The New Release Rack: Milla Jovovich is 'Bringing Up Bobby'
Plus 'I Wish' from Japan, the documentary 'Booker's Place,' and more
Thanksgiving week is usually a slow time for New Releases, so I'm also playing catch-up with a few later arrivals. But first…
"The Expendables 2" (Lionsgate), starring Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, and a cast of past action icons and current B-movie figures as mercenaries for hire, is like a B-movie triple feature edited into a single movie, all firepower and mayhem with nostalgia and tough-guy quips stirred through. Videodrone's review is here.
"Bringing Up Bobby" (Monterey), the directorial debut of actress Famke Janssen, stars Milla Jovovich as an immigrant single mother and con artist who tries to carve out a better life for her American-born son (Spencer List). It is "a mixed mélange of material, at best," according to MSN film critic James Rocchi. "Mixing con-artistry comedy out of "Paper Moon" with parental pathos and big feelings, "Bringing Up Bobby" is hardly an auspicious debut for Janssen as a director, but, at the same time, there's enough there to suggest that a next attempt would be worthy of investigation thanks to her skill as a director, and not just because of her reputation as an actress." Rory Cochrane, Marcia Cross, and Bill Pullman co-star. On DVD, with commentary by director/writer Famke Janssen and others, an audience Q&A with the filmmakers, and behind-the-scenes footage. Also available On Demand
From Japan comes Kore-eda Hirokazu's "I Wish" (Magnolia), the story of two brothers separated by divorce and determined to bring their parents back together. Talking every day via cell phone, the brothers pin their hopes on a "wish" they will make upon the newly-launched bullet train (the kids have created their own legend of magic around the new technology), but even this wish isn't something done in earnest. This isn't a Disney film and the friends all know that magic is a fantasy, but the pilgrimage becomes important in itself. The kids are marvelous without becoming cloying or cute and for a film with so little conflict, it is completely involving, wonderfully warm and full of natural humor. It's as sweet and affirming and benevolent tale of childhood innocence as you'll see. Japanese with English subtitles. No subtitles. On DVD and On Demand. More reviews here.
"360" (Magnolia), a globetrotting drama from director Fernando Meirelles and screenwriter Peter Morgan (riffing on "La Ronde") stars Anthony Hopkins, Jude Law, Rachel Weisz, and Ben Foster in a tale of cheating lovers and spouses across borders. MSN film critic Glenn Kenny's review is here. DVD only, with featurettes.
"They're Out of Business" (Kino/Horizon) reunites Eric Schaeffer and Donal Lardner Ward for a sequel to their 1993 indie comedy "My Life's in Turnaround." DVD only, no supplements. Reviews here.
"Nipples and Palm Trees" (Cinema Epoch) is an indie romantic comedy about a sad-sack struggling artist (Matthew James) looking for love and success (not necessarily in that order) in Los Angeles. DVD only, no supplements. Reviews here.
"Booker's Place: A Mississippi Story" (Tribeca) is a second generation look at civil rights history. Filmmaker Raymond De Felita looks back at the TV documentary about the civil rights struggle his father made in 1965, and the repercussions it had on Booker Wright, an African-American restaurant owner interviewed in the documentary. New York Post film critic Lou Lumenick writes that the film "doesn’t flinch from asking tough questions about how things have changed in Greenwood, journalistic responsibility or exactly how aware Booker Wright was of what he was trying to accomplish, and its potential cost." DVD only, with deleted scenes with optional commentary, a bonus short film, and a brief interview with the director.
"Beijing Punk" (Seminal Films) casts a lens to the underground punk rock movement thriving under the surface of Beijing culture, unknown even to most of the citizens of the city. Reviews here.
"The Sounds of the Underground" (Cinema Epoch) looks at the lives of musicians who play in New York City subways. IMDb page here.
"Color Me Obsessed: A Film About The Replacements" (MVD) bills itself as "the potentially true story of the last best band." Reviews here.