Saturday, September 6, 2008

(RELATIVELY) NEW DVDs OF NOTE: Rambow fils and finding Osama

I'm of the mind that all religions are loony -- some more so than others -- so it was very easy for me to identify with the young protagonist in SON OF RAMBOW, whose remaining family (dad's dead) is held in thrall to a bunch of whack-job fanatics. Further, as a kid who loved movies from the first time he saw one, it was also easy to like this sweet little film about how cinema -- along with school, family and friends -- shapes our lives. Writer/director Garth Jennings, who also gave us the underappreciated film version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy now has another fine flop to his credit. I'll be surprised if both these movies don't eventually rise to a higher place in the film canon. For now, just enjoy what Jennings does -- both delicious and dear -- with a French exchange student's effect on a British school and vice versa.

It's easy, I suppose, to make fun of Morgan Spurlock for his faux gee-whiz enthusiasm, which is on parade once again via his new documentary WHERE IN THE WORLD IS OSAMA BIN LADEN? And yet Mr. Spurlock does his shtick so well -- with energy, charm and humor -- that you'll find it hard to resist his light-hearted (and occasionally light-headed) search for everyone's favorite terrorist. At the very least, I should think that most middle class (if there are any of you left) Gen X-ers who are new (or about to be) parents will identify with Spurlock and his wife and their desire to see their baby born into a "safer" world. His travels into all those middle-eastern places in which parents and their children are not safe may seem shallow and silly on one hand, but the viewer cannot help but be aware (and I believe Spurlock is intent on making them aware) of the enormous differences between growing up in the USA and in any of the Arab states, and even Israel. This one's worth a look, some chuckles and an occasional wince.

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