Waitress takes on an unavoidable added poignancy when you know the story
behind it. (Actress Adrienne Shelly, a staple of the
1980s, was poised for a breakthrough as a director with this romantic dramedy. After
the film was completed but before its Sundance premiere, Shelly was murdered in
valedictory — a gently feminist celebration of love, life and
motherhood.) Keri Russell stars as a great
waitress and pie-maker stuck in a bad marriage (to a scruffy, clueless Jeremy
Sisto). She falls for her gynecologist (Nathan Fillion) and struggles toward
independence. Russell carries the film pretty well, and the deadpan Fillion (Serenity, Slither) is
an odd but endearing choice as her romantic foil. The men in the film are
completely out of focus, anyway, except for Andy Griffith (!), who appears in several
scenes playing a creaky old plot device. The biggest problem is that you’ve
seen this story many times before — woman with bad marriage and spunky
friends finds the courage to
make a new start. If this sounds like your idea of a good time, relax and enjoy.
Buy it from Amazon.com: Waitress (Widescreen Edition)
Heimat, Vol. 3 (Facets)
Berlin Alexanderplatz has the cinematic cachet associated with bearing Fassbinder’s name above the title, but what about the Heimat series directed by Edgar Reitz? At Twitch, writer John Pais called the first installment one of “a handful of cinematic works that can without hyperbole be rightfully called masterpieces” and no less a cinephile than Jonathan Rosenbaum calls it “a monumental act of imagination, teeming with evocative incident and Proustian detail.” Speaking of detail, it’s 15 and a half hours long. The Second Heimat runs a staggering 25-plus hours, and this third installment is more than 11 hours. Got some time on your hands?
Buy it from Amazon.com: Heimat, Vol. 3: A Chronicle of Endings and Beginnings
Mr. Bean’s Holiday (Universal)
I adored Rowan Atkinson’s first big-screen
outing as the obnoxious Mr. Bean — a combination of unambitious humor
with dextrous physical comedy. I found it howlingly funny. (Your
mileage may vary. And, gawd, was it really 10 years ago?)
Marketed solely as a kiddypic, this follow-up (a fellow named Steve
Bendelack replaces Mel Smith as director) crept into theaters and out
again before I knew what was happening. Too bad for me — I suppose
it’ll play well on TV, but seeing the first one on the big screen was
part of the fun.
Bratz: The Movie (Lionsgate)
Come back, Mean Girls. All is forgiven.
Buy it from Amazon.com: Bratz (Widescreen Edition)