Armchair Cinephile: The Cine-Mini


PICK OF THE WEEK: Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (Sony): Or, as I’ve come to know him via Sacha Baron Cohen’s Jean Girard, “Reeky Booby.” Will Ferrell’s film vehicles often don’t live up to his talent, but this one comes closer than most. Better still, its success at the box office should ensure that Ferrell gets the benefit of the doubt for a while when he tries to sell some new weird idea (hey — wouldn’t it be funny if I impersonated the host of Inside the Actor’s Studio?) to a studio head.

My Geisha (Paramount): Shirley MacLaine, at the height of her charm, plays an actress who wants to star in Madame Butterfly.
The Devil Wears Prada (Fox): With people talking about Best Actress possibilities for Meryl Streep, I’m wondering: Isn’t it time the Academy splits the Best Costumes award into two categories, one for straight work and one for stunt efforts like this one, where the clothes are supposed to upstage the action, not serve it?

This Filthy World (Netflix): A documentary of a highly entertaining one-man show in which King of Trash John Waters romps down memory lane, this film premiered last September at the Toronto fest and is for the moment exclusively distributed by Netflix.

Charlie Chan Collection Vol. 2 (Fox): Further adventures of the character as played by Warner Oland, including: At the Opera, At the Olympics, At the Race Track, At the Circus

Dean Martin Double Feature (Sony): No, it’s not as substantial as the Martin/Lewis set featured here recently, but it’s a characteristic peek at his solo years, with How to Save a Marriage (and Ruin Your Life) and Who Was That Lady?

World Trade Center (Paramount): Oliver Stone’s picture was respectful and made with the best intentions, but it was just too ordinary for the subject it memorialized. Year-end critics’ polls are doing the right thing by giving United 93 the respect it didn’t get at the box office.

EXTENDED/REMASTERED: Bugsy (Sony); The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe (Buena Vista); The Doors (Lions Gate)

FOR YOUR EYES ONLY: Volumes 3 and 4 of the James Bond Ultimate Collection (MGM) offering high-def remasters of five films each.

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