Film/DVD

DVD Shorts: May 2008

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Forgiving the Franklins
FranklinsWhat happens when a born-again Christian family has a collective near-death experience and meets Jesus who then strips away the trappings of original sin? They awake to find themselves staring as innocently at the world as Adam and Eve. But their jaded moral-majority neighbors are not ready for purity and innocence free of the confines of right-wing dogma. And when the son (of legal age) explores homosexuality with his gym coach, coach is not prepared for the boy to be so open about their relationship. The suburbs will not allow a return to the Garden of Eden. • 2006. Written, directed, and shot by Jay Floyd. • From Indie-Pictures (www.indie-pictures.com). — Preview: Eric A.T. Dieckman

Spider Lilies
In this David Lynch-esque, award-winning film by Zero Chou, Jade (Taiwanese pop icon Rainie Yang) is a webcam girl with a heart of gold and a life-long crush on Takeko, a butchy yet sensitive inker. Together they learn that behind every tattoo is a secret. Wolfe Video (www.wolfevideo.com). — Preview: Nancy Ford

BoysLoveBoys Love
Conservatives find love through unexpected romances with reckless free spirits, regardless of language or culture. In this case, young magazine editor Akira (uptight) interviews teen model Kisaragi (wild). The interview begins at Kisaragi’s home where Akira is taken by Kisa’s paintings. The interview continues over dinner, then moves steamily to a bathroom stall. But the demands of Akira’s career and jealousy from Kisa’s compatriots put their passion to the test. • 2006. Co-written and directed by Kohtaru Terauchi. Japanese with English subtitles. • From Picture This! Home Entertainment (www.picturethisent.com). — Preview: E.D.

Sonja
What’s cuter than a young brunette girl dancing around in her underwear? A young brunette girl dancing around in her underwear who speaks German in a soft voice. In this award-wining coming-of-age story, 16-year-old Sonja finds a friend and confidant in the scooter-riding Julia. The more their friendship grows, the more they realize their mutual love is more than platonic. And they dance in a locker room in their skivvies, too. • 2006. Written and directed by Kirsi Marie Liimatainen. German with English subtitles. • From Picture This! Home Entertainment (www.picturethisent.com). — Preview: E.D.

SweeneyToddSweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Stephen Sondheim’s Tony Award-winning musical becomes bloody resplendent under the guiding hands of Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen, and more. (Well, it’s resplendent, and bloody, very bloody.) If you’ve ever wondered if Depp can sing, he can, and quite well. His duet with Carter is both hilarious and touching. • 2007. Directed by Tim Burton. • From Paramount Home Entertainment (www.paramount.com). — Review: E.D.

A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila
MTV made the first reality dating show wherein lesbians compete (alongside straight men) for the love of a bisexual woman, cyber-sexpot Tila Tequila. Unfortunately, reality shows are not known for making anyone look good. The lesbians exhibit themselves as pernicious man-haters, and Tequila comes off as more dilettantish and fashionably bi than legitimately gay. The show also makes VH1’s The Flavor of Love look like PBS’ Masterpiece Theater. • From Paramount Home Entertainment (www.paramount.com). — Review: E.D.

LastRequestLast Request
Despite a promising cast (Danny Aiello, openly gay Mario Cantone, Mary Birdsong of Reno 911, Frank Vincent, and Vincent Pastore, both of The Sopranos), this screwball comedy is just plain terrible. Pop (Aiello) is on his deathbed. His dying request: a grandchild on the way before he croaks. Son Jeff bungles his plans to find wife and impregnate her in time. • 2006. Written and directed by John DeBellis. • From MTI Home Video (www.mtivideo.com). — Review: E.D.

Classic Musicals from the Dream Factory Vol. 3 and The Bette Davis Collection
The new “Classic Musicals From the Dream Factory Volume 3” mines the MGM vaults once again and comes up with an assortment of films that probably won’t impress the casual (read: nonobsessed) movie viewer, but may induce something like nirvana in those of us who actually exist for, say, obscure Ann Sothern movies. Yes, Miss Sothern turns up in at least two of these not-quite-classics, 1941’s Lady Be Good and 1950’s Nancy Goes to Rio, while the nearly forgotten Eleanor Powell tap dances her way into our hearts and damn near through the floor in three of them, namely 1936’s Born to Dance and the Broadway Melody extravaganzas of 1936 and 1938, the latter featuring Judy Garland’s legendary “Dear Mr. Gable.” Other goodies include Two Weeks With Love (1950), Deep in My Heart (1954), and Hit the Deck (1955). Perhaps the real standout of this set is 1955’s Kismet, with Howard Keel, Ann Blyth, Vic Damone, and Dolores Grey alternately shouting, screeching, and steamrolling those lovely melodies of Alexander Borodin. …

BettyDavisMeanwhile, a new Bette Davis Collection showcases the iconic actress in her post-Warner Bros. period, with films ranging from 1950’s classic All About Eve to 1965’s not-quite-so-classic The Nanny. This is perhaps the third or fourth release of All About Eve on DVD, but the new two-disc special edition boasts extras that hardcore obsessives won’t be able to live without. (Don’t miss the featurette on the real Eve Herrington!) Other titles include 1955’s The Virgin Queen, making its DVD debut here, plus Phone Call From a Stranger (1952) and Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte (1964.)

If you must know, there is also a “Bette Davis Collection Volume 3” that has just been released by another company and not sent to us for preview. Miss Davis, it appears, will always be with us. • Classic Musicals from Warner Home Video (www.warnerbros.com). Bette Davis from Fox Home Entertainment (www.foxhome.com). — Reviews: Jack Varsi

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