Culture » Film



The Song of Sparrows (PG)

E1 Entertainment

Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi is a master at transforming the mundane into something luminous and lovely. In The Song of Sparrows, Karim (Reza Najie) is raising his family in poor but happy circumstances in the countryside outside Tehran, until multiple small disasters add up to a familial financial crisis. When Karim heads into the city in search of work, he becomes just a little enamored of life there; even the junked TV antenna he pulls off a pile of trash is nicer than what he's got at home. But the film never descends into a "city bad, country good" dichotomy, or a lesson about the wages of materialism. Its take on life is more complex. As Karim struggles to guide his family through their current troubles while never losing his grumpy good humor, Majidi gives us a tale astonishing in its simplicity, its uncomplicated wisdom and its visual salience. MaryAnn Johanson


Head Case: Season 2 (NR)

Anchor Bay Home Entertainment

I found the first season of the Starz original TV series Head Case moderately amusing, and now, for better or worse, season two offers more of the same. Alexandra Wentworth returns as Dr. Elizabeth Goode, the $700-an-hour therapist to the stars whose own psychoses often trump those of her famous clients, who on this go-round include Jerry Seinfeld, Janeane Garofalo, Tori Spelling and Mario Batali. Most of the humor in the largely improvised series comes from Goode's occasional clueless racist remarks and omnipresent self-importance, especially when she refers to her upcoming nuptials to a slimy Hollywood agent. Oftentimes, the celebs can't keep up with her in the improv game — Survivor host Jeff Probst and wrestler Batista are particularly embarrassing — but, once again, it's worth a view for the laughs you'll find here and there. Louis Fowler


Ong-Bak / Ong Bak 2: The Beginning (Blu-ray) (R)

20th Century Fox/Magnolia Home Entertainment

When Ong-Bak was released back in 2003, it completely changed not only the modern martial arts film, but the whole genre of action films. Star Tony Jaa appeared out of nowhere, doing all of his own insane stunts with no wires, no camera tricks and no special effects. When he fought with his legs on fire, he fought with his legs on fire! I can guarantee you've never seen a fight flick like this, especially on Blu-ray. When you're done, check out the 2008 follow-up, Ong Bak 2, also on Blu-ray. This quasi-sequel actually takes place in 1400s Thailand, but it is also packed with brutal fight scenes, beautiful atmosphere and an epic scope that make this Jaa's own private Apocalypto. A worthy, if not strange, follow-up to the classic! Louis Fowler

Walk the Line (Blu-ray) (PG-13)

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

The more I get into this whole Blu-ray thing, the more I'm learning which movies are worth repurchasing and which are fine just the way they are. Top of the first list? Films with a lot of music. Movies with great soundtracks and performances were born for this format, with the sound spreading around the room as crisp and clear as if you were there. The latest Blu-ray must-buy is the reissue of 2005's Johnny Cash/June Carter Cash biopic Walk the Line, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon. As treacly and glossed-over as the story might be, you can't deny the power of the music contained in it. The high-def sound adds a new layer to the whole experience, impacting the movie in a way that wasn't there before. Now I just have ask this: How long before we can get Selena in the format? Louis Fowler

Add a comment

Clicky Quantcast