get yr release on

Damn. That boy's pretty.
In a Barbara Streisand-kinda way, I mean.

Ladies and germs, your DVD releases for 3 Feb in the '09:

- Assault on Precinct 13 (special edition)
- Being There (deluxe edition)
- Bottle Shock
- Days and Clouds
- Diary (directed by Oxide Pang)
- Drifting Flowers
- Five
- Getting Straight (1970)
- Girl + Girl
- A Good Day to Be Black and Sexy
- Gumshoe (1972) (directed by Stephen Frears)
- His Name Was Jason
- Inside Moves (1980)
- Love Comes Lately
- Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
- Magnificent Trio
- Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
- Our Man in Havana (directed by Carol Reed, written by Graham Greene)
- Paura: Lucio Fulci Remembered Vol. 1
- The Secret Life of Bees
- Yentl (25th Anniversary edition)
- Zack & Miri Make a Porno

Dex on Zack & Miri Make a Porno:
For me, this week's release of Zack & Miri Make a Porno (or, if you only happened to see the trailer on broadcast teevee, "Zack & Miri," sans the porno and any reference thereof - apparently, it's Bizzaro America that can lay claim to being the seat of a multi-billion dollar, world-wide porn industry, not the one you and I live in) which quietly passed in and out of theatres some time last fall prompts a question: just who in the world is Kevin Smith?

Of the young filmmakers that blazed out of the movie hinterlands and into art houses, indie video stores, and college dorms in the early 1990s, the unassuming Smith seemed to have enough brains, talent and savvy to make a real career for himself once people stopped throwing around quotes from Reservoir Dogs; indeed, a few movies after his debut film Clerks (1994), Smith put out Dogma (1999), probably the finest comedic statement on religion since they nailed Graham Chapman to a cross. But that was then, and it's not at all clear what now is. Aside from the aforementioned Clerks and Dogma, and the pinch-its-cheek-cute Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001), Smith hasn't done much else but revel in his role as a member of Hollywood's geek aristocracy. There's a few comic book series he's written - some which he hasn't even bothered to finish - and then there's the movies: a sequel to Clerks which can only brag of Rosario Dawson looking even more fuckable than usual in a pair of glasses, and now Zack & Miri, a light-hearted yarn about a pair of destitute roommates who come up with a plan to make goofball porn to pay the bills, and probably fall in love or something along the way.

Smith wasn't supposed to be the shallow guy who couldn't stop referencing himself and the same run-of-the-mill culture obsessions in his work, over and over again, or the guy who wouldn't shut up. Smith was supposed to be the guy with the layers, who could make a funny and reverential film about Catholicism, the guy in a lovely NY Times piece I still remembering reading going on eight years ago now about one of his favorite movies, A Man for All Seasons (1966). People used to say that Smith could be Woody Allen. So where's that guy? Who's this one?

Patrick on Assault on Precinct 13:

Carpenter's had a spotty career over the last decade or so, but there was a time in the 70's and early 80's where it seemed like he was destined to be as consistent and great as the contemporary group of directors (Romero, DePalma, Craven, Larry Cohen, etc.) he came up with. And he peaked early with this classic action film that's being reissued (yet again) this week. I'd even go so far as to say that however hugely influential Halloween was, this is the better film, a slick tribute to Hawks' Rio Bravo that's relentlessly suspenseful and entertaining in a way that for me he's never equalled. Like Halloween, it lays heavily on mood and atmosphere without engaging in the graphic violence that he helped usher in, that mars, for example, the not half bad remake of this film.

Premise is simple - a young officer is transferred to a precinct that's 24 hours from closing down. A man's daughter is shot by a ruthless gang and he kills one of their leaders and flees to the station for protection. Since everything's closing down, the precinct is bereft of all resources and the rest of the film is an ever-intensifying siege by the gang on the band of cops, civilians and criminals that make up the population of the jail. I have to say, it's masterful filmmaking. As with most of Carpenter's work he's not shooting for significance, he's keeping entertainment at the fore, not striving for social messages about urban decay or anything, and the film is stronger, more timeless for not being bound to such stuff. For my money, it's his best ever.

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