Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Another DVD Roundup

This is only half a DVD roundup.  The other half is a movie I saw on TV.  The first was a DVD I saw advertised on another DVD.  It was released in the UK in 2007, and did some of the festival rounds in the US, and finally had a limited US release last October.  St. Trinian's has an eclectic cast, including Rupert Everett (as both a father and his sister), Colin Firth, Russell Brand, Toby Jones, Gemma Arterton, and Stephen Fry.  It centers around a disreputable girl's high school in England, and seem to take place in about 4 different acts. Rupert Everett's daughter (and niece), Annabelle, is being enrolled at the school her aunt runs.  St. Trinian's is a school for girls who would never fit in at another school.  Gemma Arterton is head girl, and runs the school.  There are all kinds of cliques, but strangely they all get along just fine.  There are the geeks, emos (formerly goths), "barbies", glam, and first years.  They all seem to play sports together just fine.  Also on the side, they all have "businesses", including selling designer tampons, 100 proof vodka, and other fun businesses.  Their fence is Russell Brand (who has a crush on Arterton).  End act 1, getting to know the school.  Next, the girls have to defeat a snooty girl's school at field hockey.  They spend some time practicing and it turns out the new recruit Annabelle is really good.  They play against Colin Firth's daughter's team.  Firth plays the Minister of Education who is determined to shut down under-performing schools like St. Trinian's.  End Act 2.  Next they find out about bills St. Trinian's owes and they devise a plan to steal some art work to fence and pay off the bills.  The planning evolves around Russell Brand being able to pretend to be a German art dealer and of course he's insane.  The planning involved tunneling under the National Gallery, as well as qualifying for the "School Challenge" quiz show finals (which are conveniently held at an art gallery).  They cheat their way through the prelims, and then finally they get to the final and stage their heist.  Begin Act 4, the heist.  It's ridiculous and of course it works.  The cheating is stopped by Firth, but one of the other teachers convinces the "barbies" that they're smart enough without cheating (she doesn't know about the heist) and of course it all ends happily.  It's an insane movie that's fairly dark, and according to IMDB will have a sequel shortly.  It's fairly unique but does come together as a hodge podge of other movies.  It's about a 2.5 of 5 lambs/stars

The second movie I caught on TV, it was released in 1999.  It's called Happy, Texas, starring Steve Zahn and Jeremy Northam as escaped convicts that stumble into pretending their a gay couple who are experts in staging little girl beauty pageants.  They arrive in Happy, Texas and agree to fulfill their contract with the town to train their girls for the regional beauty pageant in order to avoid getting captured again.  The town sheriff is played by William H. Macy and Ron Pearlman is the marshal hunting for them.  It's basically a comedy of errors.  Steve Zahn plays Wayne Wayne Wayne, Jr. and has the full fu-man-chu mustache and is in charge of teaching the girls to dance.  He's basically clueless (like his character from Out of Sight) and brings most of the funny to the movie.  Northam makes friends with the bank owner while he's casing the place, but of course falls for her.  However, Macy, seeing that Zahn and Northam are no longer a couple, comes out of the closet and asks Northam out on a date.  They go dancing and everything.  The whole thing seems like it'll go fine until the third prison escapee M.C. Gainey arrives planning to rob the bank.  Northam has to stop him, and calls in the marshal and Macy stumbles upon it too, getting shot.  The whole thing ends fine, similar to Little Miss Sunshine with the little girls performing the routine the Zahn taught them.  It's also a mish-mash of other movies, but since this came out before Sunshine and within a year of Out of Sight, it doesn't seem like it's a copy, just going along the same lines.  Much funnier than I expected, and I actually went back and re-watched Zahn learning to teach the kids to dance by watching old pageants and then practicing by himself.  3.5 of 5 lambs/stars.

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