The softball term to describe a film like “Things to Do” would be “navel-gazing.” It’s the go-to description for twenty-something cinema. Perhaps the “Garden States” of the world have done their best to turn the natural progression of youthful self-doubt into a cultural off ramp, but “Things to Do” is a gem. A Canadian gem. So its maple-flavored and generous to a fault.
With little fanfare and a lot of controversy, the first season DVD box set of the 1970s show “WKRP in Cincinnati” finally arrives on DVD today. Much to the chagrin of fans of the show, much of the original music on the show, from popular artists of the day such as Foreigner and Blondie, has been replaced by generic music, which begs the question… was the music the only thing that made the show good?
For this, their third DVD release of this title since 1999, the Walt Disney Company has broken the vaults wide open to add a plethora of fascinating historic artifacts to make this new Platinum Edition a must-own for any Disney collector.
Come watch the wonderful, wacky, winning world of the Irish National Baseball Team.
Reconstructing a lost cause, “Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut” works magic trying to assemble a version of the wayward sequel that best matches its earliest intentions. Yes, it’s messy. Yes, it isn’t what it could’ve been. Yes, Zod is still all sorts of awesome. I feel more secure in the world now that I have a choice (and a potential fan-edit project) of “Superman II” versions. It seems the production of “Superman II” wasn’t just difficult, it was a war.
Sara (Leah Pipes, “Pixel Perfect”) is a 15 year-old soccer phenomenon staring down an opportunity to try out for the U.S. National Team. Caught between what her domineering coach father (Scott Patterson, “Gilmore Girls”) wants for her future, and her newfound desire to actually enjoy being a love-struck, relaxed teenager, Sara has to find her priorities in life quickly before important decisions are made for her.
In the era of teen claptrap such as “Mean Girls” and any recent Hilary Duff product, “Her Best Move” is downright revelatory. Here is a teen girl-centered film that doesn’t define itself through mall couture or caricatures of high school cliques. Instead, “Move” uses a softer sense of intelligence and pubescent reality to pursue a cliched, but engaging tale of hopes and dreams.
While I’m hundreds of miles away from the intended demographic of “Move,” I appreciated the effort put in by co-writer/director Norm Hunter to keep his characterizations as authentic as they could be under these circumstances. Much of the plotting in “Move” plays a little too close to “Saved by the Bell” standards, but it goes down smoothly due to the filmmaker’s attempt to instill in Sara humanity and anxiety the audience can relate to. “Move” isn’t exactly “Interiors,” but outside of the boy troubles, part-time job wackiness at Coldstone (co-star Daryl Sabara is no Farmer Ted), and first kiss jitters, there’s a commitment to understanding what makes Sara’s tick that is refreshing, and ultimately provides an unexpectedly viewing rewarding experience for kids and adults.
The characters live and worry like human beings, personified in the performance by Leah Pipes. An unusually lucid teen actress, Pipes reads the role with such a true feeling of swirling self-conscious butterflies that “Move” comes off as a teenager documentary at certain pivotal moments. Pipes is terrific at demonstrating the dangerous push and pull of parental expectation vs. the desires of the newly engorged teen heart. The supporting cast fills in the blanks that the script leaves behind well enough, but I can’t imagine the film without Pipes, and her work does wonders elevating this material beyond familiar and potentially repellent territory.
“Her Best Move” ends with Sara at her big, life-defining soccer game, and sporting suspense is one of the many things on Hunter’s “to do” list. He also sets aside time to wrap up the character arcs with a believable flow, even when they all lead to smiles and reconciliation. The final moments of “Move” are ones about respect and behavioral correction, and when was the last film made about teenagers that took the time to address such topics as personal choicer “Move” might be a cheesefest for anyone older than 12 years-old, but there’s an effort made to portray intellect that should be recognized and rewarded.
“Her Best Move” features a nice 5.1 Dolby Digital track that keeps the pop soundtrack up close and personal. A low-budget film without much use for a profound soundscape, the DVD provides a clean dialogue mix and a nice punch of the surrounds during the soccer sequences.
Presented in anamorphic 1.85:1, “Move” could’ve used a bit more of a punch in the transfer department. Pixilation occurs in several scenes during the run of the film, and colors seem muted in ways that directly contradict the film’s sunny attitude.
Sadly, all “Her Best Move” includes is a trailer for the film.
To purchase a copy of “Her Best Move,” or for more information, visit herbestmove.comRating: B