The Hot Sheet
Flipped — Fresh from successfully helping to fund the federal court case that ultimately led to California’s Proposition 8 being overturned earlier this week, Rob Reiner returns to the director’s chair with Flipped, a coming-of-age dramedy set in the ’60s about — fittingly — love. Reiner has rounded out his cast with a who’s who of Hollywood favorites (Anthony Edwards, Rebecca De Mornay, An Early Frost’s Aidan Quinn, and Broken Hearts Club’s John Mahoney) for this touching story — a breath of fresh air among the loud, big-budget films that dominate late summer.
Step Up 3D — For the third installment in the Step Up series, producers have taken the tried-and-true mold of sexy male lead meets sexy female lead for 90 minutes of hip-hop meets ballet and filmed it in 3D. Like the first two films, Step Up 3D is short on plot — but with producer Adam Shankman working behind the scenes and several finalists from TV’s So You Think You Can Dance, it’s bound to be visually captivating.
Twelve — Stunning cinematography highlights this Joel Schumacher-directed adaptation of Nick McDonnell’s novel, which stars Gossip Girl's Chace Crawford as a drug dealer who struggles with his inner demons while providing a steady supply to the teenage bourgeoisie. The constant and often poetic narration by Rufus Wainwright seamlessly bridges the character’s stories and grounds the film in an artistic and literary context.
The House by Katie Melua — With her fourth album, Melua proves again what a versatile artist she is, this time entering into a world that is paradoxically both darkly profound and lightheartedly lovable. Going from the quiet haunting metaphors of “Red Balloons” to the retro Connie Francis vibe of “Plague of Love,” Melua refuses to be defined by a single genre. Other notable songs include the jazzy number “Moment of Madness,” the surprisingly pop track “A Happy Place,” and the international hit “The Flood.”
“Hurt” by Our Lady J — What do you get when you mix songwriting by Nine Inch Nails, a legacy by Johnny Cash, and ethereal vocals à la Imogen Heap? The next brilliant incarnation of Trent Reznor’s “Hurt,” in which Our Lady J evokes the bittersweet beauty of the lyrics. A steady beat and delicate piano arpeggios also energize the song to anthemic proportions. “Hurt” is the debut single from Our Lady J’s in-progress album, The Gospel Electric. The artist, who has received high praise from musicians such as Dolly Parton and Jake Shears, begins a mini-tour of the U.K. August 9. Purchase the single here.
Boy — The latest from director Auraeus Solito (The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros) is an earnest look into the life of a young middle-class poet who yearns for a glimpse of the raw Philippine underground, which Aires, an exotic dancer and prostitute, helps him explore. While the dialogue is often strained and awkward, the film features inventive cinematography and an incisive commentary on the disparities of gay life in the Philippines.
Date Night — The rom-com gets a dark, After Hours-style makeover with Tina Fey and Steve Carrell as a harried married couple just trying to have a nice night on the town but who become entangled with hardcore criminals instead and at one point take refuge in a gay hookup area. Shirtless Mark Wahlberg and gay faves Mark Ruffalo, Kristen Wiig, and especially James Franco energize the proceedings with amusing cameos.
What's Up, Doc? — The 1972 homage to screwball comedy features Barbra Streisand at her most winning, Ryan O'Neal at his most handsome, and Madeline Kahn at her most hysterical ("I am not a Eunice Burns. I am THE Eunice Burns!") in this must-see comedy. New to Blu-ray.