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October 14, 2008 |

By Dustin Rowles | DVD Releases | October 14, 2008 |

4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days: Phillips glows about 4 Months, a Romanian-set abortion film, writing: “[Cristian ] Mungiu’s film is not meant to be a paean to the pro-choice ethos, but he makes it clear that the subjugation of women is a monstrous injustice. But even this is but the symptom of a larger sickness — the social sickness of a people bullied into fear and mistrust by their total lack of power. And in 1987, so cruelly close to the end of Ceau┼čescu’s reign, that sickness was all the more bitter. Mungiu wants to show us that merely surviving that era was unremarkable, but surviving with your humanity intact was all but impossible.”

The Edge of Heaven: From Romania to Germany, Phillip similarly appreciated The Edge of Heaven, writing: “This is a finely crafted film, perhaps a bit too deliberately controlled, yet galvanized with anger and hope and endless suggestion. Akin displays incredible respect for his audience and his subject, allowing the key plot strands to come tantalizingly close, but never directly weave, and then leaving the story open-ended in an incredibly satisfying manner. He never answers whether or not his characters’ searches can or will be fulfilled, but he shows us that fulfillment is forever possible.”

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: If you haven’t experienced the harshest chill mellow of the year, Indy IV provides it, as Dan writes: “The greatest disappointment of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull — and in a movie where (among other things) a young hero swings among vines like Tarzan, there are several disappointments — is that the filmmakers lacked the confidence to wholeheartedly embrace the character they’d created and instead resorted to riffing on his age and that of the entire series. Director Steven Spielberg and producer/story man George Lucas hauled something magical out of thin air when they gave life to Indiana Jones more than 25 years ago, but rather than return to that parallel fictional universe, they’ve tried to drag Indy into our own, and they wind up getting stuck halfway between worlds.”

The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything: A religious cartoon about vegetables. Sorry, Agent Bedhead. That was a rough assignment. She writes, “The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything just might present a perfect antidote to the whole Captivity madness, for if any film should contain a pureed-organ smoothie scene, it would have to be one where the characters consist of mostly vegetables. In addition, this film presented an unparalleled opportunity to witness swashbuckling vegetables with a moral conscience. These anthropomorphic globules, who by their own admissions are actually fruits, share their knowledge of world-class philosophy and, most importantly, their blind faith.”

Standard Operating Procedure: Ranylt writes of Errol Morris’ Abu Ghraib documentary: “The doc functions not as a revelation but as a tidy archive of the Abu Ghraib events — a necessary document, but not a particularly enlightening one. While it’s technically sound and toots all the Morris bells and whistles, I came away a little disappointed by its sameness (and being a longtime rabid fan, I’m more astonished than anyone) … The Morris style is beginning to mold around the edges a little, and without any real insight and a few too many ham-fisted moments, Standard Operating Procedure is going down in my book as one of his weaker films.”

War, Inc.: Dustin gave War, Inc., John Cusack’s Iraq War satire, a tongue-lashing, writing: “It is tit-rippingly awful — disjointed, nonsensical, somehow both underwhelming and over-the-top, dull as old-man boners and completely self-righteous to boot, as though it were written by an unemployed troll on an political blog who spends all day typing out conspiracy theories with the same fingers he uses to prod around in his own asshole, digging for nuggets of wisdom. It’s cinematic swamp-ass, and were it not for the considerable talent involved in the project, War, Inc. might be the type of movie that we’d laugh at ironically, like when Sean Penn fell out of the boat in New Orleans. Hahaha: Look at the celebrities! Aren’t they cute with their righteous indignation and their dated liberal rhetoric!”

Indiana Jones and the Pirates Who Don't Do Anything, Inc.

This Week's DVD Releases / The Pajiba Staff

DVD Releases | October 14, 2008 |

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

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