FROM UP ON POPPY HILL - Hayao Miyazaki was one of the writers of this acclaimed anime feature directed by his son Goro. In 1963, a group of teens try to save their school's clubhouse from demolition as the city prepares for the '64 Tokyo Olympics. Original Japanese with subtitles!
JOHN DIES AT THE END - This hilarious indie sci-fi-comedy was directed by Don Coscarelli, one of our favorite B-movie directors (PHANTASM, BEASTMASTER, BUBBA HO-TEP!). Based on the novel of the same title, it follows two college dropouts as they attempt to save the world from the effects of Soy Sauce, a drug that allows users to drift across dimensions and bring unfortunate things back with them... Look for Paul Giamatti in a supporting role!
NEIGHBORING SOUNDS - In this intriguing, award-winning drama from Brazil, the wealthy residents in a neighborhood of seaside high-rises hire a private security firm after a spate of petty crime leaves them suspicious of the underclass that work as their housekeepers... dredging up old resentments and shameful histories. Recommended!
QUARTET - Dustin Hoffman directs BBC regulars Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, and Billy Connolly in a feature dramedy about four bristly residents of a retirement home for aging opera stars, as they attempt to reunite for a charity performance.
ROBOT AND FRANK - This thoroughly enjoyable indie dramedy stars Frank Langella as a senile former burglar who grudgingly accepts his new helper robot when he discovers that the robot is a perfect accomplice...
IT'S A DISASTER - The ensemble cast of this indie comedy includes David Cross, America Ferrera, and Julia Stiles, all attending a chaotic couples brunch which is derailed further by the detonation of dirty bombs across the U.S...
LORE - When their Nazi parents are interred at the end of WWII, five German children travel across the country to reach their grandmother in the north. Shot like a bleak Grimms fairy tale, this one is well-reviewed and sure to end up on some Year's Best lists.
WARM BODIES - Romeo and Juliet, with Romeo as a self-conscious zombie. Peppered with all kinds of nostalgia for the analog age.
WRONG - Another oddball English-language comedy from French director and musician Quentin Dupieux (RUBBER). A man wakes to find that his dog is missing, the palm tree in his backyard has turned into a pine tree, and a mysterious guru is trying to contact him...
ELEPHANT IN THE LIVING ROOM - This poignant, fascinating, and often times suspenseful documentary looks at America's exotic pet subculture - specifically keeping dangerous animals - from both sides. There are animal lovers who view their lions and tigers as part of the family, and then there is public safety officer Tim Harrison, another animal lover whose job it is to rescue exotic pets in dangerous situations. Very well done and surprising at every turn. Recommended!
BEWARE OF MR. BAKER - The strange life and times of Ginger Baker, drummer for Cream and Blind Faith, follower of Fela Kuti, serial husband, and accomplished polo player; through archival footage, interviews with musicians he worked with, and interviews with the difficult man himself in his South Africa home.
THE GUILT TRIP - Barbra Streisand is adorable as Seth Rogen's pushy but well-meaning mother, in this crowd-pleasing road-trip comedy.
SIDE EFFECTS - Stephen Soderbergh directed this thoroughly entertaining Hitchcockian drama about a woman's experience with various anti-anxiety medications while dealing with her husband's release from prison. Or is that what it's about? We don't want to give anything away, just watch it!
THE NEWSROOM - The latest drama series from Aaron Sorkin (THE WEST WING) chronicles the exploits of a crowd-pleasing, inoffensive cable news channel set out to re-invent itself with more hard-hitting news.
TOYS IN THE ATTIC - The new stop-motion feature from legendary Czech animator Jirí Barta, with English language audio starring Forest Whitaker, Cary Elwes and more!
THE MASTER - Director P.T. Anderson (THERE WILL BE BLOOD) continues to wow audiences with stark, evocative storytelling with this tale of a troubled drifter (Joaquin Phoenix), a charlatanic religious leader (Philip Seymour Hoffman), and their influence on each other. Nominated for Best Picture.
MUDHONEY: I'M NOW - They gave birth to the grunge movement, without even realizing it. Before Nirvana, these loud, drunken, super-fuzzed, super sloppy dudes were the kings of Seattle's underground scene. One of the best punk bands there ever was.
CHICKEN WITH PLUMS - In the first live action film from the director of PERSEPOLIS, a gifted Iranian violinist in 1958 decides to take his own life by sleeping to death, and the events of his past and his childrens' futures unfold in colorful magical realism.
EMPIRE OF SILVER - Sort of like THE GODFATHER set in 1899 China, an epic tale of a powerful business family, from first time Chinese director Christina Yao.
FERLINGHETTI: A REBIRTH OF WONDER - A fascinating documentary portrait of Beat icon, anarchist, and San Francisco's City Lights Bookstore founder Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Recommended!
THE MONK - A French drama based on the 1796 gothic novel about a man raised as a devout Capuchin monk after being abandoned on a monastery doorstep as a baby, and his later descent into madness and vice. Starring Vincent Cassel (BLACK SWAN), directed by Dominik Moll (LEMMING).
PERFECT UNDERSTANDING (1933) - Gloria Swanson stars as a free thinking woman who finally agrees to marry hotty Laurence Olivier, only after re-writing their vows. Written by Michael Powell (THE RED SHOES), this may be the very first movie about "open relationships," and it's about a million times smarter and more visually stunning than 2011's HALL PASS.
TRUST - One of our favorite Hal Hartley films is finally released to DVD! The late Adrienne Shelly stars as a high school dropout whose father literally drops dead when she tells him she's pregnant. Edie Falco stars as her resentful mother, and Martin Donovan is the unstable, unemployed electronic repairman who helps her get back on her feet... or something like that. Also in new releases: Hal Hartley's FLIRT (1995) and his latest film, MEANWHILE.
THE RABBI'S CAT - In this new animated feature from French comics-writer Joann Sfarr, a rabbi's cat gains the power of speech after swallowing the rabbi's parrot. The rabbi punishes the cat by making him read the Talmud, but the cat holds onto its rationalism, and the two become involved in a series of bizarre adventures....
TERRI - We loved this indie dramedy about teenage outcasts and the unprofessional but well-meaning vice principal (John C. Reilly) who takes them under his wing.
STARLET - In this surprisingly heart-warming indie drama, Jane is an aspiring porn star who forms a friendship with a lonely elderly woman after discovering money inside a vase she buys at the woman's yard sale. Sweet and original.
WOMB - Eva Green (CASINO ROYALE) stars in this near-future U.K. drama about a woman who gives birth to and raises the clone of her dead beloved (Matt Smith, DR. WHO).
HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE - The story of two coalitions, ACT UP and TAG (Treatment Action Group), whose activism and innovation in the turned AIDS from a death sentence into a manageable condition.
PIERRE ETAIX COLLECTION - Criterion Collection has finally unveiled the clown-turned-filmmaker's long lost works. This new DVD set includes five features and three shorts, made between 1961 and 1971, that display an artistry every bit as creatively rewarding as his heroes Max Lindor, Charlie Chaplin, and Buster Keaton.
AMERICAN MARY - Notorious twin sisters Jen and Sylvia Soska directed this horror film about a medical student (Katharine Isabelle of GINGER SNAPS) who gets involved in the underworld of backroom body modification surgeries.
THIS IS NOT A FILM - Oscar Nominated documentary captures a day in the life of a recently imprisoned Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi.
PROMISED LAND - In Gus Van Sant's latest, a salesman for a natural gas company (Matt Damon) runs into challenges with the locals when his corporation tries to buy fracking rights in a small Pennsylvania town. Based on a story by Dave Eggers.
UPSTREAM COLOR - Wow! Quite an original. We loved this gorgeous, thought-provoking, surreal indie drama about a man and woman drawn together by stolen identities and the life cycle of a mysterious parasite. Beautiful and uncategorizable.
THE COMEDY - Wealthy Williamsburg man-child Tim Heidecker (TIM & ERIC) leads a meaningless existence full of bizarre pranks, offensive jokes, and yacht trysts, reminding himself he is still alive, but failing to impress anyone, in this comedy that is more avant garde and uncomfortable than it is "funny."
KUMARÉ - In this documentary, director Vikram Gandhi creates for himself the persona of an enlightened Indian guru, in order to dupe other Americans into following him and teach them a lesson, but he learns something unexpected as well.
LIFE IS SWEET - Finally, a DVD release for Mike Leigh's critically acclaimed, lovingly crafted 1991 dramedy about an eccentric lower-middle-class family in Middlesex.
THE BAY - This well reviewed, all too real eco-thriller is set during a mysterious natural disaster in a seaside Chesapeake Bay town. One of the best films we've seen lately in this genre.
HOLY MOTORS - French director Leos Carax (POLA X) takes us on a limousine trip into the absurd, along with a man of many faces. Dark surrealism and strong visuals combine in a dreamlike mystery somewhere between David Lynch and Matthew Barney. Recommended for arthouse lovers!
SWIMMING TO CAMBODIA - The long-awaited DVD release of Spalding Gray's 1987 comitragic performance piece about his experiences as an actor filming THE KILLING FIELDS in Thailand, where he searched self-destructively for "The Perfect Moment." Directed with skill by Jonathan Demme (STOP MAKING SENSE).
FINDING BIGFOOT - Humboldt's own James "Bobo" Fay is one of the notorious Bigfoot hunters in this popular Animal Planet show, now available for rental.
BRAVE NEW WORLD - This hard to find 1998 adaptation stars Leonard Nimoy, Peter Gallagher, and Sally Kirkland.
FUTURE WEATHER - In this new indie drama, 13 year-old Lauduree, abandoned by her flaky mother, obsesses over science experiments and carbon sequestration, hoping to change the world despite her unraveling, hard drinking family.