New to DVD for the week of December 27, 2005

New DVD releases for the week of December 27, 2005
By  |  January 17, 2006

2046 | Sony | In Wong Kar-wai’s sequel of sorts to his 2000 film In the Mood for Love, Chow Mo-wan (Tony Leung Chiu-wai) has given up the Don Quixote of illusory ideals for the Don Juan of immediate gratification and discovered that neither self-denial nor self-indulgence makes a dent in the prison of time, space, and desire. To make ends meet, he serializes a story set in 2046, the year of Hong Kong’s final reintegration into the mainland. It’s more a place than a time, attainable by the futuristic bullet trains Wong renders in Matrix-like CGI. But 2046 is also a hotel room, the one where Mo-wan and Su Li-zhen enacted their non-affair in Mood. Mo-wan moves into the room next door and falls for Wang Jing Wen (Faye Wong), daughter of the hotel owner. His rendezvous with the prostitute Bai Ling (Ziyi Zhang) are jokingly but strictly monetary, until they’re not. Then there’s the gambler named Su Li-zhen (Gong Li) who bails him out when his luck runs out in Singapore. Mo-wan writes these characters into his novel, making them android attendants on the bullet train to the future. Perhaps it’s not the love that’s lost in 2046 but the moment, with the loser condemned to relive it forever. | Cantonese + Mandarin + Japanese | 129m

Dark Water | Buena Vista | Walter Salles (Central do Brasil|Central Station) seems an odd choice to remake this thriller by Japanese director Hideo Nakata (The Ring), and he brings to it a non-chilling, arty sensibility, mixing standard fear tactics with the more atmospheric devices of David Lynch and Roman Polanski. Dahlia (Jennifer Connelly) tries to build a nest for her daughter Ceci (Ariel Gade) after a brutal custody battle by moving into a grimy flat in an East Berlin–like apartment complex on Roosevelt Island. In short order the black sludge leaking in from the apartment upstairs sends Dahlia into a flurry of flashbacks to her own troubled childhood, which seems to leak into little Ceci’s imagination as the girl takes up with an imaginary playmate. Nothing comes out in the wash as the film’s multiple endings only add to the murk. By far the scariest parts are Pete Postlethwaite as the building superintendent and Tim Roth playing the voice of reason as a lawyer. | 102m

Grizzly Man | Lion's Gate | Timothy Treadwell, who spent 13 summers living among grizzlies in the Alaskan wilderness, is the latest of Werner Herzog’s “holy fools,” but he has less in common with Herzog’s “best fiend,” Klaus Kinski, than with the director himself. As Herzog relates in his distinctive German-accented narration, Treadwell — who shot 100 hours of nature footage over five years — was able to capture “the unexpected magic of cinema.” Like Herzog, Treadwell frequently turned the camera on himself. After descending into a life of booze and drugs, the former Timothy Dexter reinvented himself as “kind warrior” Treadwell, child-like bear expert, educator, and preservationist from Australia. But on October 6, he and his girlfriend were eaten by a grizzly. After showing initial empathy, Herzog allows Treadwell’s madness to emerge. Herzog’s conclusion? “The common denominator of the universe is not harmony — it’s chaos, hostility, and murder.” | 103m

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