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Two Must-See Films: SUPER and WIN WIN
by Denise DuVernay

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If you asked me, "Hey, Du, wanna see a movie about wrestling?" I would probably say no. If you attempted to sweeten the pot by telling me Paul Giamatti plays a wrestling coach and lawyer, then I'd vehemently say no. But if you told me it was by the writer-director of THE VISITOR (Thomas McCarthy) I would say, "Hell, yes!"

It's modern day New Jersey in winter. Paul Giamatti plays a lawyer, Mike, who is having rough times in his law practice but has a terrific family and enjoys coaching wrestling. Amy Ryan (although, of course, is too good-looking to be Giamatti's match, but I'm forgiving that) is perfect as his wife Jackie; she's sassy but not in a cutesy way (I promise) and flawed. A teenaged boy, Kyle, comes into their lives who needs a family, and lucky for Mike, Kyle just happens to be an excellent wrestler. (The actor who plays Kyle, Alex Shaffer, is actually a wrestler). But that's where the serendipity ends. The relationships are lovely, the characters are rich and believable (the exception being Kyle's mom, who's not really developed much, but I think it works) and the end moved me to tears, but it's not sappy. See WIN WIN, no matter how you think you feel about New Jersey, wrestling, and Paul Giamatti. (Also, if you haven't seen THE VISITOR, that's your homework).

I have been looking forward to SUPER for quite some time, since I met Sheri Davani over Twitter and got to interview her a little over a year ago. Davani served as AD on SUPER. See my interview with her here. As my luck would have it, SUPER is not showing in any theaters near me yet, but it IS available through my cable provider in my own living room for a reasonable price. SUPER is directed by James Gunn, whose horror chops show through in this hard-to-classify film starring Rainn Wilson. (It starts out pretty funny, so I thought it was a dark comedy, but it changes into something quite different). There's much violence and some special effects that I had to squint at, but if you didn't already know, I'm squeamish about such things. Wilson plays Frank, a man whose wife (Liv Tyler) has left him to return to her previous life of drugs, so Frank becomes the Crimson Bolt, a superhero who requires weapons. Frank turns to his local comic book store for assistance in creating the Crimson Bolt, where he meets Libby (Ellen Page). His main goal is to save his wife and steal her back
Crimson Bolt

Crimson Bolt
from drugs and a grungy, grody guy (Kevin Bacon), but he gets sidetracked along the way, interfering with drug deals and random injustices.

Gunn has a special eye for the grotesque (have you seen SLITHER?), but in SUPER, he really pulls out some major funny (in the first part, anyway). But, I have to say, I did have to look away (a lot) and cover my ears more than once. And I am so not comfortable with his brother, Sean Gunn (who was Kirk on Gilmore Girls) sporting a mohawk and saying the word "pussy." And not in the wimpy male insult kind of way, which I also wouldn't like. Still, it was an interesting film with a great cast: a creative and surprisingly touching effort by Gunn.


COUNTRY STRONG: Gwyneth Paltrow continues her quest to be taken seriously as a singer, moving from Glee to the big screen. Here she plays a country singer looking to make a comeback.

Dragnet 1970 Season Four: The 1970s reboot of the 50s classic features Sergeant Joe Friday (Jack Webb) and partner Bill Gannon (Harry Morgan) tackling mass murder cases even a sniper.

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 1: I have not seen it (I admit, I haven't seen a Harry Potter movie since 2001) but the penultimate film in the Potter film series has been called bleak but emotionally satisfying, by those who have actually seen it.

SUMMER IN GENOA: This 2008 film-festival favorite drama starring Colin Firth is finally available on DVD. In the film, Firth plays a father who moves his daughters to Italy after the tragic death of his wife, where they all begin new chapters in their lives.


THE DILEMMA This may shock you, but this Vince Vaughn / Kevin James film was filmed entirely in Chicago. And it marked director Ron Howard's return to comedy after many years.

THE GREEN HORNET Did anyone see this, or are we all suffering from Seth Rogen fatigue?

GULLIVER'S TRAVELS The DVD of this Jack Black adaptation comes with a "fun pack." I don't want to know what is included in said fun pack.

THE KING'S SPEECH Colin Firth, how I adore you.

NO STRINGS ATTACHED Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher. Meh.

RABBIT HOLE Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart play a couple who are devastated when their son dies in an accident. I want to see it, I really do, but I'm not quite up to it yet. I still get kind of weepy when I think about TOY STORY 3.

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Take Your Queue From Du
Every other Sunday

Semi-wholesome Midwestern girl and certified Geek Magnet offers her suggestions - often new, sometimes classic - for DVDs that are definitely queue-worthy.

Other Columns
Other columns by Denise DuVernay:

Goodbye, Du

Du Chats Movies With Comics Author Lonnie Millsap

Du Reviews ALPOCALYPSE by "Weird Al" Yankovic

Another Piece Praising BRIDESMAIDS

Friendship Films and DVD Picks for May 17

All Columns

Denise DuVernay
9 out of 10 librarians think Denise is a hoot. The 10th one couldn't corroborate because she was dead.

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Denise DuVernay by clicking here.

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