A & E






Newspapers & Magazines




Web / Tech

A Sterling Week for New DVD Releases



One of VanRamblings’ favourite movies this year (Man on Fire and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind being the two others), the year’s most peculiarly romantic film comes to the small screen this week, and it’s a keeper. Earlier this year the Globe and Mail’s Geoff Pevere raved about The Girl Next Door, while the New York Daily News’ Jami Bernard opened her review with “Once in a very long while, a truly memorable romantic teen comedy comes along. The Girl Next Door is one.” A must rental ... soon.


Somewhat less racy (okay, okay ... a great deal less racy) than The Girl Next Door, Ella Enchanted is the movie that Roger Ebert calls the best Cinderella themed film of the year (heck, he gave it 3½ stars). Entertainment Weekly movie critic Lisa Schwarzbaum (VanRamblings’ favourite movie reviewer, by the way) wrote, “Director Tommy O’Haver’s adaptation of Gail Carson Levine’s book is a hoot and a giggle of a girl-power fairy tale blended from potions of Monty Python, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and Shrek. Saddled with the burdensome ‘gift’ of mandatory obedience by a loose cannon fairy godmother (Vivica A. Fox), Ella of Frell (Anne Hathaway, the beaming who-ya-gonna-call of princess players) grows up at the frustrated mercy of anybody’s command. Naturally, a wicked stepmother (Joanna Lumley of Absolutely Fabulous) and horrid stepsisters (Brits Lucy Punch and Jennifer Higham) take advantage of her pliancy; naturally, a dreamy prince (Hugh Dancy) sees through to the real Ella. The sharpest jokes in this cheerily pudding-colored-looking production are visual and throwaway: The stepsisters read Damsel Zone and Medieval Teen magazine. The girls admire goblets at the Crockery Barn in the Galleria of Frell. The elves sing and dance like the teenage drama queens in Camp. Princesshood has rarely looked so tra-la-la gay.” Another must-rental this week.


Shaolin Soccer is Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon with soccer balls, a touch of Sergio Leone and not one microsecond of seriousness. Stephen Chow’s Hong Kong movie, which has smashed box-office records in Asia, is about six down-and-out brothers, all former martial arts monks, who rediscover their high-flying chops when they’re invited to join a soccer team. They’ve never played the game, but it doesn’t take them long to apply their skills to the sport. Zany, giddily-inspired fun. A worthy rental.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at August 26, 2004 11:57 PM in Video & DVD


back to top