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November 18, 2008 |

By Dustin Rowles | DVD Releases | November 18, 2008 |

Encounters at the End of the World: Ranylt was disappointed in a documentary from one of her favorite filmmakers, Werner Herzog. An environmental doc, Ranylt describes End of the World as such: “The lessons many of the personalities in Encounters at the End of the World share with viewers is a popular one: ecosystems are fragile and the human race is doomed. But don’t be fooled. Herzog may dignify his latest doc with climate-change epaulettes, but his real interest is in the people who live at McMurdo and other research stations on the vast ice. It just so happens that many of Antarctica’s residents are scientists funded to study zoology and glaciology — their environmentalist focus is a natural and (no question) important one. But the alarm expressed by some of the scientists is thematically incidental; Herzog’s real investigation is into the mindset of (mostly) privileged middle- and upper-classers who abandoned convenience to live in what he describes as “an ugly mining town” grimed by muddy snow and bulldozers and “a bleak, Motel 6 drabness.” Herzog can appreciate the virgin sublimity of the landscape, but he spends an equal amount of time lamenting the disagreeableness of McMurdo, its hardship and isolation, and the effects it has on inhabitants who may or may not have arrived in Antarctica already a little cocked.”

Mister Lonely: Prisco had a few words for Harmony Korine, director of Mister Lonely: “Harmony Korine is the reason why it’s impossible to get people to watch art house films. Short of “having to read the foreigner talk” that keeps most of the great unwashed from breaking free from the safe neon embrace of the multiplex, the second greatest fear is the supposed narcissistic “artistry” of trolls like Harmony Korine. Navel-gazing platitudes exchanged by disaffected protagonists tumbling through a plot both as incoherently disorganized and sloppily jumbled as a Spears family reunion at Waffle House. Hipsters revere Korine because he’s both incomprehensible and unpleasant to watch, so it must be too cool for us regular peons to understand or appreciate.”

Priceless: Subtitle Alert. Daniel was a fan, writing, “There’s an undercurrent of longing in Pierre Salvadori’s Priceless (Hors de Prix) that keeps it from becoming a sex farce or a stereotypical slapstick about mistaken identities and that manages to elevate it above the rest of the romantic comedy field. It’s not that the film uses the convoluted love story at its center to examine the human condition; if anything, the script from Salvadori and co-writer Benoit Graffin often finds excuses to skirt past the darker parts of the heart and wind up somewhere lighter and easier to watch. But it’s got a curious layer of grittiness underneath that lends some heft to the romance even as the film itself coasts along and, along with Salvadori’s refusal to get dragged down into the kind of hackneyed plot turns a film like this would almost seem to welcome, Priceless winds up being enjoyable and sweet even as it turns to realistic portrayals of longing and confusion for inspiration. The major story points and the ending are predictable, but never quite in the way you’d expect.”

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2: Agent Bedhead didn’t think much of Sisterhood 2, writing “This sequel to the first Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants film, which I recently caught on DVD, is far less bearable than its mildly charming predecessor. Based upon the novels by Ann Brashares, the films’ shtick is that a quartet of female BFFs find a pair of magical jeans that fit all four of them. The girls firmly believe that the symbolism of these pants outweighs any of the things that ordinary groups of friends normally covet, like, say, friendship bracelets or vials of blood. Quite simply, these pants were fated to hold the four girls together as group. Somehow, this concept worked, and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants became a moderately successful sleeper film. Then, the misguided sequel, in which screenwriter Elizabeth Chandler attempts to sew three Brashares novels together, inevitably arrived. Now, three years later, the girls are at separate universities and still merrily FedEx-ing those damn pants to each other. Naturally, the magical pants still fit each of them, despite varying heights and vastly different body type. The sequel, however, is much more of a “chick flick” than the original film, and, as a female and by default, I am supposed to love this film. Admittedly, there’s nothing overtly wrong with this film, and, you’d think that I could identify with the whole coming-of-age, college-educated, boy-crazy female thing. If only this sequel wasn’t woven together in such a vacuously condescending manner.”

Wall-E: Recession got you down? Really want to own Wall-E anyway? I saw in the Sunday circular that at CVS, if you buy $20 worth of soda — which is already on sale, six 12 packs for $20 — then you get $10 off of Wall-E, which retails at $19.99. How awesome is that? And who wouldn’t want to own Wall-E? Dan loved it. So will you. He writes, “As if Pixar didn’t have enough to be proud of already, their latest CG-animated film, WALL-E, is their greatest achievement yet in terms of pure storytelling. It has all the things that are now expected to come with the Pixar brand — likeable characters, engaging stories, and an unshakeable feeling of warmth and hope — but it’s also phenomenal in the way inanimate objects are imbued with personality, physicality, and genuine souls. The animation firm first started to break ground with a short about a Luxo lamp come to life, and that same sense of breathing life into everyday objects, or at least objects that shouldn’t be able to move, gives WALL-E a refreshing and almost pioneering feeling, as if the animators dared themselves to see just how much they could convey onscreen without dialogue. And as is often the case with a Pixar movie, the filmmakers have surpassed their goal, creating a film full of humor and character that can be enjoyed by children but whose emotional complexities and heartbreak will only truly resonate with adults in the audience.”


The Sisterhood of the Traveling Wall-E

This Week’s DVD Releases / The Pajiba Staff

DVD Releases | November 18, 2008 |

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

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