Cougars and Killers of Sheep

Cougar Club

Vivendi, $26.99

As you know, Seattle Weekly has become the go-to source for all things cougar, beginning with Huan Hsu's Aug. 8 exposé and continuing with our occasional coverage of WSU football. Riding our coattails, as it were, Cougar Club exploits a trend that may already seem exploitative. Do we need to see Faye Dunaway—GMILF?—stuck beneath a sweating law clerk? Do we need a blink-and-she's-gone cameo from Carrie Fisher? Do we need topless models on the DVD menus? (OK, ignore that last question.) To call this movie gratuitous would be, well, gratuitous, but Cougar Club is actually rather tame. Two dudes establish a membership-only dating service for young'uns eager to meet hot mamas, but their real passion lies in stickin' it to the man. Our millennial rebels are entrepreneurs without the corporate brains for Google or MySpace. If they're unable to forge careers in the postcollegiate world, it's no surprise they turn to the comfort of familiar bosoms. But when they come calling for Cougar Club 2, for the love of God, let them hear "No" from Susan Sarandon. BRIAN MILLER

Innocence

Image, $24.99

Innocence is the French movie that your homophobic uncle pictures in his head when you tell him you like French movies. Set in a remote school for girls, the film features long takes of running brooks, ballet practice, and obscure conversations with hidden meaning and heavy symbolism. It also features long takes of prepubescent nudity that may bug you. But it also takes a movie about little girls jumping rope and learning to dance and turns it into something creepy—almost frightening, thanks to gorgeous cinematography and a few odd details such as, oh, how all of the girls arrive at the school in coffins. But mostly it's just quiet and disquieting. Confused? Check out the special feature in which 9-year-old actress Zoé Auclair explains the film better than you could. JORDAN HARPER

Killer of Sheep

Milestone, $39.95

Better 30 years late than never, the theatrical release of Charles Burnett's 1977 drama Killer of Sheep was the year's art-house triumph: a stark, poetic, raggedly beautiful portrait of a Watts slaughterhouse worker fighting the toll of his soul-deadening job. As Armond White's liner notes suggest, it's too pertinent and tough-minded a movie to be filed away as a "masterpiece," and this long-awaited two-disc collection surrounds it with similar wonders: Burnett's lost 1983 feature My Brother's Wedding, an earthy slice of life that starts close to comedy and ends close to tragedy; several short films, of which at least one (1995's When It Rains) has the heft and humanity of a major work. Watch these, and you'll come away convinced Burnett is America's Renoir: a clear-eyed but loving humanist who understands that everyone has his reasons. JIM RIDLEY

La Vie en Rose

HBO, $27.95

The drug use of others is boring to everyone but teenagers and biopic producers. Sure, it would be hard to tell a musician's life story without a little snort and tipple, but what's with all this factual accuracy anyway? Biopics always bullshit a little; why not throw in a subplot about the star solving a murder or something? In La Vie en Rose, legendary French singer Édith Piaf seems to spend one third of her life singing, one third drunk, and one third sitting in dark rooms doing zilch. The filmmakers manage to make even her childhood—which she spent bouncing between the circus and a brothel—less than fascinating. The songs, using Piaf's original recordings, will turn your heart to hamburger; the rest of the movie, not so much. Marion Cotillard is fantastic, but she and the music just can't hold up over 140 minutes. JORDAN HARPER

The Princess Bride

MGM, $19.98

As far as 20th-anniversary-edition DVDs go, The Princess Bride is crushingly disappointing: no Rob Reiner commentary track, no outtakes, no making-of doc, no nothing, save for a lousy game and a few short interviews with Robin Wright Penn, Mandy Patinkin, Christopher Guest, and a few others scattered throughout three mini-docs. The movie remains timeless, effervescent, and enchanting, absolutely—often aped but never quite copied, it's satire at its sweetest, a fractured fairy tale that only gets more poignant and delightful with each viewing. Unlike Shrek, it's absent the pop-culture references that would date it like a carton of milk; it'll withstand another 20 years, easily. Only it's already available on a special-edition disc that looks as good as this version and costs a few bucks less—and, surely, you already own it. No? Then this'll do. ROBERT WILONSKY

Other Releases

The documentary Absolute Wilson is just as artsy-fartsy as you'd expect, but avant-garde theater director Robert Wilson is one fascinating guy. There's little of William Steig's original charm left in Shrek the Third. Box sets for the holidays include the complete Addams Family TV series and all those Ocean's 11 flicks (which got steadily worse with each sequel). Shane Meadows takes a not entirely bleak view of his Thatcher-era youth in This Is England. Dr. Bronner's Magic Soapbox reveals the strange man behind the soap empire. The anti-slavery drama Amazing Grace struggles under its good intentions. Sony is dusting off the old boxing flick Golden Boy, with William Holden and Barbara Stanwyck (if they ever do a remake, her character will be the fighter). And Criterion has restored all 15 hours of Fassbinder's Berlin Alexanderplatz, on seven discs with many extras.

 
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