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Monthly Archives: June 2008

“Meet the Browns,” the latest adaptation of a Tyler Perry play, arrives on DVD Tuesday.

"Meet the Browns" (2008) - A woman finds out her estranged father has passed away, and she goes to the funeral to meet the family that she never knew she had.

I live in New Orleans and work at a locally-owned video store, so I have a maximum exposure to Tyler Perry and his target audience. He hails from the Big Easy, and a large following has been growing ever since his plays started debuting at the Saenger Theater in downtown New Orleans. Now that he has been turning his plays (“Diary of a Mad Black Woman,” “Madea’s Family Reunion,” “Why Did I Get Married?” and now “Meet the Browns”) into films (popular at both the theater and video stores), Perry has been gaining national exposure and acclaim all across the country.

And I’ve just been dying to figure out this Perry phenomenon that swept New Orleans a long time ago and is working its way through America right now.

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“My Blueberry Nights,” Kar Wai Wong newest movie, arrives on DVD Tuesday.

"My Blueberry Nights" (2008) - After she discovers her boyfriend is having an affair, a young woman explores the American landscape.

“My Blueberry Nights” premiered at Cannes in 2007 as a nominee of the prestigious Palme d’Or award. In competition with films like “Persepolis,” “No Country for Old Men,” and “Zodiac,” the movie lost to “4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days.” Amidst all these wonderful films, Wong’s new work managed to get mixed reviews. I don’t know how it managed to get positive quotes from critics.

Many of Wong’s films have been praised by critics, especially “Chungking Express,” but I’ve only managed to watch “In the Mood for Love,” and an artist who is capable of making a movie as patient and beautiful as “In the Mood for Love” has no excuse for making a movie as lazy–and, dare I say, pointless?–as “My Blueberry Nights.”

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"Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (2007) - A wrongly-imprisoned barber goes insane and seeks revenge from the people who put him behind bars and took away his family.

Just re-watched Tim Burton’s version of “Sweeney Todd,” and I didn’t like it nearly as much as I did when I saw it at the end of last year. I suppose it’s because it’s nearly impossible for hype to have an effect on my opinion six months later.

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After reading Armond White’s wonderful essay (“What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Movies”) and the first chapter of “The Art of Fiction” — John Gardner’s classic writing book — I’ve started anew with the movies.

About a month ago, I was surfing Netflix, and I read the contents of a small box in the corner of the recommendations page: according to my ratings, I’ve seen over 1600 movies. I don’t think it’s a high number of movies for someone to see in 20 years of their life, but 1600 movies do add up to a lot of hours (about 3200, or about four and a half months). The number sounded ridiculous to me, and as I paged through my ratings, I saw that I had rated movies that I hadn’t seen since my first year of high school (and even before that). I’m only 20, yes, but even though I’m not much older than a high-school senior, a lot of growth takes place during high school and college. I view movies much much differently than I did even as a college freshman. I remember being bored by Bergman in high school, and now I can’t imagine film without his touch. And I’ve been exerpiencing similar growth in the past semester.

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