Rebecca Redshaw's "SOFA CINEMA: An Easy Guide to DVDs Volume 1" is available at local book stores, at the Sequim Gazette and online at www.rebeccaredshaw.com.
The movies selected for review are the choice of the reviewer. Suggestions for DVD titles are welcome. Enjoy the movies.
Chihuahua," rated PG
There are a few token human beings in "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" but they don't get in the way of the reasons you may enjoy this adventure.
The BHC (Beverly Hills Chihuahua) Chloe (voiced by Drew Barrymore) is a pocketbook beauty, enjoying the high life of the rich and famous. Her owner Viv (Jamie Lee Curtis) must travel for business and entrusts the joy of her life to her pretty niece Rachel (Piper Perabo). Alas, Rachel also is pretty snobbish and self-involved, too much so to give the mansion's gardener and his Chihuahua Papi (George Lopez) the time of day. When Chloe gets lost in Mexico, the plot, such as it is, thickens. Papi races to her rescue. Along the way, Chloe is saved by a troubled German shepherd (Andy Garcia) and pursued by a vicious Doberman (Edward James Olmos).
It doesn't really matter that you can place the famous voice with a particular canine. Actually, that may get in the way of a better than average time watching the dogs and humans interact. The chases are entertaining, the fight scenes basically harmless and a happy ending (and a sequel) are ensured.
"Beverly Hills Chihuahua" may not inspire you to adopt a pint-size pup the next time you're looking for furry companionship, but a modicum of respect may be in order after watching Chloe and Papi's adventures.
"The Lucky Ones," rated R
"The Lucky Ones" is neither a war movie nor a road picture. It isn't a buddy film or a chick flick. And it's all those things.
Cheever, Colee and T.F. (Tim Robbins, Rachel McAdams and Michael Peña) are soldiers on their way home from Iraq. Colee and T.F. are on a 30-day leave to heal their battle wounds and Cheever, an older National Guardsman, had his back broken in noncombat accident (a port-o-potty fell off a delivery truck, crushing three vertebrae). A power outage in New York City cancels all flights, so this motley trio rents a van and hits the road.
It can be boring driving long distances. It can be even more boring watching other people driving, but luckily writer/director Neil Burger (along with writer Dirk Wittenborn) serves up three diverse and interesting characters.
Peña's Sgt. T.K. is the epitome of a military man. He obeys and gives orders, he knows right from wrong and he has a clear vision of his future. McAdams is refreshing as the private who is searching for acceptance. Robbins is an actor who rarely disappoints and he aces the role of a too-old soldier watching the life he thought he was coming home to slip away.
"The Lucky Ones" isn't a war movie, a road picture, a buddy film or a chick flick. It's a film you won't want to miss.
"Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired"
No matter how hard we try, we can't learn a whole story from 30-second sound bites. Film director Roman Polanski is once again in the news and the media "spin" around his innocence or guilt is tedious at best. So, why watch the documentary "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired"? Because the film does exactly what a good documentary is supposed to do.
Director Marina Zenovich is far too young to have read the headlines at the time the crime occurred in 1977 when Polanski was charged with a variety of sexual offenses with a minor including rape. Perhaps that gave her the perspective needed when interviewing dozens of people involved, including the victim.
The prosecuting attorney and defense council recount the proceedings in statements unswayed by the emotional outpourings of the media and the public. Polanski is heard and seen briefly in old interviews and a few colleagues, but for the most part the events are revealed in chronological order by people who were involved.
As the footage bounces back and forth between lawyers, past episodes of the fictional "Law & Order" series come to mind. Truth is stranger than fiction and to go back in time even further to the old "Dragnet" series, the oft quoted "Just the facts, ma'am" springs to mind.
Whether you like him or loathe him, you'll get a better grasp on the truth by watching "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired."
Rebecca Redshaw can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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