By DNA Smith
PICKS OF THE WEEK
“Julie & Julia” — This is one of those films that sort of came and went in theaters and didn’t receive the kind of hoopla it should have — because “Julie & Julia” is a gem of a film. It stars Amy Adams as Julie Powell, a young woman who takes on the fool’s errand of spending a year cooking every dish in Julia Child’s masterwork, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” Powell’s story is interspersed with the early life of Julia Child (played with atomic gusto by Meryl Streep) and her love affairs with her husband, France and cooking.
“Julie & Julia” is a captivating little film, and the performances are all top-notch. Granted, Streep has the easiest job; because Julia Child was such an ebullient, telegenic personality in her own right, all Streep had to do is not cross the line into caricature. Amy Adams has the more difficult role, having to play a less flamboyant person and still hold her own against Streep’s tsunamic performance.
I highly recommend “Julie & Julia.” Not only is it a delightful date movie, but afterward you’ll want to stampede into your kitchen and whip up something that’s loaded with butter.
“Lost: The Complete 5th Season Dharma Initiation Kit” — If you’re a fan of “Lost,” you’re already planning to get the Season 5 boxed set, but if you’re a hardcore fan and love innovative packaging, this is the set you want to own. Not only does it come with all the Easter eggs and a bajillion special features, this set also includes a VHS tape of a Dharma training video, pamphlets, maps, stickers (and in select packages, a submarine patch), plus all the discs are sleeved to look like floppy discs.
“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” — This is the big, hoo-hah release of the week. This sixth film in the series, while not the best (“Prisoner of Azkaban” still holds that spot), it is one of the better ones. Because it’s a major release, the film is being packaged nine ways to Sunday: From single-disc, barebones editions to multi-disc, packed-with-extras extravaganzas. There’s not really much else to say. It’s Harry Potter. You either love it or not. Happy shopping.
WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?
“AK 100: 25 Films of Akira Kurosawa” — To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of legendary filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, the Criterion Collection is releasing a massive boxed set of 25 of his films. The price? $400. Ayup, four hundred smackaroos. I mean, let’s face it, if you’re already a Kurosawa fan, you already own half the films included in this set. So, who is this for? Fans aren’t going to shell out that kind of money for stuff they already own, just to get the four previously unreleased on DVD films and a half-dozen or so of his lesser works. And I can’t imagine a person who has just discovered Kurosawa paying that much money on a whim. Still, the collection comes in a pretty red box, so it’s got THAT going for it.
“Rescue Me” Season 5, Volume 2
“SpongeBob SquarePants” Season Six, Vol. 1
“Get Smart” Season 5
“Perry Mason” Season Four, Vol. 2
“Fugitive” Season Three, Vol. 2
© 2009 King Features Synd., Inc.