Saturday, November 3, 2012

New on DVD

Now is the Time to Catch Up              
by Mark Dispenza

Halloween is over and if you're a resident of New Orleans like me, you need a break from the week-long party of adult insanity the former family event has become.  The indie film festival season is underway.  Toronto is over, AFI-Fest is in progress and Sundance is on the horizon.  For Hollywood this is the calm before the storm of Thanksgiving weekend holiday season openers.  What is one to do?  Curl up and watch a good movie from the comfort of your home. Fortunately the last month has seen a plethora of top indie film releases.  

The heavyweight of this year's indie films, Moonrise Kingdom is a humorous, quirky and touching story from writer-director Wes Anderson.  A young orphan escapes from a scout-like summer camp to elope with a misfit young girl just as a powerful storm bears down on their sparsely populated island.  A frantic search party forms comprised of a terrific cast of characters, including Frances McDormand and Bill Murray as the girl's parents, Edward Norton as the distraught scout master, Bruce Willis as the lonely local sheriff and Tilda Swinton as "Social Services."  This is as close to a guaranteed good time for all as you can get.

Ruby Sparks
In a wonderful follow-up to Little Miss Sunshine, the writer-director duo of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris deliver yet again.  A writer manifests his idea of the perfect woman into reality and learns that you should be careful what you ask for.  What starts out as light and entertaining comedy has a much more powerful message to impart by the end.  You'll never look at your significant other the same way again. 

Take This Waltz
Writer-director Sarah Polley gives us a smart and sensitive portrayal of a marriage during that risky time when husbands and wives fall into familiar patterns and take the wants and needs of the other for granted. As in many marriages the real cause of this one's demise is rooted in failures of communication and listening.   Michelle Williams nails it in the lead role, assisted in no small part by Polley's remarkably insightful script.  

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
The apocalypse is an event best shared with someone special in this dramedy from writer Lorene Scafaria, who steps behind the camera for the first time to deliver a comic tale that evolves into much more dramatic and philosophical territory by the end.  It's a fun twist on the doomsday scenario that makes up in heart what it lacks in Hollywood-style special effects. With this US national election underway and the economy barely puttering along, you'll realize you could have bigger problems.  

Safety Not Guaranteed
Mark Duplass and Aubrey Plaza create great romantic comedy chemstry in this unique twist on the mad scientist tale.  Based on an actual newspaper ad, Derek Connally's script goes a step further and imagines a fanciful scenario that brings two quirky and independent loners together on a remarkable adventure.  Unfortunately the film does not realize its full potential due to uninspired directing.  

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