DVD of the Week

Children of Men: Still one of the great movies of 2006.


ThinkFilm, $27.98

Movies about heroin addicts tend to be pretty cinematic—which is amazing, since at the end of the day, you're mostly just watching people sitting around on their asses. Sure, there have been good movies made about shooting heroin, like Trainspotting and The Man With the Golden Arm; in fact, why don't you go watch one of those? It's not that nothing happens in this one—it's that there's nothing going on that you haven't seen before. Heath Ledger continues to be a better actor than his cheekbones require him to be, and Abbie Cornish is lovely as his smack-befuddled love. But it's just the same old movie: They shoot up and argue and shoot up and commit crimes and shoot up and get naked. Come to think of it, those last parts, while not any more original, are strangely compelling. JORDAN HARPER

Children of Men

Universal, $29.98

Set in a tomorrow that looks like yesterday, Alfonso Cuarón's wrenching adaptation of P.D. James' novel feels more like documentary than fiction. In the movie's world, women have gone barren, and immigrants and refugees are tossed into prison camps; it's the proverbial nightmare to which we might actually wake up sooner than later. Starring Clive Owen as the accidental, unwilling hero, this is grim, gritty stuff—a cautionary thriller that's as downbeat as it is up-tempo; you're always expecting the worst, and seldom does Cuarón disappoint. The extras live up to the movie: A thoughtful doc features activists, historians, and philosophers ruminating on utopian theories, the dangers of globalization, and "ultimate reality." Heady shit, yeah, but worth the time. There's also a dissection of the single-take action sequences that give the movie a real-time vibe. Film students, take note. ROBERT WILONSKY

Color Me Kubrick

Magnolia, $29.98

Alan Conway was a British homosexual con man who impersonated Stanley Kubrick for sex and money. That's kind of interesting, right? It is, for maybe 20 minutes, but this movie is too formless and unambitious to be worth the full 90. That's a shame, because John Malkovich clearly relishes the role of conniving Conway—and he rarely has this much fun without the audience joining him. After the ninth or 10th time Conway drunkenly hoodwinks a rube, you've seen enough, but the damn thing keeps on going. The film's not without laughs (use of grand classical music from Kubrick's films to underscore Conway's pathos is a funny touch), but there's no plot and no question to be answered. Why pretend to be Stanley Kubrick? Well, why not? JORDAN HARPER

Other Releases

Those wacky Hollywood kids-about-town continue their high jinks in Entourage: Season Three, Part 1. Donald Sutherland suffers from Parkinson's in Aurora Borealis. Starring (ahem) Tom Sizemore, the direct-to-video Bottom Feeder should not to be confused with the Seattle Weekly column of the same name, though that column certainly deserve its own movie, and Sizemore would probably be an excellent companion in slum dining. For only $144 you can own and view all 1,117 episodes of The Brady Bunch, which is almost like reading all of Proust. Certainly funnier is the complete Tom Goes to the Mayor, from the Cartoon Network. Barry Levinson is dusting off a director's cut of his 1984 hit, The Natural. For kids, the new animated version of Charlotte's Web is pretty good; and for cultists, there's the second season of David Lynch's Twin Peaks. And if you can't get enough of depressing Holocaust docs, there's the reissued 1982 Who Shall Live and Who Shall Die? Emmanuelle Seigner plays a Euro pop diva in Backstage, Matt Damon plays a boring spy in the boring The Good Shepherd, and Ed Harris plays you-know-who in Copying Beethoven, which at least has good music. Death of a President doesn't quite follow through on its provocative premise, even for die-hard Bush haters. Pick of the week would be Volver, maybe not the greatest entry in the Almodóvar canon, but surely one of the more straightforward and enjoyable.


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