Guilty of Romance

Sion Sono’s films have never really been aimed at a wide audience, but few directors are as capable as he is of making the ugliest things beautiful. Case in point is his latest film, Guilty of Romance. Izumi is the docile wife of a successful romance novelist who saves all of his energy and emotion for his books and readers. Her entire life is in service to him as her daily duties include making sure his shoes are ready for him at the door and his meals are ready for him at dinnertime. She’s also expected to compliment his naked body even though he’s never interested in sharing it with her in any meaningful way. Seriously, the scene where he shows her his penis, fishing for reassuring words, and then tells her she can touch it if she wants is just awkward and painful to watch. But when she steps out of her normal life to get a job and find her own worth she discovers a deviance she never expected… both outside her home and inside herself. She meets Mitsuko, a professor by day who moonlights as a prostitute, and the two of them descend into a very dark hole together. And that’s not a euphemism. Okay, maybe it is.

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This Week in DVD

It’s the last DVD release week of November, and judging by the stellar releases out today it’s fair to say Christmas has come early. There are several titles, big and small, deserving of a purchase or at least a rent, and they’re pretty widespread genre-wise too. Some of the week’s offerings include Tucker & Dale vs Evil, Our Idiot Brother, Friends with Benefits, 30 Minutes or Less and more. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Another Earth The unfortunately named Rhoda (Brit Marling) is a bright high-school graduate with a limitless future, but on the night a new planet is discovered in the night sky above she celebrates a bit too hard and smashes her car into a family of three. A few years later, Rhoda is released from prison and makes an attempt at an apology to the man (William Mapother) she injured and whose wife and child she killed. Communication with the new planet has also revealed that it is a mirror image of our own as far as geography and population, but that different choices there may have given way to different events. Marling co-wrote this intriguing and often mesmerizing sc-fi/drama with director Mike Cahill, and while the logic and explanation behind the science fiction aspects are woefully lacking the drama, character work and “what if?” scenarios are excellent. As she does in the somewhat superior Sound of My Voice Marling brings an ethereal and fragile presence to […]

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