DVD Traffic Report: November 6, 2007



Ratatouille (Disney)

Sometimes I feel like all this writing about movies — coming up with reasons to dismiss movies I dislike, articulating elements I think could have been handled better and enumerating the problems in script, casting and execution — has turned me into a curmudgeonly freak who’s incapable of enjoying a great Hollywood entertainment on its own terms. And then I see something like Ratatouille, which plasters a dumb smile on my face for the majority of two hours and runs over and over in my head for weeks and months. Look, critics don’t really enjoy sitting through dross, even if it means they get to exercise their fickle fingers for a few minutes by typing a clever slag on the new popular blockbuster or critics’ (the wrong critics) darling and slapping a C-, or a D, or even an F at the bottom of the review. Those reviews can be fun to read. But they’d destroy the soul if there weren’t reviews of movies like Ratatouille to go along with them. A-freaking-plus, man.

Buy it from Amazon.com: Ratatouille or Ratatouille [Blu-ray]


Sicko (Weinstein Co.)

Of all Michael Moore’s qualities, the most underrated may be his skill

as a storyteller. For better and worse, his strategy has always

involved forcing his political arguments to fit a strong narrative

structure. In those terms, Sicko, his documentary about the American

health-care system, is a doozy. This film’s stories are heartbreaking;

many of its characters are already dead — victims, Moore argues, of

for-profit HMOs that seek to deny as many insurance claims as possible.

He gathers anecdotal evidence about universal, government-paid health

care in Canada, France, the U.K., and even Cuba — where he’s able to

secure no-questions-asked care for a group of ailing 9/11 rescue

workers. Moore once again skirts anything resembling real debate,

failing to engage with dissenting views on more than a superficial

level, but his questions are effectively pointed. If universal health

care is the boondoggle its opponents claim, why is Moore able to find

so many happy testimonials from non-U.S. citizens? And what are the

moral implications of a system that refuses care to people who are

desperately in need? Impressively, Moore maintains a sense of humor,

keeping Sicko from becoming pointlessly shrill or completely maudlin

— instead, it’s absorbing, occasionally infuriating, and thoroughly


Buy it from Amazon.com: Sicko (Special Edition)

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