Home Media Magazine - November 11-17, 2007 - (Page 26)
REVIEWS Edited by John Latchem www.homemediamagazine.com and an ‘A’-list actor, Christian Bale, for the lead role of Dieter Dengler. Although rumor has it that the director was at constant loggerheads with his tinsel-town paymasters, the result is fairly astounding. Rescue Dawn is an edge-of-your-seat film rendered with a poet’s touch. Herzog evokes Dengler’s nightmare of trying to survive in a brutal, unnavigable jungle with a rare intimacy and meticulous attention to detail. He also seems to have abandoned his former indifference to filmmaking fundamentals such as spatial continuity and tight scripting, I RESCUE DAWN Street 11/20 Fox/MGM, Drama, B.O. $5.5 million, $29.98 DVD, ‘PG-13’ for some sequences of intense war violence and torture. Stars Christian Bale, Steve Zahn, Jeremy Davies. W erner Herzog’s Rescue Dawn is without question the iconoclastic filmmaker’s most accessible feature film to date. While other avatars of the ’70s era New German Cinema movement have either passed on (Fassbinder) or burned out (Wenders, Schlöndorff), Herzog has remained vital and relevant by spending the past two decades focusing primarily on documentaries, churning out minor masterpieces such as Grizzly Man and Lessons of Darkness at an astonishing rate. It is fitting then that his overdue return to narrative cinema is based on his own 1997 documentary Little Dieter Needs to Fly, about an American pilot who was imprisoned in, and ultimately escaped from, a Laotian POW camp at the beginning of the Vietnam war. In revisiting this material for Rescue Dawn, Herzog was able to attract, for the first time in his career, significant Hollywood funding and the performances he commands from Bale and supporting cast members Zahn and Davies — all of whom look as if they haven’t eaten in six months — are remarkable. Like many Herzog productions, the shooting of Rescue Dawn was fraught with no end of production problems, especially those incident to being on location in the jungles of Thailand. The DVD extras — short making-of docs and a feature-length commentary by Herzog — highlight the unusual, and at times shocking, rigors that cast and crew underwent, and are almost as diverting as the film itself. – Eddie Mullins I THE ROCKET Prebook 11/13; Street 12/11 Palm, Drama, $24.99 DVD, ‘PG’ for rough sports action including fighting, some bloody images, some language and historical smoking throughout. In French and English with English subtitles. Stars Roy Dupuis, Patrice Robitaille, Stephen McHattie. hether or not you’re a die-hard hockey fan, it’s hard not to fall in love with The Rocket, an inspiring and electrifying biopic about Maurice Richard, the athlete many refer to as the Babe Ruth of hockey. Set in Quebec against the backdrop of World War II, The Rocket begins with Maurice (Dupuis, who has played the hockey icon twice before) as a teenager forced to work as a machinist after being rejected by the Army for having too many unhealed injuries from playing junior hockey. Despite being seen as frail by others, Maurice knew he had what it took to become a great hockey player, and persevered until he got his big break with the Montreal Canadiens. Maurice’s speed and power on the ice W made him an instant star, earning him the nickname “The Rocket,” but his injuries had the team’s owners always looking to trade him. Lucky for Maurice, the Canadiens’ tough-as-nails American coach, Dick Irvin (McHattie), saw his passion, fire and natural talent, despite his being dragged through the mud by the press and the public. Despite all his naysayers, Maurice never lost focus and went on to become one of the National Hockey League’s toughest players — becoming the first player to score 50 goals in 50 games and helping his team win eight Stanley Cups during the 1940s and ’50s. He was able to accomplish all of this while fighting for much-needed reform in the NHL, which was openly biased against French-Canadians, culminating with the 1955 “Richard Riot” in Montreal, following Maurice’s unjust suspension for his involvement in a fight during a game. The Rocket is hands down the best hockey movie, and one of the best sports movies, ever made. Everything from the filmmaking (kudos to director Charles Binamé), to the exciting on-ice action, to the superb cast (which includes a number of actual hockey players) adds up to a hard-hitting, historical look at the evolution of professional hockey while spotlighting one of the sport’s true legends. If you weren’t a hockey fan before watching the film, you will be afterward. – Matt Miller I VERNIE Prebook 11/16; Street 12/18 Vanguard, Drama, $19.95 DVD, NR. Stars Amy Colon, John Riedlinger. T here’s a long tradition of films in which a main character spends a big chunk of his or her time on screen dying, beginning with 1915’s Camille. Although Vernie is a recent entry into the dying protagonist genre, it takes a quiet, funny and restrained approach to the material and even throws in a couple of surprising plot devices and more than a few laughs. Kristi and Sean are best friends woven deep into the fabric of each other’s lives. So when Sean is diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, it’s Kristi who is devastated. Just as she is beginning to process what is happening to her dear friend, he comes to her with a proposal: He wants them to have a baby together, before it’s too late. At its core, Vernie is both very sad and, at the same time, life-affirming. Newcomer Riedlinger brings a rich, varied stew of emotion to a role that could easily have dipped irretrievably into the maudlin. And Colon, also a movie novice, is able to bring both depth and breadth of emotion to her role as a woman who is confronting both an unimaginable tragedy and a life-changing miracle. Vernie is both a bit of a tearjerker and a surprisingly funny examination of the capriciousness of disease and its effect on family and friends. Viewers interested in films that delve into raw emotion will find Vernie worth a look. – Anne Sherber 26 Home Media Magazine November 11–17, 2007
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Home Media Magazine - November 11-17, 2007
Top 20 DVD Sellers
Top 20 Rentals and Top 10 Charts
Christian Entertainment Review
Home Media Magazine - November 11-17, 2007
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