This Week in DVD & Blu-ray is a column that compiles all the latest info regarding new DVD and Blu-ray releases, sales, and exclusive deals from stores including Target, Best Buy and Fry’s.
Please don’t take the commentary on the movies and TV shows too seriously, as they’re meant not to be reviews but rather previews that include the general thoughts and ramblings of a twice-committed DVD addict. The categories represent solely the author’s intentions towards the films at hand, and are in no way meant to be a reflection on what he thinks other people should rent or buy. So if he ends up putting a movie you like in the “Skip it” section without having seen it, please keep in mind that the time you could spend leaving a spiteful but ultimately futile comment could instead be used for more pleasant things in life. Like buying DVDs.
ADVENTURELAND Adventureland does not redefine coming-of-age movies. It tells a familiar tale, and it does so with a number of story elements that we’ve seen many times before.
It’s also far better than most of its competition.
Watching Adventureland, it’s obvious that this is a very personal film for writer/director Greg Mottola. It’s real. It’s relatable. It’s charming, sweet and thoroughly engaging from start to finish. The film has plenty of laughs too, but making “silly gags” the focus of the film’s marketing campaign was a mistake. As much as the studios may want to make the film look like the next Superbad (which Mottola also directed), it simply isn’t. The jokes don’t feel like calculated gags intended to make you burst into tears with laughter. The humor has a more natural flow, always present in the interactions of the characters and the inherent comedy of the situations, but never detracting from the heart of the story: the relationship between the two young leads, played to perfection by Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart. If you’re going into the film expecting something else, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Blu-ray? Yes. Notable Extras: DVD – Commentary with director Greg Mottola and actor Jesse Eisenberg, deleted scenes, a Just My Life: The Making Of Adventureland featurette, and a Picture Music Selection feature. Blu-ray – Everything on the DVD, plus 3 additional features (“Frigo’s Ball Tap”, “Lisa P’s Guide To Style”, “Welcome to Adventureland”), and a digital copy of the film.
ComingSoon has the first two minutes of the new indie dramedy Sunshine Cleaning, that stars Amy Adams and Emily Blunt as two sisters who get the idea to become crimescene cleaners to make some extra cash. I enjoyed this film when I caught it at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, but David Chen wasn’t as entertained. The film is already playing in New York City and Los Angeles, but expands wider on April 3rd. I’d suggest adding it to your netflix, and wait until it hits DVD/Blu-ray. Watch the two minute clip embedded after the jump. Read More »
What happens to crime scenes after the dead bodies have been taken to the morgue and the detectives have gone home? How do the business owners, homeowners, and regular, everyday people carry on with their lives after they’ve been touched by gruesomeness and tragedy? Before any mourning or coping can take place, step one is to hire someone to clean up the mess. Christine Jeffs’ Sunshine Cleaning tries to take us behind the lives of one woman’s quest to clean up in places where the unspeakable has happened. But does it deliver us a satisfying and darkly comic tale of crime scene sanitation? Read More »
A couple weeks ago, we posted the first trailer for Sunshine Cleaning, an wonderful indie dramedy which premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.
The film has been compared to Little Miss Sunshine, probably because it was produced by the same guys, features a couple of the same cast members, including Academy Award winner Alan Arkin, and even has “Sunshine” in the title. I think this led to some disappointment at Sundance, as the film is a darker and much different film than Little Miss. If you know that going in, you’ll probably enjoy the film a lot more. The second trailer is more traditional, and will give you a better sense of the story. As always, leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Rose Lorkorswki (Amy Adams), a former high school cheerleader and now a thirty-something maid, is trying to create a better life for herself and eccentric eight-year-old son Oscar. Her burn-out younger sister Norah (Emily Blunt) still lives at home with their father Joe (Alan Arkin), who;s on the latest of a life-long string of get-rich-quick schemes. When Rose learns of the big money to be made in the crime scene cleaning and bio-hazard removal business, she and Norah partner up to create their own company, Sunshine Cleaning.
The film sold to Overture films for an estimated $2 million. A July 2008 release date was originally announced, but now the film is scheduled to hit theaters sometime in 2009.
What happened to Sunshine Cleaning? The film premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, but was met with some disappointment when attendees realized that it wasn’t the next Little Miss Sunshine. A fair comparison considering much of the pre-festival buzz came from the fact that it was produced by the same guys, has “Sunshine” in the title and even features a couple of the same cast members, including Academy Award winner Alan Arkin. If you can look beyond those preconceptions, you will probably enjoy this dark and sometimes morbid dramedy.
Rose Lorkorswki (Amy Adams), a former high school cheerleader and now a thirty-something maid, is trying to create a better life for herself and eccentric eight-year-old son Oscar. Her burn-out younger sister Norah (Emily Blunt) still lives at home with their father Joe (Alan Arkin), who;s on the latest of a life-long string of get-rich-quick schemes. When Rose learns of the big money to be made in the crime scene cleaning and bio-hazard removal business, she and Norah partner up to create their own company, Sunshine Cleaning. The film sold to Overture films for an estimated $2 million. A July 2008 release date was originally announced, but now the film is scheduled to hit theaters sometime in 2009. Check out the trailer below. Tell me what you think in the comments!
From the producers of Little Miss Sunshine comes a dark dramedy starring Amy Adams (Enchanted, Junebug), Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada), and Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine). Rose’s son is expelled from school after licking his teacher’s leg, and in order to raise the tuition for private school, the high school cheerleader turned 30-something-year-old maid (Adams) stumbles upon the idea of starting up a lucrative Crime Scene Clean-up business with her screw-up sister Norah (Blunt), who is still living in her father’s (Arkin) house. Joe, a fancy corn salesman, always has a new scheme to make a couple bucks, must now babysit Rose’s son. The morbid job allows the sisters to confront issues with their Mother’s death.
Using the new indie dramedy formula introduced in Little Miss and Juno, Sunshine Cleaning takes on a darker tone, which allows the film to function more as a drama than a comedy. This may be a turn off to some portion of mainstream audiences, but I think the dramatic sequences easily stand on their own. Every moment Alan Arkin is on screen is pure hilarity, however Amy Adams and Emily Blunt turn in lower than average performances. Not to say they are bad, they just aren’t up to the level of some of their previous work (Junebug, Devil Wears). Blunt explores a romantic relationship with the daughter of one of their their crime scene victims. Mary Lynn Rajskub of 24 fame is the second name from the Little Miss cast to appear in Cleaning. I respect the subtlety used in the Rajskub/Blunt relationship. Rajskub is fantastically awkward, as always.
The concept of crime scene cleaning is a fascinating look at a job that you would never even think to realize that exists. Sunshine Cleaning could have explored this aspect more but it isn’t that type of film. As the credits roll, you begin to realize that Sunshine Cleaning is as much about family as Little Miss.
The line-up for the 2008 Sundance Film Festival was announced earlier this week. I just got my hands on a boat load of photos from the films in this year’s festival. We actually have too many photos to feature in just one posting, so we have divided this feature into a few parts.
Our second segment in the series takes a look at the films in the Dramatic Competition category. This year’s 16 films were selected from 1,068 submissions. Each film is a world premiere. The list of films includes: American Son, Anywhere USA, Ballast, Choke, Downloading Nancy, Frozen River, Good Dick, The Last Word, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, North Starr, Phoebe In Wonderland, Pretty Bird, Sleep Dealer, Sugar, Sunshine Cleaning, and The Wackness.
Also be sure to check out our Sundance 2008 Photo Previews for the Spectrum and Premieres.
Check out the photos after the jump. Click on the images to enlarge.
Sundance Institute announced today the line-up of films selected for the U.S. and World Cinema Dramatic and Documentary Competitions for the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.
This will be my fifth year attending the festival, and I think it’s safe to say that this year’s festival is the most mysterious. Most of the films announced today I’ve never heard of before today. That’s not a bad sign. Actually, most Sundance enthusiasts would probably believe this to be an improvement, after the festival has faced criticism of being too star-centric, and becoming too mainstream. It seems like this year’s festival is more unknown. There appears to be more wildcards than in recent years, so it’s very hard to handicap the line-up. But here are a few of the films that immediately caught my eye. I’ll have a better round-up after the complete line-up is announced:
Chuck Palahniuk is my favorite author of all time. David Fincher’s adaptation of Fight Club is also one of my favorite films of all time. Clark Gregg’s adaptation of Palahniuk’s Choke starring Sam Rockwell and Anjelica Huston is so far my most anticipated film of the festival. Palahniuk’s dark humor is unmatched, and Sundance is the best place to premiere his latest film adaptation. Now if only someone would have the guts to make Survivor. Good Dick: First time Scottish writer/director Marianna Palka’s love story between an isolated lonely girl and a video store clerk sounds interesting. Jason Ritter, Marianna Palka, and Tom Arnold star.
Elle Fanning (Dakota’s little sister) stars in Phoebe in Wonderland, about a little girl takes her already dysfunctional family down the rabbit hole when she seeks enlightenment from her unconventional drama teacher. Felicity Huffman, Patricia Clarkson, Bill Pullman, and Campbell Scott round out the cast.
Amy Adams and Emily Blunt are sisters struck by financial hardship, who start a biohazard removal and crime scene clean-up business in Sunshine Cleaning. Steve Zahn and Alan Arkin also star.
And everyone is talking about The Wackness, Jonathan Levine’s film about a troubled teenage drug dealer who trades pot for therapy sessions with a drug-addled psychiatrist, and in the process falls for the doctor’s daughter. The film stars Josh Peck, Ben Kingsley, Famke Janssen, Olivia Thirlby, Mary Kate Olsen, and Method Man. Olsen and Kingsley lock lips in one scene… ewwwww.
Mary Lynn Rajskub, who plays the very awkward Chloe on the hit tv show 24, has joined the cast of Sunshine Cleaning. Pop Quiz: Strangely, this is the second film Rajskub has done in the last two years that had “sunshine” in its title. Do you know what the other movie was? Answer and more information after the jump. Read More »