Don’t Worry. Help Is On The Way!

Help! never gets a fair shake. As a Beatle movie, A Hard Day's Night completely outshines it. While undoubtedly the inferior film, Help! certainly has merit. As a Beatle record, Help! finds itself eclipsed over by 1965’s Rubber Soul, with critics pointing to Soul as The Beatles’ turning point to more artistic endeavours, overlooking Beatles For Sale in ’64 and Help! earlier ’65, both featuring darker lyrics and more diverse musical influences. The movie, though, has only been available on VHS until last week, when Apple Corps released a brand new DVD package. Basically I could not be more excited.

Transformers, Robots in Disguise

According to my older sister, my childhood was seriously lacking because I was too young to understand and appreciate Transformers. I wondered if she was actually right for a change when I saw the latest movie. The new live action film was funny and interesting enough to warrant placing a request for 20th anniversary edition of the 1986 animated Transformers film. Who wouldn’t be intrigued by characters voiced by Robert Stack, Leonard Nimoy, and Orson Welles? In the animated movie, the autobots must stop Unicron, a planet eating robot, from stealing the Autobot Matrix of Leadership. Optimus Prime will always be cool, but after seeing the movie, I know there is a lot of Transformers history I could catch up on to understand it better. If you grew up with it and are feeling nostalgic, check it out!

Don't Miss This One

Water is a controversial and thought provoking 2006 film directed by Deepa Mehta. The film's setting is 1930's India. The main characters are widows who are forced to live solitary existences. In traditional Hindu culture, when a husband dies, the wife is forced into living out the rest of her life away from society in an ashram. Although, this chaste and meager existence is better than the traditional alternative of being cremated along with the husband, it is similar to a life of imprisonment.

But what happens when 8 year old Chuyia becomes a widow, and is forced to live this way? Her spunk, questioning, and need to live the life of an 8 year old make the women contemplate why this tradition even exists. Kalyani takes Chuyia under her wing, and the story unfolds from there.

This is a film not to be missed because of its questioning of traditional religious beliefs, and the exploration of women's rights. The setting, actors, and cinematography all come together to make this a wonderful and beautiful film. The official FFG rating of this movie is 9.

C-H-E-E-S-E-A-N-D-O-N-I-O-N-S Oh No!

Forget John, Paul, George, and Ringo. I’ll take Ron, Dirk, Stig, and Barry any day of the week (even the eighth one.) The Rutles, scousers as well, made it just as big as those other four guys. Maybe even bigger. Maybe even smaller. They almost definitely “made it” a larger, smaller or equal amount as The Beatles. Unfortunately, like so many of those great bands from the sixties (e.g. The Turtles or The Beau Brummels,) problems with their label have doomed The Rutles’ back catalogue lost to history except for a greatest hits and Archeology, a collection of rare and unreleased songs. AADL fortunately has both records as well as a Rutles documentary.


You may be having a sense of deja vu when next you watch your favorite television television show. The Writers Guild of America, the folks responsible for much of the content on TV and in movies, is on strike. The sticking point? Authors want a bigger share of the lucrative DVD market and a stake in the burgeoning web market. Studios and networks say no way, not wanting to cut into their cash cow or hamper their efforts to draw in web viewers.

The effects will be felt most immediately in late night TV and other programming that relies heavily on current events, including, sadly, The Daily Show and the Colbert Report. Soap opera fans beware, for daytime television will follow shortly. Prime time TV and movies won't be affected immediately. Of course, if the strike lasts 5 months like the last one, even all you Lost addicts out there may be getting a bit of strike fatigue.

Why did Herr F. run amok?

Finally--I've been waiting years for the DVD release of Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Berlin Alexanderplatz, the 13-part series based on the novel by Alfred Doblin and the crowning achievement in Fassbinder's controversial career. (It's due for release on November 13 and currently on order for AADL--a Criterion edition, no less!) Meanwhile, we have several classic titles from German cinema's enfant terrible in our collection, including Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, The Marriage of Maria Braun, and Why Does Herr R Run Amok? Watch one this weekend, then come to the discussion of Fassbinder's work at the Downtown library at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, November 5, by UM's Malcolm Tulip and Hanna Worthen.

Steve Carrell

Steve CarrellSteve Carrell

Steve was interviewed on 10-24-07 on NPR’s Fresh Air program. Carell currently is one of Hollywood's hottest actors. He starred in 40 Year Old Virgin and Little Miss Sunshine, is a former correspondent for Comedy Central's The Daily Show and is the lead in the very successful American version of the TV show “The Office”
I’ve enjoyed seeing Carrel in several of his works but can’t put my finger on whether I really like his acting or that I watch while wondering if the role(s) he plays are believable?
If you can’t listen to NPR interviews when first aired you can pick them it up another time via NPR. They also have an interesting (over 500) list of podcasts that one can access anytime.

Amazon's Bestselling DVDs

ratarata’s most recent bestselling DVD list includes many movie titles available at the AADL. Fun youth flicks include The Jungle Book, Ratatouille, and Transformers. Adults might want to check out Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Ken Burns’ The War, or Grindhouse Presents, Planet Terror. It's nice to see movies, rather than just boxed sets from Television shows, selling at Amazon for a change.

Why Is The World In Love Again

They Might Be Giants may only be two guys named John, a guitarist and an accordioner, but the music that they produce is something else. The lyrics—funny, tragic, weird, poetic, meaningless—are backdropped by consciously bizarre, irresistibly catchy, and off the wall rocking music. After twenty years, they have but two gold albums to their names, a few minor hit singles. They’ve made serious records, kids records, TV themes (Malcolm In The Middle, The Daily Show,) and unique music videos. And I am happy to say (now that I have my ticket) that They Might Be Giants are coming here to the Michigan Theatre, November 14th.

Vampire Bloodlust in Alaska

30 Days of Night easily has one of the most disturbing book covers I have ever seen, yet I was equally repelled and drawn to the image for months before I was pulled into the "light." And, well, for reasons that are still a little unclear I'm just one of many drawn to this dark and disturbing vampire saga by Niles, Steve. A cult following developed for the entire series - which has now been turned into a movie. The movie stars Josh Hartnett and is set to hit a theater near you on Oct. 19. - check out the books from us while you wait.

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