Film/DVD

DVD Shorts: March 2007

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Shortbus
ShortbusLove and sex. The connections can be myriad, comic, and sometimes tragic. Several New Yorkers find each other — and themselves — at a weekly underground gathering of art, music, politics, eccentricity, and polysexual debauchery in this in-your-face ensemble comedy. 2006. Directed by John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch). Available March 13 from THINKFilm (www.thinkfilmcompany.com). — Preview: Eric A. T. Dieckman
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This Film Is Not Yet Rated
What goes into a film’s rating? Academy Award-nominated filmmaker/documentarian Kirby Dick investigates the enigmatic Motion Picture Association of America and its questionable process of rating movies. Do some studios receive preferential treatment? Is the MPAA attempting to control our culture? Are there discrepancies in determining the difference between PG-rated sex and violence and its NC-17 counterpart? 2006. Co-written and directed by Kirby Dick. (See also Television.)   From IFC Television (www.thinkfilmcompany.com). — Preview: Eric A. T. Dieckman 

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The Devil Wears Prada
PradaIn this uncontrived coming-of-age comedy, Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway, Brokeback Mountain) leaves a career in hard journalism for a position thousands of young women would kill for. As assistant to Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), the hard-boiled editor of Runway magazine, the dowdy Sachs must reinvent herself to survive. Nigel (Stanley Tucci), a clearly gay Runway exec, rips her from the bargain basement and heaves her headfirst into the world of high fashion. In the end, however, she learns the value of substance over style. 2006. Directed by David Frankel. From Fox Home Entertainment (www.foxhome.com). —Preview: Eric A. T. Dieckman 

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F–K
Practically everybody says it, nearly everyone does it. So why is that word so f–king taboo? In the spirit of The Aristocrats and Phone Sex, this doc examines the power and controversy a single, one-syllable word can create. Look for incite from the likes of Janeane Garofalo, Ron Jeremy, Bill Maher, Miss Manners, and Hunter S. Thompson. 2005. Directed by Steve Anderson. From THINKFilm (www.thinkfilmcompany.com). — Preview: Eric A. T. Dieckman 

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Soap

SoapCharlotte has recently moved into a new apartment. Veronica, her new neighbor, awaits a sex-change operation, biding her time watching a daytime drama and with visits from johns. When they meet, Veronica turns Charlotte on to her favorite soap. They become inseparable, eventually developing an awkward mutual attraction. They clumsily pursue their love, discovering the drama, confusion, uncertainty — the soap — of their own lives. 2006. Co-written and directed by Pernille Fischer Christiansen. From Strand Releasing (www.strandreleasing.com). — Preview: Eric A. T. Dieckman 

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C.R.A.Z.Y.
After Zac demonstrates a zeal for donning his mother’s frocks, he loses most-favored-son status with his father Gervais. As Zac grows up in the ’70s, his gender-bending continues, with acumen for androgynous Glam fashion. Paternal disapproval becomes disdain. As Zac leaves his teens and seeks self-acceptance, Gervais finds he must do the same. 2005. Co-written and directed by Jean-Marc Vallée. French with English subtitles. From Genius Products (www.geniusproducts.com). — Preview: Eric A. T. Dieckman

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Sun Kissed
SunKissedTeddy crashes at his professor’s desert home to work on his novel. There he falls for Leo, the comely caretaker. After a few chapters — and a few [dozen] drinks — Teddy takes a stab at Leo. But it seems that Leo has taken a stab or two at danger in the past in this romantic thriller. 2006. Written and directed by Patrick McGuinn. Available March 13 from Wolfe Video (www.WolfeVideo.com). — Preview: Eric A. T. Dieckman

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Outlaugh!
The first-ever queer comedy festival features Jason Stuart, Bob Smith, Karen Ripley, Page Hurwitz, the Nellie Olesons, headliner Lea DeLaria, hosts The Gay Mafia, and more. Behind-the-scenes footage looks at what it takes to be out and hilarious. 2006. Directed by Gene Merker. Available March 13 from Wolfe Video (www.WolfeVideo.com). — Preview: Eric A. T. Dieckman

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The Full Monty: The Fully Exposed Edition
FullMontyThe riotously funny ensemble comedy of poverty and packages returns with a two-disc set. Bulging with bonus material, including the “Music Machine,” which allows viewers to skip to fave music/dance numbers with the Oscar-winning film. 1997. Directed by Peter Cattaneo. Available March 6 from Fox Home Entertainment (www.foxhome.com). — Preview: Eric A. T. Dieckman

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Robert Mitchum: The Signature Collection
Robert Mitchum is one film star from the Golden Age whose work just looks better with the passing of time, so the new Robert Mitchum “Signature Collection” is a welcome addition to one’s home film library even though none of the titles here are particularly signature. Despite that, classic movie fans are probably going to be thrilled with at least some of the contents. For many fans the centerpiece of this set is 1952’s cult bad girl drama Angel Face, with Jean Simmons cast against type as the title character. Mitchum’s no match for her, and the twist ending proves it. Then, from the same year, there’s Macao (a personal favorite), with Mitchum appearing only about half as tough and hardboiled as his gorgeous co-star, the great Jane Russell. Gloria Grahame gives her some sulky competition in this noir drama set in a make-believe (read: soundstage) Macao. Another really underappreciated treasure is 1960’s The Sundowners, featuring Mitchum and Deborah Kerr as Australian sheepherders — and they’ve got the accents to prove it. This collection also includes, in descending order of quality, 1960’s Home From the Hill, 1975’s The Yakuza, and 1969’s The Good Guys and the Bad Guys. Go directly to Macao, then make a stop in Australia before coming back home to Angel Face. From Warner Home Video (www.warnervideo.com). — Review: Jack Varsi

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Maude: the Complete First Season
MaudeAbortion, gay rights, the war, racism — all hot topics for TV, even today. But when presented as comedy by producer Norman Lear in the early ’70s, it was downright revolutionary. The first of her two signature sitcom roles, Bea Arthur’s anything-but-compromisin’ portrayal of Maude Finley rightly garnered her five Emmy nominations and a win in the course of the show’s six-year run. Right on! Available March 20 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (www.sonypictures.com). — Preview: Nancy Ford

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Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman: Volume One

Before there was Soap (the TV show, not the listing on the previous page) or Soap Dish, there was Mary Hartman, who endured her travails with subtle humor. The pigtailed Mary (Emmy-nominee Louise Lasser) copes with her flasher grandfather, being kidnapped by a mass murderer, and a failing marriage, all the while fretting over the waxy yellow build-up on her floors. Available March 27 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (www.sonypictures.com). — Preview: Eric A. T. Dieckman

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Shut Up and Sing
 ShutUpFunny thing about free speech. It’s seldom a speech, per se. And it is hardly free. That’s what Dixie Chicks discovered when lead singer Natalie Maines spontaneously uttered that now-infamous sentence onstage about W and Texas and embarrassment. This country-rock doc traces DC’s return to the top of the charts, despite being ostracized from many broadcasters since 2003. Maybe after sweeping the Grammys with five big wins, including song and album of the year, the Chicks will get a bit more respect from local radio. But don’t hold your breath. From The Weinstein Company and Genius Products. Details: www.shutupandsingmovie.com. — Preview: Nancy Ford

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