"Too often there's nothing but ego at the center of today's micro-indies," writes Michael Atkinson at IFC, "but Joshua Safdie's The Pleasure of Being Robbed isn't merely slacker realism or geysering quirk. It's a character portrait, and I haven't seen the likes of Eléonore (Eléonore Hendricks) since the 70s, when Cassavetes movies bristled with compulsive nowhere figures living out their no-future lives by trying to seize the elusive present, and trying to do so with a fire in their bellies."
Spike Jonze's Where the Wild Things Are, out on DVD and Blu-ray today, is "clearly a labor of love," but that's not all Dennis Lim aims to focus on in the Los Angeles Times. "It's fitting that a true appreciation of Jonze's sensibility requires a familiarity with his shorts, videos and promos, which mainly circulate online. A born prankster, a descendant of the silent slapstick comedians, a master of the high concept, he was a YouTube artist before the fact." Update, 3/3: For Vulture, Eric Kohn talks with Jonze about his documentary, Tell Them Anything You Want: A Portrait of Maurice Sendak.
Disney is releasing Ponyo (2008) along with three earlier films by Hayao Miyazaki. Sean Axmaker walks us through Ponyo, Castle in the Sky (1986), Kiki's Delivery Service (1989) and My Neighbor Totoro (1988), about which Sean writes, "Rarely has there been such a tender and respectful exploration of the emotions and fears of children, and never in such a delightful flight of fantastical adventure and wonder. A masterpiece of modern animated fantasy made for children and adults alike."
DVD roundups: Sean Axmaker, Drew McWeeney (Hitfix), Noel Murray (LAT), Tom Russo (Boston Globe) and Michael Tully (Hammer to Nail).
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