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July 15, 2008 |

By Dustin Rowles | DVD Releases | July 15, 2008 |

Penelope: Agent Bedhead was surprisingly enchanted by Penelope, that weird-looking movie where Christina Ricci has a pig nose. AB writes: “The film is at once, in its dazzling colorfulness, like an early Tim Burton film, and also, through the slightest of opaque shades, a little like The Ugly Duckling and Beauty and the Beast. First-time director Mark Palansky carefully avoids wallowing in past tales that carry outdated ideals of princesses, who can only be rescued from themselves by way of a prince. In its own way, Penelope manages to forge its own contemporary fairy tale without an endless rehashing of cutesy, wink-wink meta references towards the audience. By refusing to be shocked into submission by its own purported cleverness, the end result of Penelope is an unusually appealing cinematic creature.”

Pick of the Week

The Bank Job: The Jason Statham heist flick, very loosely based on a true story, impressed Phillip. He writes, “The Bank Job is a ridiculously entertaining thriller; like a well-thrown stone, it skips pleasantly over the better part of two hours without sinking under the unnecessary weights of character or melodrama,” ultimately concluding that the film “is all blokes and blimeys and bollocks — the best kind of crime thriller. Even Statham, who has long since stopped playing a role other than Jason Statham, is absorbed into the whole cockney schema without missing a beat. Director Roger Donaldson doesn’t create a plot so much as contain it — he lets all these wrangling forces sprawl out at once, then watches as they chase one another, moving from one immediacy to the next. The result is certainly shallow, but blissfully engaging.”

Shutter: Shutter was another one of those J-Horror films that came and went that absolutely no one remembers the week after its release. Phillip concluded that Shutter may be its dying gasp, conceding that the movie actually originated in Thailand. Starring the late Joshua Jackson, Phillip writes of the film: “Perhaps my having seen the preceding Thai film hamstrung most of the narrative interest in Shutter; I knew what the mystery was, but waiting for it was still an enervating chore. Not only does Ochiai repeat the mistakes of his forebear, he slows the action to a crawl. Predictable or no, a thriller needs a quick clip, if not an engaging one; Shutter moonwalks where it should gambol. The Thai film was just as bland and unoriginal, exploiting the folklore of “spirit photography” for empty thrills, but even it had a reasonable tempo. The new Shutter is a silly snoozer, blandly acted and only functionally directed.”

Step Up 2: The Streets: Another one of those interchangeable urban dance flicks, Dustin concedes that Step Up 2 “may actually feature the most heinous dialogue: A weird brand of Disneyfied Ebonics, as if Mitt Romney were trying to speak in hip-hop lingo (‘I be textin’ you all day.’) The premise is the usual school of fish out of water set up, only reversed. While most of the dance films are about street dancers attempting to fit in with classically trained dancers, Step Up 2 goes the other way.” Nevertheless, he concludes that “the dance sequences in Step Up 2, overall, are not only exceedingly impressive, but the big climactic rain-soaked urban battle sequence is fucking sick, folks. Sick.”

Step Up 2 The Bank Job

This Week's DVD Releases / The Pajiba Staff

DVD Releases | July 15, 2008 |

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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