Tuesday, February 7, 2012

On DVD: "The Sunset Limited"

The Sunset Limited begins after its inciting action: an attempted suicide. One man (Tommy Lee Jones) tried to toss himself in front of a subway train; another (Samuel L. Jackson) stopped him. That moment is never seen, and, in the opening minutes of The Sunset Limited, it is only mentioned in passing, coded terms. The man who stopped it (credited only as "Black") brings the man he saved ("White") back to his run-down apartment. They sit at his table, across from each other, opposites not only in skin color, but in disposition: Jones's character is an atheist professor, Jackson's a convict reformed by his Evangelical faith. They face each other, and they talk--a flurry of words, ideas, accusations, confessions, dodges. They talk for an hour and half, just the two of them, a pair of men in one unforgiving location.

Monday, February 6, 2012

On DVD: "A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas"

Either the "Harold & Kumar" movies are getting progressively better, or I'm just warming to these idiots. Their inaugural outing, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, was intermittently funny but mostly slapdash, sloppily made and wildly uneven (the "Battle-shits" scene is the low point of the series, and maybe of modern film comedy). The follow-up, Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, was a modestly more successful affair, its coarseness and rough edges made more forgivable by the surprisingly sharp sociopolitical satire smuggled in among the weed-assisted giggles. And now we have A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, a full-on three-dimensional holiday extravaganza that is, walking away, the funniest and most entertaining film in the series. If these are the stoner Harry Potter movies, each one just a little bit better than the last, then 3D Christmas is the series' Prisoner of Azkaban.