Today’s New Releases

BLOODY SUNDAY- Because of a silly technicality, one of the best movies of 2002 wasn’t eligible to be nominated for an Oscar. Mind you, “Bloody Sunday” is probably too fiercely intelligent and complex to have garnered votes anyway. Director Paul Greengrass recreates the sad day of Jan. 30, 1972, when British soldiers gunned down unarmed Irish demonstrators. It’s clear where his sympathies lie, but Greengrass doesn’t demonize the British and the movie’s docudrama style – which is so effective, less clever viewers might assume it is a documentary – helps you understand how events can spiral out of control. Unshakeable.
YOUNG GUNS: SPECIAL EDITION- The silly “Teen Beat” Western with an all-star cast including Emilio Estevez, Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland and Lou Diamond Phillips may not be good cinema, but it is good fun. And if Estevez doesn’t do it for you as Billy the Kid in the 1998 flick, you’ll be relieved to see the package includes a substantial half-hour documentary on the real Billy the Kid.
THE BELIEVER- Russell Crowe received some of his best early reviews playing a neo-Nazi skinhead in the Aussie flick “Romper Stomper.” Ryan Gosling deserves the same career boost for playing Daniel, the neo-fascist, closeted Jew in “The Believer”. His anti-Semitic rants are compelling, but Danny is especially compelling when he’s especially conflicted – he may be planting a pipe bomb in a synagogue, but when his friends start trampling on a Torah, a deeply hidden part of Danny can’t handle it.
STANDING IN THE SHADOWS OF MOTOWN- This infectious documentary/concert film celebrates the legendary Motown band the Funk Brothers, who played on more No. 1 records than probably any other group of musicians in history. “Standing in the Shadows of Motown” isn’t just nostalgia, since the heart of the film is a new concert with guest singers like Joan Osborne and Chaka Khan. A CD extra lets you sing or play along with samples of the Funk Brothers’ music – or, you could just belt out these numbers in the shower.
SPEED RACER: LIMITED EDITION- One of the first Japanese anime to break through in the U.S., the TV show “Speed Racer” from 1966 is notable for the somber tone, multipart episodes, and soap-like story lines that stretch out over the entire season. (Who is Racer X, anyway?) Why Tom Cruise made “Days of Thunder” instead of adapting this will always be a mystery. The 11 episodes come in a nifty tire-tread package.
THE CRIME OF PADRE AMARO- Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal was introduced here in the 1980s via Pedro Almodovar. “The Crime of Padre Amaro” is his latest film, a huge box-office smash in Mexico despite vehement protests by the Catholic Church about its portrayal of corruption and a priest who sleeps with a female parishioner. The magnetic and sexy Bernal also scored in “Amores Per ros” and especially “Y Tu Mama Tambien.”