Video Vault: Hot List

October gives way to November and the leaves are dropping, here’s your Hot List of films still on the new release racks at Adventure / Silverscreen Video Stores. Get these before they fade away into the crowded jungle of general titles.

Jungle Book 40th Anniversary – One of the most lively of all kids’ movies gets the royal treatment in a deluxe Disney DVD.

Bridge to Terabithia – Terrific film for tweens about a boy and a girl who become friends in a rich world of imagination. Make sure you get the right version. This one is directed by Gabor Csupo and stars Josh Hutcherson, AnnaSophia Robb and Zooey Deschanel.

Charlotte’s Web – Newest live action incarnation of E.B. White’s blessed fable. Top notch, and it features a lovely new song, “Ordinary Miracle” by Sarah McLachlan, that plays over the credits. Wonderful movie.

Children of Men – One of the best of recent science fiction, it imagines a world where the population has gone mysteriously sterile. The ramifications to an aging population are well thought out in a meticulous film, mysterious and chilling.

The Conversation – This excellent oldie finds a young Gene Hackman in the 1970s as an expert in the intercepting of conversations. Thrilling film, economical, and expertly acted. Not to be missed.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula
– For the Halloween set comes a nice re-issue of one of the best in the Vampire cannon. Francis Ford Coppola’s lush camera captures a vivid and welcome update.

Who Killed the Electric Car? – In the 1980s, General Motors developed and produced a car that would have almost surely eliminated America’s dependency on foreign oil. It was the EV1 and it was leased to motorists in California to meet then tougher but since weakened air quality standards. This is a maddening documentary about how car owners fought to retain the cars and how GM wouldn’t allow it. You’ll be pulling your hair out by the end.

The Lives of Others – Oscar winner about life in the 1980s under the surveillance of the East German “Stasi.” Blood draining portrait of Cold War era E. Berlin behind the Iron Curtain.

Notes on a Scandal – Potent star-power here as Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett play out a gripping drama about an illicit affair between a teacher and a student.

Pan’s Labyrinth – In fascist Spain of 1944, the bookish young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer escapes into an eerie but captivating fantasy world. Guillermo del Toro’s magical fantasy thriller is a feast for the eyes. Subtitled.

Sherry Baby – Maggie Gyllenhaal stars as a recovering addict and ex-con desperate to reestablish a life and a relationship with her estranged daughter. Outstanding, strong drama.

Volver – Penelope Cruz is a perky, implacable Latina who can handle anything as she secretly runs a closed down restaurant, deals in a unique way with the loss of her husband and the ghost of her departed mother. Lovely, charming. If you miss it, shame on you. Spanish with subtitles.

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