot in this new edition. Season 1, 10 episodes, 4 discs.
Hannibal (2014-NBC) Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen. Season 2, 13 episodes, 4 discs.