New and Newish DVDs

The DVD collection is growing and we hope you are finding new titles that stimulate your imagination.  Here are three new films of note:



This is a clever story of paranoid twists and turns.  Bill, a young man with too much time on his hands, develops an obsession with following strangers at random on the street.  When Cobb, a man Bill has been following, catches him in the act, Bill is drawn into Cobb's world of breaking into flats and prying into the personal lives of their victims.  As the story flashes forward and back, we see Cobb awakening Bill’s darker side and pulling him into an elaborate triple cross.  From the director of Memento, this 1999 gem is a new addition to the collection.



Source Code is Ground Hog Day on steroids.  Army Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a covert operative for Project: Beleaguered Castle, an Air Force counter-terrorism group that can project his consciousness into the “after-image” of recent events and allow him to occupy a host body of comparable age, height, and size.  It’s complicated science - not exactly time travel and not entirely jumping between parallel worlds.  The project has Stevens, guided by his controller operator (Vera Farmiga), jumping into the remnants of recent events to gather intelligence about upcoming terrorist attacks.  Ultimately, what makes the movie work is the fiction, not the science fiction.  The actors display humanity and authentic emotions that drive the story and suck you into a disorienting and dangerous world.



Here is another other world, created by Sylvain Chomet, the gifted director of The Triplets of Belleville.  For this 2010 feature, Chomet adapts an unproduced screenplay by master French filmmaker Jacques Tati.


This world is an animated one, set in the late-1950’s.  An aging stage magician finds himself out of work in France and hits the road in search of a new job.  Along the way he has a number of gigs, meets naïve teenaged barmaid named Alice who he takes under his wing and finally lands in Edinburgh where the two of them take an apartment.


However, describing the basic plot of The Illusionist does it little justice.  It is a brew of humorous scenarios, quiet slapstick and elaborate scenic concoctions, propelled by memorable characters who rarely speak and who come alive through idiosyncratic gestures and rubbery body language.  One writer called it a triumph of “behavior over banter.”  I recommend it.


Posted in Director's Report by on Monday, October 10th 1:53pm

  • Daniel
    Monday, April 23rd 10:50am
    I was very very disappointed with Illusionist. The film is a mess - as a story it\'s badly told from biienngng to end. Interestingly entire sequences were cut at the very last minute after being fully produced. The film had severe narrative defects which were not resolved and it shows in the final version. Anyone notice that amazingly animated rugby match playing on the TV sets in the bg? Bit OTT for just a BG detail don\'t you think? That was originally an entire sequence where Alice goes with Tatishceff and sees the boyfriend playing rugby, all fully animated and then CUT since it was redundant to the story, as were loads of other scenes - around 30mins of finished animation was lost severly affecting the original intention of the story. The narrative is choppy and abstract in its direction and at times it makes very little sense. Some character story arcs are inexplicable - the drunk being the worst (brilliantly animated though) as he randomly pops up at the end for no good reason - the fact that it was the same character that invited Tatishceff to perform in his village completely passed me over. Alice comes across as a greedy gold digger and not some naive innocent, and she ditches this poor man at the first available opportunity after she has bled him dry. Her belief that Tatischeff can do \'real\' magic is not explained at all well. Even artistically, in a film which on the whole is very very beautiful (that last shot of the book and the shadow? WOW!!!!) there are some bizarre off choices in the art direction. In the scene where the manager of Jenners is trying to decide what to display in his front window; the colour design, composition and character designs are so bad you have to wonder if you are suddenly watching a different film. A real mixed boat.And if Chomet is so against CGI and so FOR hand drawn animation, why oh why was there that completely ghastly badly judged CGI turnaround of Edinburgh at the end?! It looked appalling - stylistically out of tune with the beautiful watercolour look from the rest of the film and narratively pointless.Being a 2D animator I SO wanted a lot from Illusionist to help reinforce that 2D is not dead and can continue to thrive. I\'m glad it\'s getting good press but I was appalled at a dull boring film of people just walking and walking around! MAJOR disappointment.